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Thanks for reading everybody! I'll be around...
Hello everybody. I just completed a Zombie Novel called NiGHTMARE-Z. Now I am no professional author, however, I do have some experience in the world and incorporate this in my novel.
It is approximately 109,000 words and 473 pages. I will be posting parts of my book on this forum throughout the coming months for everybody's enjoyment. Feedback and criticism is appreciated. Like I said, it is very long and time consuming so I will have to post bits and pieces.
I only written seven chapters, however, these chapters are very long. Reason being, I intended on this structure because it was the best way I could break up each character's unique story. Now, a little background history on myself.
-Active Duty Army Sniper based out of Fort Hood Texas
-Three tours to Iraq
-One to Korea
The context in which I portray these characters are based off first hand accounts of many soldiers I came across during my time of service. I spent countless days and nights attempting to depict the true demeanor and every day life and personalities of active duty soldiers on the front lines and incorporated this within my novel.
In addition, I added the Zombie genre. Which doesn't get enough credit as it most rightfully deserves.
Now, for a hasty description of my novel so you, the reader, doesn't waste his/her time reading something you may not be interested in(I strive for the reader's interest and satisfaction in a story as I demand it as well).
This novel first starts off in Iraq during the last months of the war in late 2011. Two brothers whom are deployed together within the same battalion run last patrols and missions out of the country as Operation New Dawn comes to a conclusion. During this time, they notice strange things articulating around them and a rash of sickness swelling their ranks. One of the brothers goes on R&R back to Fort Hood Texas to spend time with his older brother's family.
That is when Z day is portrayed to the characters of the book with all of it's fury. In a nutshell, the younger brother attempts to race across the southern US to protect his brother's family while his older brother, abandoned in Iraq with his six man squad, make a desperate attempt to escape and make it back to his family once re-animation becomes common occurance. Both brothers are unaware of each other's fates.
I will write two more novels based off this universe in the future as I intend to make it a trilogy. The story is obviously too long to write in just one book. Oh, almost forgot one more thing. I will not post the prologue for it is only a long history of the Iraq War presenting causality figures, major operations and time lines. I put this in there because I wanted to set the mood for readers who are unaware of the facts and toll the Iraq war took on many people alike.
Well, enough said! Hope all of you enjoy the read!CHAPTER 1Something Strange
"Damn boy there must be something in the air I tell you what," jokingly states Trevor as he smokes a cigerette with his brother Andrew above a hesco barrier overwatching the night skyline of Basrah City, Iraq.
"You've got a group of some three hundred odd yahoos standing in a formation together with a constant indirect fire threat while listening to a bunch of officers preach to them about picking up trash and maintaining excellence," adds Trevor.
Andrew shakes his head in agreement.
"Lots of purple hearts and awesome stories when we get back," Andrew responds.
Both brothers are now chuckling together as they inhale their stale Miami cigerettes.
"All of this, is finally coming to an end my friend," says Trevor.
Trevor continues, "Then soon i'll be back with Joanne and the girls."
"Trev, are you forgetting someone?" asks Andrew.
"Come on Andy, you know that little hell raiser is always here with me. Far as I am concerned, we never parted ways. Me and him just hang out now on a different plain of existence. He needs protein anyway, something to toughen him up. Seperation does that to a boy," replies Trevor.
"Yeah Trev, it definately toughened us up, didn't it?" asks Andrew with an apparent sadness in his eyes.
"Now now, with what happened to mom and dad all those years ago was nobody's fault. Definately not yours. Sometimes, I think, god has a way of playing cruel jokes on us. You know what you got to do in return boy? Laugh," preaches Trevor to his brother Andrew as he places his arm over his brother in order to comfort him.
Trevor goes on to adds. "When you leave out of here for R&R in the next few days, I want you to pay a visit to your nieces and nephew in Killeen. They miss you very much and constantly ask about you."
Now suddenly acting like himself again, Andrew raises his head up.
"Yeah Trev, I got that. You know I just don't want to interfere with your business. I kind of want to keep my distance you know?" explains Andrew.
Now appearing irritated, Trevor snaps back.
"You never interfered with me or my family's business. You are our business and vice versa. If we don't have eachother, then what do we have?"
Trevor now staring at his brother in the eye, like he always does before he is about to tell you the way it is, continues his rant.
"We are all a family and nothing will ever come between us. What you and her sister had so many years ago was a mistake. Myself and Joanne get that. Put it in the past and sit your little behind down at the dinner table when Joanne makes us our first meal. She isn't mad at you and neither am I."
Andrew nods his head in agreement while remaining silent so Trevor can finish his peace.
At this point, Trevor goes on to explain, "You know all those years ago back when you, mom and dad were together and I was in Baqouba, I didn't call because I did not want to think about y'all. It wasn't because I didn't care, I just needed that space because of what was going on. Arrowhead Ripper was no joke. I created that space to protect all of you in case something happened to me."
"Mom and dad was pretty upset and worried. So was I. They heard about what your unit was going through on the news, back when it was really bad. When I told them I wanted to join, mom smacked me across the face and dad yelled at me. I told them I was going to do what I wanted to do and that it didn't matter what they said," explains Andrew.
Now a slight grin appears on Trevor's face as the two brothers fall silent in conversation for a few seconds.
"You definately were a little soldier. You wanted to do all that junk since you were a kid. I don't blame you for doing what you did boy. The path we choose is who we are. We were meant to do this garbage and i'm sure if they were still alive right now they would be proud of us. I'm glad I got you here on this tour," explains Trevor.
He pauses for a moment as his grin now begins to fade.
"Look bro, you have to promise me something. Whatever happens to me, not saying it will now, so don't get your panties all caught up in a bunch, but if something is ever to happen to me whether it's here, back home or I act a fool some how and get my own damn self hurt, I want you to promise me that you will always be there for Joanne and the kids," Trevor asks with a sense of importance.
Andrew begins to chuckle the moment his brother ended the speech. He now feels that his brother is becoming too overbearing at this point as Andrew now yearns to change the topic.
"Yeah, I know what you are thinking. It's not that. I've been feeling uneasy lately. You know, dreams. If you even want to call them that," Trevor adds.
"What do you mean?" Andrew curiously asks.
"Look, it means nothing, but I guess that I'll tell you anyway. The past few days now, I have had these vivid dreams of myself as an old man sitting on the porch watching my grandchildren play. You were there as well, but the only thing that didn't sit right with me, was the fact that you weren't. It was in a place that I have never been before and in a house I never could of owned. Makes no damn sense little brother. It worries the hell out of me," Trevor answers.
"Dreams are like rectums, Trev. Everyone has one," Andrew jokingly counters.
"The damn point remains. Are you listening to me? Might have to rough you up," Trevor warns with mischief in his voice.
"Come on man, why you got to put me on the spot like that? You damn sure well know i'll be there for them and you, whenever y'all need it. Let's change this subject. We are starting to act like a couple of fat chicks watching Dr. Phil," Andrew concedes as he begins to laugh at the end of the sentence. Trevor follows suite.
"So how much drinking are you going to get in when you land boy? Better drink enough for me and you both. Remember, start with the numerals and work your way all the way down to the end of the alphabet. Thats how I started on R&R during my first tour," boasts Trevor as he nudges him with his elbow.
He then goes on to add, "Oh and remember, wrap it before you tap it. Don't want you coming back and giving a land navigation class to your soldiers off your genitalia now."
The two brothers laugh it up for a short period of time until Andrew informs his brother about his new team leader position that he had earned only just a few days ago. Once he informs his brother of the good news, Andrew begins describing the soldiers he has appointed under him.
"Wow, guys coming in the Army now a days don't seem to know jack about infantry stuff anymore. Sometimes I feel like we're a dying breed, Andy. You know back in the day when you were in high school, guys like me, smart mouthing and such, got put into place real quick. My NCO's(non commissioned officer or Sergeant) made my life a living hell. Can't say I blame them for it, but heck, these new guys think they are entitled something. Only thing they are entitled to is training and a leader. Looks like you got them covered boy," exclaims Trevor as he lights up another Miami cigerette.
Trevor was always hard on his little brother, especially growing up. He never complimented him on anything. He also used to threaten him quite often about losing fights.
"Start a fight and lose, you won't want to come home because you'll get beat down twice," Trevor always used to tell Andrew. Those words always stuck to Andrew like paper to glue. Trevor always wanted his little brother to be tough. Their father was the same way, only he went about it in a fairly different way. Whenever both Trevor and Andrew got poor grades or smarted off to their mother, they would receive what their father would call an 'ass wooping'. Which would usually consist of punches to the face, getting kicked by their father while on the ground and thrown into multiple walls.
Sometimes looking back on this, as bad as it was, the brothers are grateful for their up-bringing. A man is molded as a child. If he is lied to, sheltered and treated like a king, he will get a rude awakening when he is grown up and realizes there are no jesters to entertain him and servants to do his bidden. The world is about grit, sweat, blood and tears. Their father wanted them tough as nails and thats what he got as a result.
He served in the Gulf War as a Scout. However, his career was short lived due to an injury which granted him a medical discharge. He tought his boys how to shoot at an early age, however, never intended for them to follow in his footsteps. He actually discouraged it. When he learned that his oldest son would be deploying to Iraq in 2004 and then participating in the Battle for Fallujah, he stayed up for nights on end worrying. As a result he developed a drinking problem. Once his oldest son came back the first time unscathed, the drinking stopped. It didn't only pick up again until Trevor deployed a second time to Baqouba and participated in Operation Arrowhead Ripper in order to kick out AQI(Al Qaeda in Iraq) from their self proclaimed Islamic capital.
Only difference between the first and second time, however, led to an even more destructive life style. Drinking throughout the day and throughout the night. Drinking as soon as he woke up in the morning before work. Even drinking before picking his wife up from her job, which led to a fatal accident which still haunts the brothers today. They seldom do speak of it. It's a time they want to put behind them and never think about again. Trevor blames himself for what happen. He figured if he just did not join the service, his father wouldn't have worried so much and put himself and his mother in that situation.
Andrew, however, delt the brunt of the burden. He was hanging out with his girlfriend on the night it happened and wasn't there to stop his father from getting behind the wheel to drive. Hours prior before they crashed, his father tried to convince him to stay home with him while his mother was at work. His father encouraged Andrew to stay home with him that night and eat dinner with him over a boxing match on TV. Andrew however, declined as he reminded his father of his prior engagment with another girl and decided to spend that time with her instead.
"Yeah Trev, i'm still trying to get this whole team leader thing down. It's weird having a say so in what goes on and what your guys do. It almost feels like I have children of my own. Were you nervous the first time you led men into combat?" Andrew eagerily asks his brother.
Trevor now with a serious look on his face, explains with conviction, "Just remember these few rules. Never tell them to do something you wouldn't do. Everything you do, is for them. Check them, mentor them, help them and reward them. If the circumstances permit, correct them and punish them. Leadership is built on trust, time as well as trial and error. Most of all, care about your freaking guys. I see all too much we got people in charge who don't give a damn. As far as the rest goes, it's on you. I won't get into any further details about this crap. You got to figure it out on your own man."
"Yeah I got you bro," replies Andrew. He also goes on to add, "Well I think I can manage that part. Although, I can't go any further than nature."
With a confusing look on his face, Trevor asks what he meant. Andrew lets him know the first week he becomes a team leader all of his guys get sick with the flu and get held up on quarters. He can't even take them out on any missions at this point because they are bed ridden.
Trevor laughs and calls it a testament to his future leadership. Andrew shoots back and says he learned from the best. After a few cigerettes later, something dongs on Trevor. Multiple guys in his company also came down with flu like symptoms.
"Damn baby brother, looks like we're going to have to be walking around in MOPP 4(Full chemical protective suit. Mask and all) soon. Must be a nasty bug floating around. I want it and I don't. Well, more like I want the quarters so I can get in some porn and movie time. All work, no play makes the Wilcotts dull boys," he jokes while standing up from his makeshift seat above the hesco barrier in preperation to hop down and walk back to his tent.
"You leaving so soon Trev?" Andrew asks as he follows his brother down the barrier which is only about twelve feet high.
"Yeah man, I got a counter IDF(indirect fire) patrol tomorrow early in the morning. Got to wake up at the butt crack of dawn and drive around in circles to counter them rocket boys," Trevor replies.
Trevor tells his brother that he will catch him tomorrow so they can eat dinner together.
"Catch you at chow tomorrow!" Trevor hollers as he walks off into the dark.
Andrew waves back.
The alarm clock goes off with it's annoying loud ringing sound. Bright numeric numbers read 4:00 AM. Andrew rises from his bunk. Still dreary and half awake, he steps out of bed to hit the switch in order to end the annoying sound of the alarm. He reaches for his personal hygiene kit and proceeds across the hallway tent to the prison style latrine that is provided for him. There, shoulder to shoulder with other members of his platoon in front of a sink and tiny mirror, he begins applying shaving creme to his face as he begins slicing away.
At this point, he pretty much lost count of how many times he shaved this early in the morning before PT(physical training). It comes natural to him, just like going to the bathroom. Over time, his face adapts to the constant motion of the blade applied to his once tender facial cheeks. They no longer bleed.
Once he gets changed into his PT shirt and shorts, Andrew applies his clear lense eye protection and road guard belt which wraps around his waistline. Standard procedure for a deployed soldier in a supposed war zone. Upon opening the front door of his tent around 4:30 AM he notices it is still dark outside which is quite common to be awake in during his Army years. As he stumbles towards morning PT formation, he hopes to wake up a little bit before he starts the morning run with the rest of his squad.
"Hurry up! Get in formation," orders one of the senior Staff Sergeant squad leaders of his platoon as half sleeping soldiers shuffle up to form up in their respective squads in order of position.
For such an early time in the morning, the weather still remains slightly warm and mildly humid. Andrew and the soldiers begin stretching out their legs and warming up for their five mile perimeter run around FOB Basrah(Forward Operating Base).
Prior to being called to the position of attention, Andrew notices new members of his unit coming down with the flu. Slight coughs here and there and apparent congestion of the nostrils and throat. As a result, he ignores it and tries to focus his mind on the upcoming run ahead.
Andrew's Infantry Platoon runs various daily missions throughout the Basrah province and is also still required to conduct Physical Training upon waking up in the morning. It is a measure implemented by his chain of command to ensure zero percent PT test failures in the upcoming month upon return to garrison at Fort Hood Texas.
Specialist Andrew Wilcott's platoon scope of missions are comprised of counter indirect fire patrols, QRF(quick reaction force for FOB Basrah. Meaning twenty four hour alert status. If any units out on patrol come under fire and need help or need additional assets, QRF responds to their location within thirty minutes depending how far away they are), PSD(personal security detail) for the Battalion Commander and STT escort operations(Small Transitional Teams. STT's are comprised of various high ranking officers who interact with the Iraqi Army and police. They meet with their commanders and figure out logistical needs as well as projects to improve their security and training. Another way to put it, they serve as advisors during this transitional time).
Lately, the work overload has been breaking the unit's back. It seems to Andrew that only a handful of people are carrying the weight of this deployment while the majority sit back, take their government provided vehicles to chow three times a day and get good sleep everynight while still some how managing to slow down the rest of the base's internet connections after Andrew and his men get back from a mission through massive needless downloads of music, porn and movies.
However, that is only the beginning of it. Another thing which bothers Andrew the most is the unit's ability to always schedule their patrols for Breakfest, Lunch and Dinner chow. Majority of the time, they go without eating. The remaining soldiers who work with Headquarters, usually fail to provide their comrades plates of food upon return from their missions. An issue which caused a fine line to be drawn within the company.
Everyday, Andrew grows more and more irate towards the inability of his unit to care about him and his colleagues. To add to the disgust, Andrew Company First Sergeant secured a government purchased Ford F-150 for himself and drives it around everywhere at his own personal discretion.
Even from his CHU(containerized housing unit) to the CP(Command Post) where his office resides. Might he add, the distance is only less than three hundred meters away. No one is even allowed to use the First Sergeant's truck.
One night, during the middle of the tour, Andrew and a few buddies of his aquired a full sized potato on their way back from the DFAC(dining facility) which they found residing in a dumpster within the perimeter. On their way back in through the gate en route to their tent, they had to pass their First Sergeant's row of CHU's where his living quarters resides. Andrew's First Sergeant always liked to park his government owned vehicle on the backside of his CHU so he does not have to walk far. Upon approaching the vehicle and after much resentment built up against his senior leadership, him and his buddies stealthily shoved that potato up the First Sergeant's muffler while others pulled watch.
"Sticking it to the man," Andrew would always say.
Another time, he snuck up behind the senior leadership's row of containerized housing units one night and cut the power cable to their internet box which housed all the land line internet connections. Seeing them in despair always cheered him up. His way of making things even in an uneven world.
Andrew's squad now begins walking in a file off to the front gate of their unit's compound within the base. Upon pushing through the breach, Andrew can feel the warm wind pick up againt his tired face.
Moments later, the squad leader gives his men the order of double time(run). For the first few minutes, like always, a decent pace was set as Andrew's body began to adapt to the strenous activity. Some of the sicker soldiers, however, began falling out of the formation within minutes of taking off from the start point.
Then, like always, the yelling starts from the NCO's(Non-Commisioned Officers or Sergeants). Also, the pace picks up to where Andrew is struggling to maintain his breatheing. This did not help to accomadate the soldiers whom were already left far behind.. They just continued to fall back even further.
"Let them be. If your vagina hurts, go ahead and fall out now or go to sick call so they can give you your vagisal," sarcastically states the leader of the formation as he continues to pick up the pace even faster after answering one of his soldier's questions in regard to the fall outs.
Andrew continues to keep up without faltering. Darkness still lingers as they continue on their run. Usually the sun doesn't come up until six or six-thirty AM.
The road they continue to run down skirts the perimeter of the FOB in a 360 degree fashion. It also parallels the fenceline, which is backed by C-wire and tank traps. Running on this road, you can clearly look out into sector and actually make out some of the neighboring villages of Iraq. Not the safest place to run all by yourself.
A few miles go by and the pace now begins to slow down a bit. Reason being, the leader of the formation notices something odd off into the distance.
"Hey guys look off to your left. Whatever that guy is on, I want a hit," jokingly states the squad leader while expecting a laugh in return from his subordinates. They oblige.
Andrew looks off and sees a shadowy figure of a man. A human outline stumbling towards the fence line they are on in the darkness. It is not clear how much of the man he can make out, however, it is a man nontheless as he appears to be drunk judging by the way he is walking. Last time he saw something like this on perimeter road was a few days ago with his brother, Trevor. They assumed that the previous man they saw was drunk as well.
Now bored, the squad leader decides to turn it around and head back so he can finish up the run in time for breakfest. Upon passing up his squad members which he left all by their lonesome, he orders them to turn around and fall back in to the formation. They follow suite.