Read The Left Series (Book 4): Left In The Cold Online

Authors: Christian Fletcher

Tags: #Zombie Apocalypse

The Left Series (Book 4): Left In The Cold

 

LEFT IN THE COLD

 

By Christian Fletcher

Copyright 2013 by Christian Fletcher

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

All rights reserved.

No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from Christian Fletcher.

Also by the author –

Leftovers

Left Alone

Left On The Brink

Operation Sepsis

War Memorabilia

 

Kindle Author Page US
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Amazon.com: Christian Fletcher: Books, Biography, Blog, Audiobooks, Kindle

Kindle Author Page UK
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Amazon.co.uk: Christian Fletcher: Books, Biogs, Audiobooks, Discussions

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LEFT
IN THE COLD

By C
HRISTIAN FLETCHER

Chapter One

 

We’d been holed up
in the hotel for six weeks when the situation reached breaking point. At least, I thought it was six weeks. Somebody was counting the days and I was sure they said forty-two at breakfast that morning. The bus was running on gas fumes when we pulled into the Glenross Hotel parking lot over a month ago and we hadn’t used the vehicle since. We hadn’t needed to venture into the continuous, howling blizzard outside and every night was party night inside the Glenross Hotel!

Breaking into the eighteenth century period establishment hadn’t been that difficult.
My two accomplices, namely Smith and Kauffmann and I had simply used pry bars to ease off the wooden boards nailed over the hotel’s doors and windows. Once the temporary shutters were removed, Smith broke the glass in a downstairs window at the rear of the property and we were inside.

We’d originally been searching for some spare gas for the bus b
efore some genius suggested we stayed in the hotel, instead of trying to refuel. As usual, there’d been a vote and a long debate, with everyone throwing in the pros and cons of staying put in one place before we concluded by a majority, it was a good idea to hibernate in the hotel for the worst of the winter. A heavily armed search party had scoured the large building and cleared every last inch of every room without finding as much as an undead fingernail clipping. The hotel was deserted. Where the proprietors and guests had fled to was anybody’s guess. They must have boarded the place up from the outside and disappeared into the blizzard. Maybe they’d thought along the same lines as us. Perhaps they had gone searching for their own utopia and their own exploration had ended in crushing disappointment, exactly like ours.

The world had been gripped by a highly contagious and terminal disease for the last seven or eight months. I couldn’t remember the exact date when the enormity of the situation had become apparent. It seemed like several lifetimes since I was just an average Joe, living and working in a small Pennsylvanian town, leading a life of dull anonymity.
A high percentage of the world’s population had been wiped out by the disease, with only sparse pockets of survivors remaining. But the virus had a nasty little kickass side effect for those who contracted the disease. The host physically died but the infection lived on, forcing the corpse to reanimate, with the craving to consume living human flesh. All memories and personality traits of the infected people’s former lives were extinguished. They turned into monsters, the stuff nightmares are made of, with only one objective - to eat living people. A bite, scratch or absorption of infected bodily fluids inflicted on a living human would be enough to contract the disease. The host’s mortal existence would expire in a painful manner, suffering from seizures, convulsions, cramps and projectile vomiting within a few hours of contamination. Following death, the infected bodies would reanimate and become a member of the undead, a zombie with a burning hunger to consume human flesh. Those people who escaped being eaten alive but suffered wounds from an attack still carried the disease and their own death sentence.

The only method of successfully terminating one of these animated, walking corpses was to destroy the brain, by whatever means possible.

I’d personally traveled from my hometown of Brynston in Pennsylvania to New York, New Orleans and now Scotland in the UK in search of a safe haven, my own utopia. My constant traveling companions since the outbreak consisted of a guy named Smith, a girl nicknamed Batfish and a small Jack Russell dog that we’d named Spot. The four of us had endured tough times, plenty of near death experiences and had somehow outlived plenty of others we’d briefly teamed up with.

Smith was an ex- U.S. Marine and former cop turned gangster when the world was normal. He was a big, tough guy in his early forties and his weapons and survival skill had been the main factor in our continued existence. Batfish had been an overweight, self styled Goth when we’d first met up in Brynston. The dark clothes, make-up and excess poundage had all been jettisoned since we’d continually been on the run, scavenging whatever we could along the way. We’d rescued Spot from the scene of a colossal vehicle pile-up on the road to New York. The poor little
guy had been the only survivor amongst the mashed and tangled bodies remaining inside the wrecked vehicles.

The four of us had lived on our wits since the outbreak, scurrying around overrun towns and cities teeming with thousands of the undead.
I considered each day that ended with me still breathing as a small victory. Our unplanned journey had taken us around the east and southern coast of America. We’d traveled by boat in the beginning, visiting the Florida Keys and taking a trip up the Mississippi River. Nowhere had been safe, the remaining humans we’d run into had generally been more dangerous than the hordes of undead roaming the land.

Eventually, our little band had found some like
-minded survivors, holed up in a military base near the city of New Orleans. The collection of men and women from all branches and ranks of the U.S. armed forces had welcomed us into their midst. The appearance of a huge, C-17 military aircraft at the airbase provided us with transport to Scotland. The flight crew from the C-17, who were previously located at another air station nearby, told us they’d been in radio contact with a military base in Scotland. They said Scotland was a zombie free country and we were all in a hurry to believe them.

In a huge, risky gamble, we’d flown across the Atlantic in the belief we were traveling to a secure refuge. The aircraft flew off course and we’d crash landed in the countryside in England, miles away from our intended destination.
After another harrowing ordeal with a band of unfriendly survivors and more packs of zombies, we’d commandeered a bus and driven up to Scotland in search of our sanctuary.

As I said earlier, our utopia was non-existent. It was all bullshit. Scotland was as overrun with undead as anyplace else we’d been. All that effort and danger of refueling the aircraft in Canada and crossing the Atlantic was for nothing.

We had nowhere to go and no goal to follow. The Glenross Hotel was as good as it got. I suppose some people would have paid thousands of dollars to stay in a luxury Scottish lodge for six weeks. There was no room service and you had to do your own laundry but the accommodation was free.

We’d hauled all our supplies we’d carried with us in the bus into the hotel and stored the goods in the two pantries and the cellar.
The tinned military rations were being kept back to be used as emergency provisions, in case we had to extend our stay.  

The
hotel building itself was constructed of traditional Scottish Blackstone, with towers and a roof terrace, according to the hotel brochure. The interior of the property spanned over four floors. The ground floor contained two dining areas with adjacent kitchens, a bar area, indoor swimming pool and function rooms. The three upper floors consisted of bedrooms and suites of various sizes. The brochure also boasted of one hundred acres of surrounding woodland, tennis courts and a golf course. The truth was I hadn’t seen much of the external traditional Scottish Blackstone, towers, roof terrace or any of the outdoor facilities due to the deep lying snow and continuous blizzard raging across the landscape. Nobody had any desire or need to venture outdoors and the bus we’d arrived in was now completely covered in snow. The vehicle looked like a big, white carbuncle, sprouting alone in the deserted parking lot at the front of the hotel.  

The hotel’s interior décor consisted of dark brown wooden floors and wall paneling with high, white colored ceilings with decorative plastering around the edges of the rooms. Huge Inglenook fireplaces stood in most of the rooms and people continuously stoked the burning fires with chunky cut logs, retrieved from the dwindling stock pile in the cellar.     

Our whole ragtag collection of people numbered somewhere between sixty and seventy in total. Somebody did tell me an exact number but it seemed irrelevant how many of us there were. Facts and figures, dates, birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries and days of the week were all irrelevant. There was only time awake and time asleep. Even night and day were pretty much immaterial.

The wooden boards had been replaced over the downstairs windows and doors from the inside
so nobody else could break into the property the same way we had. Only the large, sturdy, church style front door remained without a barricade. Huge metal bolts at the top and bottom and a chunky lock kept the door firmly closed. The key to the front door was a big black object that must have been nearly a foot long and hung on a piece of string behind the bar counter. Nobody was permitted to open the front door alone and personnel were required to be armed with a loaded firearm when venturing outdoors.   

The aircraft engineers amongst our party had located and fixed the generator to allow us power in the hotel. We had hot
running water and electricity and the guys had even managed to fix the swimming pool pump so we had our own heated spa. A couple of the girls had found a karaoke machine stored in one of the function rooms. The sing-a-long music machine had provided hours of entertainment in the bar during the long, dark nights.   

The o
dd lone zombie or rarely two at a time had loomed around the hotel grounds during occasional lulls in the snowstorms. They had no doubt been attracted by the noise and the internal lights from the hotel. The undead banged on the windows and doors until somebody dispatched them with a gunshot to the head.

When the first of them had showed up, several guys hurried out of the front door
to ensure the zombie was quickly terminated. The surrounding areas were meticulously searched in case any more undead roamed the immediate vicinity.

The most recent encounters with undead intruders had concluded very quickly. As soon as the unwelcome visitor was spotted, somebody had simply leaned out of an upper floor window and shot the zombie or zombies in the head. No need to dress up and venture out into the cold.

The kitchen was well stocked, with enough tins and dry food to last for a couple of months, the bar was well supplied with beer and liquor and the cellar contained a huge selection of wines.

Life at the Glenross Hotel was
originally fun and certainly a welcome respite for about the first two weeks. Once everything was in place, up and running and secure, we all relaxed. The chill-out period was great. Smith, Batfish and I all allowed ourselves to engage in our own separate relationships. Smith and a pretty, blonde female U.S. Army medic, called Wingate started sharing a room together. Batfish became close to a Marine named Gera, and I indulged in a wonderful affair with a gorgeous looking Hispanic girl, Estella Cordoba. She was a tough cookie from a U.S. Army regiment and could handle herself, but when we were alone she showed me the more vulnerable, loving side of her personality. Estella was a little shorter than me, with close cropped, jet black hair and huge dark eyes that made my knees go weak when she stared at me for more than two seconds. She had a lovely crooked smile that made her look ten years younger. When she smiled, it seemed to wipe away all the badness going on around us.   

None of us were desperately in love or planning to get married or anything daft like that. It was just so pleasurable to hold somebody and for them to hold you, to feel wanted and needed and intimately close to another human being after all the battling and running.
I knew the others all felt the same way.

Everybody in our party knew the stocks and supplies wouldn’t last forever but we were just happy to see out the worst of the winter in the relative safety and luxury surroundings inside the hotel.

The atmosphere started to turn a little sour around three weeks into our stay. Too many people had too much time on their hands with not enough to occupy themselves. Those who hadn’t shacked up with a partner became quickly bored with the karaoke and the surroundings. Boredom led to too much alcohol consumption by more than a few of the party. Too much alcohol consumption led to arguments in the bar - arguments led to the occasional fight, which led to bad feelings between certain individuals, extending to mounting grudges and threats of physical retribution.

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