Excerpt from Zombie Turkeys, by Andy Zach.
Chapter 2 – Edwards
He felt great, full of energy. He led his flock out of the woods. Now there was another field in front of them, with a large barnlike structure on it. Maybe it was another turkey barn! He’d go free them and gain more members for his flock. They had acquired more wild turkey flocks during their march. Now twelve thousand strong, they charged the barnlike structure.
* * *
The Caterpillar Edwards Dealer Education facility was preparing for a big customer demonstration. A large 390F backhoe was digging trenches and D-11 and D-10 tractors were filling them in—inside the voluminous demonstration building. It was only 7:30 a.m., but they had a scripted and choreographed performance to practice, showing the capabilities of the company’s huge machines.
Part of script was for the 390s to dig a huge trench, have a small D-4 tractor go into it and smooth it out, and then have the big D-11s fill it back in.
Then an enormous flock of turkeys entered through the open arena door. “Gobble! Gobble!”
That was not in the script.
The turkeys were mostly white, with some dark gray and brown ones mixed in. They flew up to the people directing the machines on the floor and began pecking them.
Hurt and bleeding, they ran yelling to the office door.
“Those turkeys are crazy!”
“And they all have those bright-red eyes too. Creepy.”
“There’re still more outside!”
“Close the doors then!” And they closed the doors. There were still perhaps a thousand turkeys walking and flying around the demonstration area.
The machine operators were relatively secure in their enclosed cabs, although turkeys would fly up and peck at the windows. The tough glass, designed to resist construction debris, foiled the turkeys. All the operators had headsets by which they could speak and hear each other and what the director said. From inside the office, he said, “Go ahead and make the trench. Make it narrower, just one bucket wide.”
Operating from opposite ends of the arena, the excavators made a trench a hundred feet long, about eight feet deep, and four feet wide.
“Now, you D-11 operators, push the turkeys into the trench.”
With their huge twenty-foot blades of steel, over eight feet high, they pushed clumps of turkeys into the trench. Tangled together, in a narrow space, they couldn’t get out again.
“Cover them up!” Thousands of pounds of dirt filled the trench. The hundred-ton dozers ran back and forth over it until it was as solid as the rest of the ground.
“Woowee! We did it!” The operators jumped out and high-fived each other. The script directors came out of the office to celebrate. After the celebration had calmed down, they heard a peculiar sound: ploop! And then another: ploop! And then ploop, ploop, ploop!
They turned around to where the trench had been. Like gigantic bubbles coming out of a swamp, the turkeys were popping up out of the ground. Hundreds were bursting out every second. They looked worse for wear: brown, dirty, with broken legs and wings, but they were hopping and walking and trying to fly anyway. And their eyes were still bright red. They slowly staggered toward the men, dragging broken legs or wings. “Gobble! Gobble!”
“Let’s get out of here!” The men ran to the office. One called 911. Another opened the arena door.
“Why are you letting more of those things in?” shouted a worker who’d peeked his head out the office door.
“No, I’m opening it to get them out. Once they’ve rejoined their flock and the arena is empty, I’ll close the doors.”
The man who called 911 spoke with May Callahan of the Hanna City police department.
“We’re under attack by a crazed flock of turkeys here!”
“Where are you?”
“At the Edwards demonstration area.”
“So that’s where they went. They were at Wildlife Prairie Park last night.”
“They attacked us while we were practicing our script with our machines. We buried them in the dirt, and then they popped right back up out of the ground.”
“That’s a new one. We’ll send a squad car right over.”