The Dying of the Light (Short Stories): The Walker Chronicles (Tales From The Dying of the Light)

Free The Dying of the Light (Short Stories): The Walker Chronicles (Tales From The Dying of the Light) by Jason Kristopher

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Authors: Jason Kristopher
Tags: Zombies
sterling physique and youthful manner fooled you, general, but I’m an old man now. A retired old man, playing with his grandson,” Barker said, looking down at the boy he’d been bouncing on his knee. “And I never flew anything bigger than a Skyhawk.”
    “I know that, Mr. Barker. And I’d love to let you stay here, doing just that, for as long as you can. But I also know that our co-pilot for this mission came down with some sort of stomach bug because he was being a damn idiot, and now he can’t spend more than twenty minutes outside the head.” Anderson grew even more serious. “These things aren’t in great shape, John. We need your help. If we don’t make it there, lots of people will die. People just like your grandson. I wouldn’t ask if I had another option.”
    Barker looked down at the newest member of his family, thinking back all those years ago to the young SEAL who’d saved a crying child, knowing what it would cost him. A child who wasn’t even his own. He thought about all the years between then and now, and how that sacrifice had saved not just the child’s life, but likely his own, as well.
    For everything we’re given in this life, there’s a price , he thought. It’s time I paid this one . He looked up at the general.
    “When do we leave?”

Whatever Happened to Thomas J. Reynolds?
    Spanaway, Washington
1 week after Z-Day
    “What’s our situation, lieutenant?”
    “FUBAR, captain.”
    “That bad?”
    “Yes, sir. We’ve got four men able to travel at full speed, two significantly injured but able to move and 8 KIA. We’re low on ammo and supplies, and we’re all but surrounded. If I had to guess, sir, I’d say they’ve likely got this street here — Pacific Ave South, sir — blocked all the way past the airport.”
    “Give me the phone, I’m gonna try the bunker again.”
    “Can’t, sir. Battery’s dead.”
    “Shit. Haven’t found another one, have you?”
    “You’ll be the first to know, sir.”
    Captain Thomas Reynolds stood, carefully keeping out of line of sight of the window he was peering through. Wouldn’t do to get killed now , he thought.
    The street outside was getting darker, but the glow from the zealots’ trash fires still lit the sky with a nasty, disturbing glow. The flickering light played over the features of the men lying behind him, and Reynolds took a moment to survey the damage the religious nuts had caused.
    Assholes , he thought. The whole fucking world is ending, and these jackasses decide to make it worse.
    Reynolds noticed Masters moving amongst the men, offering an encouraging word here, a comforting hand there. That boy’s got the making of a good officer. Too bad he’ll probably never get the chance.
    Masters saw the captain looking, and nodded towards the rear of the nearly destroyed shop. Reynolds followed Masters into the stockroom. The back door in there was shut and locked, with a marine he didn’t know posted as guard.
    The lieutenant pitched his voice low, intended for Reynolds only. “They need a few more hours’ rest, sir, but I think we can move out around 0400.”
    “Well, almost two weeks on the run, in and out of sewers and back alleys, will do that to you. Hmmm, that’ll give us a good two hours of darkness.”
    “Yes, sir,” said Masters, giving Reynolds the look all lieutenants had when patiently waiting for explanations from higher-ups.
    “Go ahead,” Tom said, easing down against a wall.
    “Sir, what’s the play here?”
    “The play, lieutenant?”
    “Yes, sir. Do we keep running, find somewhere to hole up, or go out in a blaze of glory?”
    Tom glanced over at the young man, but in the flickering light from the fires, he couldn’t tell if the kid was playing him for a sap or just being honest and gung-ho. “Let’s 86 that ‘blaze of glory’ crap right now, son.”
    “Yes, sir.”
    Tom chuckled softly, not wanting to wake the men. “I’m not one for running from a fight, but

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