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Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters: Judgment

Dustin Palmer is back with his Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters series. Next up is judgment. Now that Jake is almost grown up he makes a decision to join the Hunter’s Coalition. And the Hunter’s Coalition needs every Hunter they can get and that includes Jake and a group of young recruits. Jake is trained by the elite the government has to offer, and with the training and new bonds he develops he believes he is ready to make the leap to becoming a Hunter and carrying on his family’s legacy.

I have had the allowance and great esteem to work with Mr. Palmer twice now. He continues to mature as a writer and I believe he will be a great success as an author. His books just get better and better. IF you LOVE Vampire stories you’ll really enjoy this one. If love history there’s a special treat in here for you as well. I know I fell in love with the vampire all over again after reading this one. Mr. Palmer, your wife was right, you have something wonder here. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it.

With Mr. Palmer’s permission I give you an excerpt of Chronicles of a Vampire Hunter: Judgment

(click to purchase)

Prologue

Jake/John

 

 

The Bishop Residence, Lubbock TX. 

May 30, 1997 4:09am

“Jake, whatever you do, whatever you hear, do not come out of this room!”  Jake’s dad’s hands shoved him forcefully into his Grandpa Cort’s safe room.  “No matter what.”

The pounding on the barred front door grew louder by the second.  The windows in Cort’s room shattered and the ceiling shook violently and cracked as something heavy crashed into it repeatedly.  Jake knew the rebar reinforcing the ceiling and the iron bars protecting the doors and windows would only hold them at bay for so long, any minute now they would be inside.

“Come on you dirty bloodsucking sons of bitches!” his Grandpa Cort screamed from the living room.  “Come suck on this!”  The Cleaner, a ten gauge shotgun handed down from Jake’s great-grandfather, blasted away in the older Bishop’s hands.  “John!  Make it quick son!  They’re almost inside!”

John grabbed a pump action 12 gauge off the wall and a box of shells and tossed them to Jake.  Then he yanked a razor sharp machete down and laid it on the floor at Jake’s feet.  “Load the gun.  Hold it tight to your shoulder, remember to squeeze the trigger don’t pull it.  If anything manages to get through this door you keep blasting until it’s not moving then you cut its head off.  You have to take its head to kill it.  Do you understand?”

“But Dad . . . I can help you!”  Jake pleaded, fumbling to get the shells into the shotgun.  “Just give me a chance and I can help you!  I know I can help you!”

“Not this time kid.”  John ruffled his shaggy brown hair.  “It’s nothing personal but you’d just get in the way.  Pop and I have got everything under control.”

“If you won’t let me help then come in here with me!  You and Grandpa both, we can all fit!  We’ll just wait until the sun comes up.”

“This is our home, son.”  John said solemnly.  “They’re not taking this from us.  Not again.”

An even louder crash sounded in the living room.  “Johnny!”  Cort yelled then fired a three round burst.  “Dammit boy!  It’s game time and you’re late for the kickoff!”

John grabbed two .357 revolvers off the wall and tucked them into his waistband, another machete, and two boxes of ammo.  He smiled at his son then slammed the heavy steel door closed and locked it behind him.

Jake angrily pounded his fist against it.  “No!  Dad!  No!” he yelled in anger.  “I can help you!”

The door was at least six inches thick but Jake could still hear the muffled sounds of continuous gunfire.  Terror gripped tightly at his chest.   ‘Please God!  Please let them be okay!’  He prayed.  ‘Please!’

 Something heavy slammed into the door hard enough to dent it inward.  Jake fell backwards over an ammo box and fired his shotgun into the steel door.  He landed hard hitting his head on a steel shelf.  Buckshot ricocheted around the room missing him by mere inches.   His ears rang as darkness crept around the edges of his vision.  With his left hand, he touched the back of his head and felt blood in his hair.  He tried to sit up but the room started spinning violently.

With another thud, the heavy steel door bent further inward as some monstrous foe struck it.  Taloned claws wrapped around the top right edge and peeled it back a full three feet.  With one hard pull, the door crashed outward and the crimson red eyes of a Maker stared down at Jake.  He was dressed in a strange punk rock getup, fishnet stockings covered his legs and leather biker gloves his hands.  His stringy purple hair hung down nearly to his waist.  “You’re mine now, you little snot!”

Silent as a ghost, another figure, dressed entirely in black, suddenly dropped behind the first Maker.  Punk Rock Maker took two steps closer into the vault his smile faltering when he noticed Jake was staring behind him.  He turned just as the figure clad in black reached out with his hands and wrapped them tightly around the Punk Rock Maker’s neck.

He extended his razor sharp talons into the pale white skin then jerked his hands apart.  Surprise and terror filled the Punk Rock Maker’s eyes before his head ripped from his body, sending an eruption of black blood onto the ceiling and walls.

The Maker in black stared at Jake.  He stood right less than six feet tall, had short brown hair, and couldn’t have been more than seventeen or eighteen years old.  At least that’s how old he had been when he had last been human.

He stared at Jake, his eyes turning from blood red to a familiar green.  It was then that Jake realized he’d seen this Maker once before.  Years ago, at his grandpa Riker’s, it had been the same Maker that had spared his life when the giant monster named Macro had come looking for him.

‘Michael!  Macro called him, Michael.’  “Why?”  Jake mumbled softly as the blood pooled around the back of his head.

He started to answer then frowned, as the gunshots from the living room grew closer.  He turned and grabbing up the Punk Rock Maker’s body in one hand, his head in the other leapt through the hole in the ceiling.

Jake’s head throbbed painfully; he slumped to his side, closed his eyes and dreamed.  Dreams of his mother’s loving, green eyes.

His Grandpa Cort’s familiar voice finally broke into his sleep.  “Jake?  Jake?  Come on kid wake up.”  The old man’s weathered hand gently slapped his cheek.  Jake’s eyes popped open and looked right into the eyes of a blood covered Cort Bishop.

“What happened?” Jake muttered groggily.

“You hit your head.”  His father’s voice said.  Jake turned his head several inches and again the room started spinning.

“Easy now kid,” John said squeezing his hand.  “Take it slow and try not to move too much.  You might have a concussion.”

“What?  What happened?  How did I get in the safe room?”  Jake muttered looking around at the dozens of guns hanging on the wall.

“What’s the last thing you remember?”  John asked.

“Uhhh . . .” Jake had to think very hard for several long seconds.  “I remember someone beating on the front door.  You got me out of bed . . . Grandpa yelling something about football . . . then I saw . . . Mom’s eyes . . . those green eyes.”

“Great,” John said to Cort.  “He’s definitely got a concussion.  It was vampires, son.  Six grunts.  And from the look of it, one of them got in here with you.  From the look of the blood on the walls you must have gotten a piece of him.”

“What!”  Jake exclaimed trying to sit up.

“Easy, easy.”  John gently pushed him back down.  “Pam Williams is on her way here to check you out.  Just lie still till then, okay?  I don’t want to move you until she says it’s okay.”

“But, but the vampires!”  Jake yelled.

“It’s okay.”  Cort grunted, climbing back to his feet, his knees giving a very audible pop.  “It took some doing and the house is trashed, but we killed them all.”

“Holy shit.”  Jake muttered looking around the room in confusion.

“You’re out of it right now, so I’ll over look that.”  John smiled at Cort.

A tall African American woman with short black hair and dark circles under her eyes placed a hand on Cort’s shoulder then stepped past him into the tiny space.  “Hey now fellas?  How are we doing?”

“We’re doing okay, Pam.  A little shook up with a few cuts and bruises, but I think we’re okay.”  John smiled giving her arm a gentle squeeze.  “I think Jake might have a concussion though.”

“Is that so?”  Pam said kneeling down and giving Jake a good once over.  “John, Cort, go in the other room and have Holloway take a look at your wounds.  I’ll be in, in a few minutes, once I’ve checked Jake out.”

John nodded noticing for the first time the big gash running across his forearm.  “I’ll be in the next room if you need me, son.”

“Hello, Jake.”  She smiled.  “Can you tell me where you are?” she asked checking his pupils with a small penlight.

“Uh . . .” Jake grumbled.  “I’m in Grandpa’s gun vault.”

“Uh huh, and who is the President of the United States?”

—–

John stepped into the living room where three of Mike Holloway’s guys were keeping guard.  Mike, a heavyset cowboy, complete with a big straw hat and pair of cowboy boots stepped back in from outside where he had been talking to the police.

“So what’s the damage, Mike?”  John asked grabbing a towel from the kitchen and wrapping it tightly around his arm.

“I’ve got an old friend in the Sheriff’s Department that used to be a hunter.  He’s covering things with the PD.  Though there were more than a few that wanted to come in and have a look around.  I heard a couple of them saying something about a standoff involving Cort?”  He looked from John to Cort.  “Cort, you old coot, do I even want to know?”

“Big misunderstanding.”  Cort grumbled.

“Well anyway, lucky for you my man convinced them to look the other way.  How’s the boy doing?”

“He’s doing alright.”  John nodded.  “Pam is checking on him now.  It’s a damn good thing you guys were still in town when these bloodsuckers hit.  Thanks again for coming so fast, Mike.”

“No problem at all, Hoss.”  Mike grinned a crooked smile.  “My pleasure.  It’s just a damn shame you two killed them all before we could get here.”

“Well, what can I say?   When you’re good, you’re goo . . .” Cort said plopping down in his old leather recliner.  The chair immediately broke apart, dropping him flat on his back.

“Son of a bitch,” he cursed, lying flat on his back.  “Well don’t just stand there looking ugly!  Somebody give me a hand!”

John and Holloway both gave each other a half smile before reaching down and pulling Cort to his feet.  “Son of a bitch.” He repeated looking down at his ruined chair.  “I loved that chair.”  He shook his head in anger biting his bottom lip.  “Son-of-a-bitch!”

John placed a hand on his shoulder trying to calm him, “It’s just a chair, Pop.”

Cort angrily shrugged it off, “Just a chair my ass!  Look at this place.”  He said motioning around the room. Bullet holes riddled every wall; almost all of the furniture was covered in black vampire blood. The windows were shattered, the front door hung off its hinges and the ceiling had collapsed where one of the grunts had managed to punch his way through.  The big iron-gate that had protected the door was nowhere in sight. “The house is completely destroyed!”

“It’s just a house, Pop.” John said in a tone suggesting it was much more than that.  “Just a house . . .” He had spent almost his entire childhood in that house.

“How the hell did they find us?”  John said picking a broken picture of his old friend Terry Williams up off the floor.  “You’ve lived here for what Pop?  Forty years?”

“I’ll tell you how they found you.”  Holloway said heatedly.  “It’s that goddamn Coalition!”

“Mike . . .” John started to say.

“I warned you John!  I warned you and Billy that everyone knowing everyone else’s business was a bad idea.  When you’re dealing with the government there are just too many damn leaks!  You boys should have left well enough alone.  Just keep everything independent like it’s always been.”

“Mike, damn it, not now.”  Cort said angrily.

“I’m just saying . . .”

“Mike.  For the love of God, man, my house just got destroyed!  My grandson is laying in there dying!”

“He’s not dying, Pop.”  John rolled his eyes.

“Shut up boy!  He’s lying in there, severely wounded, so I don’t need this whole oooohh the Coalition is so evil and we’re all so stupid for supporting it, speech right now!”

“Alright, alright.”  Mike said holding his hands up in defeat.  “Excuse the hell out of me.  Man he’s cranky.” He whispered loudly to John.

“Yeah well, you’d be cranky too if a bunch of vampires decided to kick your door in smack in the middle of the night and crash through the ceiling.”  Cort said giving his chair a hard kick for good measure.  “Ruining perfectly good chairs . . .” he trailed off.

“I’ll buy you a new damn chair!”  Mike said throwing his arms up in the air.

“I don’t want a new chair!”  Cort roared.  “I want that chair!  I’ve worn my ass imprint into it just right.  Do you have any idea how long that took?”

“I’m guessing forty years.”  Mike said sarcastically.

“You’re goddamn right it took forty years!   Forty of the most comfortable sitting years of my life!  Why I watched Super Bowl number one in that damn chair!  Billy and I bought the pair of them when John was still just a boy!”

“I’m going to go check on Jake.”  John said excusing himself.  ‘Man Pop is upset about Jake.’ He thought to himself.  He knew the older Bishop was just using the chair as an excuse to vent his frustrations.  He had always been like that.  John supposed it was easier for him to do that than face what was really eating at him.

John stepped into the tiny room barely bigger than a closet, to find Pam checking Jake’s pulse.  “How is he doc?”  He asked leaning against the dented door.

“He’s going to be fine.”  She smiled weakly.  “Just a concussion.  Looks like he hit his head pretty good so you guys will need to keep an eye on him for a few days.”

“Yeah I think something came through the door, spooked him and he fired off a round then tripped over some boxes.  There’s some vamp blood on the door, walls, and ceiling, so he must have hit what he was aiming at.  Poor kid.”  He said looking down at his only child.  “I’m betting he was scared out of his mind.”

“Here, let’s get him on his feet and get him to his room.”

“Ummm, might not be such a good idea.”  John said sourly.  “His room has a few of our, ‘guests’ in it.  Well, what’s left of them.”

“Oh.  Okay then, where can we lay him?

“Let’s get him into the backseat of my truck.  I’m taking him and Pop to a hotel.  We need to get in at least a few hours sleep before we have to come clean up the place.  I’m sure Mike and his guys will keep an eye on things until we get back.  Raid the fridge, drink all of our beer.”  He chuckled.

“How’s Jake doing?”  Cort said poking his head around the corner.

“He’s okay, Pop.  It’s just a bad concussion.  We’ll need to keep an eye on him for a few days.”

“Damn.”  Cort cursed.  “The boy should have been ready.  He’s more than old enough.”

“He’s only fourteen, Pop.”  John said.

“That’s a year older than you were when you started training.”  Cort ran his hands through his long gray hair.  “Johnny, he could have been killed tonight.”

“I sure could go for some Pop-Tarts.”  Jake said groggily.  “Cherry Pop-Tarts.  They’re the best . . . or blueberry pancakes!  Remember when Mom used to make blueberry pancakes?  Man that was the best . . . Mom?” he said his eyes tearing up.

“Shhh, Jake.”  Pam said touching his forehead.  “Just take it easy.  I know things are confusing right now, but everything will be better in a few days.”

“Yes Mom.”  He muttered.  “Mom?  Mom!  Where have you been?  I’ve missed you so much.”

John sighed then lowered his head to his chest.  “You’re right, Pop.  I hate to say it but it’s time.  I’ll call Billy and get the boy signed up for the training next year.  If he’s going to do it, he might as well do it with the best.”

“The best?  Shit.”  Cort said.  “I doubt a bunch of government punks can teach my grandson how to hunt like I could.”

“Not to rain on your macho vampire killer parade, but why don’t you guys just get out of here?  Move to New York City or Miami or just about anywhere east of the Mississippi.  Didn’t you say that vampires won’t cross the river?”

“I’m not running again, Pam.”  John said coldly.  “I tried that once.  It didn’t work.”

“I know that, John.”  Pam argued.  “But Julia wouldn’t want this for her son.  You know she wouldn’t.”

“Pam.  Enough.  This is our life.  You chose to stay out of it, we didn’t.”

Pam sighed.  “There is just no arguing with you people.”  She said angrily.  “You’re just as stubborn as Billy.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Look.  I don’t need this.  I’m coming off an eighteen-hour shift at the ER!  I went home to get a couple of hours of sleep and had just dozed off when you two called me!  Oh and guess what else?  I’ve got to be back at work in two hours!  Two hours!  So I tell you what, next time one of you get hurt, don’t bother calling me.”  She picked up her bag pulled out two bottles of antibiotics and tossed them at John then headed for the door.  “If Jake gets any worse take him to the ER.”

She stopped right outside the door.  “You two . . .” she poked her fingers into John’s massive chest then pointed at Cort. “Get your wounds stitched up and get on those antibiotics before you both get sick and die.  You know how poisonous those scratches are.  What am I saying?  Of course, you know!  You’ve both been scratched at least a hundred times by those monsters!” she stormed out still ranting.

“Well . . . that was awkward.”  John said reaching down to help Jake to his feet.

“You’re telling me,” Cort said peeking around the corner of the broken steel door.  “What the hell did she mean by you people?

“Pop . . .” John shook his head laughing.  “Go pack a bag.  We’re going to a hotel.”

“Hotel?  I’m not paying to stay at some damn hotel.”

“I’m paying, Pop.”

“Yeah?  Hell then, let’s get going,” He said heading down the hallway to his room.

Chapter 1

Jake

 

 

10 miles South of San Angelo, TX.

Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1998

5:29pm

Jake tucked his head tightly into his chest and thrust his shivering hands deeper into his coat pockets as he watched John scrape the accumulated ice off the windshield of their ‘86 Ford F-250.  They had been on the road for over six hours and the icy hell storm was only getting worse. The truck’s heater/defrost had gone out only twenty miles outside of Lubbock making matters a hundred times worse. This had been their fourth deicing stop in the past hour.

“Burrr!”  John exclaimed climbing back into the driver’s seat.  He tossed the red ice scraper back into the glove box, snapped it closed, then blew into his hands trying to get some feeling back into his frozen digits.  “Damn it’s cold!”  He brushed the snow from his coat then pulled back his hood.

“It’s not much better in here,” Jake said through chattering teeth.  “Tell me, why we couldn’t just take Grandpa’s Bronco again?  It’s just been sitting in the driveway since you bought him that brand new Chevy Silverado.”

“Pop doesn’t let anyone drive the Bronco but him,” John said, slowly pulling the truck back onto the icy highway.  “Might have something to do with me driving his ’57 Chevy into Buffalo Springs Lake when I was about . . . fourteen, I think it was.”  John laughed heartily at the memory.  “Man he loved that car!  Only one he ever bought that wasn’t used.  And boy let me tell you, he tanned my hide good for that one!”

Jake pulled the zipper up tighter to his chin.  “Gee, thanks, Dad.  Now I get to freeze to death because you wanted to take a joy ride, what?  Fifty years ago?”

“Hey I’m not that old!  Besides, it wasn’t my fault.  Well, not entirely.  Wes Turner bet me twenty dollars I didn’t have the guts to take it out without Pop’s permission.  True, using it as a submarine wasn’t part of the bet,” he chuckled.  “Still, I won twenty bucks out of the deal.”

“Terrific,” Jake pulled down on both sides of his far too small wool cap, trying in vain to get it to cover his ears.  “Thanks for that, Dad.  Now my children and grandchildren will know the pride of their grandfather winning a bet with Bloody Wes Turner!  That is if I survive this trip to have any children.”

“Hey now,” John said, his voice going deadly serious.  “Don’t ever call him that.  If Wes heard, you say that, he’d be furious.  He hates that nickname.”

‘If the shoe fits . . .’ Jake thought.  “Yeah, I forgot.”  He turned his head looking out the window, so John wouldn’t see him roll his eyes.

Jake had never met Wes Turner. In fact, he had only heard secondhand stories that his grandpa Cort had told him.  From that alone, he could tell that Turner was more than a few cards shy of a full deck.  Which was saying a lot in an environment full of people that hunted vampires for a living.

“I only called him that because that’s what Grandpa calls him.”

“Yeah well, when you get to be as old and as mean as he is, you can call people whatever you want too.  Till then, show some respect to your elders?  Okay kid?”

“You know what else Grandpa says?”  Jake said, voicing his thoughts.

John picked up his red handkerchief and wiped at the already fogged up windshield.  The frozen windshield wipers scraped noisily against the glass. “Pop says a lot of things.  He’s a very opinionated guy.  That doesn’t mean everything he says is true.”

“He was right about Riker.”  Jake said thinking back to his other grandfather that had kidnapped him when he was only eleven years old.  “He said he was a real mean son of a bitch, and boy was he right.  I’d been there barely two days when he decided to trade me to vampires for a chance at immortality.”

“Boy,” John said sternly.  “Stop cussing.  You’ve been spending too much time around your Grandpa.”

“Maybe I have,” Jake admitted.  “But he was right about Riker, so maybe he’s right about Bloody Wes . . . I mean Mr. Turner.”

John gave him a hard look mumbling something under his breath about “teenagers” then turned to wipe the windshield again.  “What exactly did he say about Wes?”

“He said he did a lot worse than kill vampires.  That he tortured them.  Butchered them while they were still alive.  That he ran with a bunch of murdering, raping, lunatics that no other real Hunter would associate with.  That some people say he even killed civilians that got in his way.   Is it true?”

John remained completely quiet.  The only sound in the truck was the constant violent scratching of the frozen wipers, which suddenly became stuck in the middle of the windshield.  “Damn it to hell!”  John exclaimed pulling the truck to the shoulder.  He grabbed the ice scraper from the glove compartment then climbed out leaving Jake’s question unanswered.

‘Not this time, Dad.’  Jake thought.  ‘I love you, but it’s time you finally answered a few questions about the time you were away.’

“Well?”  Jake declared when John had climbed back into the cab.

“Well what?”  John said exasperatedly.  This time he didn’t even bother putting the scraper back in the glove compartment but tossed it onto the dash.

“Tell me Grandpa is wrong.  About Mr. Turner.  Tell me he didn’t earn his nickname by slaughtering vampires in ways that would make Jeffrey Dahmer sick to his stomach.  Tell me I’m wrong and I’ll never call him ‘Bloody’ again.  Please Dad, just tell me the truth.”

“You want to know the truth, Jake?” he turned in his seat so that they were now facing each other.  “Do you really want to know?”

Jake was completely taken aback by his father’s sudden intense look.  He nodded dumbly that he did.

“The truth is that I’ve earned that nickname just as much as he has.”  John answered coldly.  “I was trying to find your mother.  So I did whatever it took to get the information I needed.”  John looked back to the highway and carefully pulled back onto the icy road.

“We’re in a violent business, Jake.”  He said when the truck was back at its top speed of forty miles per hour.  “You know that just as well as I do.  You’ve seen what those monsters can do.  Do you think they would think twice about torturing you if given the chance?”

“But killing civilians?”

“Pah!”  John said angrily.  “That’s some bullshit rumor some idiot Wes beat in poker started spreading!  Not a bit of truth to it.”

After a few minutes of silence Jake finally asked the question he’d wanted to ask for three years, “What happened out there, Dad?  Like . . . how did you get that . . . wicked looking scar on your face?  You were gone a year and you’ve never once talked about any of it.”

John cleared his throat then absentmindedly rubbed at the long scar running from his eye to the corner of his mouth.  “If you ask me to tell you, Jake, I will.  We made a deal after my secrets led to your mother . . . after . . .” he cleared his throat again.  “I’ll tell you everything if that’s what you want.  But if I do . . . you will never look at me the same way again.”  Jake started to speak but John held up his hand stopping him.  “Please, kid.  I’m begging you, as a favor to me.  Don’t make me tell you.  I did things that no man should ever have to do.  Things that no son should know about his father.” …….

You can find Dustin Palmer at his blog here.

To purchase Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters:Creation, click here.

To purchase Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters:Judgment, click here.

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What Zombies Fear Kirk Allmond

I recently I had the honor and privilege to do an editorial clean up on What Zombies Fear. I cannot even begin to tell you how talented an author Mr. Allmond has grown to be. I have read all the books in the series and they are nothing short of excellent, each better than the last.

What Zombies Fear

Yea, I got my own autographed copy.

As you read these series, you learn a lot about a man, the main character, Victor Tookes. You see, the story does take place during an eccentric zombie apocalypse, to say the least. This isn’t no average zombie tale by far, the story evolves from the ZA, to Vic Tookes as a man, father and husband. He’s strengths, weaknesses are something that gives him a very realistic feel to him, and most importantly, he’s relatable.  What father wouldn’t want to protect his son and make the world a better place for future generations to prosper? However, this is no easy task for the dead are hungry. Not only that they are cunning.

With Mr. Allmond’s permission I give you an excerpt of Chapter One, What Zombies Fear.

What Zombies Fear:

A Father’s Quest

By Kirk Allmond

PRINT EDITION

* * * * *

PUBLISHED BY:

Kirk Allmond

What Zombies Fear:

A Fathers Quest

Copyright © 2011 by Kirk Allmond

LULU Edition License Notes

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work.

For more works by the author, please check out http://www.whatzombiesfear.com

Prologue

It’s been 12 years since the world ended.  I’m starting to forget things, and every year it gets harder to remember.  I had to search through 15 houses to find a laptop that still functions.  What happened to them all?  Before the end, everyone I know had at least one, and sometimes two or three laptops.  My fingers are starting to remember how to do this.  I’m nowhere near the 115 words per minute I used to be able to type though.

I suppose if I’m penning my memoirs, I should introduce myself.  My name is Victor Tookes.  I’m 52 years old.  If all had gone according to my plan, I would be retiring this year, or at least taking a consulting position for three more years until my son Max graduated from High School.

Max is the reason we’re alive today, and he’s the reason we continue to live.  He had just turned three a few months before z-day.

That Day.  The “D” will always be capitalized in my head when referring to it.  The memory of  that Day is forever seared in my mind. The Day I lost almost everything.  The Day the world ended. I’m telling this story for future generations, so that they may know what I’ve learned through all of this.  I’m recording the events for posterity, so the world will remember.

This is the story of my second life, my memories of the days after the apocalypse.

01. The Office

I woke up that Tuesday morning to the sound of the alarm on my phone.  It was blasting the theme song from the Transformers movie.  My wife Candi rolled out of bed and stumbled towards the shower. I took a moment in bed to grab my phone and check my email, but not before taking a moment to admire Candi’s beautiful figure as she walked into the light of the bathroom.  She was in good shape, even after 15 years together she was still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes on.  I’d always had a ‘thing’ for short women, she had managed to avoid cutting off her long dark hair when our only child Max was born.

After reading a couple of overnight emails, I got up and headed to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.  Then it was my turn to head downstairs to “my” bathroom, mine was the one with the tiny sink and stand up shower.  I showered, shaved, and ducked into the laundry room to grab a pair of slacks and a white tee shirt.  From the laundry room I could hear Candi waking Max in the bedroom directly above.  The thought of three and-a-half year old Max waking up always brings a smile to my face.  I knew Max would be giving Candi her morning hug and kiss, and she’d be starting the arduous task of getting him dressed.  I threw on my pants, noting that they were getting a little snug in the waist.  I vowed for the 4th time that week that I would eat a little less fast food today.  I’m not massively overweight, but I didn’t exactly lead a strenuous lifestyle in those days.

I carried my tee shirt upstairs and stopped in Max’s room

“Good Morning little buddy!” I said with a huge smile on my face.

“Morning Daddy,” said Max as he held out his arms for a good morning hug.

I gave Max a big hug and kiss on the cheek and said “I love you buddy.”

“I love you too, Daddy.” Max said in that perfect three year old way.

I stepped into my bedroom put on my tee shirt.  I pulled a freshly pressed Oxford shirt, and selected a tie to go under my gray suit coat.  I tossed the tie over my shoulder, grabbed my suit coat and fastened my cufflinks while I headed into the kitchen to pour myself a cup of coffee.  I was just stirring my coffee when Max came toddling in and said “Ser-ral bar Daddy!”

“Are you sure Dooder?  Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have a bowl of cereal?”

“No way! Ser-ral bar!”

I reached into the cabinet and pulled out a cereal bar.  It was strawberry flavored.  His favorite.  I pulled it out of the wrapper and handed it to the boy.   Max walked over to his chair at the kitchen table and I turned on the TV. At 6:30 in the morning “Ni Hao Kai-Lan” was coming on, Max’s current favorite show.  I looked him over, as a parent often does to their child.  He was tall for his age and currently a little pudgy. Like his old man, I thought.  Max still had baby blonde hair, although it was just starting to darken a bit, kept in a short buzz cut.  He has his father’s blue eyes, but the shape was the almost almond shape of his mother’s.

Candi stepped out of the bathroom, looking amazing in a black skirt that fell just above her knee and form fitting charcoal top.  She never left the house without some sort of heel on.  Today they were 3-inch black heels with a small platform.  They were not an exotic platform, but just close enough to invoke sexiness while still staying on the line of appropriate business attire.  Candi had a way of pushing just to the edge of sexy, without being too overt for work.

“Okay boys, give me my kisses,” she said.  It was part of the morning routine before she left for work.  She knelt down as Max ran over, gave her a big hug and kisses and said, “Love you Mommy.”

My turn was next; as I gave her the longest kiss I could in front of Max, which is to say it was pretty chaste.  I turned us both around so I could give her butt a little squeeze while I hugged her without Max seeing, and said “Love you, see you later.”

Candi left and Max and I started putting on his socks and shoes.

“Max, are you going to play with dinosaurs at school today?” I asked.  This was a habit I started shortly after enrolling him in this daycare, when he was new and didn’t want to go.  We call his daycare “school.”  Asking these questions gives him something fun to look forward to at school, and made him want to go.

“No Daddy.”

“Are you going to play with race cars?”

“No Daddy.”

“Are you going to play with action figures?”

“YES!”

“Well, let’s go then Max, there are some action figures waiting for you!”

The conversation was the same every morning, although the toy that got the ‘yes’ was different almost every day.  Most mornings I could name enough toys that eventually he’d say yes.  If not I could still just start the list over again until I got a yes.

Shoes on, we walked out to my truck.  Max likes to walk through the grass; I prefer to walk on the sidewalk to keep the grass, dirt, and morning dew off of my shoes.  I’m not a neat freak, but I do generally try to stay presentable for work.  As we were walking out to the truck, I heard three gunshots in quick succession.  We aren’t very far from the farm land on the outskirts of our small town, so it’s not completely unheard of to hear shots.  At the time I didn’t give it much thought.

Max’s school is about five minutes up the road; we talked about the same things we talked about every other morning.  Max likes to point out specific land marks and of course any large vehicles we pass.  It was early summer, so there were no school buses, but he pointed out every dump truck, garbage truck and fire truck we passed.  Drop-off at daycare was uneventful, and I started the ten minute drive towards the office.

I pulled into the parking spot labeled “Reserved -Victor Tookes.”  When I got my latest promotion to senior vice president, they put my name on that spot.  It was terribly embarrassing.  It was a nice perk though, not having to carry my laptop and the reams of paper I took home with me every night all the way to my truck.  The parking for junior associates is across the parking garage, down four flights of stairs, and across the alley to the office.

My office is in a fairly rough section of town.  The rent on the building was cheap enough that we could hire an outside company to provide two security guards to work around the clock and still come out ahead on the rent in a more desirable part of town.  The employees were safe enough walking from the building to the parking garage.  Even the call center employees who left at three in the morning could get an escort to their cars.  This morning, Chuck was the guard on duty patrolling the garage, and I waved to him as I passed by.

“Good morning Chuck.  Looks like it’s going to be hot out again today!”

“Morning, Tookes.  I’m going to be sweating in my uniform by ten am!”  Most people who know me call me Tookes.  My constant refrain is ‘rhymes with kooks, not cooks’.  It helped make it stick in people’s heads.

As I stepped away from Chuck, we both twitched as we heard gunshots loud enough to be fairly close, within a couple of blocks.  I hurried inside the building, the last thing I saw before the door closed was Chuck speaking into his radio.

My office is along the back of the building. I had a great view of an alley and of a cinderblock wall that blocked the industrial looking train tracks out back.  I suppose I shouldn’t complain, at least it wasn’t a cube.  Most mornings around 10:30 my stomach started rumbling for its mid-morning coffee and bagel.  There was a small café on the ground floor of the building, like every other day I walked in and said, “Good Morning Bev!”

“Good morning, Tookes” said Bev, the manager of the store, “The usual?”  She got right to work toasting a plain bagel for me without even waiting for my response.

One end of the store was all glass with a door in the middle.  I watched out the window while Bev toasted my bagel.  A stumbling figure walking across the street got my attention.  It wasn’t because he was jaywalking, that was commonplace in this industrial city, but because he was clearly drunk at 10:30 in the morning.  He staggered into the one-way road right in front of a red car.  The driver of the Toyota Camry started yelling at the guy who turned slowly and lurched towards the driver side window.  “Hey Bev, did you see that? Looks like we’re going to see a fight,” I said, “Get ready to call 911.”

I stepped towards the door as the drunk started pounding on the driver side-window of the Camry.  The driver didn’t wait around; the Camry sped off up the street and squealed around the corner onto Maple Avenue.  The drunk held his hands out and started stumbling after the red car, but gave up after only a few steps and finished his walk across the street and into the open doorway of an apartment building.

Down the street, I noticed another drunk and thought, ‘This is getting ridiculous, even for York.’  This second drunk was really in bad shape.  He looked like he’d twisted his ankle.  One leg of his pants was torn almost completely off, and his tee shirt was in shreds.  He walked up to a passer-by; I assumed to ask him for some change.  The pedestrian shoved him, and the drunk bit him!

“Holy shit Bev! That drunk just bit some guy!  Call 911!”  I ran over towards the combatants, and by now the drunk had the guy down on the ground.  As I was running up the drunk bit the pedestrian in the throat and ripped a substantial chunk out.  That stopped me dead in my tracks. The guy bit again, pulling strings of flesh between his teeth. I watched a vein stretch and pop. The victim let out a guttural yell as blood spurted out of his neck, which was abruptly halted when the drunk took a third bite directly on the center of the throat.

I was close enough now to see that clearly the drunk wasn’t just drunk, he was really sick.  I was close enough to see him swallow the bits he ripped out of the man’s throat.  I realized this wasn’t an attack.  It was a feeding.

Immediately ‘zombie’ came to mind.  Not just because I’d seen every Romero movie, but because Candi and I had been joking about zombies the past weekend.  On the Baltimore Sun’s website, there had been a story about a huge fight in a parking garage a few days earlier.  All of the survivors of that fight claimed that a woman and a man had rushed into the garage and started biting and even killing people.  Two people told stories of the woman eating her victims, and how she was insanely strong and really fast.  It was almost like something out of a movie, they said.  In all, thirty-two people were killed.

‘Maybe they are zombies,’ I thought to myself.  Candi would never believe it.  Fearing for my own safety, and knowing there was nothing I could do for the guy with his throat missing, I turned and ran back into the building to wait for the ambulance and police.   The homeless guy got up off the pedestrian.  I watched him as he walked down the road, slow and stumbling.  That was when the police sirens first came within ear-shot.  ‘At least they’re Romero zombies, not rage zombies like in 28 Days Later,’ I mused to myself.  It’s amazing what coping mechanisms our brains create.

The attacker turned left down an alley when I saw the police cars.  I ran back outside to discuss what I saw with the police.  I suppose it’s a holdover from my troubled youth that I’m always hesitant to talk to the police.  I’d had a hard time with it ever since I got busted blowing up mailboxes with pipe bombs in my neighborhood. Maybe it was all the things I did that I didn’t get in trouble for.  Or, maybe that’s a natural instinct that everyone has.  Two police cars came to a stop at the downed pedestrian, and I approached the first officer out of the cruiser.

“The attacker went down the Grant Street Alley, just a minute ago.  He’s moving slowly,” I yelled to the cop as I crossed the street.  A second police officer had exited the first cruiser and started that way at a trot with his hand on his sidearm.  The first officer went to the downed pedestrian and radioed for the ambulance to hurry.  The man was in a large maroon pool of his own blood. Even with his neck completely torn out, the blood appeared to have stopped flowing and the pool wasn’t getting any larger.  I had no doubt the pedestrian was dead.

From my vantage point by the police cars, I could see parts of his vertebrae exposed all the way through his neck, and strings of gore.  It looked like the victim had swallowed a huge firecracker.  The bits of torn flesh laid outward down the sides of his neck.  Drying blood streaks covered him from chin to navel.  The two police officers from the second car also split up, one of them sprinting after the attacker, and one of them walking towards me.

I relayed the story, in detail of what I had seen.  At the last minute, I included the information about the first drunk and the Camry.   As soon as I finished, he asked me to point out which building the first guy went into and ran off, yelling over his shoulder to stay right there.  Something tickled my brain about that, that he so quickly ran to that apartment, but before I had any time to process it I heard three gunshots from the alley way, followed by two more.  After a pause of about ten seconds, I heard both officers empty the remaining bullets in their weapons.

That was enough for me, “I’m going inside!” I yelled to the first cop standing over the dead pedestrian.  He motioned me to go without ever taking his eyes off the corpse, his hand on his gun.  It was much later that I realized he was waiting for the victim to stand back up.  I turned to open the door to my office building when the first cops partner came walking out of the alley holding his left hand; even from my position across the street, I could see he was bleeding profusely.  He was missing his pinky.

I walked through the café and up the stairs back to my desk.  When I got there I pulled up every news site I could think of.  CNN.com, newyorktimes.com, I even pulled up foxnews.com to see how they were blaming democrats for the zombies.  There was not a single word about zombies on any of the big news sites.

Maybe I was imagining things, I thought, maybe Candi really would laugh at me.  I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was right though.  What else would explain what I saw?  I saw a man eat another man’s neck.  I watched him swallow huge bites.  And what would explain all the gun shots?  I heard several shots, followed by a pause, before they emptied their weapons at the man.  What I saw didn’t coincide with the reports from Baltimore over the weekend; those descriptions were of super-human strength and speed.  These things I saw were barely able to walk.

I turned to YouTube.  I searched everything I could think of, and finally searched Zombie Baltimore and got a hit.  I watched a grainy cell phone video of a man ripping huge chunks out of a woman’s shoulder and swallowing them.  I turned my leather office chair sideways, leaned back and put my hands behind my head to think.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement behind the graffiti covered cinderblock wall that was my office view.  All I could see was the top of a head, the scalp partially removed, flopped over to one side like a bad comb-over in a wind storm.  Two more figures moved slowly by….


Hope you enjoyed the small teaser. You can pick up a Kindle copy here. You can visit Kirk at his website here.

What Zombies Fear

Good Morning Rantings and Other Such Things…

Greetings and hallucinations –

So – have a blog. Well, better yet let me rephrase – I have a DORMANT blog. Well, no more. I vow to use this fine instrument of communication to the fullest extent. Starting RIGHT NOW!

Dead Air

First this: I have a friend and his name is Sam Garcia. He wrote this extremely intense book called Dead Air. I mean this book is completely fast past from the jump. Absolute heart-racing thriller. If you haven’t read it, you are totally missing out.

 

A New World: Chaos

Next up, John O’Brien’s,  A New World: Chaos. I had the honor of doing some editing for this one. If you are into Military style action, planning and suspense, grab it. It’s entirely worth it. John is a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations for the latter part of his career and he ads his vast knowledge to the story. Believe me you can pick it up right away with his writing. Its tactful and suspenseful you’ll enjoy it.

Finally, I am working on a special gem from my ultimate favorite author. I am super stoked about it and I’ll keep you all posted on its developments.
However, the ZA is well under way and there in the midst of chaos is a heroine. I am so a sucker for female bad a**… Must be the whole mother of five daughters?

So now, I leave you with this:
Read Dead Things by Matt Darst. It’s unbelievable. So much love and effort went into this book and you can tell right away. And it has good educational stuff for your mind. And the zombies are great!!

Here is a little YouTube  called A is for Apocalypse you’ll enjoy. One thing you will learn about me… I LOVE book trailers!!

Dead Things

Knocking off the dust and get going…

Making our way back!!

Update and notice…

We at Horror Zedits and Last Writes have been terribly busy. So much so we have neglected our blog. Well, I say no more. We will be posting and review and writing and filling your minds with all the horror, fiction, zombies, undead, vampires we can find!!! Stay tuned… we are not DONE

WD Jackson & His Diet of HORROR

WD Jackson
(click to visit)

WD Jackson is a horror/thriller writer from the UK obsessed with all things scary, suspenseful and creepy. Brought up on a staple diet of Alien movies, Resident Evil, Dean Koontz and anything with zombies in it,

he reads, watches and plays horror, and now writes it too.

He has written two novels so far, Red Light, new to the Kindle store, and Loose Ends, the bestselling Kindle thriller, his debut. He is currently at work on his third novel.

His first short, What’s Yours Is Mine, is now available too.

“WD Jackson most definitely shows promise as a well-crafted suspense writer.”
– Dave Gammon, Horrornews.net

Join him on facebook

Amazon

Red Light 

Hobbes END – It Has NO END

Vincent Hobbes
(click to visit)

Vincent Hobbes was born in Dallas, Texas in 1975. He has been actively writing most of his life. His loves, his roots, are horror. His recent releases primarily consist of horror, though he knows no limit in genre. His 2012-2013 releases range from horror, dystopian, science-fiction and fantasy. He’s been widely reviewed, his fans having compared him to the likes of such greats as Philip K. Dick and Stephen King.

Mr. Hobbes writes with elegant prose, has unique plot lines and great character development. His work is mind-boggling, his characters life-like, his ideas fresh in a dull market.

To learn more, visit his website:

The Self-Proclaimed Progenitor of ‘Tex-Mexploitation’

Bowie Ibarra
(click to visit)

Bowie Ibarra is the author of the ‘Down the Road’ zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuster. Bowie enjoys zombie movies, combat sports, and writing.

Bowie is the self-proclaimed progenitor of ‘Tex-Mexploitation’ literature. His books, Codename: La Lechusa, Big Cat, and Pit Fighters: Baptism by Fire, as well as the ‘Down the Road’ series, include the cultural makeup of the state of Texas in those familiar tales highlighted by great story arcs and powerful endings.

Bowie earned a BFA in Acting and a MA in Theatre History. He currently resides in Texas where he is working and writing, writing and working.

You can network with Bowie and discover his books at his official website, ZombieBloodFights.com, including his YouTube page, where he has posted many low-budget promotional trailers highlighting his books.

Website:

Facebook:

Twitter:

Blog:

YouTube:

Explanation for my extensive absences.

I recently had the honor to edit Dear Air by Sam Garcia a great friend. I took my time and over my deadline. But – I have to tell you- this is an exceptional story. Really made my heart race. What impressively me the most was Sam not gain the fear of killing main characters. I believe the Kindle version is .99c until the revisions go in. You won’t be disappointed.

I am sorry I have neglected my blog – I have been swamped with work. However I promise to start posting some book reviews as well as some recommendations. Stay tuned.

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She’s coming … You ready?

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She’s fierce. and bad ass. I can’t wait!!

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Looming forward to this. ..9

Keep Your Crowbar Handy

Hello all!!!

It’s been a couple weeks now since the last time I was able to post due to working on some “special projects” for you guys (and gals! see? it’s all equal here. no one screws around), and I wanted to give you all an update.

Right off the bat, I must provide a big “thank you!” to everyone from  ZombieWalk Columbus.
It was two weeks ago as of yesterday, that Buckeye-town was invaded by masses of shambling dead fans, groaning along the route of  the yearly “shuffle” for charity and I gotta tell you, it was aweso-o-o-ome! The number of maggot-heads (zombie fans. meant with affection! I’m one meself remember!) there was far greater than my ability to count during the event, I (and my fellow filmmakers) were spoiled for choice as to which photos and what footage to actually use!

Also, I must say it was

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