Authors: Dan Decker
Text Copyright © 2016 Dan Decker
Cover Image © 2016 Dan Decker
All rights reserved.
Published by Xander Revolutions LC
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Civilization collapsed when a plague of lizards spread a virus that turned people into zombies. These dinosaur-like lizards became known as zampys because of their close relation to the zombies.
Parry Peters is smuggling zampy anti-venom when he runs into a nest of zampys. He starts to think he has the situation contained when a mysterious woman almost gets him killed through her inexperience.
Everything gets worse when members of a heavily armed gang show up and try to capture the zampys.
If you love zombie and monster stories, you’ll love this exciting adventure yarn set in a world that is quite unlike anything ever before set to paper.
For my Grandfather Decker.
The door to
my dorm room burst open and Pete Sanders dove in, slamming it shut behind him as he cursed at the top of his lungs. I looked up just in time to see him sever a couple of gray fingers from somebody on the other side when the door was forced to a close. The dismembered appendages fell to the floor and bounced as they rolled to a stop. He looked down at the body parts in surprise as if he hadn’t noticed the fingers that had been clawing at the door when he’d swung it shut.
I stood up, knocking my chair over, stubbing the toe of my bare foot in the process. “What’s going on? Who was that? They need help.”
The door was solid wood and the jamb was made from metal. I would never have thought it could be used to cut flesh and bone, but Pete was a big man and had swung it hard and fast. The football team had tried to recruit him multiple times but he'd always refused. It was a reflection of how poor of a team we had that when they saw a big dude on campus they couldn't leave him alone.
A scream came from outside, it sounded like the howl of a wild animal, more of a roar than anything else. It was followed by several loud bangs as if somebody with a bat was beating at the door from the other side.
“It couldn’t have been a long incubation period,” Pete muttered as he locked the door and stepped away. “There wasn’t anything wrong with them yesterday.” He shook his head. “Why did I have to go in tonight? I could have just stayed away for the night.” The last part was said quietly to himself. In truth, I wondered if he’d forgotten I was with him in our room.
“Who’s out there?” I asked again, forcing my voice to be calm.
“What, not who, would be a little more accurate.”
“What did you do?” I stared at the fingers. They looked feminine. He didn’t have the best track record with women. “They’re going to need help!”
“They’re no longer human.” The break in his demeanor from before when he’d slammed the door was gone and even though he was still panting, his voice was calm and matter of fact, as if he was a professor addressing a class.
He did teach a couple of undergrad level courses, but I’d known him for a long time and he’d always had that air about him, well before he started teaching. Behind his back, we called him Professor Pete. To his face, we all just called him Slammer.
Pete adjusted the heavy glasses on the end of his nose, his forearm muscles bulging as he did. “They’re no longer people. Trust me, you’d much prefer that they stay on the other side. They’re—” He looked me right in the eye. “—trying to eat me.” He smiled as if just realizing something, he chuckled to himself as if he were thinking of a joke. “You’re here too. Us, they’re trying to eat us.” He looked relieved that he had somebody to share his burden with.
I didn’t want to be somebody’s dinner, but if what he was saying was true, they could have Pete. I would have open the door and thrown him out and offered help to the woman on the other side if the number of bashing sounds hadn’t just doubled. Whatever was out there had been joined by another.
I was all of the sudden a little uncertain that this was just a spat between Pete and one of his many ex-girlfriends. I didn’t know what to think.
The severed appendages looked human but the skin color
gray. The shrieking from the other side could hardly be classified as coming from humans.
What had he said when he’d first come in? Something about an incubation period? Did this have something to do with the lab where he worked?
“What did you do?” I was getting tired of asking the question and not getting an answer so I pushed on his chest until his back was against the bulging door. He had fifty pounds and six inches on me, but I knew I could take him. Pete might be brawny but I was wirey. “I swear Slammer, if I fail my midterm tomorrow because I have to spend all night—”
“School? You’re worried about school? Forget about it man, we’re in a dump load of trouble. Not just you and me. Everybody in this city. Maybe even the state.” He muttered something under his breath that sounded a lot like “the whole U.S. is in trouble if this gets too far.”
I growled to cover my shock when the fingers wiggled and moved around on the floor, even in their detached state they managed to make their way over to us. Pete saw it too, swore, and pushed me out of the way so that he could stomp them with his oversized cowboy boots. The smashed fingers continued to squirm, but he had done enough damage that they weren’t able to move any further.
If there had been any doubt in my mind about what Pete had been telling me, the reanimated fingers were enough to know we had a strong interest in keeping them on the other side.
“Nasty,” Pete said, “just nasty! I was afraid that would happen. I kept telling Bridger—” The hinges of the door buckled. The door might have been solid enough but the hinges were on their last legs. Our dorm building was over a hundred years old. “Where’s your shotgun, Buckshot? We’re going to need it.”
I was already on it, bending down on my knees and sorting through everything I had stored under by bed. Pushing aside a camping stove, sleeping bag, and several large knives, I whipped out a large black plastic case. My shotgun wasn't my only weapon, but it was the best suited for this situation. There was a pause in the thumping at the door just as I set the case on my bed and opened it up.
My Benelli SuperNova lay inside. I was glad to see that the last time I’d taken it skeet shooting I had remembered to swap out my thirty-inch barrel for the eighteen and a half inch. That was my usual practice, preferring to have it ready with the short barrel for home protection. I’d been tempted a number of times to shorten the barrel even further but had decided against it. It was bad enough that I had my guns with me in the dorms. I didn’t need to add a felony to the list as well.
When Pete had learned what I like to do for fun, he’d thought I was crazy and hadn’t even made an effort to hide his disdain for my weapons or me. I had simply nodded as he’d ranted on about gun control and the like, preferring to not engage in what he clearly wanted to be a vigorous debate. That had changed a little the first time I’d taken him shooting and he’d had a blast learning to blow clay pigeons out of the sky. He hadn’t changed his beliefs all that much, but he at least acknowledged now that it was fun to go shooting.
One of these days when I had the extra money, I was going to buy him a shotgun for his birthday. I couldn’t wait to see the conflict on his face as he decided whether to keep the gift.
When he’d discovered that I kept my shotgun magazine tube loaded with buckshot, he had said I was paranoid and started calling me Buckshot. The name had spread among my circle of friends and stuck.
I wouldn’t have minded so much if Pete wouldn’t have felt the need to explain where the name had come from anytime somebody asked. There was such a thing as need-to-know when it came to who I wanted knowing about my expensive hobby.
“I bet you’re glad now you got me for a roommate.” I pumped a shell into the chamber, comforted by the sound it made. Whatever was on the other side of the door would have to make it past my double-aught to get to me. “I notice the first place you came was here. Isn't that always the case? Everybody wants to take away my Second Amendment rights until the trouble hits the fan and here they are beating down my door. Go figure.”
“Get off your soapbox. Now’s not the time.” Pete rolled his eyes, not able to help himself. “That’s right, I needed your protection, Buckshot.” He brought his arms up and put a blank stare on his face as if he was helpless. “Please. Please. Please, sir. I need your—”
He was interrupted by the door crashing to the floor. If he wouldn't have stepped forward in his mocking impression of me, it would have taken him with it.
Two hideous monsters burst in from the other side. I supposed that at one point they might have been human as Pete claimed, but now their gray faces were covered with red mucus and their hair was falling off. The jaws of the creatures jutted out, reminding me of tigers or some other large feline beast. Bloodshot eyes locked onto me as bloodcurdling high-pitched roars sent shivers down my spine.
I repressed a shudder when it was answered by one from down the hallway.
Great, there were three of the suckers to deal with.
The first lunged at Pete, hands out as if they were claws. I noticed several missing fingers as I blasted a hole the size of a melon into the chest of the monster while Pete dove out of the way.
My first instinct was to think that I had killed it, but then I remembered how the fingers had continued to move after they’d been cut off by the door.
I pumped in a new shell and fired a shot into the other monster as it came at me. The buckshot knocked that one back against the wall. It attempted to howl, but all that came out was a patchy cough, it probably didn’t have much left in the way of lungs. It would have been a relief to cut off the shrieking, but the monster kept coming. The roar was now a forceful hissing sound, its jaws gaping open as it came for me. I could see where Pete had got the idea that these things wanted to eat him.
Pete picked up the first monster and swung it into the doorjamb. Breaking bones accompanied the sound of a screech that had a lot less oomph to it than it had before.
I put a shot right into the head of the one advancing on me. Blood and brain tissue splattered the wall behind the monster as its head disappeared in a sickly fog of dark purple.
Wanting to empty the contents of my stomach, I instead locked my sights onto the monster that Pete fought while waiting for an opening to remove that creature's head as well. I kept checking on the one I had put down, not trusting that it would stay put. For the moment, it wasn’t moving.
Pete swung the monster around by the legs as it struggled to reach him. The monster was half his size and it was like watching a kid playing with a doll. I felt a stab of sympathy for the monster, but then it swerved in midair, lashing out to claw at me while it passed as Pete swung it around the room.
I jumped back. “Slam him on the ground. I’ll put a shot into his head.”
I spun just in time to shoot the headless monster, knocking it back to the floor.
“How are we supposed to kill these things if they keep getting up?”
Pete growled. “Now!”
I looked back in time to see Pete slam his monster on the thin carpet, I fired a shot towards its head but it squirmed at the last moment and most the buckshot ricocheted off the skimpy carpeted floor and hit the wall. A few pellets came back on me after hitting the ceiling, but the pain was negligible considering the fight that we were in. They didn’t even draw any blood. Pete slung his monster into the closet and then picked up what was left of mine and did the same. Afterward, he shut the door and pushed a chair up under the doorknob.
“What is going on? What are these things.”
Pete smiled. “Don’t you recognize our dates for tomorrow night?” Sweat poured down his face as he gasped for breath. He had flecks of the purple blood on him. How could the blithering idiot smile and joke around at a time like this?
I opened my mouth to speak but the words died on my lips.
The blood and flesh that had been splattered onto the wall by my buckshot were moving. I had originally thought that some of it was red, but that must have just been my imagination filling in pieces of its own accord. I could see now that all the blood was purple. It was all sliding together into a ball that oozed its way down the wall. The same thing happened all around us, wherever blood and flesh had fallen.
Pete followed my eyes.
I growled. “What’s going on now? Why is the blood balling up and rolling towards us?”
“Look again, Sherlock. That isn’t blood.”