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'Decline To A Beginning'

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'Decline to a beginning'


What is it: It's a taster. To see if I get any interest to continue this section of fan-fiction. It's not been proof-read so please don't:

- correct my spelling/grammar/punctuation. 


Please do:

- Offer to proof read newer sections of the story.


What's it about?


It's about the build up and subsequent events that might transpire in PZ albeit with a little twist of my own. It lends more to Z lore than to PZ. Being honest.


Part 1


Englishmen aren’t built for this kind of heat James thought to himself, exhausted. It’d been less than 20 minutes off the plane at CVG when it started to become wearisome. The invite, long standing only now had been accepted by James. His brake-up and divorce from his long-standing common-law wife had taken it’s toll. He knew she’d keep him from his son and so decided to try and put distance between them. Even if it was just for a few weeks.

Staring wistfully out the window it was only then that he realized his Aunt Jemma had been talking to him, sat across from him the driver seat of the pickup truck.

Snapping his head back, “I’m sorry Auny Jem, I’m wrecked from the flight, I’m half asleep. What did you say?”

Jem smiled kindly “You poor thing. You need a nice cool shower a hot plate and a lie down” she said in her gentle southern drawl. Continuing. “I just said, did you catch any of the news on the flight over, the TV hardly has time for for my favourite shows. They didn’t even show Doctors, it’s just News, News, News!”

“No Aunt Jem, I mainly tried to sleep. Why, what’s going on?” resting his arm out the window.

“Oh I don’t know, you hear lots of things, I can’t pretend to understand it all. You hear words like influenza and Ebola and they might as well be speaking Sioux” she said returning her head to watch the road.

“I know it was going crazy back home. People with an absolutely crazy fever, the hospitals are overflowing. I’m lucky I got to come across when I did. I think I saw they were talking of closing the airports.

“Well it'll not get like that over here” Jem replied. “I’ll take good care of you.” She said warmly.


James woke as the pickup pulled into his Aunt’s driveway. The sun was going down now but he felt no better for it. They both went inside, James took a shower and got changed. After eating with Aunt Jemma he fell asleep again in front of the roaring fire to the sound of the TV and insincere anchor men over dramatizing every wrong they could.

James awoke again to the walls dancing gently from the light of the now diminished fire.  He reached over and picked up the TV remote and switched on the TV. As his Aunt had said, still solid news across all channels. All about the fever people were suffering. James switched channels for a good 60 seconds but found no respite from the news.

Picking a channel James flipped off the blanket his Aunt had placed over him and reached over and drank the glass of water whole without taking breath.

‘There has been no further word from the Presidential office regarding the fevers’ said a well presented anchor lady ‘only to refer the press to earlier statements’

‘And to remind you’ a handsome dark haired anchorman interjected ‘The press secretary has stated that they cannot advise the American people further as there have not, as yet, been any reported casualties.’

‘What do you make of that Bill?’ the voice trailed off as James returned to thought. He flicked a button to bring up the time on the TV. 3.44 am.

James stood from his chair, picked up the blanket and lay down on the sofa and draped the blanket over himself. He woke, seemingly right away, to his Aunt Jem stood smiling over him.

“Oh sweety, you look awful” she said gently, concern pouring from her.

“I don’t feel that bad Aunty Jem, just tired.” and slowly stood. Where is the kitchen? I need a drink of water.” Jem rested a hand on his shoulder saying “Now don’t you move a muscle, let me get that for you. You’re my guest”

James managed a smile “You’re a far cry from my mother Aunt Jem, she’d go mad if she caught you running after me like this.”

Jem laughed and busied herself heading for the kitchen. She returned with a cool pint glass of water which James took with an appreciative smile and downed, again, without taking breath.

“Feeling a little better?” she enquired.
“Much, thanks Aunty Jem” James replied appreciatively.

“She paused, lost, momentarily then said “I’m going to have a lie down.” and broke off from the conversation abruptly and headed for the bedroom.

“You ok Aunt Jem?”asked James. She didn’t turn, over her shoulder saying "Oh it’s nothing. I’m sure it was just excitement at you coming over from England. And with that disappeared into the bedroom behind the closed door.

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More please!




I'm glad to hear this. I wasn't going to continue it but this is the only encouragement I need, ta.


Here is part 2. Let me know when you've read it and I might write/post the next




Part 2


James heard a smack of something hitting the door. Curious, he stood and headed for the source. With no person on the other side he opened the door to find a newspaper sitting patiently for him. James smiled, remembering fondly his days back on his Spectrum computer playing PaperBoy and smiled that his Aunt and her countrymen do things slightly different to how things are done back home.

Retreating back to the chair James noticed that some of his strength had returned. The day was overcast and the light not as overbearing although the humidity was stifling.

Slouching into the chair James leafed through the newspaper

[Pandemic hits Australia]

[Japan has closed all airports]

After finishing a quick flit through the paper James reflected on what he’d read. No reported casualties. Incredible. For a fever which has affected hundreds of millions. No deaths. Not even 2nd and 3rd world countries. None directly attributable, anyway.

James decided to check on Aunt Jem. It was past midday and she was an early riser. He got up and went to her bedroom door and knocked gently. “Aunt Jem?” he whispered.

He heard a croaky voice creep from under the door “Don’t come in James. I’ve, a flu” she struggled “Don’t want you catching it” followed by another long pause “Will be ok tomorrow” and then silence.

James went to the kitchen. He found some bacon and eggs in the fridge and fried up a bacon and egg sandwich and made a cup of coffee. James carried the tray through into the bedroom and placed it on the set of draws next to her bed.

“Aunt Jem?” no answer.

“Aunt Jem?” Silence. “I’ve left you some breakfast. You should try and eat.

James left the room feeling completely impotent. Some holiday this is turning out to be, he thought to himself and it was at this point that he again thought of Angela his tempestuous partner and his son Andrew.

James headed for Aunt Jem’s bedroom but stopped at the door. “Would it be ok if I made a very quick call back home Aunt Jem?” Silence

James asked again. Silence.

He wandered, lost in thought, to the phone.  He picked up and dialled Angela’s home but nobody picked up. He put the phone down and was about to do something else when the  thought occurred to ring her mother. He dialled the phone was picked up almost immediately.

“James?” said a perceptibly terrified voice on the other end.

“What’s wrong, you sound scared half to death” he enquired. In tears “I don’t know what’s going on.” she said, the line was quiet momentarily. “What is it Angela?” pressed James “What’s wrong?” he pressed.

“I, I think my mother is dead” and she broke down in tears on the phone. James felt himself in shock but rallied his thoughts with a question.

“How?” he asked

“I don’t know” was the answer. “She had a really bad fever for days, I went in last night and she doesn’t have a pulse and James” again she paused struggling to speak the words “I tried ringing for an ambulance but nobody is picking up the phone, not the taxi company, not anybody. Why?”

James didn’t answer. He didn’t have an answer and if he did he’d not have spoke it, he was lost in thought. His brain was firing trying to process all this new information and failing miserably. He was stunned.

He heard coughing from down the phone and was ripped back to the present.

“Are you sick?” James asked firmly and dreaded the answer.

“I’ve been feeling bad for a couple of days and” James didn’t let her finish. “Is Andrew ok” he interrupted.

“He’s fine, thank god but what happens if I’m sick like my mam, who will take care of him” and again she broke down in tears.

“Just stay warm and hydrated and I’ll start heading home now. I’ll be back soon, I love you. ” and without waiting for a reply he put the phone down.

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I want more, the endings are cliffhangers!


Thanks. You're very kind.


Part 3


Part 3


James switched on his mobile and connected to his Aunties Wifi. He did a quick search for a local taxi company and then picked up the landline and dialled. He stopped and put the phone down. He realized, he couldn’t just up and leave his Aunty without an explanation. He looked around the house for pen and paper but none could immediately be found. James wandered the house slowly. Upon entering the kitchen he noticed a mini whiteboard on the fridge which served as a reminder of what food to pick up from the shop. He wiped it clean and wrote ‘Aunty Jem, hope you can forgive me, mother-in-law passed away, need to go home, so sorry!’ and James genuinely regretted writing every letter.

He went back to the landline and dialled the taxi company but nobody picked up. He got out his mobile and tried another taxi company. Again, no answer. James repeated this for several different local companies and none of them picked up. Either a recorded message or the phone continued to ring.


Collapsing into the chair James buried his head into his hands the world crushing his will as if he were an insect. As a considered person James was not bound by flights of fancy or prone to recklessness. He didn’t care. He realized the threat to Angela and Andrew as real and decided to move before common sense told him to sit back down.


He’d been taking driving lessons. He’d not passed but these weren’t manual transmission, these were automatics. He stood from the chair and snatched the car keys from the side table and made for the door. He flung the door open and again was immediately stopped in his tracks. Half on the road and half on the street lay a man, collapsed and unmoving. James couldn’t remove his eyes from him. He hurried to him and as he approached he noticed the man was ashen in colour. Was he did. He checked and could find no pulse. The fallen man was unresponsive. James decided to try and ring an ambulance from the airport. As selfish as it made him feel his son and wife were his priority right now.

He got into the pickup truck and looked in the glove compartment for a map and was relieved to find one. He looked at the route he would take to the airport and was pleased to see it was an uncomplicated one. At a steady speed James would be back at CVG in under 40 minutes.

And drive he did, mostly on autopilot. His mind consumed with concern for Angela, Andrew and Aunt Jem. He’d been driving for about 25 minutes and something had been bothering him but it had took him until now to realize what is was. The roads were entirely deserted.

Occasionally he’d spot a car pulled over by the side of the road, the door open and the car abandoned. James suspected that the driver had sucumb to the fever and tried to seek refuge in one of the houses near by.

When he arrived at the airport it was chaos. He’d expected it to be be busy but he was not prepared to for what he found. Emptiness.

The airport was entirely deserted. Walking through the main doors of the airport he noticed a hastily erected sign with ‘Quarantine’ sloppily painted on it and an error. With no sign of life James followed the sign and saw that it pointed to the large cafeteria area.

“Hello?” he shouted only to be greeted by his own echo. He reached the double doors of the cafeteria and stopped just as he was about to push one of the doors open and felt his mouth go immediately dry.

Bodies, everywhere. Some in chairs, some on sleeping bags and some lying literally where they had fell. There were hundreds of people in this room all ashen, just like the man on the street. James took a step back from the door and tried to consider his options. He needed to get home but had no idea how this would be possible. He couldn’t get a ticket and exactly who would fly the plane?

He felt tears form in his eyes but fought them back. He said aloud “I need to think, I can’t cry like a girl” and took a large shuddering breath.

He walked around the airport for another 30 minutes or so, he couldn’t say his mind wouldn’t leave thoughts of his son. The airport was literally deserted. Not a soul standing and only fleeting individuals lying scattered in chairs and on the floor. All ashen. All seemingly afflicted by the fever.


He decided he could do nothing here and instead resolved to see if he could help his Aunty. The drive which took 40 minutes felt like 40 nights. When he reached his Aunties he pulled the truck into the driveway and stopped as he got out. Something wasn’t right but he couldn’t figure out what it was. Still the silence, not a car horn or plane overhead. Just the birds and the rustling of the wind through trees and vegetation and that’s when it hit him.

The man who lay ashen outside of Aunty Jem’s house was gone. James was no doctor but knew that such a man couldn’t travel. He was on deaths door. Anyone could see that. He hoped and secretly prayed that the ambulance service had picked him up and the emergency services were just behind due to the number of people sick and were, only now, beginning to recover from the backlog but knew, deep down that this was not likely to be true.

James went inside and immediately shouted “Aunt Jem, I’m back” but got no answer. He walked to the bedroom door and knocked. No answer. “Aunt Jem, you ok?” Again. No answer. He knocked one last time and then gently pushed the door open to see his Aunty still where he had left her. He walked to her side and looked down upon her, the coffee and sandwich he made that morning untouched.

“Aunty Jem, you ok?” but still no answer. He reached round to try and find a pulse on her neck but immentely recoiled as he touched her, she was deathly cold.

Backing away from the bed James did what he had already tried. He went back to the landline and rang 911 again. After navigating the phone menu and reaching the ambulance service he couldn’t get through to a person.

James retreated to the living room and collapsed into a chair. Despondent he picked up the phone and rang Angela again.

Again, the phone was picked up almost immediately. “James?” can wretched voice.

“Yeah it’s me, hows your fever, any better” he enquired.

She began crying right away. “Why aren’t you on the plane. Please tell me you’re calling from the plane” she said through tears and broke down.

He didn’t know what to say, he had nothing to offer her as condolence. He had nothing which could help them. He was furious that he had left England. He was furious he had failed his only son.

“I’m scared James, I’m really scared. The fever is getting worse so I I tried to go to the corner shop to get anything that might help but…”

“Yeah, but what?” asked James.

She started crying again “Someone tried to bite me”

James felt like he’d been given a slap. “Bite you?” he said incredulously. “Why did they do that, did they look high?”

“I don’t know James” she said angrily. I didn’t wait to find out. He grabbed my arm and opened his mouth to bite me so I pushed him over. His eyes were vacant. It was the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen”

There was a pause on the line where neither spoke. Then Angela said. I need to go lie down. I’m so tired, this fever just gets worse. I love you”

And with that the line went dead.

James ate some food and slept. He just wanted some brief respite from this torment and still recovering from this flu, the worry and the tremendous heat had him exhausted. He slept a broken tortured nights sleep but sleep he did.

He awoke early morning and immediately made for the phone to ring Angela right away. There was no answer. He made breakfast for Jem and himself leaving hers by the table and taking away her old. He feared the worst for his Aunty but refused to accept what every other sense was telling him at that point.

It was later in the morning and again he rang Angela. No answer.

He switched on the TV to find a looped government message warning people to stay indoors. The radio said very much the same.

James spent the day by the phone. Not ten minutes would pass before he would pick up the phone and ring again. Always the phone would ring.

James didn’t sleep that night. He sat by the chair and picked up the phone periodically throughout the night only to be greeted by the ring. By morning he could barely stay awake. It was now after nine a.m and fatigue had all but overcome him. He picked up the phone and tried again but still no ringing. Furious James slammed the receiver into the phone with tremendous crashing sound and pushed his hair back through his fingers. Lost as to what he could do. He sat there unmoving when he heard a loud bang which came from Aunty Jems room.

“Aunty Jem, you ok?”

He was unsure of whether to rush in a check on her but she might be getting dressed.

“Aunty Jem are you…”


A crashing thud came from the door of Aunt Jem’s bedroom.

james stood, shocked.

[bang] again with the loud crash. Consistent now, like a hammer being slammed into a wall

[bang] James stood statuesque.

[Crash] James stood in shock as the tip of a clenched fist broke through flimsy bedroom wooden door.

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Hot damn, it is just getting good!


Alright, this encouragement is doing me NO harm whatsoever. I was just thinking about this before. Time to write Part 4.

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Part 4


James literally could not believe what he was seeing. He smiled. His mind couldn't accept this was an actual event and this was not a joke. Perhaps it was one of those TV shows where they fool someone into thinking something terrible is happening only to capture their reaction.

[bang] The fist came through the door now.

He watched as the arm appeared to become caught in the door and Jem couldn't retrieve it. She struggled on and as she did she tore a massive ugly gash into her upper arm but there was no scream of pain. In fact, the struggle with the door,  if anything, intensified and no blood poured from the wound.

“What is this, some kind of joke because I'm not laughing Aunt Jem, this isn't funny”

James was angry now. Someone was playing a trick on him rather convincingly and he didn't like it at all.
“Stop this now, I don’t think this is funny. Stop it!” he was yelling now.

“Stop it Aunty Jem, this isn't funny!”

He stood in shock as the force of Aunt Jem took the flimsy bedroom door of it’s hinges and  came crashing to the floor with Aunt Jem on top and her arm trapped underneath.

Inside his head part of his psyche was laughing but another part, he primordial part was screaming for him to run like a tommy gazelle.

She struggled to stand but could not. She’d actually pinned herself to the floor and could not retrieve her arm.
[bang] James’ head whipped left to the front door. Someone else was trying to get in the front door. He couldn’t process this information and returned to look at the ashen caricature of what was his Aunty, lying there on the floor snarling and grimacing at him hatefully.

Shock slowly gave way to fear and James looked for an exit. Something stopped him. For reasons unbeknown, he pulled on some reserve of calm and looked around the room.

On the table, car keys. James didn’t waste any time. He grabbed the keys and headed for the back door. As James hurried through the kitchen to the back door he noticed an old beat up backpack and stopped. He could still hear his Aunt Jem’s struggles and the new assailant trying to beat down the front door.

He quickly rifled through the cupboards and grabbed a half dozen tins and a can opener and threw them in the bag. He looked through the fridge and found a large bottle of water. He slung the backpack over his shoulder and exited the house.

He quietly made his way around the side of the house hoping to avoid the new intruder at the front door. When he reached the front of the house he quickly moved behind the new neighbour and towards the car but he stopped. He realized that the neighbour had no idea he was there.

He approached the pickup and climbed in. He wound up the window and was about to start the engine when it occurred that he had no idea where it was he was going. He wasn't going back to the airport. He couldn't fly a plane and there wasn't anyone else to fly it. How else could he get home. Could he even get home?

He resolved to find somewhere quiet to sleep and think it through. He started the pickup and noticed that the guest trying to force his way through the front door immediately lost interest in that endeavour. James doubled checked that the widows to the pickup were up and watched him momentarily. He staggered and limped. He made hard work covering the short distance from the door to the pickup. The neighbour reached the car and weakly beat at the window. His vacant eyes never for a moment leaving James. He found himself transfixed with the behaviour. This neighbour never spoke he just occasionally groaned. He didn't appear to try and open the car door just beat his hand on the window. James couldn't understand it at all.

James turned his head back from looking right at the neighbour now trying to get in the car and back to the road and his heart stopped beating.
Stood in the street where near enough thirty more just like Jem and just like the one trying to get in the front door. Their eyes fixed on the car and heading directly towards him, albeit very slowly. James decided now was not the time to stick around and drove the pickup out of the estate on which his Aunt lived. He drove out onto the main road.

He continued at a slow pace along the road. He knew he wasn't going anywhere so he kept the car at a slow speed to find a likely place to stay for the night.

James was driving for about 15 minutes when he saw it. An old wooden house right out of little house of the prairie. It looked to be a good half a mile off the road and appeared to be well away from any other houses. He drove on and found no turn off for the house so he doubled back. He found the turn off and headed up the dirt road. It wasn’t long before he pulled up outside the house.

“Hello? - is anybody home?” but only the trees answered. It was getting dark now and James knew how he felt about being out at this time of night. Not at all comfortable.

He went inside and found the place to be perfectly intact. This helped him relax a little. If what happened at his Aunties had happened here then there would be broken doors and turned over chairs and a general mess but all was neat and tidy.

James closed the curtains and propped a chair under the only two doors to the room. The only other way into this room now was up the stairs to the first floor.

Taking a deep breath James headed upstairs and quickly scoured the upper floor but there we no signs of life. He found a bigger bag and a heavy coat which he took in case there was rain. He looked through the kitchen and added some more food to his collection. He rested on the sofa and thought of Andrew. He wouldn't accept what rationality was telling him. He ignored the voices that said a four year old boy wouldn't survive without his mother and in this environment he’d not last a day. Any thoughts of this kind were dismissed. He’d simply stop functioning if he ever let himself believe that.

he forced himself to more pleasant thoughts. He congratulated himself on his quick thinking. His decision making. He knew he was using positive reinforcement on himself and he laughed inwardly to himself that this was the case but he didn't care. Very little had amused him lately and he slowly drifted off to sleep.


He awoke abruptly late at night. The room with the curtains closed was deathly black. He heard a thick Kentucky accept proclaim “I've a sawnoff pointed at your face son. My eyes have adjusted to the low light but yours aint. If you make any sudden moves I will blow your head clean off.

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So this is when NPCs are added! Damn that would be nice to be waken up in the night, only to hear "Shogun to the face, hands up!"

So this is when NPCs are added! Damn that would be nice to be waken up in the night, only to hear "Shogun to the face, hands up!"

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So this is when NPCs are added! Damn that would be nice to be waken up in the night, only to hear "Shogun to the face, hands up!"


Not in my safehouse. I'll have cans on a wire. Nobody is getting near my house without me knowing it :)


**The forum has a problem where it's causing double posts.

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So this is when NPCs are added! Damn that would be nice to be waken up in the night, only to hear "Shogun to the face, hands up!"


Not in my safehouse. I'll have cans on a wire. Nobody is getting near my house without me knowing it :)


**The forum has a problem where it's causing double posts.


Well i can knock you out/ watch you to see how i can avoid them


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Well i can knock you out/ watch you to see how i can avoid them


That's my point. The cans on the string alert me before you can get near?

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Well i can knock you out/ watch you to see how i can avoid them


That's my point. The cans on the string alert me before you can get near?


I can just knock you out when you are looting the Spiffio Dinner, Smash all windows, loot then shoot a shogun >:D

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I thought I had posted Part 5. Sorry about that. So I'm posting 5 and 6 today. Part 7 (well the star of it) is quite fresh in my mind so I should have that soon.


Part 5


“I’ll do whatever you say, don’t shoot” said James quitely.

There was a pause. James felt the man was plucking up the courage to kill him and felt as if you would evacuate his bowels. He focused on staying calm.

“What you doin in my house son. And what sort of accent is that?” he enquired.

“I just needed somewhere quiet to stay overnight. Your place was off the road away from those things and seemed ideal. I’ve not seen another talking person in days and I thought you be just the same.” said James with a confidence he was proud of.

“And your accent, what is that, sounds like Irish”

James suppressed a laugh. “I’m English, but from the North.”

James went temporarily blind as the man flicked a switch on a tall lamp positioned next to his chair. The old man kept the barrels of the shotgun levelled at James head.

“Son, I don’t want to kill you but you need to know this. I served and I have killed before. This isn’t a boast, it’s a warning”

James nodded his understanding but said nothing. The old man was wracked by a fit of coughing.

“You alright, you don’t have that fever do you?” asked James.

The old man studied James for a moment. “I did but I managed to shake it off. Unlike my wife.” The man drifted off into a daydream momentarily before he returned his gnarly gaze on James. “I thought she died from it, but she didn’t” and the old man nodded his head to his bandaged forearm. “I was over the flu and had been taking care of her but she passed away. I put her in the spare bedroom until I could get through to the funeral parlour and have them come collect her. She wasn’t dead, she came back and when I went to the spare room to bring her some food and water she bit me. She practically took a chunk out of my arm” he said painfully recalling the event physically.

“That’s why this is already loaded” he said torture written all over his face. The old man looked away. James felt that he needed to say the right thing.
“My Aunt Jem, she came back too.” The old man studied him again.

“And what did you do” he asked.
“I got out. It never occurred to kill her but then she hadn’t bitten me. Yeah and I don’t know how to use a gun”

The old man paused in thought and said nothing for a minute or two. James sat there and examined him waiting for his next cue.

“Stay downstairs, you can sleep here tonight.” He pointed across the room to a door “That’s the bathroom if you need it. Don’t come upstairs at anytime. If you do I’ll assume your intentions are hostile and I will kill you without another thought”

The old man locked his gaze on James like a boa constrictor. James looked away, uncomfortably. He knew the man was quite sincere.

The old man fetched a blanket, a sandwich and a glass of water. “Remember what I said” and with that he disappeared upstairs.


When morning came it did so with clandestine subtlety. Creeping under the closed curtains. James awoke to the sound of footsteps overhead and then, what he thought sounded like steps on a ladder but thought no more off it.

The old man appeared at the bottom of the stairs and smiled at James. “How you feelin son?”

James was glad the veiled threats were gone, if at least for now.

“Great, considering.” he said.

“Considering?” tipping his head slightly in curiosity but before James could answer the old man through out a big heavy calloused hand. The sort of hand that only knew hard work

“Willam B. Casey. Nice to meet you. Most people just call me Bill”

James took his hand. “James Dunton.” thanks for the roof and, er, not shooting me” he smiled

Bill laughed. Ah, would that be the English sense of humour.

“What’s your plans James? You can stay here if you like, or least until this all blows over.“

James smiled washed from his face.
“‘Sup youngster”

James fought the compulsion to cry. He felt weak. He sat down back down unto the sofa.
“I had a massive argument with my wife. My Aunty, the one I told you about. She’d invited me over to Kentucky loads of times but I never took her up but I really thought me and Angela were never getting back together so I just wanted to get away. Or, at the very least for a little while”

Bill nodded and remained silent encouraging Jame to continue.

“I never knew any of this would happen” James pleaded as if he would be vindicated from himself “and Angela and my son are back home and it seems it’s just as bad there as it is here and there is nothing I can do about it to help them.
James was furious now but wasn’t exactly sure at what. He looked up and saw compassion in the old mans eyes and he felt the fury slowly ease.

“You’re gonna try and get home aren’t you?” he asked.

James looked away. “Yes. I know, it’s stupid. I’ve no idea how I can possibly make it home.”

They sat across from each other for a few moments without speaking.

“Y’know. Historians aren’t sure if it was the the vikings or the Chinese who found the Americas first”. said Bill smiling.

James looked at him quizzically. Understanding must have slowly crept over James’ face as Bill laughed out loud.
“I’m not saying it’s easy. In fact it’s extremely dangerous, but given enough time and a good enough captain you could make it around Greenland and Iceland to Scotland. That is, if you’re determined to make it home.”


Part 6

“So you’re sure you wanna do this James, it’s important you understand what exactly it is you’re doing?

Just to be clear, if you embark on this journey you’re almost certainly going to die. You’ll either die from half-starved loon who has nothing left to live for. Or you’ll might get bitten by one of those things. You might make it to the east coast, find a boat and be lost at sea or die of dehydration. Do I need to go on?”

“James” he continued. “You seem a decent kid, stay here.”

James couldn’t look at him. He knew he was right. There was little chance Andrew & Angela were ‘just fine’ - he probably wouldn’t even make it to the east coast. I’m green, James thought to himself.

“I’ll get a gun.” James said, looking at Bill.

Bill’s face contorted. “For what?”

“For me” said James assertively. If I get bit or run out of food and water. Get into a situation I can’t get out off. I’ll give myself the quick out.”

“You don’t need to decide whether to go right now. I can always unpack your truck. I’ll start putting some supplies on the back and in the morning you can always change your mind. Ok?”

James nodded mutely.

“Go wait out back James” and without another word began climbing the stairs.

James did as instructed and waited outside the back of the old mans house. He’d been gone no more than a couple of minutes before he came out with a crate of empty bottles. He placed the empty bottles on the posts holding up the garden fence and James understood. It’s only when the man lifted aside his jacket did James see the holstered 9mm pistol.

“Let’s hope you don’t need this but you should know the basics in case you do.”

Bill spent forty minutes explaining gun safety and basic operation before he allowed James to touch the gun. Where to point it when loaded, correct loading and the correct way to maintain it.

“I’ve put a book in with the supplies. It explains how to keep your gun maintained. James” he paused to make sure James was looking at him. “Please make sure you read it. What I’ve shown you today should’ve taken two days”

James spent the rest of the day practicing. He was awful. He couldn’t hit anything.

As the light faded they retreated inside.

Bill was perspiring heavily. He laboured over to his favourite chair and collapsed into it.

“Bill, I’m really sorry to ask you this, but, I thought you said you were through the fever?”

Bill caught his breath. “So did I” and tugged at the bandage over his forearm.

“Close the curtains and get the lights on James. Make sure you close the curtains first” said Bill in a now rasping voice.

James never reached the curtains. “Bill!”” said james sharply and that’s all he could manage. Bill looked around whilst still sat in his chair but couldn’t see out of the window as James could. He laboured to stand and slowly walked to the window but stopped just as he reached James and didn’t move. Just as James had done.

“Neither of us are staying” said Bill, dryly.

They didn’t move. They just looked out onto the unused land out of the window. Out onto the dirt road which led down to the main road from which James had come.

James could no longer see the unused land, the road or indeed anything except for people. Countless hundreds, all slowly shambling in their direction.

Bill snapped from his daze. “There are three large bags in the kitchen. Stick as much water and tinned food as you can fit into those bags and drop them by the front door. Go.”

James had been programmed. He didn’t even consider the implications of the instruction but he did find himself complying with it. Bill disappeared upstairs and as James waited by the front door Bill returned with a bag of his own.

“There’s old Tuckers hut. That’s a good five miles from the main road and a good twenty from the interstate”. We should be safe there until morning and then we can decide what to do.” he breathed.

Bill was really starting to struggle. James told him to put his arm over his shoulder and they hurried as best they could to his Aunt’s pickup.

The crowd was huge but their pace was slow. James knew they’d have had no chance at all if they’d not seen them coming. Simply too many. They were in the truck and away as some of the pace setters approached the house. All ashen just like his Aunty. His experience with these so far hadn’t been positive and he had little reason to believe they’d be any different in the future. Certainly not after what Bill had told him.

They reached the beat-up old shack without incident. The ate, drank and slept without incident.

When morning came James checked Bill and his colour had changed. He looked in terrible shape. They sat opposite each other the following morning drinking on coffee fresh for the flask. Coffee which had never tasted better.
“I’ve had a great idea” Bill wheezed. “We’ll head to Wilson’s Auto’s and pick up a GPS. I’m going to assume right now that you don’t know Kentucky well and I’m also going..” He paused to cough painfully “I’m also” he continued “Going to assume that you don’t know much about the rest of America too”

James simply nodded enthusiastically. “That is a good idea”

“But take a map too” added Bill. “These GPS things often get it wrong and sometimes they’re out of date. Don’t trust them 100%”

Again, James nodded

Bill grabbed James’ wrist aggressively. He locked eyes with James. If you check me and there is no pulse. You leave me by the road.

james shook his head saying “There’s no reason why..” but he didn’t get to finish.
Every bit as laboured as it appeared Bill raised his voice and the tone changed “I said, you will leave me by the side of the road” lacing the word leave with extra venom to be sure James understood.

James nodded and Bill took a good twenty seconds just looking at James eye to eye.
“Make sure you do” he whispered.

They drove out that day to Wilson’s Auto’s and picked up the GPS. They fitted it and programmed the GPS for Norfolk. A small town on the east coast.

“Harbour town, plenty of boats. Whether you find anyone there who can help you is another matter.”

Bill wished immediately that he hadn’t said that. He looked up out of the corner of his eye to gauge his reaction but saw none at all. He was pleased to see quiet determination.

They set out onto the freeway but the going was slow. It was rare to hit a stretch of road without a car half-parked in the middle of the road or one of the ashen stumbling about. it had dramatically slowed their progress. James took great care to avoid these ashen people. He didn’t want to hit them because he had no idea what it’d do to the truck, or indeed his stomach. They’d been driving for about five hours now and Bill was completely out of it. James couldn't bring himself to check his pulse. According to the GPS they’d been travelling for about 8 hours. It was about 4pm and they’d only covered two thirds of the distance. Were it not for the obstacles they could’ve made the same journey in one sitting.

James spotted a small bungalow slightly off the main road and with the light due to fade he took the precaution of ending the days travel prematurely.

james parked outside. He had to drag Bill inside by holding under his arms. He dropped him down on the sofa and found a blanket to cover him with.

He went back outside and as the light began to fade James stood and observed. No people. He waited there for ten minutes. No sign of any activity and with that he turned and went inside. He left a glass of water and a plate of food by Bill’s side and went into the bedroom. He remembered clearly what had happened to his Aunt and this still sat like a thorn in his mind. He propped an old wooden chair under the doorknob.

James awoke suddenly. Light crept under the curtains as before but something told him he’d not woken of his own accord. He felt like he’d been woken and then..


A loud pop but from a distance but he couldn’t place exactly what it was.

[Crack] [Crack] [Crack]

[Crack] [Crack] [Crack]

[Crack] [Crack] [Crack]

[Crack] ...Silence.

James understood. He’d seen enough movies. That was pistol fire. There was an urgency to the rate of fire too. James couldn’t explain how he could tell but the trigger was being peppered. Whoever fired those shots had panicked. The shots sounded as if they’d come from now more than a couple of miles away. His ears where tuned to this noise and he listened for more but they didn’t come.

James checked on Bill. His skin was completely ashen now and he’d all but given up hope for him. Reluctantly he checked his pulse but couldn’t find any. His skin was deathly cold.

Nonetheless James dragged Bill out to the pickup and lifted him into the back. He covered him with a blanket and placed the bags of food and water beside him. That’s when he remembered the bag Bill had brought from his room. He unzipped the bag and smiled. A shotgun with several boxes of shotgun cartridges and 9mm ammunition.

“Handy” he said to nobody in particular.

The GPS said he was close to Norfolk. He jumped in the pickup truck and set off. He was off the freeway now and onto sub-roads. The going was slightly better and felt his mood improve. He’d not give up hope for Bill.

About 2 miles from Norfolk James’s heart stopped. He had heard a noise behind whilst he was driving and checked his rear mirror and behind was a car approaching quickly.

James’s immediately reaction was to put his foot down but then realized this was a ten year old pickup. Dependable but slow.

James thought of the pistol by his side and realized it wasn’t even loaded. He panicked but managed to keep a steady pace although the chasing car was  decreasing the distance.  He wracked his brain trying to think of something he could do but no brilliant idea came to mind.

The car pulled alongside with both a man and women gesticulation wildly for James to pull over. He had no other ideas so that is what he did.

When the car stopped jame frantically tried to load the gun but he was in a state of panic. He could barely use his fingers. He didn’t want to appear as a threat so as the man approach the pickup truck he got out and smiled.
“Everything ok?” asked James weakly.

The man approached, also smiling but the smile dropped away the instant he got within ten foot of James. The man produced a revolver and pointed it James and his heart went into overdrive. James put up his hands without being asked.

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Part 7
Almost apologetically the man said “Look buddy, I don’t really want to hurt you but I’ve got kids and we’re running short on food. Just give us what you’ve got and don’t give us any problems and we’ll be going, ok?”

James nodded. What choice did he have?
The woman who was, up until that point, sat in the car, got out when she saw the revolver pointed at James. James breathed a little easier. He hoped she might talk him out of this impetuousness but as she approached he did not see kindness in her eyes. He saw greed and his anxiety returned.

The man handed the bags to the woman who in turn put them in the back of the car. When they’d taken the 3 bags of food and the bag of guns they turned back to James.

“Don’t try to follow us” it was almost an apology from the man. The woman reached up and whispered in something in his ear whilst looking directly at James. James didn’t know what it was she said but he knew from the way she looked at him while she whispered that it was not positive.

The man, not whispering said out loud “No!”

The women went to whisper something in his ear again but the man shrugged her off and they descended into an argument. James picked up some of their muffled discussion and realized that he hadn’t really listened to what Bill had said and now he was going to die because of it.

“He might follow us home!” she hissed

“He might not” He replied

“We shouldn’t be taking chances” she said and added “Are you ready to take risks with our children?” venomously.

This stopped the revolver-armed man. He looked back to James and James realized the only way out of this was to talk
“I’m not even from around here. I’d really have no idea how to follow you back.”

The women, slightly flushed, saw herself losing the battle to persuade her husband to kill James and screamed at him.

“You’re a disgrace. You want our babies blood on your hands. You’re a coward, a half a man!” she spat.

This sent the man reeling. The words had barbs and hooks and they’d buried into his flesh and were doing their work. He clearly had no taste for murder but he also feared the coldness of his wife who did, it would appear, have a taste for blood.

“This isn’t right” he said. “There’s no reason we can’t just leave, can’t you see, he’s not even an American.”

“Exactly” she spat. Just an immigrant. The sort we’d have had cleaning our house for six dollars an hour only two months back. Y’know, like the sort that killed your nephew Zach?” she sneered.

This really hurt the man, it steeled him. A coldness came over him and he looked reluctantly back to James.

It was at this point that he noticed stirring at the back of the pickup truck. He couldn’t figure out what it was for a moment then he realized. Bill!

He knew he shouldn’t have given up hope. The man and woman continued to argue. The man was losing though and James knew the next thing to come out of his mouth had to be the right thing or he was going to die. This woman wanted blood. She wasn’t overly cautious. She was enjoying this. The man, he was just weak willed. Married to a woman who had oppressed him. However, he was the man who would, most likely kill him unless his next actions were perfect.

“Please don’t kill me, please!” said james, faking his fear. He was terrified but he wasn’t begging. He had hoped they’d think he was. He only prayed that performance would win him an emmy or at the very least prevent him from being shot. He continued.

“I didn’t want to say, I didn’t want to lose everything but I’ve been doing runs for days now. I’ve twenty times the stuff at home that I have here. I can share it with you, just please don’t kill me!” he clasped his hands together in prayer for added effect and they appeared to be buying it. The woman, visibly enjoying his believed torture.

Bill was sat upright now but wasn’t moving. His head and torso covered with the blanket.
What is he doing? James thought to himself.

“Where do you live?” asked the woman, carefully. She was studying James.

The blanket slipped from Bill’s head but he didn’t move.

What is he doing, James thought.

“It’s about 2 miles down the road” James pointed in the direction he had previously been driving.

“It’s in Norfolk town center” said James.

“Yes, but where, what street” the woman sneered. She knew she had him. James knew it too.

“He’s lying. He’ll follow us back honey. We can’t risk him hurting our babies” she held his free hand now. She’d applied the rod and now she was using the softly-softly approach. Again, she whispered in his ear.

“Tell me where you live in Norfolk or I’ll kill you right here” said the man.

The woman appeared to lose it completely. She screamed at him, flinging insult after insult his way. He physically recoiled from the abuse. He stood there while she fired barrage after barrage his way. The man was losing his will. James knew he’d snap and he knew that it’d be him that would be on the receiving end of his anger.

“He doesn’t have a house in Norfolk you fucking idiot” she said. She was enjoying herself and clearly on a role. Daddy said you were a coward and he was right” she began to cry.

Again, the man steeled himself. He didn’t like to see his wife cry. He didn’t like to shoot people either though, on evidence.

Bills head turned. He was looking at the woman.

She wasn’t whispering now. She said slowly placing emphasis on each word so the husband was clear to understand. This was a marital warning not worth ignoring.

“Kill him or I’m leaving you and taking the babies. Maybe Jack will take me back”

For the first time the man had courage. He looked at her hatefully. Something she appeared to enjoy. He looked back a James and started to raise his gun.

“I’m so sorry man. I really am”
“”Fucking kill him!” she screamed.

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Wow, thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It's not very often I read fan fiction of any sort but this had me hooked since the end of part one. This is great work so far and has actually encouraged me to start writing my own, which II may post if I am happy with it. Keep up the good work dude.

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Wow, thank you for taking the time to write all of this. It's not very often I read fan fiction of any sort but this had me hooked since the end of part one. This is great work so far and has actually encouraged me to start writing my own, which II may post if I am happy with it. Keep up the good work dude.


Thanks. The kinds words do spur me on to write more. I find it helps me to write more often if I break them down into small sections. Like mini chapters. It helped me. It might help you too.

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