Jake’s Zombie Summer Vacation
Plague Dreams Series
Short Story 2
Copyright© Cassandra Parker & FM Burgett 2019 All rights reserved.
The right of Cassandra Parker to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 First published by Cassandra Parker.
Parker, Cassandra, (2019-08-31). Plague Dreams: Jake’s Zombie Summer Vacation. Cassandra Parker. E-book Edition.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No
Plague Dreams: Jake’s Zombie Summer Vacation is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organizations, places, events and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. All locations except known towns, cities, and those listed at the back of this book are fictitious.
Any errors are entirely made by the author.
This story is dedicated to my readers.
To my beta team, thank you for your encouragement.
Jake’s Zombie Summer Vacation
“And a fiery red horse went out. The rider was given the ability to take the peace from the earth, and people should slay one another, and there would be wars and rumors of war. The rider was given a great sword.”
Church of the End of Days
The day started out like most summer days in Texas; hot. Jake didn’t mind the hour drive from Hondo to Utopia, however, this heatwave was getting to be a bit much even for Texas. It was barely nine o’clock and the temperature was already approaching ninety. The normally verdant hills and crops were beginning to resemble fire scorched fields.
Jake smiled as he rode his motorcycle. He’d ridden this route many times. His thoughts turned to his date with Sarah last Saturday. She was so sweet, innocent, and a joy. He loved every second he had with her. Driving an hour to pick her up was no problem. She was worth it.
He grinned as he pictured the surprise on her face when he handed her a jewelry box. It contained a hand wrought silver bracelet laced with turquoise. He had bought it the week before when he attended a conference in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He watched as the Native American delicately affixed the stones and soldered them in place with silver. It cost him a few hundred dollars but Sarah was worth it. He gave it to her during dinner at The Laurel Tree. He was fortunate to get a reservation at this popular eatery serving a four course French meal.
As he approached the turn off from Highway 90 to 187 he slowed. For the first time in the two years he’d been driving this route there was a traffic jam. Exhaust fumes forced him to pull his bandana over his nose and mouth. He should have worn his full face helmet, but it was too hot. The humid heat and reduced speed caused trucks to overheat; cars and motorcycles were less prone.
“Welcome to Utopia. Population two-hundred-forty-one.” It had not changed since the census of 2000, almost twenty-five years ago. “Your Texas Hill Country Paradise,” the signage proclaimed. “Home of Utopia College.”
The town was tiny but swelled to two thousand between September and May when the college was in session.
Jake pulled to the side of the road to stare at the sign, while he wiped the sweat from his brow. He always got a chuckle out of it. Students attending college in Utopia didn’t count as residents, yet they made up the bulk of the population nine months out of the year. This being May and between the Spring and Summer terms meant there might be five hundred people in the area. Jake had elected to work during his summer vacation.
He revved the engine and resumed his journey. He loved riding into town on his Harley. The rolling hills, asphalt pavement, sun shining brightly, and the breeze mixed with the roar of the engine created a sensation of freedom. When he rode, he could feel the excitement of a new day and the stress leaving his body.
Jake swung his helmet as he walked into the Student Union cafeteria. The food was always good there. The college maintained their food service in house instead of farming it out. It made for home cooked meals for the students and kept people employed in their town. A quick lunch before he started work, albeit he was over an hour late, was enticing. The aroma wafting through the entrance had his stomach growling.
The cafeteria was shaped in a horseshoe with the serving line at one end, a large dining area in the middle, and small meeting rooms at the other end. Plate glass windows lined the front of the main dining room. Each pane went from the ceiling to the floor giving diners a full view of the Commons where students could sit on benches while enjoying a coffee.
The Commons was virtually empty due to the break between semesters. Only a dozen or so people sat at the picnic tables and benches.
“Hi, Robyn. What’s good today?” Jake draped his bomber jacket over his shoulder. He shoved his sunglasses up and grinned. He wiped the sweat from his brow and fanned his shirt. “I hope I don’t stink too much. Traffic jam had me sitting on the highway for over an hour.”
“No worries. Your deodorant held up,” she laughed. “We have baked chicken today, handsome.” Robyn smiled.
“Sounds yummy! Give me the works.” He picked up a bottle of Coke and set it on his tray.
He sauntered to the cash register, pulling out his billfold as he walked. The front darkened and a deep rumble shook the glass. Jake glanced up from his wallet. What he saw shot a streak of fear through him.
Black winged bombers lined the sky in every direction. There were maybe a hundred planes flying over head, obliterating everything. The heavy thrumming of their engines drowned out all sound. These were older models no longer in use in the United States. The bomb bay doors opened in unison like a macabre dance. They dropped black objects and sped away. Tons of canisters spilling orangish material fell from the sky. Within minutes people stumbled and fell, their hands clutching at their throats. A brilliant flash of light was seen as the canisters ignited.
Jake stood paralyzed gazing at the campus grounds turned horror movie set. Adrenaline set in and he rushed to the windows. Pustules broke out on the bodies of the affected. Others shrieked as their skin blackened.
Memories of his great grandfather talking about the sickness in Tarawa, Louisiana back in 1969 screamed in his head. Back then Ellison worked for the Communicable Disease Center which eventually became the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Oh my God!” Jake shouted.
“They dropped a chemical nuke on us! Don’t go outside! Cover your nose and mouth! Hurry! Don’t let anyone from outdoors inside!”
He ran from the cafeteria to the building entrance and pressed the button to lock both the north and south sliding doors. Then he raced to the maintenance office and shut off the air conditioning. No need to bring in more outside air until they knew if it was airborne.
Jake returned to the cafeteria and stared out the window. All over the grounds, people were collapsing. From his vantage spot he couldn’t tell if they were dead or merely unconscious. He watched in horrified fascination as skin peeled from the victims outside nearest the cafeteria windows. He wondered if they were all similar.
As he studied the situation, a niggling feeling he had missed something worried him.
“Oh no! I can’t believe I forgot my phone! How am I going to get updates from campus security?” He muttered as he vainly searched his pockets and tool belt.
With a sigh, he headed across the facility to the offices.
“Sarah, listen. Don’t go outside or open any windows,” Jake instructed the Administrative Assistant. “Can I use your phone today? I left mine in my bike’s bag.”
“Why Jake? What’s wrong?”
“I’m not sure, but from what I saw, I’d guess we were attacked by chemical nukes. Great time for the management to attend a conference in Dallas and for the maintenance crew to go out for lunch and leave a part-time worker in charge. I’ll let you know what I find out afterward.”
Jake strode into the vacant director’s conference room and called campus security. He listened intently to a recorded message until someone came on.
“This is Jake Sanders. I’m calling for information about what is going on outside.”
He sighed in frustration as he was passed from office to office.
“Hello, I’m Jake Sanders. I work in maintenance at the Student Union. I’m currently the only one in charge here. All management staff is away at a conference in Dallas. William Abbott, head of maintenance, was left in command. He went off campus for lunch with the other maintenance staff. This leaves me running the show over here. Is there any information about what’s going on?” He listened for several minutes and then hung up.
Sarah stood in the doorway. “Any news?”
“Where is everyone?”
“A lot of them went to the conference. The rest went out for lunch.
“You mean, You, Robyn, and I are it?”
“Rachel and Oliver from Housekeeping are here.
“Unbelievable! Five of us. Please call them and have them meet us here immediately.” Jake snaked a hand through his hair and went to the nearest window.
Outside, the horror continued to unfold. A few people, who had left their buildings, crumpled. He focused on the fallen victims. Some remained blackened as though burned, others were turning a motley mixture of green and gray. These victims had him worried. From what he could see they were covered in ulcers.
The staff entered the conference room and sat at the table while Jake kept staring out the window. Finally he turned and took a seat.
“I’m guessing you know we are in a state of emergency.” He glanced at each person. “There isn’t much information. What we do know is at eleven-fifty-five a horde of bombers flew overhead and dropped black canisters. These barrels fell to the ground while releasing an orange chemical. People outside who came into direct contact fell to the ground. Their skin turned dark and boils appeared. Others also fell but they clutched their throats.
At this time we do not know exactly who attacked us, how widespread this is, or if for whatever reason this is an isolated incident. I have taken it upon myself to lockdown this building. No one gets in or out. Additionally, I have shut down the air conditioning. No sense in pulling in outside air until we know more. It’s going to get brutally hot.
Robyn, I want cold drinks and food made available to everyone inside. We also need an inventory of consumables. Estimate how long the supplies will last for a hundred people. Housekeeping, we need to arrange bedding for an overnight stay. Sarah, I need to know what we have in terms of first aid. Let’s get back together at three.”
Jake watched the shell shocked staff leave. He returned to the window. Something about the two sets of victims bothered him. His thoughts returned to his great grandfather’s accounting of the plague in 1969. The victims outside seemed to resemble those from back then. Could it be the same? If so, had a government agency or country managed to weaponize it?
His great grandfather said they collected thousands of samples from the victims, the few survivors, and the environment. They determined the survivors had a foreign antibody. A man named Garfield told his great grandfather a swamp witch concocted a brew, stopping the illness.
Jake paced the room, periodically glancing out the window. He stopped in mid-stride with a frightening thought. Had he locked the loading dock doors? He yanked out Sarah’s phone and dialed Robyn.
“Robyn! Look out the window to the loading dock.”
“Why? What’s wrong?” Robyn hurried into the back of the kitchen. “I ain’t a young woman no more. All this rushing around has me huffing.”
“Is the dock door closed?”
Robyn peeked out the window to the dock. “No. You want I should go out there and close it?”
“No!” Jake barked. “Do not go out there! I’m on my way.” He ran from the office, down the hall to the cafeteria, and through the dining room, toward the kitchen.
“What’s going on out there?” The diners clustered around him, slowing his progress.
“I’ll explain in a little while. Remain calm. Help yourself to ice cold drinks.” Jake pushed past them and went behind the serving counter. He entered the kitchen.
The staff appeared scared. He strode to the back door, reached up and shoved the bolt through the sliding lock. He fumbled for his keys and finally jammed it into the keyhole.
Turning, he faced the staff, “Have any of you been outside since this event started?”
“I have,” a worker raised his hand.
“Come with me. Robyn, please fill a cooler with beverages and sandwiches. I’ll bring a bucket. Bring it to the north meeting room.” Jake turned to the worker.
“George, I’ve got to isolate you from the rest of us until we know what we’re dealing with. Use the bucket for bodily functions. I’m sorry, man.”
Jake waited until Robyn put the cooler into the room before locking the man inside. “I’ll see you at three,” he said to Robyn.
As he walked toward the cafeteria exit he paused to stare at the Commons. Was it his imagination, or were there fewer bodies laying on the ground?
Returning to the administrative offices he went to the windows. It looked like there were even fewer bodies. Only the black ones remained. “Sarah?”
“Did you notice what happened to the bodies out there?”
“No.” She gazed out the window. “Where did they go?”
“I don’t know, but we better have the meeting right now.”
Jake gathered the staff and customers in the dining room. He repeated what they already knew.
“To make matters worse, the bodies seem to be disappearing.”
He then relayed the story his great grandfather told him. “I think this plague is back. Right now I have this building on lockdown until I have a better idea of what we’re dealing with.”
His talk stopped when a man slammed against the glass pane. The rapidity of his decay stunned them. The green tinged skin appeared slimy as it sloughed off the body. He was quickly joined by more.
A few people attempting to leave the library next to the Student Union were pounced on. They were bitten and eaten until they stopped struggling. Their unholy shrieks unnerved the humans inside the cafeteria. The dead had risen. They slammed into the windows, rattling the glass.
“Are we being attacked by zombies?” A student asked.
“Are all those stories about the CDC Zombie Preparedness Kit real?” Oliver asked.
Jake remained silent, watching the slow shambling walk of the victims. They headed toward each building. The Student Union, having the most windows, seemed to be gathering a horde.
“Zombies? Yeah, right. No such thing.” Someone said.
“They sure resemble zombies from that tv show, Walking Dead.” Rachel commented.
“We need to pull the iron plates down over the windows. This glass won’t hold for long!” Jake commanded as another zombie smashed against the glass.
The resulting noise drew even more in their direction. In minutes, a crowd of afflicted bodies blanketed the windows. They snarled and snapped at the people inside.
Jake and Oliver raced to slide the metal shutters in place. Then they hurried to the entrances, and each room, repeating the process until the building appeared wrapped in metal panels. Jake left one small pane uncovered so they could see what was going on outside.
Jake ambled back to the dining room. He pulled Sarah into his arms and whispered, “I need to tell you I love you in case I don’t get another chance.” He gently kissed her.
“I can’t think of anyone I’d rather spend a zombie apocalypse with than you,” Sarah sighed.
Thus began Jake’s Zombie Summer Vacation.
it's very interesting.
The Second part is more thrilling then the first one.