Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Chapter 15.1 of The WRONG KIND of DEAD: “Ride to Live, Kill to Ride”

From the ALL-NEW, Yet-To-Be Proofed and Published FINAL BOOK of the SAGA of the DEAD SILENCER

PREVIOUS EPISODE: Chapter 14: “The Battle of Baptist Road”

“Any word from Rene about what’s going on back there?”

“No, sir,” say A.J.

“What do you want me to do?” says Agnes.

“Let’s get the babies and our people on the school buses through this first,” I say.

“Dear God, just let us get out of here.” Agnes’ eyes are watery. The stench of hundreds of corpses and their cold, dead blood baking in the mid-afternoon sun can’t be helping. She takes her foot off the brake and we begin rolling down the exit ramp to I-25.

Elyssa’s SUV falls in behind us. Satisfied that everyone we can see from here has caught up, Agnes puts her foot to the accelerator. The only thing causing us to bump and bounce in the Mom’s Taxi is a mass of gummy flesh stuck to our right rear tire. It peels and flings away as the 66-inch tires find clean pavement. The gory mass slaps a lone pedestrian across the face. He wipes it off and stalks after us. One of the moon roof shooters, probably Tom, makes a red-brown cloud of the pedestrian’s head. 

I lay my AR-15 beside me on the flatbed and unbuckle from my harness.

“What do you think you’re doing?” says Agnes over the headset.

“My job, babe.”

“First, fuck you for calling me babe. Second—for the love of God, Derek, please don’t do this.”

I pull open the hatch cover and drop the ladder. 

“I’m not stopping to let you down,” says Agnes.

“It’s all right. I should be able to do this while we’re moving.”

“What?” Agnes takes her foot from the pedal and we decelerate. “Derek, whatever I’ve said to make you angry, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I pushed you away. Please don’t do this.”

“This isn’t a death wish, Agnes. I’ve got to do something.”

“What are you doing?”

I begin climbing down. “I’m going to hang from this ladder and decapitate all the ghouls you miss with your tires.”

“There aren’t that many out here. As soon as Scuzz and his people get back here they’ll take care of them.”

“I don’t want them to see me sitting in that harness chair doing nothing, Agnes. Not that I should give a shit, but I’d rather our TV audience ‘back home,’ not see me like that, either.”

“Mom, Dad,” says A.J. “The man says we need to be on the Interstate in one minute or we’re not going to make it.”

“One minute?”

“We can do this,” I say over the headset, and halfway down the ladder. “Let’s clear this area so no one has to worry about a corpse throwing itself at a vehicle. Give everyone a straight shot.” I look up through the hatch. “Make us look good, honey.”

“Oh, please.” 

The former men and women of northern El Paso County gather  before us on the ramp to the Interstate. Others stumble in from the side, but it’s the ones ahead we need to clear out immediately. Agnes drives forward, her foot light on the pedal.

“You can go a little faster,” I say through the headset.

“I’ll pick up speed a little as I get closer, but this is as fast as we need to go. In case you missed it, I really fucking hate that you’re doing this.” Agnes pauses. “A.J., you did not hear that.”


“Hang on.” Agnes increases our speed. I’ve got one arm hooked through the ladder and the other one gripping my panga. The front end lifts unevenly as the tires hit walking obstacles, but it makes it easier for me to lean down and deliver death blows to the two up the middle coming towards me. 

Three of four arms, severed above the elbow, tumble to the asphalt. I hear gunfire as Agnes pulls her Sig Sauer and blasts away at the ones approaching the road from her side. She’s not bothering with head shots. Hollow point strikes to the main body mass do the job of dropping her targets. Chunks of rancid meat kick up dust behind eaters that can still eat, but can’t move with most of their spinal columns blown out their backs. 

Three more weasel their way under Mom’s Taxi without getting crushed by the tires. The jolt as Agnes hits a fourth nearly knocks me from the ladder, but it adds force to the blade as it completely cleaves the big man’s skull. Half of it falls away to land on his shoulder, freeing my panga in time to run straight through the woman’s face. The third one takes a step too far to one side and disappears beneath the left rear tire.

I hear the honking of a horn and look away to see Elyssa’s SUV, gore splashed up its body and pulling up close behind. Apparently she was letting Agnes take a wider lead so we could clear the road for everyone. The sound of a hundred chainsaws rises about the racket muffled by my headset, and I see Scuzz’s dirtbike brigade pulling up alongside. A lower register indicates the presence of Scuzz himself and his choppers. Whatever business they had to take care of at the rear of the convoy must be done with. I can only hope Justin, Melinda, and Rene are all right. 

Agnes calls down over the headset, “Do you want me to slow down so you can climb up?”

“I’ll be fine. Let’s get our people out of here.”

A.J. cuts in, “The man says we have to move at maximum speed.”

“I’ll move as fast as I think I have to!” snaps Agnes.

The arm I have looped around one rung grips the rung immediately below it. My feet are hanging on by my boot heels. I push down on them as we approach a stray pedestrian in the middle of the northbound lane. Agnes is trying to avoid him but he’s fast for a dead person, and focused in on the meat hanging by the nylon ropes. At this speed my panga takes the top of his skull clear off. The impact rings hard in my wrist, though. I hope I don’t have to do too many more of these.

I look behind to see Elyssa’s SUV dodge the body. I can’t look around for too long, though. Scuzz’s people ride along both sides, and the shotgun blasts seem to be coming from everywhere. I look back ahead and see two more in the road, approaching us.

“Derek, please hang on,” Agnes says over the headset.

The jolt on the left front tire shakes me hard. I get my panga back on my belt in time to grab the ladder with my other hand.

“A.J.,” I say, “have we heard anything from the back? Do we have everyone?”

“No one’s answering. All I get back is how bad we gotta—oh.”

There’s a change in tone in the engines all around as everyone slows down at once. The air around us darkens. 

“What’s going on?” I say. “I can’t see from here.”

“We’ve got maybe three miles to go,” says Agnes. “Can you make it?”

“What’s happening?”

“Honey, please hang on, okay?”

Agnes puts her foot back to the pedal. The motorcycles are picking up speed, too. A low, thudding boom sounds off behind us.

NEXT EPISODE: “Monument Hill”

For the price of a happy hour drink you can enjoy many delirious hours slashing and shooting your way through the delightful hellscapes of my first two SAGA OF THE DEAD SILENCER books, available in Kindle and paperback from Severed Press. We commence the collapse of civilization in Bleeding Kansas, wherein our intrepid hero, Derek Grace, must survive a plane crash, combat with the undead at the local Wal-Mart, an exploding fire truck, a female hardbody assassin, and lots of walking dead people-things.

Book 1 has ONE exploding head
on its cover.

I’m told it reads even better in German. This edition from Luzifer Verlag also sports a hellacious one-of-a-kind cover courtesy of ace artist Michael Schubert:
You can buy this German version stateside here.
You know you wanna.

Book 2, Grace Among the Dead, steps up the game with a tale of love and redemption, the living dead, and a flame-throwing monster truck. We’ve got an arc going from decadence to...respectability?...for our hero. As close as it gets, anyway. You should savor this big book o’ hell while it lasts, because things are about to go completely to shit.
Book 2 has TWO exploding heads.
See the pattern here?

They’re also available in Canada and the UK.