You can read part 1 of chapter 1 here! Orton felt a nauseous lurch in his stomach and thought he might get sick. He quickly snapped a few pictures and then edged back up the hill. He didn’t want to be close when whatever was hidden in the barracks was let out to eat. When the guards had finished emptying the plastic bins, they left the barbed wire enclosure. A remote controlled lock was triggered and the heavy barrack doors slowly swung open.
That’s when Orton saw them: half-rotting, maniacally clawing, roaring, half-human beasts. They were all trying to escape the barrack at once—pushing, shoving, biting, tearing at each other. Orton crept further back up the hill, snapping pictures. He could hardly believe it. Evangeline had been right. Horribly, horribly right. The Sola Society was running nothing less than a zombie farm. But why?
The zombies plunged into the feeding troughs, stuffing their mouths with brains. Some of them began throwing themselves against the barbed wire fence, shrieking. The guards watched passively, weapons hanging casually at their sides. Orton snapped a few pictures of them, too. He was hoping Evangeline would identify the guards for him. At that moment, he heard the crunching of wheels on gravel. Flattening himself into the side of the hill, he waited as a large truck rumbled up the narrow lane and made its way down toward the barracks. After it had passed, Orton crawled all the way back to the top of the hill. He needed to get out of here. And fast.
He turned for one last look and was shocked to see The Director—Evangeline’s father--step out of the truck. This could not be good. Orton crouched behind a cluster of manzanita bushes and watched as The Director walked up to the guards. The men exchanged some words and the guards turned toward the hill. One of the guards pulled out a pair of binoculars. Orton dropped to the ground, burrowing himself behind the bushes, not daring to look up. Were they looking for him? He risked a glance through the bushes.
Two guards had fanned out, their weapons at the ready. The other two guards and The Director had returned to the truck. Orton wondered if he should leave now or wait to see what was in the truck. He glanced over his shoulder, measuring the distance back to his car. If he ran at full speed, he figured he could make it to the car within one minute. Was that enough lead time? He wasn’t sure. Still, he grabbed his camera and waited.
The Director stepped back from the truck while the two guards approached and opened the ambulance style doors at the back of the truck. One guard reached in and started pulling. Whatever it was he was trying to catch was fighting back. Eventually, both guards reached in and pulled out a skinny kid in gray sweatpants, black T-shirt with a black sack over his head. Orton peered through his binoculars. Who was that?
The Director whipped the black sack of the kid’s head. It was Jeremy.
“No. Oh, no,” Orton moaned.
Jeremy was a fairly new recruit, picked up off the streets as a teen runaway. For awhile he’d been an eager convert, zealous and willing to learn. But after six months, he’d started getting into trouble. In the Sola Society, you did as you were told. You didn’t ask questions. Jeremy was warned, but he didn’t stop. Even so, Orton couldn’t figure out why Jeremy had been brought to the zombie farm.
The Director stepped forward and placed a hand on Jeremy’s shoulder. Jeremy spun away, disdainfully. Suddenly, Jeremy was trying to run. He got about five paces away before the guards caught up to him and shoved him to the ground. Jeremy started kicking and screaming as the guards hauled him toward the barrack enclosure.
Orton started snapping pictures as the other two guards unlocked the gate. Jeremy was thrown inside the barbed wire enclosure with his hands still bound behind him. The zombies, turning toward the sound of Jeremy’s screaming, started loping toward him. Orton felt a hot flash of adrenaline rush up his spine. He was about to leap out from behind the bushes when he realized he was sorely outnumbered and outgunned. There was no way he could save the kid.
the final section of chapter 1 tomorrow!