Read Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined Online

Authors: Ricky Cooper

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

Designated (Book 2): Designated Quarantined (9 page)

We are now as a nation in a state of national crisis. All measures detailed in the crisis packs issued are in full effect. We ask you—the people—to see us through this. Do not let anyone inside your home for any reason unless they are police or military personnel with full identification. Do not break curfew for any reason.

Should you see anyone with any of the symptoms described in your packs, do not approach them. Do not make contact. Do not allow them inside your residence or place of business. Keep them away from your children. Activate the personal locator alarms; they will alert the police or military in your area and they will deal with them immediately.

 

We will overcome this, we will prevail, and we will, as a nation, survive.'
 

Hawk stared at the black cube on the wall for several minutes as the bead in his ear barked and screamed at him.
 

'Fuck that noise; we're leaving.' Stabbing at his throat mike, Hawk bellowed out a call.

'
Rook, Patterson, anyone, come back.'
 

Patterson's breathless voice seeped through him as he listened. Biting his lip, Hawk kicked open the ward doors, firing from the hip as three Infected launched themselves at him.

 

 

'Hawk, we're almost at the roof. The place is a mess. There is no one left that hasn't been Infected; if there are, we can't find them. We're bugging out. See you at the evac.'
 

With that, Hawk's bead fell silent as he sent his boot into the face of another Infected.
 

'Sooker, Carlstook, punch a hole; we are getting the fuck out of here. They can glass this place for all I fucking care. I am not losing another home to the fucking things.'
 

He slammed the butt of his weapon into the screaming face of another Infected hospital worker; its forehead crumpled as Hawk turned the hot caustic fluids glistening in the air as he sprinted to the corner of the corridor.
 

****

 

'Fuck, fuck, fuck!' Rook's shoulder screamed at him as he hobbled alongside Patterson, his good arm looped over the man's shoulders as he was all but dragged along. The wailing roar of two dozen enraged Infected washed over them as they dodged and ducked, flailing arms and leaping bodies passing mere millimetres from them as the rest of the team fired mercilessly into the undulating horde about them.
 

'What the... shit!'
 

Token's semi-girlish cry echoed back to them as a screaming form threw itself at him. Lifting his weapon, he kept his finger on the trigger as he guided the screaming, blood-splattered form over his head. He ejected his magazine as he brought his weapon down, swinging it out on its sling into the face of another Infected as he pulled a fresh magazine from his rig. He felt the magazine click home as he lifted the weapon once more to his shoulder.

 

'Fuck you.' Walters slid forwards on one knee, the toe of his left boot sending glass shards spraying about him as he ducked. Pushing back up to his feet, he continued to run, a cone of orange-tinted death leaping forwards as he fired.

 

Jabbing his weapon forwards, he lodged the glowing barrel into the mouth of an Infected. The stench of hot flesh pervaded his nostrils as the barrel melted the back of the man's throat. Squeezing the trigger once more, Walters watched the back of the man's head explode in a blossoming spray of glimmering red droplets. With a strength driven by his need to live just one more day, he lifted the lifeless lump of flesh from the floor and charged forwards.
 

He swung the body like a shield, using momentum and sheer physical mass to swat aside all in his path. The loafer-covered feet of his shield quivered and kicked as they skipped over the mass of tangled wires and metal beneath them.
 

Reaching the stairwell, he smashed the door aside, sending several of their snarling besiegers over the stairs' railing, their twisting screeching forms clawing at the air as they plummeted to the cold concrete below.
 

Dropping to his knee, Walters spun, hugging the doorframe as his teammates sped past him. Hot brass pinged off his face as it clattered against the doorframe and the scalding discoloured cylinders scorched his skin in a dis-jointed pattern of mottled red welts.
 

'Go! Make for the rendezvous; I'll hold the line.
Go!
'
 

Walters squared his shoulders as the last member of their small fire team flew past him. Slipping a fresh box of ammunition from his hip, he linked the belts together just as the last of it clattered through the receiver.
 

The walls lit up with the streaming shadows of the dead and dying as the Infected pressed in upon him, their rage all-consuming as they descended upon his quickly weakening position.
 

****
 

Baker heard the heavy chatter of the belt-fed weaponry; its clattering echo slithered through the corridors, a withering bass line to the Infected chorus that lifted like the song of the damned from the very bowels of the once vibrant hospital. A bastion of health and vitality now home to the carnivorous legions of Satan's army of the damned.
 

Shaking his head, Baker let his rifle swing up onto his back, the last of his magazines falling to the floor with a dull clunk. The heavy clack of shells in a slide filled his ears as he pulled the shotgun from between his shoulder blades.
 

Levelling the weapon, he pulled its stock tightly to his shoulder; as he rounded the corner, his chest swelled as he bellowed out his wife's name. Baker's voice echoed down the corridor and a deep-throated growl returned to him; its disembodied form wormed its way across the walls as he pushed through the flapping double doors of the hospital ward. Swinging his aim, he fired. The growls' master fell to the floor, a smoke-withered hole the only reminder of its once human face.
 

The ejected casing curled past him as the spent shell was tossed from the gun, the heavy scent of cordite filling his nostrils as he pushed forwards. Three more empty casings tumbled to the floor in quick succession as the bodies of Infected fell. Baker's singular goal gave him a cold, calculated purpose until he was more machine than man; his mind was set in its task as he carved through all in his path.

 

He careened through the doors on the other side of the ward, their handles sinking deep into the walls as he sent them fleeing from his path. In a spray of bone and buckshot, the Infected lay at his feet in a pale, bleeding imitation of life. As the shotgun chambered another round, he pulled a strip feeder from his pack and held it ready. The length of reinforced nylon was light in his palm as he pushed the magazine trap open and slid the cartridges home.

 

He slipped the tube into the pouch on his thigh as he moved onward, his speed never faltering as he cleared the corridor. He stopped, cocking his head to the side, mouth open slightly so he could listen clearly without his breathing rasping through his ears.
 

****

 

The heavy, thumping blast of a shotgun made the children whimper with fear. Janet gently ran her hands over their hair, the soft soothing motion making them both relax as they curled themselves against her.

 

Maria began to whimper, the soft mewling cry drifted up from the box she was ensconced in. Nudging the two children towards Kevin, Janet stood and gently lifted the softly wriggling form of her daughter from the padded warmth of the box.
 

 

Maria's head nestled gently in the crook of Janet's elbow as she slowly rocked her into a fitful calmness. Her small fists clutched at Janet's shirt as she stared at her mother, the bright iridescent blue of her eyes shining with a trust that danced and flirted with the furtive incomprehension only born by the new life that she was.
 

'Daddy will be here soon; now be a good girl for mummy.'
 

Janet lowered her head and brushed her lips against Maria's forehead. A soft, clutching hand traced itself against her jaw as Maria reached up, her tiny fingers grazing over the soft skin of her mother's chin.
 

Staring at the door, Janet felt the tears well up behind her eyes as the thumping blasts continued to echo.
 

'Come on, Derek; where are you?'
 

Derek threw himself forwards, rolling over his shoulder as he sent the Infected reeling. Curling up to his feet, he brought the gun to bear, tearing a fist-sized hole through the leering blood-smeared form in front of him.
 

A black rod of plastic filled his hand as he fed another tube into the shotgun's receiver, pushing the shells forwards. He kicked, sending the two prepubescent Infected forms in front of him sliding backward. Their screeching flailing bodies tore the legs from under another as Derek finished re-loading his weapon. The bolt shunted forwards as he lifted it back to his shoulder. The ear-shattering report rang in his ears as he stalked forwards once more.
 

'Janet!'
His voice echoed down the hallway as he continued to fire, drowning out the roar of the weapon as it spat flying pellets of death. He ducked once again, sending the white-coated form of another hospital worker into the wall, a stomach-churning crunch echoing up from the floor as its weight shattered its neck. He felt it fall as he fired, the dull clunk of its feet against the cold floor punctuating his passage as he moved on.
 

A plaintive cry greeted his ears as he moved through the corridor. The soft, lilting voice scythed through the fog that crowded his mind; the voice was all too familiar to him.

 

His eyes narrowed as he pulled the shotgun tighter to his shoulder, his ears picking the sounds apart as he searched for the source. His eyes darted left where the drained, lifeless body of an Infected woman lay, her head crushed. Pieces scattered about her in a halo of bone and flesh. His eyes scanned the area as his mind tore the scene apart. Body and mind turning and twisting, he cut his way through the crush of Infected towards the body. The woman's head had melded with the concrete, crushed like a melon under a wheel.

 

His gaze travelled over the filth-encrusted skin of her cheeks to her eyes; they sat in her sockets, the destroyed orbs little more than puddles of mush.
 

His head screamed at him to stop as he emptied the magazine. The bolt locked home as the final cartridge spun free, the twisting vapour of burning paper and gunpowder drifting past him. He slipped the weapon from its sling, swinging the butt of it into the face of an Infected. Blood and flesh coated the heavy rubber pad. As he drove the Infected backwards into the wall, a crimson red spray coated the once cream paintwork as its cranium collapsed. The smell of charred flesh and steaming excrement filled his nose as he surveyed the scene about him.

 

The gathering pack of Infected advanced, wary of its prey. Their bodies vibrated with barely suppressed energy as their muscles quivered in anticipation.
 

Rolling his neck, Baker shook loose the tension as he shifted his shotgun onto his back once more. The heat tickled his spine as he set it between his shoulder blades. Reaching down, he let his fingers graze over the fluted pommel of his knife. The crenelated grip skimmed his fingers as he slowly pulled it from the sheath in the small of his back. At the same time, his left hand closed over the textured grip of the pistol on his thigh.

 

His mind swirled as he evaluated the dozens of possibilities. His eyes settled on the door twelve feet behind the mass of slowly encroaching flesh. He slowly slid his right foot back as he settled his weight lower. His muscles coiled like steel cable as he readied to make his move. The Infected screamed; turning they yowled and bellowed as they began to fall.
 

Baker swung his arm up, his blade covering his wrist as he moved forwards, the slide bucking as he squeezed the trigger. His aim snapped from target to target as they began to panic; Baker's eyes snapped up as the moving wraith-like shapes at the end of the corridor began to turn. The lancing tongues of fire leapt forwards as they moved. Their haze-laden black forms shifted and morphed as they advanced, cutting through the wall of flesh.
 

'Foxtrot Seven, that you?'
 

A quick sharp double click slithered through his ear as he pushed through. The blade in his hand scythed forwards, the flesh beneath parting like an overripe peach, the slick claret waterfall poured forth, dousing his forearm in a frothing wave of cloying syrup. Baker pushed forwards, bulling his way past the last remnants of opposition as they were cut down by the shadowed bodies behind them.
 

Ignoring the calls and shouted questions, Baker lifted his foot and sent it slamming into the door just above the handle. The frosted meshed glass split and cracked as he sent the door swinging back into the room.
 

****
 

Janet clutched Maria tightly to her chest as the door flew inwards, shards of plastic-coated wood showering her in a rain of jagged splinters.
 

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