Brian Keene: Dead Sea

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Brian Keene Dead Sea
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    Dead Sea
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    Deadite Press
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    Ужасы и Мистика / на английском языке
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    New York
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Dead Sea: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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In 2003, Brian Keene’s revived horror literature’s dormant obsession with zombies. In 2007, Brian Keene’s knocked that obsession on its ass… The city streets are no longer safe. They are filled instead with the living dead, rotting predators driven only by a need to kill and eat. Some of the living still struggle to survive, but with each passing day, their odds grow worse. Some survivors have fled, frantically searching for a place to escape, even briefly, the slaughter around them. For Lamar Reed and a handful of others, that safe haven is an old Coast Guard ship out at sea, with plenty of water between them and the zombies. These desperate survivors are completely isolated from the dangers of the mainland. But their haven will soon become a deathtrap, and they’ll learn that isolation can also mean no escape!  Deadite Press is proud to present this Author’s Preferred version of Keene’s over-the-top cult classic, which includes never-before-published material! With another bleak vision of the zombie apocalypse, Keene makes a triumphant return to the still-thriving subgenre he helped revive with his 2004 debut (a movie version of which is currently in the works). Trouble begins when a virus infecting the rat population of New York City begins spreading among animals and humans alike—one bite, one drop of blood or one string of saliva is all it takes to kill its victims, within minutes, and instantly revive them as mindless, flesh-eating zombies. Narrating this grim tale is gay 30-something Lamar Reed, who makes a hair-raising trip through the carnage of zombified Baltimore before he and a small group of survivors manage to commandeer a Coast Guard ship and get it out to sea. Together, the eclectic group search the coast for a safe harbor; meanwhile, an endless parade of zombies search the survivors’ floating haven for a way in. Keene piles on the gory thrills as Lamar and his shipmates struggle through this diseased world, though they can be overly chatty at times (dialoging on everything from religion to Joseph Campbell). Delivering enough shudders and gore to satisfy any fan of the genre, Keene proves he’s still a lead player in the zombie horror cavalcade. From Publishers Weekly

Brian Keene: другие книги автора

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Brian Keene


Chapter One

I didn’t shoot the bitch until she started eating Alan’s face. Before this whole thing began, I’d never shot anyone in my life. Not once. I never held a gun until a few weeks before Hamelin’s Revenge started. Hell, I never even referred to women as bitches. But that’s what she was. And I had the pistol in my hand.

And I shot her.

Cue “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendrix.

This thing… this plague; it changed people. Not just the dead ones, either. It changed everyone. Changed me. I’m a different person now. Listen… you never know what you’ll do until you find yourself in an impossible situation, so don’t ever say never. Survival instinct is a real motherfucker, and when your back is. against the wall, everything changes. Everything. I know. It did for me. It all changed for me.

My name is Lamar Reed and this is the way the world ended.

It started with the rats. They swarmed out of the sewers about a month ago. Well, maybe swarmed isn’t the right word. Swarm indicates speed, and the rats were anything but fast. The first attack took place in New York City during the evening rush hour. Imagine it. Sidewalks bustling with activity, crowds of people rushing to catch subways and trains and buses, streets choked with gridlock, taxi-cabs weaving in and out of traffic, horns blaring, manhole covers clanging as trucks drive over them. And then, in the middle of all this chaos, the rats slowly crawled out of a sewer grate on Thirty-first Street and attacked people-climbed up legs, raked at stomachs with their sharp little claws, sank their yellowed incisors into cheeks and thighs and necks; anywhere they could find a soft morsel. The rats fed.

And the rats were dead. I should mention that. Wasn’t weird enough that rats attacked commuters en masse. They were dead rats-guts hanging out, limbs and tails falling off, and big, ulcerated wounds on their sides, infested with maggots. Rotting meat on the run.

Oh, we didn’t know it at first. I remember watching it on the news that evening. Sitting on my couch in East Baltimore, eating bologna straight from the package and ignoring the stack of overdue bills. Watching the news, wondering when the cable would get shut off for non-payment. Wondering where the hell my unemployment check was. The mail lady hadn’t brought it yet, and things were tight. I’d come up with some cash a few weeks before, but it all went to my mortgage. Like sticking one finger in the dam while three dozen more leaks sprang up.

The news caught my attention because of the fucked-up factor. Rats attacking pedestrians? Crazy shit. But when the first reports started trickling in that they were dead rats—not dead as in some frantic stockbroker flung one to the ground and stomped it—but dead as in the living dead? That shit was off the hook. People scoffed, the media pundits argued, and the authorities refused comment. The cable news channels carried live footage. MSNBC called it a riot. CNN speculated about a possible terrorist attack. I don’t know what Fox News called it because nobody I know watched Fox News. One thing that appeared clear was that nobody knew what the fuck was going on. New York’s hospitals filled up with wounded pedestrians. Most of them suffered from bites, and others had been injured in the chaos that followed—trampled on as people fled. A few suffered heart attacks brought on by the stress. The people who’d been bitten got real sick. Then died. Then came back. Just like the rats.

They were dead, but they still came back.

The media called it Hamelin’s Revenge. They came up with the name almost immediately. Hamelin’s Revenge: the return of the rats the Pied Piper was hired to get rid of. But in that old story, when the mayor refused to pay, Hamelin—the Pied Piper—came up with another plan. That’s how they spun it, anyway. Seems nobody bothered to tell the media that Hamelin was the name of the town, not the Piper himself. But that didn’t matter. In their version, Hamelin’s Revenge was when the Piper decided to get even. He took all the kids away and returned the rats to the village. Now the fairy tale had come true. The rats returned all right. And hell followed with them. Just like the Bible verse or the song. Hell.

By midnight, New York City’s hospitals became slaughterhouses. Like I said, the infected died, and then came back. And they came back hungry, man. Zombies. The White House press secretary actually used the word during a news conference. Until then, the media were calling the attackers cannibals. But after the government confirmed it, zombie was the buzzword. They attacked the living just like the rats had done. They bit and clawed and fed, gorging themselves on the flesh of the living. The victims who managed to escape got sick with Hamelin’s Revenge a few hours later, just like their attackers had. Then they died and came back. And the ones that got ripped to pieces, the ones who ended up (for the most part) inside the zombie’s bellies? What was left of them came back, too. They didn’t need arms or legs or internal organs. As long as there was a brain left attached, something to control the motor function and impulses, the remains came back. A CNN anchor actually walked away from the news desk after they showed footage of an armless corpse wandering the streets, trailing intestines behind it like a dog leash. You could hear her sobbing off camera, and some producer or technician begging her to go back on the air. She never did.

The chaos spread throughout the five boroughs. By dawn, the National Guard locked down New York City and quarantined everything. Blockaded the bridges and tunnels and left folks to die. A few soldiers even fired on civilians as they were trying to escape. Gunned them down in the dawn’s early light. It was for the good of the country, the media assured us. New York was a biohazard area. Nobody could get in or out. But Hamelin’s Revenge managed to escape. Hamelin’s Revenge said “Fuck you” to the barricades and armed guardsmen and quarantine signs. The disease raced like a California brushfire. Cases popped up in Newark, Delaware; then Trenton, New Jersey; and then on to Philadelphia. By the next evening, it had arrived here in Baltimore. Martial law was declared nationwide and the army was mobilized. That was like pouring perfume on a pig. The troops were good at killing zombies, but they couldn’t shoot a disease. All it took was one bite from an infected mouth. And you could get it even if you weren’t bitten. One drop of blood sprayed from a bullet’s exit wound. Pus from an open sore splattering on you as a zombie attacked. Inhale it or ingest it; get it on your lips or in your eye and that was it. Say good-bye. You got sick. You died. You returned. Folks that died from heart attacks or cancer or stabbings or car wrecks—they stayed dead. But anyone who came into direct contact with the zombies—anyone who managed to get infected—joined the ranks of the living dead.

And those ranks swelled quickly. First the rats. Then people. The disease jumped to dogs and cats in the second week. Other animals, too. They said on television that a cow attacked an Amish farmer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It sounds kind of funny until you think about it for too long. Then it just becomes a mind-fuck. Zombie cattle… this time the hamburger eats you—starring Lou Diamond Phillips and Mr. T. Sounded like a really bad Sci-Fi Channel movie.

Elsewhere, a pack of dead coyotes ripped a mother and her baby to shreds in the Hollywood hills. Gruesome shit. A herd of zombie goats devoured ranch hands in Montana. An undead bear caused chaos on the Ohio turnpike. At least the disease didn’t spread to the birds. If it had, well… for years we’d worried about the avian flu. The idea of birds spreading Hamelin’s Revenge was terrifying, because birds are everywhere. No matter where you go, there are birds. Ain’t anywhere you can run where a bird can’t find your ass. The birds didn’t catch it, at least that we’d seen, but many other animals did. Not all of them, but enough. Sheep caught it, but not pigs. Horses were immune, but cattle were not. Apes—death equaled zombie. Deer—their deaths were old school.

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