Read Decay (Book 1): Civilization Online

Authors: Linus Locke

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

Decay (Book 1): Civilization

 

 

 

 

 

Decay: Civilization

 

Linus Locke
 

 

Decay: Civilization

Copyright © 2014 by Linus Locke

 

 

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.

All rights reserved

 

Acknowledgments

I would like to thank my wife, Kortnie. Without your support, this novel would have never been finished.

 

A very special thank you goes to my amazing children for always making me smile and giving me a reason to never grow up. Your strength astonishes me every day.

 

Thanks to my parents and grandparents. All of your hard work has made me the person I am today.

 

A special thanks to my beta readers, Genia and Josh. Your time and input is priceless.

 

Cover created by: Khonsu at SelfPubBookCovers.com/Khonsu

Chapter 1

The nightmares had been haunting Jonathan Sawyer’s dreams for the past few weeks. He tried to fight the sleep at first, but knew that he needed to rest. Keeping his strength up and his mind sharp were more important now than ever before. Regardless of the fear, the restlessness, and the guilt, he slept.

He opened his eyes knowing deep down that this was all a dream, yet he couldn’t convince his mind that what he was experiencing wasn’t real. Jonathan had no control over what was happening. His only choice was to accept the terror of what he would witness. He knew from experience that if he fought he would certainly awake tired and sore from the tossing and turning.

Jonathan Sawyer stood in this dream world, frightened and slightly dazed. He gazed out at his father, Brian, as the man made his way down the long driveway. He was a tall, thin man, and his long legs carried him quickly toward a blue Dodge Magnum. Inside were a woman with long black hair and her two children who could barely be seen from the back seat. They were too far away to make out much more detail than that. The car had been hit in the front end and pushed off the road. Smoke rose from under the hood.

Jonathan felt the horror before seeing it. Men and women came from every direction to surround the car, and they tried violently to get in. They seemed to be angry with the woman, and their pale skin made them look as if they were sick. Their fists smashed into the windows until they were bloody. The woman and her children screamed in terror as the group of attackers tried to make their way in. Jonathan, however, could not hear their screams. The world was totally void of sound.

His father turned to him and began to yell. Brian was down to the end of the driveway, so Jonathan could only just make out the movement of his lips, but there was no sound to be heard. Brian waved his long arms frantically, signaling Jonathan to go back in the house where he would be safe.

Jonathan knew that he should listen to his father, yet the urge to disobey surged through him. He ran down the driveway to help his father, but then the sky transformed from the bright and sunny blue day to that of an apocalyptic red. The color washed down over the blue like wet paint spilled down a canvas. The sun melted and ran wax-like down the sky. Lightning streaked to the ground in bolts of green that lit up the world with brilliant flashes.

The asphalt under his feet became sticky as it heated up, making it hard to move. He tried to lift his legs and run to his father. He wanted nothing more than to bring him back safely, but his legs quickly tired. Jonathan’s wrists began to itch wildly, and scratching them only made it worse, yet he scratched uncontrollably. The itching was followed by a sudden sharp pain. His wrists reddened and swelled until the skin tore open, revealing shackles made of bone.

The pain caused him to drop to his knees and he screamed a silent scream. As Jonathan examined the bone shackles he noticed the bloody chains that ran from them. Each link was made of rough bone. Strips of flesh hung from the bone chain. His gaze followed the chains back into the garage where a demonic looking reel sat. At the reel’s hand crank stood a tall figure that Jonathan could not make out clearly. He knew that he would soon be all too close.

The figure began turning the large crank. The reel clicked loudly as the pin dropped into each tooth of the gear, breaking the silence of the world. With each click the chain pulled tighter and tighter. Jonathan stood and pulled with all of his strength. He clawed at the shackles violently, but he couldn’t free himself from their tight grasp. Panic took over as he began to slide up the driveway toward the ominous looking garage door.

He dropped back down to his hands and knees and tried to dig in. The click… click… click of the reel was no longer the only sound in the dream world. The sound of Jonathan’s fingernails scrapping across the asphalt screeched into existence. Unfortunately there was nothing to grip on the smooth asphalt. Jonathan thought of his father and knew he could beat this. It was all a dream, and no dream would overpower his brilliant mind. He could free himself from these evil chains and save his father. Fighting against the pull with every ounce of strength he could muster, Jonathan was still unable to counter the force.

As his feet crossed into the garage, the slick floor caused him to lose traction, and he fell to his stomach. Turning to his back, Jonathan looked up at the figure. With his eyes adjusting to the dark garage, he could see the creature perfectly.  It could have been human, however, the shredded clothing it wore revealed the flesh that was rotting from its thin body, and everything from above the bottom jaw was missing from its head.

The tattered clothing was wet with blood. Its tongue flopped and danced grotesquely at the top of what was left of the monster’s head. Boney hands wrapped around the crank with skin so thin it kept tearing. Thick maroon blood oozed from the openings, sticking to the floor in Jell-O like globs.

After fully taking in the gruesome sight, Jonathan let out another terrified, silent scream. Each click of the crank sounded louder than the last. One last time he rolled onto his stomach and began to pull against the chains. He released another scream as the red world outside of the garage faded behind the closing garage door.

Before being consumed by the blackness, Jonathan screamed one last time for his father.

 

The scream shattered the silence, as it always had as this dream came to an end, causing Jonathan to sit up. The tears were warm on his face, and his sheets were wet with cold sweat. The scream that had awoken him was his own. The only thing he was thankful for was that the nightmares seemed to be taking up more and more of the night.

Jonathan looked around his room as his eyes adjusted to the morning light shining in through the skylight. The thick curtains didn’t let in any light. Jonathan’s father hated the thought of people looking into their house even though it sat too far away from the road for anyone to be able to see anything, so each window was covered with a similarly thick curtain. Jonathan thought his father wasn’t far from painting the windows black. But the house sat back quite far in the yard, and if the distance didn’t stop people from seeing in then the high wall would. Every house in this part of town had a wall, but none quite this high.

The posters on the walls of Jonathan’s room were of various super heroes and cars. His action figures were on shelves neatly reenacting scenes from his favorite comics. The periodic table of elements hung on the wall while a model of several cellular structures dangled from the ceiling. He knew that he was a nerd in every sense. Climbing out of his small bed, he pulled the blankets and sheets off the mattress. Jonathan rolled them up into a ball and carried them out of his room.

There were four doors besides Jonathan’s in the long tan hallway. His Brother Michael’s room was directly across the hall from his room. To the right of Jonathan’s room was a closet at the end of the hall. Jonathan opened this closet door and dropped his balled up bedding down the laundry chute. As he walked toward the other end of the hall he passed by the bathroom to his right, and his parent’s bedroom on the left.

The open floor plan of the house kept the living area lit by the skylights. None of the lights in the house needed to be turned on during the day, the beautiful California sun made sure of that. A large sofa, along with matching chairs, a coffee table, and a fireplace made up the main sitting area in the family room. On the other side of the room sat another couch facing a large flat screen Sony HDTV.  Jonathan moved through this room on his way to the kitchen to make himself breakfast.

After breakfast he showered. Wrapping himself in the towel, Jonathan stood before the vanity and wiped the condensation off of the mirror. He was about five and a half feet tall with a little more growing to do. His hair was a dark brown that matched his brown eyes. There was a hint of facial hair coming in on his smooth face above his upper lip and in a darkening patch of peach fuzz on his chin. Something he was proud of. He didn’t care so much for a mustache, but he couldn’t wait for his beard to grow in.

Jonathan walked downstairs to start his bedding in the laundry. The basement was lined with shelves full of canned food and bottled water. The skylight ran through the walls of the house allowing light down into the basement as well. There is also a small greenhouse where various vegetables and herbs grew. Jonathan’s father, Brian, started preparing for the collapse of civilization two years ago, and in that time he had acquired enough food and water to feed his family for what he estimated to be about twenty years.

Brian also put his wife, Kathy, and their two sons, Michael and Jonathan, through various survival courses. They were trained in everything from basic wilderness survival to hand-to-hand combat. Jonathan had the most fun learning how to shoot. The family spent several hours each month at a shooting range in the hills outside of town. Unfortunately, Jonathan was only allowed to fire the small caliber pistols and rifles, but he became a very proficient shooter and was confident in his abilities to shoot the larger firearms.

Neither Jonathan nor Michael cared much for the hand-to-hand combat training. “Every problem can be solved with the mind. Anybody that is not smart enough to reason with is not worth your time.” Brian had told them that many times before deciding that they would learn to fight just in case. Both of the boys took to the idea of not wasting their time on people who couldn’t be reasoned with, but Brian was set on them learning.

Jonathan made his way back upstairs and checked the time. It was only seven o’clock in the morning, yet he was used to being awake early these days. As he walked down the hall toward his bedroom he stopped in front of his parent’s door. Maybe he would go in and check today. He often felt like going in to check in the mornings. His parents usually woke up around eight o’clock. Deciding not to go in, he walked back into his own room to play some video games.

His parents wouldn’t be in their bed anyway. He knew they wouldn’t even be in the room. They were gone. His mother and brother went to visit his aunt in Iowa. Jonathan hadn’t heard from them in three weeks. A week after they left his father went to help a woman and her children. They had been in an accident.  Brian had seen that they needed help, so he opened the large gate leading off the property and ran out to them. Only the attackers had made it to them first. Realizing that he wouldn’t make it back through the gate, Brian yelled to Jonathan to close it and run inside.

Jonathan was scared, and he did what his father had told him without question. Not running out to help his father was the worst mistake he has ever made. He hasn’t seen his father since, and he doesn’t know if he is coming back, nor does he know if he is even alive. Jonathan did know that he had been destroyed by the guilt of running away. So much so that the guilt and fear had manifested into a physical form that haunted his dreams.

The attack came from out of nowhere. Jonathan still isn’t sure who attacked or why. They did not resemble soldiers from any army. He was sure he had actually recognized a few of them from around town. This made him wonder if this attack was planned out years ago, and whoever they were had spies placed in communities all across America. These terrorists created and lived lives that were not theirs just so they could attack at the right time.

He didn’t even know if they were still attacking, but he remembered that day well. Reliving it in his mind grew exhausting, but he kept doing it in hopes that he would pick up something that he missed before. Nothing ever seemed to stand out. His father talked from the time he picked him up from school until they made it home, but Jonathan hasn’t been able to sort all of it out.

Jonathan threw himself on his bed and stared at the structures hanging from his ceiling. He reached over and picked up a plastic model of the human brain that he had ordered from a science magazine. Opening it up, he removed the hippocampus and held it up. He thought that holding the part of the brain that controlled memory would help him remember. He focused on the day of the attack.

 

His earliest memory of that day is sitting in the Clay Hills High School classroom of Mrs. Johnson, a pleasant woman who truly enjoyed working with the students. Her hair was slightly graying, and she wore wire framed glasses. She sat at her desk in the corner of the room. A copy of Jules Verne’s’
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
in her hands. Jonathan was working on an English paper that she had assigned the day before.

The phone rang on the wall, causing the sounds of pencils scratching on paper to halt, and all the students looked up from their work successfully distracted. Mrs. Johnson sat the book down and turned toward the wall as she answered the phone in an attempt to remain as quite as possibly in hopes of the students returning to work without much fidgeting, so Jonathan was unable to hear her end of the conversation.

After hanging up the phone, she made her way to Jonathan’s seat. “Your father is waiting in the lobby to pick you up early today. Go ahead and put your things away and I’ll see you when you return. The paper is due next Monday, so you have plenty of time to work on it,” she said with a kind smile that made the skin on the outside of her eyes wrinkle. She heard of Jonathan’s Aunt and assumed this must be the reason for his father picking him up.

“Thank you. I will have it finished as soon as I return,” Jonathan replied with a crooked smile.

“Sure thing, I’ll see you then. I hope everything is fine.”

Brian was standing impatiently as Jonathan made his way into the lobby. Even at the time Jonathan found this to be odd, as his father was as patient as he was confident. His father still greeted him with a pleasant smile and asked him about his day as he rushed him to the car. Jonathan noticed that his father’s hands had been bandaged, and he looked like he had been through hell.

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