Read Escape from the Damned (APEX Predator Book 2) Online
Authors: Glyn Gardner
Escape from the Damned
Book II of the APEX Predator series
By Glyn Gardner
I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few of the people who have made this book possible.
First, I have to say thank you to my wife Erin and my kids Nate and Adam. It has been hard juggling family, work and writing for the past few years. I appreciate the sacrifice that you guys have made to allow me to continue telling this story. Nate, one day you’ll even be old enough to read it. Erin, one day your house will really be clean.
Next, I would like to thank two women who were kind enough to suffer through all of my typos, grammar errors, and all of those misspelled words. Page Gardner and Jen Riggs, thank you so much. I appreciate your pain and suffering more than either of you will ever know.
I would be remiss if I did not say thank you to Tracy Ward. Tracy is a fellow author I met online while trying to stir up buzz for my first book, APEX Predator. Since then she has been my literary conscience. Not every idea you have to make a horror novel more horrible is really a good one. Thanks Tracy for keeping me on the straight and narrow.
Sarah, Tam, and Rachael; you guys are the best. Thanks for all your words of encouragement and support. I hope one day to repay the sage advice that you ladies gave an old soldier who really is just telling war stories.
Glossary of Terms
: Army Combat Uniform. Camouflaged uniform worn by members of the US Army that has a combination of green, grey and sand colors to provide camouflage in desert, urban, and wooded environments.
: Advanced Individual Training. Where a soldier learns his/her actual job in the Army.
: Fire resistant outer garments worn by fireman.
: Medium lift U.S. military helicopter. It has duel rotors, and can carry about 40 troops. It flies about 175 mph and has a range of about 450 miles
: Kilometer. 1000 meter.
: Humvee or Hummer. High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle. Replacement for the Jeep.
Intramuscular. Medication administered into a large muscle. Due to the large blood flow to large muscle, the medication starts working in a relatively short time, and the absorption is relatively predictable. Some medications cannot be given IM as they will damage the muscle prior to being absorbed.
: Intravenous. Medication administered through a needle into one’s veins. The IV route allows for a more predictable absorption of a medication. It is also the fastest way to get a medicine working inside the body
: Light Medium Tactical Vehicle. U.S. Army truck manufactured by Oshkosh. It replaced the Army’s 2 ½ ton truck. It has an open bed and a very high center of gravity, enabling it to traverse very rugged terrain.
: US military rifle firing the 5.56 NATO round. M4 is the carbine version with a collapsing stock and shorter barrel.
: Meal Ready to Eat. The US military’s individual combat ration.
: Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong; a soldier’s first rule in combat.
: Noncommissioned Officer. Corporals and Sergeants in the Army and Marines, Petty Officers in the Navy, Sergeants in the Air Force
: Private. Lowest enlisted rank in the Army and Marines
: Sig Sauer. German firearms manufacturer.
: an acronym for Sound Surveillance System. A chain of sonar listening stations planted by the US Navy to detect submarines crossing either the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
: Specialist. An E-4 in the US Army, that is equal in rank to a corporal.
: Staff Sergeant, an NCO, E-6 in the Army and Marines, E-5 in the Air Force.
: In Close Quarters Battle: stacking refers to the team members lining up beside the chosen entry point in preparation for the breach.
Eighteen days ago the dead began roaming the earth. Staff Sergeant Brown and Private Jackson soon find themselves the sole survivors of the Louisiana National Guard’s response to the sudden zombie outbreak. As they escape they find other survivors.
ER nurse Jen and her security guard husband Mike are forced to flee their home as the zombie horde comes crashing through their door. Before they go, they rescue Theresa, a fourteen year-old girl who was traumatized by the deaths of her family at the hands of the growing zombie horde.
Kerry was a clerk at a sporting goods store. She and another employee suffer abuse after abuse at the hands of the Adams brothers. The group finds and liberates them while trying to scavenge supplies.
Sergeant Procell and his combat engineers, Privates Williams and Jefferson, are members of the Army’s 101
Airborne Division; cut off from their unit as it escaped the growing zombie horde.
They in turn band together with Mr. LaBlanc, Mr. Love, Mrs. Arrington and several twelve year old students, a middle school science club caught traveling when the dead began rising.
When last we left our survivors, they had been forced to take refuge in an abandoned veterinarian’s clinic. One of the students had been injured in an accident. Jen, with the help of Theresa and Kerry, was forced to act way outside of her scope of training to save the little girl’s life. Tragedy strikes the group just as the little girl regains consciousness.
The Vet Clinic
SSgt Brown stood on top of the veterinarian’s clinic, watching the sun rise in the east. He’d been on watch for the past two hours. In what has become the norm, it had been another quiet night. Only two or three zombies had wandered within sight of the clinic, and none had seemed to notice the tall soldier standing on the roof.
The last week had been the best he and the group had since the world fell apart. It’s as if they had been granted a timeout by God, and the undead had given them a week long furlough. He thought about the regular army lieutenant, and the priest.
His thoughts drifted even farther back, to when this all had come about. His unit had deployed to Shreveport in order to help stop what had been reported to be rioting near the Barksdale Air Force Base. When they came in contact with the first “rioters,” his under strength battalion lost over 200 men in about two minutes. He and two of his troops, Privates Anderson and Jackson were able to escape the carnage. But, not before Anderson was bitten by a zombie.
The trio was able to rescue a teacher and several students from a local elementary school. One of the students had been bitten and later died, as did Pvt Anderson. The student and Anderson both reanimated while the rest of the survivors slept. SSgt Brown and Pvt Jackson woke to the sound of screaming as the two newly reanimated corpses attacked the teacher and children.
The two soldiers were forced to run, spending the night in the kitchen of a fast food restaurant. They soon heard shooting, and made contact with Mike, Jen, and young Theresa. The trio had escaped Mike and Jen’s house. But, not before Theresa’s family was killed in front of her.
The military attempted a helicopter rescue of the survivors. The rescue failed, and the crew chief of the crashed helicopter, SPC. Wilcox joined the group as they ran for their lives through neighborhoods populated by the undead. They were taken in by Willie White and his family. The power eventually went out and Willies mother, who was dependent on an oxygen concentrator, killed herself. The group, including Maria and Mr. White were forced to flee.
They ended up at a local sporting goods store where they rescued Kerry and Simon from the Adams brothers. He shivers at the thought of the Adams brothers. They had kidnapped and abused two fellow survivors.
The group resupplied and moved again. Simon died when he was attacked while taking a piss, causing the rest of the group to scatter. They came back together just in time to find a military convoy that was attacked several nights before. The dead started to reanimate and Willie, Maria, and SPC Wilcox were killed.
The group continued on and rescued Lt Cruzan and his group of combat engineers who were cut off from their retreating unit. They had also found a traveling middle school science club and a priest. One of the children fell out of the LMTV and was gravely injured. Jen manages to save her life, but was unable to save Father Albright, who had developed a sudden fever. The priest reanimated and attacked Lt Cruzan, infecting him. His soldiers were forced to put him down before he turned. Again the vision of the young Lieutenant lying on the ground, a pool of blood spreading around him, crept into SSgt Brown’s mind. His heart sank just a little.
It wasn’t that he was especially close to the young officer, or even that he felt responsible for his death. It was more that having an officer around relieved SSgt Brown of some of the responsibility for the safety of these folks. He could focus on the business of soldiering, and not feel as responsible for the civilians. But that reprieve had been washed away in a puddle of blood and brains.
He closed his eyes. The image of the young officer became more vivid. He could see the look of terror and panic on the Lieutenant’s face. He could see the blood pooling on the floor from the bite wound. He could smell the metallic smell of the blood. He was sure he could still hear the low groan of the monster.
And, as quick as the memory manifested itself, it disappeared into the recesses of his mind. He knew from experience that it would return. He had been having nightmares almost every night since the lieutenant died. Not all of the nightmares were of the dead officer. The most common memory to invade his dreams was that of Private Anderson.
When he had found Anderson, he was kneeling over a screaming child. Anderson was biting chunks from the child’s flesh. In his dreams, the child would continue to scream for hours, as the Anderson zombie continually bit him in the same place over and over. Nothing that SSgt Brown could do would stop the attack or relieve the boy’s pain.
Then, the Anderson zombie would be standing face to face with the now paralyzed SSgt Brown. He could smell rotting flesh mixed with fresh blood. He could feel the tiny drops of bloody spit landing on his face every time the corpse exhaled. Then the creature’s mouth would open, he could see the bloody flesh still stuck in Anderson’s teeth. That was the nightmare that SSgt Dave Brown saw more than any other.
He forced his thoughts to the present. How are we doing on supplies? How is the little girl? Didn’t Jen say she was able to travel by now? He thought about Jen, her husband Mike, and their 14 year old neighbor, Theresa. What a Godsend those three had been. He was sure that he and Jackson would never have made it this far had it not been for the trio.
He turned as Mike climbed the last few steps of the ladder that passed through the sky light onto the roof.
“Morning Sergeant Brown,” the younger man said quietly. He held out a cup of coffee to the NCO.
“Morning Mike,” he said, taking the coffee. “You sleep ok?”
“Not too bad,” he replied. “Jen was pretty restless. It’s tough to sleep with her rolling around all night.”
The NCO thought about his own nightmares, and wondered what demons taunted her at night. After the little girl fell out of the truck, Jen almost gave herself a nervous breakdown trying to save her. Add to that the priest dying for no apparent reason, reanimating, and attacking the lieutenant. SSgt Brown thought she looked as if she’d aged ten years in a few days.
He’s been forced to order her to pass the torch of senior medical professional to Kerry and Theresa. It really didn’t matter much anyway. There were no casualties that needed tending to, and aside from a few snotty noses, no one was sick.
“She doing ok?”