Read Heartland Junk Part I: The End: A ZOMBIE Apocalypse Serial Online

Authors: Eli Nixon

Tags: #horror, #action, #zombies, #apocalypse, #zombie, #action adventure, #action suspense, #horror action zombie, #horror about apocalypse

Heartland Junk Part I: The End: A ZOMBIE Apocalypse Serial

BOOK: Heartland Junk Part I: The End: A ZOMBIE Apocalypse Serial
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THE
DREAMS
OF FEAR
SERIES

 

HEARTLAND
JUNK
A Zombie
Thriller

 

by

Eli Nixon

 

Part I:
THE END

Their people will become like walking corpses, their flesh
rotting away. Their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their
tongues will rot in their mouths. On that day they will be
terrified, stricken by the LORD with great panic. They will fight
their neighbors hand to hand.
Zecharia
14:12-13
But after
the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them,
and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw
them.
Revelation
11:11

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

THE ZOMBIES were
closing in fast; not the ones outside, but the ones in my head.

I could feel them
crowding the edges of my thoughts, reaching with rotten, dead
fingers into my psyche, whispering with the voices of the damned. I
dropped to the cold linoleum floor and curled into a ball, hands
pressed against my temples like vice grips, and with a quaking
voice I yelled, "Leave me alone!"

Fuck me,
though: That shout attracted the attention of the shambling
flesh-eaters outside. They knew I was in here, knew
something
was in here, even if they couldn't
remember exactly what. They were still milling around the overgrown
front lawn like the residents of a retirement home who couldn't
remember when their loved ones were coming to visit.

The first shuffling
sounds from the edge of the broken window forced me out of my fetal
crouch. I side-skittered on hands and knees to the wall directly
under the window. If I craned my neck, I could see a few inches
past the sill.

They were
converging on the source of a shout, sniffing it out like
bloodhounds. I watched a stiff head jerk past the window in
profile. Its cheek had decayed to the consistency of cottage cheese
and, with the noon sun shining directly down like a spotlight, I
could see a ball of maggots squirming in the flesh. The creature
stumbled on something below the window and the mass of stumpy white
grubworms dislodged, shaking free like raindrops. Some of them
landed on the windowsill; one bounced farther and fell onto the
floor beside me. I watched it writhe, fat, blind, and bulbous, on
the faded yellow flower patterns of the chipped vinyl linoleum.

The stag passed the
window without looking in, once again forgetful of its reasons for
shambling so close to the dilapidated bungalow. As long as I kept
quiet, I might be safe from them for awhile longer.

The zombies in my
head, though, that was a different matter. They could find me
anywhere.

A low gurgle
drifted through the window and I knew there was another one
approaching. This one was even farther gone than the last one,
which meant now was my time to make a move. See, zombies don't last
forever. Once they're dead long enough, once the rot has time to
really take hold, they get more and more useless. Eventually, their
hearing goes, too. That's what had happened with this one. I could
lead a high school marching band right beside him and he'd never so
much as glance in my direction.

Staying low, I slid
across the floor to the porcelain bathroom sink. It was an older
job, one of those sinks with a lone basin over bare pipes that
snaked through pre-cut holes in the floor. I pressed my back
against the U-curve of the stainless steel drain trap and risked
another glance at the window. It was getting harder to see. The
bathroom around me dimmed in slow, pulsing throbs, and a streak of
lightning shot across my brain.

They were getting
in. The whispers, unheard by everyone but me, were getting louder,
taking form and weight. I caught a glimpse of my own hand and for a
second I was mesmerized by the ripe, living flesh, warm blood
flowing so close to my powerful teeth. A gnawing hunger unfurled
inside my belly like a living thing. Despite the fact that I'd
eaten less than an hour ago, I was ravenous.

And in my head, the
voices gnawed into my sanity with the same voracious appetite.

You are one.

You are a part of
Vitala.

I shut my eyes and
grit my teeth. In the darkness behind my eyelids, their presence
was even more powerful. Horrible shapes formed out of the
undulating retinal patterns. Scenes of decay and death and murder
floated past like dandelion seeds on the wind. Looking for a place
to root.

The shout must have
wrenched itself past my lips without my knowledge. Glass tinkled
from the window like a gunshot and I opened my eyes to see their
faces crowding against the broken window. Their pink eyes gleamed
in the hot lights, teeth stained black with blood gnashed through
the opening, reaching, grasping. Dead hands missing two, three
fingers, congealed stumps with no hands at all. They clamored
against each other to climb through the window.

Their sight was
like a bucket of cold water over the voices picking through my
brain. My vision cleared slightly and I remembered why I was there
in that cramped bathroom in the forlorn house, once a home to a
family long since departed.

I stood and tore
open the mirrored medicine cabinet set into the wall over the
porcelain sink. As I did so, my reflection flashed back at me
through a layer of streaked grime. My own wild, haunted eyes
taunted me as with a dark intelligence, one that lived within me
and resented its own prison with hateful malice.

Then the image of
myself gave way to a row of little orange bottles. A soggy thump
from the direction of the window told me that the first stag had
climbed through. Without reading the labels, I scooped out every
pill bottle I could carry, shoving the first handfuls into my
pockets and then racing out of the bathroom with the rest clenched
between my shaking fingers.

I tried to read
them as I ran, my careening path taking me through a maze of dark
hallways in the direction of what I hoped was the kitchen through
which I'd entered the house. In the dim light, the labels were
impossible to read.

CONSUME THE FLESH. LIVE IN VITALA
.

I pitched forward
as if I'd been shoved. Orange tubes skittered across the hardwood
floor, tiny white and yellow and red tablets ricocheting inside
them. The voice was no longer a separate entity; it was a command
from my own mind. I was running out of time. Down the hallway at my
back, the bathroom door which I'd slammed shut as I passed
collapsed in a splintery roar under the weight of dozens of bodies.
This close to their prey, the deadwalkers lapsed into a blood
frenzy as some dark instinct kicked in and overwhelmed the lethargy
of their decomposed flesh.

Fighting the urge
to transcend to the dark side, I scooped the two closest
prescription bottles off the floor and lunged to the right, up a
flight of carpeted stairs that opened straight into the wall of the
hallway. I took the steps like an animal, hands and knees and feet,
anything I could touch to the ground to propel me up the flight
faster. The rough carpet fibers tore and burned against my knees
and palms.

The stairway
switched back on itself after a small landing and culminated in a
second-story hallway built directly over the first. Gutteral
shrieks sounded from the doorway to the flight of stairs. The first
searching heads appeared below the bannister, pink eyes burning
like fireflies in the shadows of the unlit stairway. I hit the top
and my head swiveled wildly, looking both ways down the
hallway.

To my left, at the
end of the upper hallway, a door stood ajar. Something grazed my
ankle and I took off running toward the open room. Framed faces
smiled at me from the walls, blurred by the speed of my flight.
They were a family once, as most of us were. Where were they now?
What were the chances that a member of this family was even now
pursuing me through the halls in which they'd lived and loved in a
past life?

I reached the room,
threw the door shut, and dropped to the carpet in front of it,
pressing against the wood with my back. It was a bedroom, a little
girl's by the looks of the pink bedspread and mountains of stuffed
toys spilling out of an open closet. Sunlight beamed through a
window and smacked every surface with a golden glow. The light
beams had an edge to them, though. They were sharp and deadly.
Innocence took on a shade of menace in the grip of Vitala. All good
things died and were replaced with abominations of thought and
sound and smell. Deep in its clutches as I was, I felt a thrill of
terror even here in this pleasant relic of a child's happiness.
Every shadow held a mouth, every dim corner and closet held a
searching pink eye. Even beauty could bite.

The first thump
against the door at my back brought me clawing back up the slippery
slope of my own mind. Back to reality, where tangible forms and
impressions solidified from my nightmares.

Quickly, I scanned
the two bottles in my hands. Nizatidine, 150 milligrams. A
histamine H2-receptor agonist used to treat heartburn. I pitched
the bottle across the room. It came to rest against the fuzzy brown
arm of a toppled teddy bear.

I looked at the
next label. Lubriprostone, 24 micrograms. Use for chronic
constipation. Who were these people? Another body slammed into the
closed bedroom door, knocking my head forward and making me bite
painfully down on my tongue. The taste of copper flooded my mouth
as I dropped the second bottle and dug through my torn jeans for
one of the bottles I'd shoved in my pockets. I scraped them out
like a shovel and three more translucent orange tubes tumbled to
the carpet beside my butt. My eyes scanned them like a man
searching a riverbank for his drowned lover.

Fluconazole, an
oral antifungal. Useless.

Wham.
The door jerked
under my back.

Cimetidine, another
heartburn chem. No good.

Wham.
A shower of
splinters and chipped paint and dust fell into my hair.

Darvocet, an opioid
analgesic for the relief of minor pain. It'd have to do.

My fingers
were jittering like water in a frying pan and it took two tries to
pry the child-safety lid off the Darvocet bottle. After what seemed
like the heat-death of the universe it came free with a smug
little
pop
and I upended the
bottle straight into my mouth. The door shuddered behind me again
and one of the hinges shrieked free of the jamb. The incessant,
phlegmy chatter of the zombies came through the opening with
heightened frenzy. Fingers wormed their way under the opening. I
tried to imagine what they looked like on the other side, heaped
over each other like a mound of debris, squirming with their
insatiable hunger, the ones against the door being slowly crushed
as more and more of their brethren came barreling down the hallway
in response to some unheard signal. The signal of prey, of
flesh.

I chewed up the
Darvocet as well as I could before swallowing, helping it into my
system by way of the mucus membranes in my mouth. The tablets
crumbled into a dry, bitter chalk, and I gagged as I tried to
dry-swallow. Tiny chunks mixed with bloody spittle flew from my
mouth before I clamped my teeth shut and forced myself to swallow
again.

Darvocet is the
name brand of propoxyphene napsylate mixed with acetaminophen. The
latter is your basic Tylenol, good for a sprained ankle but more
useless than a dead cat for beating back Vitala. In this case, the
propoxyphene was the kicker, the breath of life for my tortured
brain. It's a weak narcotic that binds with the mu-opioid receptor
agonist in your brain. Sort of a poor-man's Vicodin.

Duration: Three
hours, give or take.

Onset: Twenty
minutes. Give or take.

I was a walking
medical dictionary; it's what had kept me alive so long. But all
the knowledge in the world wouldn't make it any easier to get
through this next twenty minutes.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

IT CAME at you
first like an unexpected chill breeze on a warm day, the kind that
makes you wrap your arms around yourself and shiver involuntarily.
Most people never had a chance to figure out what was happening
before it was too late. Only the lucky ones, the ones already
ruined, like me, were able to defend ourselves.

I wasn't always
alone like this, not in the beginning. In the beginning, there was
a team. An unusual team, sure, but in our own way we were just as
strong as any handpicked cast of characters you'd find in a movie
about the apocalypse.

They'll never
make a movie about
us
, but fuck that.
This was real life. We didn't have a politically correct grouping
of racially appropriate stereotypes. We didn't have the funny black
guy, the smart Asian, the strong white leaders (a blonde male and
brunette female, respectively, fuckers). There was no marketing
team handy when the three of us clumsily managed to bash in the
gnashing teeth of our first halfy, some of us crying, one of us
laughing, all of us worried about going to jail for murder because
it was still talking to us and we didn't know that the world had
already stopped caring.

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