Chapter 1: Infections
Just an average zombie story.
''Pa, all cattle is in the stable.'' Dan said.
''Okay, boy, you closed the door?'' Dan's dad, John, asked.
''okay then, let's go home now.''
Dan and his father walked back to their house. It was not too far. The house was close to the stables.
Their ranch was one of the wealthiest in Texas and one of the few successful ones.
The cows were healthy and fat and yielded a lot of milk and meat.
Only Dan, his father John and one ranch hand, Jeb, worked the ranch. They did everything, herding the cows out on the pasture, milking them, all of it. Only when they slaughtered the cows, they hired some help. Dan liked his life on the ranch and he didn't think about moving away.
He had just become eighteen. He looked a bit older though, more like he was twenty. He had light brown hair and a small beard. His face looked normal. He looked normal in all ways. He wore normal clothes and shoes, he had a normal haircut, his voice was normal. He was actually quite boring. You could say: What is normal?, but when you saw Dan, you'd see the very definition of looking average.
They reached the house, an old lodging made out of very simple wood. It had been built somewhere in the 1870's by Dan's great-grandfather. It had been prosperous and rich from the start and Dan's family had always been rich.
Luckily, most of the members were also pretty generous with their wealth. The whole nearby town of Hounslow had practically been built by Dan's family. Dan's father, John, had continued the tradition of the family and had given quite a big amount of money to different charities. John was a Christian. He was a very loose Christian. He only visited church during Christmas and other Holidays. His opinion was that it was not necessary for a Christian to visit church every day. He was open-minded. He was not against other religions or anything. He was not a racist at all and considered everybody equal. He only had a dislike in people who claimed that other people would be inferior to others. He had raised his son Dan in thinking the same way as he did and Dan had become a understanding, open-minded and nice man.
They reached the house. John opened the door. Father and son stepped inside the nicely furnished ranch house. Dan flicked on the light switch.
''Time for dinner. Can you switch on the radio?'' John asked.
''Sure thing, pa.''
Dan walked towards the radio that stood on some shelf in the living room. He pressed the button and turned up the volume. Suddenly he could hear Buddy Holly singing ''Fool's Paradise'' through the radio. Dan was a big fan of Buddy Holly.
They ate their usual dinner: Steak, some vegetables and some bread. This time, John had made a nice sauce. During dinner, Dan frequently looked out of the window. When they finished, Dan threw another look through the window. He suddenly saw a shady figure walk over the path towards their house. The figure, it looked like a man, was walking as if he was drunk. He looked a bit unsteady and was flailing his arms around a bit.
''Hey, Dad! Somebody's out there.''
''Is he headed towards the cattle?''
''Nah, He looks like he's drunk.''
''Oh well, He'll probably realize that he is wrong here and go away.''
The man didn't go away. Instead, he continued his walk towards the house, still swaying like a drunk.
''Hey, son? Can you take a look and tell him that he's wrong here?''
Dan walked through the door and stepped onto the porch. The man was closer to his house than he thought. It could also be that he was bigger than Dan thought.
But the man was closer.
''Uh, mister... I believe that you are wrong here...'' Dan began.
A loud growl came out of the man's mouth.
''Are you okay, sir?'' Dan asked.
Another growl. The man stepped onto the porch now.
The light that shone through the door to the house, revealed the man's face.
''Hey, don't get any closer...''
The man looked sick. His face was pale and his hair was disordered. He wore a suit, a blue one.
He growled again.
''Are you sick, sir?'' Dan asked.
Dan looked down and saw that the man as bleeding out of a very big wound. It looked like a bite mark.
The man then walked closer and raised his hands. He tried to grab Dan.
Dan pushed the man back and ran back in the house, closing the door behind him.
''Dad! That guy just tried to grab me! I think that he is sick or something.''
John walked towards his son. He walked past Dan and opened the door.
The man still stood there. He looked a bit confused.
''Sir, You must leave now, otherwise I am forced to call the police on you.''
'The man just grunted and tried to grab John. John smacked the door in his face.
''Hold the door, son...'' John said as he walked away.
''Dad, where are you going.''
''I'm gonna call the police of course.''
John went for the phone. Thumping sounds came from outside. The man was throwing himself against the door.
John took the horn of the phone and dialed the sheriff. ''Hey, Sheriff Goldberg I got a problem. Some guy here is trying to break into the house. He's throwing himself against the house.''
''Okay, I'm coming.'' the sheriff answered.
Sheriff Goldberg was a man of Jewish decent. He had arrived in the United States in 1942 at age 25, on the run for Nazi Germany. He had become deputy in Texas ten years later. Now, twenty years since his arrival in the U.S., he was sheriff of the town of Hounslow.
He sat behind his desk at the police station, when he received John's phone call. Well, police station was a big word. It was a one-story building with a few desks, a cell, a cabinet for weapons and a small bathroom with a broken toilet. He laid the horn back on the phone and stood up.
His deputy, a young guy named Mike, sat behind his own desk, doing some paperwork.
''Hey, Mike, grab two revolvers from the weapon rack, John Cooper has some trouble with some guy trying to break in his house.''
''oh, okay, boss.''
Mike stood up from his chair and went to the cabinet that held all the guns. He took a key out of his pocket and put it in the lock. He opened the door and looked inside.
In the cabinet lay a big variety of guns and ammo. A few Winchester rifles, two Remington shotguns, even a M1 Garand from World War II and an old Tommy Gun. There also lay a big amount of revolvers and pistols of all kinds of calibers. From small concealable pocket revolvers to .44 Magnums, and from a simple .45 pistol to a big desert Eagle. Mike grabbed two revolvers and a Winchester, just in case. He loaded the weapons and took a few spare cartridges for all three.
He closed the cabinet and went out front where Sheriff Goldberg waited for him in the car, a army surplus Jeep from the campaign in Italy during World War II. Sheriff Goldberg had bought a load of goods in a army dump stores in 1955, when he was a deputy. The weapons and the jeep were old, but still working. The jeep was Goldberg's personal car. He had tried to paint it in Police colors and had a police siren installed.
Mike climbed into the car and sat down on the passengers seat and handed the sheriff a revolver and a few cartridges. He laid the Winchester in the back. They drove away, headed towards John Cooper's ranch.
When they reached the ranch, they immediately saw the figure standing on the porch, clumsily trying to break down the door. Sheriff Goldberg stepped out of his jeep.
''Hey fella, What do you think that you're doing there?''
The man turned around and growled at the sheriff.
''Looks like he needs to go to a hospital.'' Mike said, pointing at the man's wound.
''Hey buddy, you better go to a hospital for that wound. Looks like wolf or something bit you.'' Goldberg said.
The man took a step towards the sheriff and deputy. He didn't answer.
''Are you deaf or something?'' Goldberg said.
The man growled again.
''Listen, you're gonna me what the hell you're doing here and why you tried to break down the door, or I'm gonna take you in.'' Goldberg said. ''If you just tell me, I'll let this slip and take you to a hospital.''
The man growled again and took a step closer.
''Al right, that's it, you're coming with me.'' Goldberg said.
He pulled out a pair of handcuffs and walked towards the man. He grabbed the man and tried to put the handcuffs on hims, when the man tried to bite him.
''Are you fucking crazy, man? What the hell?'' Goldberg said.
He pushed the man away and pulled out his revolver.
The man started walking towards the sheriff again, intending to grab him again.
''Okay, You stop walking now and come with us, Or I'm gonna open fire.''
Sheriff Goldberg backed off a bit, until he stood next to the deputy who had also drawn his revolver.
The man stepped towards the two police officers again.
The bullet hit the man in leg.
The man walked on, ignoring the bullet in his leg. He didn't even stagger.
Both the sheriff and the deputy opened fire now. They emptied their guns on the man.
He still kept on walking as if nothing had happened.
Sheriff Goldberg loaded a few cartridges in his revolver and fired a bullet between the man's eyes.
The man fell down.
Sheriff Goldberg holstered his revolver. His deputy did the same.
They walked towards the corpse of the man. They noticed that he was pale and had a bite mark on his lower chest.
''What kind of animal is that?'' Mike asked himself.
Goldberg took a closer look.
''They... The bite mark looks like it was made by human teeth.''
''Cannibalism?'' Mike asked.
''More attempted murder.'' Goldberg said.
They counted the bullets in the man. They came out in a total of nine bullets in the man's body. One in his leg, two in his left shoulder, one in his head and four in his chest.
The door of the ranch opened. John Cooper came out, followed by his son.
''We heard a lot of shots... What happened with the guy?'' John said, as he looked down on the body.
''First, we asked to escort him to a hospital, when he didn't respond, I asked if he could come with me to the police station. When he just kept walking towards us, I tried to disable him with a shot in the leg. We shot nearly ten rounds in him, before I shot him between the eyes. Then he died. Strange, isn't it?''
''How the hell could he survive that long?''
''I don't know. He didn't wear a vest or something. Maybe, it was luck he had. Or maybe he was on some kind of drug. I heard that some of that stuff increases your durability.''
''Well, whatever it was, thanks for coming.''
''Oh, but that's my job. I would be bored out of my mind if there wasn't some excitement as a sheriff.''
Goldberg stepped back in his jeep. He took the police radio that he had fitted in the jeep.
''This is... eh... Sheriff Goldberg. I'm requesting an ambulance for the transport of a dead body.''
The radio responded: ''Sending one over.''
Goldberg waited in the jeep. Mike sat next to him.
The ambulance arrived.
Two paramedics got out with a stretcher. They loaded the dead body of the man onto the stretcher and put a blanket over him. They put the stretcher back in the car.
''What's the cause of death.'' one of the paramedics asked.
''Nine revolver bullets.'' Goldberg answered.
''Nine, ya say? Wow...''
''I think it's the shot in the head that did it. Before that he didn't even flinch after being shot.''
The paramedic nodded and walked back towards the ambulance. He sat down behind the wheel. The ambulance drove away.
Goldberg climbed back in his jeep again. He ignited the engine.
John Cooper walked towards him. ''Thanks again, sheriff.''
''Again, It's my job.'' Goldberg said, as he drove away.
''Well, let's go to bed, son.'' John said.
He walked back inside.
Dan stood on the porch for a while, leaning against the wall. He looked up.
What he saw panicked him. Another figure walked up the path.
''Dad!'' he shouted inside.
''What is it?'' was the answer.
''Another person's coming this way.''
''What do you mean?''
John came outside again.
He saw the figure.
This person was also flailing his arms around and swaying.
''Son, get inside and get our revolvers.''
Dan went inside and fetched two fully loaded S&W model 15 Revolvers.
He walked back outside again and handed one to his dad.
John aimed the pistol at the man. The man was close to the house now and almost stepped onto the porch.
John threw a closer look at him and saw that it was Vernon Patterson, the local doctor. The man was drunk. Patterson looked up. ''Oh... Hi there... uhm... John, right? Oh, I'm sorry. I think that I took a wrong turn somewhere...'' Patterson lived in a house not too far away from John's ranch.
''Drank too much, Patterson?''
''You know how it is... I'm not very resistant to alcohol.''
''Yeah, sure... You need a ride home?''
''Yes, please. I am close to passing out.''
Patterson fell down.
''Oh, dammit.'' he said.
''Wait, let me help you up. Dan! Get the car.''
John handed Dan the car keys.
Dan walked past the drunk doctor and went towards the car. He opened the door and sat down behind the wheel and ignited the engine.
He drove towards the front door.
John opened the door to the passenger's seat.
He pushed Patterson inside and closed the door.
''Get him home and get back here.''
''Of course, dad. You thought I was going to take him out for a romantic drive through the countryside, or something?''
''I meant just pull him out of the car and ring the door and get back. Don't go wasting time putting him in bed, or something.''
Dan drove off.
Patterson rested his head against the window and closed his eyes.
''You know, kid.'' he started, still with his eyes closed. ''There's some strange things going on around the country.''
''What do you mean, Doc?'' Dan asked.
Patterson changed his position.
''A strange disease, or something, makes people aggressive... Don't know anything about it.''
Dan immediately recalled the pale man trying to grab him and trying to break down the door.
''They're saying, that's it going to be a whole epidemic, you know.''
''That surely sounds strange, Doc.''
They reached Patterson's house.
Dan stopped the car. Light was still it on in the house.
Dan got out of the car and walked towards the door. He knocked on the door.
Suddenly he heard breaking glass and other noises.
He knocked again, a bit firmer this time.
A figure thumped against the wall.
''Shit!'' he said.
Dan kicked against the door. It didn't budge. He kicked again. The door opened this time.
He went inside and immediately heard the grunting noises. He walked through the hallway and went right into the kitchen. There he saw broken glass on the floor everywhere. He looked right and saw Patterson's wife laying on the floor, a man bent over her.
Dan shouted. ''Hey, what are you doing there, fella?''
The man turned around.
''Son of a-'' Dan said.
The man was pale, just like the other guy had been. The man walked his way.
''Don't come any closer'' Dan said. He raised his fist.
''Come on, then!'' he shouted and ran towards the man.
He reached the man and punched him in the face.
The man staggered a bit, but recovered and walked towards Dan again.
Dan punched him again. The man fell down this time.
Dan took a few steps backwards.
He looked around for some kind of a weapon. He saw a plate shard and picked it up.
He stabbed the man in the chest. The man didn't flinch. He pushed Dan back and bent over him.
Dan kicked him away and picked up another plate shard, cutting his hand open accidentally.
Blood gushed out of his palm.
Dan stuck the plate shard between the man's eyes this time. The man fell down again and didn't move.
Dan stood up and grabbed his hand. It was still bleeding pretty badly. He searched his pockets for his hanky and felt something heavy in the pocket of his coat.
He felt inside and pulled his revolver out of it.
Shit, I didn't I think of that thing earlier, he thought.
He put his gun back in his pocket and walked towards Mrs. Patterson, who was sobbing in the corner of the kitchen.
''Are you okay, ma'am?'' he asked.
''Yes... but what just happened. Why would my brother just attack me like that.''
''I don't know, ma'am. Your husband mentioned something about an epidemic that makes people aggressive, but I don't I don't know anything about it.''
He helped her up.
''Maybe, there's something on the radio about this.'' Mrs. Patterson said.
''Let's turn on the radio.''
Mrs. Patterson switched the radio on and looked for the news channel. She found it.
The news anchor was talking about the weather when he suddenly stopped. ''Okay, thank you.'' he said.
''I'll have to interrupt the news program for an emergency message to all people. There's an epidemic on the loose. Not much is known, except that it is not airborne or waterborne. Only being exposed to an infected subject has a chance of infection. It is recommended that you stay inside and close all doors and windows and lock everything tightly.
The symptoms of the disease are: Paleness, a reduced locomotion system. Subjects are also known to grunt continuously.
U.S. Marines are deployed throughout the whole country to remove all infected subjects. The infection will be in control soon. Do not panic.'' the news anchor said.
Mrs. Patterson looked at Dan.
''But- a disease.'' she said.
Suddenly a grunting emerged for the living room.
Dan pulled out his revolver.
''Maybe it's better if you come with me, ma'am.''
Mrs. Patterson nodded. They went out in the hall..
An infected man came out of the living room.
Dan aimed his revolver and fired. He hit the man in the shoulder. The man still came for them.
Dan aimed properly now and shot the man in the head. The man fell down and didn't move anymore.
''You gotta hit them in the head, or so it seems.'' Dan said.
''Let's go.'' he said.
''Wait, I need to get something.''
Mrs. Patterson went upstairs, followed by Dan.
She went into the bedroom and opened the wardrobe.
She pulled out a bag and a small chest.
''My jewels.'' she said.
''And something from my husband.''
They went downstairs again and went outside.
There, an infected woman was trying to break the window of the car.
Patterson lay inside, sleeping and oblivious to the fact that somebody was less that ten centimeters away, trying to kill him.
Dan aimed his revolver and fired. He hit the woman.
She fell backwards, into a bush.
Dan walked past the car and aimed his gun at the lying woman. He fired two shots in the woman's head.
He put his pistols back in his coat again and walked back to the car.
He drove back to his house, faster than he ever had.
Dan reached the house and stopped the car.
He was overwhelmed by the sight of at least ten infected standing in front of the front door. He saw his dad inside, with his revolver in his hands.
John shot his revolver through the window
One of the infected fell down and took two others in it's fall.
John fired again.
Another infected fell down. The thumping sounds continued on the door.
Dan pulled out his revolver and fired blindly at the small crowd that was trying to break down his front door.
He wanted to shoot again, but his gun was empty.
Patterson woke up because of the gunshot. He looked around, still drunk.
He saw the infected and went sober of fear.
''Vernon, darling, I got your thing.'' Mrs. Patterson said.
Martha handed him the bag.
The infected now went for Dan.
John fired again from the window.
Another infected fell down. Six or seven were left now.
Patterson opened the bag and reached inside. He pulled out his special thing. A Remington shotgun. He also pulled out a box of buckshot ammo. He was a big fan of hunting and had that shotgun for hunting deer.
He loaded two shells in his shotgun and stepped out of the car. He raised the gun and looked down the sights over his glasses. He fired.
Three infected fell down and didn't move anymore. He pumped the action and fired again.
Another infected fell down and the remaining two staggered a bit. He loaded another slug in his shotgun and fired. The last two fell down now. All infected were dead now.
John Cooper came out.
''What the hell is going on?'' he shouted.
''I- I don't know.'' Patterson said.
''Those people... what's wrong with them?''
''I really don't know, Cooper.''
John put his pistol in his pocket.
''The Army's busy taking out those infected, it'll probably be over in a few days.'' Dan said.
''I hope so.'' Patterson sighed.
They all went inside the house.
None knew that it would only get worse...
End of Chapter 1