Hey all, here is Chapter 1 from my new zombie horror OUTBACK. It is currently 99p / $1.37 on kindle. Hope you enjoy.
S W Cheshire
Ironport Regional Prison, USA.
It is thirty-seven degrees. Inmates of the prison wandering about their day, with hands in their pockets, looking down at the dusty burning ground, feeling the sun scorch their necks. The prison is located in Texas and holds some of the United States’ most dangerous convicts and criminal masterminds. Guards, scattered about the prison, are armed with loaded shotguns. The sunglasses on their eyes locked onto the inmates. It’s about ten miles to the nearest town.
Ticiano sat in the far corner of the sports court. He had a skinhead and tattoos up his arm. A blade was hidden in his back pocket, which he had carved out of some plastic he had found, and he had a small piece of stick in his mouth. He was inside for the murder of another gang member in a drive-by shooting that took place last year. He was serving a life sentence. At the age of twenty, he would not be seeing the outside of the prison for the rest of his life.
Ticiano looked down at the ground. He felt the sun burning his neck and sweat running down his forehead. He looked to see that one of the other gang members from the prison looking over at him.
“Are you sure you want to go through with this, homey?” Joshua McAllen asked.
“Got to, bro,” Ticiano replied
“He’ll kill you, bro,” Joshua replied
“No, he won’t,” Ticiano replied “I can take him”
“Bro,” Joshua pleaded
Ticiano looked up and over at Sotero.
“Yo!” Sotero called. “Ready when you are, bitch.”
Ticiano quickly got up, looking over at the prison guard. He turned away from the court. Now was the time to begin the fight and to take the prison. Ticiano got up, making sure the plastic blade was still firmly in his black shorts. He spat the piece of stick out of his mouth while looking into the eyes of Sotero. Sotero looked into the eyes of Ticiano, as the rest of the prison inmates began to surround them. The guards were not looking. The fight was going to begin. Ticiano advanced, his arms by his side and his fists clenched. He lifted his fists up. Sotero did the same thing, but then Ticiano felt a sudden jolt through his head. His heart began to race extremely fast. He put his hand on his chest.
“Damn, man!” Ticiano gasped.
“What is it, bro?” Joshua asked.
Ticiano fell onto his knees with his hand on his chest. “I…” Ticiano panted, “think I’m having a heart attack.”
“Don’t be stupid, bro,” Joshua said. “You’re, like, twenty-something man.”
“My chest,” Ticiano panted again
Ticiano fell onto his back. The heat from the sun was the last of his worries. He felt it burning his head.
“Hey!” Joshua called. “Guard!” One of the guards ran over to the side of the fence, looking down. He reached for his radio.
“Ticiano!” Joshua yelled. “Hey, man, stick with me. Think of your mom, bro!”
Ticiano continued to cough, gritting his teeth in pain.
The guards entered the yard staring at the two men as they were going to fight. “Everybody back. Now,” one of them ordered. The guards looked at Ticiano as he laid on his back. The sun beamed down onto his head.
“Knife!” The guard yelled
Joshua looked at Ticiano. The onlookers just watched as Ticiano closed his eyes. “Hey,” Joshua called. “Bro, think of your ma. She loves you very much, man.”
Ticiano closed his eyes. The people and the guards could only stare down at him. “He’s dead,” a subtle voice said.
~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~
It was 8:30 a.m. People were beginning their day. The roads were jammed with commuters as Officer Lewis Jackson, a Sydney-based police officer, stepped into the New South Wales patrol vehicle. He listened to the crackling packet in his hands as he sat down in the right-hand seat of the patrol vehicle.
“What you got today?” asked Bob Hudson?
“Bacon roll—the usual,” replied Lewis.
Lewis opened the paper bag taking a bite into the soft white bread roll. Bob watched as the food ran down the front of his clean, clear sky blue uniform.
“You like them, don’t you?” Bob asked with a smile.
“Oh, yes.” Lewis stated wiping his mouth. Lewis turned his head as Bob pulled out something from under the seat.
"What’s that you got there?" Lewis asked when he saw Bob had brought a small portable radio with him on duty. Lewis continued to eat the sandwich he had just bought at the bakery.
"What, this? My little friend," Bob replied.
Lewis looked at Bob as he held onto the small portable radio. "Your friend?"
"Oh, yes," Bob replied. "This has kept me more than amused on some days of duty here in Sydney."
"Amused?" Lewis asked.
Bob turned the radio on. "Let’s see what’s going on in Oz today; Juliana Reeves will be on in a minute, just for you."
Lewis watched as Bob tuned the radio. “Oh please,” Lewis pleaded, “Not that woman, please”
"Agggh, here we are." Bob smiled at Lewis as he finished tuning the radio.
Lewis watched as the tiny bit of roll fell onto his uniform.
"Good morning Australia," Juliana Reeves said. “This is Juliana Reeves with you on this fine summer’s day”
"Morning," Bob replied. “Your fan Lewis is here listening to you.”
Lewis smiled as he rested the radio against the window of the car.
"It’s 8:30 a.m., and it’s another beautiful day here in Sydney. After this small break, we’re going to look at your favorite Australian holiday hot-spots as the holidays are nearing. Stay tuned. I’m Juliana Reeves."
Lewis listened to the radio.
“I know what I meant to ask you,” Bob said. “How’s Gemma?”
“She’s very well, thank you,” Lewis stated. “Still tolerates me.”
Lewis finished the sandwich, looking out the front window as the everyday Australians wandered around doing their day’s business or leisure activities. Children were playing in the adjacent park.
“Oh yeah,” Lewis said “I’ve got something to tell you.”
“What?” Bob replied, still listening to the radio.
Lewis felt the sun heating the side of his head through the window. “You know I and Gemma were trying…” Lewis said.
“What? Oh, yes, I remember you saying,” Bob said. There was a small pause. “She isn’t?”
Lewis smiled at Bob, looking him in the eye.
“Oh, my boy,” Bob replied. “Give me a hug.” Bob hugged Lewis after he told him the news that his fiancée, Gemma, was pregnant. “Oh, I’m so pleased for you two,” Bob said to Lewis with a laugh. Bob sat back down into the seat of the car.
“Not long now for you,” Lewis said.
“’Til what?” Bob asked. “Margaret isn’t pregnant—not that I am aware of.”
“Your big day,” Lewis replied.
Bob had to think for a few seconds as Lewis looked at him. “Oh, my retirement,” Bob replied. “Yes, not too long.”
“What are your plans?” Lewis asked.
“Vacationing,” Bob replied. “Maybe move to the Gold Coast, away from all this city noise and life. You can always bring Gemma as well for the weekend—and the little one when he or she arrives.”
“I may do that,” Lewis replied. “I think she will need a break after all she would have been through.”
Bob turned, looking at Lewis.
“You mean you’ll need a break,” Bob replied. “What do you think about the new station?”
“I love it,” Lewis replied. “A lot bigger than the other; everything is run from there, is it?”
“Yep,” Bob replied. “Everything, even my paycheques, and soon retirement cheques.”
Bob and Lewis heard some static on their radios. “All units in the vicinity of Highbury Street,” the operator said, “please attend. Reports of a disrupted person”
“That’s us,” Bob said. “Let’s roll.”
Lewis clipped the seat belt in as Bob pulled onto the main road.
“Let’s see what Sydney has to throw at us today,” Bob said.
~ ~ ~ * * * ~ ~ ~
The onlookers on the Sydney street looked at the middle-aged man as he stood in the middle of the sidewalk, slowly creeping into the street. His head was down to the ground, and his eyes were closed. He was not making a sound. Bob swung the car around the corner of the dead street, turning off the siren. Only very few were on the sidewalk looking at the dazed individual. He was smartly dressed, an every-day man with his laptop bag strapped over shoulder, just looking down on the sidewalk, oblivious to his surroundings. Bob slammed the door with force, trying to capture the attention of the dazed man as he continued to stand on the side of the street. The man was still edging into the road and oncoming traffic.
"Well, he’s not asleep," Bob said, stating the obvious. "Come on, let’s go and see if he needs our help." Lewis and Bob slowly walked over to the man as the people sitting in the café chairs looked out across at the man just standing by the side of the street, looking down, unaware of his surroundings.
"How long has he been like this?" Lewis asked an onlooker.
"I don’t know," she replied. “I have just arrived. I wonder what is wrong with him.”
A waitress for the café walked over to Lewis and spoke to him. "I believe he works in the offices over there,” she said. “He buys coffee here every morning, but look—he has dropped it."
Lewis looked at the burst coffee cup on the ground as Bob approached him.
"Sir,” Bob said, “Can you hear me? Are you alright?”
The man didn’t reply, but he continued to breathe as if he was choking.
"Come on, sir," Bob said again, gently shaking the body of the man. “Let me help you.” Bob watched as the middle-aged man slowly started to lift his head after the gentle shake on his arm. The top of his shirt creased as he slowly started to open his eyes. His eyelids slowly opened, revealing a gruesome pure yellow where the once-black pupil was. Some of his skin had started to wrinkle as though it was dying. Bob looked into his eyes as the man just stood there.
“Shit,” he gasped. “Okay, sir, come here and sit down.” Bob tried to guide the man back onto the pavement. “Lewis, radio for an ambulance. It’s urgent,” Bob demanded.
“Got it,” Lewis replied. Lewis pulled out his black bulky radio as Bob tried to pull the man away from the street and onto the sidewalk.
“Sir, we’ll find you help, I promise,” Bob said. “Please, come away from the edge of the street. It’s too dangerous. Look. There are cars coming.” Bob looked at the man again as his mouth shot open before he could blink. Bob jumped as the man fell onto him, piercing his teeth into his neck.
“Aggghhhh!” Bob bellowed. “Lew— Lewis!”
Lewis looked over to the horrific bellow from Bob as the drops of blood dropped onto the ground from his neck.
“Get him off!” Bob pleaded. “Lewis!”
Lewis ran over, grabbing the man and ripping him away from Bob’s neck. Skin ripped from Bob’s neck. His upper-body strength seemed to have increased. Lewis grabbed onto the side of the man’s head, managing to pull him off Bob's neck. Bits of skin were stuck in the man’s teeth, as he fought to go back to Bob. Lewis pushed the man away, looking at the widening fear in people’s eyes as the blood ran out of Bob’s neck and down onto his clothes. Bob fell to the ground, choking as the blood gushed from his throat.
“Hey!” Lewis yelled. “You still hear me, Bob!? BOB!”
Lewis focused his attention on the wound on Bob’s neck as Bob struggled to breathe. “Where is that ambulance?” Lewis demanded into the radio.
“ETA: two minutes,” the controller called back.
Lewis looked over at the café and saw the scared onlookers as he struggled to hold the blood spurting from Bob's neck.
“Get me some tissue!” Lewis screamed. “Come on!”
The waitress ran over with a tissue as Bob continued struggling to breathe and the blood continued gushing from his neck wound.
“Come on, man!” Lewis yelped. “Please don’t do this! Come on, Bob!”
Something caught Lewis’s eye. He looked over his shoulder and saw the smartly-dressed man starting to get up of the dirty street. His eyes were still a yellow, pasty colour. He started scraping his foot along the floor towards Lewis. Lewis got up. His first priority was ensuring the safety of others around him. He ripped the black handgun from his pouch.
“Get back!” Lewis screamed. “Now!”
The onlookers watched as Lewis grasped his handgun. The middle-aged man was still slowly creeping towards him, his eyes still gleaming yellow.
“I said stay back!” Lewis screamed to the man. Lewis continued looking through the sight of the handgun, pointing it at the man’s heart. “I will shoot!” he screamed at the top of his voice. Lewis watched as the man continued creeping towards him, desperate to get back to Bob as the blood broke through the pure white tissue.
“Son of a bitch,” Lewis mumbled. Lewis squeezed the trigger. The golden bullet launched from the canister slamming into the chest of the man. The man stopped in his tracks. Blood penetrated his blue shirt. He continued standing there with his head down, facing the ground, with blood running out of the bullet wound.
“What the . . .?” Lewis grumbled. Lewis re-focused his attention as the man started walking forward towards him again, blood dripping now from his teeth. Lewis squeezed the trigger again, launching another round at him. The man fell back a few inches, still looking at Bob. He snarled and ran towards Lewis. Lewis didn’t hesitate; he squeezed the trigger again. The bullet flew through the air, slamming into the head of the man. The body froze, falling back onto the street. Lewis dove to the ground as the sounds of police and ambulance sirens got louder by the second.
“Bob!” Lewis screamed. “Stay with me, old boy.”
Bob didn’t respond. Lewis felt a slight pulse on Bob; almost all the blood had left his system. The ambulance skidded around the corner onto the road and pulled up to the street.
“Come on!” Lewis bellowed to the paramedics. “He still has a pulse!”
The medics sprinted over looking down at Bob, seeing the blood all over the ground. “Oh my god,” The medic said.
“Come on,” Lewis said. “Is he going to be okay?”
The ambulance was reversed over. Bob's body was placed on the stretcher. The back doors were slammed closed as the engine revved.
“Jesus Christ,” Lewis said. Lewis looked up to see Ben Crayfellow, a colleague in the New South Wales police—one he joined with.
“Lewis, what happened?”
Lewis took a few seconds to think. “He, he . . . Fuck,” Lewis said. “He just bit into Bob’s neck.”
“Bit?” Crayfellow asked, gasping.
“Yes,” Lewis replied. “Just pierced his neck. Blood was everywhere, and Bob was screaming for help. There was nothing I could do.”
Crayfellow looked into Lewis' eyes. “Come on,” he said. “Back to the station.”
Lewis and Ben walked to the waiting police car. Lewis stopped as the other officers pulled out the man’s wallet to see his driver’s license.
“Bradley Briggs,” the officer said.
Lewis didn’t reply as he stepped into the police cruiser, slamming the door shut.
https://www.amazon.com/OUTBACK-Stephen- ... n+Cheshire
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