Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Strangeness All Around

By Joe Cross, Urban Salvage Engineer*

Yeah, I know I shouldn't be over here. Definitely too close to the big city. Could get my head blown off, or brutally attacked by some of the Ferals that congregate on this side of the fence line. But I've been hearing a lot about the goings-on in Grand Rapids from my Reganshire "friends," and since I probably won't be getting inside the city without the aforementioned getting my "head blown off" (Grand Rapidians and their military persons don't take kindly to Reganshire folk nowadays)...

My little look-see, parked here on Interstate 196 overlooking the darkened UCRA and the glimmering lights of the LIVING downtown Grand Rapids area... Yes, this is close enough.

They have the expressway in and around the city fenced off big time. I checked for cameras and motion detectors before I rolled in here. At 2am, I don't expect any major patrols or anything from the city, but I didn't get to be 39 years old, in this day and age, without being cautious. And probably a little bit lucky.

Electrified on the western edges of the expressway fence line, insulated gloves and, well, a "borrowed" key to the Market Avenue vehicle entrance, got me to this location without issue.

So I sit here, me and Albert, my little brown bear traveling companion, checking out the big city of Grand Rapids. Their local undead moan and howl--like someone with their head underwater--on the darkened west side of town where they are caged, and let to roam about while waiting for--what?--a cure to their dilemma? I get the whole "don't hurt them because they are the unfortunate, afflicted family and friends of the city" but, umm, hey, you living city folk...THEY'RE FUCKING DEAD! 

Yet, yeah, as I sit here longer, listening to the sounds of those doped-up undead folk so protected by the city, hearing their lone calls in the night... Shit, I gotta admit, it kind of gets to me, softens me up when really thinking about it. I mean, if there would've been a way to preserve my own family like Grand Rapids is doing below, even if I knew they weren't coming back to any truly LIVING sort of existence... I don't know, I'd probably be okay with them being part of the UCRA also, kept doped up and tranquil, fed by the city some sort of drugged meat slop, clothed and welcomed by a bunch of nuns at some sort of zombie outreach ministry center, and protected by the city's military organization: the Grand Rapids Central Command.

"And then the city has quarreling civilians and city leaders, some wanting to erase their local undead from the city's slate, while others simply want to leave their Unfortunates alone. All sorts of fucked-updom going on around here," I say to Albert.

I shift in my seat. My jeep rocks. Albert's dusty little brown shoulders seem to shrug and his head lolls forward and back a few times until the vehicle stops rocking.

"Glad you agree with me, partner," I bod also. "Let's meander out of here before a patrol or some Ferals stumble upon us."

I start up the engine, wince a little at its initial loud growl. I quickly put it into LOW 1, and quietly turn and get us going in the direction we came. There's some old storage compound out Hudsonville way I want to get in and out of before morning, get back to Reganshire, maybe have a place to sleep again if I salvage something good. I hope there's no one living or unloving there. I hate wasting ammo but...

The world's a strange place now, and a guy's gotta do what a guy's gotta do.

"Right, Albert, ole buddy?"

We hit a bump in the crumpled asphalt roadway.

Albert's head falls backwards like he's exasperated.

He's heard it all before.


The TRANSPORT Series is a Military Thriller, with zombies, set in a Post-POST zompocalypse world. We're still here. They're still here. There's more trouble with the living, breathing folk trying to beat their neighbors to a pulp than the shambling denizens on the outskirts of town.

Enter Captain Jacob Billet, his crew and their 72 ton M213 Heavy Transport Vehicle, The HURON. They'll complete their missions, or turn undead trying.

TRANSPORT (Book One) and TRANSPORT (Book Two) HUNT FOR THE FALLEN are available now through booksellers everywhere.

TRANSPORT (Book Three) UNCIVIL WAR is due out the 2nd week of September 2015.
Published by Seventh Star Press.

*Joe Cross: Urban Salvage Engineer is copyright 2015 Peter J Welmerink