Authors: Ricky Fleet,Christina Hargis Smith
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction, #Horror
“Alcatraz this is Eastwood, come in, over,” he repeated, watching the onslaught of the corpses as they funnelled between any available gaps.
“Eastwood this is Alcatraz, its damned good to hear from you, over,” came the reply. They had chosen their call signs to reflect one of their favourite movies,
Escape from Alcatraz,
with Clint Eastwood. They increasingly felt like prisoners on the base, no requests to try and reach loved ones were granted. They understood the seriousness of the situation, but human nature was to protect those they loved.
“Thank God you are there. I never thought I’d be glad to hear your voice, over,” DB joked with corporal Bennett then got straight to business. “Requesting fire mission.” He double checked the laminated map in his hands, “Coordinates fifty, fifty, fifty-nine north, zero, forty-six, forty-seven, three west, over.”
The artillery crew recited the digits and asked, “What is the nature of the target, over?”
DB knew they had a clear picture of what they faced, they had asked it so many times in training the question was second nature. It was designed to ensure the right shells were fired, “A hundred thousand biters on our ass, go high explosive and give us some cover, over,” he shouted into the handset.
“Shot over,” warned Bennett, seconds later. It meant a howitzer shell was arcing over them, soon to impact the area that DB had cited.
“Shot out,” he replied.
“Splash over,” stated Bennett, meaning the projectile was five seconds from target.
“Splash out,” answered DB, taking cover.
The whistling noise of the projectile reached his ears a second before the ground erupted like a volcano, spewing fire and blazing flesh high into the sky. The explosive fire caused a heat wave to wash over DB and he shielded his face as much as possible. The smoking craters filled with the advancing horde which rolled on undeterred once they were full of crushed, struggling monsters. It had slowed their advance by seconds, though, which could mean the difference between escape and death.
“Fire for effect, over,” DB shouted, ordering them to blanket the area with everything they had.
“Fire for effect, out,” Bennett confirmed and DB watched in awe. The shells dropped into the tightly packed dead and blew them apart with righteous hellfire. Round after round whined as they fell from the sky, bringing a thunderous shockwave of force with each detonation. The zombies showed no concern as they entered the kill zone to be destroyed, the parts that were left continued to try and reach the survivors with whatever limbs remained. Houses that were directly hit scattered disintegrated rubble into the swarm, smashing bones and skulls
“Ceasefire. Immediately,” came the order from Lieutenant Baxter over the radio. Their hidden communication was at an end.
“Ceasefire confirmed, over,” murmured the artillery gunner with fear in his voice.
“Mr. Abentu. Mr. Jones. It seems your infection has spread deep within your fellow soldiers. Like all infections, it must be excised to prevent the transmission to others,” said Baxter without emotion, refusing to give them their assigned rank.
“Sir, we just wanted to help. They were going to see if the hospital was operational,” pleaded Bennett.
!” Baxter screamed at the soldier and even DB, as big as he was, felt his stomach clench in fear.
“Sir, it’s not their fault. I accept full responsibility,” DB said with as much conviction as he could muster.
“Oh, forgive me. I wasn’t aware that you were here, firing expensive ordinance at unassigned targets,” he replied sarcastically.
“Sir, I-” DB continued.
“Tell me where you are so that we can come and get you. I promise your court martial will be fair and any punishment carried out quickly,” Baxter offered.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that, sir. We are in the middle of a rescue mission,” DB growled back. He knew they would be shot as deserters for what they had done.
“In that case, Corporal Bennett, resume fire. North of previous fire mission by two clicks, over” Baxter ordered, which would mean the shells would land right on top of them.
“Sir, I cannot follow that order, over,” Bennett replied, barely a whisper.
“Soldier, you either begin firing, or face the same consequences as Abentu and Jones!” Baxter screamed over the radio.
“As you wish, sir. Over and out,” Bennett replied with resignation. He would not hurt his friends, no matter what he was commanded to do by that psychopath.
“There is nowhere that we will not find you, do you understand me?” asked Baxter now that Bennett had gone radio silent.
“With all due respect. Go fuck yourself, sir.” DB smashed his fist onto the top of the Foxhound and turned the radio off.
They had reached a section of clear road and pulled over. DB jumped down and started pacing like a raging bull, wanting to hurt something. Jonesy climbed out and came to see what had him so steamed. The family went to Kurt for news of what had transpired in the hospital car park.
“What’s up, big man?” he enquired.
“Baxter is going to shoot Bennett for helping us,” he said quietly, although he seethed inside.
“Fuck!” shouted Jonesy, “What can we do?”
DB thought long and hard. “Nothing. We just have to hope the others rise up and kill his ass!”
A lone zombie came through the undergrowth and DB ran over, raising a heavy boot and kicking it in the chest. The zombie fell and he jumped on its stomach, crushing the internal organs. He held its head and wrenched, twisting it free from the neck. It came away still trying to bite, until he threw it like a ball to split on the trunk of a nearby tree.
“Feel better?” Jonesy asked. DB just grunted and climbed back into the vehicle.
“Folks, we have to go, now!” Jonesy apologized, hating to break up the mutual support they were giving each other as they broke their hearts over the loss of Paige. They reluctantly parted and the convoy continued with the Chichester swarm in hot pursuit.
They passed the fenced off area that housed the huge gas holder. It towered over them, one hundred and twenty feet high. In the distance, the road was blocked with more cars. The artillery strikes had bought them time, just not enough. He called for Jodi to alert Jonesy again and they pulled over.
“We need to use that bomb,” said DB pointing at the vessel that contained millions of cubic feet of natural gas.
“Do we still have tracers?” Jonesy questioned, loving the plan.
“Yeah. What is safe distance do you think?” DB looked at the cylinder thoughtfully.
“Fuck knows, as far as possible. I think if we reach those vehicles we should be ok,” Jonesy pointed at the blockade over half a mile away on the straight road.
“Let’s do it,” DB cried out with excitement and they sped for the end of the road.
Pulling up with a screech of protesting rubber, the soldiers jumped out and loaded the remaining tracer magazines that had not been used while igniting the flats the previous night.
“What the hell are you doing?” demanded John. He was bereft and was taking it out on the men that had saved their lives. They ignored the aggressive tone and explained their idea to the gathered survivors. Peter remained with the Foxhound after passing out with the grief of losing his soul mate in such dire, unnecessary circumstances. That she had died to save Braiden was cold comfort to the group.
“What are you waiting for, blow the damn thing and let’s get out of here!” John said with frustration.
“Wait for it, wait for it,” Jonesy was watching the head of the column of zombies as it skirted the container that would be their demise. When enough had passed to ensure as many casualties as possible, he shouted, “NOW!”
The rifles belched out streamers of fire which drilled holes in the thick metal of the holder. The gas ignited as the oxygen mixed and the whole thing erupted, laying the high metal sides open like they were no more than a soda can. The mushroom cloud climbed into the air, lifting the huge roof and the ground was vaporized for nearly a quarter mile radius. Trees were uprooted and thrown aside like matchsticks from the concussive wave that threw the group to the ground. The heat singed their hair and they scurried into the armoured cars for protection. Nearly half of the zombies had ceased to exist, their dust carried away on the wind. The ones that remained walked through the cataclysmic fire that raged, burning themselves to a crisp.
“Bloody hell,” gasped Sarah, seeing what looked like the bowels of hell from the window. Heat waves distorted the scene and she had no difficulty imagining demonic entities running to and fro, inflicting more misery on the trapped souls that burned within. She waved her hand at herself, trying to cool the stinging skin.
They spoke through the windows, reining in their frayed emotions for now. The grieving would begin properly when they were secure and had time to reflect.
“What route do you suggest?” Jonesy asked, relying on the locals’ knowledge of the area.
“We go through Westhampnett, then Boxgrove. If we can reach the station, we could always try taking the train tracks all the way through to Arundel. Would these beasts handle it?” Kurt posed the question, eyes still wet from withheld tears.
“These fuckers are designed to withstand explosions, the metal tracks would be nothing.” DB was confident of their chances.
“Let’s go,” Kurt sat back down, pulling the harness and latching it.
The sound of metal on metal shrieked in the afternoon air, competing with the crackle and roar of the fire. They sat in their seats, silent and lost. The loss of Paige would affect them all deeply, not least the growing capacity for violence in defence of their loved ones. Or, in this case, vengeance for sins committed against the group. Jodi sat in her seat and refused to meet the gaze of the others, they had spoken no words of malice towards the actions of her ex-lover, but the guilt ate at her core.
Kurt stared at nothing, deep in reflection.
Peter slumped, still refusing to come back.
Gloria questioned God in her mind, unsatisfactorily.
Sarah and Sam held each other tight, ignoring the smell of burnt hair.
The others thought of better times, better places.
Only Braiden was smiling. He had gone deep into his own mind, planning the depravity he would inflict on Mike and Debbie when he got them in his grasp. He had nursed Paige back from catatonia, fed her, helped her to drink until she was capable of carrying out the simple task on her own. His thoughts flashed to the memories of her smiling face, the kindness of her soul, how she always had a way of brightening the lives of those around her. The darkness returned and their agonized screams echoed within the walls of his mind. It was a comforting sound. A good sound.
A note from the author
I hope that you enjoyed the second instalment of the Hellspawn journey as much as I enjoyed writing it. The worry for me as a father, is how on earth would I manage to move my family safely in an environment so unforgivably hostile. Every inch of the planet could contain danger for me and mine. I tried to capture the terrifying indecision as the survivors made their way towards their destination.
For those that want to see who makes it, fear not, book three is currently over halfway done and will be published before the end of the year.
Another project I have embarked upon is a demon series that came to me in a nightmare a few months ago. The first portion of terror is written and I will be aiming to release the, as yet untitled, first novel by early 2017.
For upcoming news about future books, info about contests and prizes, or if you just want to chat, please follow me on my Facebook page at
and on my publisher’s page at
and on Twitter @AuthorRickFleet and @Optimaxpublish
Ricky Fleet has been a lifelong horror fan ever since he was (almost) old enough to watch the original Romero trilogy. Those shambling horrors gave birth to an insatiable appetite that has yet to be sated.
After spending years working in the plumbing trade, he then decided to start teaching, passing on his knowledge to the next generation of engineers.
Born and raised in the UK, cups of tea are a non-negotiable staple of the English life and serve as brain fuel for his first love, writing.
With book one in the Hellspawn series receiving love from across the world, the second in the saga takes the action to a whole new level.
Today he shares his time between his real life students, and the students of the zombie apocalypse in his first series: Hellspawn. At least the fictional students do as they’re told. Most of the time anyway.