Zombie Crawl

Happy Halloween and happy 6th birthday to my little zombie!

AND

Welcome to Zombie Blog Crawl 2016!!!

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This is the third year Band of Dystopian has put together a Zombie Blog Crawl for Halloween, and the third year I’ve participated. You can see my post from 2015 HERE and my post from 2016 HERE (when I went visited the set of The Walking Dead). After you look through this post, be sure to scroll down and check out the links to all the other blogs participating in the Zombie Crawl, AND enter the giveaways! (Be sure to check out my giveaway at the end of this post.)

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I keep telling my husband that being a zombie author will help me when the zombie apocalypse happens, but he thinks I’m insane. Still, I maintain that fans of the zombie genre in general would have a decided advantage. Having written thirteen zombie themed books, I’ve reached the point where I’ve taken my characters through countless scenarios—and not always successfully — and I think at this point, I have a good idea of what to do and what to avoid. On top of that, when I’m out exploring the world, I constantly myself envisioning how a person would fare in a certain area. If it would be easy to fortify. If there are supplies around. If water would be an issue. And I’ve come across some places that would be perfect for zombie apocalypse survival, as well as some not so great places. So, for this year’s zombie crawl, I’ve compiled a list of… 

The 50 Best Place to Go to Survive the
Zombie Apocalypse

(In Alphabetical Order)

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AlabamaFort Morgan

Edibobb at Wikipedia.org

 

On a peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, this 19th century military fort would be a great place to hunker down. While it’s not in great shape, it’s well fortified and secluded, and would provide enough shelter to get you through the early weeks at least.

 

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AlaskaAlyeska Ski Resort

Eric Goedtel at Wikipedia.org

Alaska in general is a good place to go during the apocalypse, assuming you can survive the cold weather. The town of Alyeska is approximately 27 miles from the town of Anchorage, but let me tell you, in the winter in Alaksa, 27 miles feels a lot further. In December of 2012 I took a trip out there to visit my best friend and we went to Alyeska for the night. The resort itself it very secluded, surrounded by mountains and forests, and even though it’s the largest ski area in the state, as few as 2,000 people live in the valley year round. It was off-season when I visited, and we saw very few people. With over 300 guest rooms, there’s plenty of space for you and your fellow survivors to start over.

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ArizonaTitan Missile Museum

Jeff A. Goldberg at Wikipedia.org

 

 

While not the most comfortable place to live out the apocalypse, the underground bunker sure would be safe. Steel reinforced, tunnels, and blast doors are all features in this Cold War era bunker.

 

 

 

 

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ArkansasWar Eagle Cave (or any of the other dozens of caves)

War Eagle Cavern/Facebook

 

I’ve only been to Arkansas once, and it was more than *cough* twenty *cough* years ago, but apparently there are a lot of caves. I chose War Eagle Cave because it doesn’t have any really tight passages or stairs, a plus when trying to survive underground and not lose your mind.

 

 

 

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CaliforniaA secluded Winery in Napa or Sonoma

Stan Shebs at Wikepedia.org

This is just a personal opinion, but I think it would work. Wine country is secluded, the wineries are often far from the road and have fences around the property, plus some even have an inn or restaurant. Even better: lots of wine. Let’s face it, it’s the end of civilization, you’re going to need to curl up with a good bottle of wine at the end of the day. If it doesn’t work, at least you’ve gone out in style.
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Colorado– Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park

Rationalobserver at Wikipedia.org

Ancient civilizations lived here, so why couldn’t you? Let’s face it, life is going to be rough after the zombies take over, and the most important thing to find is safety. A national park will be secluded and these homes are built into the side of a mountain! You know no one is going to sneak up on you, and you’ll have the perfect vantage point if anyone tries to get at you—alive or dead.

 

 

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Connecticut – Mystic Seaport

Wikepida.org

Apparently if you’re in Connecticut, the best thing you can do is grab a slice of pizza (showing my age with that joke) and head on down to the port. Being on a boat is never a bad thing, and you’ll definitely be safe from zombies. You can collect rainwater to drink and fish so you don’t starve. Just be sure to bring a lot of vitamin C so you avoid scurvy.

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DelawareFort Delaware

Missy Lee at Wikipedia.org

Just look at this thing! A moat, solid brick walls, and plenty of room, it’s like the people who built it were thinking about zombies. Assuming you have enough food and supplies, this just might be the best place to end up. It’s better than an underground bunker because you could actually escape (not so easy when you’re underground), and it’s less limiting than an island somewhere. It actually makes me want to set a zombie novel in Delaware so I can have my survivors end up here…

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FloridaLittle Torch Key Hotel

island-view
Trip Advisor

I found out about this place while researching locations for books, and it blew my mind. An exclusive Florida Keys resort, Little Torch Key Hotel is so remote that it is literally only accessible by sea-plane or boat! I’m talking about living the good life during the zombie apocalypse. Private beach bungalows and beautiful landscape, all on an island that the zombies won’t be able to touch! If you’re in Florida when the apocalypse hits, throw your fishing gear in your car and head down to this resort. Heck, even if you aren’t in Florida you may want to think about heading down there. I might!

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GeorgiaSenoia and The Walking Dead Set

Me in front of the set 2015

This is no brainer. If you’re in Georgia when the zombie apocalypse happens, head to Senoia and take shelter in the Walking Dead set. If you saw my page last year during the Zombie Crawl, you know that I visited Senoia personally. Real walls surround the set and the houses inside are real as well. Yes, the set is situated literally in the middle of the town of Senoia, but it’s not a huge town and it’s far enough away from Atlanta that the population isn’t that large. What better way to survive the zombie apocalypse than a town that was actually designed to survive it?

 

 

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Hawaii Dali Hale beach rental on Kauai

ExoticEstates.com

Brutal honesty: Hawaii is about the last place you want to be when the apocalypse hits. It’s secluded and you’re likely to run out of supplies fast. The state itself is split up into several islands, so you’re even more cut off than you would be an Island off the mainland, and Honolulu itself has been rated the worst place to be when the zombies take over. But if you do happen to find yourself there, I’d look for a luxurious beach house like the Dali Hale on Kauai. This one in particular is gated and secluded, and has plenty of space. It wouldn’t be perfect, but it might be your best bet.

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IdahoBoise Fallout Shelter

Idaho Architecture Project

In 1961, due to the growing fear of nuclear attack, a community fallout shelter was built in Boise . It was designed to shelter about 1,000 people for several years and stock in the shelter was sold off at about $100 a share, giving wealthy members of the community a chance to save their family. Of course, those people never needed those reassurances, and the fear of nuclear attack eventually faded, leading to the sale of the shelter. It’s still standing today, but is now privately owned and has been renovated so it’s less of a living space and more of an office area, but it  would be a great place to set up camp in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

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IllinoisJoliet Correctional Center

Daniel Schwen at Wikipedia.org

We all know that a prison is a great place to set up camp when the zombies come, assuming you can clean it out. The good thing about this one? It’s already abandoned and there’s even a watch tower in the middle that allows you to see all around the prison. Not too shabby!

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IndianaVivos Indiana

Vivos Command at Wikipedia.org

Somewhere in Indiana a cold war shelter has been renovated so 80 people can live out the apocalypse in luxury. The company, Vivos, spared no expense when they created these shelters, as you can see here, but if you want a spot in this luxury shelter it’s going to cost you. How much is hard to say since it’s not laid out on the website, but we’re most likely looking at millions of dollars here. Or you can find out the location of the shelter, pray most of the people who bought into it die early on, and hope that someone inside has enough sympathy to let you in. It’s a long shot, but if you’re stuck in Indiana, it might be worth a try.

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IowaIndependence Mental Health Institute

kc7fys at Wikipedia.org

Sure it’s rumored to be haunted, but the building is secure and has plenty of space. While it’s hard to say what condition the majority of the hospital is in, a section of it is currently open for tours, and that part at least has been maintained. Since the hospital itself hasn’t been in use in years, the building is also empty. Meaning you won’t have to worry about clearing out the walking dead when you get there. That right there is a big plus when you’re talking about survival.
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KansasLuxury Survival Condo

SurvivalCondo.com

 

If you’re familiar with my zombie series, Broken World, you’ve heard about the Atlas missile silos being converted into luxury condos. They are real, and if you live in Kansas, there’s a good chance you aren’t far from one. While the location is secret, it might not be that hard to get an idea of where one could be. You can search for all the Atlas missile silos in existence here and see which ones are privately owned. It shouldn’t be that hard to figure out if you really want to, and it just might save you when the zombies show up! (PS…Yes, this is where I got the idea for my own underground luxury shelters.)

 

 

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KentuckyMammoth Cave

Daniel Schwen at Wikipedia.org

 

This past summer my family took a tour through Mammoth Cave. It was late June and over 90 degrees that day, but the second we set foot in the cave we cooled off, and throughout the two hour tour, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great place it would be to set a dystopian or post-apocalyptic book. Everywhere I looked I could imagine an underground civilization springing up slowly over decades, eventually becoming a metropolis. It was awesome, and it’s also the perfect place to set up camp when the zombies come if you’re in Kentucky.

 

 

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Louisiana – Louisiana Castle

LouisianaCastle.com

 

This beautiful wedding venue and inn is situated on ten acres of secluded land and has plenty of room for a large group (the site says it can accommodate 350 guests). While it may not be easy to fortify the perimeter, the castle-like structure sure would be secure!

 

 

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MaineFort Gorges

Wikipedia.org

 

You’re going to have to build your own shelters inside this Civil War-era monument, but it will be worth it. Accessible only by water and fortified by thick, stone walls, Fort Gorges will keep you safe from men and monsters during the end of the world.

 

 

 

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MarylandFort Frederick

frenchandindianwarfoundation.org

With walls that are more than 17 feet high and three feet thick, this is your best bet in Maryland. Leftover from the French and Indian War, the fort is now part of a state park, meaning it’s being maintained and kept in pristine condition. There are a two barracks inside the walls  that will do for shelter, and plenty of space to expand as your population grows.

 

 

 

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MassachusettsFort Warren

Doc Searls at Wikipedia

While I personally wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a city, I saw Boston listed over and over again as a good place to head. Apparently, Boston has been identified as the city most likely to survive the zombie apocalypse (followed by Salt Lake City, UT and Columbus, OH). But being in a city goes against everything I believe about surviving the zombie apocalypse, so instead I’m going to send you to Fort Warren, a 28 acre island at the entrance of the Boston Harbor. That way you’re secluded, but also close to the city that is apparently going to break all the rules and be a good place to end up.

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MichiganBelle Isle, Detroit

Mlive.com

This 982-acre island park in the Detroit River is ideal. While there’s a lot to do on the island (aquarium, zoo, golf) no one actually lives on it since it’s a state park, and as far as I can tell, there’s only one way on or off. There’s wildlife, water, plenty of open space to grow your own food, and lots of buildings. You could literally start a new city on this island.

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Minnesota – Fort Snelling

historicfortsnelling.org

Built in the 1820s, the fort was used as recently as WWII as a language center, teaching military personnel Japanese. During that time, barracks were built to house soldiers, meaning not only is this place fortified by high walls and equipped with a watchtower, but it has places for you sleep.

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MississippiThe American Queen Steamboat

Thegreenj at Wikipedia.org

Keep a safe distance from zombies on the American Queen Steamboat! The largest steamboat to ever be built, she actually works on steam (although has a secondary diesel engine as well) and has 222 staterooms. You can coast up and down the Mississippi River, picking up supplies and passengers (if you feel inclined) as you go, or simply dock somewhere and stay a safe distance from the walking dead. Whatever floats your boat. Literally in this case.

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MissouriBonne Terre Mine

Westendiving.com

The world’s largest man made cavern, it remains 62 degrees year round and has plenty of room for you during the zombie apocalypse. Consisting of five levels, the lower three form a seventeen mile long underground lake while the upper two levels have old mule trails that will easily guide your through the caverns. Since this is currently a tourist attraction, it’s outfitted with boats and scuba gear, as well as lighted throughout. That may not help once the electricity goes out, but where there’s a will there’s a way, and if you decide to make this your post-apocalyptic home, I’d say you have a strong will to survive!

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MontanaChurch of Universal Triumph Bomb Shelter

discovermagazine.com

This is a rather obscure one. Apparently there is a cult called the Church of Universal Triumph and they have a bomb shelter (under their church?) in Emigrant, Montana. Not only is it stocked with supplies, it can house up to 150 people in 40 staterooms. Due to the nature of this group, there isn’t a lot of information about the bunker available, but it’s there for anyone who is interested.

 

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Nebraska – Fort Atkinson

Wikipedia.org

Built on a rocky bluff and large enough to house about 1,000 people, this fort has a pretty solid fortification. Even though it was built in 1819, it was reconstructed in the 1990s, so the walls are pretty new. While I couldn’t find any information about exactly how high the walls are, there are walls around the perimeter.

 

 

 

 

 

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Nevada3970 Spencer St. in Las Vegas

oddee.com

Ever see the 1999 movie Blast From the Past? Well the idea for that movie was based on a real house in Las Vegas, that has a 15,000 square foot bunker built underneath it, complete with a putting green, swimming pool, hot tubs, a sauna, dance floor, and more! The original owners died in 1980s and was purchased in 2014 by a mysterious group called the Society for the Preservation of Near Extinct Species for the low price of $1.5 million. (Is that species mankind?) Get the whole scoop on what this property has here.

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New HampshireThe Fort At Number Four

Pinterest

Yes, another fort. Seriously, these are a gold mine and something I never even considered for the setting of a book until I started making this list. They are literally all over the country, and like this one, most are fortified and ready for a group of survivors to move in! Enclosed in a stockade and complete with a lookout tower, this fort is doubly secure with a square of interconnected houses in the center. Meaning you’ll be safe and you’ll have a roof over your head.

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New JerseyAbandoned Bunker, Cape May

urbanghostsmedia.com

Sitting on the beach in Cape May, NJ is an old WWII bunker. It’s abandoned and up for grabs when the apocalypse hits. Sure it will be a bit uncomfortable—and dirty—but it will be safe. And let’s  face it, we know from watching The Walking Dead that people will get very desperate very fast when the end comes. This might look like paradise to you compared to what else is out there.

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New MexicoGila Cliff Dwelling

John Fowler at Wikipedia.org

New Mexico has cities literally in the side of mountains. They’d be safe, secluded, and high, and would provide a good lookout for anyone or anything headed your way. You’ll need to bring a lot of supplies in, but people have lived here for real, so it’s doable and might just be your best bet when the zombies come.

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New York – Adirondack State Park Missile Silo

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silohome.com

 

Located near Lake Placid, this silo home has been all over the news. Created out of one of the old missile silos from the Cold War-era, it’s a normal house above ground, but a luxury bunker underneath complete with nine levels and 12k square feet of space. It also sits on 10 acres of secluded land. You never know, if the owners are still alive when the zombies come knocking, they might be feeling generous and let you in. If they’re gone, the shelter just might be up for grabs.

 

 

 

 

 

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North CarolinaAbandoned Underground Mall in Raleigh

CandidSlice.com

Beneath the streets of Cameron Village in Raleigh sits an entire abandoned mall. While the main entrance has been sealed off, apparently other entrances into the mall can be found in the back rooms of various businesses in the area. Not only would this be a really cool place to explore, but it would provide survivors with shelter and security during the zombie apocalypse. You can get all kinds of great info about this abandoned mall and where the entrances might be hidden here.

 

 

 

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North DakotaFort Union Trading Post

Xerxes2004 at Wikipedia.org

 

It has a wall, it has a house, it’s ready for you to move in. This fort was instrumental in developing the fur trade during the 1800’s and is now a historic site. While it’s only partially reconstructed and it might take a little elbow grease to make it the perfect apocalyptic town, it still looks pretty secure.

 

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OhioNorth Bass Island

north_bass_map_ag
Used with permission from Aerial Graphics

My home state and where I’m moving to in just a few short weeks, I wasn’t thrilled with the list of options available for zombie survival, but the small islands in the northern part of the state, on Lake Erie, seem to be the best bet. North Bass Island in particular since it’s the least developed of the options. Used mostly as a vineyard, there are only about a dozen inhabitants on the island itself, meaning your chance of running into the dead is minimal. And there will be some houses up for grabs.

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OklahomaQuartz Mountain Resort

Quartzmountain.org

This is practically right down the road from me, and when my family and I were out there hiking a few weeks ago, I couldn’t stop from marveling at what an ideal location this would be during the zombie apocalypse. Surrounded by the Quartz Mountains and the 6,400-acre Lake Altus-Lugert, the Quartz Mountain Resort is perfectly secluded. There’s one road in, which makes it easy to fortify, and it has 118 guestrooms just waiting to be filled with apocalypse survivors. If my family and I happened to still be in the area when zombies showed up, this is where we’d go.

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OregonTerwilliger Hot Spring

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Terwilliger Hot Springs/Facebook

If you’ve read my zombie series, you know that I’ve used this setting before, and while the Terwilliger Hot Spring wasn’t the inspiration for my setting, it isn’t a bad option. Located in Willamette National Forest, the springs are secluded, and assuming you can fortify the area, it would be nice to have hot water when the world ends.

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PennsylvaniaThe Alvira Bunkers

Used by permission from smithcreate.com

Near Allenwood, PA sit the remains of the small town of Alvira and the Susquehanna Ordnance Depot, where the federal government made and stored war munitions during WWII. Among those remains sit 149 bunkers, just waiting for the end of the world and someone to claim them. While they’re dirty and some may not have usable doors, you should be able to find a few that would serve the purpose of keeping you safe from zombie attacks. You can more info about the bunkers here.

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Rhode IslandPrudence Island

Juni0r75 at Wikipedia.org

Only five and a half square miles and fewer than a hundred inhabitants, this Island would be your best bet in Rhode Island. It’s secluded, accessible by ferry only, and has homes on it already. You’d be able to make a real stand on an island like this, with less area to keep track of and the sea ready and waiting for you to fish in.

 

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South CarolinaThe Castle

National Geographic Channel

Near Pickens, SC is a castle bunker built by prepper Brent Bruns and his five children. The whole thing was the subject of an eight episode show on the National Geographic Channel back in 2013, and you get all the details about the shelter and the family here. I haven’t seen the show, and there is little information online about what’s actually in the shelter (no details on size, how many people it hold, or what it’s stocked with) but it’s there! It’s up to you whether or not you want to knock on the door and ask them to let you in.

 

 

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South DakotaVivos

Forbes.com

Apparently, this is one of the worst states to be in when the zombie apocalypse hits. I’m not sure why given it’s much lower populated than a lot of other states that fared better, but I’d guess it has to do with the wide open spaces and the few hiding spots. The good news is that Vivos has struck again, and they’ve built 575 private bunkers on 9,000 miles of land that they are currently selling off. In the Black Hills area of SD, south of Edgemont, this former Army munitions depot has been transformed into a survival community that would make any preppers dreams come true. And you can buy your very own bunker for just $25k. Now even middle class Americans can survive the apocalypse! Of course, these bunkers come literally bare and you have to put even more money into renovating them into a workable shelter, so maybe not so much. But we all know not all of those bunkers are going to be occupied when the end comes, so if you find yourself in South Dakota, you might want to head there. Although, I’m not sure what you’d do for supplies given that the bunkers are literally in the middle of nowhere. For more details, you can read the article in Forbes or visit the Vivos website.

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Tennessee The Lost Sea

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TheLostSea/Facebook

America’s longest underground lake and an extensive cave system, The Lost Sea is located in Sweetwater, TN and is the perfect place for you and your fellow survivors to set up camp. Not only is it gorgeous, but it’s hidden away and safe from zombies, with plenty of room to spread out.

 

 

 

 

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TexasLonghorn Cavern State Park

Longhorn Caverns/Facebook

With a year round temperature of about 68 degrees, this is the perfect place to escape the heat in post-apocalyptic Texas. I couldn’t find anything that said how long the caverns are, but they sit on over 600 acres of state land, so that makes them pretty secluded. From the looks of the pictures, the ceilings aren’t low and you aren’t going to run into many tight areas.

 

 

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UtahTimpanogos Cave

Utah.com

The trail leading up to this cave, which is on Mount Timpanogos in the Wasatch Mountains in American Fork Canyon, is 1.5 miles long and steep, but paved and fairly wide. So, even though you’ll have to hike your way up, so will anyone who wants to get at you. There are actually three caves, Hansen Cave, Middle Cave, and Timpanogos Cave, all connected by manmade tunnels. Just be sure you have plenty of supplies because you could get snowed in once winter hits.

 

 

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Vermont Burton Island

vtsports.com

 

250 acres of isolated and uninhabited land is just waiting for you on Burton Island. Accessible only by ferry or boat, the island has a dock and three cabins up for grabs, as well as numerous campsites and restrooms.

 

 

 

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VirginiaTangier Island

Emeil at Wikipedia.org

Only accessible by air or sea, with less than a thousand inhabitants and no cars at all, Tangier Island is the perfect spot to escape to. It’s nestled in the Chesapeake Bay only 12 miles from the mainland, close enough that you can go ashore for supplies if you need to, and far enough away that people passing by wouldn’t even know you’re there.

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WashingtonSan Juan Island

Pfly at Wikipedia.org

There are four main islands in the San Juan Island system, none of which are accessible by anything but water or air. They’re lush with wildlife and get ample rain, but due to their location, they get less rain than the Seattle area so you wouldn’t be soaked all the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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West VirginiaPrickett’s Fort

Jeff Turner at Wikipedia.org

Built when European settlers first came to the new world, the fort is a reconstruction of what it would have been. It has walls surrounding it with a meetinghouse and fourteen small cabins inside, as well as two story blockhouses at each corner for easy lookout. It will be a tight fit, but it will keep you safe.

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WisconsinApostle Islands

wikipedia.org
Wikipedia.org

 

More islands. Who knew?

The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands in Lake Superior that are home to lush plant life and brimming with animal life. Several of the islands have lighthouses and ranger stations, most have docks, and many are popular camping areas.

 

 

 

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WyomingCarissa Mine

wyomingstateparks.wordpress.com

With some of the buildings and tracks reconstructed in recent years, and daily guided tours happening at the mine, the area is a good place to take shelter. We know that it’s secure enough to go in if the state is taking people through it, and with options both above ground and below, you won’t get as claustrophobic as some of the other options on this list.

And that’s fifty!

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Before you go, I do feel like I need to point out a few places that I think you should avoid during the zombie apocalypse.

1.Hospitals

I saw a few sites list this as a good place to go, but most people who enjoy apocalyptic fiction will tell you this is not true. Especially when you’re dealing with a zombie outbreak. Where do people go when they get sick? The hospital. Now, imagine that every person who sets foot in the hospital dies and comes back as a zombie. Would you want to be there? Nope. If you’re looking for medical equipment, there are alternatives. Urgent Cares, Pharmacies, medical supply stores, and vet clinics. Don’t forget that many of the medicines used for animals are the same ones used for people. Plus, they’d have gauze, syringes, medical tape, and suture kits. That’s the first place I’m heading when I need medial treatment during the apocalypse.

2.Military Bases

I found military bases on more than a few lists, and as an Air Force spouse and someone who has spent more than a little time on and around military bases, I have to disagree. On the surface it may sound good. There are weapons and commissaries (grocery stores), and the property is fenced in. BUT the sheer size of most bases would make them impossible to fortify. Military bases are literally small towns, encompassing miles of land. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio is nearly twelve square miles. How easy do you think it would be to keep track of that many miles of fence on a daily basis? Not easy. Plus, thousands of people live and work on bases, meaning they would die on the base and be stuck inside the fences. It just doesn’t seem worth the risk or hassle if there are other places around to set up camp.

3.Churches

Like a hospital, churches would be overrun during the apocalypse—unless you have a preacher who locks his congregation out. When the end of the world seems to be looming, many people turn to faith, which means heading to church. Don’t be surprised to find your local church crawling with zombies!

Want an idea of where everything is in your town?

Check out the Map of the Dead 

 


 

***Special thanks to Onlyinyourstate.com for their helpful lists, EmergencyOutdoors.com for tips, and Oddee.com for their article on 10 Amazing Apocalypse Bunkers.

***In most cases, I tried to get photos from Wikipedia.org so they were copyright free and I have credited my sources, but a special thank you to AerialGraphics.com for giving me permission to use their picture of Bass Island, Jonathan Smith of SmithCreate.com for allowing me to use his photo of the Alvira Bunkers, and CandidSlice.com for giving me permission to use her picture of the Raleigh underground mall.

 


GIVEAWAY ALERT

***Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Not only can you win a DVD of Zombieland, but you’ll also get book one in my Amazon best-selling zombie series, Broken World. (Signed by me, of course.) In addition to that, you get: a Broken World keychain and pen, zombie bits candy, and a Walking Dead necklace.*** 

I know what you’re thinking: How do I enter!?

You can like my Facebook author page, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, but that isn’t necessary to enter or win the prize. This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada, and all you have to do is click on THIS link and fill out the form. I’ll choose the winner on November 2nd and shoot you an email (I’ll also announce it here and on my FB page). 


Before you leave, be sure to check out all the other posts included in the Zombie Crawl and enter all the other great giveaways!

 z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 3

a blog party from Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

October 24 – 31, 2016

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! The easiest way to make sure you don’t miss a post is to join our Facebook event page, where we’ll post links each time an author or blogger participates on their scheduled day. We’ll also have several flash giveaways on the event page as well as a grand prize giveaway on BandofDystopian.com. And of course, you can use the schedule below to click through to each site. Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Have fun, and thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule

OCTOBER 24 – Monday

Jeffrey Clare (publisher, group host)

Christina L. Rozelle (author)

OCTOBER 25 – Tuesday

Digital Dirty Girl Book Blog (blog)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 26 – Wednesday

R.L. Blalock (author)

Bryan Way (author)

Post-Apocalyptic Playground (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Thursday

Claire C. Riley (author)

M. Lauryl Lewis (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Friday

The Voluptuous Book Diva (18+ blog)

YA Book Divas (blog)

Grivante (author)

OCTOBER 29 – Saturday

Kate L. Mary (author)

Brea Behn (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Sunday

Cameo Renae (author)

J.W. Vohs (author)

OCTOBER 31 – Monday

Kelsey D. Garmendia (author)

Lindsey Winsemius (author)

Casey Hays (author)

Lee Ryder (author)

– – –

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian. com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!

Zombie Blog Crawl 2!!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winner: Morgan Anderson

Happy Halloween and Happy 5th Birthday to my littlest zombie!

AND

Welcome to Zombie Blog Crawl 2015!!!

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This is the second year Band of Dystopian has put together a Zombie Blog Crawl for Halloween, and the second year I’ve participated. You can see my post from 2014 HERE. After you look through this post, be sure to scroll down and check out the links to all the other blogs participating in the Zombie Crawl, and enter the giveaways! (Be sure to check out my giveaway at the end of this post.)

This year I was lucky enough to get a short break from life by taking my second ever Momcation with my best friend Erin. Lucky for me, she just moved to Peachtree City, GA, which isn’t too far from where they film The Walking Dead. Pretty cool, right? While visiting Erin I was able to visit Senoia, GA (AKA Woodbury), take a tour with Atlanta Movie Tours, and do a drive-by of a couple other filming sights not included in the tour. Ready to see some pictures?? I’m more than ready to show off all the amazing sights and share a little insight I gained about the filming industry in the Atlanta area.

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Did you know they film a ton of movies in and around Atlanta?? They do! It isn’t just The Walking Dead. My first day there, Erin and I headed into downtown Senoia (Which also happens to be downtown Woodbury).

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The town itself is cute and welcoming, and a great place to spend some time if you’re visiting the area, but it also happens to be the filming sight of dozens of movies and television shows. Little plaques have been placed in the sidewalks with the name and dates of each production filmed in the area. Remember this tear-jerker from the 90’s?

Downtown Senoia is also the home of The Official Walking Dead Store
and The Walking Dead Cafe!

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There’s even a little museum downstair that has some pretty awesome props from the show!

You might recognize these doors from the very first episode of The Walking Dead: Days Gone Bye

Remember when the Governor captured Andrea in Season three?
Here’s the chair she was tied to:

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The motorcycle Daryl Dixon rode during the first few seasons:

A zombie on loan from Executive Producer Greg Nicotero:

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Plus one of the jail cells from the prison, complete with Daryl cardboard cutout:
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As you walk through the museum, you’ll also find signatures from a lot of the cast and crew on the walls. I only took pictures of a few, but here are the notes “Carol” and “Maggie” left for visitors:

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Senoia, GA
AKA Woodbury

The downtown of Senoia is only a little bit more cheery than it was the first day Michonne and Andrea were brought in by Merle. The town’s main street is also main street Woodbury, which is pretty amazing to walk down. The woman working in the fudge shop told me the front windows of all businesses were covered during filming, and customers used back entrances to gain access to the stores. If you rewatch episodes shot in “Woodbury” you’ll notice it this time around. 
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Back when Woodbury existed, both ends of this street were blocked off, but now all you have to do is walk to the end of the road and the walled city of Alexandria, VA looms in front of you.

I made the trip to Senoia twice while on vacation, but unfortunately they weren’t filming in Alexandria on either occasion. :-(

Visitors are allowed to take pictures and walk by the set, but there is always a security guard on duty (That’s who’s in the white SUV pictured below). When we took the tour, our guide told us they’ve shot down several drones that people have tried to fly over the set, and they’ve even had to shoot a couple people who tried to climb the walls with tasers. One woman tried to get her young child to gain access to the set by having him/her crawl through the drainpipe. Security was waiting on the other end and the woman was immediately arrested.
They take the privacy of the set and filming very seriously, and you should too.

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We did walk down the street and take a few pictures, but the security guard wasn’t messing around, and even though I didn’t step off the street I was told one time that I was too close and I needed to back up. 

Below are a few different shots of the walls. These are REAL houses! We were told during our tour that  a few people actually live on the set (they have to show ID to get home and sign any guests in). Some of these houses were already built when filming started, but others (the brownstones, which are common in a suburb of DC) were built exclusively for the show.

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Here I am in front of the set!
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This is a burned building just inside the walls of Alexandria, which we just saw in last week’s devastating episode. When I was there (in late August) our tour guide pointed the building out and told us it used to be a church and just a few weeks before it had been burned down. We now know why…
Excuse me while I dry my eyes.

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Just around the corner from Alexandria are two filming sites you might recognize.

First up is the house Rick and Carl hid in after leaving the prison (Season 4, episodes 9 & 11). You might remember it as the “Claimed” house because it’s where Rick first encountered Joe and his men – don’t worry, they get what they deserve.

The second is the infamous pudding house. Yes, Carl (Chandler Riggs) sat on the roof of this very house and ate pudding until he wanted to throw up. If you’re interested, they sell giant cans of pudding at The Walking Dead Cafe in downtown Senoia. If I hadn’t been flying, I would have bought one to take home to my kids. Maybe next time.
(This picture I had to snap through the tour bus window. More on that later.)

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There’s plenty to see in Senoia, but a lot of the locations are things like “This is the alley where Andrea and Milton conspired against the governor,” or “They shot a scene of the group walking down these train tracks.”
Still, it’s pretty cool being in a town that so readily embraces zombie enthusiasts.
(You can even buy a zombie charm at the local jewelry store.)

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If you’re thinking about taking a trip to Senoia, be sure to have lunch in Katie Lou’s Cafe. We did twice, and the brisket sandwich was great.
Plus they serve wine all day long. #win

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Newnan, GA

My second day in Georgia we headed to Newnan to do a little shopping and grab some lunch. I swung by Let Them Eat Toffee for a delicious vacation treat, and we ate at Fabiano’s Pizzeria. It’s a funky and fun place, and the attached theater had a sign up saying that they were going to host a Walking Dead premiere event. If my husband and I lived in the area, we would have been there for sure.
And yes, Fabiano’s had wine. I ordered a glass of the Sassy Bitch Cabernet.

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It wasn’t until we got home later that night and sat down with another glass of wine (we like wine) to watch Zombieland that we realized where we had just been. A pretty awesome scene from this movie was filmed right where we had walked only a few hours earlier. Here’s a clip from Zombieland that shows downtown Newnan, GA (the apocalypse version anyway). 

Before leaving Newnan we took a quick detour so I could check out the hospital Beth was held in. Now closed, the hospital sits pretty much in the middle of nowhere and the gate only prevents people from driving up to it. You can get pretty close by walking through the grass, and if Erin’s two kids hadn’t been asleep in the van, I would have spent some time walking around the empty building so I could take a few more pictures.

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Erin was also nice enough to drive me to this neighborhood in Peachtree City so I could check out Noah’s house! This is where the group headed after Beth’s death, and where Tyrese ends up getting bitten.

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Other Filming Locations

In Grantville, GA you can find the Cafe Michonne and Carl went to in the season three episode “Clear.” If you remember correctly, you’ll recall that Carl came here looking for a picture of Lori so Judith would know what her mom looked like.
Too bad there wasn’t a picture of Shane too…

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Sharps burg, GA gives us the bar Hershel ran to so he could get drunk after the infamous barn incident. (Once again the picture is taken through the window of the tour bus, so it’s a little out of focus.)
And just across the street is the pharmacy Glenn (sob) and Maggie first got busy in…

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We also had the chance to drive by the motel Merle dragged Michonne to after he decided to turn her into the Governor. (There happened to be a splatter of blood left behind on the wall.)

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You might have noticed that a few of these locations were not part of the tour, but places we just decided to drive by on our own. So how did I find them?
Easy. I bought this handy book in The Walking Dead Store:

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Just to prepare you, this book wasn’t cheap ($30) but it lists most filming locations. (Some private residences, like Hershel’s farm, are not included because the families have not given their permission.) Owning this book enables fans to drive by these locations instead of paying for a guided tour, which is a great alternative for anyone on a budget. The tour was fun, but it also wasn’t cheap ($65 a person, including kids), and most of it was spent driving by the filming locations. So why pay for the tour? Going with the Atlanta Movie Tours allowed us to go INSIDE three buildings the average person can’t access. Which was really cool.

#1

The Zombie Arena

Featured in several episodes, you’ll recognize the Governor’s work right away. Merle and Daryl were almost forced to fight to the death here, and as part of the tour you get an exclusive look at the inside.

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Here’s a picture of my best friend, Erin, and me in the arena. She isn’t a Walking Dead fan (we’re working through this situation), but she tagged along because she knows how much I love the show.
(BTW: the crates behind us were the ones that held the zombies in between fights.)

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You also get a couple group pictures emailed to you after the tour:
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#2

Morgan’s Apartment

Remember when Rick found Morgan and he had gone totally crazy? (A different kind of crazy than he is now.) Yup, we got to go inside his apartment.

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#3

The Barn where Rick and the Governor Met

Then there was that time Andrea thought the Governor could be rational. All he and Rick had to do was sit down and have a little chat and everything would turn out okay… (That was before the Governor tied Andrea to a chair and let Milton eat her.) We got to go inside the barn….

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While here, though, all I could think about was this bad lip-reading video.
It always makes me laugh.

Below is a picture of our tour guide inside the barn. He’s been an extra on The Walking Dead a lot, and he had a good amount of info to share, especially about the filming in Woodbury and the prison. (And he gave some hints about how to become an extra.) Our guide was an extra as a part of the Governor’s army when they attacked the prison. (If you watch the episode where they’re handing out weapons, he’s wearing a hat.) This is another bonus you get from going with Atlanta Movie Tours: all the tour guides have been extras on the show. 

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Right across the street from the barn are a few other places you’ll recognize.

This old feed mill is featured in the opening credits the first few seasons…

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While Rick and the Governor were inside the barn “negotiating,” Daryl and Martinez had a pissing contest here….
In case you’re wondering, Daryl won.

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And here’s where Merle tried to ambush the Governor’s men,
and where Daryl found him after he’d turned. #tear

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So, which was better? Driving around by ourselves or taking the guided tour? 
I’m glad I got to go on the tour once, but next time I think we’ll just use our little book and find places on our own. While $65 wasn’t bad when it was just Erin and me, I have four kids…that can get pretty pricey. And they all like The Walking Dead, so leaving them behind isn’t an option. (They were actually pretty mad that I went without them this time.) We hope to go back to Peachtree City as a family next spring, and when we do we’ll definitely be using my handy Locations book to check out even more filming locations!


And that was the zombie portion of Momcation 2015! If you’re a fan of my contemporary romance novels and you want to check out the Charleston portion of my trip, you can find that post HERE.


GIVEAWAY ALERT

***Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! Not only can you win a DVD of Zombieland and the first season of The Walking Dead, but you’ll also get book one in my Amazon best-selling zombie series, Broken World. (Signed by me, of course.) In addition to that, you get: a Broken World mug, pen and magnet, and a very special pair of Glenn Rhee socks to keep your feet toasty through the long winter ahead.*** 

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I know what you’re thinking: How do I enter!?

You can like my Facebook author page, or follow me on Twitter and Instagram, but that isn’t necessary to enter or win the prize. This giveaway is open to residents of the US & Canada, and all you have to do is click on THIS link and fill out the form. I’ll choose the winner on November 2nd and shoot you an email (I’ll also announce it on my FB page)! 


Before you leave, be sure to check out all the other posts included in the Zombie Crawl and enter all the other great giveaways!

 z crawl schedule

Zombie Crawl 2 – Blog Party

October 22 – 31, 2015

by Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans

How it works: Each day, the scheduled authors and bloggers will post awesome zombie-tastic content for your enjoyment along with a giveaway on their site/blog/page. You can hop around to all of the participating sites and enter as many giveaways as you like! If you would like to be emailed links to the new posts each day, join this Zombie Crawl Daily Digest list which will ensure you don’t miss a post (or join the party on Facebook to get notifications). Make sure to leave comments and interact with the participating sites. Thanks for joining the party!

The Schedule:

OCTOBER 22 – Thursday

Band of Dystopian Authors & Fans (Party & Grand Prize Host)

Jo Michaels Blog (author)

Rissa Blakeley (author)

OCTOBER 23 – Friday

Claire C. Riley (author)

2 Girls & A Book (blog)

Emily Shore (author)

OCTOBER 24 – Saturday

Kathy Dinisi (author)

Us Girls & A Book (blog)

The Voluptuous Book Diva (blog 18+)

OCTOBER 25 – Sunday

Casey L. Bond (author)

THE KATY blog (blog)

OCTOBER 26 – Monday

Saul Tanpepper (author)

Warren Fielding (author)

The Leighgendarium (blog)

OCTOBER 27 – Tuesday

Kody Boye (author)

Rhiannon Frater (author)

ER Arroyo (author)

OCTOBER 28 – Wednesday

Allen Gamboa (author)

Armand Rosamilia (author)

Ethan @ One Guy’s Guide to Good Reads (blog)

OCTOBER 29 – Thursday

Kate L. Mary (author)

aftershockzombieseries (author)

Eli Constant (author)

OCTOBER 30 – Friday

Aria Michaels (author)

Brian Parker (author)

Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps (blog)

OCTOBER 31 – Saturday

Cindy Carroll (author)

M. R. Pritchard (author)

Toni L.H. Boughton (author)

Digital Dirty Girl (blog)

To learn more about Band of Dystopian and/or to enter our Grand Prize Giveaway, visit BandofDystopian.com and don’t forget to join the group on Facebook!

Cover Reveal: Prep for Doom Anthology

PFD Coming FB Banner

Prep for Doom Anthology

 

Laura Albins │ ER Arroyo  │ Amy Bartelloni │ Brea Behn │ Casey L. Bond  │ TK Carter │ Kate Corcino │ Harlow C. Fallon │ Kelsey D. Garmendia │ Caroline A. Gill │ DelSheree Gladden │ John Gregory Hancock │ Casey Hays │ Jon Messenger │ Monica Enderle Pierce │ Cameo Renae │ Hilary Thompson │ Yvonne Ventresca │ Megan White

PFD cover_official


 

╣Synopsis╠

 

From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM – an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, few of whom will ever meet. What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month.

An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation movement. Some have written them off as crazy while others couldn’t be more serious about the safety the preppers could provide in a global disaster. But when AVHF strikes, their preparation may not be enough to save them.

 


 

 

╣About Band of Dystopian╠

Band of Dystopian is a Facebook group, blog, and company dedicated to Dystopian, Apocalyptic, and Post-Apocalyptic books. Our mission is to help fans of dystopian fiction find books they will love and help authors of the genre get the word out about their work. We are branching into the publishing world with our first anthology, Prep For Doom.

 

Zombie Crawl Blog Party!


 

Happy Halloween

And

Welcome to

Zombie Crawl Blog Party 2014!


Be sure to head on over to BandofDystopian.com and enter to win the grand prize!

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Scroll down to read my zombie short story and enter the giveaway!


 

Zombie Crawl Blog Party Schedule

Party Host & Grand Prize: Band of Dystopian

October 22

Hope To Read | Author Jamie Canosa

October 23

Author E.R. Arroyo

October 24

Author Christy Sloat | Author N.W. Harris

October 25

Author David Moon

October 26

Two Girls & A Book

October 27

Secret Life of a Townie | The Writer’s Roadtrip

Author Michael Halliday | Author Aria Michaels

Imagine, Create, Share, Repeat!

October 29

Precious Monsters | Author Kate L. Mary

Z Plan – Zombie Book Series | Author Michelle Muckley

October 30

Author Rhiannon Frater | Author Cameo Renae

Author Angela Cavanaugh

October 31

Author Jessica Meigs

I Feel the Need, the Need to Read

 

 


zombie cover

Image courtesy of David Cowan and freeimages.com

 


 

King and Sarah

Charleston, South Carolina

 

      I have to squint against the brilliant sunlight when I peer through the small break in the curtains. The once busy streets of Charleston are deserted. Trash blows down the sidewalk, and in the distance I catch sight of a horse. Trotting down Market Street like he’s in his glory days, pulling a carriage full of tourists through the city. I can't help wondering who let him out. Maybe it was the owner of the tour company. It's possible they let the poor creature out when they realized the end was near. Or maybe some good Samaritan did it when they passed by the stables and saw the animal trapped. I'll never know for sure of course, but either way the horse is screwed now. What was probably done as a kind gesture is a death sentence for the animal.
      “See anything, Sarah?” King says from behind me.
      I step back and pull the curtains across the window, taking a second to make sure the fabric is secure before turning to face King. His dark hair is so long now it touches the collar of his sweatshirt. I’ve never seen it this shaggy, and we’ve known each other since we were two five-year-olds, digging through the dirt in our backyards. Passing mud pies through the chain link fence that kept us apart. He’s thinner now, and his brown eyes don’t twinkle. There used to be more life in King. Probably in me too, if I'm being honest.
      “No,” I say, shaking my head. “The streets are empty.”
      King swipes his hand through his hair and chews on his bottom lip. He glances toward the window a couple times like he's considering looking out, but he doesn't. Probably doesn't want to start another fight. There have been too many lately. "Where the hell did they all go?” His voice shakes, but I can’t blame him for being scared. King isn’t a coward. Fear is inevitable when you’re facing the dead.
      “My guess? Out of the city to find food." I kick at an empty can on the floor as if to point out the fact that we've run out. Like King doesn't already know. "You and I have to be the only two idiots left downtown. Everyone else got smart and got out.”
      King’s whole body jerks at my harsh words, and regret twists inside me. As if there's a rope coiled around my stomach. King and I have had this argument so many times it’s lost all meaning. There's no point in rehashing the whole thing. The decision was made and we can’t go back in time and undo what was done. We have to move forward. Work together as a team. That’s what will keep us alive. And it’s what we promised to do only two short months ago.
      “I’m sorry,” I say, putting my hand on his arm. “I didn’t mean it.”
      King’s brown eyes move to where my hand rests on his arm. The tips of my fingers brush against his firm bicep, and the muscles flex under my touch. There was a time when the contact would have set us both on fire. Before the virus, before the death, before the bodies rose. Back when things were simple and being together was out of want, not necessity.
      Those days feel like a dream now.
      He flicks his arm just enough to make my hand fall away, then takes a step back. The space between us has grown so much over the last few weeks that it feels wider than the Grand Canyon now. 
      King grabs his backpack off the ground and throws it over his shoulder. “We should move out while the coast is clear.”
      He doesn’t meet my gaze, and I’d be a liar if I said it didn’t feel like a knife in my heart. After everything we’ve been through over the past two months, I can’t be shocked that so much damage was done. Too much. I’m afraid things will never be the way they were again.
      “Yeah.” I sigh, just to let him know it all still hurts. That the pain of our rift hasn’t faded and I haven’t lost all hope of repairing the damage. He still doesn’t look my way.
      Can I really blame him? No. I can't.
       He heads to the door while I rake my fingers through my auburn hair. I twist it into a knot, then secure it with a hair tie. It’s tangled and probably not pretty, but it will keep the curls out of my face. I don’t want anything obstructing my view while we’re out there. It’s too dangerous.
      “Come on, Sarah,” King snaps. “We have a very limited window here.”
      I swallow down my anger and silently count to five, just like I remember my mom doing when I was little and she was annoyed. The promise I made to myself rings in my ears: I will make everything up to King. All of it.
      “I’m coming,” I say, working to keep my tone even and calm. Non-confrontational. 
      When I turn to face King, his eyebrows are raised. Almost like he’s shocked I didn’t bite his head off. Again, I can't blame him. I've been too much of a bitch over the last few weeks to expect anything else.
       “Okay,” he whispers.
      King grabs the aluminum baseball bat leaning against the wall, then cracks the door. He sticks his head out, checking to be sure the coast is clear before pushing the door open the rest of the way. He nods in my direction without really looking at me, and heads out. I’m right behind him, carrying the only weapon I have. A butcher knife taken from the kitchen. It doesn’t make me feel very secure.
      I’m right on King’s heels when we head down the stairs. They're rickety and creek under our feet, and even though it isn’t very loud it still sends my heart into overdrive. The sooner we can get out of the city the better. It makes me too jumpy.
      We pause at the bottom so we can check the street once again, but it’s still clear of the dead. It doesn’t ease my worry, though. I hate not knowing where they are. It reminds me of the feeling I used to get when I watched horror movies. Knowing the killer lurked somewhere in the shadows, but having no idea when he would jump out. Only I wasn’t really in danger then. Not like now.
      “It’s clear,” King says, even though I can see the street too and he knows it. It makes me feel a little better. We’ve barely spoken the past week and it's starting to get to me. He’s hurt and pissed and so am I, but I don’t like things being this way between the two of us. It feels more like the end of the world than even the killer virus and zombies.
      He doesn’t give me a chance to respond. He shoves the door open, gripping the bat tightly in his hands. Then he steps out and I’m only a second behind him. The air is cooler than I expected, and there’s a slight bite to the wind as it whips down the street. The sun is bright though, making me squint. I shield my eyes with my hand—the one not holding the knife—but it only helps a little. We haven’t been outside for weeks and the apartment we were hiding in had poor lighting. It’s going to take some time before my eyes are fully adjusted.
      “Ready?” King says in front of me.
      I nod because my throat is so tight it makes talking impossible. King takes off and I do my best to pry my eyes open so I can follow him. He trots down the sidewalk in front of me, almost on his toes. He’s doing it to make his footsteps as light as possible, but for some reason it makes me think of a ballet I saw when I was little. The Nutcracker. My mom took me at Christmas time when I was only seven, and at the time I was positive it was the most magical thing I’d ever see. I’m not sure I was wrong. 
       In the distance a dog barks, and I’m pretty sure I can hear the clopping of the horse’s hooves on the road. Otherwise, the world is deathly silent. My eyes slowly adjust as I follow King through the deserted city, making it possible for me to really take in the full extent of the destruction. The stores we pass are empty shells, with shattered windows and bare walls. The looting started around the time the virus got really bad. When police were too sick or overworked to keep up with it. Then the world died and the people who came out scavenged what they could, not caring how much they broke in the process. We were among them. King and I, along with the rest of our group. Other survivors we had banded together with once we realized we were not going to die a horrible death from the virus. We thought we’d been through the worst of it, but we were so wrong.
      If only we had left the city then.
      “Pst,” King says, grabbing my attention.
      He jerks his head to the left, then darts across the street. I follow with my heart beating so fast it threatens to explode. I was so lost in my memories that I wasn’t paying attention, and I can’t do that again. It will get me killed. I need to stay alert. Keep my eyes and ears open. Always be on the lookout.
      Once we’ve crossed the road, King turns onto Calumet Street and picks up the pace. The parking garage we left our rental car in is only a short distance away now. All we have to do is get there and we’ll be okay. No. Not okay, but better off. I’m not sure okay is something we’ll ever be again.
      We reach the concrete building and King pauses. He’s panting and his bat is up, ready just in case, but his eyes are big and I can tell just by looking at him he’s listening. For trouble or any indication someone else is around—living or otherwise. I hold my breath and wait, scanning the streets. We’ve yet to see a single zombie and my nerves are on-edge.
      “It sounds good,” King whispers. “Stay close. We only have to make it up to the second floor. That’s it.”
      I swallow and try to force words out, but they won’t come. So I just nod and follow King into the dark building.
      Every step we take echoes across the open space. There are cars lined up as far as the eye can see, but the corners are so dark I’m positive something evil has to lurk in them. King heads for the stairs, and I strain my ears. Somewhere in the distance there’s a constant dripping, like someone has left a faucet running. A cricket chirps and the scurrying of tiny feet alerts me to the presence of rats, but there’s nothing else. Nothing that sounds otherworldly.
      We charge straight into the darkness of the stairwell, and I suck in a deep breath. The stench of urine is strong enough to turn my stomach, but the usual rot that comes with the dead is absent. Meaning we should be in the clear.
      King doesn’t say a word. He barely even makes a sound as he rushes up the stairs in front of me. I’m certain my own steps are louder than a stampeded of elephants, though. Every pump of my legs causes my pulse speed up, but I can’t make my steps lighter. My legs feel heavier than lead. It’s been so long since I did anything other than sit in that damn apartment.
      When we make it to the second floor, King barely pauses before rushing out. I don’t know why. He’s usually so careful. But I don’t hesitate to follow him even though I’m pretty sure my hair is about to turn gray from stress. He’s someone I trust with my life, so if King thinks the coast is clear, then it is.
      “This way!” he hisses, moving to the right.
      He runs faster now, and I have to struggle to keep up. My eyes dart around the dark parking garage like a ball in a ping pong machine, but I still don’t see a thing. Then the car comes into view and I have the urge to jump with joy. The little silver Honda we rented when we flew into Charleston two months ago is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. That is, until King shoves his hand in his pocket and pulls out the keys.
      We reach the car and he presses the button to unlock the door. The beep echoes through the garage and I crane my neck, searching for the horde that will most certainly come charging at the sound. There’s nothing, though. Not a single zombie.
      “Get in!” King says, louder than he should.
      He pulls the back door open and throws his bag in, and I do the same. Then I head for the passenger side while King climbs into the driver’s seat. Two seconds and we’re both in. Doors shut. Locked. A bead of sweat runs down the side of my face while I try to catch my breath, and I look toward King. He finally meets my gaze. He’s breathing just as heavily as I am, but he smiles. Then we both let out nervous chuckles that remind me of the good times. Back when I was sure he loved me and I thought we’d be together forever.
      “We’re going to be okay, Sarah.” He grins again, then shoves the key in the ignition.
      I let out a deep breath and lean my head back, closing my eyes while I wait for the beautiful purr of the car’s engine. I don’t have to wait long. King gets the car started and backs out of the space, and I open my eyes just as he puts it in drive. He moves slowly through the darkness, carefully taking the turns as we wind our way out of the parking garage. The exit signs are hard to find with no lights, but we do our best to follow the arrows. Taking our time.
      It isn’t until we reach the first floor that we spot the first one. A zombie wearing a bathrobe so stained and ripped it’s impossible to tell what color it used to be. Underneath the robe, the creature wears only a pair of torn underwear. His skin is rotten and covered in jagged tears that ooze black goo. When he reaches out to us with decaying hands, I notice he has a couple fingers missing.
      “Don’t look,” King says, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. “We’re okay. We’re going to be okay.”
      “I know.” I have the urge to put my hand on his leg, but I resist. He doesn’t want me touching him anymore.
    We turn the final corner and come face to face with a horde so large that for a brief second I’m sure the entire population of Charleston has converged on us. Dozens upon dozens of rotten bodies block our way. 
    King slams on the breaks, then puts the car in reverse, swearing the whole time. I grip the door like I’m considering jumping out so I can run away. A stupid thought unless I wanted to commit suicide. 
    I keep my eyes focused on the horde in front of us while King does his best to make his way through the garage, but driving backward through the maze of cars is slow-going. He won’t stop swearing, and it gets louder as the seconds tick by. The bodies keep coming, following us like a group of teenage girls hot on the trail of Justin Bieber. They reach out for us, clawing at the air as they chomp their decaying jaws in our direction. As if they’re trying to take a bite out of us from ten feet away. 
    Nine feet. 
    Eight feet. 
    It feels like they’re moving faster than we are. 
    “Hurry!” I yell, unable to keep my mouth shut another second. 
    King lets out a particularly colorful string of profanities and glares my way. “You think you could do better? Yeah, of course you do. Sarah will save the day while idiot King leads the whole group off to be killed. That’s what you’re thinking, isn’t it?” 
    “That’s not what this is about!” I yell, pointing out the front window. The zombies are now so close I can see how many teeth they’re missing. Not enough. 
    “Right. I know what you—” 
    The car comes to an abrupt stop and the sound of crunching metal and breaking glass fills the air. I jerk forward, then slam back against the seat and let out a scream. When I look over my shoulder, I see the big, black SUV we slammed into. Hanging half out of a spot that was most likely made for compact cars. 
    King is back to swearing. He slams the car into drive, then hits the gas. We lurch forward maybe an inch, then a grinding sound echoes through the car. King doesn’t let up on the gas, and the smell of burning rubber stings my nostrils. 
    “Shit!” he screams, pushing harder on the accelerator. 
    The car groans and moves a little, but all that does is take us further into the horde. They surround us, banging on the hood. The doors. The windows. Even through the metal and glass I can hear their screams. I ball my hands into fists and dig my nails into my palms while my whole body shakes. 
    King finally gives up trying to get the car to obey. His hands drop to his lap and he doesn’t even bother putting the car in park. When he turns to look at me, his bottom lip quivers. “You going to blame me for this too?”
    A sob shakes my whole body. “I’m sorry, King. I’m so sorry! I’ve told you over and over again. So many times that I feel like that damn recording they had playing on the TV when all this first started. I can’t say it anymore.” 
    “You said it enough.” The coldness in his words drowns out the screams of the dead. 
    Despite the panic building inside me, I don’t move. Neither does King. All he does is sit there staring at me with bitterness in his eyes. 
    The windshield fractures, bringing me back to the present, and my whole body jerks. King and I watch in silence as cracks spread across the glass, forming a spiderweb pattern on the windshield. It won’t be long now. 
    I twist my whole body to face King and take in a deep breath, trying to force myself to stay calm. Trying to block out the screaming and pounding. I take his hand, and even though he tries to pull away I hold onto it. 
    “Don’t let us go out this way,” I say. “We’ve been through too much.” 
    “I could take it from everyone but you, Sarah. You were supposed to have my back. You were supposed to be the one who stood by me no matter what.” His lip trembles and a single tear falls down his cheek. “I loved you. Love you still, but you destroyed me.” 
     My heart constricts and the pain spreads through me until it reaches my eyes. My vision blurs and I try to scoot closer, but there isn’t a lot of room. I take King's face between my hands, forcing him to meet my gaze. “If I could take it all back I would. I was angry and hurt and scared, and I needed someone to blame so I didn’t blame myself. I hate that I did that you, and I want you to forgive me. Please. Let the last few moments we have together be something amazing. We’ve had fifteen years of wonderful times. Playing in the dirt, going trick or treating, homecoming, prom, graduation—” My voice catches, making it impossible to get the last one out. The final amazing moment we had only two short months ago. “Please. Tell me you forgive me.” 
    The window behind King shatters and the stink of death fills the car. King’s eyes move toward the back, but my hands are still on his face. I won’t let him go until he says what I need to hear. I can’t watch him die thinking he hates me. 
    “King,” I say, pleadingly. 
    His eyes move back to mine and he covers my hands with his. In the back, a zombie tries to pull himself in through the window. King and I don’t even blink. We don’t look, and even though my heart is going a million miles a minute, there’s a peacefulness about this moment I didn’t expect. King has been with me for every significant moment in my life, it only makes sense he’d be with me when I faced the end. 
    “I forgive you,” he finally says, “and I love you.” 
    He pulls me against him and I squeeze my eyes shut. His lips touch my head as I twist the ring on my left hand. My fingertip brushes the smooth surface of the diamond, and even though I know I’m about to be eaten alive, I smile. 
    “Until death do us part,” I whisper, not even trying to hold back the tears. They run down my cheeks, burning my cool skin with their heat. 
    King’s whole body jerks and he cries out, but I don’t open my eyes. I grip him tighter as tears stream down my face and my body shakes. My fingers dig into his back so he can’t leave me. His screams ring in my ears and he tries to push me away, but I won’t let him go. 
    The window at my back explodes, raining glass down around me. When the first set of teeth sink into my flesh, the pain that rushes through me is blinding. More bites follow as I scream and writhe against King, trying to pull him closer. My own cries of agony mix with his until there’s nothing left in the world but pain and screaming and the rotten stink of death.

 


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