John M. Davis
Editing: Daniél Lecoq
Copyright 2015 Serenity Valley Publishing
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Foreword: Getting Here
Chapter 1: Zombie Cowboys
Chapter 2: When Angels Fall
Chapter 3: Twist of Fate
Chapter 4: Jacento
Chapter 5: Double Dip
Chapter 6: Making New Friends
Chapter 7: The Truth
Chapter 8: The Fall of Jacento
About: John M. Davis
For those of you paying attention, you’ll quickly notice something different about this book. Its original title, and possibly the series (depending on your support) has changed to Rain of the Dead. Why? The short answer here is that I listen to your feedback. After receiving several emails, tweets and letters, I decided to change the name and agree that Rain is more fitting. That’s the marvelous thing about the digital age of writing, I suppose. As authors, we can now go back into a published project and do what needs to be done in order to deliver a better reading experience.
I’m often asked what I feel makes a good story. For me (as a reader), it’s always about the characters. Give me a story that’s good with characters that I don’t care about – it’ll be a lukewarm read at best. Likewise, give me an average story with fantastic characters and I’ll be looking for more as soon as I finish the book. When writing, I try my best to incorporate this into my own stories. I personally feel that Rain of the Dead contains some of the best characters I’ve written up to this point. And yes, several of the protagonists are loosely-based around people I know in real life. When it comes to Hughes, that could either mean I live a fantastic life or I seriously need a new social scene – depending on the reader’s point of view. Either way, I hope you enjoy the story and the greatest thing about science fiction, often times, is that it’s only a matter of time before it comes true.
You can find many more stories available for download on my official website. Be sure to look for the freebies!
It came with the rain.
Officially, the Mortakin Virus was a weapon of war.
It worked, as thousands upon thousands of innocent civilians died across Europe when the rains first came sweeping across the continent. We quickly found out, as did those who created the virus, that it was uncontrollable. Rogues within the Soviet Union had hoped to contain the virus and use it when and where they deemed it was needed as their union began to crumble in 1990. They had no idea that once it was released, the virus would continue to chew its way across our globe in horrific fashion. The total count of a world's population that once stood at billions – less than 1% proved immune to the virus.
Most of those who were infected dropped dead as a stone within a month of contracting the virus. Showing only a low-grade fever at first, their temperature quickly spiked well beyond its normal range. Their bodies became too hostile to operate under normal conditions, which led to organs shutting down.
Worse, even was the fact that a great many of the dead came back. Clinically, they passed away for a short time before coming back from the dead with a hunger something fierce. Typical zombies, I suppose. Not that there’s anything typical about running folks down to gnaw on their flesh.
For whatever reason, a small percentage of the world’s population seemed to be immune to the Mortakin Virus. Their bodies just didn’t take to it and we never quite figured out why. No fever, no possibility of being turned. It was likely a case of genetics, but with a world full of dead scientists, no one could prove anything. In the end, the reasoning doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. What matters is humanity was left with only a fraction of its population intact. The rest of us were either dead in the literal sense or roaming at will with a hankering for the flesh of any living thing they could find.
If you think this is the typical story of survival, think again. We’ve had 25 years to survive and we’ve done a pretty good job of it, given the circumstances. The zombies have also adapted. Most of them are the garden variety. Lethargic, simple-minded and lead-footed. That said, most of them seem to rally themselves around an alpha of the pack. It’s the alphas you’ve got to worry about. They’re much faster and mean as hell. Tricky, too. The average zombie may be mindless, but the alphas can reason. They like to lay traps and watch their prey walk right into them, which can be a bitch at times.
As you might expect, the living are just as big of a problem. There are no real governments anymore, at least not outside of your home city’s walls. Communities would be a better analogy and they all have their own rules. Just as has been the case since the dawn of mankind, you also have those who throw a middle-finger into the face of rules and go their own way. Outlaws, we like to call ‘em. They’ll kill a man for a pack of cigarettes from the old world, and if you happen to have anything better, things like guns, gasoline or antibiotics, they’ll kill your pet dog, feed him to you and then kill you straight dead.
As for the zombies, they keep inventing better ways to chase us and we invent quicker ways to stay a few steps ahead of them. Humanity has found that there is strength in numbers, which, sadly, works both ways. Find yourself swamped by a superior number of growling dead and you might as well bend over and kiss your own ass goodbye.
Most folks tend to stick to the high ground. For some, that means the towering skyscrapers of a world that once was. Large cities remain overrun, while the tallest buildings belong to our kind once more. They may just be skyscrapers, but plenty of men and women have died to take ‘em back and call ‘em home. For the less-fortunate, large networking caves or barges on the sea work just fine. Or, like the folks in Jacento and hundreds of locations just like it; it means a very small city built atop towers of stone. Bluntly put, we’re a generation of people with a memory of technology and we’re living a very primitive lifestyle.
Cities trade back and forth using airships, which seems only natural. Nearly everyone has the technology to use steam power, and that’s pretty much all it takes for the rawest of ships. Along with a bit of fabric and some luck. If it was a smaller community and you had the right people behind that all-terrain vehicle or convoy of vehicles, affectionately known as a stagecoach, you can get from place to place. Making gasoline even more of a priority.
If you have fish hand over fist but desired something else, you trade with folks by way of airship or stagecoach. Every location has its resources and every location has a list of needs. You find other locations to trade with and you do your best to keep surviving. There are no more nations, just small groups of people trying to survive. Communities working together, that’s the new face of our planet.
Like I said before, the world has changed. But, as some folks eventually figure out, some things will never change. Greed, lust and deception are all part of our everyday lives. No matter what the circumstances are. Every son of a bitch with a beating heart in his chest and a desire to live has the same motto.
Know your enemy. Pack Heat. Have a plan.
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