Jason Campagna: White Ash on Bone: A Zombie Novel

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Jason Campagna White Ash on Bone: A Zombie Novel
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    White Ash on Bone: A Zombie Novel
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White Ash on Bone: A Zombie Novel: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The story is set in my home town of Butler, Pennsylvania. Classically, the region is the heart of zombie lore. I grew up watching zombie movies that were filmed just down the road. It certainly can impact a young mind. The novel starts out on what should be an average day. A demented prisoner in the drunk-tank, who happens to be subject zero, is brought before a judge to have his case reviewed. He breaks away, and violence soon spills outside of the courtroom. White Ash on Bone follows groups of citizens who band together for survival as society breaks apart around them. This is not a story about living in a post-apocalyptic world that is already overrun by the undead. This is a story about trying to survive in the first days of the collapse. I really tried to capture both small and large scale events in the novel. For example, one group of survivors might be trying to hide out in a garage while another group is watching the military try and maintain a collapsing stronghold in Pittsburgh. I did not feel the need to make my zombies extra-ordinary. They move, some a little faster than others, but you won’t see them climbing up walls. What you get in the story is an ever growing horde beating in your front door. This is the first book of the series.

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White Ash on Bone:

A Zombie Novel

By Jason Campagna

From Bianca’s Diary

“There is something you need to understand about Butler, while our problems have not always been with the un-dead, we have certainly had problems with the un-living.  In Western Pennsylvania, the lack of sunshine gave some of our residents a gray hue.  On any given day driving around the city, it was hard to tell the difference between a zombie and your average citizen.  Seeing a ghoulish looking figure limping down an alley was a common occurrence in Butler.”

Chapter One

Donna thought of herself as a Saxonburg girl. Graduating from Knoch High School, she attended college at Penn State Erie.  All through school, she hoped to find work back near her home in Butler County.  After graduation, she took the summer off to travel in Europe with a couple of friends.

When the fun in Europe was over, Donna returned home and applied for a number of jobs.  Most didn’t pan out, but she saw an ad to work as a court reporter at the county courthouse.

The courthouse turned out to be an interesting place to work, on many levels, one of which was gossip.  You could tell someone a secret, and by the end of the workday, everyone in the building would hear about it.

Donna found this out the hard way.  She accepted an offer to lunch with one of the Sheriff’s Deputies.  Steve was his name.  This apparently ticked off one of the County Commissioners.  He had designs of his own on the young woman.

It didn’t take long before Donna’s boss, Rita, warned her to keep her legs closed when it came to men in the building.  Rita explained there were a number of girls around the facility who had gone down that path, and she didn’t want to be one of them.

Two hours later, Donna found out that Steve had made a bet with his fellow officers about how long it would take to get her in bed.  One of the deputies went so far as to make a flyer advertising the bet.  Donna picked up a copy of the flyer sitting on her desk when she arrived at work the next morning.  It was a picture of Donna walking through the lobby of the building.  The flyer read, “Will this beauty fall to the charms of the beast?  All bets 10 dollars.”

The next day, Donna posted her resignation listing an uncomfortable work environment.  She packed up her boxes and was headed out the door. Rita stopped her.  Donna was asked to visit the Chairman of the County Commissioners office.  When she arrived, the Chairman and the County Solicitor begged to make amends with her. They offered her a ten thousand dollar raise if she didn’t seek legal action over the bet.  Apparently, they had been down this path before.

The money would go a long way to paying off her college loans, so she reluctantly agreed to stay.  Her stipulation was that Steve got rotated to prison duty.

A month passed, and Donna felt better about work.  Steve’s punishment kept the sex addicts well away from Donna’s desk.

Then it began.

The blare of Donna’s alarm clock shouted in her ears.

Throwing her blanket back, she rolled over in bed.  She reached her hand out and silenced the villain on her dresser.  Today’s Wednesday, she thought.  This meant any case where a plea bargain was not met would likely go to trial.  Today was game day at the office.

Donna stepped into the shower and let the hot water pour over her skin.  Her spine tingled as her body adjusted to the hot water’s embrace.

Shower completed, Donna dried and straightened her dark hair. It shined in the mirror, and she gave it a final brush.  She cracked a smile, and waved good-bye to her image; this was a habit she had picked up as a little girl.

She skipped breakfast, grabbed her car keys off the table, and left her apartment heading straight to work.

All of the cases had settled out of court, so the morning turned out to be uneventful.  She had lunch with Rita, who gossiped with her about the homosexuality of one of the judges.  The judge had been caught several times dressed in drag around town, while his wife remained oblivious to his charades.

After lunch, Donna got assigned to cover an arraignment in courtroom six with Judge Henderson.  In the courtroom, Donna set up her typing machine off to the side of the judge’s bench.  She took her seat and picked a piece of lint off her black suit then waited for the festivities to start.  She could hear Judge Henderson and one of the assistant district attorneys talking.

“What do you mean you don’t know who this guy is?” the Judge said.

The attorney straightened his solid blue tie and responded.  “They brought him in last night.  He was standing in the middle of Main Street.  They said he was stoned so bad that he wouldn’t respond to the officers who picked him up.  We threw him in the drunk-tank, but he started attacking the other prisoners. The deputies isolated him, and today he’s still not talking.  We can’t hold him any longer without charging him, unless you sign off on it.”

“You’ll have to bring him in for me to see his condition,” the Judge said.  “I’m going to want him checked out by the hospital and a shrink.”

A few minutes later, four deputies escorted the prisoner in.  His hands were cuffed behind his back. Two deputies in blue uniforms flanked him, half guiding, half dragging him by the arms. To control his violence, they blinded the prisoner by covering his head in a black hood before removing him from his cell.

They shoved him into his seat.

Donna rolled her eyes in disgust. Steve was among the deputies.  He looked over at Donna and winked at her.

“You’re going to have to remove that hood in the courtroom,” the Judge said. “This isn’t the third world.”  The deputies looked at each other and the Judge with a bit of worry.

“I don’t want to spend the rest of my life finishing this proceeding, remove it now,” the Judge ordered.  Steve reached out to untie the cord that held the hood over the man’s head.  He pulled the hood off the prisoner.

There was a pale look to the man’s skin.  The prisoner locked lifeless eyes onto Donna.  “What’s your name?” the Judge said.  The prisoner kept looking at Donna.  “I asked you a question, and you will answer it,” the Judge demanded.

The prisoner tried to rise, but Steve pushed him back down.  The man turned his head to the right at Steve, and he lunged his face into Steve’s arm.  Steve screamed in pain and let go of the prisoner’s shoulder.  The momentary freedom was all it took for the prisoner to rise and hurl his teeth into Steve’s throat.

The other deputies pushed the prisoner to the floor.  Steve clutched at his throat.  Blood gushed between his fingers.  He tried to sit on a nearby chair but missed and fell to the carpeted floor.

A portly deputy, Randall Rodgers, tried to help Steve by applying pressure to his neck wound.  “Hang in there buddy,” Rodgers said.

“Clear the courtroom!” Judge Henderson ordered.  More deputies arrived to help secure the room while bystanders in the room tried to clear out.  Donna watched from her seat in shock.

Deputy Rodgers started wheezing while he tried to help Steve.  He watched as life faded from Steve’s eyes.  “Steve, come on Steve. Stay with me buddy,” he shouted. It didn’t help; Steve died. Rodgers hovered over the lifeless body.  He wiped sweat from his forehead and turned his face to tell the deputies.  They were continuing to struggle with the prisoner.

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