Eric A. Shelman
My name is Warren Walsh. My twin brother is Scott. We’re twenty-seven years old last April 3rd.
We both have red hair and freckles. Our facial features are what some might call chiseled. Square chins, strong jaw lines. Dimples. Well-sized noses. Vivid green eyes. We’re both 6’5” tall.
I keep my hair long, usually wearing it in a ponytail; Scott’s hair is about down to the middle of his back. He wears a full beard and mustache, but I only have a goatee.
Based purely on our descriptions and birth dates, I suppose at this point it’s not necessary to tell you we’re identical twins.
I’ll be right back. I’ve just decided to record this stuff on paper because it appears there’s going to be some down time over the next eternity or so.
Okay. I’m back. I just enabled the receivers, adjusted the potentiometers on the speakers, and released Mick and Keith to the wind.
They both headed north. That’s a good start and a relief.
Mick and Keith are two of my best homing pigeons. Only thing is, they don’t so much return to a fixed location anymore as they hone in on an audible signal beacon.
That was Scott’s idea, but it wasn’t in response to the drastic change in the world. We’d actually perfected the beacon training of all of our birds a couple of years before.
Scott reverse engineered some high-end proximity alarms and increased their effectiveness over a greater distance. The electronics are solid and will run for days off watch batteries.
I know we’re supposed to have the same DNA, and it’s pretty clear we do, but electronics have always been a stronger suit for him than me. It’s not that I can’t master them – I have to for the cars I work on – but it just comes easier to Scott.
Our birds know very well the tiny beeping sound that emits from their backpacks means food and shelter, and no matter how faint, they become alert and laser focused when the ping begins. They drop down closer to the ground and they focus on the signal as their guide. As the beeps get faster and closer together, they keep flying until it becomes a steady tone.
That means they’re within five feet of the beacon. The rest is a matter of finding the food, which is always somewhere near Scott or me.
Let me explain my use of the word focus.
When I say the birds are focused, I mean they’re as focused as one can get when adorned with a birdbrain. That’s the main reason we send two birds. You see, it makes perfect sense to us humans that if we could fly, we’d use the old “as the crow flies” route. A straight line from point A to point B.
It’s not the same with homing pigeons – not all of them. Some pigeons fixate on the streets and manmade paths below them. They’ll end up following neighborhood streets, even flying around roundabouts, that sort of thing. If left to their own devices, they’ll often fly the man-made grid patterns the entire way. That could increase the distance they’re required to fly by miles and miles, which means more time to get there.
That doesn’t work in this world. Time is, more than ever, of the essence.
When there are two pigeons, they get where they are going faster; it’s as if one of them has a better idea, like, “I dunno, Mick. Maybe we should ignore the streets down there and just fly straight north,” the other will shrug and say, “Okay, Keith. I’ll go with you on this.”
Yes. Both birds are open to the suggestion of the other, and they usually make better overall decisions and reach their destination sooner.
I didn’t believe it at first either, but I’ve seen it over and over. It is true.
The other reason for sending multiple birds out to deliver an important message is the possibility that one will hit a power line or otherwise be killed, so sending two just makes sense; a backup.
Hell, you might wonder why we’re sending them at all. I guess I’ll answer that, since I’m the one writing this and Scott is hundreds of miles away from me right now. We have a lot of downtime these days. We send the birds out and we get on the move. We do a lot of hiding, and we do a ton of waiting.
Other than the birds, as far as we know there is no other means of long-distance communication right now. All cell signals and municipal power sources are dormant. With a generator, we could run a ham radio, but the Scabs would hear it. They’ve got extraordinary hearing.
So, because we do a lot of waiting, this logging of our activities helps pass the time, but it also ensures that we have a record of everything we learn about the Scabs. When we finally get together, we’ll compare notes and have a far more complete profile of the things and their methods.
I’m very aware that at any time, either Scott or I could be left waiting to hear from the other for eternity; either one of us could be killed at any moment, which brings me to the most important part of this story: The Scabs.
Please allow me to explain by rolling back my story a bit. Okay. A lot.
My parents were Norman and Melissa Walsh. Dad usually went by Norm and our mom went by Missy. Yep. For years, Norm and Missy were well known among homing pigeon racing aficionados. They raised and trained champions for themselves and others.
No, they didn’t make a hell of a lot of money doing it; but it allowed them to live in their little cabin just off Griffin Lane, about eighteen miles east of Greenville, North Carolina. It was a larger-than-average log house where Scott and I grew up learning how to fish, hunt and survive. They leased the property from a family who owned a much, much larger chunk of land and let us carve out that piece where my folks built their sanctuary. They planned to eventually purchase the place and fully intended to give me and Scott another couple of siblings, but that didn’t work out.
Hey, that concludes the TEASER of my forthcoming book, Scabs. It’s the first of at least a trilogy, and it is shaping up to be a true horror novel with a “creature feature” edge. Is there some human flesh-eating here? C’mon … it’s me you’re reading. 😉
Look for the book on Amazon.com, but find me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authorshelman
Find my zombie books at http://smarturl.it/deadhunger
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The stench of rotting flesh is in the air! Welcome to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2015, with 30+ of the best zombie authors spreading the disease in the month of June.
Stop by the event page on Facebook so you don’t miss an interview, guest post or teaser…and pick up some great swag as well!
Giveaways galore from most of the authors as well as interaction with them!
#SummerofZombie is the hashtag for Twitter, too!