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Thursday, August 25, 2011

ZOMBIES - A FEMA camp is overrun by zombies in an excerpt from "Down the Road" by Bowie Ibarra

George Zaragoza's trip across a Texas filled with the living dead has been interrupted. He is now being held in a FEMA internment camp housed in a highschool football stadium. A bloody battle has just ensued between the commanding soldiers and rival gangs which have formed in the camp...

          It was an awkward afternoon. A large pile of bodies lay in the middle of Titan field, and the bodies of over a dozen soldiers lay in the aluminum bleachers of both the visitors' side and the home side of the field. For several hours after the morning skirmish, things were quiet. But desperation was beginning to rear its ugly head around the facility.
          With the gang numbers drastically reduced, a truce was called by the Ones and agreed upon by all but the Threes. Then, two hours after the massacre, the Ones, Twos, and Fours united and wiped out what was left of the Threes.
          The soldiers didn't respond.
          Breakfast was not served this particular morning. Many were left wondering if lunch would be.
          Finding an unoccupied medical tent, Misty and George sat and hid. George was probably safe due to the gang truce, but probably not from the guards. That is, the guards that were left. If they decided to search for him, having a place to hide would be a good idea. The medical tent was a good enough place as any, even if it was close to the bleachers.
          Misty had left George alone for a few minutes and returned with some cloth and healing ointments so she could tend to the cut over his eye. She helped him remove his flannel. Sitting in front of each other, she tended to the wound above his eye. His adrenaline was gone, so the pain was very perceptible. He winced, but gritted his teeth and allowed her gentle hands to continue working.
          Her blue eyes sparkled. "You were very brave out there," she said.
          George responded, "I don't know about brave so much as I was pissed off."
          "Just, these people, you know? They can't get along, even when they need to the most. One group thinks they know what's best for the other and insists on babying them -And what a shitty job they've done up to now, huh? The others can't even unite against them. They'd rather divide themselves and fight and kill each other. It's such bullshit," George said, gritting his teeth again as Misty placed a patch soaked with medicine to George's cut.
          "Hush now," she whispered. "It's alright."
          Her voice began to calm him, though he remained a bit grouchy. "Man, I wish it was. I wish we could unite against that shit outside... Those dead things."
          As Misty secured the patch over the cut, she bowed her head. "I'm so sorry, George."
          George sulked. "It's not your fault."
          Misty finished with the primitive bandage. She kissed it. "There, now you're all better." She looked into George's eyes. Her blue eyes were hard to resist. She touched his face. George's hands moved across her thighs. Both began to breathe in a different way; energy began to manifest.
          George gazed into her eyes and felt an almost magnetic pull towards her. He wanted to kiss her. He wanted to grope her and rub his hands all over her body. He could feel her desire.
          But he was scared. Not of kissing her or anything in regards to his physical attraction to her, but of the reality of the situation. The fear that humanity wasn't going to survive this plague. That they could not unite and help each other. That if humanity united, another segment of that same humanity would rise up and crush them, like they did to Jeff and the barrier people.
          George wondered, Hasn't it always been that way? Divided? Segregated? United, but really not? Even the civil war was one group of people who had the right to separate, but were made to stay together by force.
          George knew it would be hard to get home, but never thought it would be this hard. After today, it seemed hopeless. No vehicle. No weapons. No food. No water.
          George leaned in to Misty and held her. She embraced him as he began to weep. He wanted to see his mom and family again, but was now afraid they were dead, and all this danger he had encountered was for naught.
          Pulling himself together, George shared a kiss on the cheek with Misty. A moist sensation touched his lips as he kissed away a tear from her cheek. She returned the affection with a short, sweet kiss on his lips. She wiped his tears away. He wiped hers. Perhaps she was feeling the same way.
          As they separated, a man pulled open the curtain to the tent. George and Misty's hearts skipped a beat. Misty gasped.
          "Uncle Brandon!" she exclaimed, jumping to her feet and embracing the man. He was tall and rather big and sported a green John Deere hat. Suspenders held up a pair of worn and dirty blue jeans that were fighting a waist war with Uncle Brandon's prominent beer gut. The gut was stretching his extra-extra large Charlie Daniels shirt to the limit. Misty, in all her dainty charm, jumped and hugged him around his thick neck, cheek to cheek.
          They both smiled.
          Though his gut suggested bad physical conditioning, he seemed to have the strength -if not the power -of a man of size.
          "How you been, sweetie-pie?" he asked, kissing her on the cheek.
          "I've been alright, Uncle Brandon." She turned to George. "This is my friend, George."
          George stood and offered his hand. "Nice to meet you, sir."
          "Likewise, good sir," replied Brandon, showing a smile. "I hear you whipped some of them spics' asses this morning. We could use someone like you."
          "What do you mean?" George asked. "If it's about joining a gang, forget it!"
          "No, no, it's nothing like that," he said, pulling out a pack of Red Man and stuffing some chaw in his bottom lip. "Well, me and my son, Brandon Junior, are planning on making a break for it."
          "Are you crazy?" asked Misty. "They'll kill you!"
          "Hang on, Misty," said George. "Hear him out."
          They all took a seat. Misty surprised George by sitting on his lap. They glanced at each other quickly.  George became a bit excited. Uncle Brandon winced, but shook his head and shared his idea.
          "First off, their numbers are low now. A lot of them have been taking off, leaving their posts. Way I see it, they're not unified anymore. And there definitely seems like they have no leadership anymore. Secondly, they're looking for you, George. I heard they're going to do another roundup. Why, in God's name, I don't know. But I'm going to report you."
          "What?!" George gasped, taken aback.
          Misty exclaimed, "Uncle Brandon!"
          Brandon lifted a hand to show he wasn't finished explaining, then continued, "I'm going to report you because when those two guys get over here, we're going to jump 'em and take their guns!"
          "Sounds crazy," George said. The plan was simple -perhaps too simple -but could he really expect for some brilliant strategy to come along? He figured he'd rather do something desperate than do nothing at all, though it was still a big risk. He asked, "What do you have in mind?"
          "We lead them here to this tent and jump them." "With what?" Misty asked.
          "Well, with a brick or some shit. A pipe. Something."
          "Alright, so we find something to bash them with, pound them, then what?"
          "We take their guns, make like we're not carrying anything, and head to the ticket booth. Someone could act the fool and get them to open that magnetic door. Then, we take out the tower guy first, secure the open door, and take out anyone else in the area."
          "Then what?" asked Misty.
          "It's simple. Either we find one of those Hummers with a key in it, or we make a run to our house."
          "Neither of those options sound likely to happen," George pointed out. "First, we'd have to find a Hummer with the keys in it."
          "Well, yeah," replied Brandon. "That's what I said."
          "And, yeah, anyway," George went on, "With the run to the house -wherever that is -the tower guys would pick us off in a matter of seconds. That is, if the zombies didn't get us first."
          "Listen, don't be such a killjoy, George," said Brandon. "What other choice to we have?"
          George thought for a moment. Brandon's plan was full of holes, but George knew that any plan that would get him to San Uvalde was going to be a big risk. And, as he had already decided, he would rather do something desperate than do nothing at all.
          "Well, where's Brandon Junior?" asked George.
          Uncle Brandon turned toward the entrance and called out, "Brandon Junior!"
          A small boy barely four feet tall entered the room. He was wearing blue jeans and a black pro-wrestling shirt, and when he spoke it was obvious that his voice was nowhere near reaching puberty. He said, "Yeah, Pa? Oh, hey, cousin Misty!"
          "Hi, B.J.," Misty replied.
          George was surprised at the age and size of Brandon Jr. He had expected someone a lot older.
          "You ready for this, son?" Brandon asked.
          "Yeah, Pa. I'm ready," replied the short kid, though his red mullet and freckles hardly hid his fear.
          "Alright, Junior, this is what we're going to do-"
          Yet before they could even begin phase one of their plan, several screams broke the conspirators' concentration. Every head turned to the tent opening. George looked at Misty, confused. Everyone rushed outside the tent.
          When they emerged into the open air, they witnessed a mass of people running away from the east end of the stadium near the land of the Ones and Twos.
          Uncle Brandon grabbed one of the people who were running. "Hey, you! What the hell's going on?!"
          The person, a blond man with thinning hair, shivering and scared, cried, "It's the Garrisons! The ones that were dying from bites infected the rest of their family and a bunch of others! Now they're all coming after us! Let go of me!" The man broke loose of Brandon with a yank of his arm and ran off toward the ticket booth.
          George looked toward the end zone where all the action was happening. Sure enough, several creatures were attacking some of the incarcerated civilians and the civilians were fighting back with little to no success. Several people were already being feasted upon, while others were being quickly snatched by undead hands. Teeth sunk into flesh as the zombies feasted and the victims began their transformation.
          Gunfire erupted near the ticket booth area as some of the soldiers tried to stop the advance of the people. But everyone knew that with creatures inside the perimeter, the safest place was in the area with the soldiers.
          George looked to see two interior soldiers slowly walking toward the slaughter, guns trained on the creatures. Already, several of the devoured dead were rising. Close to twenty zombies, including the Garrisons, were marching toward the fleeing crowd. Several ghouls remained, devouring the inhabitants who tried to fend the creatures off.
          It seemed that the brevity of the attempts to impede the zombies from infecting the captives and the non-responsiveness of the guards led to the mayhem. It didn't take long for the chaos to erupt.
The end of the FEMA camp was close at hand. If George and his newfound friends were going to make a break for it, now was the perfect chance.
          "Brandon, this is it," George said. "We have to make our move."
          They all knew he was right. They tensed up as adrenaline coursed through their veins.
          George knelt down and yanked a tent spike from the ground, brushed the dirt from the end, and made certain he had a firm grip.
          Misty found a board. It appeared long enough to do damage, yet short enough not to be cumbersome.
          Brandon found a lead pipe. It was bent in some places, but was good enough on short notice.
          Brandon Junior found a brick.
          The four of them, shuffling through the panicked and clearing crowd, crept toward the soldiers, who had now begun opening controlled fire on the zombies.
          George and Misty overwhelmed one of the guards while the two Brandons did the same to the other. B.J. smashed a soldier's skull to mush as George planted the spike deep in the sternum of the second. George and Uncle Brandon then went about securing the soldiers' weapons and digging through their pockets for extra ammo.
          The creatures began to shuffle toward the retreating crowd, getting closer and closer to George's group.
          A gunshot from the visitors' bleachers tore open a hole in Brandon Junior's chest, exiting out the back. Another tore open his right leg. Another to the arm.
          Quickly, Uncle Brandon aimed the rifle toward the visitors' bleachers and cut down the only two soldiers that were paying attention to the interior soldiers and the zombies on the field. George quickly followed his example, taking out three soldiers on the home bleachers, one of which was firing back. The three soldiers then fell, seriously wounded and unable to fire their weapons.
          Uncle Brandon heaved Brandon Junior over his shoulder with one arm and yelled, "The ticket booth! It's our only chance!"
          As Misty and Uncle Brandon began to run to the crowded ticket booth exit, George got to a knee and took out the guards in the nearest towers with a shot to the head. The soldiers who had been manning the other towers around the facility had already abandoned their posts. Safe from the gun towers, George ran to rejoin his group.
          The zombies, growing in number, began to advance on the crowd. Though they were nearly eighty yards away on the other side of the field, their presence was a new threat. It meant there was now a battle on two fronts.
          After firing and cutting down several civilians, the remaining soldiers gave up and retreated in the direction of the remaining Hummers. The gates began to pop and sizzle as several civilians threw blankets on the electrified fence in an attempt to create a crude insulator. After several group efforts they were able to collapse the gate, causing it to crumble to the ground. Those wearing shoes stepped across it. The barefooted took their chances. Several people fell on exposed areas of the gate and roasted on the metal.
          The zombies on the field were getting closer as one of the Hummers started to drive off. Three or four people jumped on the vehicle. One soldier tried to man the gun, but was overpowered by two men and thrown overboard. Several camp members took the boots to the man, beating him into unconsciousness.
          The Hummer sped to the vehicle entrance, smashing through the first locked gate with ease. A mass of people followed the machine through the crushed entrance. Two people were still on the hood; two were at the guns. One opened fire on the zombies around the fence as the other tried to work his way to the driver seat. The vehicle barreled to the second gate which led directly to the parking lot. The humvee busted through the gate, knocking the zombies in front out of the way like bowling pins and crushing them under the chainlinked gate and the wheels of the war machine. The people of the facility ran right behind it, taking a shot at freedom, prepared to risk the army of zombies outside.
          With the two men on the hood, the driver could not see the vehicle that was still in the parking lot of the stadium. It rear-ended the '98 Honda Accord, sending the two guys on the hood flying. One smashed into the back window of the Accord, jarring his neck, glass tearing into his back. The other flew over the vehicle and smashed his head on the pavement near the handicapped parking sign.
          Both were promptly devoured.
          The driver's head smashed against the window, creating a weblike circle in the glass. The man trying to get in was also sent flying into a group of creatures. They tore into his flesh, his screams buried by the cries of the liberated, yet endangered, facility members.
          The man in the gunner position started opening fire on every thing that moved, both facility people and zombies, before being engulfed by the undead when his ammo ran out. The creatures made a buffet on all the flesh brought down by friendly fire.
          It was a veritable free-for-all as the last mass of people forced their way through the gate, pushing aside as many creatures as they could. The exit was severely congested with people and zombies as the second Hummer, (facility people hanging all over it,) tried to force its way over the mass of humanity bottlenecked at the gate. The entrance was filled with the dead, the dying, and those still fighting for survival. The Hummer crushed a large mass of people, with cries of the alive and the dying overshadowing the howls of the already dead and reanimated.
          The vehicle got stuck as it tried to work its way over the bodies. The tires dug in and ground several bodies of the dying and undead into the asphalt. Blood and bone shot from the tires, spraying the people still trying to escape with a red mist that peppered their faces. Several alive and dying began to roast on the fence near the vehicular and human collision, their flesh turning a dark red, their clothes igniting. Fire danced across the burning bodies.
          Misty could not believe her eyes as the remaining soldiers -the last bastion of American defense -ruthlessly pulverized both the alive and the undead with their vehicles in the driveway.
          As the third Hummer began its advance to the entrance, a clean shot from George took out the gunner, who had been firing upon the last of the inmates who were trying to overtake the vehicle. Uncle Brandon immediately followed with a clean shot to the driver's head, bringing the vehicle to a sudden stop against a concrete post holding up the bleachers. Uncle Brandon then shot the soldier in the passenger seat as George dragged out the driver's body.
          Uncle Brandon opened the passenger door and threw the dead soldier to the ground with one hand. As he threw Misty into the vehicle and George manned the driver seat, a creature grabbed Brandon Junior from Uncle Brandon's shoulder and dragged the corpse to the ground. Uncle Brandon turned around and decked the creature, breaking its spine, sending the monster to the ground, but not before four more quickly took its place. Uncle Brandon slammed the passenger door shut as a zombie grabbed the same arm and bit into it.
          Misty screamed, "Uncle Brandon!"
Wrestling the creature to the ground and stomping on its head, Uncle Brandon yelled, "Forget me! Just go! I love you sweetie-pie!" before another creature grabbed him by the shoulders and bit into his neck. Blood splashed the side of the vehicle and ran down his neck as flesh was torn away from his body. He screamed.  Misty screamed.
          George backed out of the pole and shifted gears, scared and upset. Shifting to first, the Hummer moved out.
           Several creatures had already begun to devour Brandon Junior's body as Uncle Brandon went down swinging. He was able to kick two creatures off his son before he was overwhelmed. He collapsed on top of his son's body, a futile yet noble attempt to protect his son's corpse from the living dead who were waiting and ready to devour them both.

          Knowing the original exit would now be impossible to drive through, George blazed his own trail. Finding a weak portion of the gate, he crashed through the chain-linked fence and concertina wire and then sped away through the parking lot and to the loop road.
          The road by the stadium headed to 35 was relatively clear, with a majority of the creatures congregating around the stadium. Misty was sobbing uncontrollably. George drove, concentrating on the road, but shell-shocked at the horror they both barely survived. George said a quick prayer for Misty's uncle. Had it not been for Uncle Brandon closing the passenger door, Misty and George both might have been killed.
          George reached for Misty's hand.
          She accepted it, gripping his hand tightly, trembling.
          At the stadium, zombies stalked the former military and civilian portions of the FEMA camp, searching for bodies of the recently dead. A feast of flesh was continuing in the parking lot and in the vehicle exit. Several creatures made it to the bleachers and were devouring the dead soldiers. One soldier, wounded from the rounds George fired, tried unsuccessfully to crawl away from an advancing gang. Moments later he was torn to shreds and eaten.
          A small group of zombies was trying to collapse the tower by the ticket booth in order to find the source of the blood dripping from above. They were successful. The ticket booth toppled over, crushing several of their own. With spines broken and bones cracked, the creatures crushed by the tower tried to pull themselves out to no avail. Within inches of their crushed bodies, several monsters began their meal of the tower inhabitant.
          Uncle Brandon and his son were torn and mutilated, their skulls cracked, their chests torn open, their innards devoured. Several zombies still sat around Uncle Brandon, tearing pieces of flesh from his large carcass. Blood dripped from their mouths. The other creatures had left Brandon Junior as a mere skeleton, hardly a speck of flesh or muscle stuck to a bone.

If you enjoyed this excerpt from Down the Road, purchase the paperback at to read the entire exciting story here.

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