Author: MikeOscarSierra PM
A virus released from a laboratory spreads across the world in a few weeks, despite the quarantine in place. A group of friends make a pact, placing their lives in each other’s hands and forging their future in a society on the edge of collapse.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Horror - Chapters: 9 - Words: 17,063 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 09-27-11 - Published: 04-26-11 - id: 2910546
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"This is ridiculous!" Ameer shouted.
This sudden noise made me flinch, causing the blade I was so carefully navigating over my skin to slip. A sharp pain from under my lip made my eyes water and confirmed what I had feared. I looked up into the mirror to check the extent of the damage, and saw a small trickle of red run down my half-shaven jaw. A small diagonal gash just under my lip was rapidly oozing blood, which was colouring the remaining shaving cream a bright red colour with pink highlights. Wiping the blood from my chin, I leant out of the open door.
"Hey! I said no sudden loud noises!" I angrily yelled down the hallway, but Ameer just waved me down. After quickly finishing off my chin, I splashed some after-shave on my face and suppressed a noise of pain as it hit my newly acquired wound. I slipped on my shirt and strolled into the lounge room to investigate the cause of Ameer's sudden outburst.
"What's up?" I asked. I noticed he had the TV tuned to the nine o'clock news update.
"Be quiet, Marc." Ameer was sprawled out on one of the couches in front of the TV, a worried look on his face. The last few words of the announcer's voice echoed through the lounge room: "...has arrived in New South Wales."
I froze. A wave of cold panic washed through my body, causing my heart to beat quickly and my hands to shake. The disease had been raging through several other countries, but both Australia and New Zealand had closed their borders weeks ago.
And now New Zealand is the only clean country left. I thought.
Melvin came flying down the stairs, froze, then pulled out his phone and darted back upstairs. I tried to calm myself by inhaling deeply a couple of times, but all I got out of it was a dizzy feeling. Ameer rose and frantically began speaking in Malay. I had not noticed that he had also pulled out his phone. He, too, disappeared upstairs.
"All contact with affected individuals is to be avoided, and cases of infection are to be reported to the Police. The government advises the population to stay indoors and await official instruction..."
"Fuck that." I pulled out my phone and sent messages to a number of people. I then tried ringing home, but the phone line was either down or overloaded. Giving up on the phone, I began knocking loudly on Anthony's door. He opened it slightly with a questioning look.
"Have you heard?" I asked.
"Heard what?" He always was a little shy and slow to catch on to the most recent events and his habit to lock himself into his room did not help.
"The virus is in New South Wales." I informed him.
His eyes widened in shock.
"It's here?" He asked weakly. "I... I..."
His face went fierce then he slammed the door in my face.
"Hey!" I shouted whilst pounding on the door. I heard him quietly cursing and then go silent.
My phone began vibrating, indicating that I had received a message.
I've heard. I'll send out the call. It was Katie's reply to my message from earlier.
Don't forget anyone, please. I wrote back.
I thought of the small bag I had stashed away in the back of my closet. We had feared that something like this was going to happen, so the group and I began stashing supplies and other useful things at a small clearing in the mountains a few weeks ago. I guess our paranoia paid off. The group consisted of 10 people: David, a short and sturdy guy; Harry, often seen wearing his aviators and obsessed with martial arts; Jamie, a quiet guy who prefers to be in the presence of his computer; James, an excitable individual; Sam and Shippy, both involved in athletic activities such as soccer and whom we refer to as 'the twins'; Mitchell, our second driver; Peter, a slightly eccentric person yet the life of any party; Katie, the token female; and lastly, me: Marc. A hyperactive guy with a tendency to be slightly sarcastic at times.
After deciding to go to the kitchen, I tried ringing my Mum again but was unable to get through. I tried to calm myself again and took a deep breath before I opened the fridge. The ice-cold energy drinks were placed at head-height due to my self-confessed addiction to them. They smiled at me, so I grabbed one, opened it and sculled it. Despite the energy kick it gave me, as well as the brain-freeze, my heartbeat slowed and my hands stopped shaking. With my head a little clearer, I looked out of the window and tried to wrap my mind around the events of the past few weeks.
A loud noise from opposite the kitchen made me jump. I turned just in time to see an agitated Ameer charge out of the apartment. A backpack hung loosely off his shoulder. Melvin followed shortly after, still on the phone. They are obviously not going to come back. I stopped. Good idea, that. I felt too calm for the situation as I slowly walked to my room.
Passing Anthony's room, I heard him going berserk into his phone. His parents were most likely on the receiving end; he was probably trying to make them pick him up. He was way too dependent on them. Every weekend he would pack his backpack and go home, despite him actually living on campus. He never cooked, warming up frozen meals he brought from home whenever he was hungry. I just shook my head and continued on my way.
I opened my door and was greeted with the garbage heap I casually refer to as a 'Room'. After stepping over a pile of fresh clothing, I reached into the back of my closet, pausing as my hand touched the cardboard box which contained my booze "stash". I considered it for a second, then pulled a pack of Vodka-mix out and put it on the floor next to me, just to be on the safe side.
I shouldered my backpack and sent a message to Katie to say that I was heading up the mountains. I kicked an empty can out into the hallway as I grabbed my laptop and car keys. I paused again, then opened the bottom-most drawer of my desk, reached around the back of it and pulled a string. The false bottom of the drawer lifted up to reveal a hollow space. I reached inside and removed the Bowie knife I had hidden in it. I tucked it into my belt and slowly strolled out the door and towards my car. The residential campus was unusually calm, but the lack of people in the normally quite populated courtyard was unsettling, so I hastened my footsteps. I heard some yelling coming from the apartment block across the road as I opened up my car, but chose to ignore it. I threw my bag onto the back seat and climbed inside. Music blared loudly from my speakers and I navigated my car out of the campus.
As soon as I reached the highway and saw the traffic, I knew it was going to be a hell of a day.
I slipped the shirt over my head and walked sleepily into the kitchen. I glared at David in annoyance before I turned the coffee machine on. He had seated himself in the corner of the room and his fingers were tapping the table nervously. I leaned against the bench and folded my arms across my chest.
"David, it's barely nine o'clock. Why are you here so early?" I looked at him expectantly, my irritation at being woken up immediately fading to concern as I noticed the dark circles under his bloodshot eyes. "Sweetie, you look terrible. Are you okay?"
He hesitated. "I couldn't sleep. I was researching the outbreak. There aren't any reports from the last two days, and that's what has me worried."
I shook my head slightly and frowned. "Maybe there's nothing to report on?"
"Then they would report that there was nothing to report. Katie, it doesn't make sense." He rubbed his temples firmly. "I think it's here. It's happening."
I sighed and walked over to the TV. I skipped through the channels until I found one dedicated to news. "…quarantining has begun in the major population centres," the reporter was saying. I tuned out as my phone vibrated in my hand. I pulled up the message on the screen. 'Have you heard? It's here.' It was from Marc. My head snapped back up to the television. "I repeat, the virus has arrived in New South Wales."
I clasped my hand against my mouth to stifle my gasp. I spun around to David. His face had drained of colour. "Did you pack your stuff?" I asked, my eyes wide.
He nodded in response. "It's in the car." He almost whispered.
I turned the TV off. I could hear my own heartbeat in the sudden silence. "Can you make us some coffee? We're going to need it…"
He nodded again.
I could feel the panic rising as I searched for Marc's name in my address book. 'I've heard. I'll send out the call.' I sent the message and ran out of the kitchen.
I reached my bedroom and pulled out a large bag from under my bed. I stood up quickly and just managed to fall onto the bed as my knees buckled underneath me. I laid there for a few moments, my face buried in the sheets, before I rolled over on to my back. I stared at the ceiling and tried to steady my erratic breathing. I felt the phone vibrate in my hand once again. "Fuck." I whispered to myself.