Sunday, June 15, 2014

Summer of Zombie 2014 Blog Tour with Shawn Chesser

Chapter 1

Outbreak - Day 16
Draper, South Dakota

Jasper heard the screams well before he committed the left turn onto Cemetery Road, and as the springs supporting the overburdened truck squeaked and crushed stone popped and crunched beneath its balding tires, the shrill animal-like warble rose above it all. Suddenly the volunteer undertaker longed for the old yellow earmuffs he usually kept in the truck’s bed and without fail donned when weed whacking the church grounds at Father O’Reilly’s behest.
But sadly, the hearing protection and the rest of his lawn equipment had been supplanted by the Omega-ravaged bodies of the Vasquez family—all six of them—mom, dad and their four girls, aged three to ten.
He braked fifty yards short of the wrought iron fence surrounding the cemetery, pressed the tiny binoculars to his face, and focused on the smoking wreckage.
From his vantage point, which was nearly straight on, he spied the massive crater where the black helicopter had impacted the ground at the far north end of the cemetery. The dark brown chasm it had plowed as it bled airspeed ran through a hundred yards worth of dirt and grave markers, and also a good number of his neighbors’ corpses, before finally coming to rest with its angular nose partially buried under the tilled topsoil.
He removed the field glasses momentarily, squinted against the sun’s harsh rays, and ran his forearm across his brow to wipe away the beaded sweat. “Hell is getting hotter,” he said softly to himself. After performing a thorough visual check of his surroundings and seeing none of the walking corpses nearby, he replaced the binoculars and stole a longer peek at the wreck.
The hubcap-shaped rotor disc atop the listing aircraft was in one piece; however, it appeared that the initial contact with the ground had reduced the whirring blades to nothing but stubs sprouting streamers of some kind of high-tech wispy fiber. The violence of the crash had rent a gaping hole in the craft’s upturned right-hand side and had compromised the cockpit glass, leaving the screaming pilot pinned in his seat and fully exposed to the flesh-eaters.
He slammed the transmission into park, set the brake, and killed the engine. Deciding against the shotgun, he fished the graphite-black .22 semi-auto pistol from the glove box, and retrieved his machete from the passenger side footwell.
After taking a little more time to scan all four points of the compass, he slid from behind the wheel, eased the door closed, and made off in a crouch toward the cemetery’s easternmost edge.
The guttural pleas for help continued in earnest while he covered the thirty yards between his truck and the graveyard at as close to a sprint as his forty-five-year-old legs would propel him. Once he reached the far fence line, winded and gasping for breath, he took a knee behind a large headstone denoting the final resting place of one August Piontek 1884-1941.
Sweat dripping from his brow, he brought the binoculars to bear on the crash site, and from the new and improved viewing angle saw that both pilots were still strapped into their seats. The one suspended a dozen feet off the ground appeared to be dead, head and arms hanging limply. The one making the racket was at ground level, bucking and thrashing against his flight harness.
Jasper turned the focus ring and held his arms steady, trying to discern how badly the man was injured. He saw the man’s mouth contorting under the smoked visor—a ghastly visual finally mated with the nerve-jangling peals filling the air. Then he panned the binoculars down to where the helicopter’s fuselage merged with the ground. Suddenly his blood ran cold when he realized that a lone ghoul had beaten him to the crashed aircraft. The shirtless creature worked its feet furiously, digging into the browned grass, succeeding ever so slowly in squeezing its upper body through a jagged fissure in the cockpit glass.
Through the Plexiglas, Jasper could clearly see the screamer’s gloved hand performing a rapid sort of pageant wave as the pallid creature shook its head and rent a mouthful of fabric and glistening meat from the man’s forearm. Averting his eyes from the horrific sight, Jasper moved his pistol over his chest, a makeshift sign of the cross.
After speaking with his God, he chambered a round, snicked the safety off and tapped the courage necessary to put the wailing pilot out of his misery.
Breathing through his mouth in order to keep a rising tide of bile at bay, he rose, skirted the weathered stone marker, and tiptoed through the morass of Omega-infected bodies he’d been dumping there since the plague began ravaging his corner of the world. And though the doomed pilot wouldn’t be the first human he’d been forced to put down before reanimation, he was certain nothing about this one was going to be easy—especially if the dying man made eye contact. For it was that knowing twinkle, the spark only present in the eyes of the living, that made the final act of compassion so difficult for him to fulfill.
God give me the strength, he thought as the keening continued unabated. Head ducked, he flitted between headstones and approached the ghoul from behind and to the right. He paused for a tick, long enough to bring the binoculars to bear, and counted the trudging corpses he’d passed on Cemetery Road a couple of minutes ago. Twenty-two. A far cry more than the small manageable groups of twos and threes usually attracted to the graveyard by the noisy carrion-feeding birds. And though the throng was still a good distance away, the danger their large numbers presented meant he had to get a move on.Should have known the crash would draw a crowd, he told himself as he fought off an overwhelming urge to bolt for his pick-up and head for home.
But his upbringing wouldn’t allow it. Country folk always help their fellows, had been his father’s mantra.
Put the dying one out of his misery first, a little voice in his head urged.
The simple act would take but a second and leave him with a clear conscience when answering to St. Peter at the Pearly Gates—if he didn’t first succumb to the ever-present apocalypse-induced urge to eat his shotgun—an act that would surely resign him to eternal hellfire. Damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t, he mused. But first he’d have to deal with the zombie.
Shifting his gaze back to the helicopter, he saw his hopes of an easy out dashed when the other pilot, who he’d thought was dead, brought his gloved hands up and began batting away the tangle of wires hanging in front of his face. Then, obviously fighting both gravity and the weight of his bulky flight helmet, the pilot lifted his head to horizontal and held it there for a tick before once again going limp in his harness.
“Your mercy mission just got more complicated,” Jasper said to himself, as he silently picked his way through jagged wreckage resembling pieces of honeycomb ripped from a scorched beehive. His approach undetected, he stood over the lower half of the prostrate creature’s squirming body, feet a shoulder width apart, and thrust his pistol through a crack in the cockpit glass. Heart racing crazily, he took a deep breath and aimed for the rear of the abomination’s skull—just above the base of the neck where the pencil eraser-sized .22 caliber bullet had the best chance of penetration. And as he said a silent prayer and drew back the final half-pound of trigger pull two things happened simultaneously. First, the pilot went deathly quiet, all of the fight leaving his body. Then, from somewhere deep inside the helicopter, someone bellowed, “Hold your fire!
Complying with the barked order, Jasper eased off the trigger, and put his pistol in a back pocket.
Then the disembodied male voice calmly added, “There is a fuel leak. You smelling it?”
Jasper clamped his mouth shut and breathed in through his nose. Sure enough, barely perceptible, under the oppressive carrion pong, was a hint of kerosene. “Yeah. But just barely,” he replied.
“Your gunfire would have ignited the vapors, killing us all.”
Stunned into silence by the revelation of just how close he’d come to finally making St. Peter’s acquaintance, Jasper shifted his weary gaze to the lurching troop, still half a football field away, and vectoring unwaveringly towards the wreckage.
With a calm air of authority, the male voice asked, “What’s your name?”
Dividing his attention between keeping a tab on the deadly creature near his feet and probing the chopper’s gloomy interior for the source of the voice, he answered, “Jasper ... Jasper Hasp.”
“OK, Jasper Hasp,” said the voice. “Do you have a knife?”
“A machete,” answered Jasper.
“Then kill the thing,” the male voice stated calmly.

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Author Bio.

Shawn Chesser, a practicing father, has been a zombie fanatic for decades. He 
likes his creatures shambling, trudging and moaning. As for fast, agile, 
screaming specimens... not so much. He  lives in Portland, Oregon, with his 
wife, two kids, and three fish.

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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2014, with 33 of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.

Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don't miss an interview, guest post or teaser… and pick up some great swag as well! Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them! #SummerZombie

AND so you don't miss any of the posts in June, here's the complete list, updated daily:


  1. Way cool! Looks like Shawn Chesser's great book will find a place in my library.