Taylor’s return

One of my author-heroes, Chris Philbrook, is releasing his epic “Adrian’s Undead Diary” in book form.  Today is the launch day for book 5, Wrath.  I was honored to write the forward for book 5.  I hope you’ll go check it out on Amazon.

Now on to the chapter!

Table of Contents
<<Chapter 10                                                                                             Chapter 12 >>

The beautiful blonde bolted down the darkened streets of New Vegas, fully aware that she was out well past curfew.  If the New Vegas police caught her, she’d be thrown in jail for the night.  If the night gangs caught her, she’d be in for something far worse.

The Casinos were massive; there was no way to go behind them.  Most of the hotels backed up directly to the wall, in order to save time and materials.

Taylor ran from every bit of cover she could find to the next bit.  First stopping to breathe behind an old bus stop, then she darted into an alley and stood behind a pile of trash while she waited for a pair of police on bicycles to pass.

When they were gone, she sprinted across the front of Bally’s and then she was at the guard booth on Flamingo.  Almost home free.  “Robbie,” she called softly.

Robbie came out of the booth, followed by his partner, and then another man.  “Shit,” she swore under her breath.

The third man out of the booth spoke with a deep, authoritative tone.  “What is your business with the guard after curfew, ma’am?”  Taylor spotted the sergeant’s bars on his NVPD uniform shirt.

She couldn’t say anything about Brad.  She couldn’t say anything about Robbie.  She knew the city police hated Nyko, but it was her only out.  “I work for Nyko.  He sent me into town to give some papers and fuel estimates to the governor.  I left them with his assistant, but then I got distracted by a painting in the lobby and stayed far too long admiring it.  I just need to get back.”

“No one goes through the gate after dark,” the man said.  “As you well know.”

Taylor poured on her wiles, stepping forward towards the sergeant.  “I know, but I just got caught up.  I’m so sorry, it’ll never happen again.  Is there just any way you can make an exception for me, just this one time? I promise you’ll never see me out after curfew again.”

As she closed in, she noticed that the sergeant was sweating profusely.  His cheeks were ruddy.  It was warm, but no-where near the daytime highs.  Sweat ran down his forehead, which he mopped with his arm.  When he lifted his arm, she saw huge dark circles under his armpits, and his hands were shaking.  Gotcha, she thought.

“I just happen to have something that might help cool you off.”  Taylor pulled out two single-serve bottles of Knob Creek Whiskey.  “They’re still sealed.”

The man’s tone changed, and Taylor suddenly wondered if she’d misjudged.  “Do you have any idea what the penalty for trying to bribe an officer of the law is?  On top of the penalty for having alcohol inside the city.”

“Oh, it’s not like that at all, honey.”  Taylor practically purred.  “You just looked powerful thirsty, it’s so hot, and your uniform is so… Tight.  What if I just put these down over here, and then got out of your hair?”  Taylor stepped a few feet to the right as she spoke, and set the two bottles on top of a barrel.

“I suppose, if I were to look the other way for just a second and you were gone, it would save me a ton of paperwork,” he said.

“I suppose it would,” replied Taylor stepping towards the gate.  Robby opened the small pedestrian door in the middle of the massive gate.  As she passed through, Robbie whispered to her.  “How’d you know that would work?”

“I work in a bar.  I can spot an alcoholic a mile away.  See you next time you’re out.”  She brushed a kiss across Robbie’s cheek and bolted off into the night as the gate slammed closed behind her.

Taylor ran for several minutes before stopping beside a pile of rubble, left over parts of the Barbary Coast or Burbon Street casinos, if she had to guess.  She put her hand on the pile and focused on breathing.  She was in good shape, but it was difficult running in the sand, and her backpack was heavy.

She heard a voice whispering behind her.  “I such pretty hair.  I’m going to turn you inside out!”  Taylor spun around in time to see stars as someone hit her squarely in the eye.  She stumbled backward, tripped over a rock and fell flat on her back.

Her backpack cushioned her fall, but when she stood, she felt something cold and wet run down her lower back and her pants.  “Shit. Not the antibiotics, not the antibiotics,” she mumbled to herself as she started running.

He was chasing her.  “Come on, girl.  Put it in your mouth,” he said, louder this time.  He was gaining.  She wasn’t going to be able to outrun him.

Taylor stopped in her tracks.  “You want me to put it in your mouth?”

She turned to see the man chasing her.  He was gaunt, every one of his ribs showing under thick, dark-tanned skin.  He had a bandanna covering his face, and yellow-lensed ski goggles over his eyes.  His hair was completely gone.

“Yes!” he said, seeming confused. “Wait, no.  Your mouth.”  He stopped running about two feet from Taylor.  “Yes, that’s how it works. You put it in your mouth.”

“Okay,” she said.  “Get it out.”

Her attacker fumbled with his pants in an attempt to get them down as quickly as possible.  When he did, the smell nearly knocked Taylor down.  He smiled.  He was missing all but two or three of his teeth. “Now, put it in your mouth.”

“Your mouth,” Taylor said.

“No, your mouth!” He screamed.

The girl remembered her first conversation with Nyko, about four months after the infection started.  Brian brought her in out of the waste, where he found her cowering under a burned out car.  She was malnourished, hours away from dying of dehydration.  Her face was so sunburned she could barely move her mouth.

She was sitting at a table in the bar. Charlie brought two glasses, a pitcher of water, and a jar of pickles.  A few minutes later, Nyko came walking in, sat down and poured himself a glass of water.

He took a long drink as he looked her over.  “What’s your name, kid?”

“Taylor,” she replied between bites of pickle.

“I’m Nyko.  This is my joint.  We have bunch of jobs open around here.  You can pick one.  No one stays for free, but we’re not all work.  We’re a family.

“My family is all dead,” she replied.  “My mom was infected.  My dad and older brother were killed by a gang for a gallon of water last week.”

“My family is gone too.  This is my family now.” Nyko said.  “The world is different.  People lost their humanity, even those living inside the walls.  You’re a pretty girl, and people out there are going to try to do bad things to you.  If they haven’t already tried.”

The second part was more of a question than a statement.  Taylor looked at Nyko.  He was a kind man, she could see it in his eyes, despite the exterior he presented.  “I’ve been lucky.  No one yet.”

“Some day, someone will try.  When that time comes, you need to stop thinking and act.”  Nyko paused, gauging the girl’s will.  “And when you act, you act swiftly and violently.  At your size, once they have you pinned down, you won’t be  able to fight them off.  You’ll have to end the attack before it gets started.  Do you understand?”

“I think so,” she replied.  ”

Taylor knelt down in front of the disgusting marauder who was swinging his hips back and forth, making his junk slap against his thighs.

In one smooth motion she pulled out her knife and cut it off, balls and all.  The marauder screamed, and clamped his hands on his crotch.  Taylor shoved his cock in his open mouth, silencing his scream.

“Like I said.  Your mouth.”

She ran for all she was worth, leaving the screaming man behind her.

“I did it, Nyko.  Just like you said,” she whispered to herself as she arrived at the saloon.

Taylor stopped in the bar and grabbed Charlotte.  “I did it.  I got three bags, but I broke one on the way back.”  She slid her backpack off and opened it.  “Oh no.”  Taylor’s face sank.  “I broke the antibiotic.  I’m so sorry,” she said, pulling out the empty bag.  “A man knocked me down.  I fell on it.” Taylor started crying.  “I just wanted…  I just wanted to be useful.”

“Oh, god Taylor, you did amazing.  You got an IV kit.  We didn’t have one. Brian and Andy just left to look for antibiotics, we’ll get him started on these two saline bags.”

“Really?” Taylor asked, her eyes hopeful.

“Yeah, baby.  Great job.  Really.”

Table of Contents
<<Chapter 10                                                                                             Chapter 12 >>

If you’re enjoying Hell on Rails, you can find free samples of all my other novels from the home page.  This story is completely free.  If you’d like to support me, please consider buying one of my published works.  Thank you so much for reading!

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