Wednesday, April 13, 2016
RABID: PART FOUR
Genre: Horror (Zombies)
RECAP: Friday, September 13, 2013 was the dawn of the apocalypse.
Strange reports started filtering in from Long Island, New York. The Daily Buzz–a Manhattan-based publication–sent Ryan Slater to cover the story. Ryan is an ex-cop who got stuck working for the Buzz after an unfortunate incident led to his dismissal with the NYPD.
Jackson Creed (commonly referred to as Jax), an ex-marine who craves a life of action, gets his wish when the virus spreads throughout his Long Island town.
A registered nurse named Brenda Barker sees an older man collapse outside a Long Island café. She tries to revive him, but the heart attack proves to be fatal. The man comes back to life, and goes on a feeding frenzy. Brenda barely escapes with her life.
Evan Larson blows up a stolen car in order to fend off a horde of zombies that had him surrounded. Little is known about Evan at this point. He is a young man who is quiet but resourceful.
The blast gains Ira Schillinger’s attention. Ira used to work in construction, but was fired for drinking on the job. Ira and Evan form an alliance, and try to flee Long Island via train.
They encounter Lance Mathis, the man whose car Evan coincidentally blew up. The three of them agree to stick together when they learn the virus has spread throughout New York. Their train is rerouted, as they receive instructions to avoid NYC. The conductor is instructed to bring all survivors to the Massapequa station, so they can be transferred to Sunrise Mall.
Military personnel escort survivors to Sunrise Mall, where they have food and shelter. The military set up tents, including a medical tent for emergencies and stand guard outside the mall in shifts.
In the mall, the survivors converge. A small group of survivors forms an alliance to guarantee their survival in the event of a crisis. Jax and Ira facilitate this alliance with Evan, Lance, two comic book nerds named Mac and TK, and a girl named Allison Shane who has an affinity for horror movies.
Ryan Slater finds more than a story when he arrives in Long Island and is escorted to Sunrise Mall. He and Brenda Barker are eventually “recruited” by the group. Slater loses contact with his editor and his co-workers as the plague spreads throughout New York.
Lance, an ex-con who can’t keep his thoughts or opinions to himself, does not endear himself to the group. Though, he chooses to stick with them for his own safety.
Several vans arrive outside the mall and a group of protestors form. An altercation with the military ensues. The noise attracts the zombies, who flock to the mall in droves. The military are eventually overrun and the survivors face a major threat…
By Daniel Skye
PART FOUR: LEFT FOR DEAD
Massapequa, New York.
The entrances could no longer hold. Horrified spectators shielded their eyes as the glass exploded from the immense pressure and the dead came pouring in.
Most of them had been dead no more than a few days, but they already exhibited advanced signs of rot and decay.
Ryan Slater felt someone tugging at his sleeve, trying to pull him from behind. He turned back and saw Allison Shane’s lips moving, but could not hear her words over the cacophony of deafening screams. The rest of the group were already on the move and Allison didn’t want to fall behind. She motioned for Ryan to follow her, and he didn’t have to think twice about it.
The safety net had dropped. The military was no longer a factor. The troop that was dispatched to guard the perimeter didn’t stand a chance. But they showed tremendous courage. Not a single one of them retreated. They went out in a hail of bullets.
The influx of the undead created a whirlpool of insanity. People were running, pushing and shoving, knocking each other down, searching frantically for their loved ones, or searching for an exit that wasn’t engulfed by a horde of the undead.
Others saw this as an opportunity to loot and rob the place blind. And the group Ryan Slater had aligned himself with was no different. Only they weren’t stealing TVs or blenders or designer clothes.
Jax was vehemently against stealing. So was Ira Schillinger. But this wasn’t about comfort or desire. This was a matter of survival. And for that reason only, they were able to look past it.
And Lance Mathis, who was still tagging along, had no gripe with petty theft. Stealing is what he did best. People like Lance cheat and steal their way through life, and they usually get away with it.
They followed Jackson Creed’s lead. Their first stop was a department store, where the only thing they swiped was duffel bags. Then they split off momentarily.
Evan Larson, Mac, TK, and Brenda Barker hit the pharmacy for medical supplies. Brenda, a registered nurse, knew exactly what to look for. Jax led the others to the mini-mart, where they loaded their bags with as much food and bottled water they could carry.
They all rendezvoused outside the mini-mart. “Stay close together. We’re going to make it out of here alive.”
Along the way, Allison stopped by an unmanned convenience store kiosk and loaded her bag with every pack of cigarettes she could grab.
“Relax, I’m going to share,” Allison assured the group.
The zombies were scattered throughout the first floor. They were everywhere now. Too many to even count.
Lance guffawed at the sight of a rather hefty individual who was so out of shape he could not even outrun the zombies. The man stopped to catch his breath and four of them swooped in like vultures. His ghastly screams could not convey the horror the group was witnessing as they saw a man being torn to shreds. Brenda averted her eyes. She had seen some gruesome sights in her time as a nurse, but this was one for the books.
“Let’s go,” Ira said. “We can’t save everyone.”
“Yeah and it’s no big loss,” Lance shrugged. “One less fat fuck in the world.”
Ira gritted his teeth. He balled up one fist, then sighed and straightened his fingers. Everyone deserved a chance, he thought. Even a scumbag like Lance. He disregarded Lance’s insensitive comment and they kept on moving.
But they stopped and turned back again when they heard the screams. Lance was sprawled out on the tiled floor. One of the zombies was gnawing at his right leg, tearing the sinew from his femur. Another was biting the side of his face, ripping the flesh from his cheek. A third was chomping at his forearm.
“We can’t help him,” Jax said. “We have to keep moving.”
As the group went on, Evan ran back to retrieve Lance’s bag for the excess supplies. Evan hunched over and whispered to Lance, “I’m the one who blew up your car. My bad.”
Brenda Barker was a registered nurse. Her first instinct was to help those in need. Everywhere she looked, she saw chaos, carnage, and bloodshed. She wanted to jump in and be the hero. But she wasn’t about to split off from the group.
Jax spotted a clear exit sandwiched between a Starbucks and an AT&T store. They made a break for it, circling around the building until they reached the military tents. There had been a tent set up for medical emergencies and the group helped themselves to all the supplies they could carry.
They circumvented the maimed bodies of the protestors and fallen soldiers, and commandeered one of the vans that belonged to the protestors. The keys were still dangling in the ignition. But not before relieving a few of the soldiers of their AK-47s. Jax couldn’t help but feel guilty about stealing from his fallen brothers, but if they were going to survive, they needed weapons.
“Where the hell are we going?” Brenda asked.
“I know a place where we can hole up for a while,” TK said, referring to his store. “It’s one town over.”
With Jax behind the wheel, TK instructed him to head west on Sunrise Highway.
The eight of them, all crammed into one van, drove to Seaford and parked behind TK’s comic store.
He unlocked the backdoor and let everyone in. He made sure to lock it behind them. Then he drew the window shades and unrolled three comic book posters he had for sale. He taped the posters to the door so nobody could peek inside.
Brenda adjusted her leopard print bracelet and asked to borrow anyone’s phone. Ryan was happy to help her out.
“Here,” he said, holding his phone out with one hand. “Maybe you’ll have better luck than I did.”
Brenda thanked him and accepted the phone. She tried to reach her folks out in Florida, but nobody picked up on their end. The phone just kept ringing.
Then she tried her brother out in Texas. No luck there, either.
“Ira, Jax, help me move this display case. We need something to barricade the door.”
Jax and Ira lent TK a hand moving a huge display case packed with the latest Walking Dead issues and trade paperbacks.
Once they had the door blocked, the group took a look around for the first time. “Seriously,” Ryan said. “Comic books?”
“What’s wrong with comics?” TK shrugged.
“Yeah, what’s wrong with them?” Alice joined in.
“I don’t know, it’s just so…juvenile.”
“I like you, so I’ll pretend you didn’t say that,” Alice said.
“This is it?” Ira asked. “I mean, yeah we blocked the door. But you saw what happened at the mall. What if those things break the glass?”
“It’s not Fort Knox,” TK said. “But there’s a basement, no windows. And it’s huge. Enough room for all of us to set up camp and ride this out. We’ll be safe down there.”
“How secure is the basement?” Jax asked.
“We’ll be surrounded by four walls of reinforced concrete. I’d say that’s pretty secure. And the only entrance to the basement is through that door.” TK pointed with one finger towards the door behind the counter marked EMPLOYEES ONLY. “There’s no outside entrance.”
“I vote we stay,” Mac said. “I’m not going back out there if you pay me.”
“I vote we stay too,” Jax said. “For now. At least until this mess is sorted out.”
“Are you kidding me?” Brenda Barker said. “You saw what happened back at the mall. The military couldn’t contain the situation. No matter how many of those things they take down, more just keep popping up. There’s no stopping it now.”
“I hate to say it,” Ira said, “but I think she’s right.”
“Conjecture and speculation won’t help the situation,” Ryan said. “I agree that we should just wait it out. And if Brenda is right, then we’ll reassess the situation. Until then, let’s not assume the worst.”
“So how are we going to pass the time?” Mac shrugged.
“I’ve got some board games in the basement…” TK said.
“Oh, God, I hope they find a cure,” Ryan sighed.
* * *
They kept the radio on twety-four-seven. But every station was broadcasting the same prerecorded message from the emergency broadcasting system.
Mac was flipping through the stations when they finally picked something up. At first, it was just dead air. But then they heard a man’s voice, clear as day. Mac thought he was having auditory hallucinations before the others spoke up and acknowledged the message too.
“If you’re out there and you’re listening to this, bravo. You’ve managed to survive this long. That’s the good news. And that’s as far as the good news goes. Ready for the bad news? The bad news is we’re fucked, my friends. Totally fucked. Shit, fucked ain’t even the right word to describe the kind of fuckery that’s transpired. Well, strap in and get ready for the bad news. It’s not just New York. It’s not just Texas. It’s not just California or New Mexico. It’s the whole damn world.
It’s happening in China. It’s happening in France. It’s happening all over the United Kingdom. It spread around the world in less than a day. And that’s not the worst part. The CDC have not released this information. But you don’t need their verification. Take it from me. We’re all infected.
You don’t need no zombies biting your ass in order for you to turn. If you die from a gunshot wound or a heart attack or you slip on a bar of soap and crack your head up, you’ll turn. If you die, you come back as one of them. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. And if you’re listening to this, you probably have to. But for those of you that haven’t, be warned. Whatever this virus is, we’re all infected.
Massive trauma to the brain seems to be the only way to keep these suckers down. In other words, aim for the head. But anyone who’s seen a decent zombie movie can tell you that one. I’ve recorded this transmission and I’m going to broadcast it until I lose the signal. You may hear from me again. You may not. But good luck and Godspeed. This is DJ Apocalypse, signing out.”
A prolonged silence ensued. Their eyes drifted back and forth, looking over one another, watching the hope drain from their bodies. Mac was the first to break the silence.
“He’s right,” Mac said. “We’re fucked. What are we supposed to do now?”
“Survive,” Jax told him.
To Be Continued With Part Five: WHAT COMES NEXT?