Tuesday, March 29, 2016
RABID: PART TWO
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
By Daniel Skye
PART TWO: FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES
For those of you that are just joining us…
…reports are coming in from all over the world…
…an unprecedented event…
…and authorities have yet to confirm just how many casualties on the East Coast, but on the West Coast…
…I’m being informed that we’re going off the air, as our feed will be replaced by a message from the emergency broadcasting system…
…as we’ve received numerous reports of what’s being referred to as “mass resurrection”…
…and as the death toll rises to 43 in Florida…
…the government has yet to release a statement, but our sources have told us…
…reports coming in from Texas, as the death toll rises to 22…
…If you’re listening to this broadcast, you must isolate yourself. Try to remain inside. Make sure no one can get to you. Try to avoid neighbors, friends, even relatives who may be carrying the…
…CDC is still uncertain if the virus is airborne, but have confirmed the virus is blood borne, transmitted through blood, saliva, especially bite wounds…
…Reports from all over the world have confirmed…
…The dead have risen…
…The dead are coming back to life…
Brenda Barker clicked the radio off. “I’ll be damned,” Brenda sighed. “It’s on every radio station. It’s all they’re talking about.” But Brenda was talking to an empty room.
She had a habit of talking out loud during tense situations. It calmed her nerves. But how could she remain calm after what she’d seen outside the café, after all the grisly details she’d heard over the radio? Her nerves were screaming.
She sat huddled in the darkest corner of her living room, the curtains all drawn. Every door and window was locked; a baseball bat rested in her lap.
Brenda lived alone, but she had a nephew who loved baseball. The bat was part of his birthday present, but right now, Aunt Brenda needed it more than her nephew did.
She thought about turning on the television, but she figured the news would be no different than the radio. And the TV gave off too much light. She didn’t want anyone to know she was home.
Things were turning ugly out there. People were deteriorating into savages. And the beauty of Autumn was disintegrating into ashes. It wouldn’t be long now before society collapsed. Not unless the military could retain some semblance of order.
Brenda was tired. It came with the responsibility of being a registered nurse. Brenda was usually on call. So that meant plenty of emergency calls and sleepless nights.
Brenda was so tired she barely felt the rumble until the tank was right outside her house. She crawled to the window, lifted the curtain and peeked out.
She saw the tank, saw the armed soldiers marching alongside it, and she scrambled for the door.
The soldiers saw her running towards them and raised their guns as a precautionary measure.
“It’s alright!” Brenda shouted, raising her hands in the air. “I’m not infected! And I’m alone.”
“Ma’am, what are you still doing out here?” one of the soldiers asked.
“I had nowhere else to go, so I’ve been locked inside my house since yesterday afternoon.”
“All homes were supposed to be evacuated,” the soldier explained. “But our boys have had their hands full. Come with us. We’ll make sure you get to Sunrise Mall.”
“Most residents of Nassau County have been relocated there while the situation is contained.”
“And what exactly is the situation?”
“Ma’am, you probably know as much as I do.”
* * *
Ryan Slater spent the night trying to process this baffling ordeal. He didn’t sleep a wink. He’d tried to reach Francis Laymon more than ten times with his cell, but Laymon wasn’t picking up his phone or responding to Slater’s text messages.
For all Slater knew, his boss was dead. And as much as he despised the guy, this thought brought him no joy or comfort. It terrified him. Chilled him to the very marrow of his bones. If Laymon was gone, if New York City had fallen, how long would this virus take to spread throughout Long Island?
The others found rest where they could. The military had brought in folding chairs, cots, blowup mattresses, pillows and blankets. But the mall had reached its capacity. And more survivors were still rolling in. So finding a place to sleep was like trying to find a parking spot on Black Friday.
In the morning, Mac and TK walked to the food court where they found the rest of their group. The word group sounded so weird to TK he didn’t even say it aloud. Mac and TK had nothing in common with the other survivors. But Jackson Creed and Ira Schillinger thought it best if they all stuck together. The old safety in numbers theory.
Maybe they were right. Mac and TK knew more about Dr. Who and Superman than they knew about firing a gun. At that moment, the mall offered them shelter. And the military was posted right outside. But what if the virus continued to spread? What if things erupted into chaos and it was every man for themselves? It was in their best interest to stick with the group.
The mall offered a full breakfast buffet. There were steam trays loaded with scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, and bacon made Mac’s mouth water. And there were fruits, muffins, bottled water, and juices. But what Allison Shane really craved was coffee. She was a different person without her coffee. And luckily for her–and everyone around her–the mall also had fresh brewed coffee. She had instructed everyone at the table not to speak to her directly until she finished the first cup.
“So you served some time in the military?” Ira asked Jackson.
“What makes you say that?” Jax answered his question with a question.
“I saw the USMC tattoo on your shoulder.”
“Yeah,” Jax sighed. “I was in the military.”
“Iraq, Afghanistan, wherever they needed me, that’s where I went.”
“I can see it’s something you don’t like to talk about,” Ira said morosely, regretting that he had broached the subject.
“It’s alright,” Jax assured him. “You serve any time?”
“Nah, not me. But I had a cousin who did two tours of Iraq.”
“I have a theory,” Mac said, interrupting their conversation. “What if they’re not actually zombies? What if they’re just hopped up on bath salts?”
The rest of the table stared at him blankly, silently. “Just a theory,” Mac muttered and shrugged his shoulders as if to say he had nothing else to contribute.
Alice, who had finished her coffee and was starting to perk up, said, “That reporter seems a tad strange.”
“I don’t trust him,” Lance Mathis muttered. “The guy’s name is Ryan Slater. Sounds like a bad name for an action movie star. Where’s Brian Bosworth and Dolph Lundgren when you need ’em?” Lance cackled, an annoying laugh that made Ira want to pop him in the mouth. But Ira was restraining himself.
He and Lance had started off on the wrong foot. And Lance’s off-color remarks from the night before had only exposed his true colors to the group. But the rest of them seemed to tolerate his presence for the time being. And so Ira let it slide momentarily.
Slater was parked on a bench by one of the side entrances, waiting for his phone to charge. He’d called everyone in his phone book from his office. Not one of them had returned his calls.
A lone man stumbled towards the doors. He looked like he had seen better days.
Ryan leaned in closer and saw the gaping wound on the man’s forearm that extended to his elbow. He could see muscle, tendons, and a white knob of bone jutting from his elbow.
He was one of them. Ryan studied it through the glass. It was the first time he’d seen a zombie up close. It was the first time he’d seen a zombie period. If you had told Ryan of a zombie apocalypse when he was a cop, he would’ve busted you for possession because he would’ve assumed you were on some really good shit.
Its pupil-less eyes, like two dirty marbles, stared back at Ryan. Then he was pounded and clawing at the doors, trying to bite Ryan right through the glass.
He watched one of the soldiers approach the doors. He didn’t even waste a single round. The soldier pulled his knife from its sheath and rammed the blade through its forehead. The zombie fell backward and twitched once before it ceased moving entirely. The soldier retracted the blade from its skull and wiped the blood clean, careful not to get any on his hands.
So this is it, Ryan lamented. This is the new world.
To Be Continued With Part Three: THE FALL