Julia Maraton has just woken to a living nightmare. The streets of Seattle are crawling with the walking dead. Joining a rag-tag group of survivors, the plan is to head North to Alaska. But escaping Seattle was only the beginning. Now they must deal with desperate survivors, boatloads of zombies, a murderer. Joining forces with a boat of surviving Navy Seals and the few survivors picked up along the way they make their way to the fortified shelter of Julia's home. Gambling the fate of humanity as well as her heart, Julia risks everything to ensure there is a future for the human race, ultimately making a decision that will effect us all. Julia Maraton is the Zombie Slayer.
Darlene gives an overview of the book:
Zombie Slayer: Prologue and Chapter 1Please do not copy or distribute without written consent. Enjoy!Zombie Slayer Ó2009 Darlene Reilley.All Rights Reserved.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard the story about how we got here. There are many stories about the dark times. Some are true, most are not. I’m going to tell you what happened, the truth, once and for all. How do I know? I lived through it.
This is my story. I am not an angel. I am not a hero. I’ve done bad things. Mostly with survival in mind: mine and the survival of our species.
You call me Julia, the Zombie Slayer. You tell stories to your children about me to help them sleep at night. I guess someone has to keep the zombies away. I just wish it wasn’t me.
For the record I am not seven feet tall with jet black hair and tattoos everywhere. Black leather is not my favorite, especially when it’s over 100 degrees outside. And I didn’t start out as a karate expert or even know how to shoot a gun in the beginning. I was pretty much an ordinary girl. Someone just like you.
They keep telling me that I should tell you everything. That they want a complete record of what happened. They say that they don’t want it to happen again. I still don’t know how I got drafted into writing this thing. But, here goes.
I’m 5’8” with blonde hair and gray eyes. Yes I have a tattoo. Several, actually, and no, I’m not telling you what or where. Before the world turned upside down I was a bartender.
My best advice if you’re facing what we did? Use what you have. And don’t give up. Ever. What you don’t know you can always learn, just make sure you live to learn it. Your life just might depend on it.
I just finished a shift and a half at O’Toole’s Tavern just outside of Tacoma. It was a night job and occasionally I had to swat away a stray hand or two, but the pay was good and the tips were better. I received my bartender’s license three months prior and was looking forward to being able to fund my way through a real college.
I was accepted at the University of Washington, but was unable to make the tuition. The want was there but the funds were not. I had secured several grants and even went so far as to take a loan out but even with all of that it still wasn’t enough. I missed the cutoff time.
It was now September and everywhere students were filling into classrooms ready to learn. But not me. I was working and reading every book I could lay my hands on. I promised myself that I would finish college. I had two years in and a few left to go, but I would finish it.
That’s why I found myself turning the key in my second-story apartment at three thirty in the morning. I had been on my feet for the last twelve hours straight without a break.
I was dead tired, starving, and in need of caffeine. Not necessarily in that order. Though I was tired my brain was still reeling from the conversations earlier. I had yet to process them all. My feet were aching and even Dr. Scholl’s gel inserts wasn’t enough. What I wanted was a two-hour long bubble bath but I would settle for a fifteen minute hot shower.
I turned the key and opened the door. As normal the lights in the main room were off, the overhead light in the kitchen was the only one on. My boyfriend Joe would be asleep, snoring loudly in our bed. He had to get up early in the morning for work. I made my way into the apartment and shutting the door, locking it behind me. I set my keys and bag down on the kitchen table.
I took off my coat and hung it up in the front hall closet and kicked off my black sketchers there too. I shut the door and pulled the mail out of the black wire rack that hung on the back of the cabinet. All bills. One catalog. Nothing important. I put them back and walked over to the fridge, opened the white door and looked inside for my dinner.
I pulled out a white Chinese box with red writing on it from the local delivery. I smelled it. Still good. I slipped it in the microwave. I turned and went back to the fridge and opened the semi-closed door. I pulled out a can of sprite and popped the top. I took a sip and turned making my way back to the counter and opened the silverware drawer to grab a fork.
I took another sip of the soda and looked over to the home phone and the answer machine. The light was off. No messages. I heard the ding of the microwave behind me and I turned, opened it and pulled out the hot box, carefully lifting it out and opening the top. Steam escaped the box and I felt it burn my hand. I was too hungry to wait. I dug in with the fork, getting some chicken fried rice out and blowing on it. I ate it and grabbed the soda. I made my way back to the bedroom to check on Joe. He had a habit of waiting up for me.
I heard movement but didn’t see a light on in our bedroom. I walked down the hall and to our bedroom door, opened it and my hand went automatically to the light switch. I flipped it and took another forkful of food, popping it into my mouth. I was about to close my lips around it when I saw them.
He was with her. In our bed.
“What the frack!” I said.
Joe was in the bed with a woman. In my bed. It repeated in my mind again and again. Was I dreaming? If so this qualifies as a nightmare.
“Jules?” He asked.
Nope, I thought. Not a dream.
“Jules? Who’s she?” The redhead asked. They were naked under the blanket, obvious by the path of clothing from the door of the room to the bed. I bought that bedspread two weeks ago. It took me six weeks to pick out the right one.
“What the hell?” I took a breath. I slammed the box down on the desk to my right and went back out into the hallway, down the hall and to the front closet. I saw red and it was the hair.
“Julia!” I heard behind me and movement.
I made it to the front closet and opened it. I grabbed the first thing I saw: the metal baseball bat I had kept with me since childhood. I made my way back into the bedroom. She was still in the bed. Joe was putting his short on.
I hit the bat on the bed.
“Get the hell out of my apartment!” I yelled. That alone was enough to make the woman move towards the door, grabbing her clothes as she went, not able to cover herself.
“Julia! There’s no need for that.” Joe said. He turned back to the redhead. “Hang on a second, Marie.”
“My name is Marissa.” She said with a pout.
I turned to look at him, my eyes zeroing in on the cause of my anger. I was white hot angry.
“Get out.” I seethed. He wasn’t moving. I took a step toward him and swung the bat, nearly missing his head by a hair and hitting the wall next to him creating a dent in the wall. The hit sent fragments of wall on the ground and a fine white powder came out with it.
“Babe, this is my place too.” He said.
“Not anymore, babe.” I answered. “You’re evicted. Damn it, I knew I should have trusted you! Musicians! Get out!” I said. Marissa the redhead had made her way out into the hall dressing on the way. Joe was behind her with jeans in one hand and a pair of shoes in the other. No shirt. But he grabbed his wallet.
“Get going!” I said, swinging the bat towards them, but I impacted the wall instead. “Get out!”
They made their way to the front door. I followed behind them and Marissa impacted the door. She whimpered.
Joe made for the lock and his keys, but I reached them first.
“Oh, no you don’t. That’s my jeep. Get the hell out.”
They were out the door. I kicked him in the butt and he went sprawling into her pushing her into the cement wall that served as a post on the second landing. I slammed the door and locked it. I was pissed. Livid. I felt the rage build inside me and the tears welling up in my eyes.
How could he? I trusted him. I sniffed the tears back and I covered my mouth with my trembling hand and made my way back to the bedroom. I picked folded up the bed coverings that were on it. I opened the dresser and pulled out the few things he had in the one drawer that was his. I threw them on the bed and went to the closet, pulling out the things that he had there. I threw them all on top of the bed.
I picked up the bundle and made my way through the hall and through the living room to the French doors that led to the balcony. Opening them with one hand I stepped out onto the balcony. I threw the whole bundle over the side and into the street below.
The bundle separated and the content went flying everywhere. Some fluttered down slowly. Others fell fast and hard.
“She’s nuts! She’s throwing your things in the street!” I heard her say. I looked over to where her three-inch high heels were near the door. I picked them up and threw them over the balcony too.
“Julia! Stop this. You’re acting like a child!”
One of the heels hit him in the head. That was satisfying and I almost smiled. I made my way back into the apartment looking around for the other things that were his. Most of it was mine, of course, as the apartment had been mine for three years. He had only lived here for the last three months, and he had only come here with the things on his back.
My eyes fell to his guitar and his laptop. I wasn’t in the mood to think straight. I picked up the nearest one and threw it over the side of the balcony and heard a hideous crash and twang as the guitar impacted the pavement below. I also heard a few curses.
“Julia Maraton! Don’t you dare!”
I dared. The laptop, cord and all, went over the side. He caught the laptop. That was disappointing.
“Julia! You’re nuts!”
“And you, babe, are evicted. Don’t let me ever see your slimy, double-crossing, two-timing bastard face around here again!” I went inside and slammed the glass door behind me, locking it securely.
I walked to the phone and considered calling security. That would be overkill, I decided. I looked over at the clock. An hour had passed since I had come home. I felt drained. Betrayed. I made my way over to my well-stocked bar and pulled out the bottle of tequila. Grabbed a shot glass and threw two shots back directly. That would take the edge off.
I wasn’t going to let the bastard ruin my life. Or my night, I decided. I shut off the light in the front hall and picked up the bottle, taking it with me and walked back to my bedroom. I felt sick. Not physically sick, but like I was dirty all over. I wasn’t going to be able to sleep in that bed ever again. I mourned the large sleigh bed that would be gone the next morning. It was ruined for me forever. I would never be able to get the picture of them together out of my head.
I grabbed the box of cold Chinese food ate it. I wasn’t complaining. The tequila would warm me.
I ate the food fast and heard the sound of a car heading away. I didn’t care where he went. I just wanted him out of my life. I made my way to the shower and slung back another shot. Damn, I thought as I got under the water, it had been a hell of a day.
The next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch with a massive headache. I moaned and feeling my head with the back of my hand, realized it was way too bright in here.
“What the?” I asked opening my eyes. The television was on a movie channel and it was loud. I turned the volume down. I looked over at the clock. It said it was five. Had to be PM.
I remembered what day it was and relaxed. It was Monday. The bar was closed. My mouth felt like cotton. I looked over at the empty bottle laying on the floor next to the coffee table. My heads went to my head to cover it from the evil light.
I hope I didn’t drink all of that. I really didn’t, did I?
I got up and made my way into the dimmer kitchen and opened the fridge. I
pulled out a brown bottle the size of a container of milk and shook it and opened the screw top. It was a container that would hopefully fix my aching head.
I took a large gulp of the nasty brown goop and found myself downing the whole bottle shortly. I grabbed an ice pack from the freezer for the headache and took a bottle of aspirin off the fridge. I opened it and dumped two onto my hand and downed the two pills drinking the last of the goop to wash them down.
Groaning, I made my way back to the couch. I laid down with the ice bag over my forehead and remembered. I gasped. Joe was gone. I had kicked him out. Why? Oh, that’s right, he cheated.
I stood and made my way over to the French doors and opened it. I walked out onto the balcony and looked own. I couldn’t see anything, but he was nowhere in sight. I let out the sigh I had been holding and turned and walked back inside. I shut the door and locked it, and drew the blinds.
I had kicked him out when I found them in my bed. I gasped. My bed. The audacity! How dare he!
The television switched to a news broadcast, breaking news of some kind as I walked past and down the hallway to my bedroom. I opened the door and walked to the bed and grabbed the upper part of it. It was now tainted. Spoiled by his betrayal. It had to go. I hefted the top part and half scooted, half dragged it down the hall and to the front door. I left the door wide open as I pushed it onto the landing. There was no one in sight as I dragged it down the two flights of stairs and over to the dumpster. I couldn’t throw it in by myself, so I leaned it up next to the dumpster and went back for the bottom spring of the bed. It took two more trips.
There was no one around, which was odd considering the time of day. Usually there would be people milling about at the end of their day. Some going for walks with dogs or having a barbeque. But given that it was a Monday things were subject to the oddness of the day.
I made my way back inside and locked the door behind me. I called the maintenance office and the night guard said he would send someone over to change the locks in the morning. I didn’t think Joe had a copy of my keys, but you never know.
I made my way over to the counter when I heard the phone go off. The machine got it before I reached it.
“Hey, Julia! It’s Megan. Just wanted to check in on you and see if you changed your mind about the Megadeth concert in Seattle. You’ve probably got plans with Joe, but…”
I picked up the phone.
“Megan?” I asked.
“Julia! You are there.”
“Yeah. Not so loud, please.” My hand went to my aching head.
“Late night?” She asked.
“You could say that. What’s this about a concert?” I asked trying to maintain my composure. She was my best friend, but I didn’t want to attack her with it right off.
“Oh, Megadeath’s playing up in Seattle. Thought it would be fun to go together. But if you and Joe…”
“There is no more ‘me and Joe’.” I said with a sniffle. The sniffle soon became a sob.
“What?” She asked.
“We broke up last night.” The tears were threatening to spill over.
“I’m on my way over. Ten minutes.” I heard the click of the phone and the dial tone before anything else and set the phone back on its cradle. Reinforcements were on the way.
Fresh tears came to my eyes as I recalled last night’s events.
I heard the knock on my door seven minutes later and I opened it. Megan was standing there dressed in black with her short blonde hair flat ironed and a strong shot of purple shot through one side. She was dressed to the nines in punk black. She wore a t-shirt that was ripped with Megadeath on it and a short little black skirt. Very high black platform boots. Even so she was the sweetest person I knew.
“What happened?” She asked looking around.
My apartment looked like it had been tossed.
“I did a little redecorating last night.” I said.
“Sit down and tell Aunty Megan everything.” She said leading me to the kitchen table. I sank down onto one of the wooden chairs as she put on a pot of coffee.
We went over the gruesome details of the night before.
“The bastard. Well, you’re better off. You’re well rid of him if you ask me.”
She popped up and took my hand, pulled me back into the bedroom.
“Now we’re going to get you looking like a single woman ought to. We’re going out tonight.”
“Megan, I don’t feel like it.”
She scoffed. “Best thing to do is get back on the horse.” She said pushing me towards the bathroom. “You’ve got five minutes and I’m coming in after you.”
She shut the door in my face and I heard her rummaging around in my closet.
There was no saying ‘no’ to this woman. It was a word she didn’t understand. And maybe that’s why she was such a good friend. I got in the shower and was out well under the five minutes, brushed my teeth and ran a brush through my long blonde hair.
I was dressed in my white fluffy robe as I opened the door to my bedroom and was immediately set upon by Megan who handed me a change of clothes.
“Two minutes. We still have to do your makeup and hair.” She said.
I was pushed back into the bathroom with the clothes and was out within the two minutes.
“Not bad.” She clucked as she looked me over. “Sit.”
She pointed to the black computer chair.
She had moved my laptop onto the floor and my desk was now covered in every form of makeup imaginable.
Ten minutes later she pronounced me fit to see the public. I stood on the high-heeled boots I had bought last Christmas but never wore.
“You’re going to be fighting them off.” She said with a nod and checked her watch. “Get your things we’ve got to go.”
She handed me a tiny bag. It was a slim bag that barely fit more than a key and a credit card. The cell wouldn’t fit in there. Megan looked at the bag.
“Stick your cell phone in your pocket.” She suggested.
I looked down at the bag. It would be easier to just not carry one. I took out the few things I had there and filled my pockets, first of the leather jacket and then the interior ones.
Even with the extra items the silhouette was slim.
“Good. Let’s get out of here.” She pulled me after her. I heard the lock click shut behind me. We were out the door before I noticed she had the keys to my jeep in her hand.
“I’m driving.” I said. Megan handed over the keys without comment.
It was a rock concert. I figured that out from the guys in the line with the t-shirts saying Megadeth. And though I had heard some of their music before, it wasn’t really my scene. But it was going to be a good night regardless. We were bumped to the front of the line when she showed the VIP passes to the guard. He let us both in right away telling us to please put the VIP passes on and we passed without comment.
I didn’t see anyone I knew. This was not my scene. But the lobby of the stadium was full.
“Don’t they usually play basketball games here?” I asked.
“Yeah. But the women’s team is out of town. Come on, let’s get some dinner and a drink before we go in. We’re still early.”
We made our way over to the concession area where there was a beer and brats stand.
“My treat.” She handed him her card before I could get near mine.
“Thank you.” The young Harrison Ford look-alike said from behind the counter.
“Thank you.” She purred.
“Come on, Juliet.” I said taking her elbow.
“What? He’s cute.” She said waiving to him as we left.
“Yeah. And jailbait. Let’s head to our seats.” I said as Jailbait winked at me. Saucy boy, I thought.
“Okay. They’re that way.” She said and led the way to the entrance. We were on the main floor and seated just a few rows from the stage.
“What did you do to get us this close?” I asked.
“I didn’t do anything.” She said.
I cocked my eyebrow. I knew her better than that.
“Remember that guy I was seeing – Tony?”
“Yeah. He’s in jail now, right?”
“Yeah. He couldn’t use the tickets. So he left them for me. I love this band.”
I looked around. Everyone looked about the same: grunge and black. But it wasn’t going to matter soon. We would all be in the dark and the music would come up. And we would all be shrouded in darkness.
“It’s a rock band, right?” I asked.
“Yeah.” She said wrinkling her nose. “You’ve heard their music. I know you have.”
“Yeah. I just can’t place band names.” I said with a shrug and took a sip of beer.
“You might want to finish that.” She said, having finished half her cup already.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because the show’s going to start. And it’s going to get messy.”
“Messy?” I asked.
“Yeah. They like to throw things.”
I ate the brat and downed the beer.
“Here they come.” Someone said behind me. The screaming grew louder by the decibel.
The music start. The screaming started. And the throwing of things on the audience began. But they ate it up. They all did. And when Megan grabbed my arm and led me towards the stage. I was swept up with her in the crowd as they reached for the band to touch them.
But she wasn’t pulling me towards the stage. Once we got to a certain point she veered off to the side and our spot was swiftly filled in by those behind us.
I tried to call out to her to ask where she was going, but I didn’t get an answer. Instead she led me to the side and to a gate that was armed by two large men with tazers. They were huge and I couldn’t see her taking either of them in a fight.
“No admittance.” The tall one said. He was skinny bald and tattooed, and had a jacket that reminded me of the bouncer in my bar.
Megan cozied up to him and gave him a look. Motioned for him to lower his head so she could whisper a secret to him. His eyes traveled to me and he looked me over as she spoke to him.
“Well. I guess so.” He said accepting the bribe I didn’t see pass between them. He nodded to the other guard and opened the gate.
We slipped past and he grabbed my arm. I turned to him as his friend shut the gate.
“Yeah?” I asked.
He didn’t pause but reached down and kissed me, holding me to him.
It had been so long since I had kissed anyone other than Joe. His hand went around my waist and pulled me closer.
“Okay. That was the deal.” Megan said pulling me out of the bouncer’s arms. “A kiss.”
“Yeah.” The bouncer said. He took out a card and handed it to me. “Call me.”
I grinned as Megan hauled me off by the arm.
“What?” I asked. “He’s cute.”
“Yeah. You’re not going to have a problem finding men. You might have a problem fighting them off.” She said.
“Where are we going?” I asked after a moment. I slipped his number under my left bra strap.
“Green room.” She answered as we slipped past a few more men and down a hallway. “Ah, here it is.”
We ducked under someone’s arm that was holding the door open and entered the room that the cool people were partying in. I wondered what she had gotten me into.
Ó2009 Darlene Reilley. All Rights Reserved.
Darlene Reilley is a former barista and customer service human who longed for more than the cubicle. She has a degree from Penn Foster Career College in Private Investigation, a Masters from the Universal Life Church in Divinity and is currently enrolled at Pierce College...