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Yoakum's Ramblings

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Upcoming book signing....YAY!

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on October 19, 2021 at 12:00 PM Comments comments (5)

It isn't much, but every bit helps.  After such a long hiatus on book signings, I am finally having an event at the Rowlett public library on Oct 28, 2021.  It's a Thursday so not sure how much of a turnout I'll get.But, as I said, I am just happy to have my first signing in a long time.  This is Texas, and you'd think I'd have more opportunity to have a book signing event, but Half Price Books where I normally do them is still not open to the idea.  Not to be a political jerk, but for a red state we have a lot of blue businesses.  I am highly thankful to the Rowlett library for hosting me and I look forward to more events happening in the not-too-distant future.  If you're in the area, come on by and I'll be doing some readings from a few of my books and answer questions and sell autographed copies.

Featured book....Yoakum's Compendium of Bizarre and Original Stories

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on October 19, 2021 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

With the spooky season well underway, here is another book that you might find joy in reading during the most wonderful time of the year...HALLOWEEN.


In my short story collection, you find stories both dark and at times humorous...if your sense of humor is twisted that is.


Yoakum's Compendium of Bizarre and Original Stories holds tales with such disturbing topics as a grocery store in Hell, the demonic origin of French fries, a monster that produces a pheromone to subdue its prey to let it eat you at its leisure, and even a few oddball stories of the beloved Santa. You have intelligent zombies and bloodthirsty vampires that DON'T sparkle.


Pirates...giant spiders...evil little creatures. Aliens and angels and the Illuminati OH MY!!!

Below is the link to get the book from Amazon kindle.  It is also in paperback at Amazon as well as online at the Barnes and Noble website.  But let's face it....Amazon would be faster.


Quit whining about the Star Wars sequels already...

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on October 14, 2021 at 9:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I am a Star Wars fan.  All my life, I've loved those movies.  When the prequel trilogy came out, true they weren't as good as they could have been, but it is still Star Wars.

The sequel trilogy is certainly not what I was expecting and they had no central vision and the arrogant JJ Abrams wanted to "remind Star Wars fans why they loved the movies' '.  Yeah, like we need to be reminded.  Chucklehead.  Anyway....

That all being said, I hear they are planning on redoing the sequel trilogy, Snyder style, with clips both familiar and unused to redo the films in a way to better please the fans.As much as I like that idea, I wish they wouldn't do it.  It is a pathetic attempt to please a bunch of whiners.  You don't like a movie, fine.  Don't watch the damn thing.  You say it ruined your childhood?  Your childhood must have been piss poor to be ruined by a movie you don't like.   You are free to watch just the movies you like and ignore the rest.  And besides, it gives us true fans a reason to make memes.

It is as bad as fans wanting HBO to refilm the last season of Game of Thrones because they didn't like it.  Get over it.  it's a show.  Move on with your life.OK, I'm done ranting.  

P.S.  Not to sound sexist but Rey was a Mary Sue.  

Am I evil? Nah, just weird

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on July 24, 2021 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (2)

I suppose I've always been drawn to evil. As a kid, I sided with Cobra against G.I. Joe. Cobra Commander was one of my idols. (From the comic book where he was a vicious, cold and calculating sociopath, not the loudmouth imbecile from the cartoon)

In Star Wars, Vader was always charismatic and just plain cool.

And, of course, the bad guys always had cooler weapons and vehicles.

Naturally, that is probably why I love horror movies and why I cheered when Michael, Jason, or Freddy iced some idiot teenager. Why I laugh out loud when someone is running in fear from a demon or other monster.

Does that make me crazy? Mentally ill? Perhaps. But that is part of my charm.

Anyway, happy Friday to all.


My bio in a friend's blog

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on June 8, 2021 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (7)

Greetings one and all.  I have something cool to share with you.

A friend of mine, Andra-Cristiana Stan, nicknnamed Anda on her social media, has a great blog and she wanted to post an article about my work.

I feel very honored to have this done.  Below is the link and I would like for you to not only read my article, but check out the entire website and see what all great things Anda has to show.

April birthday month long sale

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on March 26, 2021 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (38)

For my birthday month of April, all month long the first book of the Targothian Trilogy will only be $1 exclusive on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.

Also, another part of my birthday month celebration, I have 7 sets of the Targothian Trilogy in paperback in my office.  I'm selling them as a set of 3 books for only $30 with shipping included for Continental US (sorry, shipping will have to be added for any international readers)

I would also like to ask that after reading these books if you would be so kind as to leave a review on Amazon (an honest one, you don't have to give it a perfect review, I'd rather have honesty from my readers)

How music influenced my life

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on March 3, 2021 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (2)

I remember the first time I really got into hard rock.  I was 10 years old and my cousins turned me onto a group called Ratt.  Later on that year for Christmas, my parents bought me a cassette of Ratt's album "Out of the Cellar" and I was hooked.

A few years later, in the good ol' year of 1987, I was 12 years old and I saw the Motley Crue video "Girls, Girls, Girls" and from then on I was a dedicated Crue fan.  I swore that day that when I was old enough, I'd go to my first nudie bar.

When I was 19 and about to leave for Air Force basic training, my coworkers took me to the local nudie bar and the bouncer wouldn't let me in because I was under 21.  My boss tried to negotiate with him "Come on, man, he's leaving for the Air Force tomorrow afternoon".  The bouncer said "The girl on stage is joining the Army next month.  I don't care.  He can't come in.

"I took the opportunity to look inside as I was saying long goodbyes to my coworkers.  The door was wide open and the fat ass bouncer just sat there.  I guess it was ok as long as I didn't go inside.  I made up for it while I was in Tech School after I graduated basic. 

 Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX.  It was 1995.  We could get into the strip clubs as long as we wore a band saying we were under 21 and not allowed to buy alcohol.  No worries.  We got to see naked women.

But I haven't been to a nudie bar in a long time at this point.  I love naked women but I have better things to spend my money on.  Being an indie author, I have to pay for my own promotional materials and book copies to be sold at signings,etc.  I don't miss the nudie bar but I will always have my fond memories of the Matador club which sat right next to Eglin Air Force Base.  Walking distance.  Spent many a Friday night there.  Met many women of loose moral fiber, which was my favorite kind back in the day.Glad that is all behind me.  That's a lifestyle that catches up with you.

I'm content to live in my own head writing my books.  Those are my legacy.  I want aliens to find my books centuries after the human race is gone and think that was how our world was.  They might even start a religion with me as a prophet.  

But we'll never know.  Anyway, keep on reading and I'll keep on writing.

The next book of the Targothian saga

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on February 23, 2021 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (0)

As you know, the Targothian Trilogy means a lot to me.  A story in my heart for years, I didn't put it on paper as I thought I'd never do it right.

Well, I proved myself wrong and I turned the story into a trilogy of adventure, fantasy, destiny, and a lot of slaughter.

The trilogy is told from the first person perspective of the protagonist, Sargas, and I always thought it would be interesting to find out more about the supporting characters.  And I found the way.

The next installment that takes you behind the Trilogy's friends and foes.  The Targothian:  Allies and Enemies

In this upcoming book,  you will find out how the Archangel Michael created the Bah'Tene as well as how his brother Lucifer helped bring the undead into the Three Galaxies and beyond.  

You'll find the backstories of Tymber, Teak, Qal Dea, Gostal, and even the alternate universe version of Sargas, as well as how that particular branch reality came into existance.

You'll discover the secret of Sargotha, the infamous Sword of Targoth and how Sargas is able to manipulate it across the reaches of interstellar space.

Keep checking out this blog as well as my Facebook for further updates.

In the meantime, you can always read the Targothian Trilogy (which I suggest you read it first as to not have any spoilers by reading this upcoming book first)

All my books are available in paperback at Amazon and other online book stores as well as ebook in Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and iBooks.  You can find links to these stores on this website (I'm assuming if you read this blog you're familiar with how to navigate this site) and you can always contact me directly in case I have any spare copies in my home office.

Snowvid 2021

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on February 23, 2021 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (1)

Some are calling it Snovid-21.  The big ice storm that covered practically the bottom half of the United States for a week in February 2021.  The Monday after Valentines Day...BOOM, it hit like a kick in the crotch.  It was a freak of nature, to be certain.  My heart goes out to all those who had to endure without power or water.  Pipes froze and broke, entire communities had to go without electricity for days on end.  So much for "rolling" black out.We made it through, and as much as I enjoy winter weather, I don't want to see anything like that again for at least five or six more decades.

Monty-19 (pandemic short story)

Posted by Larry Yoakum III on January 23, 2021 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (1)

This is a short story I wrote awhile back for a multi-author collection meant to raise money for Covid-19 research, but the book was canceled and never published.

I decided to go ahead and share this story on my blog here.   

As stated on my homepage, this story and all stories on this site are subject to copyright and may not be copied, printed, published elsewhere, etc, without the written permission of me, Larry Yoakum III








This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2020 by Larry Yoakum III

All rights reserved.


No part of this story may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of the author/publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a newspaper, magazine, or journal. For permission requests, email the author at [email protected] with “Attention: Permissions Coordinator,” in the subject line.




Riding his black and gray 2010 Harley Street Glide down I-235, Ben Sloan enjoyed the beautiful August afternoon. With the wind in his face and the sun at his back, it was an amazing day for a ride.

So far, 2019 had been a pretty busy year for Ben.

A ten-year member of the local K.O.T., Ben went by the name Drake as it was the tradition of the K.O.T. for a member to take on a new name for his brothers and sisters to call him. Clad in his usual black jeans, combat boots, an Air Force t-shirt, and of course his black leather K.O.T. vest complete with the rocker patches and emblem of the K.O.T., his image was one that was very familiar to the people of Wichita, Kansas.

The K.O.T. had been around since the 1950s and they were a big part of the local community. They’ve done tons of food drives and charity auctions to raise money for various causes.

To the rest of the world, they were a bunch of guys and gals that rode motorcycles and had strict rules for membership, the main one was you had to be a veteran of the armed forces. Drake himself had been in the Air Force for four years, just like the founder.

Drake had grown up in the nearby town of Valley Center, Kansas, just like the founder.

And though the founder had long since moved to Anchorage, Alaska after the Incident of 2007, his memory was revered by all members of the K.O.T. all across the world.

They were not a motorcycle club as they didn’t require dues and not everyone could ride as it wasn’t a requirement. They were a veteran’s organization of brotherhood. To the outside, anyway.

Those who were members knew the truth about the founder and his otherworldly origins. But, once you’re in the K.O.T., you don’t say a word to outsiders.

Drake had just turned thirty-two this past month and to celebrate he had gone on a road trip. Just him and his bike. Plenty of seedy bars and women of loose moral fiber out there to enjoy.

But, alas, the trip was over, and Drake had to head back to Wichita, Kansas to the main K.O.T. headquarters.

Before he did that, though, he wanted to head into Valley Center to say hello to his uncle and aunt who still lived there on Ash Street.

Drake always felt a weird sensation whenever he entered the city limits of Valley. Growing up here, he didn’t notice it until after he came back for a visit when basic training was over.

The sensation always passes quickly, but it leaves you with a feeling that something is off.

He understood a bit of truth about Valley Center. The town itself did attract some strange phenomena that the residents all knew about, but it was subconsciously ignored.

Sightings of little creatures and ghosts and people walking down a back alley who suddenly found themselves across town or even at times in another country.

Valley Center, as the K.O.T. founder taught him, had an anomaly deep underground in the exact center of town. It was of unknown origin but seemed to cause weird things and would on occasion open portals to other places.

The vast majority of the town would on instinct know how to avoid ending up in a portal without even realizing why they decided to make a sudden left instead of a right or moving around that area behind the flower garden.

The K.O.T. was tasked to patrol and defend the local area from any sort of supernatural, paranormal, or otherwise unusual threat.

Drake himself had actually killed a werewolf out past old Theorosa’s Bridge. No silver bullets available but he did have his sword, as is tradition for all members of the K.O.T.

He had also helped seal a portal in a basement on Park Street which had a few refugees from the spirit realm sneaking into our world.

The thing about these portals, too, was the most dangerous aspect was that sometimes they would take someone into an alternate reality that was slightly different from their home dimension. They might exist there for years without realizing they didn’t belong there.

It was on this beautiful August day that Ben “Drake” Sloan found himself riding into a portal that popped up in his path so fast his mind didn’t have time to sense it and allow him to go around it.

It happened so fast he in fact didn’t realize he had gone through a portal.

His sudden change in surroundings, though, was what flagged his attention.

The portal popped up at the corner of 3rd and Meridian. Drake made his left turn onto 3rd Street which led to his uncle’s house.

The day went from warm and sunny to overcast and cold in an instant. The houses which lined both sides of the streets were now run down, paint falling off and pieces of siding hanging there and swaying back and forth in the wind.

Drake stopped his bike and thought for a moment. He had just strayed through a random portal and now had to find his way out. He had no desire to find out what was different about this bleak and desolate place.

Turning around, he went the exact way he came. Unfortunately, he remained in this seemingly abandoned version of Valley Center.

“Damn, am I stuck here?” His words came out louder than he planned and he hoped that there was nothing hostile here that might hear him.

Drake had seen enough horror movies in his life. There was always some weird faceless monster shambling around the corner or flesh-eating corpses crawling towards the protagonist.

Added to his fear was the fact that Valley Center had strange things all the time and a select few actually knew the truth and didn’t bury it in their subconscious.

Silently cursing himself for not bringing his handgun, Drake rode his bike to his uncle’s house.

On the outside, the blue two-bedroom house looked more or less normal. A broken bay window and overgrown front yard were the only things out of place. Uncle Murray always kept his yard pristine. Aunt Kay always joked that she was surprised Murray didn’t crawl on the ground with a pair of scissors and a ruler to makes sure each blade of grass was uniform.

The rest of the houses on the block looked to be in similar condition, though some were more dilapidated than others. All these rundown homes gave Drake an even more uneasy feeling.

It felt as if he wasn’t truly alone in this world but quite possibly was alone in this city. As long as no monsters showed up he’d be five by five.

No gun, no sword, Drake didn’t think he’d need them on a road trip.

“Next time I’m bringing my fucking AR-15.”

Parking his bike in the empty driveway, Drake knew they likely wouldn’t be home, but this was as good a place to start as any.

The house was naturally devoid of any people, but the furniture was still there. It even looked to be in somewhat good condition. Not so much as a cobweb nor an insect was visible.

Taking a seat at the kitchen table, Drake wearily put his head down and sighed.

The kitchen was still in good shape but a bit rough from lack of maintenance. He thought about checking the fridge for something to eat but then thought it might not be too great of an idea.

The electricity was off and his only light came from behind the tattered curtains in the windows. Any food would be rotten by now.

Drake searched the house room by room. Nothing was missing. Clothes were still there. Toiletries in the bathroom. Uncle Murray’s 12-gauge. That would come in handy. Drake took the weapon and all the ammo available. A box of twenty shells. It will have to do.

Searching more in the kitchen, he noticed a newspaper dated six months ago.

The headline read “President Cuban says new strain of flu to reach pandemic levels” and at first the fact Mark Cuban was the U.S. president caught Drake off guard. Not only had he gone to an alternate version of Earth, it was one where some rich basketball team owner achieved the highest office in the United States.

“Could be worse,” Drake mumbled to himself as he read more of the article. It was all so strange to read something that happened six months prior which didn’t happen in his own reality. Finding more newspapers that had piled up, he read each one in chronological order in an attempt to figure out what had occurred.

A new flu strain that originated in Quebec had spread all over North America after an infected hockey team visited a brothel in Vegas. It was spread through the air so every person they were in contact with on the plane, the airport, the brothel, and every other place they had visited were infected.

The flu, dubbed Montey-19, had moved quickly across the continent and due to the airport traffic, it soon was across the ocean and spread throughout Europe, Asia, and India.

Mexico and the rest of South America didn’t get affected by the virus until about three weeks prior when the unthinkable happened.

The virus mutated into something never before seen.

Those infected would soon become physically unable to move. Their muscles would simply disconnect from their brain and they’d slip into a coma.

But, they didn’t starve to death or anything of that nature. No, something much worse occurred.

Within twenty-four hours of being in a coma, the victim would begin to disintegrate into dust. Even their skeletons came to this fate.

Hell, according to the medical studies, the virus also infected the clothing of the victims and caused their garments to become dust, as well.

Drake dropped the paper in terror and was instantly thought that he might be infected by simply being here in this world. He’d have to find the exit out of this place but if he felt any sign of infection, he’d just stay here to die, unwilling to bring this fate to his home dimension.

Further reading, he let out a sigh of relief. The virus only survives out of a host for a few days, at least according to the World Health Organization. That meant that the virus was no longer around.

Did it wipe out the entire population of the planet? Drake hadn’t heard so much as an animal or an insect. This thing may have completely decimated all life on this Earth.

Drake felt a resolve to find a way out of here.

This is Valley Center. There had to be a portal back to his own world. Maybe there was something back at K.O.T. headquarters. Stepping over a pile of dust he hadn’t noticed before and trying to ignore that it was probably either his uncle or his aunt, Drake went back to his bike. Strapping the shotgun to the back of the bike, he took off towards the Wichita K.O.T. building.

The sight of his beloved home away from home caused a wave of emotion that practically brought him to his knees.

The K.O.T. emblem, normally high above the door of the three-story building, was in pieces upon the ground where it fell. In its place up above were dry rot and a few empty bird nests.

Inside, piles of dust were all over the floors. The hallway, the main bar, the meeting room, each had what had to be the dusty remains of his brothers and sisters that once existed in this reality.

Could one of these piles have been his alternate universe doppelganger? His favorite place to sit in the bar was the third stool to the left of the beer tap. The dust pile that sat next to the stool had him assuming that within this very room, his other self had fallen over, slipped into a coma, and disintegrated.

The photos on the wall were the same as in its counterpart back in his universe. The picture of the founder and his wife standing against the mountains of Anchorage, Alaska showed that as back home, the founder had moved away and turned leadership over to his second-in-command, the First Knight, making him the new Lord Knight.

A visit to the Lord Knight’s office revealed the sword of the founder on the floor next to his desk. The sword itself was a symbol that each knight carried around in K.O.T. functions. It was a tradition and it helped to celebrate the ‘Knight’ theme of the Order of the K.O.T.

The sword was atop a pile of dust. He sensed that this dust was not that of the current Lord Knight but that of the founder, the original Lord Knight himself.

He must have come back during the crisis to help lead his brethren.

Needing to take a seat, Drake eyed the chair of the Lord Knight. Figuring it would be no problem since apparently there was no one on the planet but Drake, the weary knight plopped down and put his head in his hands.

This virus, whatever it was, was this going to happen back home?

A loud crash brought Drake out of his thoughts. Pulling the shotgun up, he carefully stalked out of the office and down the hall, ready to shoot.

Could one of his fellow knights have survived?

Stepping into the bar area again, Drake froze in place as he saw the piles of dust on the ground moving towards a spot in the center of the room.

The pile of dust grew larger and larger. It began to shift, and seemed to be sprouting limbs. It was taking the shape of a person.

Once the dust finally finished converging together, the dust fell away to reveal a faceless, naked being.

It lacked any sexual organs so there was no way to tell if it was a male or female, but Drake knew that at this point, that didn’t really matter.

The color was as pale as any corpse he had ever seen, whether dead or undead.

Though it had nothing on the patch of skin upon its face, it seemed to sense someone was nearby. As the creature’s featureless face turned towards Drake’s position, the knight got the impression this horrid thing knew he was there.

“Forgive me, Lord Knight,” Drake whispered as he brought the shotgun up, aiming it at the featureless face.

Drake pulled the trigger and the head exploded in a pulpy mass of wet, mushy dust.

That didn’t really do anything worthwhile, however, as the headless form began shuffling towards Drake. Three more shots only blew pieces of the animated dust off the body. It kept shuffling.

Figuring there was no point in sticking around, Drake turned and ran as fast as his legs would take him. Outside again, he hopped on his bike and started it up.

Looking around, he noticed he was no longer alone.

All over the parking lot, piles of dust were forming similar monstrosities. The same thing happened across the street.

Riding out the gates and out onto the open road, Drake headed for the interstate. South sounded good.

As he rode away, he saw the same reanimation happening everywhere his eyes fell. People’s front yards, inside buses, business parking lots, the remains of the human race were merging together to form horrible visions straight from a nightmare.

Taking his chances, Drake stopped at a gas station right where I-235 and I-135 merged at an end that led to I-35. He filled up his bike, all the while keeping an eye out for shambling figures of corpse dust.

This was freakier than any zombie movie he had seen in his life. At least a zombie, when you put a bullet in their brain or chop off their head, you put it down permanently.

Normal methods of taking down a walking corpse wouldn’t work in this situation, Drake quickly ascertained. They just kept coming. There was no brain to destroy.

The basic functionality of a zombie was that the brain kept the lizard brain instincts active. Eat, and eating meant killing.

This made putting a zombie down very easy. There were some so-called experts that were claiming that zombies actually had the ability to communicate with the living but merely lacked the self-control to not take a bite.

Drake didn’t know if that was true or not because the few people he ever met that made this claim were not quite right in the head. If a zombie talked to them, it was probably a hallucination.

None of that mattered right at this moment. Drake chastised himself for letting his thoughts become distracted.

The bike full of fuel, the knight managed to take off just in time before a walking pile of pale dust grabbed him.

Against his ability to control them, thoughts were racing through his mind as he sped down the interstate. Destination, as far away as he could get.

He probably should have stayed in Valley Center in order to find the proper portal home, but that would not be a good idea. No, those things would be crawling all over the town.

What if one of them found their way through a portal back to his own home universe?

Coming to a full stop, Drake turned the bike around and headed back towards Valley Center.

He couldn’t just leave. If one of those bastards ended up in his home world, then his own Earth could be subject to the same fate.

But what could he really do? Short of hunting and killing every single shambling dust pile that he found, there wasn’t much else that could be done.

Hunting, he could do. But killing? Could these things actually die?

He’d soon find out.

Before he would even consider going one-on-one with one of these monsters again, he knew that his gun wouldn’t be an effective weapon.

His sword would be handy as one can run out of ammunition but a sword can continue to hack and slash so long as the wielder had energy to do so.

Unfortunately, he had no time to go find his own blade. No real issue as any sword, or shit, even a baseball bat, would be something useful to the knight.

A thought crossed his mind and he made a stop back at K.O.T. headquarters. The shambling masses were gone, probably made their way down the road. The entire building was empty, all the piles of dust gone.

It sickened his soul that his brothers and sisters were reduced to mindless monsters, roaming the cities of the world.

Drake stormed into the office of the Lord Knight and took the sword once belonging to his old leader.

The founder was a good man. Drake wasn’t sure if he really believed that the man was only half-human and descended from an alien race, but considering what happened in the town back in 2007, it was possibly true.

Hell, it was true.

And Drake knew that the founding Lord Knight would have no problem with his sword being used by a knight in an emergency.

Back on the highway and heading towards Valley Center, the sword of the original Lord Knight strapped to his back, Drake turned onto the exit for 77th Street and rode back into the city limits of the small little town.

“OK, Knight Drake,” he mumbled to himself. “Let’s see if these things can be put down.”

Drake parked his bike at the corner of Main and Meridian which sat in the city’s very small downtown area.

All was quiet for only a moment. A creepy sensation bombarded Drake’s guts, and he then noticed hundreds of shambling dust forms moving in his direction.

Holding the sword in both hands, Drake said a silent prayer and rushed towards the oncoming things. With a primal scream, Drake swung the sword. Back and forth a dozen times and the first shamble was reduced to several piles of inert dust.

Whether or not it was actually down for good or if it would reconstitute into its horrible form, Drake didn’t take the time to ponder.

Instead he fought with the brutal precision he had learned from his mentors in the K.O.T. After all, swordplay was an important part of their culture.

Unaware of how much time had passed, Drake found himself alone, the sun beginning to set. All the corpses were reduced to unmoving mounds of gooey dust.

His rest was short-lived. Drake moved away from the mess with the intention of hopping back on his bike and finding a place to settle for the evening. Tomorrow is another day to hunt.

He only made it within three feet of his motorcycle when a powerful grip wrapped around his ankle, dragging him to the ground.

A shamble crawled up and put its face to his. No mouth, no eyes, but the utter aura of evil radiated from the things featureless face.

Struggling to break free, Drake was pinned down by an almost supernatural amount of strength.

The face began to break apart and dust particles fell into Drake’s eyes and nose. It was only then that the thing let its grip go and began shambling away.

Drake knew he was now infected. He’d die here. He’d become part of one of those things.

The man looked up at the darkening sky and decided to await the inevitable. There was no way around it. This was how the life of Benjamin “Drake” Sloan would end. Even if he could go back to his home universe now, he’d not do so. Why consign his own world to such a horrid fate?

A tingling hit the back of Drake’s neck and in his gut he knew that meant a portal was about to open nearby. And not just any portal.

He knew it would be a way to his home world. Of all the crappy luck, he got a way home just after he was rendered unable to leave.

He’d not go back. What would happen back there?

His brothers and sisters would assume him missing and search far and wide. They’d eventually assume he was dead and they’d take care of his family, as in the K.O.T. one member’s family is everyone’s family.

To the naked eye, the portal would be invisible. Maybe it was the impending infection or the fact he was so near death, but he could almost see the shimmer of the gateway to his home universe.

His eyes widened in fear and panic when he saw a shamble heading right towards it.

Trying in vain to get up, Drake was horrified to discover that paralysis had already begun to set in.

He could only slightly turn his head and watch as the thing grew closer to the doorway between worlds.

It was now right next to the portal. It put its pale arm towards the shimmer, only to fall back as an electric shock burst forth and knocked it down.

As soon as it hit the ground, the pale naked corpse burst into a large mound of red, pulpy dust.

It would seem that whatever these things were, they’d not be able to cross over.

Assured now that his own universe was safe, Drake shut his eyes as the coma set in. The symptoms were happening much faster than he read about, probably because he was infected by that thing instead of by the original virus itself.

His final thoughts before blackness took over were about his brethren back home and he prayed for their safety.

While Drake slipped into the coma that would lead to his disintegration into dust and the eventual rising of a shamble, the unthinkable happened.

The portal that led back to his home dimension didn’t completely filter out the creature. A small piece of its dusty makeup made its way through the portal.

As that speck of dust lay on the ground, a small field mouse came upon it and sniffed it, bringing it into the animal’s nasal cavity. Moments later, a bat swooped down and killed the mouse, devouring it.

A few days later, a traveler stepped onto a piece of the bat’s droppings. “Damn it!”

His friend looked at him. “Come on, hurry up. We have to get back to Beijing.”