The new DEAD book will be out in September. I am well into it (you can follow my progress on the right side of this blog with my "Work-In-Progress" bars) and have a brand new vignette for you to discover. Here is the first (unedited) scene...enjoy!
Also, my Facebook author page (click and go see!) will now be the EXCLUSIVE site for you to find my giveaways. With audio versions of the Zomblog and DEAD series coming soon...plus some other groovy things...you may want to pop in and give it a "Like" if you haven't already so you can be in the loop.
Moab, Utah—“Climb, Cyndy!” Glenn screamed. He could do nothing but watch in horror as his wife started up the rope.
“Dammit, Glenn,” a female voice hissed in his ear, “I told you not to scream…you’re just bringing more of them!”
Glenn dismissed that voice—if he even heard it—as his sole focus was the woman at the base of the tree who was just now kicking the closest zombie in the face before continuing her ascent. The voice belonged to his sister-in-law, Melissa “Mel” Bird.
Glenn’s wife Cynthia was the sister of Mel’s husband, Kyle Bird. They had been on vacation in Chicago when the first reports of the “strange virus” began to spread. It had been his wife Cynthia who had made the joke about zombies.
“Like one of mom’s weird books,” she had said as they sat huddled in front of the television in their room at the Drake Hotel in downtown Chicago.
Kyle had not seen the humor in his sister’s comment. He had left the room and vanished for the better part of two hours. When he returned, he told everybody to grab their things. As soon as the questions began, he held up one hand to silence the room. Even Baby Xander, all of eighteen months old at the time, went silent. At a shade under six-and-a-half feet tall, he seldom had trouble getting people’s attention when he wanted it. The fact that he seldom wanted it made his demand for it that much more powerful.
“This city is going nuts,” Kyle said in his soft, even voice. “I snagged us an RV and we are leaving.
That is exactly what they did. For the first few days, it was not that terrible. Since then, none of them could remember a day passing when they were not terrified, hungry, or scared.
They made it as far as Utah when they had to finally abandon the RV. A band of lunatics had chased them for almost a hundred miles. Of course the idiots had been on motorcycles. Glenn had been behind the wheel and after sideswiping almost a dozen of the pursuing motorcycles, the gang gave up. Once they put another hundred miles between them, they ditched the rig and headed up into the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
Stopping along the way, they gathered any supplies that they could find. The hardest was scavenging things for the baby. The adults could force themselves to eat anything…but Xander was a bit more particular and seemed to prefer to starve than eat anything that did not pass whatever taste test he put it through with that first tentative bite.
The winter was spent in the foothills of the majestic Rockies. None of them wanted to risk trying to make it to the Pacific where they would attempt to work their way south and home to Palm Springs, California until the spring. It had been rough, but they survived.
Once they were confident that the weather was not too bad, they got moving. They had reached some suburb, not even sure of what state they were in, when they were caught in a nasty storm. Luckily, they happened upon what amounted to the most amazing and luxurious treehouse any of them had ever seen. The thing was built to resemble a castle turret and was connected to three others by rope bridges. Each was two stories high and furnished!
They had only intended to stay until the storm passed, but when Mel discovered a nearby home with a stocked pantry, they had killed off the few walkers and started to empty the place out. As was their usual luck, it had seemed fine until the last trip. From out of nowhere, what had to be over a thousand of the walking dead began to funnel through the yards and streets of this affluent neighborhood. (Herds were the reason they had chosen the tree houses over regular houses, they had been forced to abandon and run too many times over the past year.)
Mel had stayed behind with Baby Xander while Kyle, Cynthia and Glenn had gone to retrieve the massive haul. At some point, the three of them had split up in hopes that they could evade the zombies and get back to the treehouse without bringing the monsters to their current abode. Glenn had to be restrained to keep from going back down when he arrived and discovered that Cynthia was not back yet.
At last she had appeared…with at least fifty walkers on her heels. And she was limping. The bag of supplies was gone and she was clutching her left leg. Glenn could see a dark stain until she was almost directly underneath and began her climb.
Please don’t be bit, he thought in silent prayer.
At last, she made it to the landing. Kyle reached down and pulled his sister up with what seemed like no effort. However, when he set her down and all three adults saw the dark stain of blood on her thigh, Mel and Kyle took an involuntary step back. Only Glenn moved forward.“It’s not a bite,” Cynthia said between clenched teeth. “Somebody shot me.”