Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead - First 4 Chaps

Guns, Rations, Rigs and the Undead – Chap 4

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Two days passed without incident. No sign of Patty or the white and gold jumpsuit. As far as he could tell the Sheriff couldn’t do anything without a body or the perpetrator, and Doug couldn’t answer Lincoln about the color of Burt’s eyes. Lincoln spied his neighbors continuing their weekly routine, the only difference was everyone getting home before curfew.

 

Electrocuting Wyatt made everyone think twice about gathering on his lawn again demanding he share his supplies and bunker. They tried to corner him into submission, and now he knows who to keep an eye on. The ones to shoot first and ask questions later.

Fear was slowly making it’s rounds, growing little by little until it turned into desperation to survive. His neighbors will gravitate back to him. It’s only a matter of time. Lincoln was fully aware that if he stayed in his house he’d have to shoot his neighbors. It’s a good thing he never made friends with any of them.

Peeping from the blinds he saw an empty street, no cars or people in sight. It gave him the confidence boost he needed to get away without being seen. If he’s going to run errands, now would be the time. Janice, a neighbor near the end of the street, sped by in her Lexus as the sky started to lighten.

Cracking his knuckles out of habit he checked for his wallet, watch, and gun, making sure they were all in place. An emergency pack was already in his midnight blue Land Cruiser, kept ready just in case he was out and needed supplies to make it back home. Several guns were hidden in a concealed compartment. He was ready for shit to hit the fan.

According to the prepper forums online, everyone in the big cities were being swarmed with the marines, armies and coast guard. In some parts, fences were going up. Rumor was to keep people out, but Lincoln figured it was to do both: to keep people in and certain people out. Dessarillo is small enough to be left alone—for now—maybe they won’t have time to infiltrate the tiny town.

The garage door squealed as it rose. Backing out onto the street slowly, Lincoln heard the hybrid car before he saw it. The stupid wheezing noise like it had allergies. Turning in his seat he couldn’t clearly see the head full of brown hair attached to the male in the driver’s seat, but he knew it was Wyatt. Wyatt’s the only one on the block that drives that piece of shit. Someone should have told him to buy a diesel, electricity will be hard to come by soon.

Houses sailed by as Lincoln turned up the street heading for an exit. He watched Wyatt turn in the same direction. He can’t be following me, Lincoln thought going straight instead of exiting. They both made a huge circle, passing all three exits, neither one of them taking one.

Lincoln decided to go around again picking random streets to turn on, Wyatt right behind him following conspicuously. On his way back to his house sighing heavily, Lincoln parked in the garage, he was surprised Wyatt didn’t follow him up the driveway.

At the curb, Wyatt turned off his car while Lincoln treaded hastily down the driveway to the locked passenger side door and tried to open it.

“I’m a little hesitant to let you in considering you electrocuted me last time we saw each other,” Wyatt’s voice was muffled as he bent down to look up at Lincoln through the closed window.

“When I go to your house, and demand supplies and shelter from you, I’ll let you electrocute me. It’s only fair,” Lincoln said sarcastically, narrowing his eyes in disgust as he pulled on the door handle again to signal it was still locked.

The doors unlocked and Lincoln got in on the passenger side settling in his seat before peering over at Wyatt, who had pepper spray aimed at him. Lincoln’s lip twitched out of irritation and the stupidity he was dealing with so early in the morning. He almost slapped the pepper spray out of Wyatt’s hand, but he didn’t want to risk Wyatt releasing it in the car. He failed to notice that if he tried to spray Lincoln, he’d also end up spraying himself since they were both in the enclosed vehicle.

“Do not make me regret getting in your car,” Lincoln warned crossly.

“What do you want?” he asked putting the pepper spray back in his pocket. “Were you searching for Burt?”

“No. When Burt shows up—if he shows up—I can defend myself. I want to get some chicken,” Lincoln admitted. “And I don’t have resources to waste. So I’m not going to take the time to lose you on my way there, and seeing that you seem to have all the time in the world to follow me around as you please. I decided we should take your car.”

Wyatt shrugged at the easy request, “If taking you to the store will help my family and I survive, I’ll take you wherever you want to go.”

“We’re not going to the store. We’re going to a farm.”

“Is that sanitary?”

Lincoln snorted, “I never knew you were such an expert at farming. Is all the meat you buy killed and chopped into pieces in front of you or do you just favor the death of chickens. If I die from bacteria feel free to use my bunker.”

“Don’t be an ass.”

“I really hate you,” Lincoln turned in his seat angrily to survey Wyatt threateningly. “I’m really tempted to use my own diesel—or knock you out and leave you on the side of the road. Because that would give you a reason to call me an ass.”

Out of the corner of his eye Wyatt caught a glimpse of Lincoln’s menacing expression and decided to shut his mouth. Traffic was sparse, even for their small town. They rode in complete silence, taking Sunset Road to the outskirts of Dessarillo. From there Lincoln gave Wyatt directions, the houses becoming further apart and acreages being plucked clean of autumn’s fruits and vegetables. White picket fences kept the horses and cows from roaming into the road as they chewed on the grass holding the land hostage.

The only difference between the dirt roads parting from the highway were the giant gates to prevent people from taking that path. The further they went the rustier the gates were until they disappeared and every dirt path seemed the same. Wyatt couldn’t tell the difference between them, but Lincoln kept his eyes open for one in particular. He kept an eye on his odometer and noted the time when Lincoln finally told him to turn. It took exactly sixteen minutes to get there.

The gravel crunched under Wyatt’s wheels as he slowed watching all the dirt float up into the air obscuring his view. He leaned forward in his seat attempting to spy the buildings up ahead. Trying to avoid the giant rocks, Wyatt focused on the dirt road until he could make out two separate structures ahead of him. A bright red barn, and a yellow farm house.

Lincoln peered at Wyatt in the corner of his eye annoyed by the man paying close attention to every detail. Squirming in his seat he noticed Wyatt’s uneasiness every time Lincoln brushed his arm against his gun. Lincoln turned his head so Wyatt couldn’t see the wolfish grin on his face. He took a moment to control his neutral expression and gazed straight ahead while pulling his Glock 17 from the holster, stuffing it under his thigh.

Wyatt hit the brakes hard making the seat belts strain against them. Clutching the steering wheel with sweaty palms Wyatt felt the color drain from his face as he realized they were in the middle of nowhere, with no signs of human activity and Lincoln just pulled his gun from his holster. Wyatt always believed guns were for the military and police officers, not for people like him, but he found himself wishing he had one at the moment. The pepper spray in his pocket didn’t even belong him. He bought it for his wife, Phoebe, and borrowed it this morning.

“I have GPS on my car,” Wyatt blurted out trying to keep the anxious tone under control.

“This is not a car.”

“What do you mean?”

“I would like to continue moving forward,” Lincoln said irritated but satisfied he scared Wyatt.

“Where are we?”

“Well we’re not there yet,” Lincoln pointed out brazenly, “because you stopped in the middle of the damn road.”

“My wife knows I’m with you, you can’t kill me and expect to get away with it.”

“While it’s nice to know that we’re both on the same page with me wanting to kill you, I can tell you that if I was going to do it, it wouldn’t be at a farm with witnesses,” Lincoln said smugly tapping his fingers against his thigh.

“But you took your gun out of your holster.”

“Yes, I tend to do that when I feel the need for protection. Especially when the dumb ass driving stops in the middle of the road on someone’s private property and they send that guy out to see what the problem is,” Lincoln cocked his head to a man with dark skin aiming at them with an AK-47 in his hand. What he didn’t explain to Wyatt was no matter where they stopped, Alfredo always greeted everyone with an AK-47 in his hand. Distrustful bastard.

“What do I do?” Wyatt’s voice was barely audible.

Lincoln stared at him in disbelief, “Please don’t tell me that you came all the way out here without a gun to protect yourself,” he said with mock surprise, savoring the fear etched on Wyatt’s face.

Most of the residents in Lincoln’s neighborhood weren’t born in Texas. Nearly all his neighbors didn’t own any weapons at all—if you don’t include a baseball bat. Only the people raised in Texas and the older folks had guns to wield if trouble came around.

Wyatt clumsily grabbed for the pepper spray mumbling nervously, “I’ve never needed a gun.”

Lincoln grumbled curse words under his breath calling Wyatt several names. “If you spray that inside this car you’ll only hurt yourself. When he gets here don’t say a word. Even if he asks you questions,” Lincoln commanded as a male with bronze skin and a ball cap waved them down signaling them to stay where they were. The man wore a long-sleeved flannel and dirt stained jeans with the AK strapped over his shoulder. He was holding it steady as he trekked forward, eyeing them suspiciously. Gesturing to the male outside, Lincoln had his hand out the window and yelled in Spanish, “Look like you’re mad and about to kill us.”

“What did you say?” Wyatt quietly asked for translation. He was trying to remember the Spanish words he learned in high school. He drew a blank, regretting his decision to trail Lincoln and watch his every move. He thought it was a good idea, so did Phoebe, if they mimicked Lincoln they had a chance to survive. Wyatt’s grip on the pepper spray began to hurt but he was afraid to loosen his fingers. It was the only weapon he had.

“That you’re not white just an albino Mexican,” Lincoln replied seriously to Wyatt in English. He had to keep his head turned away from Wyatt because he couldn’t stop the smirk from forming on his face.

“Oh it’s you,” recognition showed on Alfredo’s face speaking rapidly in Spanish, he frowned when he heard Lincoln’s voice, “I am mad and about to kill you. You made me walk all the way over here for nothing. I thought I’d get to use this today. Why didn’t you just drive up to the front? Is that weird noise coming from the car? It’s scaring the chickens,” Alfredo tapped his fingers on the AK mindlessly. “Who’s the other white guy?” He asked in Spanish. “Why does he look like he’s about to pee his pants.” Alfredo bent a little to get a good look inside the car before settling his gaze on Wyatt. He wiped the sweat from his brow with his arm, so he could see better.

“What-did-he-say?” Wyatt asked feeling vulnerable, the words running together. He refused to make eye contact with Alfredo, looking straight ahead.

“He asked what you said. Now shut the fuck up,” Lincoln answered Wyatt unclenching his teeth as he turned back to Alfredo. In Spanish Lincoln calmly said to Alfredo, “Wave your gun in the air like a crazy person and then point it at the white guy.”

Alfredo stood there silently contemplating. He gave a slight shrug before he waved his gun in the air yelling in Spanish, “Why am I doing this?” and then he pointed the gun at Lincoln.

In Spanish Lincoln calmly said, “Don’t point it at me. Point it at him.”

Alfredo rolled his eyes and in Spanish said, “You said the white guy, what difference does it make if it’s you or him.” He shifted the gun to Wyatt. “If I get immigration knocking on my door I’m coming to kill you and him.  I’m legal, but I had to smuggle in my grandma.”

Lincoln tried not to snort derisively and was glad his back faced Wyatt because he couldn’t help but grin at Wyatt’s expense. He put out his hands in a surrendering motion pretending to calm Alfredo down saying in Spanish, “I might need another order. My neighbors started panicking a couple days ago. I had to electrocute him,” Lincoln nodded toward Wyatt trembling in the driver’s seat.

Alfredo half yelled, half whined in Spanish, “My arms hurt. And I don’t know what the fuck you just said because your Spanish is horrible.”

“What’s happening,” Wyatt whispered barely moving his mouth. His grip was as tight as it could get on the steering wheel with the pepper spray hidden in one hand.

“Fine, meet us at the front,” Lincoln grumbled in Spanish to Alfredo. To Wyatt he said in English, “He said he likes white meat.”

“Can’t I get a ride? That’s a long walk back to the barn,” Alfredo asked in Spanish peering inside the car again his eyes bouncing to Wyatt.

“He wants to get in the car so he can take you to his boss,” Lincoln lied in English to Wyatt.

Alfredo understood English, but he didn’t bother to correct Lincoln. He figured Lincoln was trying to scare his friend on purpose and didn’t want to ruin the fun. The other man believed whatever tale Lincoln told him because he didn’t look well; he was extremely pale and sweating profusely.

“Is he a junkie? Did you bring a junkie to my farm? That’s not cool man. If he acts weird my grandma will think he’s possessed. She’s convinced the devil is living in a white man. She was convinced it was you for a while—until you told her you wanted fifteen chickens. Then she was convinced you were a blessing,” Alfredo said in Spanish.

“Is that why she always had a sandal in her hand?” Lincoln asked surprised in Spanish at the revelation.

“Yea, every time I excused myself it was because she was behind you with her sandal,” Alfredo confessed.

“He’ll let you get in but he has to move the damn car first,” Lincoln said grumpily in Spanish. Alfredo made sure he was clearly visible, waving to get Wyatt’s attention, gesturing to him to move forward, but the car didn’t budge. Shrugging, Alfredo looked to Lincoln for help.

“He’s waving me in,” Wyatt squeaked sitting frozen in his seat, getting paler by the second. Staring at the dirt road ahead of him, he contemplated moving forward or reversing to head back home. Every instinct screamed at him to go home.

The yellow house and red barn in the distance rippled in the sunlight making him think it was just a figment of his imagination. He scanned for signs of animals to convince himself it was a real farm. Fences poked out beyond the house, but the animals enclosed in the pen weren’t roaming openly for Wyatt to see. Perspiration beaded along Wyatt’s forehead until he was pulled out of his thoughts by Lincoln’s demand, “Move forward.”

“Something’s not right. We shouldn’t be here,” Wyatt said panicked, blurting the words out and looking in the rear view mirror. Nothing but land was behind him. He could easily reverse and getaway—unless the farmer starts shooting. And once he’s on the road they could easily catch up to him, as far as Wyatt could tell its only one road in and out with nowhere to hide. All the yelling probably alarmed anyone else on the farm of their presence. The man obviously doesn’t want us here, Wyatt thought, Lincoln somehow convinced him to let us through.

Too terrified to move, all of his thoughts paralyzing him, Wyatt froze with his hands on the steering wheel thinking of his family and how they’d think he abandoned them.

Agitation stretched along Lincoln’s face when he realized Wyatt wasn’t going to pull forward because they were still parked. In a swift movement Lincoln had the car turned off and the keys in his hand. The joke had worked too well and Lincoln didn’t want Wyatt doing anything rash like running Alfredo over or leaving him stranded here with Alfredo’s grandmother. He shifted his weight pocketing the keys and said, “You stay here, and I’ll go get my chickens.”

“You’re leaving me by myself?!” Wyatt’s voice went up an octave snapping his gaze to Lincoln because getting the hell out of there was no longer an option. His hands left the steering wheel and the pepper spray dropped on the floor rolling under the seat. He’d forgotten it was wedged between his hand and steering wheel. Dread spread across his face causing his eyes to widen as they flickered around unhinged at the thought of being alone and a target without Lincoln—without the gun.

“No,” Lincoln promised and then nodded toward Alfredo trying to keep a straight face, “He’ll stay with you and keep you company.”

Lincoln pushed the car door open and maneuvered himself out of the tiny vehicle only to bump into Wyatt causing him to fall back into his seat. Alfredo laughed at Wyatt’s enthusiasm making Lincoln frown wondering how Wyatt managed to get around the car faster than he could get out of it. Standing in front of him, Wyatt whispered quietly with his eyes closed, “Please don’t shoot me.” His back faced Alfredo with his hands in the air for everyone to see.

Lincoln grunted wiping the smirk off his face when Wyatt finally opened his eyes one by one to make sure Lincoln hadn’t moved without him. Wedging out of the car and on his feet, Lincoln started down the dirt path toward the yellow house not waiting for anyone to join him.

Tucking the gun back in its holster, he could hear the rooster calls and clucking, plus two sets of footsteps behind him. One set faster than the other and suddenly without actually, physically clinging to him, but getting as close as possible, Wyatt followed Lincoln down the dirt road with Alfredo treading lazily behind them.

Wyatt didn’t know whether or not it was safe to put his hands down, he did it slowly making sure they were well away from his pockets. Gravel crunched under their shoes causing the dirt cloud in the air below their knees. A few feet from the yellow house Alfredo sped up, walking alongside Wyatt. Wyatt refused to glance in Alfredo’s direction, afraid he might offend him, and cause him to point the giant gun in his face.

Lincoln took them past the house stopping only because he wasn’t sure where to go from there. Wyatt stood beside him and Alfredo stood in front of the two making sure he could see everything behind them.

“Are you going to buy chickens also?” Alfredo asked Wyatt speaking in English for the first time, nodding at him to get his attention. Wyatt’s jaw wanted to drop at the revelation. The man spoke English. Wyatt’s mind was churning over the conversations he had with Lincoln in the car, scouring his brain for anything he said earlier that might be offensive. Holding in a scream to plea for his life, Wyatt tried to find a way to respond, wondering which answer would be the correct one. Wondering which answer would get him back to his car alive.

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Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead - First 4 Chaps

Guns, Rations, Rigs and the Undead – Chap 3

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Underestimating Lincoln’s cruelty was a mistake they were bound to make again. He just hoped it wouldn’t be anytime soon. Wyatt gathered the group asking for volunteers to search for Patty just as the ambulance and police finally showed up. Lincoln wished he could hear the conversation. Several people quickly dispersed before the cop could question them, keeping an eye out while they rushed back to their shotgun or ranch style houses.

 

Most of them were renovated, not that Lincoln had been invited to see the before and after, he just knew by observation. Tile cutters, delivery trucks, painters, all things you notice on a street only the resident’s used.

Lincoln strategically bought a house on the last street because he could easily place every car on the block with the house it belonged to. So if someone new showed up, it would be obvious they were visiting. His street was only useful to the lost looking for a house in the neighborhood and Halloween trick or treaters.

The couch groaned beneath him as he tried to get comfortable again. The images of Burt and his smacking lips replayed in Lincoln’s mind making it hard to focus and his stomach roil. Getting to his feet again he crossed from the living room into the kitchen curving around the breakfast bar—the only thing dividing the kitchen from the living room—to get to the cabinets. He shoved the contents around until he found an old bottle of Pepto and took a swig.

Just in case, he took the bottle with him and settled back on the couch unable to wait to share the fiasco he’d just witnessed online. His finger hovered over the send button and then slid over to the delete key. He held it down watching the words he just wrote disappear. He had no proof. In fact, he didn’t see anyone recording the incident because they were all so absorbed in the gruesome scene. Good luck to whoever had to explain it to the police. Burt stole the only evidence they had, and he’s probably digesting it by now. The only other evidence is Craig, and he’s probably in the psych ward under seventy-two hour surveillance.

Going back to the task at hand, Lincoln started scrolling through his files. He’d been online every waking moment since the government announced its nationwide curfew. Several of his prepper groups were putting the members to work. Everyone picked one topic to research and posted relevant information on the forum for everyone to observe.

Lincoln chose to research diseases. He’d been doing it since his college years, before he became a prepper, so it was the easiest topic for him. An epidemic was his biggest fear. People he could fight, attacks he could survive, governments can be overthrown, but germs can’t even be seen without a microscope.

He followed every debilitating fiasco there was in the United States. Every new disease on the radar, he researched the symptoms for hours, keeping an eye on which areas it spread to. In a file cabinet, in one of his storage rooms he had information on the most recent outbreaks of the Zika virus and H1N1 influenza. Others were filed away, like the bird flu, Ebola, and SARs. The research fascinating him.

Only one sickness had interested him recently, several of the symptoms matching Burt’s behavior. The media wasn’t recognizing the strange occurrences as an illness. In fact, that’s why it caught his eye, because as soon as it had media attention—it disappeared—nowhere to be found.

Except on social media. One of the main reasons why Lincoln is so fond of the newfound way to communicate. Social media is the people’s news. Where the truth is streamed for likes and comments. Even gruesome videos are up for hours before the admins in charge of the sites take it down. Other antics might be taking place, but the live stream videos are hard to deny if you’re seeing it firsthand.

In this day and age, the younger generation will show you what’s really happening in the world in their specific city. Mainstream media can hide it, refuse to report it, but they can’t keep anything from the public eye anymore. Everyone has a smart phone with a record button, all they have to do is press it.

The recorded incident that caught Lincoln’s attention was filmed by the man who was brutally murdered in the video. He caught everything on a live stream video before his demise.

In California, both men were high on marijuana, filming their inventory of special snacks and weed. Squabbling over the order in which it should be eaten or smoked. It was a series of clipped live stream videos that Lincoln examined to see what led up to the aftermath.

As far as Lincoln could tell, the man who attacked just kept eating, until there was nothing left but his friend. The attacker ate everything, bread, sugar, spices, uncooked pasta, and raw meat straight from the package. It was a hilarious video until the attacker scarfed down the raw meat.

Lincoln immediately thought the scene had been set up before they started filming, he almost turned it off. The victim never bothered to stop the attacker from gobbling everything in sight, chuckling at the enormous newfound appetite, although, he did seem a little concerned once the raw meat was devoured in a matter of seconds.

Lincoln kept watching because of the attacker’s eyes. The last video in the series of the gruesome murder was the first video he saw, but when he started at the beginning and watched all of them consecutively, he realized the attacker’s skin had changed color and his eyes went from dark brown to milky white. It could easily be done with contacts and make-up, but the death was nationwide news. Conservative mainstream media thought they had gold, the headlines announcing: MARIJUANA INTOXICATION ENDS WITH A BRUTAL MURDER.

Before the admins and government took every single one of the videos down, Lincoln saved them to his computer with Dustin’s—his hacking, genius friend’s—help. The symptoms Lincoln observed had never been a side effect from smoking weed. Something was missing. The story didn’t add up and there was a huge backlash from the marijuana industry.

It was obvious people weren’t accepting the story and not long after the backlash, new evidence came to light. A new drug was found in the attacker’s system. Bath salts. The individual had an unnatural reaction to the bath salts mixed with weed in his system causing him to hallucinate and eat everything in sight, including his friend.

Cannibalism was a known repulsive side effect from the bath salt drug. A true toxin, turning Dr.Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. And while the news stations ran that dribble, more videos showed up online. Every few weeks another person was gnawing on human bones. More incidents were flagged by Lincoln’s algorithms that Dustin set up on his computer. The videos were always after the sickness had taken over. A random person being attacked, recording the weirdo following them down a street. Not just in California but in several different states, north, south, east and west.

Some were bitten, fortunate enough to fight off their attacker, the video dark for a few minutes while they struggled to get away. Sometimes bystanders aided the victims, only to be attacked themselves. Several injured showed off bloody battle wounds of torn skin and teeth marks. Long flaps of flesh dangled off arms and shoulders revealing muscle and bone underneath the massive amount of blood spilling from the lesion. Chunks of skin missing, leaving massive holes that can’t be covered by hands. Excruciatingly painful and too tender to touch wounds were often the reason why they ended the live stream video on their way to the hospital.

Other videos stopped abruptly. No evidence of them surviving the incident. Just a small glimpse of the danger before the video ends. Bargains made if they live. Broken vows and promises renewed. The fright and terror edging around a breathless voice. The slight tremor in cries for help. Piercing screams of horror mixed with the sounds of chewing. Nightmares come to life.

No claims of a hoax before the video disappears from the internet—never to be seen again without an explanation.

Videos have a way of resurfacing, especially if you search hard enough. To make something on the internet completely disappear—can mean two things: someone has a lot of money, or the government is meddling. Considering the vast distances between incidents, Lincoln had his money on the latter. Which made him wonder, what are they trying to hide? So he naturally became obsessed with figuring it out.

Dustin scoured police databases searching for police reports. He was searching for the rookie’s mistake. A human error because in every equation humans are the variable—unpredictable—and that’s how you catch a cover up. Dustin needed to find the police officer that would do everything by the book and file the paperwork before the government could interfere and replace it with a convenient story that matched all the others to keep people from panicking.

Weeks went by without another cannibal incident. Lincoln thought they had finally contained the disease when Dustin showed up on his doorstep one day unannounced. The paperwork all in order inside a thick folder.

It was the first time Dustin was allowed inside his house, and the first tour he ever gave. The highlight of the tour was the bathroom Dustin used after his two hour drive from the outskirts of Dallas, claiming the paperwork too important to mail or email. Dustin saw the locked doors leading to the guest bathroom and Lincoln gave the room’s names, storage room one and two.

Flipping through the police reports Lincoln started picking out symptoms he noticed popping up repeatedly. Most of them had recounts of a victim being attacked and eaten alive. The description of the attacker had very few discrepancies, gray-sickly skin, cloudy filmed eyes, and an insatiable appetite for human flesh.

Lincoln’s attention turned to the pile of survivor witness reports. He read through their accounts of the person hours before they attacked. Dustin had only managed to find three. The people infected seemed to go into a state of lethargy before eating everything in sight and turning to human flesh. Officers observed homes ransacked of food. Refrigerators left open, packages ravaged and left empty. In follow up reports the incidents were blamed on the drug bath salts.

If Lincoln had only researched one area he might have believed bath salts was the new addiction to fight, but the attacks weren’t isolated events. It was happening in cities all over the world.

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Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead - First 4 Chaps

Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead – Chap 2

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No one was within six feet of Burt except Patty, who now stood frozen with nowhere to go because she backed up into the rear of her car. Not able to think straight she held herself flat against her trunk trying to feign invisibility. Simultaneously, the gawkers took a collective step away from the car accident. Several parents hastily guided their children away from the bloody scene, while others glanced around trying to confirm what they just witnessed wasn’t some kind of sick joke. Lincoln heard someone heaving and gazed around to make sure it wasn’t on his lawn, spotting the person near the edge of his property.

Still on the ground, Burt chewed sloppily, a finger bone slipping in and out through his lips until an inevitable crunch made Lincoln shudder. Lincoln moved forward when Burt lifted his torso, shuffling his limbs until he ended up on all fours. He tottered back and forth trying to put weight on his broken arm, twisted in the wrong direction. Finally catching his balance, he flapped his broken arm around willing it to work to no avail.

The wrecked arm made Lincoln’s own throb, he couldn’t fathom the amount of pain Burt must be in—not that he was complaining or pleading for help. Spying Burt’s every move with revulsion, Lincoln waited for him to scream in agony from being hit by a car and discovering his broken arm—and probably bones only an x-ray can reveal.

No sounds of pain erupted from his throat. Nor a whimper. Tears didn’t pour down his face in silent agony. The only sounds heard from Burt were his teeth grinding the bones in his mouth. He didn’t even appear to be remotely uncomfortable. In fact, Burt eyed the red liquid leading straight to the treat he just snapped off two fingers from.

Craig was backpedaling away from Burt staring at the two bloody nubs on his hand, flinging fat red droplets at anyone near him. Shock and adrenaline kept him numb to the pain. The horror and craziness of losing two fingers had him moving as far as he could to get away from Burt. Craig’s back landed against someone’s legs and he erupted with a terrified shriek when he was hauled up by his armpits, losing the little color he had left in his face. It took a few minutes for his friend, Trevor, to calm him down. Finally feeling safe, Craig couldn’t rip his eyes from Burt, letting them fall to his stomach. He leaned heavily against Trevor knowing he wouldn’t be able to salvage the fingers he lost as they moved toward a vehicle to get to the hospital.

Burt took his sweet time getting onto his feet. First lifting his butt into the air, and then moving his legs forward before peeling himself up into a standing position.

Swallowing the remnants of the fingers, he burped before slowly assessing the crowd and snapping his teeth at everyone. His eyes locked on new prey, and shuffled in her direction reaching out to the closet person to him. Patty. Who’d left the safety of her car to give him a piece of her mind. Squeezing herself against the trunk didn’t make her invisible but she couldn’t find the will to move. Someone will save me, she thought, someone has to save me.

Her jaw dropped slowly, the color in her face fading and turning a light shade of green as Burt approached her. Finally reaching her, his fingers groped around her mouth for purchase. Hooking them downward, he gripped the lower part of her jaw as tightly as he could with his gnarled fingers and yanked her forward.

Screaming at the top of her lungs she tried to snap her head away but she pinned herself against the car and refused to move while Burt gravitated to her. Before anyone could offer her help, Burt pulled on her tongue and kissed her. Mouth to mouth. He turned his head from side to side like a ravenous horny dog that couldn’t get enough of her mouth.

Patty’s eyes bulged and her arms flailed at her sides as Burt landed a big wet one on her. Only when he came up for air, Patty’s tongue was being ripped from her mouth. His teeth yanking on the pink muscle as if his life depended on it. It slowly tore away, the blood gushing between them dribbling down their chins and showering their faces with the red liquid. Burt finally cleaved it from her and slurped it through his lips like a noodle.

Gargled, wet sounds pitched from Patty as her legs buckled beneath her. She clawed at her throat, spitting blood in order to clear her air hole. Burt never let the woman out of his sight as he dipped down with her taking his next bite from the side of her face. Ripping the piece of flesh from her temple down to the edge of her jaw, tearing it off midway through with his teeth. Patty’s high-pitched shriek suddenly ended because the woman had passed out from shock and agonizing pain.

Bedlam erupted. Everyone staggered in different directions trying to flee from the gory scene disappearing down the street, inside houses, or backyards. Burt continued to gorge on Patty. Hunched over and tearing chunks of skin out with his teeth. Being one of the last few out in the open Lincoln’s eyes widened, his line of sight clear and not clogged with bodies. Without noticing he had slowly moved forward and instantly froze, the sharp rotting smell enveloping him. Without a doubt Lincoln knew he’d seen this behavior before. Not in person, but online.

Hesitating, his feet shifted back and forth. He wanted to get a glimpse of Burt’s eyes, but he didn’t want to get any closer than he already was to the man. Between the odiferous smell and the skin hanging from Burt’s mouth Lincoln turned away feeling his gut threatening to revolt. Only one person attempted to try and help Patty. Whatever Doug was trying to do, Lincoln didn’t think he’d be successful. Doug’s mouth was moving but the words were drowned out by Burt chewing loudly with his mouth wide open, never bothering to speak or acknowledge Doug’s existence. Lincoln wanted to tell the man to check Burt’s eyes, but he didn’t want to call attention to himself, or give anyone the idea that he knew what was happening.

The only thing that interested Burt was the next piece of flesh he could shove into his mouth. It was obvious to Lincoln if they wanted to save the woman, Burt would need to be incapacitated. Lincoln’s hand swiftly fell on top of an empty holster. Taking a second to peer down, he panicked until he remembered he’d left his gun inside—so he wouldn’t be tempted to shoot the gathering on his lawn.

Rushing back into his house moving backwards—to keep an eye on Burt—he stumbled into someone as he pushed to get through his doorway.

“What the hell—,” he peered over his shoulder and found at least fifteen people staring back at him. “Who the hell invited y’all inside my damn house!” Lincoln growled furiously.

“The door was open,” someone spoke up but Lincoln didn’t know who the hidden voice belonged to.

Entering Lincoln’s house, there’s only two options: right or left. The right took you to the living room and kitchen, while the left takes you straight back to three different bedrooms. Lincoln grumbled and forced his way to the right sidestepping through the throng of bystanders invading his space that spilled into his living room. Two of his neighbors were sitting on his couch, one look from Lincoln and they stood up like he’d lit a fire beneath them.

Lincoln stared harshly at them until they squished themselves against the crowd by his door. Sliding over to his side table his hand wrapped around the Glock 17 lying on top of it. The people invading his space made an audible breathy noise when he lifted the gun off the table. His neck snapped in their direction but everyone had their backs to him too afraid to make eye contact.

Realizing he’d have squeeze himself down the hall and it’d take precious time to get to the door, he decided to exit through the back. He trudged out of his house and through the backyard. Peering in between the cracks of his fence he saw nothing but the small path that lay amid his house and his neighbor’s.

The gate would creak when he opened it so he did it quickly holding the gun out in front of him in case Burt decided to follow the noise around the corner. Grass swished beneath his boots, crunching with each footfall. He came around the corner of his house and scanned the front carefully aiming in every direction.

Burt had disappeared. Patty was also missing. A trail of blood traveled the length of the street before it took a different path onto Daniel’s lawn, the neighbor to the left. Lincoln followed the trail with his eyes, contemplating to pursue it. He was in no rush to shoot anyone, even if they are obviously deranged and cannibalistic. In this day and age someone would find a way to sue him. Good Samaritans always get screwed in the end.

Sighing heavily he glanced back at his house with the door cracked open and several people peering out at him.

“He’s gone. Better make a break for it before he comes back,” Lincoln’s voice rumbled loud enough to reach the stowaways in his house. No one budged. Lincoln lost his patience, fearing he might actually get locked out of his house.

“I have an itchy trigger finger for the last person who exits my house,” Lincoln surmised in a husky tone, glancing at the people shadowed in his doorway. Bursting out one by one they ran for it, some stopping on his lawn breathing heavily and some getting as far away from Lincoln as possible. The last person, Thomas, who lived down the street, ran for all he was worth not glancing back to see if Lincoln was aiming at him.

Holstering his gun, Lincoln slowly treaded to his empty home with the corner of his mouth tilted up. His hand was on the doorknob when Wyatt spoke up, “Are you going to help look for Burt? He could hurt someone else.”

“That’s why we have police officers Wyatt,” Lincoln answered annoyed.

“But he took Patty with him. The police won’t get here in time… ,” Wyatt’s voice trailed off before he finished the sentence.

“I was getting my gun while Burt took off with Patty. What was everyone else doing?” Lincoln questioned turning to face the few people brave enough to be outside. No one answered him. Everyone shifted their gaze in a different direction. “I find it funny y’all are putting all your faith in a man you considered fanatical not too long ago. I’ll make it real easy for y’all,” Lincoln said calmly putting his hand on the doorknob behind him. Opening and slamming the front door shut, he bolted it, and pushed a plug into the wall causing the device to hum. He watched in between the blinds waiting for someone brave enough to knock.

Desperation and fear swayed through the throng of people outside.

“What if Burt comes back and attacks us?”

“He’s just going to leave us out here defenseless?”

“He’s going to help right?”

“What do we do?”

Their questions and pleas for help fell on deaf ears. Lincoln was savoring the moment. He literally watched one by one, as the uncertainty of his help turned into crushed hope. Because they all knew, deep down, that Lincoln was right. Everyone easily made him the joke of the neighborhood. So if they could survive without him all this time, surely they can see why he’s unaccustomed to their existence.

Wyatt stepped up, and tried to keep the peace by telling everyone to calm down. Lincoln almost lost hope someone would try to tempt him back outside. Then Wyatt faced his house and walked up warily, his head held high for the people behind him, but the facial expression hesitant. Lincoln’s lips spread slowly into a grin across his face as Wyatt lifted his fist to knock on the door. As soon as Wyatt’s knuckles grazed the door he jolted. Shaking and squirming everywhere until he landed on the ground face first, nothing to break his fall.

The collective gasp was on cue as everyone’s eyes darted from Lincoln’s door to Wyatt flat on the ground. Wyatt mumbled into the dirt pushing himself up on all fours before slowly sitting up on his knees. After checking to make sure nothing was broken, he rubbed his shoulder slowly making his way to his feet.

“That bastard just electrocuted me,” Wyatt growled angrily stomping back to Lincoln’s front door ready to pound his fist against it. To Lincoln’s surprise Wyatt was smart enough to think it through, realizing he’d get electrocuted again.

“Lincoln!” Wyatt shouted annoyed, “We’re your neighbors! We need your help.”

“I find it funny I’ve been here for over ten years and you thought today would be a good day to be neighborly,” Lincoln replied loudly so everyone could hear him. “Maybe you should have tried it when you first moved in six years ago Wyatt. I might have been friendly back then. Better get back to your houses soon. The King of Rock and Roll has made his debut. Who knew it’d be in the small town of Dessarillo.”

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Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead - First 4 Chaps

Guns, Rations, Rigs & the Undead – Chapter 1

zombieIn the doorway Lincoln stepped out onto his small, enclosed porch, feeling the twitch in his upper lip turning into a scowl. The huge tree in his front yard towered over his house, blocking the sunlight so he could see the large crowd huddled together on his lawn and driveway. The space felt small with his almost six-foot frame filling it as he eyed each person. All of them avoiding eye contact like they’d come to secretly gawk at the neighborhood anomaly. He recognized most of them by name, wondering how long it’s been since he’s actually spoken to any of his neighbors.

They never bothered with him before. Always whispering behind his back. Calling him bat shit crazy. The kooky neighbor that came along with the neighborhood. Harmless, if you don’t bother him. But never an actual word said to him.

Within a few months of living in Dessarillo, Texas, his neighbors had turned his house into an ominous staple of the neighborhood. His street was the furthest back from the main road. The last block where both ends of the street swing around to take you back toward the main front entrance, a type of cul-de-sac. His little, brown house became the destination for all the neighborhood kids to pull pranks. The one girl scouts avoided when selling cookies, and invitations were lost the minute his name was written on the card. Not once, was Lincoln ever thought of in a friendly way. He wasn’t considered a neighbor, more like an attraction. The local gossip.

Breaking Lincoln’s train of thought a question rippled over the crowd directed at him. “What do we do?” it was a strong, take charge tone belonging to Wyatt. The conformed, heartthrob of the neighborhood stepped forward making his presence known, branding him the leader of the mob. Lincoln recognized the panic set in his amber eyes, as Wyatt squinted, flinging his hippie hair out of way, trying to hide the fear by a nervous smile.

On the lawn the others subtly moved inward trying to get as close as they could without invading Lincoln’s space. They wanted to be close enough to hear his advice, but far enough to run back home so they won’t have to stay and chitchat afterward.

A surge of energy making Lincoln’s heart pound made him flex his hand as icy rage built silently, threatening to crack through his weakening tolerance toward them. Each face a reminder of the ridicule he endured for years living next to them. Oh how he’d love to shout obscenities at them while brandishing his Glock 17 from its holster and watch as they trampled each other to scurry back home with their tail between their legs. Only the law stood in his way, but not for long. All in good time, he thought.

Wyatt spoke up trying to fill the awkward silence, “Maybe we should go over what supplies to buy?” Lincoln’s jaw clenched but he wanted to scoff at Wyatt’s question. The fury threatening to consume him as he kept it contained. You stock supplies before the panic; Lincoln kept the thought to himself with a smug expression. Allowing the silence to fuel the tension, letting their fear stoke the desperate situation they’ve put themselves in. After all, Lincoln’s only doing what he does best, keeping to himself. Something his neighbors thought was a blessing until now.

Everyone sat in denial. All the signs were there if you searched for them. Overpopulation, abnormal weather, new epidemics, the growing tensions between countries, all of it public information, and ignored. Lincoln stopped ignoring it after the horrendous attempt the government made to evacuate the city of Houston for Hurricane Rita. Panic and fear fueled from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina had the entire city fleeing.

Like the rest of Houston, Lincoln evacuated, only to sit on the side of the road out of gas and slowly dehydrating. No one bothered to stop and help, people were desperate to escape, giving into the primal beings we evolved from millions of years ago. Concerned for their own survival.

Hours went by as he walked in the roasting heat until he reached a gas station. They tried to charge him five dollars for a bottle of water. He drank it and said he left his wallet in the car, then offered to wait for the police with them when they made the threat. Price gouging was the bigger crime, and he easily called their bluff. In a feverish rage, he stole a gas container right in front of them, filled it up and left without paying for that either.

Back in his car, he didn’t follow the traffic out of the city. Instead he rode home in the opposite direction with the stolen gas fueling his car vowing never to be vulnerable again. The next disaster he’d have to endure, he’d be prepared. No one would be able to take advantage of him and he’d survive without help. He learned the only person you can truly depend on is yourself.

After hurricane Rita, Lincoln moved from Houston to north Texas settling in Dessarillo, where he’s been for over ten years. Shunned by his neighbors as a radical enthusiast, and asked why he wasted his time and money on things he’ll never need. The corner of his mouth lifted slightly, amused at his sudden popularity. It’s programmed in their DNA to survive. By any means possible. His extreme prepping lifestyle doesn’t seem so peculiar to them now. Not when it’s convenient to have him as a neighbor and they need his expertise.

Lunatic turned messiah.

“All we need is a little guidance on whatever you think is happening. The nationwide curfew can’t be for our protection, and I don’t know if you know, because you don’t have any children, but school has been postponed until further notice. Is an attack coming? How many people can fit in your shelter?” Wyatt was desperately trying to get Lincoln’s attention any way he could. All the information pouring out of him to ease the tension building on Lincoln’s green lawn that people were trampling. The man is scaring people by just standing there scowling with a glint of insanity in his eyes, Wyatt thought.

“The children should be taken in first,” a female raised her voice above the murmurs. Several people hollered in agreement. Snapping his head in the direction of the voice Lincoln’s lip curled in disgust. Yes, because I want responsibility of everyone else’s child while the world goes to shit, he thought. Continuing the conversation, they talked amongst themselves ignoring Lincoln and the repulsive expression on his face. Pretending like he didn’t exist gave the situation a bit of normalcy, and they grasped onto it like a lifeline.

“He can’t possibly take them all in,” a pretty woman named Camille spoke up making her way to the front of the crowd, showcasing all three of her children, one of them just a toddler. They were smaller versions of Camille with pitch black hair, and dark brown eyes with Hispanic heritage. Lincoln’s gaze fell to the littlest one because he could see the edge of a diaper and there’s no way in hell he’s changing diapers.

“We could have a lottery,” Wyatt suggested, “so it’d be fair, and no one would have a clear advantage. The children would be randomly selected.”

Arguments broke out about siblings staying together and adults staying with the younger children. From one person to another Lincoln’s eyes darted across the crowd as they debated who he’d have in his bunker. His bunker. The heat rose above his neck seeping into his face as he blurted out enraged, “What kind of ass hole makes children wonder whether or not they’ll survive with a complete stranger? And for that matter, what kind of parent just gives their children away to a stranger that they never completely trusted in the first place?”

He couldn’t quietly stand by and listen to them discuss who would survive in his bunker with him.

“You’re not a stranger,” Camille said softly, giving him a kind expression, the first ever.

They were all staring at him now that he actual spoke out. Surprised Camille knew he existed, Lincoln narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest in a defensive position asking, “What’s my favorite color?”

Silence.

One small voice spoke up, “It’s the Texas colors,” Camille’s middle child pointed to the steel sign with the Texas flag on it. It was nailed to the front of the house for everyone to see. Different types of guns bordered the flag and at the bottom it read ‘Don’t mess with Texas’. Lincoln was almost tempted to say ‘I’ll take that one’. He didn’t disagree with her because at least she tried. That’s more than he can say for the others.

“I’ll say this once, and only once. My bunker is exactly that, mine,” Lincoln announced in a voracious tone, continuing in a low bark Lincoln asked, “What makes you think I want strangers in my bunker? Especially other people’s children.”

A collective gasp. Stares of shock. Hands to the heart. Wide eyes. Jaws dropped. Distressed expressions. Lincoln’s boots never budged from the ground in cowardice as they judged him, nor did he avoid eye contact. If anything his expression became extremely arrogant at the thought they assumed he’d let people in. Not a bit of shame crept over him. He didn’t retreat inside his house or say another word to try to alleviate the shock of his words. Never in his life has he felt obligated to explain his lifestyle or decisions to family members, so he wasn’t going to start now with strangers.

No one expressed any interest in Lincoln’s lifestyle except to ridicule it. How the idea of him allowing people into his bunker came about he has no idea but he never offered or even hinted that it had room for more people.

Someone finally spoke up, “Because they’re children.”

“They ain’t my children,” Lincoln answered quickly his words lashing out like a whip.

“But they’re innocent.”

Lincoln snorted and in a sarcastic voice, “Really? So, your kid never played ding dong ditch at my house? And which one of you fuckers wrapped it in toilet paper? Not to mention the dog shit I find on my lawn.”

“Lincoln, now is not the time to be petty,” Wyatt softly chastised, the others agreeing verbally or nodding.

“Oh-ho,” Lincoln raised his voice and eyebrows in surprise, “so you do know my name. Is now not the time to be petty because it’s convenient to get my help? If the world wasn’t going to shit would you be standing here in front of me—let’s say,” he shrugged his shoulders and blurted out the first thing that came to mind, “watch a football game?”

Silence. That’s what he thought. Lincoln refused to be their patsy.

Someone groaned a strangled, haunted, animalistic sound echoing over the neighborhood. Eyes bounced around and necks jerked back and forth trying to pinpoint the sound and where it came from.

“Who is that?”

“Well now I’ve seen everything.”

“Holy smokes he’s still alive?!”

“What the hell is he doing in Dessarillo?”

“The KING is back!”

“Don’t be an idiot. It’s Burt, he dresses like that every Halloween, goes to the conventions in Las Vegas.”

“Isn’t he too old for that?”

Lincoln craned his neck over the crowd, and his nostrils burned from a pungent odor, the people around him also noticing it. Lincoln’s eyes burned trying to wave the smell away, someone is proud of that he thought. It lingered causing people to wander in order to get away from the nasty stench giving Lincoln a clear view of a man slowly dragging himself across the road to the meeting—he never agreed to—on his lawn.

“Oh hell,” Lincoln mused to himself, “I guess he was supposed to warm up the crowd before I came out.”

In a sparkly, glaring white and glittering gold, crisp jumpsuit, with oversized dark black sunglasses, and a black wig, Burt continued, crossing into the open road stumbling off the curb into the middle of the street at the same time a car came screeching around the corner.

Screams pierced the silent neighborhood watching in horror as Burt bounced off the car, rising like a star, the reflection of the white suit making everyone squint as their eyes lifted with him. Burt rose ten feet in the air and then belly flopped against the pavement. A puff of gold glitter showered down upon him ending the show for the night. Shocked gasps filtered throughout the throng of people, and no one moved for several seconds, waiting for Burt to signal he was okay, to give some kind of sign that he was still alive. Tires screeched to a halt. The noise snapped several folks out of a daze and sprinted to the scene to help.

Mouth wide open with her hands still on the steering wheel, Patty couldn’t believe she’d just hit someone. He was just standing in the middle of the road! Not to mention the damage he probably did to her car, she thought. Her guilty conscience soon evaporated and the more she thought about it, the angrier she became, quickly coming to the conclusion that the man caused his own accident. Pushing the thick lenses up the bridge of her nose, she narrowed her green eyes in the rearview mirror at the people amassing around the man in the road instead of checking on her.

Lincoln observed from afar, half the mob dispersed toward the accident in the road. He watched as Craig knelt beside Burt and checked for a pulse. Face planted on the pavement with his arm twisted the wrong way Burt twitched at Craig’s fingers. Everyone held their breath as Burt struggled to lift his head off the ground, turning to Craig’s touch. Relief flooded through the crowd at Burt’s movement knowing he escaped death.

Several people circled Burt kneeling around him covering the lower part of their face with their shirts, and obscuring Lincoln’s view of the man. Lincoln couldn’t hear what anyone was saying, he wondered if anyone had called for an ambulance yet. Shifting his gaze around, he took one step backward noticing everyone distracted by the accident. He could easily sneak back into his house. They had everything under control. Lincoln swiveled, had one foot over the threshold when the blood curdling scream echoed over neighborhood. Lincoln left his door wide open trying to shake the off the goosebumps on his arm. An icy shiver ran the length of his spine as he watched the people surrounding Burt immediately back away from him.

All the shouts and shrieks and chatter mixed together into a static that no one could understand unless you were standing right next to the person you were talking to. Only one person could be heard above the rest. Lincoln pinpointed the haunting sound by following the trail of blood. Craig had fallen backward, splashing everyone in the vicinity with the red liquid arcing in the air. His hand clearly missing two fingers.

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