Here’s a link to the page with the links to the first two series. The series follow a chronological narrative, but it’s not like you absolutely have to read those first. Our tale opens on the morning of the first full day of the New Weird Order, and Derek Grace knows there’s no safety in the city. He’s not even sure of Tanner, the only other living soul in the luxury hotel they were locked up in while the police and National Guard were overwhelmed outside.
Still, you do what you gotta do, and oftentimes it’s with people you’d rather not be doing it with. Especially when SHTF.
"Like stepping into the hot beating heart of rotting garbage"
I’ve sealed the bacon and sausage, the chicken tenders, the onion rings and cheese sticks in large freezer bags. I sucked the air out of the bags before sealing them. They’ll keep until I can find a cooler and ice.
I take my vacuum sealed goodies to hide in my luggage. I’ve had my stuff—all of one suitcase and my laptop bag—packed, staged, and ready to go since showering this morning. Tanner is so busy tearing into the French toast and scrambled eggs he doesn’t look up as I bang out of the swinging doors.
He’s finished when I get back from bringing my luggage down. “We ready?” he asks.
“Soon as you stage your gear.”
It’s already downstairs, bless his heart. All we have to do is bring the Luxury Tank around and load out. Tanner insists on going with me. “Just keep that gun holstered unless we have no choice but to blast our way out,” I tell him. I show him the hammer and blade on the belt I’d liberated from Officer Dalton.
“Where’d you get the gun?”
“Officer Dalton stopped by while I was cleaning up.”
“He did? Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because we have trust issues, Tanner.”
“It—I was mainly curious if he had anything to say.”
“Just, ‘take this, it’s really bad, you’re on your own.’”
We turn the key in the glass door and push it open. Like stepping into the hot beating heart of rotting garbage, the damp, parboiled stench fouls our skin and clothes on contact. Just when you think you’ve adjusted to the smell of walking corpses and their shit-soiled legs, a fresh wave of humid stink rolls over like a fat ocean swell. Our mouths are tightly shut; it’s all we can do to keep our eyes open as we cross the brick-paved roundabout the valets used to bring the cars around.
Clear, so far. No—in the street. I tap Tanner’s arm with the back of my hand and point. We stop behind the fountain and watch.
He’s a heavyset middle-aged guy, big-shouldered and silver-haired. I’d rather not think about who was there by the bed when he woke up, and whose blood that is down the front of his blue silk pajamas. As for what he’s doing on this street in front of the hotel, I’m guessing he got out of the other major hotel one block over.
The stench is beyond mere shit. Tanner and I both have our hands over our mouths. We don’t even wait for this thing to pass. We take quick breaths behind our hands and run for the garage.
That smell is even worse in the garage. Like it’s been cooking in here. Our watering eyes aren’t yet adjusted to the dim yellow light when a skinny white wannabe gangbanger rises from the shadows in the near corner behind us. It doesn’t cry out until we turn to face it. If it hadn’t been for all the scraping and shuffling as it got to its feet it might have snuck up on us.
Tanner reaches for his gun. I hold up my hand and walk towards the boy, the meat tenderizer in one hand, the butcher’s blade in the other. The boy raises his arms to grab at me.
I swing the blade and one hand falls away mid-forearm. He drops his other arm before I can hit it. His angry bellow echoes throughout the parking garage. He swings his remaining arm around but I’ve switched out the blade for the meat tenderizer. I remember something about how some fighters can kill you instantly by shoving your nose bone into your brain and I angle my next blow to do just that.
That should settle it but Tanner and I are in the not-so-sweet spot of surround-sound growling reverberating throughout the concrete cave of the garage. The Luxury Tank is just ahead in the first slot beyond the handicapped spaces. I click the remote lock and we both run to the vehicle.
NEXT: Part III: "The undead from the garage are staggering out into the sunlight and headed our way."
That’s right, there are THREE different covers for Bleeding Kansas. The story of the first two is at the end of Part 1 of this excerpt series. The cover on the far right is for the German translation by Luzifer Verlag. The apocalypse has gone international. Put your affairs in order. Better yet, put in an order for one of these books. You’ll want something to read in the down time between catastrophes.