Kitch McCall is a nineteen-year-old Tourette's suffer who hadn't seen much of the outside world. When the pandemic devastated the US, he was thrust onto the streets of Charleston, SC to fend for himself. Armed with nothing more than his wits, Kitch battles not only the infected, but also the surviving town psychopath, Junior Watson who’s convinced he’s a Viking warrior.
Unfortunately for Kitch and what remains of humanity, Junior Watson is off his medication. Junior has enslaved thirty teenagers who are more than eager to carry out his bloody, dirty work for him.
Kitch and four survivors must not only face down millions of infected, but a determined Junior Watson whose Viking army is fanatically loyal. Together, the five teens find the courage to survive, learn to love as they experience deep, personal loss and reconnect with their humanity under brutal circumstances.
Surviving clusters of humanity battled not only the infected but each other for shelter, food, clean water and a haven to call home. When you’re nineteen in a dog eat dog environment, life and death are reduced to two simple terms—kill or be consumed!
James Island, Charleston SC
Beneath the stained bandanna masking his stubbled cheeks, Mike McCall stifled a gut-wrenching, fear-filled cry of surprise. In a heart-thudding adrenaline rush, he reacted on instinct, thrusting the fourteen-inch screwdriver he had wired to the old broom handle into the woman’s right eye as swiftly as he could. His only thought as he spiked her like a slow, fat fish in a shallow river was If she locks those flabby arms around me, I’m a goner. He grunted in self-deprecating consternation. Up until two heartbeats ago, he’d reckoned he could move in ultra-stealth mode and detect a purring kitten at ten paces at the same time. Apparently, he needed to work on those two particular skills, a lot! Nobody should have been able to sneak up on him without him experiencing some sort of inner alarm bells ringing in his head.
Almost losing his balance at the ease with which the makeshift weapon slipped through soft, ocular fluid, Mike rapidly regained control and focused. His gaze followed the long, narrow, rust-pitted blade as it passed effortlessly into spongy brain tissue. He felt the clunk of the star-shaped tip against unresisting bone channel along the handle and onto his sweaty palms. Instantaneously, reverse pressure increased on his straining muscles as the woman lunged forward, employing inhuman strength to get at him.
Like some impartial, detached third party, Mike considered what was happening in that moment of unusually high stress. Under normal circumstances, an intrusion into the human body by a forcefully-thrusted, sharp metallic object—particularly a human skull—would result in an outpouring of brain fluid, followed by gouts of sticky blood driven by a thudding heart. Coinciding with this act of brutality, one might also expect a shout of pain, followed by instantaneous death. Instead, nothing was offered up by his victim. Not a speck of blood, not a cry of pain, frustration or even rage at being fatally assaulted.
Mike, on the other hand, loudly cursed his misfortune. God damn it, he hadn’t employed enough muscle to punch through solid bone and out the other side—there hadn’t been time. Not that it appeared such a blow would have made a whole lot of difference. He had simply reacted to an imminent threat. In less than a heartbeat, he aimed as best he could for a killing blow and stabbed outward toward the human eye in what should have been, if not a killing blow, at least severely debilitating.
Setting his feet wide, Mike sucked in a deep breath and firmed his grip. As sweat beaded on his brow, he shifted his left leg forward, bent his elbows, leaned in and held the shaft steady in a rigid two-handed grip. Well, as steady as anyone could with a three-hundred-pound infected woman as wide as she was high, determined to rip the eyeballs out of his skull with her bare fingers coming at him. God Almighty! The woman wasn’t even breathing hard—she should have been panting her heart out with the effort she was making to kill him. No, maybe not kill, that wasn’t technically accurate. Eat for certain. Well, the soft juicy bits anyway—then he would turn into one of those things. Say, come to think of it. Did these infected jerks ever breathe? Mike shuddered, tightened his grip and refocused.
Strong as he was, Mike was forced to step back two grudging paces by the aggressive, flailing woman. He hunched his shoulders and got onto the balls of his feet. Putting all his effort into it, he attempted to set his feet and lock them. But on a shiny ceramic-tile floor coated in a thick layer of dust, he had no purchase. Rising on his toes only resulted in him sliding slowly backward under her continual assault.
Bending his knees slightly to increase forward pressure, he leaned his shoulders down onto the slim pole and pushed upward as he prayed for the poor woman’s struggles to cease. Turning his head to avoid her stinking breath, Mike contemplated his rapidly diminishing options as her filthy, blackened fingernails windmilled a foot from his face. What made the arm-shaking, gruesome task harder than it ought to be was the fact Mike knew the infected woman passably well, and had liked and respected her when she was in the land of the living.
Prior to the plague, she had been a pleasant, knowledgeable pharmacist working at O’Meara’s Drug Store who knew and understood Mike’s family medical history by memory. She dispensed medications pleasantly and professionally. Smiling and ever helpful, she would calculate Kitch’s dosages in a heartbeat. She often pre-empted Mike’s order with a genuine, welcoming smile from behind the dispensary counter. She always addressed him as Mr. McCall, only slipping during December, near to Christmas, to call him Mike. A true people person, if ever he’d met one.
Now, Greta Carlow was a white-eyed, undead killer responding to a murderous, primal instinct brought on by the goddamn plague to tear the flesh from Mike’s body with her filthy fingernails and devour him with her blackened teeth. Her primary goal involved chowing down on him alive and kicking—after that was anybody’s guess.
Not happening, Greta!
Mike made a mental note to attach something much heavier and with a broader edge to the straining makeshift spear. Maybe that busted hedge clipper blade laying under the bench in his potting shed. Sharpened up, that’d do the trick, because this godawful screwdriver wasn’t cutting it. No sir, about as useful as a fly wire door on a submarine, it was. Damn, but he should have known the thing was too flimsy in the first place. But hey, what did he know about killing the infected? Not much. that’s for goddamn sure. Greta was the first he had to deal with one-on-one.