Undead L.A. 1: LAX, page 1
UNDEAD L.A. 1: LAX
by Devan Sagliani
Copyright 2013 by Devan Sagliani
Free Edition Notes
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This book is a work of fiction. The characters and events portrayed in this book are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental and is in no way intended by the author. All right reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
The Undead L.A. series tells the story of the zombie apocalypse through the eyes of different protagonists, giving us a unique perspective on the end of the world and making the city itself the main character in the process. LAX is the first story in Undead L.A. 1. I've made it available for free to zombie fans on my site and am now opening it up to readers online as well.
Told through the eyes of commercial airline pilot Edgar Reynolds, LAX is the story of a desperate man who wakes up to find the world has gone mad and fights his way through the a sea of walking corpses back to his airliner in the hope of making it out of the city alive.
Buckle up! It's going to be a bumpy ride!
On September 20, the zombie virus was released into the dense population of transients on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. It spread like unstoppable wildfire in all directions, decimating everything in its path for six full weeks before measures were taken to cleanse the scourge. LAX is just one of the stories that takes place in those final times.
Told through the eyes of a commercial airline pilot, it offers a unique perspective to the events as they unfolded and to the aftermath of the virus. In many ways it bears witness not only to the tragedies of that unforgettable period, but also to the city's former glory.
May this story never be forgotten but remain uncensored for future generations, along with the rest of the Undead L.A. collection, so others will have the chance to understand the choices that were made and why the sacrifices were necessary for our survival. Hopefully it will serve as a reminder, along with the rest; not only of mankind's infinite potential for good, but also of our latent animal desire for cruelty and suffering, and how the constant struggle between these two opposing forces defined what it meant to be alive in the era commonly referred to as the 21st century.
Los Angeles, also known as the City of Angels, once had a
racially and culturally diverse population of nearly 4,000,000 people.
Prior to its fall it was the most populated city in California
and the second most populated in the entire United States.
It covered an area of nearly 500 square miles.
In fact the Greater L.A. Area region contained approximately
18,000,000 people, making it one of the most densely populated
metropolitan areas on the entire planet.
The city's inhabitants were referred to as Angelenos.
The flight management computers were still working when he locked himself in the cockpit. He'd been trying to catch his breath for what felt like forever. Sweat formed at his temples and he could hear his heart beating violently in his ears. He was sore all over, but other than that he was in better shape than most. He'd managed to climb through hell without even getting a scratch. He’d double-checked the door to be sure it was locked, not believing his own eyes.
Thank God for 9/11, he thought. The last thing I need right now is an uninvited guest crashing the party up here while I'm setting navigation. And here I thought nothing good would come of that day, just like nothing good can ever come from today.
He began aligning the inertial navigation systems and entering data into the flight management computers. Normally he'd be talking to the tower as well right about now, but he knew that wasn't going to happen. The radio was dead quiet. It gave him chills just to think about it. In all the years he'd sat behind the controls of an airplane, that had never happened. Not once. He'd be basically flying blind once he got off the ground with no way of knowing when another flying object might suddenly veer into his path at six hundred miles an hour. He wasn't all that worried about the take off and landing so much as he was about the actual flight itself. Normally that was the easiest part. All he had to do was get above the clouds and level off. But today nothing was going to be easy and he knew it.
Knowing something and accepting something are two very different things, he reminded himself.
He ran through the checklist in his head as he fired up the engines and backed the plane out. He cut across the runway – breaking protocol – and set himself up for take off.
“Last flight out of Hell-eh,” he said before giving the bird some throttle and launching himself up and over the ocean. The plane had been serviced and refueled the night before. He had enough gas in the tank to make it to London with ease, but he was headed in the opposite direction instead. He might be able to make Sydney if he felt like it, but he figured Waikiki would be far enough to be free of this mess. Once he got closer he hoped he'd be able to pick up someone on the radio.
“Free at last!”
He let out a whistle as the endless expanse of the bright blue Pacific Ocean rose up before him. It was a textbook take off, one for the record books. Most planes leaving Tom Bradley Airport in Los Angeles, also known as LAX, shoot out over the water before turning back to find their flight path across the United States. The exceptions were San Francisco, Seattle, and Hawaii. Today he was hoping to make it to paradise in one piece.
“The worst is behind me now,” he said trying to calm his nerves. “Five short hours of calm skies is all I ask and then I'm gonna need a big-ass tropical drink with a tiny little umbrella parked in a chunk of rum soaked fruit.”
He leveled the plane off at thirty thousand feet and checked his instrumentation. It was perfect. Everything had gone according to plan, you know, if you factored in surviving the end of the world as part of the equation. He looked down to see his filth-covered hand shaking uncontrollably, the veins bulging beneath the skin, writhing like living snakes.
It's just nerves, he told himself. That's all. You made it, man. You're safe now.
He exhaled and felt the stitch in his chest relax just a notch. There was still a hardness in his stomach that he couldn't shake – like any moment his guts might seize up into a charley horse. He let out a forced chuckle, hoping it would bring with it the joy and jubilation he thought he was supposed to feel. Instead, the creeping feeling of dread lingered with him. He couldn't shake it and he didn't know why. He'd survived the worst living nightmare imaginable, in one piece no less. He should have felt better about it.
You just need to stick to your routine, he thought. It will all come back to me. Give it a moment.
He took the microphone in hand to address the empty 747. He pressed down on the switch and heard the familiar bing.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of what's left of the human fucking race, I'd like to welcome you to Undead Air,” he droned in his usual tone, fighting back a snicker. “I'm your pilot today, Edgar Reynolds. Unfortunately none of you made it out of Los Angeles with a pulse. We apologize for the inconvenience. This will be the last flight from the West Coast of the United States for the foreseeable future. We appreciate your understanding. It has been a pleasure to serve you. On behalf of everyone here at Undead Air we invite you to sit back and relax and enjoy some free in-flight entertainment. Simply look out your windows to see the worst shit imaginable as we pull away from the mouth of hell. The flight time to Hawaii should be about five hours, but I'm going to p
He let the word die in his throat...zombies. It wasn't possible. It just wasn't. He must have been dreaming.
Sandra, he thought. There was a bitter taste in his mouth at the thought of her, like acid on his tongue. She said that little pill was an Ambien, but she must have given me LSD on accident.
Even as he thought it he knew it was far fetched. He wanted to believe it but everything was so surreal now. He looked out in the distance and saw the Catalina Islands floating on the Pacific like a green ball rising above the surface of the churning tides.
“Think, man,” he shouted at himself, trying to put it all back together. There were blood smears and ugly streaks of some dirty brown liquid still covering his hands and body, desecrating his pilot's uniform.
His job as a pilot had always meant that he lived a less than routine lifestyle. He'd been trained by the Navy – graduated Top Gun – and joined up to pilot commercial planes the minute he left the military. The first year he'd logged over two hundred thousand miles, and it had only gone up since then. Over the last twelve years he'd made the strangest collection of friends imaginable flying
Other author's books:
- Undead L.A. 1: LAXZombie Attack! (Book 4): Master of the Dead
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