Saturday, August 23, 2008

Contagion Review

reviewed by Mistophiles [Withersin Magazine]

Sub-Tropical Remote Locations. Malevolent Viruses and Bacterium. A United States Task Force. Terrorism. Torture. Benevolent Doctors. Love Affairs. Burning Buildings. Confused Locals. Rushed Escapes. Guns. Knives. IV Poles and Helicopters. This one's got it all. Initially, this book began as a hang-at-the-edge-of-your-seat internet serial. The story caught on, fans wanted more, and Contagion was born. Characters and plot both are reminiscent of action packed, over-the-top Soap Operas, so (besides the occasional eye roll) I found myself reading, and reading, and reading some more. And that's really the point isn't it? Capture the reader’s attention and KEEP them reading. It's dark, it's different, it's pleasantly sinister.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sales Update

Contagion is now ranked 6th out of 10 on my publishers horror bestseller list..

head on over to to pick up a copy of newest release that horror fiction review is calling a fast-paced ambitious read..


Book Tour 2008

I will be appearing at the Salt Lake City World Horror Convention, Thursday March 27-Saturday March 29, 2008. In addition to signing copies of my novels, and promoting my newest release Contagion, I also be doing a reading Friday Morning.

On June 7th, 2008 I will be at the Barnes and Noble in Newburgh New York from 1-5pm, signing copies of Contagion as well..


Monday, February 11, 2008

Horror Fiction Review of Contagion

February 3, 2008

Horror Fiction Review Spring 2008 Issue

CONTAGION by Jason Gehlert (2007 Publishing / 213 pp. / tp)A nasty virus breaks out in Natas, Africa. An American doctor (Quentin Forsythe) goes to the isolated colony in an attempt to find a cure. After he's shot (non-fatally) by a local rebel dictator (and goes missing), doctors Judas Sturgis and Katy Madison also show up from the States looking to help find the cure.What ensues is a gory-action tale featuring an airborne disease that's half leprosy, half Ebola (!), which gives its victims a brief-period of zombie-like effects before liquefying their internal organs. I enjoyed the ride, this one's really fast-paced and at times genuinely exciting. If you approach this one like a shot-on-video cult film, you might get a kick out of it. Gehlert's Contagion is an ambitious, fun novel.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Thursday, May 17, 2007

You Pick The Cover!!!!

That's right, as my loyal fans, I am giving you the opportunity to choose the cover of my next book. Both covers are featured in this blog, one for The Colony and one for Contagion.
I have dedicated this book to everyone, from my fellow authors, to my fans, and now I will offer you the chance to pick the cover!!

Head on over to and cast your votes!!!

Colony/Contagion will be released this Winter from Publishers.


Friday, September 08, 2006

The Final Chapters

Here's the final chapters of Contagion {due out June 2007}

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and read the story, offered your feedback and advice.

The last two chapters are filled with twists, turns, surprises, and a shocker.


Chapters XX & XXI


Judas, still smarting from Logan’s kick, managed to regain the upper hand, at least in his demented eyes.
“You’re completely off your rocker,” Logan bellowed from across the field.
“I’d say that’s a fair assessment. Nice move with the whole dramatic kick to the face, gunning down Katy’s shooter.” Judas admired Logan’s expertise. He finally gathered the strength to stand up and cocked his head to one side.
“You left me no choice,” Logan’s tone soured.
“It’s a shame that you didn’t think for one moment that I would pull the trigger on her.” Judas let a sinister smile grow upon his yellowish face.
“We’re completely fucked now. You killed the only person that could’ve forged the antidote, and left us all stranded here without the cure!” Logan screamed in haste.
“As I said, I will find the missing page with or without your help.” Judas solidified his grip on the gun and caressed the trigger with his index finger.
“I wouldn’t help you.”
“Well, then,” Judas said. “Game.” Judas motioned over to Katy’s immobile body.
“You’re going to pay for killing her.” Logan raced towards the doctor, drawing his Glock and deftly fired off an automatic slew of bullets into his adversary’s immediate area.
“Set,” Judas also returned fire upon the charging Captain.
The bullets ripped through the mud, slinging its mucky residue all over Judas. One of the bullets burrowed deep into his left shoulder, jerking the doctor backwards.
Logan’s stance was cut short when several of Judas’ shots ripped into his legs, sending the tall Captain lurching to the ground.
Judas swayed about, the detonator still firmly clasped in his right hand. Judas again readied for the kill shot on the teetering Captain. “I’ve won Logan. I have the device and you in my cross-hairs.” Judas opened his hand to display the detonating device.
“Match,” Logan muttered as he squinted his left eye and pulled back on the trigger. An expert marksman, Logan had the perfect shot on the unsuspecting doctor.
The bullet rocketed through the air, tearing into Judas’ right hand, igniting the detonator upon impact.
“Burn in hell,” Logan heroically dispersed his final words.
The vast collection of C-4 implanted by Garrison was immediately set off by Logan’s blistering shot, engulfing the entire colony in a circle of fire.
Many of Judas’s men were caught in the explosive uproar and torn virtually limb from limb. The few remaining soldiers scattered about, their bodies engorged in orange flames. Moments later they would be permanently extinguished by another deadly round of fiery explosions.
Judas emphatically lingered about. His left hand dangled the weapon by his side. The pain within his shoulder grew with unbelievable intensity. The stunning gun shot had ripped apart his right hand, leaving several fingers severed above the knuckles.
He searched throughout the fields, eventually finding his way into the church. “L-O-G-A-N,” he beckoned to his foe. “Come out, come out wherever you are.” The smoke started to choke the colony under her thick blanket. As a result it dampened Judas’ immediate vision. His eyes burned from the stinging smoke, tearing upon contact.
The blazing fire ripped through the colony, engulfing everything in its path. The huts collapsed underneath the intense heat. The colonists’ bodies immediately ignited, their flesh consumed and burned, emitting an awful stench in the process. John Garrison’s limp body eventually caught fire, melting away the proud Lieutenant into nothing more than a gooey mess of burning pulp and bone.
The beleaguered Captain could vaguely made out Judas’ position. The doctor shuffled his feet across the stone floor, trying to brave the looming cloud of smoke. Using his last ounce of adrenaline, Logan jammed his last line of defense, a thick bladed Army knife into Judas’ leg, and pulled it out. Logan managed to draw a healthy amount of blood with the slick attack. He had hoped the blade sliced into the femoral artery.
“You’re a sly mother fucker.” Judas lowered his weapon and shot a reckless round into the encapsulating smoke screen.
Logan acted with a swift maneuver, and inched his way under the smoke, painfully crawling along the church floor.
The gun eventually emptied and nothing more than an incessant clicking sound penetrated Judas’s eardrums.
“Did your mother ever teach you never to swear in the house of God?” Logan brought his own version of sarcasm to the messy quandary. Logan’s position was low, only reaching Judas’ waist line.
“Where are you?” Judas felt his head explode with pain. The excessive headaches had cost him the necessary concentration needed to eliminate Logan.
“It looks like you are out of bullets G.I. Joe,” Logan remarked with a sarcastic tone as he buried the knife into Judas, spilling blood all over the silver blade. Logan’s forceful grind of the weapon into the doctor’s groin, sent Judas sprawling to the smoky ground.
The church had started to cave in from the thunderous explosions, sending large amounts of debris crashing below obliterating the wooden pews beneath.
Logan attempted to escape the church. His mobility limited from the gunshots, he crawled at a brisk pace along the shattered stone floor.
Judas managed to withdraw the knife from his groin, sending a stream of blood pouring from his wound. Unable to stand, he was stranded on the stone floor. Judas realized what was left of the roof would come crashing down upon him.
Logan had also turned his head, catching a quick glimpse of what Judas was staring at.
The last piece of the battered roof broke free. Momentum carried the heavy object lurching towards the stranded men below.
Logan rolled off to the side at the last minute, dodging the devastating impact.
Judas wasn’t as fortunate. The roof’s fragment plunged itself into the sinner’s heaving chest, crushing his lungs in the process. The doctor gave one last meager jerk, attempting to break free. Coughing, Judas forcibly spurted up blood sending it cascading in a stream over his lips and down his chin.
Rolling towards the exit, Logan managed to escape from the church. His eyes were unable to find Katy’s body in the smoldering thicket of smoke. Logan’s reluctance was evident as he braced for the agonizing pain in his legs. He somehow brought himself to his knees. He had no time to waste, he had to radio this information to the chopper, informing that Plan B was a success.
Logan was locked on finishing Plan B. His newfound feelings for Katy Madison had inexplicably thwarted his one-dimensional game plan. What turned into his last mission, a heroic charge into the belly of the beast had disintegrated into a change of heart.
He went against the fabric of what a Captain needs to accomplish. You go in and eliminate the threat at all costs.
You’re not there for an alternative plan. Those particular circumstances only hinder your mission and leave you muddled in a mess of confusion and uncertainty.
Katy Madison had introduced a fresh new twist into Logan’s staunch way of life. Logan desperately wanted this to work. He had hoped For Katy to find the antidote and for the colony to survive through this critical time. However, it wasn’t going to shake out that way.
As Logan knelt beneath the ominous stare of the distant mountain, thoughts raced through his mind. His late wife, his best friend John, and finally of Katy.
Logan was kneeling before the church, which had teetered and crumbled into a massive pile of debris behind him. Off in the distance, a barren Jeep rested in a patch of mud. The muddy graveyard rested a few miles in front of Logan, with the burning huts off to his right. One of the colony’s wells had rested off Logan’s left side, several feet behind him. It was rendered useless after its contents had dried completely up.
“LOGAN!” The chilling voice snarled.
The Captain felt a thunderous crack into his back, sending him reeling forward. Logan’s face landed into a mound of dirt. Logan found himself in a prostrate position stretched across the older graveyard that had rested in front of the church. The hard strike had forced Logan to egest a wad of dirt from his mouth once he had regained his stunned senses.
Judas, bloodied and nearly running on empty, culled the knife from his groin. “Gravedigger, when I dig your grave,” his voice filled with a sinister refrain. He unlatched the backpack and freed himself of the cumbersome object. “Your turn, Logan.” Judas left hand held the knife high, twirling the deadly object between his fingertips. Judas felt a large adrenaline rush that catapulted Judas’ vengeful strike upon the stunned Captain.
Judas leaned up against the well to support his final charge. He had Logan dead to rights. “I do this for the greater good,” Judas bellowed with one final lunge.
The unforeseen impact had spun Judas around in a wild motion, like a coin whirling around in a crazy dance on a table.
Judas staggered to the well, favoring the stones for support. Leaning over the aged structure, his fingers dropped the bloody knife to the ground. His mouth filled with fresh blood. He inched his way back around to face the mysterious attacker.
Katy reloaded for another daring shot into her former flame’s teetering body.
“Katy, I love you.” Judas’ mind had offered him a rare peek into what clarity he had left. “Forgive me. I was led astray by Quentin.” Judas begged her to issue him a pardon for his sins.
“That’s not my place Judas.” Katy snapped back on the shotgun and fired off another round.
Judas’s flew backward from the bullet’s forcible penetration, sending the doctor spiraling over the well and plunging deep into the depths below.
Katy gingerly walked over to Logan’s wriggling body, shotgun resting by her swiveling hips.
“Logan,” her voice called out him.
“Katy.” Logan managed to roll over onto his back. The color in Katy’s face had returned to normal, pleasing the worrisome Captain. “You’re looking a lot better.”
“You look how I feel.” Katy mustered a wry facial expression. “Here, let me help you up.”
“Call me Nathaniel,” Logan answered back.
“Okay. Logan it is.”
“Don’t make me laugh. It hurts,” Logan quipped as he sported a slick grin.
“You’re telling me? I was just shot in the lung.”
“Valid point. I noticed a Jeep over there,” Logan motioned his head. “I say we snatch up the journal and high tail it out of here. There’s going to be another round of explosions very soon.”
“Where’s Alethea?” Katy asked. Her fingers unzipped the knapsack and retrieved Quentin’s crumpled journal.
“I don’t know. Perhaps she made out in time.”
“Come on,” Katy beckoned.
“I’m glad you’re not dead,” Logan stated with a stoic tone.
“Did you mean what you said back there?” Katy shouldered the injured Captain along.
“Yeah. Every word.” Logan skipped the rest of the way to the Jeep, almost jumping into the passenger seat.
“I think I might be able to reconstruct the antidote from the journal.” Katy offered a potential solution. “I also culled two samples from Zartan’s son,” she motioned to her pocket.
“Sweet. When did you do that?” Logan asked as he contorted his body to fit underneath the Jeep’s steering column.
“After you left me by the hut, I returned back inside once you and Judas were engaged in your fight. Like the Captain says, ‘if Plan A doesn’t work, then on to Plan B’,” she quoted Logan’s mantra.
“Well done my young grasshopper,” Logan attempted a rare joke. “John taught how to do this back on a mission overseas,” Logan fondly spoke of his fallen friend.
The engine sputtered about, until at last, it roared to life.
“Are you okay to drive?” Logan playfully brought her attention to his wounded legs.
“Yeah.” Katy slipped into the driver’s seat, coughing in the process.
“Hang in there.” Logan shifted in the passenger seat. “You’ll be fine.”
“I know.” Katy shared a kind stare with the Captain.
Logan reached out and with a gentle stroke, caressed her right hand. “Ever drive stick?”
“Yeah. It’s something my father taught me.” Katy grinded the gear into first and peeled out of the muck and bounced the sturdy vehicle across the fiery field.
“One last measure,” Logan said as he pulled out his own black detonation device. “I always have a Plan C.” His battered finger pressed the red button.
A flurry of explosives raged across the last section of the colony, swarming around the graveyard, rolling towards the church.
The colony weakly succumbed to the thundering round of C-4 explosions that consumed the once flourishing settlement in the blistering wake.
Down in the well’s depths, Judas Sturgis lay in a gnarled, mangled contortion, pinned in a shallow, watery grave. Inside Judas’ eyes the tortuous image of the fiery cloud raced across the landscape, scattering dirt and debris through the well’s constricted confines, burying the esteemed prodigy underneath a pile of rubble.


“Plan C?” Katy mused.
“Do you remember the A-Team?” Logan inquired.
“The popular show from the 1980's?” Katy fondly remembered her younger years. “My brother loved that show.”
“Well, the leader was called John Hannibal Smith. And he always a plan in place.”
“I personally liked Face.” Katy sported a sheepish grin.
“Of course you did. I fashioned myself after Smith. Always have a plan in place, and another one just in case.”
“So, we are we headed?” Katy plowed through a small thicket of brush.
“Keep going until we reach a clearing, or a stream.” Logan laughed.
Katy’s followed something moving amongst the brush. “Did you see that?”
“As a matter of fact, yes I did. Pull to a stop here.” Logan gripped the top bar of the naked Jeep and slipped out of the vehicle and propped his body against the hood. “Hey,” he shouted out to the moving object.
“Are you infected?” The voice curiously asked from the hiding place.
“I don’t think so. Are you?”
“No. I’m a survivor from the colony.” The deep voice indicated it was a man behind the brush.
“Great. Are the more of you?” Logan asked of the light-skinned man.
“Yes. We’ve found temporary shelter in a clearing not too far from here. It was one of Dantu’s camps. It was left unguarded, so we took it.”
“Do you have a name?” Katy questioned the man.
“Sebastian,” he withdrew from the brush exposing his frail body to his visitors. Sebastian was definitely middle-aged, and his graying temples were evidence of that. His face was riddled with wrinkles. He possessed skinny arms and knobby legs. A taut grey goatee was tied off just below his chin, banded with a red elastic band. “I used to able to an experienced craftsman. My true love is constructing boats from a single piece of wood and watching it blossom into something grand and wonderful.”
“Where did you learn such a skill?” Logan’s curiosity got the best of him.
“My father,” Sebastian walked over to the Jeep. “I will take you back to the others. May I?”
“Hop in.” Katy waited for Logan and Sebastian to climb back in.
“Aren’t you one of the doctors from the colony?” Sebastian poised the question.
“Yes I am.” Katy nodded her head. A slight twinge caused her to violently cough again.
“You don’t sound so good.” Sebastian observed.
“Are there any supplies at this camp?” Logan started to find his way back into the swing of things.
“Dantu left a medical building, several tents, and canteens of fresh water. There seems to be a waterfall somewhere by the caves.”
“Interesting,” Logan replied. “It’s starting to shape up to a rebirth of another colony.”
“If I can develop the cure in this medical facility, then we might have a fighting chance.” Katy continued along the shoddy path.
“With your medical background, my military brilliance, and Sebastian’s craftsmanship, we might be able to construct a working establishment.” Logan rubbed his hands together.
“Don’t tell me. You have a plan.” Katy looked over at Logan.
“As the great Hannibal would say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Logan’s mind stirred with visions of building a new colony with Katy.

“Hello out there,” her voice called into the earpiece. “Can anyone hear me?” Her nimble fingers clicked the dial to Frequency 76. “Hello?”
A faint crackling sound penetrated over the other end.
“I copy, Logan.”
“My name is Alethea Kineta.”
“Copy that. Alethea. Are you a survivor, or one of the infected? And where’s Captain Nathaniel Logan?” The man’s voice routinely questioned the woman.
“He’s dead,” Alethea sadly responded. “And, yes I am a survivor. I also have a young boy with me.”
“Has the colony been eradicated?” A new voice boomed over the communication device.
“I’ve escaped the colony. Logan was successful at setting off the explosives,” Alethea replied.
“Where are you?”
“I’m located along the shoreline. I also have something that might interest you.”
“Explain,” the stern voice continued the conversation.
“I have the antidote.” Alethea bravely clutched Maddock’s well-worn Bible close to her breast.
“We are targeting your location. Stay where you are.”
“I will not move an inch,” Alethea confirmed.
Within the hour, the chopper that Logan had promised, arrived over the shoreline, scouring the area for Alethea.
The helicopter grounded just along the shore, burying the landing gear into the soft sand.
Out of the bird stepped an older man. The dominant man crushed his black boots into the shifting sand, displaying a very dominant stance. For a man well into his late fifties, his body showed no signs of age. The gentlemen still held onto a healthy mane of black hair, and an impressive build. The large black sunglasses covered his eyes, as he peered about the landscape looking for the lone survivor.
“Alethea,” his stern voice boomed across the area.
“I’m right here,” she stepped out from behind a collection of trees. “I needed a break from the sun.” Her eyes noticed the man was a decorated military leader. The green and black patch on the left side of the man’s fatigues revealed the name Murdock.
“I’m General Devon Murdock,” he introduced himself.
“Alethea,” her voice softly conjured up the necessary syllables.
“I understand you have the antidote.”
“Yes, I do.”
“The President of The United States would like to personally thank you for obtaining the cure,” Murdock escorted Alethea to the chopper.
“I have a young boy who also is a survivor.” Alethea motioned over to the trees.
“Rick,” Murdock called to his pilot.
“I’m on it, Sir,” Rick responded as he embarked across the shore and headed for the boy.
“Are you comfortable?” Murdock asked Alethea.
“Yes, thank you.” Alethea’s grasp on the Bible tightened. “Can I trust you?”
“Implicitly,” Murdock coolly comforted her doubts.
“Alright then,” her fingers flipped open the Bible’s pages and withdrew the folded up piece of wrinkled notebook paper.
“Is that the antidote?” Murdock quizzically questioned her.
“I suspect you have a team of doctors that can use this blueprint to cure the virus?”
“Of course we do. We have only the finest men and women in the medical field.” Murdock’s shifty nature concerned Alethea.
Rick returned to the chopper without the young boy. He slid the pistol back underneath his shirt and hopped aboard the chopper. “Okay, let’s get airborne.” He slunk back into the cockpit and flipped the switches to start the rotors. “Buckle up.” He informed his newly acquired passenger.
“Where’s the boy?” Alethea looked around.
“He didn’t make it,” Murdock nonchalantly responded.
“The boy was dead when I found him,” Rick said.
“Tough loss.” Murdock’s rigid character rarely demonstrated any remorse for the dead. “The colony has been destroyed?” Murdock wanted to know as he buckled Alethea into her seat.
“Yes. It burned right to the ground.” Ally was saddened that the boy didn’t make it. This made her the sole survivor.
“And what happened to Captain Logan and Lieutenant Jonathan Garrison?” Murdock’s questions were causing concern for Alethea.
“Dead. I witnessed Garrison when he shot himself in the head after becoming infected with the virus,” she dutifully responded.
“Tough loss. There are going to be casualties in any war. And what about Logan?”
“The Captain ignited the explosives.”
“Did he survive?”
“No. He was caught in the fire and was unable to escape,” Alethea remembered the gruesome fight out in the field between Logan and Judas, as she watched from inside the church.
“But you managed to escape, unscathed.” Murdock had seemed impressed with her abilities.
“I left shortly after the first round of explosives went off.” Alethea watched as the chopper lifted off into the air, and turned around. She ran her fingers over her belly, gently caressing it.
Murdock turned his head and witnessed the fading remnants of the colony in the background, watching as the smoky pillar burned off in the distance.
“I had to get you the antidote, at all costs,” Alethea insisted that was the cause for her escape. “The goal was to save those that could be infected outside the colony.”
“And I’m very proud that you kept to your word.” Murdock slickly grinned while he peered out of the side of the chopper and stared across the region. The General eventually rested his sight upon the skull-shaped mountain that towered above the landscape, as the chopper headed back to the United States carrying its new passenger.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chapter XIX


An impasse had been reached inside the church. Captain Logan cracked his knuckles in a gruesome fashion, poorly masquerading his emotional ties to his late friend, Lieutenant John Garrison.
Garrison’s last acts of bravery would be his true legacy. His words of impending doom incited Logan to pull the trigger on the operation. Interwoven inside this treacherous tapestry of life and death was John’s cautionary wisdom. John’s static filled last words were brought to Logan in a fading conversation over the malfunctioning walkie-talkie.
As the sun finally rose over the embittered colony, it warmly illuminated the previous night’s carnage, scouring the drenched fields that were littered with dozens of fresh, dead bodies, including John Garrison and Zartan.
“Our time is now,” Logan bitterly addressed Alethea. “Katy’s going to be on the short end of the leash on this particular mission.”
“I understand you’ve lost your friend,” Alethea attempted to coolly sooth the Captain’s burgeoning angst. “But, I have also lost many friends and family during this outbreak.” She paced around the inside of the once proud mosaic floor. The church was at one time a rich monument of worship and gathering, offering Dantu a reason to raid and pillage the church’s costly treasures, hereby financing his rebel army.
“John warned us that this virus could possibly be advancing itself at an alarming rate.” Logan’s teeth gnashed together grinding away at remnants of his last decent meal before he arrived. He had a delicious entree at his neighboring Chili’s. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and peppered corn on the cob. He had a terse feeling inside his wavering gut that those days had come to a grinding halt. “I need to find that detonator out in the graveyard if we are to have any success at eliminating this threat.”
“Anyway I can help,” Alethea offered the Captain.
“How’s the boy doing?” Logan asked.
“The chopper will be here in less than two days. I’m going to pray that some of us will be going back along with the antidote’s formula. That way, the United States can reproduce the remedy and we can come back and cure the others that might have been infected.” Logan’s words were twisted and loaded with bullshit. He had a firm plan in place to blow this thing sky high, killing everything and everyone in its wake. Logan really wanted to make it back to the chopper alive, but he had solemnly promised the President that he would personally take care of business down here. And Logan was always a man of his word.
“This hot fucking sun is starting to annoy me,” Judas griped back at the wilting soldiers. “Keep up!” he barked.
“Sir, we’ve been marching for more than four hours,” they complained in unison.
“I promise you this.” Judas began to sweat profusely as his madness continued to consume him. “Once we get back to the colony, they will forever remember my name.” His hands tautly gripped the pistol, as it swayed alongside his briskly moving body.
“And why will they remember your name?” Judas was being contested by one of the ignorant rebels.
“I will offer them the antidote, cure their ills, and be recognized as a medical genius.” Judas proudly offered his master plan.
“That’s the plan?”
“Well, if they don’t welcome me back with open arms and suffice it to say, hear my wisdom,” Judas jiggled the gun. “Then, I will formally introduce the colony’s inhabitants to my new collection of ardent bodyguards.”
“We continue on in Commander Dantu’s memory,” the rebel chatted up the sinking morale.
“Excuse me?” Judas jerked his head around to face the defiant rebel. His hands shook the gun violently around, ready to prove his point if necessary. “Your Commander is now a decomposing mound of flesh at the bottom of the river. He’s the main course for all those hungry piranhas, crocodiles and any other ravenous creature lurking beneath the deep waters. I’ll be more than happy to offer you the same thing.” Judas squeezed his eyes, glaring down his ignorant opposition.
“I understand Mr. Judas,” he acknowledged his new domineering leader. “I will not question your motives again.” The soldier promptly saluted Judas and returned to rigid fashion, ready to march straight through the dense thicket, his weapon firmly in place. “What about the loud noises last night?”
“Ah, probably the wind that’s all.” Judas noticed the firm salute. “That’s much better.” Judas crackled with a sly demeanor. “We should arrive shortly.” He could see the fading black plume of smoke still smoldering from inside the colony. “It’s only a matter of time now,” he softly mumbled.
Logan, filled with remorse over Garrison‘s death, trudged across the church floor, a meager shuffling of his feet until he had reached the arched doorway.
“I’m going out to the graveyard and retrieve the detonator,” he said, looking over in Alethea’s direction. “Here,” he tossed a secondary communication device over to her. “You can contact me on this. Just clip this around your ear and speak into it.” Logan demonstrated for her. “Attach the small box onto your belt loop. Use it for the volume control and to change frequencies. The chopper’s frequency is number seventy-six.”
“Seventy-six,” Alethea repeated.
“If anything goes wrong, simply turn the dial to that number and communicate with the pilot.” Logan turned to step outside.
“I will stay here and wait for Katy,” Alethea affirmed. “And, if Judas returns as well, I will contact you.”
Logan had already started his brisk pace over to the muddied graveyard by the time Ally had finished her sentence.
“John,” Logan’s words trailed off once he located Garrison’s corpse embedded into the muddy surface. Garrison’s body was twisted and turned into a pretzel type of formation. Logan painfully observed Garrison’s traumatic head wound. The gaping hole in the side of the Lieutenant’s head had emptied a significant amount of blood and brain matter across the colony’s soil. Garrison’s eyes were left open, in an eerie, fixated position. Logan ran his dirty fingers across his friend’s face, gently closing Garrison’s eyes. “Rest in peace my friend.” Logan actually shed a brief tear, displaying a random moment of affection.
“Where’s that damn detonator?” Logan anxiously scoured the area, diverting his immediate attention away from his deceased friend.
For several yards, Logan stared in horror at the collection of misshapen, gnarled, and mangled colonists scattered about the graveyard. There was no sign of the black detonator that Garrison had within his grasp seconds before his death.
“It has to be here somewhere.” Logan nervously paced around, rotating his jaw in disgust. “I’m losing precious time.”
Katy meanwhile, had already begun her study of the blood samples, in the hope that some answer could be found.
Her nimble fingers slid the small slide of blood underneath the last remaining operational microscope. Blinking her eyes, she turned the magnifier to enlarge the minuscule speck of blood.
Katy would have to decipher many slides that Quentin and Alethea had collected. She was running out of time. Logan promised her a time to deliver upon her word.
Retrieving Dr. Forsythe’s sample, after his incident at Dantu’s camp, Katy peered down upon the fragile specimen. She was hoping to find some answers within Forsythe’s blood. Dantu had the full antidote injected into his own body, forcing Quentin to withdraw the Commander’s blood. Katy speculated that Quentin had time to analyze his own blood and come up a medical blueprint to reconstruct the crucial antidote.
Time was the common enemy, hours faded into minutes, that eventually eroded into seconds. Against the clock, Katy’s eyes strained to find the answer buried deep inside Quentin’s blood. A conglomeration of red blood cells amidst a larger collection of white blood cells indicated Quentin was attempting to stave off the combination of Leprosy and Ebola. However, Katy had noticed the new Leprosy/Ebola virus was aligning itself for a larger battle, possibly reinventing itself to storm through Quentin’s unsuspecting body at a later time.
Quentin was indeed infected with the super virus, as his increased white blood cells indicated some sort of fight was being waged. Katy stared deeper into the devil’s disease and found out that it had already mutated since Quentin’s arrival.
The previous samples taken from patients during the previous doctor’s stay indicated that this virus was strictly one-dimensional.
Quentin had ingested a new concoction, one that had distinctly changed it formation and prepared to ravage Quentin’s body.
Katy realized the virus changed gears in a small time frame, and that Zartan and the others could have been infected with an ever stronger strain, rendering this new antidote utterly useless. Of course, Quentin’s healthy immune system assisted in the minimal damage incurred. Katy nevertheless, had her doubts that Quentin would be able to survive the oncoming wrath of this new disease. And, that meant Logan’s plan to send the colony into the depths of hell would be the only choice.
“Ahem,” his craggy voice pierced the muted atmosphere.
“What are you doing in my colony?”
Logan snapped his head up staring into the barrel of Dr. Judas Sturgis’ gun. Logan’s knees felt the wet saturation through his fatigues. He crawled and clawed his way through endless feet of muck in a dire attempt to find the missing detonator.
“It looks like we have ourselves a perilous situation here G.I. Joe,” Judas sneered down upon his pinned adversary. “Care to explain?”
“I was wondering when the hell you were going to return.” Logan’s free hand slipped behind his back, unlatching the Glock from the black belt. “You must be Dr. Strugis?”
“Stay right there.” Judas clucked his tongue. “I came for the missing page.”
“What?” Logan bickered back. His fingers clanged against the butt of the Glock. It would only be a matter of moments before Logan could turn the table.
“Listen to me G.I. Joe,” Judas snickered as he parlayed his powerful stand into a righteous sermon.
“My name is Captain Nathaniel Logan. U.S. Army.” Logan seemed impressed with the small band of men that Judas had brought with him.
“I don’t care,” Judas seethed, rolling his tongue around his mouth. “I want the antidote. And, if I don’t get it, my men here will make sure that I do.”
“You’re not in the right mind to be making haste demands,” Logan almost had the Glock in his grasp.
“Shut your trap.”
“Hey, where’s the other doctor? Was it Forsythe?” Logan peered around.
Judas took the bait and also turned his head. “He had an unfortunate run in with some poisonous spiders.”
Logan grabbed the Glock and enabled a nimble move, kicking the legs right out from underneath the unsuspecting doctor. The darting move took Judas by surprise and he stumbled onto the ground. Logan quickly drew his weapon and aimed downward at the wriggling doctor.
“Now, it’s your turn to answer some questions.” Logan peered into those daunting eyeballs.
Judas snorted a piece of spit into the fatigues of Captain Logan. “Fuck you G.I. Joe.”
“I’m running out of patience with your arrogant attitude,” Logan’s slimy tone had started to permeate into the conversation. “You’re not getting up until you tell me why you want the antidote.”
“Quentin Forsythe was the leading medical man in the entire field.” Judas gripped his gun tightly. “He had it all.”
“So?” Logan raised his brow.
“The women, the book deals, these trips into the impoverished areas of the world.” Judas griped with anger.
“So, jealously is your motive here? Along with fame and money?” Logan asked.
“I want to be the one that the world looks to for advice, heroics and humanitarian assistance.”
“You have some serious issues,” Logan responded tautly holding the Glock in a defensive position. “Are you going to cash in when you obtain the cure?”
“Money would be nice. I would like to keep it out of the hands of the government. I don’t trust them when it comes to administering the antidote to those that are infected. I’ve watched too many episodes of the X-Files to feel secure about my government’s true intentions. So, I will ask you again to hand over the missing page to the journal and let me return back to the States.”
“It’s not that simple,” Logan stated. “The U.S. Army surely wants to assist in any capacity to assure that the infected are treated with the cure.”
“Oh, I beg to differ with you G.I. Joe.” Judas smugness began to wear on the Captain. Judas reached into the sticky muck and pulled out the small dinged up black detonator.
“Hey, now. I need that.” Logan readied the shot. “Hand it over.”
“Screw you,” Judas snapped back. “It seems we have an old-fashioned standoff here.”
“The journal’s missing pages for the detonator?” Logan offered a truce.
“I take it from the looks of things,” Judas said as he whirled his head around. “That all of these dead bodies have stepped up your suicide plan to blow up the colony and the virus.”
“That’s the plan Sherlock,” growled Logan. “Now, give me the box.” He shook the Glock at Judas’s wriggling body.
“Nah. I’d rather not.” Judas aimed his weapon directly at Logan’s mid-section. “The missing page. You have three minutes. Otherwise, this whole place goes up in one gigantic fireball.” He waved the black box around like a kid operating the controls to a train set.
“How do you know that’s not what I want?” Logan tried to call Judas’s bluff.
“Because if you did, the colony would be burning right now. Obviously, someone or something has clouded your judgment.”
“I see.”
“And, I want a safe return back to your pick-up point.”
“No,” Logan sternly addressed the demand.
“I know you have some sort of plan arranged to either pick you up or perhaps me or,” Judas’s words trailed off as he became partly distracted. “By the way, where’s my Katy,” He peered around Logan, trying to catch sight of his girlfriend.
“She’s working right now.” Logan’s finger flicked off the safety.
“Bring her to me,” Judas said as he waved the box in front of Logan.
“All of us are infected. There’s no way that you’re going back to the States carrying the disease.” Logan stoic and taut, refused to budge an inch.
“Correction. I will administer the antidote and completely heal and move on to helping millions of people across the globe. If you don’t help me, then I’ll let you slowly rot out here with all the other miscreants.” Judas shifted in the mud gaining a better angle on Logan.
“Logan!” Katy called out the distracted Captain.
“Ah, speak of the devil,” Dr. Judas Sturgis’ sarcasm was evident as he poked his head around Logan.
“We have a dire situation on our hands,” Katy’s dim voice caused great concern for Logan.
“Which is?” Logan couldn’t take his eyes off the wormlike doctor.
“The virus has mutated and Quentin’s virus could be useless. I’ve drawn a blood sample of Zartan’s son, who according to Alethea seemed to battle back the disease in its early stages. I think his young immune system couldn’t handle the rapid movement of the virus. Ultimately, it led
to Duke’s premature death.”
“What do you suggest?” Logan bellowed back.
“Judas?” Katy instantly recognized her lover, sprawled out on the ground. “Why are you aiming a gun at the Captain?”
“Because he’s aiming one at me, Honey. It’s a simplistic tactic actually,” Judas evilly sneered.
“Why? And where’s Quentin.” Katy looked around. Much to her chagrin, she was unable to locate Forsythe.
“He’s dead, Dear,” Judas responded with a chuckle. “And, he deserved it. All the shit he put me through, it was time for someone to take his place. Quentin had pulled the proverbial wool over my eyes. I’m doing all of this to rectify Quentin’s mistakes.”
“And, you think it’s your place to do that?” Katy was surprised at Judas’ aggressive arrogant demeanor. “I’m starting to see your ultimate plan. Ever since we met back at Quentin’s conference, you played me from the start.” Katy’s blood started to boil underneath her slick skin.
Judas carelessly shrugged his shoulders in response.
“This was all a game to get back at Quentin? You were always aiming to be the hero that saved the colony, and in the process discredit Forsythe?” Katy was becoming irritated at falling for such a dupe.
“That’s my plan.” Judas’ hands began to tremor, indirectly waving his gun around the air.
“Well, this antidote won’t work Judas.” Katy shot a nasty glare in his direction. “So, give up your crusade.”
“I really don’t want to hear that.” Judas shook the gun violently. His headaches had come back with a terrorizing aftermath. Judas brandished the gun wildly around taking it off Logan momentarily to clutch his spinning head.
“You are sick Judas. Let us help you.” Katy offered to her ailing lover.
“Do you have the missing page to Quentin’s journal?” Judas again demanded for the item.
“No.” Katy shook her head. “Why? Do you have one of his journals?” Katy curiously interrogated him.
“Yes Einstein. It’s in my backpack. But, the crafty son-of-a-bitch ripped out the page that contains the antidote’s construction.” Judas lowered his vocal tonality, indicating his growing impatience with the situation.
“You didn’t bother to read the preceding pages? They might hold a clue,” Katy responded with a promising suggestion.
“I don’t have the time to argue this point with you Katy.” By now Judas was completely pissed off with the outcome of things and motioned for his second in command to raise his shotgun. One of the men stood close to Katy, off to her left. “Logan is it?”
“I’ll kill you where you lie, dog.” Logan’s face narrowed with anger. Logan professionally analyzed the situation. He would have one shot to take.
Katy was caught off guard by the soldier’s quick reaction.
“We can make this very peaceful. Or, it can get ugly in a hurry,” Judas informed the trio. “Your call, G.I. Joe.”
“We’re all going to die out here Judas,” Logan readied his shot. “This virus has already infected our bodies. It’s only a matter of time before we all succumb.”
“Not if you get me that page,” Judas again raised his gun, aiming it directly at Logan once more. “I can save all of you. Then again, if you don’t comply with my simple
request I will kill Katy.”
“You bastard,” Katy scowled. “I loved you.”
“Your first mistake. And now, you’re going to make another costly blunder. I’ll tear through the colony and find the journal’s missing page myself. Or, I can also kill you and pry that vial of blood from your dead cold fingers.”
“Fuck off, Judas.” Katy clenched the vial and squeezed it until the contents exploded inside her hands. “There’s your God Damn antidote asshole,” Katy’s emotion roared with anger as she hurled the broken vial to the ground, burying it deep into the mud with the heel of her foot.
“Bitch,” Judas growled raising his arm to incite his order.
Logan’s peripheral vision was his greatest asset as a decorated Army Captain. He could feel the battle from all angles. Logan knew his window would be small to save Katy. Nevertheless, he enacted his plan. Logan realized that he had started to have feelings for Katy. He never considered the possibility of falling for someone all over again.
Acting with the force of a hurricane, Logan’s right foot smacked directly into Judas’ jutted jaw sending the doctor reeling flat to the ground. Logan then pivoted on his left foot wheeling around and unloading upon Katy’s shooter, squeezing off round after round. The stunned soldier’s body absorbed the incoming shots, sending random sprays of blood into the air. Staggering, the solider keeled over face-first, silently quaking his way into a cold death. The ensuing madness consumed Logan.
“Anyone else?” Logan prepared for a fight. To his surprise the other soldiers released their weapons, letting them drop harmlessly to the ground.
“Katy,” Logan called out to her. “Katy are you all right?”
Her lips quivered. A warm sensation poured through her fingers as she clamored to pressurize the wound.
Logan turned around and witnessed Katy’s horrifying condition. “Katy, no!” He ran to her aid.
Logan caught a brief picture of the smoking barrel from Judas’s fired weapon.
Katy fell to her knees. The bullet had embedded into her chest, nicking one of her lungs. Gasping for breath, Katy fought hard to sustain consciousness.
Logan skidded across the mud and caught her in his arms. Her face losing the fire that had once burned brightly in her eyes. Flickering, her eyes met Logan’s.
“I’m sorry,” her words were quiet and feebly coherent.
“Don’t be.” Logan pressed his hand against her wound attempting to stop the bleeding. “You did your best.”
“I wish we could’ve had more time together,” Katy’s words tugged at Logan.
“We will. You were just about to crack through my shell.” Logan kissed her clammy forehead. “You made me feel again. For that, I’m eternally grateful to you.” He cradled her face in his careful hands. “You need to rest. It looks like the bullet hit one of your lungs. I will come back for you Katy Madison.” Logan pressed his lips firmly against hers.
“I’ll wait for you.” Katy cradled herself in Logan’s arms. Her eyes gently closed, dreaming of Logan’s warm embrace.
Logan let a steady stream of tears streak down his weathered face, definitely an emotion he hadn’t felt since his wife died many years ago.
Logan carefully laid Katy down to rest, folding her arms across her chest. Logan gripped his weapon and feverishly headed across the field to encounter Judas once and for all.