“Ricky Fleet captures something fantastic in his use of characters, setting, and zombie dread. This book continues that great work, but also amps up the danger for our characters and the world.” — Jay Wilburn #CaptainThreeKidneys
Excerpt from Hellspawn Requiem by Ricky Fleet
Fearing a slow death by exposure, he looked around for a solution. There was no way he could descend the pipework he had climbed without falling, and the roof itself was over thirty feet high, so jumping wasn’t an option. Unless he wanted to tenderise himself for the zombies first, anyway. His only hope was the glass skylights which were installed every ten feet across the length of each side of the roof. Dropping to hands and knees, he carefully crawled up the frigid surface and rubbed the frost away. Beneath were more vats, valves, pumps, and pipework which would have served some unknown purpose during the treatment process. There was nothing close enough to climb down so Winston shimmied along from pane to pane, clearing and searching. With only two left and each one so far providing a sheer drop straight into the building, he was starting to lose hope. Using his sleeve to clear the glass, his heart jumped with hope. A walkway had been erected to reach the pipework he had used to climb onto the roof and it was only a short drop below. Taking the axe, he swung the blunt end and broke the pane which went crashing onto the meshed steel platform. Gurgled moans reverberated within the building indicating he wasn’t alone.
Bollocks, Winston cursed in his mind as he pried the last shards free from the sealing putty.
Craning his neck through the hole, a slightly warmer, fetid air washed over him as he searched for the source of the threat. A handful of stick thin zombies in full blue overalls were traversing the serpentine pipework to reach the rising staircase. He was in a fight whether he wanted it or not and carefully lowered himself through the skylight until his feet met the railing. Dropping down, he was extremely careful to avoid the fragments of glass on the walkway. The latticework of the steel floor dug painfully into the balls of his feet.
“I suppose carpet was too much to ask for?” he complained.
Now that he was in the building the walkway gave him a multitude of ways to reach the ground without facing the dead. Pipework stretched away and dropped into the ground as well as ductwork and the frame of the raised gangway itself. The temptation to flee was strong and he found himself swinging a leg over the railing. Before he could begin climbing down he realised it would be better to clear the building rather than play cat and mouse between the machinery and tubing. Stepping down he took off his backpack and laid it lengthways across the floor to give them another obstacle.
“Come on!” Winston shouted and it echoed back from the walls.
Another zombie appeared and he slammed the butt of the axe on the steel railing. Ear piercing clangs echoed around the cavernous chamber but no more undead appeared to join the fray. The cold and pain in his feet was gone now, only the primal hatred remained, burning fiercely in the pit of his stomach. Clenching his teeth, the first zombie reached the top and staggered towards him. So intent was the corpse on Winston, that it ignored the bag completely and tripped over it, falling face down with a crunch. Wasting no time, he drove the axe down and the blade smashed through the skull and hit the metal grid beneath. Green blood and rotting mucus started to drip from the platform as the second approached. With no sense of kinship, it stepped on the legs of its fallen brethren and they twisted under the weight. The zombie fell awkwardly against the railing so Winston gave it a helping push and it went flailing to the concrete below. Head exploding, the green gore splashed on the floor and pipes in a wide arc.
“I will not die a virgin!” Winston roared and threw all caution to the wind.
His blood was up and he raced down the walkway, shoulder barging the nearest corpse with enough power to send it flying over the protective railing to join its companion below. The remaining dead were in procession on the stairs and Winston greeted them with a savage rending of flesh with steel. The axe sang as it cut through the air, splitting skulls and severing heads. The emaciated corpses were torn apart with a ferocity which scared Winston. He had always tried to be calm and collected, applying logic and reasoning like Spock from Star Trek. Taken by the rage, he hacked at the fallen bodies even after they were truly dead, leaving a pile of oozing meat. What was even more surprising as he stood gasping from exertion, was that the rage felt good. He had been a victim his whole life, and for the first time he could fight back against all the repressed loneliness and self-pity.
Shaking from the adrenaline surge, Winston took deep, slow breaths and listened for any more movement. Near silence was all that remained, except for the unmistakeable groans of the dead outside. Backtracking along the platform, he retrieved his pack from under the zombie and checked for the size of shoe it wore.
“Damn,” he muttered when he saw it was three sizes too big.
On the stairs, he gingerly tossed any severed body part over the side until he was left with the legs and any remaining torso. Finding a matching size, he wrestled with the boot and it came off with a wet, sucking noise. The flesh of the foot had torn at the heel and left the bone like a well-cooked joint of meat. With a retch, Winston tossed the boot and its floppy contents from the stairs.