Timothy Long: Beyond the Barriers

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Timothy Long Beyond the Barriers
  • Название:
    Beyond the Barriers
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Permuted Press
  • Жанр:
    Старинная литература / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2011
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    9781934861950
  • Рейтинг книги:
    3 / 5
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Beyond the Barriers: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The day the world ended, Erik Tragger escaped to the mountains. Cut off from civilization for five months, he returned to find a ruined city now ruled by the living dead. Tragger joins a group of survivors with a plan: make it to Portland where humanity is carving out a stronghold. But along the way they face opposition at every turn—the dead, rogue military forces, looters—and a new enemy more dangerous than any they have yet encountered. Among the stumbling, mindless zombies are . The ghouls are living dead creatures that not only strategize and plan, but control their shambling brothers. Using their powers, the ghouls are building a living dead army to eliminate the last of the living.

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Beyond the Barriers

Timothy W. Long

Published by Permuted Press at Smashwords.

Copyright 2011 Timothy W. Long.

www.PermutedPress.com

Cover art by Zach McCain.


In Memory

Guy E. Meadows

1920 – 1974

The bravest man I never knew.


Acknowledgments

My awesome test readers: Mary Nilsson, Patrick Rooney, and Parick D’Orazio. My cheerteam: Theresa Labbe, Andrew Chapman, Melanie Strom, Chip Fehd, Jeremy Mahan, Julie Scott, Karen Standley, Jin Moore, Dave Hoffman, Steve Medaugh, Christian Willhite, and Maggie Sudduth. To all the writers, artists, and friends that inspire me: Jonathan Moon, David Dunwoody, Eric S. Brown, Rhiannon Frater, Jonathan Maberry, SG Brown, Wayne Simmons, Stephanie Gianopoulus, Tonia Brown, Stephen A. North, Jacob Kier, Matt Edginton, Lee ‘Goatboy’ Hartnup, Crystal Connor, Derek J. Goodman, Michael S. Garner, Ash Mearns, Bill Tucker, Chuck Messinger, Dan Galli, Zombie Zak, Eloise J. Knapp, Louise Bohmer, Luke (Evil!) Green, Marshall Popham, Moody’s Survivors, Robert Elrod, Stuart Conover, and Doc Pus.

“Carry the battle to them. Don’t let them bring it to you.

Put them on the defensive. And don’t ever apologize for anything.”

—Harry S. Truman

Part One

No one plans for the end of the world. They talk about it. They stock up on supplies. They practice what to do, where to hide, and what to eat. They build shelters and participate in drills. They draw escape routes, keep extra batteries, and gallons of water on hand.

They plan for earthquakes, meteors, volcanoes, and nuclear strikes. But no one guessed the true way humanity would come to an end.

Then it happened.

* * *

I had been watching the news compulsively for three or four days before it happened. I watched the stupid television so much that it put me off shopping until it was almost too late.

It was the weekend, and I called in sick on Friday so I could stay home and follow the developing madness on the TV. The media made a point of saying that people weren’t going to work. I was one of them, content to be somewhere safe while civilization fell apart.

I was low on goods, like fresh meat and vegetables. The bottom drawer in my freezer was filled with crumbs from some chicken crap that spilled out a few months ago. Smelled too. That freezer burn reek that never really goes away no matter how many times you clean the damn thing.

I dug out a half pound of ground chuck and tossed it in the microwave to defrost. Half an hour later, I remembered it was done, and formed a half-ass hamburger out of the meat and fried it in butter. An egg and ketchup went on top. Bon appetite. Enjoy the food, because it may be your last meal, was my only thought as I ate like an automaton.

I could have become a survival nut—boarded up the place, set up guns by each window on the second floor. That way, if one of those things, or my ex-wife’s boyfriend, showed up, I could blow their heads off. That would be a fine sight. Allison returns to beg for help from her former military husband, and I start taking pot shots at them. Maybe I could grow a long scraggly beard and run around in my underwear, shouting about the end of the world. Now that would be a funny sight. Sure to keep the scavengers away for a few days.

I’ll never forget the day she left. She took her shit and left a big hole in my chest where my heart used to be. “Erik,” she tried to reason, “it’s not you. There is something wrong with me. Something that all the counseling in the world can’t fix.”

In the end, I tossed her bags on the sidewalk, took her keys, and removed the one that opened the deadbolts on the house. Then I threw them in front of the car.

Her new guy just sat there like a lump. He had on sunglasses and refused to look at me, no matter how long I stared. She had to load her stuff in the back of his beat-up Volvo, and then he puttered away from my now-lonely house on a stream of exhaust.

I crouched a few feet from the little, flat-panel TV I picked up at one of those Christmas sales and chewed the food, barely tasting the lump of greasy meat. I’m sure it was great, but I didn’t taste a single bite.

CNN had a live crew in Portland, and they were following a pair of the dead things around like paparazzi. It was silly, yet I couldn’t look away from the TV. I should have changed the channel to see if there were some better coverage of the event, but I let it roll as a pretty reporter in high heels followed the dead things, with her cameraman close behind. In the distance, a pair of camouflaged trucks rolled by, filled with men who had large guns in hand. It was so reassuring to see them on the scene that I almost cheered, like my team was winning a sporting event.

Then the camera panned back to the reporter as she approached one of the dead that stumbled around like a kid in shock. The dead guy’s arms hung at his side, and his head was cocked to the left like he had a terrible neck pain and couldn’t straighten up. The back of his head was drenched in blood, and he was missing part of his side. I could see ribs showing under the ripped shirt where the skin was torn away.

A flashing message on the bottom of the screen advised ‘viewer discretion.’ The video should not be watched by young people. No one should watch this stuff. No one in his or her right damn mind. But watch it I did.

Another of the dead came out of the space between two buildings—a little alley that was littered with torn trash bags. Discarded objects lay in piles over which the dead woman stumbled, falling to one knee then rising again on shaky legs. A normal person would have grabbed her appendage in pain, winced or sworn, but this thing just got up and came on. I could see where the skin was broken from when she hit the ground. A fresh stream of blood ran down her pantyhose-covered leg and onto her expensive-looking shoes. She had a blonde bob, and was probably a looker earlier in her day. Now she was missing most of her bottom jaw, and one arm hung by sinew and strips of flesh at her side.

It was like a movie, and I wondered for the hundredth time if I were just seeing some crazy prank put on by my friends. I wanted to run up and down the street and find those responsible and beat them to a pulp. I had seen a ton of zombie movies, and they were, for the most part, enjoyable but unrealistic. At least that was my opinion up until then; now it had changed dramatically. I wanted nothing more than to go back and watch those films, knowing they were BS, and make all this real stuff go away.

The reporter was so focused on following the dead man that she missed the woman coming out of the alley. The reporter had perfect hair and a face made for television. She was tall and lean, and I could pretty much watch her talk about stuff all day. Then the undead bitch closed in on her, looped one arm around her neck, and tried to bite her shoulder.

The reporter recoiled in horror, stumbled, and, in a half-professional move, dropped one knee and flipped the girl over her back, onto the hard pavement. It was a beauty of a throw, and I heard the cameraman gasp. She didn’t look much like a fighter, but that move was perfect. She fell back, landed on her ass, and then stared at the thing at her feet. She scrambled back as it came to its feet again, slowly, like a drunk getting up from a bender.

That’s when the cameraman started shouting for help and the view went shaky. He said some words that would have the FCC calling in the morning, and then the screen was filled with sky as he apparently fell down. There was movement all around as a swarm of the things descended on him. The noise that came out of the speakers horrified me. The guy tried to scream, but either his mouth was covered with something or, even more disturbing, the attackers were tearing his face apart. The noise of skin being ripped off was the worst, and it sent me cowering deep into the couch. I wanted to run to the toilet and throw up, but I stayed glued to the TV. It was almost as bad as the day the twin towers fell.

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