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THREE WEEKS IN UNDEAD SHOES
A Slow Burn Zombie Romance Trilogy Book 1
BY DEE J. HOLMES
One Great Dane
And a zombie above the rest.
Jane Finch wishes her problems ended with a bad commute and no coffee. But when she and her beloved Great Dane, Schrodinger, emerge from a locked room they discover a city changed for the undead.
Zombies are everywhere. Some are endlessly cycling through their last actions, others have turned feral—and hungry. Jane and Schroddie’s best chance for survival? Reaching her parents’ bunker on the city’s north shore.
Not an easy commute on foot—when surrounded by zombies.
Dodging stray bullets and feral zombies is one thing. But soon Jane realizes one of the zombies is following her. Built like a tank, silent as the grave, his attention never waivers. Wherever she goes, he’s there. If she hides, he finds her. There’s no fighting him, no escape.
He’s not like the others—and he might be Jane’s only hope for survival.
Editorial Note: Edited for some language.
It felt like a lifetime ago she’d hurried through those doors, excited to sell her savings for Schrodinger. All she’d wanted to do was take him home. Guess that still applies.
When she reached the doors, she paused for a moment and pressed her ear to the brushed steel. No sounds carried past—at least not any she could hear.
A furry head bumped her arm.
She glanced at Schrodinger, finding him staring at the doors with an unnatural degree of intensity. The fur between his shoulder blades lifted, not fully, but enough, and a low whine emerged.
Fear flexed its claws around her neck.
F**k. Something was on the other side of the door.
It was mandatory to have viewing windows in every door on campus, so people could avoid collisions and students with mobility issues could better interact with their surroundings. She remembered Lowery proudly telling her how this building had done less than the minimum, due to its special function.
As a result, she had two narrow panes as her only option.
She leaned forward to peer through the one closest and registered what had to be blood spatter marking the bottom half of the other door. Was that a handprint?
I lied. I was wrong. I don’t want a body.
She darted a glance through the rectangular slit—it was worse than the damn portal. She couldn’t see a thing, let alone the floor directly behind the doors. Shit. F**k. Damn.
Bracing herself, she took a longer look, but it was like trying to see through one of those arrow slits in a medieval castle, if the slit had been covered with a hunk of hand-blown glass.
She had no way of knowing what lay on the other side.
Oh, this could be bad. This could be really, really bad. Maybe she should go back to the lab and wait like a good, law-abiding person…
Schrodinger put his nose to the door and puffed his cheeks. Brown eyes fixed on her expectantly, then returned to the set of double doors.
The dog clearly had ideas, none of which involved returning to the lab. And he wasn’t growling… perhaps he was just excited about going outside?
She wouldn’t know until she looked.
Swallowing hard, she put her shoulder against the door and tried to ease the heavy piece open without making a sound. It opened a crack and all she could see was a strip of stained floor and a bare slice of wall. Just a bit further and she could look down the hall—
There was a foot on the floor.
No. Not a foot—the foot. She clamped a hand over her mouth and struggled not to scream.
It wasn’t moving. Her skin crawled and she knew the person belonging to the foot was dead. Bodies lay this way. They needed to go back to the lab—right now. Go back and hide and—
“Aww Aww.” With a distressed whine, Schroding pushed past her, opening the door further.
Brown loafer. Striped sock. Grey tweed trousers.
Oh, God. She knew those trousers. Even though Jane already knew whose body that shoe belonged to, she forced her gaze to travel the rest of the way up.
Half his face was just… gone. But it was him.
She reached Schroddie before he could touch the body, wrapped her fingers around his collar and pulled the Dane back.
“Off, Schroddie.” The big dog quivered beneath her touch, whimpered as he backed away. He clearly understood his owner was dead. Didn’t matter that Lowery hadn’t loved Schrodinger—dogs didn’t guard their hearts. Lowery had been his master and, good or bad, Schroddie had loved him.
“I’m so sorry, buddy,” Jane whispered.
Giving herself a shake, she quickly searched the hallway ahead and behind—no shooters or terrorists had emerged. Whew. She needed to get moving, but… something about this body just didn’t add up.
She frowned and pulled out her phone, turning on the camera light and pointed it at Lowery’s body.
White foam marked the man’s mouth.
His eyes were wide open. Sightless. And so bloodshot they appeared almost black.
“Shit!” She yanked Schroddie farther away. “Off!”
Lowery looked like he’d been poisoned, then beaten with a cement block. His fingers were curled inward, mouth ajar like he’d been screaming. This was looking less and less like a shooting. Had some terrorist unleashed a chemical weapon? But why here? And the ventilation system hadn’t stopped, so why wouldn’t it have affected her?
Shaking with dread, she forced herself to take a picture.
If she died from exposure, at least she’d leave something useful for the authorities.
“With me,” she hissed urgently at the dog.
He resisted for another second, then once again glued himself to her hip. They hurried to the far set of doors, the last before the stairway access. She unlocked her phone, removed any semblance of password protection. If she bit it, she wasn’t going to make it hard for the authorities to access her shit.
Turning on the camera, she flipped it to selfie-mode and hit record. She looked right into the little camera lens. “My name is Jane Finch. This is Schrodinger.”
She briefly aimed the camera at the dog.
Returning the camera to her face, she focused on delivering information and not crying. “We’ve been trapped in one of the lab-pods on the bottom floor of the Sagan building, B Block. No one has made contact. We left and discovered Professor Jacob Lowery dead from what appears to be some kind of poison and blunt force trauma to the head. We didn’t touch him. But I don’t know what it is, or if it’s airborne. If that poison kills me and not Schroddie, please take him to Admiral Douglas Finch and Mary Finch of Ballantree Road, West Vancouver. I need to know he’s safe.”
Taking a shaky breath, she dug the fingers of her free hand into Schrodinger’s scruff and tried to take comfort in the dog’s steady presence.
“We’re going to try and get outside now,” she told the camera. “If we don’t make it…” Her voice caught and she swallowed hard. “If we don’t make it, tell my parents I love them. I tried to come home.”
Lips trembling, she stopped recording and returned the phone to her pocket.
Either they’d get out of this damn building, or they’d die trying. She just hoped emergency services would be waiting at the doors, because she didn’t want to infect anyone with whatever nightmare had killed Lowery.
“Okay, buddy,” she said to the dog. “Let’s go.”
A Canadian author obsessed with monsters and their love lives, Dee enjoys creating rich paranormal and science fiction worlds—and always likes to play with zombies. The characters she enjoys don’t sit in some narrow box and do what they’re told. Whether battling supernatural forces or facing fantastical terrain on distant planets, her characters are defying expectations and finding true love.
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