Chapter 29-4: War of the Gods

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Apocalypse, books, creative writing, drama, Free Online Novel, free zombie books, Horror, horror fiction, killing zombies, living dead, monsters, mystery, novels, serial novels, Survival, suspense, thriller, Uncategorized, walking dead, zombie books, Zombies
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~~~

After entering the large crack in the wall at the back of the cavern, Frank led them into an enormous cylinder-shaped metallic tunnel which reminded him of being trapped inside the world’s largest beer can (without the brew). Large florescent lights hung down from a ceiling which towered above them. Bright lights ran the entire length of the tunnel as it gradually bent to the right. There was also a steady low humming sound that seemed to be coming from all around them behind the cold metal which vibrated when he touched it.

“What the hell is this?” Diane asked from the rear as Frank continued to lead them further into the futuristic-looking tunnel.

Frank had no words. He continued to scan ahead with his assault rifle raised, expecting more Shadow Dead at any moment. “Just stay sharp and try not to let this place distract you,” he told the hunter. “Things might get tight in here real fast.”

“I feel like we just stepped inside a UFO,” Stephen said, as he urged Meredith to keep up.

The older woman looked perplexed. “I can’t… I can’t sense them in here,” she said. “I know they’re right behind us, but it’s like some invisible force came right down and severed my connection with them. I’m not used to how quiet it is up here,” she said, smiling at Stephen and pointing to her head. “It’s… rather nice.”

“This strange tunnel must be doing something to our yellow-eyed friends, too,” Diane said. “I can hear them filling the cavern, but maybe their connection to Meredith was also severed. Might buy us a little time, before they wander into the back of the cave and find the crack.”

They cautiously rounded the gradual bend to the right and saw what looked like a door farther ahead.

“That better not be locked,” Frank said. “I don’t see another fucking tunnel coming up.”

Diane was the last to turn the bend. Before she did, she looked back and saw the first of the yellow-eyed dead entering the lit tunnel.

A former construction worker, still wearing his coveralls and a bloody hardhat, looked directly at her with his hate-filled yellow eyes, and hissed.

“Guys!” she said, raising her rifle.

They all turned.

The monster started sprinting down the tunnel toward her. She noticed four more appear behind it.

Diane took her time and placed a single shot in the construction worker’s forehead. It fell back and laid still. By the time she focused on the other four, there were now eight storming down the tunnel. “We need to move!” she yelled as she started opening fire on the closest demons to their position.

“Get to the door!” Frank told Meredith and Stephen. “Yell, if we’re about to be ambushed!”

They started moving.

Frank joined Diane at the bend and started firing as fifteen zombies were now sprinting down the tunnel toward them.

“Go!” he yelled at her as Diane just took down three of the dead.

She nodded and started moving, reloading on the run.

Frank expended an entire magazine taking down as many as he could. But the dead kept coming. He quickly reloaded his last magazine and turned to join the others at the door at the end of the tunnel.

“Can’t get it open!” Diane shouted as she slammed the back of her rifle against the heavy steel door.
Stephen was messing around with a base plate beneath a keypad. “It has some kind of sophisticated security system that requires a six-digit numeric code and hand geometry to open.” He pointed toward a narrow slit beside the punch pad with metal prongs inside of it. “Someone slides their hand in here, it reads their prints, and then the access code is required.”

“So in other words… we’re screwed.” Frank turned back and started firing at the first three zombies which rounded the bend.

And then they could hear them… all of them.

The collective cries of the heart of the frenzied horde echoed down the tunnel.

Both Diane and Frank had their weapons raised as Stephen tried desperately to access the security door.

“There’s nothing I can do!” Stephen said in frustration. “This door won’t open without someone who knows the damn code!”

Frank turned to Meredith and said, “If there’s anything left you can do… now’s the time.”

She looked at him.

“She can’t shut them down again!” Stephen said. “It nearly killed her last time!”

“I don’t have a connection in here anyway,” Meredith said, still staring at Frank.

He frowned at her and asked, “Are your damn secrets worth all of our lives? Again, if there’s anything left you can do… please… do it.”

Meredith let out an exhausted sigh and said, “Of course… you’re right.” The older woman walked up to Stephen and gently pushed him aside.

Both Frank and Diane were firing into the horde which started rounding the bend. They would not be able to stop them.

Stephen looked at Meredith with a puzzled expression as she inserted her right hand into the hand geometry unit.

“What are you…” Stephen watched the small read-out display above the numeric pad read: IDENTIFICATION VERIFIED. PLEASE ENTER YOUR CODE.

She ignored Stephen and mumbled to herself, “What is it… you old fool. And then her face lit up as she remembered a very old code. She typed in a six-digit number.

Suddenly there was a loud buzzing sound within the door. Stephen grabbed the metallic handle and turned it, opening the door.

“We’re in!” he shouted. He looked at Meredith but she refused to meet his gaze.

“Everyone inside!” Frank shouted, as he fired his remaining rounds into several exploding faces at the front of the mob.

They all entered the steel door and helped it close behind them just as the zombie horde smashed into the door and began to claw at it, leaving streaks of black blood and filling the tunnel with the frustrated cries of a hundred maniacs.

Frank and the others turned away from the door and found themselves in a very large room. They were all stunned to silence by what they saw.

“Where the hell are we?” Stephen finally whispered.

~~~

Charlie’s horde made quick work of the southern gate as a wave or rotting flesh slammed into it and easily knocked it down. Flesh-craving killers poured in through the gap as Micom’s soldiers tried desperately to hold them back. But there were just not enough bullets to stop the frenzied flood which quickly overwhelmed them. Blood, bullets and screams filled the air as the soldiers panicked and scattered.

And the dead began to feed.

The soldier who had fired first upon the horde, causing the end of the fragile truce between man and beast, had slipped away during the panic. He crept back to a narrow alley between two of the barracks and retrieved his backpack which he’d hidden earlier. The soldier slung his rifle around his back and then pulled a machete out of his pack. He took a moment to gather his bearings as he tried to pinpoint the direction he’d seen the little man with the sword take off toward.

Once he was sure Micom’s men were preoccupied with the dead, the man, wearing the uniform he’d stolen from the soldier he’d killed near the domes, departed the alley and headed east around the center of the camp until he found the little man standing near a large willow tree with several soldiers with him.

The little man he heard someone call, Copperfield, quickly barked off orders pointing toward something on the tree. And then Copperfield departed to return to his master’s side.

That’s when Marcus saw the half-naked and damaged red-headed woman hanging from the tree.

He waited patiently in his uncomfortable disguise, silently calculating the best way to kill as many of the soldiers as possible and successfully rescue Gina before Charlie’s horde reached the area.

~~~

Tony and Chris made it to the top of the cliff on the northern end of the camp and were greeted by the sound of many rifles going off. Both men hit the ground, believing they were being fired upon.

After a few moments, it became obvious that the camp was under some sort of attack as the soldiers who were watching the north perimeter quickly rushed off in a southerly direction.

Tony looked at Chris and said, “Looks like we just caught a break… although I don’t want to run into whatever’s turning that camp upside down right now.”

“Fence is clear, Tony,” Chris said. “How do you want to play this?”

Tony could see the north end of the tall barracks. He pointed toward the roof of the closest one and said, “Let’s get you up there and I’ll work my way in from the ground. Same plan as before, you cover my ass and find me a clear path the hell away from whatever those soldiers are shooting at.”

“How are we going to find them in there?”

Tony said, “I’ll find someone who’s willing to talk to me once we get inside.”

Chris looked confused.

“Relax, kid,” Tony smiled, “I can be quite persuasive once I get my hands on one of those fuckers.”

They moved toward the unguarded fence, completely unaware that the dead had already slaughtered everyone on the south side of the camp.

~~~

What was left of the soldiers who failed to hold the south entrance had retreated toward the western end of camp, hoping to escape the tenacious dead by splitting up the horde in the vicinity of the domes. Once the dead gave chase, they hoped to regroup on the northern end where re-enforcements would be waiting.

Charlie was not fooled by the tactic as he quickly forced his army to form a perimeter around the domes instead, trapping the soldiers inside while cutting off the new group of soldiers and forcing them back toward the east. With the number of guns quickly diminishing, Charlie was able to close in on the domes and allow the dead to come at the remaining soldiers from all sides until the dead were on top of them, devouring them in one collective heap of screams, severed body parts and pools of blood. The domes were soon splattered crimson as Charlie now had control of both the south and west ends of the camp.

He screamed off orders like a savage, feeding off the sights and sounds off the slaughtered as he pushed his horde toward the east… his need to kill every living thing, driving him forward as the rage would not let go.

~~~

Immediately after Micom had lost control at the southern gate, he quickly retreated back toward the center of camp. He knew what had to be done now and that this battle was over the moment his soldiers began firing on the horde.

Micom made it back to the general assembly area where several confused soldiers stood watch over Micolad.

“Surround the assembly area!” he shouted at them. “Keep the monsters away from Micolad for as long as possible!”

The soldiers started moving to form a protective sphere around the assembly area while Micom raced up the platform and stood before the machine. He frantically started typing on Micolad’s keypad, while staring over his shoulder toward the sounds of the angry dead which were approaching from the south and the west.

After he was completed, Micom stood back while the machine began chirping and beeping. And then Micolad spoke:

…THE CAMP HAS BEEN COMPROMISED… THE COMPOUND HAS BEEN COMPROMISED… SHADOW DEAD HAVE BEEN RELOCATED… FURTHER ACTIONS PENDING… STAND BY FOR FURTHER INSTUCTIONS…

Micom looked confused. “I was not aware that the Shadow Dead were recalled. What has happened?”

… INFECTED HAVE INFILTRATED THE WESTERN WOODS… PRESERVE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED… SHADOW DEAD HAVE BEEN RELOCATED AS PER EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS… FURTHER ACTIONS PENDING…

“Why was I not alerted to any of this until now?”

…HA… HA… HA…

Micom was startled by Micolad’s response. He collected himself quickly. “It doesn’t matter now. The experiment has been compromised. What are my immediate actions, as per Mother’s final instructions?”

…EXPERIMENT HAS BEEN COMPROMISED… STAND BY… FURTHER ACTIONS PENDING… PROCESSING… PROCESSING… SOLUTION REACHED… EXTERMINATION PROTOCOL IS NOW IN EFFECT… REPEAT… EXTERMINATION PROTOCOL IS NOW IN EFFECT… AUTO-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE REQUIRED… ENTER AUTHORIZATION CODE…

For the first time, Micom’s calm exterior had finally cracked. He looked extremely pale and frightened. “I… I… understand… auto-destruct sequence required. I will initiate the extermination protocols.”

Micom typed his authorization code into the computer turning Micolad, the savior, into Micolad, the destroyer, as the bomb went live.

~~~

Once inside the camp, Tony made a horrible call which almost ended their mission as he’d decided to try for the domes on the west side where he was once held prisoner. As he made his way around the barracks and entered the north end of the domes, Chris was already firing ahead of him as several fleeing soldiers ran straight toward him with their guns raised.

Tony had just enough time to jump behind a dome as the soldiers opened fire on the intruder, while also trying to fight off the dead which were on their heels.

Chris carefully placed two head shots in the lead soldiers closing in on Tony, which distracted the remaining soldiers long enough for the dead to seize them from behind.

Tony got to his feet just as a large female zombie attacked him from the opposite side of the dome. He raised his rifle just in time to shoot the woman in the face as it fell down beside him. Several more zombies were already coming around the other side after tearing the soldiers to pieces.

He had no time to shoot the first two which were almost upon him as two projectiles exploded out the back of their heads just as they were reaching out for him.

Tony looked toward the barrack roof where Chris was perched and gave him a grateful salute.

Chris stood up and started waving toward him and pointing toward the domes.

Tony received the message loud and clear. The domes were overrun with the dead. They were weaving in and out of the gaps, attacking any living thing they could get their teeth into as soldiers fired erratically into the advancing horde.

Tony had just enough time to retreat back toward the center of camp where he almost got caught in the crossfire between the soldiers guarding the assembly area and the hungry dead, frantically approaching. Fortunately, the soldiers did not see him as they opened fire on a large number of the dead which were pouring out of the edge of the domes.

Tony managed to duck down and crawl to safety behind the bleachers as he made his way back around the north end of the assembly area which was presently not being watched. The dead were coming up from the south, attracting the attention of the soldiers.

He could hear Chris firing rounds from the barrack roof, as the overflow of the dead coming out of the domes was starting to overwhelm the north end. If he didn’t move, he’d be trapped in the assembly area when the dead overwhelmed the soldiers.

As Tony crawled out from the under the bleachers, he caught sight of the devil machine he’d heard Samantha tell him about. It stood on a raised platform with a man standing just behind it.

That has to be Micom, Tony reasoned. He knew his best chance to get to Gina now was through this man, who appeared distracted by the machine. It’s now or never, Tony. Get your ass up to that platform!

Tony scanned the open area before the platform, saw that none of the firing soldiers were facing his direction, and then sprinted across the open area and around the back side of the platform. He quickly made his way over to where Micom stood, climbed up on to the platform, and easily crept up behind the man.

Tony wrapped his large left arm around Micom’s neck and pulled him to the ground. “Where is she?” he demanded. “Where is Gina? If you try to call out… I’ll snap your fucking neck!”

Micom surprised him when he started to laugh. “A little late for a rescue mission, friend,” he said. “Release me and I’ll tell you where she is… doesn’t matter now anyway.”

Tony let the man go but held his rifle up to his head. “Where is she?”

Micom stared at the big man as recognition lit his face. “I remember you,” he said. “You’re the one Samantha caught. As I recall, we never did have a chance to chat.”

Tony was getting increasingly concerned at how close the dead were getting. The soldiers were barely holding them back now. “Start talking, asshole. Where is Gina?”

Micom laughed and said, “Not that it matters now… but if you promise not to shoot me, I’ll tell you where she is… although there’s not much life left to save.”

Tony almost pulled the trigger, just to wipe the smile off the lunatic’s face.

Micom saw it in his eyes, held up his hands and said, “Okay, friend, calm down. If she’s still alive, you can find her hanging on my favorite tree over on the east side of the camp. You can’t miss it once you get over there… if the dead haven’t overrun the area yet. Now… leave me be. I’m no threat to you. As you can see, I have enough to worry about presently.”

Tony wanted to hurt the man… badly. But there was no time. “You better pray I don’t ever see your face again, asshole. And if she isn’t where you said… I’ll make you wish the dead had caught you first after I get a hold of you.”

Micom laughed again, tossed his hands up and said, “It’s Tony… right? Yes… I remember now. Well, Tony, I suggest you stop wasting time threatening me, and go save your friend. Time is about to run out on you, your friend, myself, and all these dead things feeding on my camp.”

“What the hell are you talking about?”

Micom rolled his eyes and said over his shoulder, “Micolad, could you make the countdown audible please.”
The machine behind Micom started to chirp and beep. It then said:

…AUTO-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE ACTIVATED… COUNTDOWN TO EXTERMINATION PROTOCOL COMPLETION… 25 MINUTES, 30 SECONDS…

“What the fuck is that?” Tony demanded.

Micom glared at Tony and answered, “That… my friend… is how much time remains before this whole damn wilderness preserve goes… ka-boom!”

Tony stared at the machine. He then looked to Micom and demanded, “Turn the fucking thing off!”

Micom lifted his hands and said, “Sorry, Tony, but that is not possible. I strongly suggest you get moving. Even if you manage to get to her in time, getting out of the blast range… well… that’s an entirely different matter.”

…COUNTDOWN TO EXTERMINATION PROTOCOL COMPLETION… 25 MINUTES…

“Fuck me!” Tony whispered.

The dead were almost to the assembly area as the soldiers started to retreat, firing whatever rounds they had remaining.

Tony gave Micom one last look and then jumped off the platform. He immediately headed toward the east side of the camp.

Micom watched him go, not bothering to alert the soldiers. He no longer cared about Tony, Gina, the camp, or even Micolad. He had one last mission to accomplish before time ran out.

He turned as the soldiers began to scream. The dead had breached the assembly area.

Micom drew his sidearm, stepped off the platform, and then headed toward the barracks.

…COUNTDOWN TO EXTERMINATION PROTOCOL COMPLETION… 24 MINUTES, 30 SECONDS…

~~~

Next Episode 29-5

Previous Episode 29-3

~~~

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 29-4: War of the Gods” Copyright © 2014, 2016 Scott Scherr. From the Novel “Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Three: Recruits”.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

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