Book Chat: The Darkest Days

Death & Decay Book 0.5

by R. L. Blalock


The story this week is a long, short story which is an introduction to the author’s novel, Death & Decay.





To protect and serve.

The motto that every officer is taught from their first day in the academy. On a humid June day in St. Louis, it is a motto that could get Officer Wyatt Ward killed.

Desperate citizens flock to the station as the officers of the Cottleville Police Department struggle to handle the chaos that is enveloping a city already shaken by rioting. But as darkness descends something much worse is rising.

The deranged. Brutal, unforgiving, single-minded monsters that were once the citizens Wyatt was sworn to protect. Now, they attack. They bite. They infect.

As fear takes hold…
As the city begins to eat itself…
As the world crumbles…
What is a man who is sworn to protect to do as the world dies?


This is a long, (69 pages) short story, an introduction to the author’s novel Death & Decay.

Police officer Wyatt hoped for a typical day filled with traffic violations in Cottleville, a small suburb of the St. Louis area. But today was stressful, reports filled with combative, upset residents.

A call to his wife Sarah brightened his day, and he always loved to hear what antics his three year old son was up to. After he hung up, calls started getting wilder from the dispatcher; a dead body in the road and a disturbance at the High School. Other calls followed in rapid succession.

Before he had time to fully investigate the reported body, the dispatcher called for all officers to return to the station immediately. Crowds of scared people surrounded the building. People in town were acting crazed and violent, driving the residents to seek help from the officials.

Things develop very quickly after that; with townspeople attacking those gathered outside the station. A fierce fight ensues with the officers jumping in to protect people. The insane residents are hard to put down, almost impossible, unless a head shot was delivered. Some officers get taken down and those remaining gather all the living they can inside the station.

The situation devolves into a fight for life as more and more residents turn into zombies. Wyatt leads the few people left alive, outside in an attempt to find somewhere safe. The townspeople crash their vehicle as Wyatt serves as bait for the undead. Discouraged and alone, he returns home to his family.

Unfortunately, Wyatt’s wife and baby have turned into zombies, and he has to kill them. It was a sad scene. Wyatt has to decide if he will call it quits or go on without his family. I liked this scene. Many zombie stories have kick-ass characters driven to survive without much thought. Or there are weak characters who get killed easily because they lack skills or fortitude. Wyatt has plenty of all these qualities, so his situation is something well thought out. Not all strong characters would choose to go on if everything in their life has been taken from them. Thankfully, Wyatt finds a reason to go on, and I am assuming we will follow his story in the novel, which I look forward to reading.

This was the author’s first published work and she did a good job. Often newbie authors do not have adequate character development, but there was in this short story. Officer Wyatt came across as a loving husband, dad, and dedicated policeman.