DedKode - Connected
DedKode - Connected
by Chad R. Hunter
GENRE: Science Fiction / Horror
Without warning, the demonic computing device rose up. Red arcs of crackling electricity snapped out from the server and struck the men and women in the chest. Involuntarily, they each screamed out in dying shrieks. Each worshiper hovered off the floor, transfixed and held for feeding.
DedKode moved forward but James knew it was too late. He placed his hand out and stayed the young, undead hacker.
The worshipers continued to undulate and now fluids ran from their orifices; heavy thick drops collected in puddles beneath each of them.
Faces sunk in.
Eyes rolled back.
Limbs twisted and cracked.
After what seemed like hours, but was only minutes, of watching these men and women sucked dry of their lives, the bodies collapsed to the flooring. Several landed in the pools of their bodily fluids - that which the server did not demand.
The server hovered still, humming like a thousand computer room fans and the singing of a damned chorus. The crimson energy that had drawn life from the worshipers crackled and snapped in oscillating arcs around the device.
The room was still empty as DedKode's hacks were still running and fooling the security systems.
"What's the plan now, Devon?" James asked, keeping his eyes on the demonic equipment hovering either obliviously or without care at his presence. "Do we still try to shut this thing down and take it back or—"
Suddenly DedKode held his hooded skeletal head. Palladino's attention shifted to his teammate.
"What is it?"
There was a feeling that stirred up from a buzzing between where DedKode’s ears once were to a deafening roar he could not ignore. It was an energy, a swelling that circled the room, and DedKode could feel it in part. "Shit, King James, look —"
He pointed a gloved bony finger towards the now pulsating vibration only he could feel. The zombie hacker directed Palladino's gaze to the dead, robed corpses.
They were rising to their feet.
Their hoods fell away and it was clear that they were once alive and were now resurrected dead. Jaws were sunken in, eyes pulled back into black sockets completely void of life. Mouths hung in slow, smacking moans and patches of hair fell with each step, covering the floor along with tears of desiccate flesh.
Arms lifted up and bony hands reached out in trembling grasps.
A hoarse cry rumbled from within breathless, shrunken lungs.
Enjoy an Excerpt:
The street was once Lake Shore Drive.
It had been considered one of the most beautiful stretches of road ever constructed. From nearly any point on the arterial Chicago road, one could stop and see the lake, Museum Campus, and other aspects of sheer magnificence.
Testaments to humanity's architecture, designs, and vision literally reached up to the sky. Willis Tower was legendary. Floors and floors of beautiful windows that once caught the rising sun were now almost completely shattered. Unimaginable amounts of flesh-cutting shards of shining triangles littered the streets.
The Cloud Gate, lovingly referred to as "The Bean," was a mind-boggling, visually-stunning stainless-steel sculpture that had once captured the imagination of both locals and visitors. Its mirror-like surface played tricks with reality, reflecting the city's vibrant life in mesmerizing ways.
Now, the Bean was covered in scarred marks and awash in dark splotches of foul-smelling liquids. Instead of laughing faces and optically-twisted visitors, what reflected in the artistically crafted curves was now a sea of countless reddish white deathly stares of layers and layers of skulls laying under the landmark.
The air was layered with gut-churning rancidity not unlike the reek of meat left exposed atop rank garbage in offensive summer heat.
Even on a chill-bitten fall night, the gore was overpowering to all aspects of human interaction.
Nearby, the Crown Fountain had once captured onlookers with its interactive art, projecting the faces of Chicagoans on towering screens, spouting water from their mouths into the reflecting pool below. Tonight, the fountain did not spray immaculate pristine waters but instead bubbled from time to time, as would a swamp. The fluid within was greenish in color and reeked of acidic bile and vomit. Flies had made the site a place of egg laying and maggot rearing.
The Adler Planetarium once world-renowned for its celestial studies was a broken half-dome. Immense cracks ran atop the once majestic structure that had brought countless visitors from across the globe.
The Field Museum had been a cauldron of the past and the present with future aspirations and wonder. It was once the place where history was held in honored perpetuity. Now, whatever remained of mankind's history had violated and pulled from the museum's halls.
Glass cases had been shattered.
Exhibits had been torn out and thrown asunder.
Red, pink and white littered the stairs as intestines, blood and bone made a carpet atop the museum’s walkway.
Chicago was a city known for its sides - its South Side, North Side and West Side. Each was unique from its ethnic communities to its dominant food vendors and carts to its well-known struggles of parking. Yet now, there were no sides anymore.
Now all that was gone. Sides were identical - each area of the city, like each area of other metropolitan sprawls across the globe - were miles and miles of death.
About Chad Hunter
Chad Hunter was born in East Chicago, Indiana. Raised by a single mother in the city's Harbor section, he is the youngest of four. Growing up in the Midwest and a proudly self-proclaimed "Region Rat," Hunter has written and published several books and novels. He has written for magazines and newspapers throughout North America and has been published in several languages. His writings have been called sophisticated yet humorous, sharp witted and unrelenting.
Most often, Hunter's writings have been considered so wide and diverse that they span a scale that would include multiple writers with multiple forms. If anything binds his varied styles, it is Hunter's theme of the human condition, humor and family closeness - all to the backdrop of romantic love, vibrant remembrance and even monsters themselves.
Q&A With the Author: Chad Hunter
What was your inspiration for writing this book? I wanted to give the DedKode character an epic story and I wanted to really incorporate the ideas of how we relate to technology and how the concepts of control and free will battle out against a backdrop of zombies. With our use of applications and our love of conspiracy theories, DedKode: Connected grew from there.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book? Having characters that matured, that grew, that changed as I wrote the story. It’s a wild thing because they almost become living constructs because how everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, ended is not how they originally were going to arrive at the finale. It was unexpected but organic, wild and beautiful. There’re times when, as a writer, that you can step back and feel what you wrote – you may laugh at a single line, you may dread an entire chapter and you wrote it! I had a lot of those moments with the book and it really let me know I was on the right track.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about? None at the level of discussing right now. But stay tuned, follow me on social, etc.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future? Definitely a few more DedKode short stories. I want to dive into his past at the orphanage where he grew up and more stories where he and his team go head-to-head with supernatural evil residing behind today’s technology.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans? Just a massive thank you and an endless amount of gratitude. Writing is something that is done in a vacuum, in absolute isolation and solitude and it’s rewarding when people enjoy your work. It reaches back and validates all those late nights and early mornings writing at my living room table!
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