Chapter 13: Eye of the Storm

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Jackson burned, lighting up the sky with an orange glow.

Greg felt a sharp bolt of fear lance his gut, cutting into it with a frozen intensity, as he spied the vast palls of black smoke billowing into the gray skies. He gripped the steering wheel tighter, terror shooting through his psyche as ugly possibilities blossomed in his mind's eye. He envisioned the city and the base they made for overrun with the undead, razor teeth rending flesh and snapping bone. Gallons of blood, glistening and fresh.

Kyra had a much cooler head. He heard her speak over the radio, attempting communication with Fort Jackson.

"This is Fort Jackson, we hear you, Lance Corporal. Proceed to the south entrance, exit your vehicles and slowly enter the garage there," a clipped voice replied.


Kyra closed down the channel. Greg glanced over, peering at her briefly through the windows, her jeep just a few meters to the right of his. She caught him looking at her and flashed him a quick, easy smile.

Greg relaxed. Something new slithered into his gut. Excitement. There would surely be information in this base. He might find some more clues about himself, his past. That, and, well, Kyra was there. This might be a moment of calm.

They pulled up to the garage and were immediately blinded by powerful floodlights that flared into existence.

"Out! Now!"

The fear returned, swelling to consume him. Greg fought it as he killed the engine, opened the door and stepped out, his hands in the air, palms out. This was a moment of truth, a leap of faith. Greg had a flash from back at the outpost, the ex-Marines that had shown up, planning to kill him and rape Kyra.

He spied half a dozen men in hazmat gear, their faces hidden behind gasmasks. Greg squinted, spotting more on the roof, armed with sniper rifles and manning the floodlights. He glanced over. Kyra and Cage exited their jeeps, Kyra taking longer than Cage.

"How many are you?!" one of them called.

"Three!" Greg shouted back.

There was a brief pause as the one who seemed to be in charge had a quick meeting with the others, then, abruptly, they all marched forward. The half-dozen Marines covered them with shotguns and long-barreled precision rifles. They motioned for Greg, Kyra, and Cage to come forward. Four Marines broke off to inspect the jeeps.

"Come inside." The leader was quieter now, though the steel remained in his voice. They followed him inside.

Greg watched the body language of the Marines as they made their way into the open-faced garage, reading a great deal of tension. There were more Marines inside, some of them in hazmat gear, some not. They all held weapons of some kind. Most of the garage floor was clear. A ring of foldout tables, their tops scattered with tools, broken-down guns, and equipment, ran around the edge of the room. It was very quiet.

"What's going on?" Greg asked finally.

"Quiet," the man in charge snapped.

"Jeeps are empty. Just supplies," one of the Marines called. Greg glanced behind him. Three of the four men were now behind the wheels of the vehicles. The fourth came back to the garage.

"All right, bring them in. Start unloading them."

Greg let his fear give way to anger when a door opened and a new figure stepped out. He was tall, wore a pressed uniform, and sported a high-and-tight haircut. He strode purposefully towards Greg and the others. He stopped an arm's length away from them.

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