This is an excerpt from the book I am working on now, a sequel to RISE and AGE OF THE DEAD. It is set in Mission BC eight years after the dead rise.
DEAD INSIDE by GARETH WOOD
CHAPTER FIVE (Excerpt)
Mission Safe Zone, September 1st 2012, the Essential Supplies Warehouse
Alexander Corrone reported for work early. His shift began at seven thirty in the morning, but he was there by seven. He was the boss of one of the two warehouse crews for Essential Supplies, the day shift, and he ran his crew efficiently and well. He was lean and dark haired, just slightly greying. His features were blunt and forgettable, and he blended into a crowd easily, unless he spoke. His age could have been anything from thirty to fifty.
Alexander stood outside the warehouse in the warm morning sunlight and greeted his team as they arrived. He knew them all by name, knew the names of their families if they had any, and knew their cares and worries. He was considered a great boss by everyone on the crew. He was known as a leader and a team player. His team thought he liked them, and genuinely cared about their lives and problems.
It was all a lie.
“Morning, Bob,” he said, as one of his team came in. Bob made small talk for a few minutes and finished an incredibly rare cigarette.
“Helen,” he greeted his forklift operator when she arrived, “how is Sandy doing?”
He listened to the replies and filed them away, tucking the memories away inside his head to be evaluated later. Soon everyone was there, all of them on time and happy to have jobs in such a prestigious place. Essential Supplies was the place to work if you weren’t a salvager or a Wall guard.
As the last member of his team arrived, Alexander went inside, listening to them shooting the shit, watching them gesture and touch and catch up. Alexander smiled and nodded as they engaged him in conversation. He spoke words of encouragement and got his team to work. None of them suspected that beneath his affable and kind exterior, his well practised expressions and calm manner, Alexander felt nothing.
Nothing at all.
He had come into his position through a combination of what appeared to be good luck on one hand, and terrible tragedy on the other. Alexander had become foreman of the day shift crew when his predecessor had been killed and eaten by a wandering zombie. At least, that was how it appeared to everyone but Alexander.
He had been working his way up the ladder of command in Essential Supplies for some time, nearly six years. Unfortunate but not always fatal things tended to happen to those in his path. He was very careful, and no one yet had managed to guess that it was him behind the scandals, accidents, and deaths.
Alexanders goal, ultimately, was to be in charge of Essential Supplies. That was the high seat on the Town Council he aspired to. Not to serve the interests of the population, or to help people, or protect the town against the undead, but purely so that he could have the pick of the salvage for himself, to make himself more comfortable and affluent. One of the few things he felt anymore was the distinct pleasure of skimming something out of the incoming salvage. His pleasure would be tenfold, he knew, when he was in position to take anything he wanted and make it his own.
Every few weeks the list of salvaged items was prepared for the Council meeting, and it went through the head of Essential Supplies, but not before Alexander got it and looked it over for choice prizes. Once a month or so he would select a few things and put them aside, then delete them from the list. There were no further records kept below his own, since he made sure the salvagers were subtly discouraged from keeping records. If they took a little initiative and made a list of everything they had recovered, Alexander would take the list and then ignore it, making his own list right in front of them on his own clipboard. His people would explain that they had to go over everything that came in themselves, even if the salvagers came in with a typed, double-spaced, and in triplicate inventory of their haul. Most of them took the hint and just dropped off the goods at the warehouse.
He planned to take his team with him to the top, not because of any loyalty to them, but because he needed well trained minions to do the hard work. He had absolutely no interest in doing the work himself. So he got to know the crew, made sure they were loyal to him, and made sure they were taken care of. A little something to help them out now and then, like a few extra cans of food, a pack of cigarettes, or antibiotics for a sick child. Whatever it was, it always came from his hands, so they thought he cared and stayed loyal.
All the while he was cold inside, quiet like a grave.