Authors: A.P. Fuchs
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and events either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual places, events or persons living or dead or living dead is purely coincidental.
Blood of the Dead is Copyright © 2008 by Adam P. Fuchs. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce in whole or in part in any form or medium.
Published by Coscom Entertainment
Cover pencils and inks by Roland Bird
Cover colors by Splash!
Edited by Ryan C. Thomas
Interior author photo by Roxanne Fuchs
This is for my kids, Gabriel and Lewis.
Special thanks, as always, to my wife, Roxanne, for putting up with all the late nights and endless hours in front of the computer.
A thank you to my best friend, Bruce Hoadley, for being my “come with” guy when I went on my research trip for this book. (Nobody takes down zombies like he does.)
Thanks goes out to Brian Tanner, M.S.C., for answering some physics questions I had regarding a scene in this story, and likewise to Ian Sunderland, M.D., for being the wonderful body part specialist that he is.
Lastly, to Mari Adkins and T.L. Trevaskis for all the translation help. Thank you.
Joe Bailey: Zombie Hunter
Billie Friday: Punk Girl
Des Nottingham: Zombie Wrangler
August Norton: Recluse Christian Dude
2: Midnight Meeting
3: Off to the Promised Land
4: Back into the Gray
5: The Rat
6: Mr. Shank
7: In a Swarm of Death
9: Ghost Town
10: At Joe’s Place
11: If Just for a Good Night’s Sleep
13: Gotta Go
14: And the Dead Keep on Coming
15: Empty Building
16: Along the River
17: Empty Square
18: Good Doggies
19: On the Way Up
20: At the Top of the Stairs
21: The Cemetery
22: The Bridge
23: Just Leave Me Alone
24: It Ain’t What it Used to Be
26: They Never Stop
27: Some Kind of Rescue
30: When Bad Things Happen to Good People
31: Out of Options
32: Lock and Load
34: The Roof
36: The Storm
38: The Man in the White Coat
39: In the Bowels of the Earth
40: The Escape
41: The Return
Joe Bailey: Zombie Hunter
“Whattsa matter, baby? Never made love to a zombie before?”
The man’s voice was filled with sarcasm but, looking on from the shadows, Joe Bailey couldn’t help but think the guy meant every word and that he truly did want the girl to mess around with the dead man in front of her.
The girl, a blonde of probably seventeen or eighteen, frantically tugged at the iron collar around her neck. Joe knew that getting it off would be impossible. The collar was attached to a long iron rod. On the other end was the guy who wanted to see her come apart at the prospect of defiling herself with the undead.
Who knew what they had already done to her before now. What was once an off-yellow dress was mere tatters sagging off her frame like a torn shower curtain. Her cries were muffled by the band of silver duct tape across her mouth. From where Joe lurked off to the side, he could see how her long blonde hair had been pulled forward across her cheeks and stuffed into her mouth to help keep her quiet.
The air stank with booze and dope and the funk of the dead.
The man holding the rod jerked it to the right and left, whipping the girl side to side as he steered her toward the dead man across the basement floor. Four of his friends looked on, yipping and cheering. All five men were eager for what was about to happen. Three were on one side of the room, including the man holding the pole; two were across the way, both gripping a similar iron pole. This one was attached to another collar, one clamped around the neck of an overweight gray-skinned man with a blood-stained white shirt, brown dress pants and only one shoe. The fat man, Joe supposed, had probably been a hard worker when he was alive. Though he was now dead but somehow back to life, he still carried a look of innocence in his eyes, a look of pleading behind the rage and mindless hunger that consumed him.
The jerks cackled and cheered and stepped closer as their buddy forced the girl toward the monster, the dead man trying to step forward with arms outstretched, wanting to grab her. The two guys holding the zombie at bay fought with each tug against the pole. It was a wonder the zombie didn’t spin around and take those guys out in an effort to break free. Then again, intelligence was never in a zombie’s favor. Joe had been around them long enough to know that much.
Joe remained in the shadows behind an old furnace off to the side. The creeps holding the girl hadn’t heard him break in through the first floor window of the house and sneak down the stairs into the shadows, each too consumed with the idea of bringing this girl to the edge of torment and despair before, finally, shoving her off the edge.
“Oh come on, girlie-girlie. It ain’t so bad,” her captor said. “The dude’s just hungry, that’s all. You know as well as I do that they need to eat now and then, just like anyone else.”
The girl’s muffled screams, grunts and heavy breathing through her nose sent a shockwave of apprehension through the air.
The guy holding the iron rod shook off his beaten leather jacket, first his right arm then, after switching his hold on the rod to the other hand, his left. He wore a blue T-shirt, one which reminded Joe of what the sky used to look like before it had permanently clouded over in a sickly mix of gray and brown.
“Whoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo!” Blue T-shirt sang. “One, two, the dead’s coming for you!”
The girl screeched behind her gag. Blue’s friends howled. They shoved each other playfully like drunks.
“Ready, Betty?” Blue asked.
If “Betty” was the girl’s real name or not, Joe didn’t know nor, right now, care.
He cursed himself for sitting in the shadows so long, having to watch as Betty inched toward her doom, but if he didn’t time this just right, neither he nor she would make it out of here alive. You didn’t have to be paranoid to know that each of the men were packing heat, something that had become commonplace once the dead had taken over.
The zombie snarled and a gob of bloody-spit spilled from the corner of its mouth. It violently lurched forward, catching the men holding the iron rod off guard. A muffled
came from the zombie’s neck. It had broken it from the force of the pull.
And it still kept moving.
The men holding it at bay yanked back on the rod, jerking the dead man back a step. The zombie grunted, but kept its feet firmly planted so it only leaned back against the air at an impossible angle before tugging itself upright again. The dudes holding the rod lost their grip and the second the iron rod clanged against the concrete floor, the girl screamed, muffled and scared.
“You idiots!” Blue shouted. Indecisiveness flashed across his eyes. He wasn’t sure what to do.
Joe pulled the large X-09 to shoulder height, cocked the enormous hammer, and got ready. As was his custom, he counted to three then kissed the tip of the thick barrel before settling his finger around the trigger. One cock of the hammer was good for two shots. He had designed the X-09 himself, a large handgun, black and smooth with a Western flare that packed more punch than a double-barreled shotgun. He could have made a fortune off it if the world was the way it used to be.
But those days were gone.
The zombie scrambled toward the girl. She veered to the side and breathed a shrill wheeze when the collar stopped her stride.
Blue yanked her back then threw her and the pole into the zombie. He and his buddies spun around and ran for the long flight of basement stairs.
Joe jumped out from behind the furnace, aimed at the two yahoos scrambling up the steps in front of Blue and sent a bullet into each of their backs. The sounds of the double gunshot froze Blue in his tracks and by the time he turned around to see the source of fire, Joe had already cocked the hammer again and had the barrel aimed between Blue’s eyes.
“What the—” Blue started. He was cut off when the girl shrieked and the zombie, who was now on top of her, growled. “Me or her. What’s it gonna be, hero man?”
“Both,” Joe said and pulled the trigger.
A blood-red hole the size of a quarter sprang to life at the center of Blue’s forehead, the back of his head spraying outward in a rain of flesh and bone. Eyes still gazing at Joe, the dude dropped to his knees then toppled face first onto the floor.