Date: March 24, 2014 Time: 1932 Location: Craig Nebraska
"Nothing. Not a damn thing Sheriff." Replies the young man from atop the rough hewn wall of logs, the only barrier between the small town of Craig, NE and the waste land surrounding it. Once the land had been rich and fertile. Some of the best farming in the country. Now the landscape is littered with the wreckage of the past. The skeletons of cars long abandoned and stripped of anything useful, sit in apparent disarray while the blackened fuselage of a crashed airliner mars the horizon. The young man looks out over the scene eyes carefully scanning the area for signs of movement. They didn't build the walls to keep the walking dead out. This small settlement hasn't worried about THEM in months. No they built the wall to keep the marauders out.
When the dead starting walking most of THEM stayed near Lincoln. It's high population giving this community a small reprieve from the worst of the downfall. However, they weren't immune from the shambling corpses, when ever a group of the ghouls was spotted the sheriff and townspeople worked together to ensure the swift elimination of the threats. The sheriff organized patrols through the town, deputizing any man who could shoot straight, which in this small burg was every male able to hold a rifle. The men and women of this town were cut from a different cloth than most people. More rugged, durable, self-sufficient, with a strong sense of community. They were used to caring for their own gardens and hunting from the surrounding countryside. They pickled and preserved, smoked and cured whatever couldn't be eaten in the here and now. Every home had at least one rifle, most had multiples along with shotguns and pistols. All had enough ammunition to make the ATF look a little closer at the invoices of the local gun shop. Multiple wells provided water for the town, this came about after the the people voted to stop getting their water from a government controlled reservoir after the State Legislature voted to raise taxes on the communities that received the water. The people had food, water, protection, manpower, a strong leader in the sheriff, and a sense of loyalty to each other. If there ever was a town ready to survive the zombie menace it was Craig. However, the one thing they weren't prepared for wasn't the shambling rotting undead but uncivilized and morally devoid men. As a community they could accept the dead rising as they could see it. They could justify shooting decomposing creatures as they knew they were cursed. Thus, in their eyes, no sin would be committed. But living men raping, pillaging, and killing like some sort of twisted barbarian horde, no not barbarians, pirates just for the sake of doing it. That they could neither understand nor accept.
Under the waving Jolly Roger they descended upon the town, motorcycles roaring, guns blazing, chainsaws screaming. They came with bats wrapped with barb wire or filled with bent and rusting nails, blood encrusted lead pipes, and razor sharp machetes, smashing shop windows and looting what they wanted. Along the way grabbing any women that came within reach. As the thunder of their engines rumbled off into the distance the townspeople counted their loses. Untold property damage, 14 dead, 21 wounded, 6 women missing. With a population less than 300 any loss was felt deeply. The pirates were almost their undoing. If it hadn't been for the sheriff. He brought the people together, he wasted no time in preparing for another attack, in fortifying the town center. "The dead can be cried over tomorrow. Today we work for the living." He said. Rallying the people, pushing out his chest like he'd seen sheriffs in movies do for years. He didn't get the expected applause and immediate response. It started with just him and a single deputy. When the sheriff asked him why he was helping when no one else was he simply replied, "They took ma and killed pa. I want to go after them but I know I'd only end up dead. They'll be back. When they do I wanna be ready." In silence they worked, pushing cars to block the roads into and out of town. Filling and stacking improvised sand bags. Throwing the broken glass of the shops across the outer roadways. Anything to make it harder for the gang to come back. It was hard work and it took the two of them the better part of a week to block each road and enough of the shoulders of each to ensure the pirates would have a hell of a time getting back into their town. It was day six before anyone else showed up. After that a few more each day until by the end of week two most everyone who could, was working. Trees were cut, holes dug, logs lowered and secured, a palisade harking back to the time of lords and castles being erected around the town. Where they could they substituted box trucks, tires flattened and turned on their sides. There was no shortage of hunting perches which were secured to posts or trees on the inside of the fence, allowing for those on guard duty to peer over the sharpened stakes into the distance. A fire line was created after the crashing of the airliner and subsequent explosion burned the brush and waste, taking out a small block of homes with it. For 200 yards out every tree, bush, and briar was removed. The cars outside the wall were stripped for any parts and left as distance markers for the sharpshooters who were to be on duty around the clock. For two months the people were busy day and night. The people worked in shifts to ensure the protection of the town. People from outside the wall moved in with family, friends, or the homes of the dead within the perceived safety of the new barricade.
The downfall was his ascent into power. For too long Zanzibar was a low lieutenant among the 'Noks. While civilization was burning and the dead consumed the living he took over this section of what has become wasteland. What brought him to this landlocked land of plenty and away from his beloved Everglades and the Gulf of Mexico, only he knows, but come he did. He was staying at a local Chapter Clubhouse when it started. He heard the explosion long before he heard the screams of the living. The clubhouse was located on the wrong side of the tracks in the industrial wasteland of Freemont, NE, northwest of Omaha. Surrounded by dilapidated houses and partially abandoned warehouses no one bothered the beer swilling, bad mouthed, drug dealing, quick to violence gang of humanities finest trash. So Zanzibar was shocked to see people running through the streets early that morning. Even more shocked as he witnessed the attacks. A man covered in blood tackled a leggy blonde, as he fell atop her his teeth dug wickedly into her throat. Blood spurt into the air as he viciously mauled her, taking huge hunks of flesh from her neck and shoulders swallowing each gruesome piece whole. Zanzibar slammed the front door closed and shook the nearest 'Noks who had passed out after a night of overindulging drugs, alcohol, and pleasures of the flesh.
"Damn it secure that door!" He shouted pointing at the side door which opened into the grungy alley.
"Fuck you." Came as the response from the hung over miscreant. Who the hell did this asshole think he was? Coming in here hair up in some bitch ass pony tail, wearing an eye patch, and clothing that looked like he belonged on the damn Black Pearl. No sissy ass pirate wannabe was going to tell him what to do.
"Fuck me?" Zanzibar knew from experience that loyalty and order were of first and foremost importance within the organization. He was to be looked at like a foreign dignitary visiting the damn White House. His word as a Dreadnok Lieutenant obeyed by all lower members unless it directly countered the Chapter Leaders orders. So with swift movements learned wrestling Copperhead and alligators in the thick of the swamp Zanzibar was upon the man.
Fire shot through the drunken biker's body as he felt the impact of Zanzibar's callused knuckles. He bent over in pain as Zanzibar went and threw the bolt to the door. On his way back, "You listen here ya scurvy dog, when I tell you to do somthin' ya better bloody well do it. That goes for all of you." Turning to look over the hungover and in some cases still drunk group. The screams from the street had been growing louder for the last few minutes. Combined with the groans of the bleeding 1%er the 'Noks looked around with apprehension.
"What the hell is going on out there?" Asked a large biker head and face shaved smooth, tattoos running from his thick bull neck down his arms.
"Let's find out. You and you come with me to the roof. The rest of you bastard sons, gather your weapons and make sure to keep those damn doors closed." Zanzibar along with the large, bald, tattooed biker and the bleeding 'Nok quickly climb the stairs to the roof to get a better look at the situation. The morning sun shone brightly and had already heated the flat black tarred roof into an oven. As the three stepped out of the gloomy interior of the clubhouse they could see black smoke coming from every direction. The screams of the dying mingled with the moans of the attackers. The pop pop pop staccato of gun fire echoed through the warehouse district. As the made their way closer tot he edge of the roof they could see packs of crazed people attacking screaming men and women. The attackers weren't moving fast, but rather surrounded their victims and overwhelmed them with sheer numbers.
Zanzibar watched as large warehouse worker in the stereotypical uniform of jeans and flannels ran from a house wive who was completely naked, the only thing covering her skin was a thick coating of dark blood. He saw that the big man was no match for the blood covered woman. She tore into him as he lashed out like a trapped rat. After a few bites the man fell and the woman began to feast on him. She had just succeeded in pulling his intestines out of his bloated beer gut when she seemed to lose interest. She stood up and lurched towards another person, she reached her hand out just in time to clothesline an unsuspecting suit. He fell to the ground and was smothered by people all fighting to get a taste. While this was happening the big 'Nok with the bald head pointed at the fallen warehouse worker and stammered, "What… what… whathefuckman!" Zanzibar turned to and watched in astonishment as the man sat up and began moaning. He worked his way up on shaky feet his intestines swinging from him like sick sausage marionettes. It was then that his mind put together all it had seen in the last 10 minutes. Those ten minutes felt like hours, days eve, as his brain worked to deny the electric impulses his eyes were sending, they had to be wrong, they couldn't be seeing what they were looking down upon. And yet, there it was. He mumbled a single word, "Zombies…" Trailing off as he made his way to the door back into the sanctuary of the clubhouse.
The clubhouse had been a storehouse and later a garage. It had been built with thick cinder block walls and concrete floors. The small windows were high off the ground and covered with criss-crossing bars and chicken wire. There were several videocameras on the exterior giving those inside a 360 degree view around the building, the alleyway, and small back lot, as well s cameras aimed down the street in both directions. These cameras gave the 'Noks a heads up of any attempt by the local pigs or even worse the feds to upset their business dealings or kill their buzz. The whole club had been updated with several diesel generators after s group of damn Narcs had cut power in an attempt to catch the 'Noks passed out. They had plenty of beer, and a still to make their own brand of moonshine, strong enough to strip the grease of a Panhead. Because of the ingredients it came out purple so they bottled the stuff in old grape soda bottles. They had what looked like a lifetime supply of Slim Jims, that had fallen of the back of a truck that just so happened to have had its tires blown out and driver beaten to within an inch of his life. It wasn't perfect but Zanzibar could work with it. So long as the damn bastards listened to him.
Over the course of his god forsaken life, Zanzibar had seen a zombie only once before, it happened during an excursion to Cuba. He found himself employed smuggling arms to the island from a former Soviet Bloc country. After unloading his shipment and receiving payment, he decided to take in some local sights, broads and booze. He was trying to work out a deal with a particular chuchumeca when she looked over his shoulder, paled, screamed, and ran into the night. Thinking an angry pimp was behind him he turned ready to fight. What he saw stopped him in his tracks. There, staring at him through hazy eyes was a slack jawed man. He was dressed head to toe in what looked like it could have been white at one time. Now dried blood, dirt, and who knows what else stained the garment like some crazed Rorschach Test. Around his right arm were tied a series of gris gris, charms used in Santeria rituals. Behind him stood an old grizzled woman, back hunched over a twisted cane, with a leering toothless smile. She too was dressed all in white only her clothing was pristine and accessorized by various gris gris, he recognized charms woven with chicken feathers and bones, along with human hair and in some cases bits of human bone and skin. Framing the scene like underpaid extras on a bad vampire flick were three beautiful young women. Their tight firm bodies accented by the thin film of white gauze like material trying to pass as clothing. Zanzibar took all this in in seconds. What happened next… He never spoke of, nor would he now… He never did return to Cuba.
The sight before him now was different. While the Cuban zombie had seemed docile or at least domesticated, these creatures were feral monsters. They were feeding and multiplying, each bite infecting it's victim. The more severe the bite the faster the infection. It was that days events years ago now, and the subsequent events that took place since then that placed Zanzibar in the position he was now. He still had loyalty to the Dreadnoks but out here he had no National President to answer to, no Zartan or his meddling siblings getting in the way of his entertainment. Out here he was a pirate of the plains. Taking what he wanted and leaving a trail of dead in his wake.
Zanzibar looked down over the town, he had bided his time, let them get comfortable, their guard was up but it was slipping. Already he had received reports of those on watch falling asleep or leaving their posts if even just to take a piss. He would take from them all they had. He didn't care about material possessions, nor even women and girls. He left those things to the peons he commanded. He basked in terror. Terror and fear. The look in the eyes of a man when he knows the end is coming. That is what this ol' pirate lives for.
Categories: Dreadnok Chapters