Survivor Max: Too Smart to Die
by Davi Barker
Meet Max, an 11-year old boy who was stuck in another boring day at school when the lockdown alarm went off. They were under quarantine. He escaped and made it home, only to discover he’d have to find a way to survive this plague alone. Little did he know, his father, his only parent, was among the infected. Slow-moving and non-thinking, the “lamebrains” swarmed his apartment complex, hunting survivors to feed their insatiable hunger for living flesh. Now he must rely on his Porcupine Freedom Scouts training, and scarce supplies to survive. A chance discovery reveals his father’s research on the virus, which in the right hands may be the key to a cure, but first he must prove that he’s too smart to die.
Survivor Max II: School Bites
Eleven-year-old Max has escaped the high walls of Lockshire Estates joined by a new companion, a girl named Ellie. Now they must venture through the plague-infested world outside. Armed with only his Porcupine Freedom Scouts training, a pack of survival gear, and his determination, Max is desperate to find the medicine he needs to save his new friend. Instead he finds a wasteland of empty houses crawling with flesh-eating “creepers” that stalk the living to satisfy their appetite for fresh meat. After a chance encounter at his former school, Max is taken into custody against his will. Has he finally found the safe haven he’s been looking for? Have they found the community and security they need to rebuild long-term? Or will he discover that school bites?
“Young Max is forced to face a chilling world swarming with the undead, and finds he can’t rely on the adult survivors. His fast-paced, tightly spun adventures plunge the reader right into the action. This second installment in the Survivor Max series is something brutal, always unpredictable, and kept me turning pages way beyond my bedtime.” – Jim Krut, helizombie.com
An excerpt from book one.
The first rule of The Porcupine Freedom Scouts is “LIVE! If you die, you fail at survival.”
I was sitting in science class. Ms. Lessard was writing “Active & Hidden” on the board. She began her lesson, “An active virus attacks healthy cells and hijacks them to spread itself. Active viruses present symptoms immediately, making them relatively easy to diagnose, and hopefully treat.”
Science is my favorite subject. It is probably the only thing I like about school. But viruses are so kids’ stuff for me. My dad is a scientist and talks about them all the time, so I was struggling to pay attention. She continued, “Examples of active viruses are things like influenza, the mumps, and measles.” She wrote them on the board. I was bored, so I doodled in my notebook.
She went on, “A hidden virus invades healthy cells, but allows them to function normally, so it spreads when the cells replicate. Hidden viruses lay dormant until the body is weak, and don’t express symptoms until later, making them harder to identify.”
My phone made the signature jingle of a text message from Dad. I held the phone in my lap under the desk as I read, “They won’t let me take you. The school is under quarantine. Get home now! Whatever it takes. I’ll explain later.”
I blinked. Quarantine? I looked out the window, where I could see the parking lot in the front of the school. Two ambulances had pulled up to the school, followed by the local police department’s armored vehicle. Behind them was a huge black van that looked like some kind of mobile command center. It was from the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services. Strange. Very strange.
“Who can give me an example of a hidden virus … Max?”
My attention darted from the window to the front of the room. The class snickered. It was one of those gotcha questions she only asked when she knew someone wasn’t paying attention, and I wasn’t. I stared up at her blankly.
“Max, you know you’re not supposed to be on your phone in class. If you don’t put it away I’m going to take it.”
I put the phone on my pocket. “Sorry,” I said. Then the school’s lockdown alarm went off and the class erupted in panicked gasps.
“Calm down everyone! It’s probably only a drill.” Ms. Lessard began closing the window blinds, pausing when she saw the scene in front of the school. She continued with a slight quiver in her voice. “Everyone get under your desks. Max, would you lock the door?”
I went to the door, but hesitated before locking it. I looked at my phone again. “Whatever it takes.” I opened the door and ran out.