Saturday, September 20, 2014

Contagious Chaos Release Day!

When the compound starts to fill and food supplies dwindle, Fuller’s soldiers and Marines have no choice but to venture out into the lawless wastelands of America where they discover a new kind of enemy.

What foe could be more frightening than zombies? A fortress for the criminally insane--unhinged survivors who will stop at nothing to take Orissa and her friends down for good,In order serve and protect their compound, will the gang have to abandon their own moral code and engage in a war against the uninfected?


Title: Contagious Chaos (Book 3 in the Contagium Trilogy)

Author: Emily Goodwin

Cover Design: Conzpiracy Digital Arts

Publisher: Permuted Press

Publication Date: September 23, 2014 

The Contagium Series
Book #3
By Emily Goodwin
© 2013 Emily Goodwin

“Do you think the garden center is still open? It was late fall when the virus hit.”

Hayden shrugged. “The weather stays warmer longer here. Maybe stuff was on clearance. If not we can always—”

He cut off abruptly and I skidded to a stop. “What the hell?” Hayden shook his head and gripped the knife.

“I think it’s a camp.” I looked at the section of women’s apparel. The displays had been rearranged, forming a wall. Several tents and mattresses were in the middle, surrounded by lawn chairs, grills, and piles of books.

“There’s the missing food,” Hayden pointed out. Three carts, all mostly full, were lined up next to the tents. “At least it’s easy for us.” He took a step forward and suddenly stopped. I let go of the cart and reached behind me. “Something is in there.” With his arms held out slightly at his sides, Hayden moved toward the tent. “Hello?”

Whoever was in the tent grumbled. Hayden relaxed just a bit and went to the side. He gripped the zipper with two fingers and met my eyes. “On three,” he mouthed and began silently counting before yanking the zipper down.

A gray hand slapped the ground. Fingers curled as it pulled itself forward. The gummy grunted in its effort.

“This is pathetic,” Hayden said.

“You’re telling me,” I agreed and walked over to the front of the tent. Red curls were matted to her rotting face and she could barely open her eyes. If zombies could be tired, then this one definitely looked like she needed a nap. I released my fingers and the arrow nestled into her soggy head. I grimaced when I leaned in to get the arrow. Coughing, I moved out and took a step back, almost tripping over my feet in my haste. “There’s a dead cat in there,” I informed Hayden.

He nodded but was too busy going through a duffle bag to fully acknowledge how gross it was. “This is full of first aid stuff,” he said and hefted it into one of the carts. “Whoever set up this camp gathered up what they’d need...and then got infected.”

“Works in our favor,” I quipped.

Hayden gave me a lopsided smile. “Yeah. It does.” He strode away from the indoor camp site. “Back to the explosives,” he said and took hold of the cart loaded with food and first aid supplies. He pushed it into the aisle before we continued toward the back of the store.

“Jackpot,” I said when a small display of garden supplies came into view. The outdoor section of the store had been cleared of most of its lawn and garden items, replaced with Halloween and even a few Christmas decorations. The shelves had either just been stocked or no one could afford to spend any extra money on decorations this last holiday season.

Hayden grabbed two bags of fertilizer and plopped it into the cart while I picked up an entire display of vegetable seeds. I dumped it into the cart and tossed the cardboard to the side. The air was even stuffier this deep into the store; we grabbed the rest of what we needed from this section and left, rushing to get the rest of what we could from our list.

“It’s kind of a shame to think we’re going to pour all this out,” I said when I put the sixth wine bottle in the cart.

“It’s a crime,” Hayden affirmed and placed a six pack of glass bottled beer in. “If it wasn’t warm, I’d drink at least one.” He gave the beer a sorrowful look and shook his head. The bottles were to be used for Molotov cocktails. They were the second to last item on our list. Hayden pushed the now heavy cart forward. We were on the lookout for the automotive section; along with the containers we needed to harvest fuel for our bombs, Hayden wanted to grab a few things for his truck. They were completely necessary, he assured me more than once.

“That way.” I pointed to the blue, overhanging sign. “What are you going to do about—”

I cut off when something flew through the air. I grabbed Hayden’s arm and yanked him out of the way, our backs slamming into an end cap filled with Barbie dolls. A yellow golf ball pinged off the floor in front of us. Hayden drew his weapon and my hand flew to the M9.

Another ricocheted off a shelf and bounced passed my shoulder. Hayden pulled me into him, trying to safely pin me between his body and the shelf behind us. Protesting against being protected, I ducked out from behind him and raised my gun.

“Hey!” I shouted. “Who’s doing that?” The only response we got was a cascade of colorful golf balls raining down on us. One hit the back of my hand, bringing an instant sting to the bones. I jumped around the shelf and moved into the aisle. Hayden was a step behind and pointed at the direction the balls were coming from. Silently, we raced down the aisle to confront our annoying attacker.

All we saw was a trail of brown hair whipping behind a display of blue glass vases. Without hesitation, I fired, intentionally missing the potential target. Blood rushed through my body, pulsating from my pounding heart. Sweat dripped down my forehead as I ran. Hayden jumped over a square display of discounted movies to head her off; he disappeared from my sight and ducked down another aisle.

I ran after the person, boots slipping on the broken glass. I zigzagged across the walkway, dodging around a knocked over and broken flat screen TV. I rounded a corner and found Hayden face to face with the ball thrower.

He held his gun out, with the barrel buried in the young girl’s chest. She pushed against it, snarling, as she clawed the air trying to get to him. Her fingernails were browned from dried blood. The despondent look on Hayden’s face made a sick feeling form in my stomach. I stood to the side and he pulled the trigger.

The girl fell, fresh crimson staining her pale pink sweater. I walked around the body, noting the crusted blood outlining her mouth. Infected or not, killing someone so young was hard.

“I wonder how long she’s been in here,” Hayden said aloud and stepped away. We exited the aisle.

“She’s not dressed for summer.”

“It’s odd,” I said quietly. I suppressed a shudder and looped my arm through Hayden’s. “Let’s get our shit and leave.”

He nodded and led the way, retracing our steps. When we got to the spot where we had left the cart, Hayden and I exchanged looks.

“This is where we left it, right?” Hayden asked me and looked down the aisle for our missing cart.

“Yes. I’m positive.” My eyes flicked to the pink boxes of inappropriately proportioned women.

“Then where...?”

I shook my head. “No idea.” I swallowed hard and instantly felt paranoid.

“Hannah?” Hayden said over the walkie. A painful few seconds ticked by before she answered. “How are things out there?”

“Boring,” she said. “I haven’t seen anything out of the ordinary except one of those zombies Orissa calls sticky or something.”

“Gummy,” Hayden corrected. “Lay low and keep the doors locked.”

“Ok. Did you shoot at zombies? I thought I heard shots.”

“You did and yes,” he told her. “We’ll be out soon.”

“Maybe,” I spat and shook my head. “What the fuck is going on?”

Hayden’s eyes filled with guilty terror. “She was infected right?”

“Most definitely,” I assured him. “She attacked you. Plus she was covered in blood.”

“But then who...?” he trailed off, shaking his head. “Maybe someone else is in here. They could have been in here.”

I nodded and pressed my fingers into the cool metal of my gun. “Let’s find them.”

Hayden bent over and picked up a golf ball. “I have an idea,” he stated and threw the ball as far as he could. We heard it bounce off the floor and clang into something. He picked up another and chucked it in the opposite direction. Taking his lead I scooped up three balls and threw them down different aisle. I held by breath and waited as the golf balls bounced and crashed off different items before slowly rolling to a stop.

Something scurried to our left. We took off, running toward the source of the noise. We raced through an aisle of silk and plastic flowers, the perfumed stems still fragrant, and rounded a corner before skidding to a stop. The bags of fertilizer, which had been on the bottom of the cart, were neatly stacked on the Craft Center’s counter.

I swallowed hard and my finger hovered over the trigger. Hayden reached into his pocket and grabbed another golf ball; he pulled his arm back and gently rolled it down the center aisle. Its pocked surface rattled on the hard floor as it moved before abruptly coming to a stop.

“Hello?” Hayden shouted. “Anyone there?” He turned and extended his arm to grab the heavy bags when the ball came rolling back. Quietly, we edged away from the counter and moved down another few aisles, where we found our cart. Only it was upside down and everything was lined up in a circle around it.

“Why do I feel like we’re in a lame paranormal movie?” I asked out loud and stopped the ball with my foot. I let out a deep breath and lifted my head up. “Hey!” I shouted. “I don’t have time for your crap. Come attack us like good crazies and get it over with. I’m really tasty, I promise!”

Hayden raised an eyebrow. “Classy.”

“They’re creeping me out,” I said with a shrug. “And they're wasting our time. It’s hot in here and we have more shit to do.” Hayden grinned and twisted the strap on his machine gun to free his hands. I stood a few feet back and kept my eyes peeled, growing annoyed of the cat and mouse game when suddenly a body came hurtling down the aisle.

About the Author
Emily Goodwin is the international best-selling author of the stand-alone novel STAY, The Guardian Legacies Series: UNBOUND, REAPER, MOONLIGHT (releasing 2014), The Beyond the Sea Series: BEYOND THE SEA, RED SKIES AT NIGHT (releasing 2015) and The Contagium Series: CONTAGIOUS, DEATHLY CONTAGIOUS, CONTAGIOUS CHAOS, THE TRUTH IS CONTAGIOUS (Permuted Press).

Emily lives with her husband, daughter and German Shepherd named Vader. She has degrees in psychology and nursing. Along with writing, Emily enjoys riding her horse, designing and making costumes and Cosplay.

No comments:

Post a Comment