Authors: Scott Shoyer
Tags: #Zombie Outbreak
Copyright 2015 by Scott Shoyer
Praise for Outbreak: The Hunger:
Every once in a while, some writer or critic will make the claim that horror’s true purpose is to shine a light into the darkness so that the obscenities lurking there cannot flourish in our own souls. Or some such crap as that. I call bullshit. When I was a kid, I gravitated to horror because it thrilled me. It made me say, “Wow, this is really cool!” Well, that’s what Scott Shoyer’s
Outbreak: The Hunger
did for me, and for that, I thank him. It has been way too long since I said, “Wow, this book got it absolutely right!” However, that’s what I did with
Outbreak: The Hunger
. I sat there, reading, with a huge smile on my face and the gooseflesh popping out up my arms. This is why we read horror. This is the dark gold we hope to find when we go to the bookstore. I wolfed
Outbreak: The Hunger
down. From front cover to back, I was turning pages as if they were on fire. Not only is it the kind of wild ride you expect from good old fashioned horror, but it is a zombie novel with a truly original take on the genre. I guarantee you, the story has not been told this way before. I envy you getting to read it for the first time.
- Joe McKinney, author of the Dead World Series
Present Day – Just Outside Austin, TX
He looks down at his watch as it turns 12:11 A.M.. Jason is dressed all in black and is carefully watching where he steps as he slowly approaches the Hudson Research Laboratory. Part of him can’t believe he is doing this. Sure, he isn’t alone. His friends from
Animal Rights First
are here with him. He just can’t believe he is physically going to break into this medical testing lab and free a bunch of animals. He keeps telling himself that he’s doing it for the animals, but deep down, knows he’s doing it to impress Lisa and show her how “hardcore” he is. Funny thing is that Lisa isn’t even here. She already had plans and couldn’t make it.
Jesus Christ, Jason
, he thinks.
What the fuck are you doing out here?
He looks to his left and right, and sees Sean and Vicktor. They never had any doubts about doing this “liberation.” He’s not solely doing this for Lisa. He truly cares about the animals, and the thought of those poor, innocent, defenseless creatures being exposed to God-knows-what kind of experiments gets his blood boiling. However, Sean and Vicktor take it too far. The way they see it, the Earth belongs to the animals and creatures, and human beings should consider themselves lucky enough to be allowed to co-exist with them.
, he thinks.
The group’s name is
Animal Rights First.
They approach the back entrance. This isn’t going to be some amateur break-in where they just smash a window, set off all the alarms, and have time to free only a few animals before the cops get here. Sean was their inside man in the lab. When they heard about the various tortures being done to the animals, Sean took a job there as a janitor, sweeping the floors and hosing out the cages of dead animals. He was physically and emotionally disgusted by the way these so-called ‘doctors’ were treating the animals. There wasn’t any make-up or shit like that being tested. From what Sean could gather, the animals were being injected with various strains of one virus. He had even heard the phrase “mutated strain” spoken on a few occasions.
“It’s probably some new fucking Botox strain,” he would tell us after his shift in the lab. “They’re infecting all those animals just so some rich cunts can get rid of the wrinkles around their eyes.”
Sean was only guessing the injections were Botox, but you could see how angry and upset he was after every shift.
“Why the fuck do they need so many animals there?” he would ask. “They have four different types of monkeys, rats, rabbits, dogs and cats, a fucking lion and tiger, and chickens. Why the fuck do they have chickens?”
He would rant and rave for a few hours after every shift. Jason couldn’t blame him. He didn’t think he’d have been able to watch those animals being tortured every day.
They creep closer to the back door. Last night, Sean was able to steal a key card off one of the doctors. He made a copy and then put it back in the doctor’s lab coat so it wouldn’t be reported stolen. They aren’t too high tech at
Animal Rights First
and Jason was surprised the doctor didn’t notice the fake key. They were probably too preoccupied killing monkeys.
“Everyone stop,” Jason whispers loudly, as he points up to the security camera. “You never said the back door was monitored by a camera, Sean.”
Sean looks puzzled. “Dude, I swear that camera wasn’t there last night.”
“Well, it’s here now,” Jason hisses back. He’s trying to think of a new plan on the fly, but he’s not some combat-experienced soldier. Jason works at Starbucks during the day. Devising a plan while ten feet from the lab isn’t his specialty.
“What the fuck are we gonna do?” Vicktor asks.
Studying the cameras, Jason notices they sweep from left to right, and aren’t that fast. “Look how slow the camera moves back and forth. If we time it right, we can run straight to the back door and the camera will never even see us.”
“Are you fucking crazy?” Vicktor asks. “I don’t wanna take that chance.”
“What do you think, Sean?” Jason asks as he turns to meet his gaze. “I think we can do this. We’ve come this far and there’s no fucking way you can go back to the lab for work tomorrow. They’re also gonna realize that a key card was stolen, so all the locks and access codes will be changed. This is our only shot at helping those animals.”
Fuck you, Lisa
, Jason thinks, smiling.
This really is about the animals
Judging by the look in Sean’s eyes, Jason already knows what his answer will be. “You haven’t seen what they’re doing to those animals, Vicktor.” Sean’s voice is cold and stoic. “There’s no way in hell I’m turning back now. I’m doing this.”
“I’m in,” Jason says. “Vicktor?
They both look at him.
“Yeah, what the fuck,” he answers. “Someone’s gotta help those animals.”
They time how long it takes the camera to make a full sweep from left to right. They have eight-seconds to avoid being seen.
“See,” Jason says rather smugly. “That’s plenty of fucking time. We’re only, like, ten to fifteen feet away from the back door and the camera doesn’t even look like it monitors the door.”
“Who’s gonna go first?” Vicktor asks nervously.
“Whoever goes first needs to open the door with the card key,” Jason points out.
Vicktor and Jason both look at Sean at the same time, but judging by the look in his eyes, he doesn’t want to be the first to go.
“Fine,” Jason says angrily, “I’ll go first. Gimme the goddamn key card.”
Sean hands over the credit card-sized access card. “What’s the code I need to push in after I swipe it?” Jason asks Sean.
“Swipe it and then punch in 092170,” Sean says.
Jason asks skeptically. “This lab is protected by a six-digit access code?”
“What the fuck do you want from me?” Sean says defensively. “I didn’t create the security here. I just stole the fucking card.”
“Calm down, Sean,” Jason whispers. “I’m not questioning you. It just seems like a really lame security system.”
This was all beginning to seem a little too easy. “Even if this lab was just testing out some new Botox formula,” Jason says, “you’d think they’d have better security.”
“If you’re gonna be a fucking pussy, gimme back the key and I’ll go first.” Sean seems to be getting very worked up.
“Calm down, Sean,” Jason says, matching his anger, “I’m not pussing out. I just wanna know exactly what the fuck we’re getting into. We all need to have level and clear heads.”
Jesus, fucking Christ
, Jason thinks.
I’m about to break into a lab with a hot head and a pussy. I need to find some new friends.
Jason watches the camera sweep to the right. Just as it is about to stop and sweep back to the left, he runs toward the door. Looking down at his watch, he sees that he has made it in six seconds. Jason swipes the key card through the magnetic lock and punches in the code.
He stops his mental celebration quickly.
There is a digital beep and then a panel to his left slides up. Now Jason is staring at either a handprint or retinal scanner. His blood boils instantly. He turns to make sure the security camera was facing away before running back to where Sean and Vicktor are.
“What the fuck are you doing?” asks Sean.
Jason pushes him up against the tree, hard. “Unless you have that doctor’s hand or eyeball in your pocket, I think you better shut the fuck up,” he growl.
Sean can see how pissed Jason is and meekly asks, “What happened? Doesn’t the card work? Fuck, did they already change the access code?”
“No, asshole,” Jason shoots back. “That code was only the first layer of security.” Then, remembering the outside camera, he corrects himself. “Scratch that,” he says as he nods at the camera, “the second layer.”
“What’s the next layer?” Vicktor asks.
“It’s either a handprint or retinal scanner,” Jason answers.
“How are we gonna get around that?” Vicktor asks.
“We aren’t, you idiot,” Jason replies, angrier than was necessary. “This has quickly turned into a cluster fuck, you guys.” to Sean, he asks, “Are there any other surprises we should know about?”
He is about to shout something back, but decides he has no ground to stand on. “How the fuck was I supposed to know about the scanner on the door?” Sean sheepishly replies.
“Well, for one, you could have watched someone open the goddamn door.” Jason rolls his eyes and looks away from them in disgust. He takes a deep breath to let his anger subside and then continues, “The way I see it, we have two choices: we either call it a night and go home utter failures, or we go break a window and try to free as many animals as we can before the cops show up.”
Jason looks at them both, awaiting a reply. “You guys are pathetic,” he says.
“Fuck you, Jason,” says Sean. “I was the one inside that fucking lab five times a week watching all those animals suffer. So I missed a few details. It’s easy for you to stand there and criticize.”
“A few details,” Jason yells back. “You call an external security camera and a handprint recognition pad a few details? If you focused on the bigger picture when you were in that lab and didn’t break down every time you saw a fucking animal being mistreated, you’d have noticed all this shit. Now we’re standing in it up to our knees. Fuck you, guys. I’m gonna finish what we came here to do.”
Jason picks up a softball-sized rock by his foot and starts walking toward the window next to the back door.
It all seems pretty surreal as the three of them hurl rocks through the window . Jason expects it will be loud, but Jesus Christ, it sounds like a shotgun blast. Once the window is broken, he doesn’t hesitate. He uses a rock to smash out the rest of the window and clear off the frame. Jason jumps through the window and lands on the broken glass. He doesn’t even turn around to see if Sean and Vicktor are behind him.
“Jason,” someone whispers behind me. “Slow the fuck down.”
“We don’t have time to slow down,” he yells back, not even bothering to turn around. “We have ten to fifteen minutes before this place is crawling with cops.”
Sean yells back, “For fuck’s sake, Jason, just stop walking and listen for a goddamn second.”
Jason is about to turn and lay into Sean again when he hears it. Well, actually, it’s what he doesn’t hear. “There’s no alarm. What the fuck’s going on?”
“I’d say it’s our lucky day, guys,” Sean quips back. “I told you all this new security wasn’t here yesterday. They must still be installing it. I bet that outside camera isn’t even being monitored. Now we can take our time and do this right.”
Jason hates it when Sean gloats.
“No way, Sean. Something weird is going on here. If anyone was walking by the lab when we broke the window, I guarantee they heard it. The cops could still be on the way.” Jason’s gut is telling him something issn’t right.
“Why the fuck isn’t there an alarm going off loud enough to wake the dead?” Jason asks them.
“Who cares,” Vicktor finally chimes in. “Let’s get in there and do what we came here to do.”
That is all Jason needs. “Sean, lead the way. That is, if you took the time to learn where the animals are.” Sean looks at me and is about to say something, but realizes he’s dropped the ball and turned this into one huge cluster fuck.
“Fuck you, Jason,” Sean finally says as he takes the lead.
They held their breaths as they walk past the security desk and as Sean uses the key card. He swipes it and punches in the numbers and they go right through. Sean is noticeably relieved that the card worked. They just might be able to salvage this liberation mission after all.
After walking down a few more long hallways, they get to the main lab where the testing occurs.
Five minutes have passed.
Sean is swiping the key card again when Jason asks, “Are you sure this is the right room?”
“Of course it’s the right room. I swept in here every day, five times a week, for the last month. Would you just get off my ass? I fucked up outside, but now we’re back on track.”
“But listen,” Jason continues. “I don’t hear anything. Shouldn’t the animals be raising hell?”
“They’re probably asleep,” reasons Vicktor. “Either let’s do this or get the fuck outta here.”
Vicktor is right. “Let’s do it,” Jason says.
Eight minutes have passed.
As the door to the lab swings open, the first thing Jason notices is how large the room looks and how deceiving it is from the outside. They must’ve built onto the room from the outside. Thinking about that really pisses Jason off. These scumbags went out of their way to make sure they had space to torture the animals.