|I love my logo!|
Okay, You have been warned. What follows is the opening scene from the 10th book in the DEAD series, DEAD: Reclamation. That scene will be a bit of a spoiler for anybody not up to date with book 9. Also, it lets a major cat out of the bag in regards to what you can expect from this 3 book arc (Books 10-12). Some people might not think it is a big deal, but my inner circle of confidants have all expressed that this is sort of a big deal (which is why I have kept it secret for so long...I have known this was coming since book 5).
So, if you want to be surprised in October and discover this "twist" for yourself...read no further.
Billy Haynes once told me that you can get somebody to talk just by leaving them in a room full of items that look like they would cause a great deal of pain. I hope it works.
“Is he secured, Thalia?” Dr. Zahn asked.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said as I shut the door behind me.
“Then you should get up to HQ. Billy is setting the roster for the next patrol. And don’t forget that your little brother is over at the garden. You are supposed to pick him up on the way home.”
“I know.” I sure hope I didn’t sound as annoyed as I felt.
My name is Thalia Rosa Hobart. I am little Stevie Hobart’s big sister…daughter of Steve, and I can’t remember a time when zombies did not exist.
“No activity has been seen in the La Grande valley for three months,” Billy was saying as he stood at the front of the huge room in front of the hell notated and hand drawn map on the wall.
“And when did the wind turbines around Island City get yanked down?” a voice from somewhere in front of me asked.
“Best guess is within the last two weeks.” Billy did not hide his grimace of annoyance.
Seriously, this was stuff that the rumor mill had been spitting out for the past ten days. Why would anybody ask that question? The only person that stupid—
“So why have we waited this long to send a team down?” Kayla Brockhouse asked as she stood up, probably so that people could see that stupid look on her face…and her boobs. She thought those were the answer to everything.
I fought the urge to yank her back down into her chair by that curly blond hair of hers that she grew out well beyond regulation. Just another example of how those stupid bumps on her chest acted like some sort of male brain damage inducer. Her squad leader apparently found his eyes unable to go high enough up her body to see that she had at least three inches past the collar. I wonder if zombies are that stupid.
Mroar…oh…you have boobs? Well, never mind then, I’ll go eat somebody else.
“Something funny, Miss Hobart?” Billy’s voice snapped me out of my daydream.
“Uhh…no?” Damn, had that sounded like a question?
He gave me a nasty glare and I patted myself on the back for not sticking my tongue out. Billy had never been the same since losing Katrina. She’d been on a routine security patrol a few years ago. Her team had never returned. There had been some frantic searching that revealed nothing. Eventually, Billy disappeared. He returned almost a month later…different.
It did not take a genius to know what he’d found out there. Still, he never talked about it…ever. At least not to anybody who might leak anything. I am pretty sure that he told Dr. Zahn. She would go to the grave with whatever it was he had said in those few days that he stayed in the doc’s office.
“As I was saying…” Billy gave me one more tight lipped grimace, and then continued, “…the reason we have not gone down there is because ZH-Seven was in the area between us and them.”
ZH-Seven wasn’t the largest zombie herd, but it did number well over a half a million. You did not want that crossing between you and home if you could help it. Herds were really the only thing about zombies that anybody was concerned about these days. In fact, most times, if you passed a single or a small group, you just ignored it. It wasn’t worth the time or the energy.
The reality was that zombies were still very dangerous. You only went head-to-head with one if you absolutely had no choice. The logic was that you couldn’t get bitten if you were not within range of their mouths. The hope that those things would fall over had long since vanished. Nobody could explain it. It defied biology (according to people that knew about that sort of thing).
“The route is now clear and we want to send a full field team down to observe only.” He really emphasized those last three words and practically shouted that last one.
There was a ripple in the room. We seldom sent full field teams anymore. That was a relic from the days when you could still scavenge from abandoned homes and such. Those cupboards had been bare for a long time. If it wasn’t already cleaned out, then it was well past its expiration date.
Full field teams had a six person squad with a full armament load out, two scouts, and a medic. We almost never allowed a medical person leave on a run. While the danger was slim, the mind set was that it was stupid to risk such a valuable resource. As it was, the first class had just graduated, swelling our number of trained medical persons from five to eight.
Dr. Zahn had put together a program and was in charge of making sure the medics knew what they were doing. She had help from Sunshine, a lady who knew her stuff when it came to herbs and natural remedies. Also, there was this lady named Cynthia Bird. She had been a veterinarian. Dr. Zahn relied on her a lot when it came to training—mostly because the doc did not have the patience.
The other two medical people in the community had been EMTs. One was this man named Greg Carrigan. Greg was one of The Immune. He had lost his right hand in the early days. He never smiled much, but he always had a nice word to say.
“The team will leave just before dawn tomorrow,” Billy announced. “Jim Sagar will be leading. The patrol list is posted. Check it on your way out. If you are on it, then you are excused from any tower watch you might have been assigned. That is all.”
Everybody got up and started for the door. I was falling in, ready to go pick up my brother when Billy called.
“Thalia, a word please.”
I sighed. He was probably going to give me a bunch of grief about not paying attention. He was always riding me and giving me a hard time. Sometimes I wondered if I had ticked him off when I was little and this was some form of revenge. I let everybody pass, but I noticed Kayla give me a nasty look on the way out. One of these days I was going to catch her alone…and when I did…
“I wanted to tell you instead of your seeing it on the board,” Billy said by way of greeting. You are on the team for this run.”