CASE ONE: PETER MORRIS
By Donny Chavez
Paramedic Peter Morris was familiar with the classification, Carrier Zero. The term was used to identify the first discovered subject of a new or rare anomaly. He had read about it in a medical journal once, but never once thought he would be witness to a new case. Even now, as he sits in a corner lighting a cigarette with trembling hands, he can still recall the horrid discovery of that day about a month ago. He begins to move from the congested waiting area into the busy hall of the barely operational hospital. There has been a lot of activity for the past couple of days, a lot of shouting and confusion mixed with people trying to help one another since the first victims of the multiplying effect began.
Peter can still replay the events of that day, and since then, in chronological sequences. It was mid or late August, he was bringing in two victims of a reported sewer maintenance accident. He could still remember the deep flesh wounds and lacerations. Blood everywhere, especially around areas where the victims' clothes seemed to have been bitten and torn off. For God sake, one of them was missing a left ear. Unfortunately, one of them died while on route to the hospital; from a deep laceration on the side of his neck. What was to happen next would be the beginning of an endless repeating cycle that he would see and continue to see since then.
It came back to life! How? It doesn't make sense, it just isn't possible. He was dead when they placed him on the examination table. Michael went through the normal usual procedures, strictly routine. He recorded his observations as he made them.
"Cause of death was due to a massive hemorrhage caused by the laceration on his neck."
"Yeah, but can you identify those bite marks?" Peter continued.
"Bite marks, where?"
"Here along his forearm and shoulder."
Michael inspects closer. "Strange, maybe rats or a wild dog," is what he said rather jokingly.
Sarcastically Peter responds, "Wild dog my ass."
"If you say so," still looking at the marks, "but there's something odd about them. Will you pass me the scalpel Pete."
Michael reached over the body to receive the scalpel when it grabbed his arm and bit right into it.
Michaels' screaming is the last thing Peter can remember, but the nightmare was yet to begin. Days after, the screaming continued as violent attacks began to rise all over the city. What followed next was an alarmingly steady rise in deaths across the city from two, at the time, undetermined factors. One was a mysterious incurable illness or virus which claimed the lives of many. The other, was the one Peter was slowly nauseously getting used to. Partially eaten victims were always the result, and Peter knew exactly what was causing it. At first he thought there was no connection, but after Michael had died from the illness he realized that the events were connected. The haunting image of Michael being bitten by the reanimated corpse creeps back into his mind.
Two days later his worst fears became reality as the news media quickly confirmed that the recently dead were returning to life. The unexplainable phenomenon spread fast like wildfire as it did in those old movies. It got to a point where Peter didn't need to see it on TV; he saw it first hand as it slowly infested his neighborhood like a virus. The police and National Guard foolishly tried to intercept and quarantine certain areas of contamination, but were only met with certain death by the overwhelming, marching, hungry, growing number of zombies. The screaming and later reanimation, it was hell manifesting and spreading uncontrollably through the city streets. All of this caused by the first carrier, which then led to the first bite and more biting followed by death and reanimation.
By the end of that week it had become too dangerous to continue living in his neighborhood. Looting had run out of control, neighborhood morale had crumbled as more people died from the infectious illness and later revived. It didn't make sense staying here anymore. Peter would decide that the best course of action is to leave and try to seek out help. Where? Those things are everywhere; the entire city will soon belong to them. Whatever he decided he knew he had to leave soon.
Peter moves down through the busy hall as several medical personnel move about aiding the injured. This is where he ended up since he left his home. Where else could he go? The need to seek refuge and especially other sane survivors was important. Living in isolation under these conditions was dangerous, although he had gotten accustomed to writing down his thoughts and daily occurrences; rather than keeping it all bottled up until it drives him mad. Since he had been at the hospital a lot of patients and medical personnel have died by either infection or left and never returned. There were still a decent amount of civilians and personnel holding out here, but the situation outside was intensifying; it was looking more like his neighborhood. The doors were reinforced, but they wouldn't hold forever. All of these people are in grave danger unless they move.
Peter slowly creeps into cold storage which has now become somewhat of a morgue. Dead bodies lie stockpiled here. Some were executed to prevent later revival, others were just plain dead. They will have to move these bodies out soon. As soon as the shit clears up a bit that you can carry them out and pile them up on the side of the street. Peter moves in closer as he once again confronts the horseman of the apocalypse which unleashed this plague. Carrier Zero is still laying here, executed, for purposes of further research to understand the phenomenon. It never happened, and it's pointless to start now. You infected and destroyed everything.
"Where did you fucking come from?" Peter's voice broke the silent air, "How did you get like this?" Like it's going to answer you back.
"God, why is this happening?"
The age old question asked, and just like throughout history, will be left unanswered. A loud commotion erupts outside.
Peter quickly moves back into the hall and sees people running in all directions, some coming his way.
"Move everyone out quickly," he could hear someone yelling in the background. Peter grabs the closest guy running towards him, "What's happening?"
"They're breaking in; they're trying to move everyone out."
The guy was frantic in his response. He must have been in his mid to late twenties, but his face was pale white with fear and terror which made him appear younger, like a lost child. Peter let him go and watched him run off; as he turned he saw the first of them. More of them entered and then the screaming began again as those unable to move or frozen with terror were caught first. Peter watched as death spread within hospital walls.
He knew what he had to do, it was time to run, even though he felt like staying and letting them take him. He couldn't do that, he had to survive. Survival was his only driving force because there was nothing else. If I survive this then that will be a tale for another story, if I survive.
-- END --
You can e-mail Donny Chavez at email@example.com.
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