Zombie Fallout IV: The End…Has Come and Gone
Zombie Fallout IV: The End…Has Come and Gone
Copyright 2011 Mark Tufo
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To my wife; we’ve walked a difficult path these last few months and except for a scratch or two from an errant briar we’ve come out in pretty good shape. I look forward to the trail we’re getting ready to blaze and I love you with all my heart.
To my family both immediate and extended your strength has been a tangible force upon which I have been able to keep myself upright, I love you all.
To Mo Happy, I’ve asked a lot of you at a time in your life when maybe you needed a break, I appreciate your hard work, dedication and friendship. Your skills will get you far.
Always to the men and women of the armed forces, police and fire departments, all of you are the reason why this country is so great. Thank you for all that you do and remember that there are more of us thinking about you than you realize.
To those that signed up for the name contest, I told you guys I’d get you in the book one way or another! So thank you to all those listed below.
Jamie Brown, Nick Orlando, Chuck Craig, Paula Baca, Michael Gunn, Rachael Janda, Ash Careme,
Gill Hancock, Mark Brenner Jr, Thayer Janda, Matt Heaps, Landon Vanlandingham, Joe McCormick,
Luke Asquith, Andy Angel, Cynthia Ellstrom-Organ, Paul Half-Orc Harpham, Jason Waugaman,
Therese Morin, Ashley Morgan-Garcia, Van Loggins, Paul Gosling, Rob Horowitz,
Raiden Morgan-Garcia, Jeremy Holmes, Steve Wright, Jared Dunn, Ruby Rain Morgan Garcia,
Andre Daniel Uckert, Michael Adams James, Shannon Love, Reiko Morgan-Garcia, Bobbie Ayala,
Tammy Nguyen, Ryan McNeil, Cindy Martell, Brandon Hartle, Kara Baker, Steven Clutch Totten,
Ryan Lynch, Jennifer Locascio, Chris Baines, Brian Wamsley, Ione Bargy, Christy Peery,
Gregory Wendler, Rich Baker, John Harrington, James Agbey, Laura Underwood,
Gibby McGibberson, Ray O’Connor, Felicita Green, Jack O’Donnell, Emelda Rivera, Cami Adair,
Jan Wilkins Parchman Grant, Kyle Sell, Steven Parkin, John Rose, Dave Kolan, Andrea Wimmer Piper,
Siobhan Hayes, Darren Murphy, Crystal Drumheller, Chris Crinigan Friedly, Paul Green, Jodi Evans,
Jeffrey Hoffman, Gabe Harris, Vinny O’beirne, Talea Fields, Evan Roy, Hendrik Lagewaard,
Calum Roebuck, Tini Blair, Elina Kelley, Christoffer Piper, Becky Graveling, Stacie Shular,
Greg Lose, Chris Walker, Rhiannon Graveling, Robert Burton, Max Ayala, Traci Sellers, Luci Keenagh,
Robert Stocker, Jeff King, Lisa A Dellert, Grant Tillie, Roselie Bouyea, Jerome Lim,
Joe Deutschendork (Dutch), Gary Mountjoy, Rob Eichen, Kristie Long, Nate Gipe, Ryan Dobkins,
Stuart Woodruff, Tillman Dickson, Sarah Flores, Tanya Murphy, Ryan Sanders, Stephen Deese,
Sean Sommers, Jessica Lord, Rich Parenzan, Moo and Bandit, Gina DiPaolo, Brian Kay,
Zachary Parenzan, Joel Sheets, Stacy Barbour Stewart, Charles Stultz, Jodi Jackson, Amber Belinski,
Aysha Hackert, Meredith Hampton, Rodney Lawrence, Patty Quinn, James Fulton,
Shawnda Picraux, Sean Marsh, Commodore Mann, Jen Haskins, Barbara Jean, Perla Tirado,
Martin Munro, Elizabeth Briscoe, Greg Jean, and Nick Reed!
Hi all I just wanted to say thank you for your continued support and your words of encouragement, for always telling your friends and families about these books and for basically just being awesome readers. I have told some of you that this ‘series’ was basically only supposed to be one book and then I quickly realized that Talbot was WAY too long winded. That first book became a trilogy almost overnight, I was halfway through the third book when I realized the story just wasn’t and couldn’t be completed in that time frame. So most folks were pretty happy when I said the trilogy was now a four book series, others not so much. I got some hate mail expressing that I was outright deceiving my readers, most of you know that was never the case if you have EVER sent me any type of correspondence you know that I value and appreciate every reader I have. With that being said, as I sit here today (9/29/11) there will be a ZF5 and right now I think that’s it, but I will not guarantee that. So dear reader if you are hoping that this is the conclusion to the Talbot saga, not quite yet, most likely the next installment (or maybe not). Is that vague enough? You guys are the reason I write, keep on reading and I’ll keep on writing, as always I love to hear from you guys!
CHAPTER ONE - Talbot Journal Entry 1
The End…has come and gone. This is the new beginning, the new world order and it sucks. The end for humanity came the moment the U.S. government sent out the infected flu shots. My name is Michael Talbot and this is my journal. I’m writing this because no one’s tomorrow is guaranteed, and I have to leave something behind to those who may follow. Although the chance of humans making a comeback is remote. We have never been this close to the abyss. Oh, who the hell am I kidding, we’ve already fallen over and are clinging desperately to a small outcropping.
I’ve lost damn near everything in an attempt to get back to the East Coast Talbots. I watched as two dear friends departed to their families in the south, to never be heard from again. I watched as my neighbor, a valiant warrior named Jen, was shredded by zombies. My daughter’s fiancé Brendon died in a rescue attempt for me, BT and Jen. And my adopted son Tommy has gone missing. So now I must leave ‘home’ and strike out against a relentless enemy named Eliza, who has placed me on the top of her ‘to kill’ list. The clock is ticking. My son Justin has been infected with a low dose of the zombie virus and for the most part has been able to keep it at bay, although with some notable side effects, one being that Eliza can use him as a spy. While we were recuperating on the banks of Lake Erie in Camp Custer, Doc Baker came up with a serum that Justin has to take daily. It quite literally keeps the Demon out of his head, the problem being is that we only have forty-five or so of these shots left.
So either we find Eliza and deal with her or she’ll find us. Come to think of it, both ways really kind of blow. I’d much rather wait out the end of the world in a nice cozy cabin but now it’s personal. She has dominion over two of my sons, and is directly responsible for the death of my future son-in-law.
Day One – T-Minus four hours before departure – Talbot Journal Entry 2
“Is everything all packed?” Ron asked.
“Hell Ron, I’m a Talbot, everything was packed last night,” I told him.
“One more thing then,” he said. “I need to show you something.”
“I’m not a doctor, I don’t know what boils on your ass mean.”
“It’s too early.”
“I know, it’s just my way of diffusing the stress.”
Ron smiled wanly at me as he led me to the back of his bedroom, more specifically into his master closet.
“Holy crap this closet is huge, you could sleep in here,” I jibed.
“I have,” he responded. When he didn’t elaborate, I figured this to be his ‘doghouse’ so to speak. “I even have cable in here,” he finished proudly.
“Get out?” I questioned him.
He moved a duffle bag aside to show a small 19” flat screen set back against the w
all. “Sometimes I start a fight when the Sox are on just so I can get some peace.”
I was nodding my head. “Brilliant.”
“I thought so,” he said, smiling modestly.
“This is cool and all but this isn’t why you brought me here, is it.” It was more of a statement than a question.
“Not so much,” he said as he bent over, rooting around and under a small mountain of sweaters. He finally pulled out the prize he was searching for. It was an old suitcase that had seen better days and a box roughly the size of a football, not the shape mind you, just the size.
“Any chance you’ve got a hand grenade in there?” I asked him hopefully, pointing to the small box.
“Nothing quite as explosive, literally.”
“Figuratively then? Really?”
“I just remembered it and I thought it might be relevant. Dad gave me this box and the suitcase when I was 15. He told me this story about how his father gave them to him to eventually give to his, at the time, unborn grandkids. Grandpa told Dad to never open these and that he should give these to his kids because they would know what to do with them.”
“Wait, so Papa John gave this stuff to Dad, with the explicit directions not to open them, so that he could give them to his future kids to open?”
“Yeah, that’s the gist of it.”
“And you’ve been hauling this stuff around since then? But I’ve never seen it and I used to snoop around your room all the time.”
I shrugged my shoulders. “Hey, I was just doing what all younger brothers did.”
“Yeah, and you weren’t my first younger brother. I made the bottom of my closet into a trapdoor.”
“Damn, you just keep racking up the respect points. So what else you got hidden in here?” I asked as I started tapping my right foot on the closet floor listening for the telltale sign of hollowness. Alarm flashed across Ron’s face. “So you do have something here!” I said, redoubling my efforts.
“You tap one more time and I will take the tires off the truck I’m letting you borrow.”
My foot hovered in the air. I was close, but I would leave it at that. Who knew what treasure trove he had hidden? I wouldn’t doubt it at all if it was gold bullion.
He first opened up the suitcase. There were stacks of notebooks and loose-leaf papers. They looked pretty brittle to the touch. I bent to grab a piece and the corner broke off in my hand.
“Careful,” Ron chided me.
“I barely touched it,” I said in defense.
“This stuff is almost a hundred years old.”
“Ron, I’m not getting the importance, especially now, why you’re showing me this stuff.”
“Let me back track. Gram Marissa.”
“Oh I loved Gram Marissa, she always smelled like licorice and honey,” I said fondly.
“She did sort of, didn’t she?” Ron said, getting that faraway look in his eyes.
Grandma Marissa had a smile on her face every day up until the day she died; it was a trait I had often desired to emulate but I always seemed to come up woefully short. Either her faith in mankind was much stronger than mine, or much more ignorant. It was better to think the former, it made her seem a much stronger person.
“Anyway,” Ron started up again. “Gram Marissa’s dad was a doctor, actually a physicist.”
“Really? I didn’t know that.” I was astonished, that was a pretty lofty position and I was fairly certain that I had never heard of the man.
“Stop interrupting me.”
“Just because you’re my big brother doesn’t make you the boss of me.”
“What are you, two?”
“Just messing around.”
“The whole stress thing?”
“It’s what I do.”
“Any chance you’ll grow out of it?”
“Pretty far in the game now to think about changing the rules.”
“Fair enough, you ready for the rest of the story?”
I nodded and twirled my hand around to let him know it was OK to proceed.
“Alright, so Gram Marissa’s dad was Dr. Hugh Mann.”
“Like Hu-man?” I asked.
“I thought you weren’t going to interrupt anymore?”
“I never said that, you did.”
“Fine,” He said, a little perturbed. “Yes, like Hu-man, only with a Hugh, H…U…G…H, not H…U.”
“Sounds the same.”
“Mike, shut up.”
I nodded again, I had yet to agree to anything though.
“So Dr. Mann discovered these bugs that under the microscopes of his time bore an eerie similarity to the human form.”
“No way, he was the one that discovered Hugh-Mannites? Why aren’t we rich or something? I read all about them on the Internet, how they were really just a concocted boogie-man to raise awareness about hygiene back then.”
“And the Spanish Flu? Wow, I never put it together until now.”
“It’s all in these papers.”
“Now don’t get me wrong, this is super interesting shit, and I’m not even pretending.”
“Thanks,” Ron said drily.
“Wait,” a conspiracy light bulb flickering above my head. “How does this tie into the H1N1?”
“Now you’re getting it,” Ron smiled grimly. “I started reading these notes right after Dad gave them to me.”
I looked questioningly at the brittle parchment. Ron understood immediately.
“I had them photocopied.”
I nodded and he continued. “So our great grand dad was one of the first to put it together. When dust mites died so did people.”
“So the flu was no flu.”
“And they said when Mom dropped you on your head you’d never be right. I thought they might be mostly wrong.”
“Keep talking, funny one, just remember I’m borrowing your truck and you won’t be there to see what happens to it.”
His previous smile fell from his face. “Anything happens to that truck…”
“Whoa, whoa, big brother, I didn’t say anything was going to happen, I merely implied it.”
“Yeah, that makes me feel SO much better.”
“I’m just messing with you, nothing is gonna happen to your baby.”
He eyed me unmercifully, we both subconsciously knew my last statement was a lie.
“The doctor realized when the military became interested that his discovery could now be used for nefarious purposes.”
“Big word, been using a thesaurus again?”
“Bad, asshole, it means bad.”
“Oh I know what it means, it just seems like you were dropping large words just to do it. So even back then the government was a little shady?”
“Remember the USS Maine?”
“Touché. I still don’t know if I’m putting all the dots together. So the gummint…”
“Yeah, just my white trash way of saying government.”
“Whatever, how many times did Mom drop you?”
“So the gov-ern-ment,” I said slowly, making sure to over-enunciate each word. “They got a hold of our great granddad’s research and they did what any self-respecting government would do. They figured out a way to use the bugs as a means of mass destruction on our enemies. Is that a fair assessment?”
“Well, yes and no. They definitely took an interest after the Spanish Flu wreaked its havoc. There is even evidence to suggest that they ran tests with it around the time of WWII but besides the deaths of 1918 that were caused by accident, there is nothing to suggest that they did anything with it after that.”
“Would they wait a hundred years? And why use it against their own…” I stopped mid-thought. “Someone else got a hold of it.”
Ron put his index finger to his nose to let me know I had nailed it.
“So someone tainted the world’s supply of flu shots. But who and for what purpose?”
“Hell, take your pick little brother. The John Birch Society, the One World Government, the Illuminati, the fucking Girl Scouts, any one of them. To what purpose? Well, that depends on which one of the psychotic groups got a hold of it. Just plain anarchy, control of resources, not enough cookie sales. I can’t imagine they expected this much collateral damage but there you have it.”
“What else do his notes say?” I asked.
“There’s a potential for a cure in here, but he never fully perfected it and I’m not sure what effect it would have on the parasite now. Whatever version is running through those zombies out there, it isn’t 1.0.”