Leah Watton’s practical joke has spiralled way out of control—all to impress a crush…
With a prank online video, Leah hopes to catch the attention of Jake Colton, a cute, blond-haired, blue-eyed co-worker she’s had a crush on for months. But instead of sending it to Jake, she manages to forward the clip to her boss—who buys every gory second.
When mass panic ensues, Leah learns the video is more than a staged act…
The government is calling the virus AM13. As the outbreak spreads, citizens are forced to stay indoors while they assess the gravity of the illness. Most people are quarantined in their homes, but Leah, Jake, and Leah’s best friend Michelle are some of the unlucky few who are stuck at work when the Lockdown occurs.
That’s where she first encounters one of the infected…
Aside from a contaminated woman devouring one of her co-workers, Leah has another problem. Does she do as she’s ordered and stay at work? Or should she disobey government orders and break free to reunite with her family?
She can’t go it alone—after all, Leah has none of the skills needed to survive—but with Michelle and Jake by her side, not even a contagious virus and a sea of the dead can keep her from…
Breaking out of the Lockdown…
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The bite on his shoulder is absolutely huge and rancid—all blackened from the infection. His arm is hanging down by his side, completely useless. He’ll never be able to move that again, no matter what happens. His face is also in a terrible state. His skin is a deep grey, much murkier than the others I’ve seen. He must have been infected for a very long time. The bags under his eyes droop incredibly low, causing his face to look deformed. The blood running down his skin, staining all his clothes, looks really old. Scratch marks cover his torso; he looks as if he’s been brutally beaten in some awful fight. I would never have thought someone could survive these injuries, they’re just so severe. People have died over much less, and yet here he is, still moving towards us, baring his teeth, ready and waiting to eat.
Jake pulls me hard and I stumble backwards, tripping over a box. I hit the ground hard and suddenly find myself unable to move, as if I’m physically paralysed by fear. It’s almost as if I’m having an out of body experience, looking down at myself, screaming run. Something is pulling me upwards, but my body is too sluggish to comply. It just won’t do what I want it to, I’m too panicked. Now I understand how Tim was feeling when he was attacked and unable to scale the fence. Limp and useless. I know an assault is imminent, but I can’t do anything to stop it. I’m utterly screwed, and I’m just sitting here, waiting for it to happen.
I’m shaking, sobs rising up in my chest. I’m going to die if I don’t get up now, so why can’t I? All I need to do is make my way over to the door, but it feels a million miles away. I don’t even know where Jake is. I can hear him hissing at me, encouraging me to move, but I can’t see him anywhere. He might have even made it outside already. If so, he should probably run before he has to witness my death.
Thud. The loud noise shocks me into looking up. Thud. There it is again. This time it’s following by a sloshing sound, like a wet mop hitting the ground. I need to locate the source of the noise. I need to know what’s happening, how long I have left. Can I escape? Can I really survive this? My heart leaps into my dry, panicked mouth and my slick palms slide across the ground.
It’s Jake, I can finally see him. He’s absolutely covered in blood. His axe is discarded on the ground next to him. He’s offering me a hand. I reach up tentatively to grab it, still trying to piece together the scene around me.
“He’s…?”I can’t finish my sentence. I can’t vocalise all the hundreds of questions that are swirling around in my mind.
Relief floods my chest, pushing away some of the numb sensation. I’ve never had a near death experience before, so I’m not sure how you’re supposed to feel. We sit silent for a while, just the sounds of our heavy breathing to keep us company. The shop owner doesn’t move again, so I can feel myself starting to relax in his presence. I wonder what happened to him, how he managed to get into that state, when he got bitten—all of these questions that we’ll never get the answer to now that he’s gone forever.
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About the Author
Samie Sands is the author of the AM13 Outbreak series – Lockdown, Forgotten, and Extinct. She’s also had a number of short stories published in very successful short story anthologies.