The NOLA Zombie series comes to a close with this emotional and action-packed installment.
Since the SHTF, Romeo is good at one thing, killing zombies. He doesn’t want to waste his time with anything else. His fellow survivors think of him as a machine and he’s fine with that. There isn’t any time to waste on things, like feelings, or other nonsense.
Lena Dervay, former movie star, current walking victim has barely been surviving in a repurposed middle school run by an incompetent Army Lieutenant. She and her group of survivors are as good as dead if they stay put. When Lena finally gets in touch with Romeo, she knows that if anyone can come in and save the day, it’s him. Problem is, Romeo isn’t the charming, white knight, hero that she remembers. Lena is still drawn to him, though, and as their paths intersect she knows she might not come out intact in the end, body or soul.
EXCERPT FROM HONOR BY GILLIAN ZANE
PROLOGUE | COUTURE & CRAMPING
Being crammed into the crawl space above a middle school’s hallway while a group of shuffling, hungry infected invaded my safe zone was now a top ten scariest moment of my life. Not that I had much of a life before the world ended, but I hadn’t lived that sheltered of an existence. I was safe for the moment, but sixty-eight of my fellow survivors were about to get eradicated from the planet unless they had a hiding place like mine.
The fact that this was all because some moron didn’t check the fences today, had me wanting to scream in frustration. But, there was no screaming in my world. I had to be quiet. I couldn’t draw attention to myself. I was invisible. I was nonexistent. My nonexistent leg was crapping.
A couple months ago I was worried about what to say in my Academy Award acceptance speech and who to choose for my dress designer. Now, I was lucky if I had a clean pair of underwear. Couture in June, the poster child for apocalypse chic in–
I didn’t even know what month it was.
If I could tweet, I would end it in FML. Fuck my life. I wasn’t much for bad language, especially in social media. I had learned to keep it to a minimum since I had played a teenager in most of the movies I starred in. Wouldn’t want to offend the parents, offended parents led to an out of work movie star. But, the phrase seemed appropriate, I wish I could tweet it out. Of all the things, I was missing twitter? So, not glamorous. My life wasn’t glamorous anymore. I was lucky to be alive, much less glamming it up. Most days I closed my eyes and wondered exactly how I had made it this far. Today though, it looked like it might be the day. Selena Dervay, it’s been real.
While this day was a top ten on the scary factor, I have seen almost a dozen or so days like this. Since the world ended, that is. Maybe more. I’ve even had to kill people. They were infected people, but at one point they were walking, talking human beings. I’ve had to run, I’ve had to hide. My strict, pre-end of the world, 1700 calorie intake was probably close to 1000 calories a day now–not to be redundant but in the few short months that the world had ended my life had changed drastically. I was stuck in a perpetual dystopian loop, something I had played on film, but now I was playing it in real life. It was much more fun to play it on film.
The poster child for the apocalypse pity party, Selena Dervay. Take a bow.
I reigned in my neggie thoughts as I battled to stay balanced in the ceiling of the school. The space between the foam tiles and the roof was dusty and grimy and I did everything in my power not to sneeze. I hated being dirty. I was trying to get used to the fact that I was always going to be in a state of nasty, but it wasn’t in my DNA to like it. Every speck clung to me and made my skin crawl. Every sharp piece of grime bit into my skin and made me want to itch, squirm, and flail.
There was something smeared across my cheek. I concentrated on the dried, dirty, liquid instead of glancing below me at what was going on underneath me. They were packed to the gills down there. Piling in one after another, following the scent of fresh meat.
Could they smell?
I knew they could hear, I had realized that early on. But how did they know to force their way into the school?
Clack. Clack. Clack. The sound of gunfire was attracting more and more, but how did they know where to go in the beginning? They honed in our location in the gym and went straight for it. Their fevered pace and excited moaning clued me in on the fact that they were aware there was fresh meat in abundance ahead.
The crack of automatic fire ricocheted through the halls again and I pressed my ear into my shoulder, the sound deafening. The noise would travel. It would draw more. Not that there was any alternative. There was no knifing this horde.
The scream of the living rang out above the sound of gunfire and I knew another of my friends had gone down to the impending horde of the infected. Lena’s apocalypse team negative one, infected one.
I shifted in my tiny space, my calf was cramping again and the tight pain shot through my leg. I tried to move without disturbing my area or looking down through the busted ceiling tile. I had scraped my legs when I had pulled myself up into the rafters, the cuts, the cramping and the dirt was almost unbearable. I needed to relieve some pressure and get myself situated. I placed my hand down on the support beam to get myself back in position and hopefully work out the cramp. I pushed down too hard and the ceiling gave out from underneath me, the rectangle ceiling board that I had been propped on fell to the ground and slammed some of the infected on the head.
Calling out a hello would have been better.
My body followed the board down, my upper body falling through the ceiling head first. This was it. This was how I was going to die.
At the last minute, I caught myself. I kicked my foot out and it hit against something solid enough to hold me in place. If I weighed more than one hundred pounds at the moment, I was doing good. I had also been fit before the world ended, so my core could handle this position. I held myself up and used my thighs to brace myself on the support beam.
It was a one hell of a position to be in.
I hung there, over them. They knew I was here. I stared down at the hungry faces and they reached for me. Dirty hands reached for me, their fingers brushed my bright red hair that had come loose from the ponytail. One grabbed my hair and yanked. I cried out, causing more of the infected to stop and turn to face me.
I tried to pull myself up, but the nasty brute had a good grip on my hair. He was yanking back and forth trying to dislodge me from my hole.
“Lena!” Someone called my name from the end of the hall, but allI could do was whimper in response.
I was panting through my mouth. The stench of the infected was on my tongue and I swallowed hard to avoid gagging. I grabbed my hair and tried to pull it from the infected guy’s grip, but it was a useless task. He wasn’t letting go.
I was going to end up like one of these creatures. I was going to be a rotting corpse, stinking of piss and shit, my bodily fluids leaking from me as I tried to eat my friends. They would drag me down and bite me and one day a living person would spot me, moaning and dead and they would take me out. Maybe they would recognize me.
“Isn’t that the chick that was in that teen movie with the vampire?”
Gillian Zane is the author of the NOLA Zombie series. Zane is the pen name of a prominent blogger in the publishing industry, which will remain a mystery unless you Google it. Since she can remember her goal has been to become Master of the Universe and has decided to focus first on the literary world. Things are progressing nicely.
Zane has been a freelance writer for the last ten years and has published a few non-fiction works, none of which was very exciting. Zombies are much more exciting and a way for her to combine her two current obsessions, hot boys with guns and Doomsday Prepping. When she isn’t stockpiling MREs (Meal’s Ready to Eat) or researching how to build a cistern on a budget, she’s taking care of her little family and exploring the city that she loves, New Orleans. You can find Gillian Zane on twitter @GillianZane.