Drake Halberd and the Veil of the Dead

Drake Halberd and the Veil of the Dead

by D. J. Kowalenko

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475947960
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 09/05/2012
Pages: 80
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.17(d)

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Drake Halberd and the Veil of the Dead

a novel
By D. J. Kowalenko

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 D. J. Kowalenko
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-4796-0


Chapter One

Outbreak

The city streets were packed, the busy clusters of people all headed in different directions, making the poor traffic cop's job that much harder. Among those people stood a certain individual, wearing a khaki green short-sleeved shirt and blue jeans and putting on a brown leather jacket. Drake Halberd brought his hand through his black hair, scratching his head. He hadn't been to this city before, and he figured it was a good place for a vacation. But vacations are supposed to be relaxing, he thought as he wondered where to go. The wind blew, flinging some papers off of the street and smacking him in the face with a flyer, showing the new building complex project, Cosmic City. It was a massive building consisting of a multiplex cinema, apartment rooms, a shopping mall, and a hospital, among other things. It seemed like a decent place to spend his vacation.

When he arrived, it was just like he'd thought: the exterior was three times the size of every other building in the city, and it had a massive dome-like roof that made the place even more towering. By the mere size and shape alone, it looked like it cost millions of times more than any paycheque Drake had ever seen. And Drake was still on the outside. He opened the doors and then looked around. The place was large and roomy, but somehow it was still packed. There were plenty of sights, but the one that drew Drake the most right now, like a magnet, was the food court. There was every kind of food you could possibly eat. Drake had never seen a food court this big; fifty, maybe even sixty vendors covered the walls of the court, surrounding the hundreds of tables where people could sit and eat as they pleased. Of course, Drake had been around the world as a treasure hunter and had eaten a lot of the different types of food that was here, and he knew his favourites, but that didn't stop him from sampling other foods along the way. He hadn't eaten breakfast or lunch today, much unlike him, but it was a busy day. After Drake grabbed his food, he took a sharp look around and then pushed through the crowd of people to an empty seat. He then took a bite of his sub sandwich.

"Yeah, this is good," he said, pointing at it and then taking another bite. He then noticed something, someone he didn't want to find him. He packaged his sub and then jumped out of his chair and began darting through the crowd of people, pushing past them and attempting to escape.

"No, no, no. How? What happened? How was I found?" he mumbled, vaulting over a bench, nearly knocking over someone's drink. He then jumped on top of a blue recycling box, but before he could vault to the next floor, he was stopped by a voice.

"Hello, Drake," he heard from behind him, and he froze and then gave a half grin and turned around.

"Heh, heh, oh hey, Emma, what's g-going on with you?" he stuttered. His escape attempt hadn't worked. She brushed her golden brown hair from her shoulder and then huffed at him.

"You weren't trying to run now, were you?" she spoke in a hiss. Drake shrugged his shoulders, climbing off of the recycling box and avoiding her glare as if she were Medussa.

"Wh-what? Run? No, psh, no ... why would I run from you?" he said rather sarcastically. She made another huff and then spun away. She was then approached by a tall man wearing black. The man stroked his blond hair and then wrapped his arm around Emma's shoulder.

"What's up? Names Jacob," he introduced himself, not bothering to extend a hand for a handshake. Drake rolled his eyes. Great, could it get worse? Stuck between a snake and a "pretty boy," Drake smirked at himself. Karma. She had broken up with him because he was always putting their lives on the line. Then she got a new boyfriend who looked like he would be the first to flee at a problem. He tried to get a bite to eat and ended up with less than nothing. Karma was a bitch, 'cause it never worked.

It was then that another person arrived, wearing loose jeans, a jean jacket, and a grey T-shirt.

"Stuck in a hard spot, kid?" he said, grabbing their attention.

"Sullivan!" Drake called as the man walked up. Sullivan had been Drake's long-time friend and could easily spot when he was stuck in the middle of something uncomfortable.

"Hey, kid, you know, I have a great story about when I was in the mountains that would really—"

"Thanks, Sully, next time. Oh hey, look, I ... um, just remembered that I ..." Drake stuttered, looking for a way out of the situation. A scream then grabbed their attention. A figure dressed as Batman was robbing an old lady, running off with her purse.

"A robber ... good timing," Drake announced, making a dash for the criminal.

Drake vaulted over the railing and ran across the long shopping mall's hallway.

"I thought Batman was a good guy?" Drake called, getting the robber's attention. The robber looked back and then tipped over a gumball machine in an attempt to slow Drake down. Drake swung his arms as he tried to keep his balance; then he jumped and continued the chase. Drake followed the robber through a corridor and into a large roomful of people dressed as superheroes and villains. Drake rolled his eyes—of course, it was Comic-Con, the world's gathering of comic book characters for a massive, crowded convention. He stopped for a breath and then pushed his way through a crowd. A few people brushed past him.

"Nice Nathan Drake costume," one of them complimented.

"Who is that?" Drake asked, shrugging his shoulders. He got no answer, so he continued his search. As he walked, Drake passed several different people dressed like Batman, but not one of them was the right one. He figured it would be easy to tell. Fat, small, and holding a purse. But after a while of pushing through the crowd, Drake was getting annoyed. Before he could make a remark about it, he noticed a door slowly closing as the purse carrying Batman slipped through it. So he ran for it and pushed through the large steel door and into the creepy back hallways. The hall was littered with crates and show props for the comic convention. It was filled with shelves of superhero toys, plushies, blow-up dolls, and many other stored items that would be used in the show or sold for profit at the vendors. Drake looked around and then followed the strange moaning sound. But this moaning wasn't of the "good" kind. As he walked, his foot kicked a flashlight on the ground. He bent down and picked it up. There was blood spattered on the ground and on the handle of the flashlight.

"Blood?" he wondered, placing his index finger under his chin. He was then spooked by a loud screeching noise. He followed the hallway and then saw four or five people all huddled around. He picked up the scent of rotting flesh and heard gross chewing and ripping sounds. Drake called, and the people turned, their faces covered in the dead Batman's blood. Their clothes were tattered, and bones stuck out of their sides. They all made a squealing noise and then charged at Drake. Drake's jaw dropped, and his eyes widened.

"Holy crap!" he said, and then he ran for the comic convention. He kicked through the doors and ran through the crowd, telling everyone to run. The creatures quickly followed, jumping on the people in the crowd and biting them hard. The people screamed and made a break for the door. Pushing and shoving, clawing their way out of the room. Drake was luckily the first one out.

Sullivan, who was still with Emma and Jacob in the centre food court where Drake had left them, looked up as a breaking news report came on.

"A deadly virus has broken out this morning at Cosmic City. 9-1-1 lines are being flooded with calls right now and are unavailable at this time. The massive building, Cosmic City, has been ..."

"Sullivan!" Drake called, getting his attention. "We've gotta go! Now!" he yelled, taking deep breaths. Sullivan faced him and then quickly jumped out of the way of a zombie. The zombie continued charging forward and crashed through a store window landing on top of Emma. She screamed, trying to fight the creature off.

"Don't worry. I'll save you, Emma!" called her boyfriend. He grabbed on to a mop and smacked the creature off of her. She quickly got up and hid behind Jacob. The creature stood up and attacked Jacob, knocking him over. Jacob then screamed, begging for help. Drake grabbed the mop, smacked the zombie off , and then broke the end of the mop and rammed it through the zombie's head. The zombie wriggled for a few seconds and then died. Drake breathed heavily, tearing the mop out and dropping it on the ground. He then helped Jacob to his wobbling feet.

"Real heroic," Emma huffed at Jacob. Jacob patted himself down and then turned around.

"I had that," he responded. Drake shook his head, remembering Jacob's words:

Help, oh God, somebody help me! He knew he should've said something but left him with whatever was left of his pride, no matter how wet Jacob's pants were.

"Was that a zombie?" Drake asked Sullivan.

Sullivan looked. "I don't know, but for now let's just get to the exit. Come on!" he replied, jogging towards the exit.

Drake, Emma, and Jacob followed closely behind him. Amongst the crowd of panicking people, they saw the doors barred and covered in a thick metal sheet that could take an explosion. Everyone stopped in their tracks. The building was in lockdown. Zombies were real and attacking people. There was panic everywhere as people pounded on the doors, windows, and their cell phones. Sullivan looked up at the TV.

"Repeat: This is a recording. Due to an overwhelming amount of calls, 9-1-1 is currently inaccessible. An outbreak is reported at the Cosmic City building, and the authorities have the building on lockdown to contain the virus. No new news can be reported at this time."

"Crap, this is bad," Sullivan said, covering his face with his hands.

"This cannot be happening," Drake mumbled, pacing. The building was locked down. A virus was spreading, there were zombies, and utter chaos everywhere. How could things get worse?

Chapter Two

Lockdown

Drake, Sullivan, Emma, and Jacob all crept through the theatre section of Cosmic City, searching for food. Jacob had argued that food could be better found in the food section of the shopping mall, but Drake had countered that remark by saying that that's the same thing everyone else would be doing, thus diminishing their chances of finding food. But the theatre has refrigerators that hold sandwiches and other goods, such as water bottles. So they ended up going that way. After all, no one knew more about finding food than Drake.

"Quiet, quiet," Drake whispered as they slipped by a pack of zombies that were chewing on a dead pedestrian, "we all have to be ... quiet," he continued saying, before stepping on a crunchy bag of potato chips. They all stopped walking as the dozen zombies all turned to face them.

Surrounded, Drake did the only thing he could think of at the time. "Run!" he screamed as the group made a dash towards the exit, smacking aside zombies and grabbing what they could along the way. The zombies swarmed them like hungry locusts, giving fast chase to their prey. As Drake ran, he tipped over some stands to block the advancing zombies, and it worked. The creatures tripped over the stands and each other trying to get to the four Happy Meals in front of them.

"The door, the door!" Jacob screamed, running at the exit. The four of them made it out and found themselves in the Fountain Plaza courtyard. It was mostly clear of people, aside from a couple of limping zombies and some people scrambling through a door at the other end of the courtyard. The group started to run again but were stopped by a noise on the large speakers that were placed around the plaza.

"This is Mason Remirev, of the SPU. If you're alive out there, anybody, come to the Government Survival Bunker as soon as you can. Remember, you're not alone."

"SPU ?" Drake asked. Emma sighed and poked her own forehead.

"Special Protection Unit, of the military," she replied. Drake looked at her and shrugged.

"Sounds like a good idea," Sullivan spoke up.

"How do we get to it?" Drake asked, and then he turned his head and saw a map of Cosmic City, with one room circled in red.

"Oh, that helps," he continued, taking the map off the wall and placing it in a pouch that was wrapped tightly around his leg. He stood up again and waved his hand, telling them all to follow him.

"Halfway there," Drake announced, turning the map from side to side.

"Are you reading that right?" Emma asked, taking the map.

"Yes, I'm pretty sure—" Drake began saying, but he was cut off by a crowd of crazed zombies charging them from behind. He opened his mouth to say something but was once again cut off by an arrow shooting past his head. He ducked and then turned around. A young girl wearing what looked to be a typical schoolgirl's outfit, stood behind them, holding a bow and stringing in a new arrow. She flipped her long dark brown hair out of her face and then took aim at another zombie.

"Oh yeah, sure, a schoolgirl with a bow. Who would have thought?" Drake said

"Sure hope she's on our side," Sullivan replied. The girl fired another arrow straight into a zombie's head.

"Well, let's go! Come on!" she called, leading them down a hallway to an elevator marked SPU.

Drake turned and tried to go back, only to be stopped by an identical-looking girl, holding a sheathed sword to his chest.

"What is it?" she asked.

Drake looked around. "I need my chain," he replied, pointing to a chain lying on the ground with what looked like a ring attached to the end of it. The girl nodded and then turned around. She made a quick dash, beheading a few zombies along the way with her katana. She continued slashing until she made it to the chain. She passed it back to Drake, and then they all stepped into the elevator.

"And another girl using a sword. What is this, an anime?" Drake said quietly to himself.

"You still have that thing?" Sullivan asked as Drake put the chain around his neck. Drake nodded as the elevator doors opened. Inside, there stood monitors and plenty of bunk beds, along with a food storage shelf that contained enough food for a few days. A man approached the elevator, introducing himself.

"The name's Mason, Mason Remirev. Good to see you could make it."

"Yeah, we're glad too. So who are they?" Drake replied, gesturing towards the twins.

"This," Mason started, putting his hand on the one with the bow, "is Jayde. She's the head of her archery class. And this," he put his hand on the other girl, "is Angel. She's the kendo clubs best student. And they're both my little girls. So don't think of anything cute, you hear?"

Drake nodded quickly. Mason turned and raised his arms, showcasing the entire room. "And finally, this is the bunker. Not pretty, but it'll last."

Drake then had the look of someone who had an idea. He searched his bag and pulled out his sandwich, taking another bite of it. He then spotted a young boy sitting in the corner and looking hungry. Drake stared sympathetically at the boy, remembering a time when he was seven years old.

* * *

Drake, at age seven, raced across a rooftop and jumped over some boards. He was in a city where the buildings were sandstone coloured, the roofs made of weak wooden boards. He was being chased by the town guards for stealing food. Every day was a fight for him. Food, water—hell, even a place to sleep. All of the bare bone basics a human needed to survive he had to fight for.

Drake jumped across to another roof. Then the boards broke, sending him falling into the building. Drake, vision hazy, looked up to see what looked like a thirty-year-old man, standing before him, smiling.

"Who-who are you?" he asked the man.

"The name's Sullivan. You look like you're in trouble. Need some help there, kid?" the man replied, extending a hand.

* * *

Drake shook his head and then walked over to the hungry kid and broke his sandwich apart, handing half of it to him. The kid smiled and took a bite of the sandwich enjoying the food he was given. Drake then walked over to the other end of the bunker, where Sullivan was.

"You know, he was probably just scamming you?" Sullivan told Drake.

Drake shook his head. "Who cares? That's what I would've done," he replied.

Sullivan smiled and shook his head.

"Hey, look at this!" called Mason, and everyone came running over to the monitors. A teenager stood at the other end of the camera, still playing arcade games in the game room.

"What is he doing?" Drake asked, watching the monitor, noticing some shambling shadows behind the plump orange-haired kid. "I'll go get him!" he continued, turning towards the door. Mason placed his hand on Drake's shoulder, stopping him.

"I can't let you go out there!" he said, and Drake smirked.

"It's fine ... I'll just go get him and be back, swear!"

Mason moved his hand away from Drake's shoulder, nodded, and then replied, "All right, but I have to keep the elevator down here to keep the zombies from piling in!" Drake nodded to that and then picked up a walkie-talkie before going on his way. Jacob stopped Drake just before the elevator, telling him not to screw up, and then handed him a broken stick for defense. Drake smirked slightly, thinking that the gesture was nice but that it really wouldn't help much. He then continued towards the arcade in Cosmic City's entertainment room.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Drake Halberd and the Veil of the Dead by D. J. Kowalenko Copyright © 2012 by D. J. Kowalenko. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Intro....................vii
Chapter 1: Outbreak....................1
Chapter 2: Lockdown....................9
Chapter 3: Survivors....................17
Chapter 4: Burn Out....................25
Chapter 5: Tunnels....................33
Chapter 6: Ascension....................39
Chapter 7: The Cure....................45
Chapter 8: Bitten....................53
Chapter 9: The Darkness....................59
Chapter 10: The Key....................65
Epilogue....................69

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