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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    WHISTLEBLOWERS by Levi Hill
    June 24, 2008  Short stories   Tags:   

    Vass, North Carolina

    [Aaron Worth stands in the middle of a field, tugging a hoe through the dirt of a large, walled in garden. Beyond him is a stilted house that is clearly a post-war build. A rifle is still slung on his back, despite the fortification. During the war, Worth served as a special attachment to Army Group South – he was the first of many “Whistleblowers” to aid in the relief of the larger cities of the eastern U.S.]

    It wasn’t my idea. A lot of people ask me that. Nope. Some guy with thick glasses must have dreamt this up, because the idea at first seems ridiculous. I know I laughed in the Sergeants face when he proposed it to me. I mean, seriously, take a loud ass train deep into Zackland and hope to God you don’t get bogged down and eaten alive. Yea, sure, sounds like a plan.

    So, that is how this whole “Whistleblower” thing got going. Some guy said to some other guy who must have known a guy who said, “Hey! Lets throw any poor, dumb fuck who worked on trains into an engine and send them on their merry way into D.C. or Atlanta.”

    [We walk up to the house and sit on the porch. He offers me a glass of water and lights up a Q for himself]

    You know, I didn’t smoke before the war.

    [He takes a drag and sets it on a butt-laden ashtray]

    So, back to this “Whistleblower” business. Yes, I was the first ones in on this crazy scheme. They had this old ass engine ready to go and everything. I swear, you wouldn’t find an engine like that outside of the history books, and that is for damned sure. The military had put this big, giant loudspeaker assembly on top and armored it to hell and gone. They said it would remain stable on the tracks, would be slow, but would be able to push through any Gs that got in our way. Sounds good right? Like being in a tank. [He rolls his eyes]

    So they told you it would be safe?

    Hell no! Safe? Nothing was “safe” back then. They couldn’t say for sure that Zack couldn’t just knock it over or bog it down and trap me in the city or whatever. I said, “Oh! In that case, why not?” I mean, I had worked on the railroad for a while; it was a hard job with good pay and I got to travel. They had lines up and down the coast, most of which weren’t in too bad of shape. We didn’t lose too many folks; at least not once we set up the basic routine.

    What was the casualty rate?

    Something like fifty percent at first, but near the last few months, we didn’t lose anybody. It became just another part of the crazy world we had accepted. Drive into town blowing your horns as loud as you can, get the ghouls all hot and bothered, then just bug out with as many moaning Gs as you could.

    We must have lost a good chunk of those casualties to ruined lines and blockages. Can you imagine getting stuck in a giant tin can surrounded by Zack trying to scrape their way in? A few guys hung on. Sometimes, we could get to them, but most of the time they just cracked an L-pill and went on to some better place.

    [The cigarette in the ashtray has gone out, so he lights another with a thoughtful drag]

    Those were hard times, early on. I remember when we had to go into Atlanta. We had gone up through the south, from New Orleans and that area. This wasn’t our first shot at a really, really big city, but fuck! Atlanta. That place was huge, but we had to lure them out to try and bring the numbers in the city down. The brass didn’t want to touch that place and who can blame them? Estimates placed the number of Gs at four to ten million.

    Why such a discrepancy?

    Well, how could anyone really tell? The days of satellite feeds and all that were long gone. So, they had to guess. A few flights went over on their way through and shot us an estimate. Big swarms. Some of the eggheads said that the area was so dense that it was likely a Chain Swarm effect and had brought in hundreds of thousands from around the entire area.

    If you didn’t know, there were actually some survivors too. Can you imagine? That many of those fuckers milling about and some people eked out a living in skyscrapers and all that. How they hung on for so long is beyond me. Shit, I just lived day-to-day at that point. Just before Atlanta, in a live-run in Albany I had lost about four buddies in the span of a week. That is hard on anybody, especially when it looked like we were going to survive this living hell after all

    Believe it or not, one of them was bitten while taking a piss outside of the engine warming up outside the city. Hell of a thing, right? Caught with his pants down. Before anyone noticed, the fucker had taken a chunk out of his ass. Being practical as Terry was, he plugged the G and blew his own brains out.

    We lost one in an engine overturned into an embankment. The roll must have knocked him out or just killed him. Some Secessionists shot the other two, if you can believe that. They holed up in some big fortress of a house covered in camo netting and shit. They had these big, nasty scoped rifles and a few years worth of practice on Zack. Mick and Joe didn’t even know what hit them, which is a hell of a better way to go than some ways I’ve seen.

    What was it like personally?

    Are you kidding? It was terrifying. Not one moment went by that you weren’t scared shitless. I must have done it more than anyone and I can’t say I ever, ever wanted to get back in those engines and do it each time, but I did. That was what was needed and it worked most of the time. A few times I bogged down and thought to myself, “Well kid, you had a nice run but your time is officially up!”

    A few times we would see survivors. That was hard. They would wave flags and try to get our attention like we were the damned rescue wagon. [He frowns] We had to drive on by groups of people just begging to let them on board. Some would struggle and try to jump on as we went under overpasses and near buildings and shit. I saw more than one fall, more like dozens of them in each city. Hard to imagine that anyone was alive in these places, but the sight of someone leaping to their death just for the hope of rescue was too much for some guys.

    In general, though, the idea worked? It brought the zombies out of the cities and into the soldiers waiting for them?

    Damned straight. They would have those RSs all set and just go to work once I passed through. Clever, I guess. It still leaves me drenched when I jump ten feet out of bed with a nightmare of Zack or riding in that damned engine for hours and hours with them clawing at the outside. Jesus, I know a lot of those heros go on about how they would do it all over again. Shit. Not me! I am no coward, because I did it, but if I had the option of a nice, sun-in-the-fun vacation riding the waves of the Pacific1. and a trip through Zackland again, which do you think I would take?

    1. He refers to the common misconception that sea-going survivors had it easier than the land-based ones.

    17 Comments

    1. Excellent, very nice work. I really enjoyed this.

      Comment by Joe from Philly on June 24, 2008 @ 1:23 pm

    2. This was excellent. Very WWZ. Felt just like the book and would have been a worthy addition.

      Comment by liz w on June 24, 2008 @ 10:35 pm

    3. very good story and come to think of this would be great if this story became a movie it has all the makings of a film that would rival the current zombie films.

      Comment by Jordan on June 27, 2008 @ 12:31 am

    4. Fantastically written, it kept me riveted until the very end.

      Comment by Ben on June 27, 2008 @ 8:43 am

    5. Thanks for all the kind words. This is really my first foray into writing, so the encouragement is most welcome! Glad everyone has enjoyed it and I will be sure to submit a few more stories.

      Comment by Levi on June 27, 2008 @ 8:56 am

    6. Kudos. You brought a new element into the WWZ. the train is brilliant and the fact that you can see the survivors from the train adds real depth.

      Comment by Mike Barker on June 27, 2008 @ 3:43 pm

    7. Brilliant. Very nice touch to it.

      Different fromthe other stories in a sense, that he was trying to survive, but he has a job to do and he knows what he’s getting into.

      Good work.

      Comment by Pat on June 28, 2008 @ 6:56 am

    8. Very fine work. It reads like a chapter right out of WWZ. Good job.

      Comment by Myk on July 1, 2008 @ 11:51 pm

    9. What more logical way to get the G’s out of cities and into level playing field for the Army groups to eradicate them. I always wondered how they managed to flush a city. The book touches upon urban warfare, but usually only the flubs, like Yonkers and Kiev.

      Comment by Mark O'Neill on July 2, 2008 @ 8:35 am

    10. Wow, what a great ride (pun intended). I’m truly suprised that Max didn’t think of that one himself. Just like the others said, this truly reads like a chapter from the book. Keep writing man, you’ve got the knack.

      Comment by Glenn on July 9, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

    11. I really enjoyed this one. Reads like a chapter out of the book. Thanks.

      Comment by Zoe on July 15, 2008 @ 9:39 am

    12. Excellent story, Very WWZ. I could actually see this being thought up.

      Comment by Derek on July 17, 2008 @ 1:18 pm

    13. Excellent story, and funny to me, cause after reading WWZ, I started looking at my commuter train in a whole new light. Armor over the doors and windows with firing slits, no way Zack could climb up to the cabin on the locomotive, as long as the railways were good, and you had fuel, it’d be a great way to get out of an urban area. This was a great idea too!

      Comment by Steve on August 27, 2008 @ 4:39 pm

    14. Brilliant concept. It really belongs in the next volume of the book. It was especially hard hitting to me because up until recently I lived in Atlanta and could easily visualize what was going on. It is a massive, spread out place with hills and winding roads all over the place that would make fighting Zack an even bigger nightmare than anywhere else.

      That you thought of a way to flush out the dead and get them away from the cities is really good, creative thinking and you are a hell of a writer. I am going to borrow that for my story. Keep it up.

      Comment by Andre on December 27, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

    15. we saw one of your fellow train drivers pull threw Valleyforge on the way to Philadelphia. You gave us hope…We were self sustaining at the time, but were being hard pressed by the G. you helped draw a few hundred away from our free zone. We were so damn low on ammo at that point. The guy who threw out the crate of 5.56 was a saint. Would like to hear more about your part in the war. Thank you so very much.
      Thomas von Klenk Sub Comander Valley Forge Free Zone

      Comment by Thomas on February 1, 2009 @ 12:25 pm

    16. hey for anyone that is interested i herd recently that they are making a WWZ movie for sometime around 2010!!!

      Comment by Rick on November 13, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

    17. Thomas! Seriously.

      Comment by Neecey on October 1, 2010 @ 11:50 am

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