My zombie serial, Sacreya’s Legacy, is now out!
Here’s a short sample:
Episode 1: The Airport
The designer of the airport must have had something against color. Everything was white, although the floor had been polished until it was almost reflective. Sitting alone in a block of white plastic chairs, I had worn all black and knew I stuck out like a sore thumb. The television in the corner was broadcasting the news of what was happening in Vogan Point, where the Sacreya Virus was out of control. The camera panned across shots of the city, showing abandoned houses and empty streets. They paused to center in on an open door that was hanging off its hinges; bloodstains covered the visible floor.
“The evacuations should be complete in another week or two,” the grim-faced reporter said. “The military has surrounded the city to prevent the virus from getting any further, and no one is permitted to leave without first being cleared by medical examiners.”
The sight of what was happening to my beloved city made me wish I were still capable of crying. Vogan Point would always be a golden city in my mind, due to both the brick and sandstone that it was built with and my happy memories of living there. I liked the city of Minstor, even if I had only been here a month, but it would always be a silver city to me–tarnished silver, when I was feeling particularly homesick. Still, I had gotten out just in time. If I had stayed in Vogan Point any longer, I would have gotten caught up in the outbreak. With that in mind, I reached up to make sure my black fedora was tilted enough to keep my face in shadows. I didn’t want to start a panic. While I was at it, I adjusted my gloves and lifted the collar of my trench coat.
I wasn’t supposed to be watching the news. I refocused my attention on the young woman standing against the far wall–and on the suitcase she held in one hand. Wearing a casual suit, with red hair swept away from her face and a smile for those who passed by, she looked for all the world like an innocent traveler. Under better circumstances, I might have written a poem about her.
The television drew my attention again, as the image of a familiar, white-haired man appeared in the corner. “And as the virus continues to devastate the city, everyone wants to know two things: Is Dr. Jared Sacreya, creator of a similar ‘zombie virus,’ responsible for this outbreak? And, more importantly…where is he?”
I closed my eyes so that I wouldn’t have to see the screen. Dr. Sacreya was dead. This reporter was better than most; nearly everyone else was vilifying the scientist as an evil madman. This one, at least, remembered our appearances on television and knew the two viruses should not be considered identical.
Although they’re too close for comfort.
“Just before the outbreak, Dr. Sacreya’s home was the site of an explosion that devastated that part of the city. We are still–” She cut off with a scream, and I opened my eyes to see the reporter fleeing a horde of reanimated monstrosities. A second later, the screen was filled with jerking images as her cameraman followed.
I turned my attention back to my quarry.
Quarry? You need to get more rest, Ben.
The thought worried me for a moment, but a quick evaluation of my mental faculties assured me that I was doing all right. The woman moved from her spot and began walking towards the customs desk. Her stride was casual and unconcerned; I felt my respect for her go up a notch. No one would have expected her to be capable of crime.
I stood with some difficulty, and then I made my way over to her. I went slowly, shuffling along, because running now would draw too much attention to myself. I was aware that I was dressed conspicuously, but better that than to be recognized as Benjamin Mason. When I was about a yard away from her, she noticed me. Her eyes narrowed, and then she turned and ran towards the doors with the suitcase. The customs agent opened his mouth, but I didn’t stay to listen. I broke into my shambling run and took off after her, heedless of all the people turning to stare at me. She burst out into the sunlight with me at her heels. I lunged for her, knocking the suitcase out of her hand. When it hit the ground, the mechanism linked to the secret compartment was sprung. The sides popped out, revealing the stolen painting hidden inside.
The young woman suddenly didn’t look so friendly. With a curse, she pulled out a gun and fired it at me. The bullet ripped through my chest, and I stumbled backwards. I hadn’t been expecting that; now I’d have to change my shirt. My cell phone started ringing at the same time, making the moment downright surreal.
“Nice try,” I said, giving her a hideous smile and tearing the gun from her hand. I ignored the phone and thanked God I didn’t have it set to play some happy tune.
“So it’s true,” she said. “You really can’t be killed.”
That wasn’t entirely accurate, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. I retrieved the suitcase, while pointing the gun at her. “Now, miss, why don’t we go down to the police station? I’m sure my friend Chief Colby will be quite happy to see you.”
Before we set out, I reached into my pocket to take a look at my phone. A brief message had been left, from a woman asking me to meet her at the Amaranth restaurant about a case. I was quite intrigued, as almost everything I had done in my new line of work had been at the behest of the police.
After all, few civilians were comfortable with hiring a zombie private investigator.
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