Dana Fredsti is the US-based author of several apocalyptic horror books including ‘Plague Town’, ‘Plague Nation’ and ‘Plague World’, thelatter being released in just a few days on August 26. She has also appeared in various zombie/horror movies projects, and worked on Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness as an armourer’s assistant, sword-fighting captain, and sword-fighting Deadite. Come on inside to read an exclusive chapter from Dana’s new book before it even hits store shelves.
Having been ambushed in San Francisco, which is now fully engulfed in the zombie plague, Ashley and the wild cards must pursue the enemy to San Diego. There they will discover a splinter of their own organization, the Dolofónoi tou Zontanoús Nekroús, which seeks to weaponize the plague. But that isn’t the worst news. The plague has gone airborne, making it transferable without physical contract. It cannot be controlled by anyone, so reports of the zombie swarm are coming in from across the United States—and across the world.
San Diego, California, USA
He stood on the small bluff overlooking the ocean next to the battery below the lighthouse. Took a deep breath, enjoying the cold air with a slight tang of salt water as the mist swirled around him. His eyes were less light sensitive than they’d been for the first few days after he’d changed, but direct sunlight still gave him a headache, even with sunglasses. He wasn’t sure why—it didn’t seem to bother Captain Drake, Typhoid Mary, or the nut job.
When he’d first realized he would survive the contagion, he’d assumed he would be one of the wild cards. And oh, yes, he hoped for a chance to deal some old fashioned military justice to the little bitch who’d caused his infection in the first place.
Then, when the cravings began, he realized he shared more in common with Captain Drake, and had been given an antiserum to keep him stable. It hadn’t worked, and he’d railed against the arbitrary nature of genetics.
Then he’d been recruited, and had accepted his new diet. It wasn’t really that difficult. Like his father, he’d always been a meat and potatoes man.
Besides, humanity fell into two categories, as far as he was concerned. There were wolves and there were sheep. Predators and prey.
No, he had no moral quandary. After all, the alternative—letting the contagion take control, his body and mind rotting as he became another mindless shambling corpse—that was unacceptable.
He’d been chosen for a reason, by his colleagues and by the Almighty, to help lead the world out of chaos. He hoped Gabriel would eventually come to the same realization. Right now, Drake still fought against the changes. Dr. Albert had instructions to give him just enough of the remaining antiserum to keep him from going past the point of no return, but Drake would have to make the choice soon.
The good lord willing, it would be the right one. A good soldier like Drake would be of far more use than a loose canon like Typhoid Mary, although the latter’s lack of special dietary requirements were admittedly an advantage.
He shook his head. Typhoid Mary was a disappointment, although the name fit perfectly. He could—and had—spread the disease in his own special way. Why he’d suddenly chosen to clean up after himself was still a source of mystery and irritation. Still, if he did what he was told on his current assignment, he’d be worth the time and money invested in his creation.
The same couldn’t be said for the nut job.
What was the man’s name? John… or Jack? He dismissed it as unimportant. “Nut job” would do. A fascinating case, mind you, but only a civilian, and a weak-minded one at that.
The man had been bitten, and then trapped in a cabin with his wife and kid. The wife had nursed him through the fever, like any good helpmate would, and been repaid by becoming her husband’s next meal. He wondered briefly if the nut job—Jake, that was his name—if Jake had retained enough of his own humanity to kill them first. He hoped so. No parent should watch her child die, and no child should witness such violence against his mother.
He couldn’t imagine giving into his cravings with that kind of single-minded lunacy. Still, if not for his own strength of will, and the grace of God, that could have been him.
He shrugged. No time for such pointless musings. He had a job to do, and new concerns had been brought to his attention. The vector was no longer contained to Walker’s vaccine, or contact with the carriers’ saliva or blood. It had mutated and, according to Dr. Albert, gone airborne. Quarantine efforts were laughable in the major cities. How could you enforce something that drifted on the wind?
It didn’t trouble him as much as it would have before his own change. Watching the video feeds from around the world gave him a strange sense of satisfaction. Look at all the sheep running around bleating as they were slaughtered. He felt no sympathy for them now. He was different.
But still, what his new colleagues—he refused to think of them as his superiors—had planned as an easily controllable weapon, to be wielded with knife-like precision, had turned into the contagious equivalent of an atomic bomb.
At first they had everything under control, and had little interest in an antiserum or a cure. But now that the slim modicum of control had been lost, their strategy had to be rethought, plans reconfigured. They couldn’t count on geographical barriers to keep them safe any longer.
A cure was needed… but it had to be kept out of the wrong hands. Hence the acquisition of Dr. Albert and Captain Drake. The loss of the doctor’s notes and samples had been a blow, but he had another ace or two he hadn’t yet played.
Not everyone deserved a cure. Most of the world’s population didn’t. And wasn’t that the point of this whole exercise, to cull the sheep to a manageable number? True, more would be culled than originally planned but with a cure, enough would be left to do the grunt work.
A soft voice spoke behind him. His aide, Sarah.
He turned, noting with approval how the crisp fabric of her uniform was creased just so, its fit utilitarian and just short of too attractive on her athletic build. Her white blonde hair, cut short in a style both practical and suited to her elfin features. Sarah knew how to walk the line. A good girl, with a strong military tradition in her background.
Her father had served in the same battalion with him, under his command. A good soldier who had given his life in the line of duty. He had felt an obligation to the widow and daughter, and had made sure they’d been taken care of. Thus, it seemed only natural to take Sarah under his wing when she went into the military, following in her father’s footsteps.
If his condition frightened her, she never let it show.
Sarah would be kept safe from the wolves.
‘Plague World’ by Dana Fredsti is published by Titan Books and will be out August 26.
Dimensions: 174 x 108 mm
Mass market paperback: 320pp