|Small Town Terror
Author: WeDieAlone PM
A small town chosen by government officials is the first to test a new influenza vaccine, just released by doctors. The unknowing residents try the drug, unaware of the terrible effects it would soon have...Rated: Fiction T - English - Horror/Drama - Chapters: 5 - Words: 12,029 - Reviews: 11 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 3 - Updated: 10-28-12 - Published: 07-27-11 - id: 2937287
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"I'm not feeling good. In general, and about this. You remember the dance in eighth grade, right?"
"Yeah, what about it?" He asked.
"Remember how we all left?"
It took him a moment to remember. "We climbed out the windows!"
"Shh," I clamped a hand over his mouth. "Don't let them hear you, idiot!" I shook my head at him. "We need to get into the bathrooms…all of us," I shot a look over at Gail. "Follow me, and we'll get out of here."
Gavin whispered to the others my plan of escape, and one by one, they left their spot near the wall and swam through the sea of towns folk toward the bathrooms. Thankfully they were out of the way, out of the eye of the watchful doctors and agents. Once behind the wall that separated the restrooms from the cramped meeting room, I grabbed hold of Gavin and Zoe's shirts and pulled them into the women's room. Gail darted into the room after us.
"So. You have a plan for getting us out of here?" She spoke, her snotty voice echoing in the small space.
"Yes, and a little louder so everyone here can hear you," I rolled my eyes. "Alright. All we gotta do is push the garbage can over underneath the window and climb out. Simple, right?"
The three of them nodded. "Okay. Well, Zoe, since you're the lightest of all of us, you climb first. Make sure there's no one out there."
"Got it," She gave a mock salute, and pulled the heavy can under the window sill and began cranking the lever to open the window. Zoe popped the screen out and let it fall to the ground. "Doesn't seem like anyone's there," She whispered at us, half her body already out of the window.
She dropped to the ground outside the building, and we followed shortly after her, sticking close to the ground and behind the cover of the hedges surrounding the front of town hall. It had grown dark already, the only light coming from the lone street lamp on the corner a few yards away. Gavin scouted ahead, crouched low like a Navy Seal on an important mission. Stealth was the key.
He paused and looked at the three of us. "They have soldiers everywhere, guys."
"Like, actual soldiers with guns and stuff?"
"Yeah, with guns and stuff. Damn it, guys, how are we gonna get out of here?" He looked to us for an answer.
Gail spoke up. "We just have to remain unseen. That's all. Nobody knows we've left, so it's not like they'll be searching for us, right? Stay out of the light."
I pursed my lips, surprised by her answer. I thought she'd say something along the lines of 'let's just haul ass and get out of here'. "She's right. They're all distracted now."
"Whose house is closer?" Zoe asked. "We can go there until the meeting is over."
"I live about two blocks over," Gail said. "My parents and I walked here."
"We'll head there then," I decided.
We snuck past the horde of soldiers patrolling the street, and once we reached Manzano's, the town's local bakery, we picked up the pace and jogged the rest of the way to Gail's house.
But the jog to the Bainbridge's residence proved to be far more difficult than we thought. The town appeared to be shut down, like last winter when the snow storm was so bad all the main roads were closed. No businesses were open, and there were barely any lights on. Large, black military vehicles drove slowly down the streets, headlights off.
"There's an alley up ahead, Gail," I whispered harshly. "Cut through there, it'll take us right to your block."
"How do you know?" One eyebrow rose. "Stalker," She teased.
I smirked. "I take walks, you know. And besides, you've lived in the same house since, like, kindergarten."
"Yeah. Everybody knows where everyone's house is," Zoe nodded. "Perks of living in a small town."
Gail's nose scrunched up. "I wish it weren't like that."
"Damn, a truck!" Gavin half shouted.
We ducked into the alleyway and darted into the backyard of someone's house, cutting through the trees. We hunched down among shadows of trees that suddenly seemed too skinny to provide enough darkness for anyone to hide in. We held our collective breaths as the vehicle closed in, slowed down, and sped up again. Dark windows, dark intent, I thought without really considering why. In the fading sound of the car and after glowering rear lights disappeared around a corner, with pounding hearts, we made our way to the sidewalk again. Only another minute or so until we should arrive at Gail's.
Breathless and nearly giddy with our successful escape, we made it to her front yard, and just about trampled each other on the way inside her home. Gail hurriedly locked the door behind us. "Don't touch the lights." She said when I started fumbling for the hall light.
I quickly drew my hand back. She was right. Gail continued into the gloom and we followed. "No need to shout out where we are huh?" I murmured, glancing at the windows and the unnerving stillness outside. We didn't know where they would patrol with their trucks and watchers behind dark glass. They wouldn't just check the main streets I was sure of it.
Gavin tugged his sweater off. "This is bigger than we thought."
Still feeling sick, I slunk to the floor. "It has to be. I get they want to protect their scientists and all…but…the need for patrolling the streets is something I don't get. What could they possibly be up to?"
"Oh, I knew there was something wrong with this from the start," Gavin groaned. "And they're marking people? What the hell!"
"Huh?" Zoe asked. "I think I missed that part."
"Yeah, they're putting ink into the vaccine so they know who had it," I rolled onto my side. "If these people stick around, we're gonna need to fake that marking."
"My cousin tattoos," Gail suggested after a moment of silence. "I could ask him?"
"That'd be great. All we need is a little dot, and then we're done."
A car pulled into the driveway, and the four of us froze, exchanging panicked glances. Quickly, we took off and raced down the basement stairs, hiding in the farthest corner.
"They can't be after us…can they?" asked Zoe.
"I think it's my parents. Maybe someone dropped them off. We walked to the meeting but I bet Mr and Mrs Bowes ran them home." Gail said as she walked to the bottom of the stairs. She peered up as if she could see through the ceiling and tilted her head, listening hard. Finally she nodded and offered a relieved smile.
"Ok, but what are you going to tell them?" I asked her as she stood there.
She hesitated for a moment but then she seemed to reach a decision and took a deep breath, looking at us. "I will tell them we got our shots and left. Just keep your sleeves rolled down." She told us all. "Oh, and when you hear me talking to them, turn on the TV and sit down."
She started up the stairs and we heard her walk across the floor above us. We heard the door open and some muffled talking.
"It sounds like it's her parents. But wait a minute before turning on the TV." Zoe said from beside the stairs. We were all huddled at the bottom of the staircase listening.
"Ok Mom. We are downstairs. See ya later." Gail shouted and we heard her footsteps returning.
When she got to the bottom of the stairs, she flipped on a light switch and the room lit up. We were in a nice sized family room with a huge fireplace and comfy looking couches. Everything was in blacks, whites and grays. The TV was built into a floor to ceiling wall unit on the far wall.
Gail turned at the stairs and walked over to a fridge just to the left of them. There were cans of soda and beer in it. "Help yourselves." She said. Suddenly realizing we were thirsty, we didn't hesitate to do just that. We invaded the couches.
"They got a ride home. They let people leave after the meeting and as they got their shots." Gail told us. "Mom said there were a lot at the meeting that didn't get it yet."
"Did your parents get it?" Gavin asked her. We all sat very still waiting for her answer.
"I don't know." She said. "Maybe I should go up and ask them. What do you think?"
"I think that is a good idea. Also, ask to see it, so that you know what it looks like. Then we can get your cousin to tattoo us the same." I suggested to her.
"Yeah, great idea. I'll tell her that mine hurts. Ask her if hers does something like that." Gail said with a concerned look.
"Maybe we can use a ball point pen on ourselves." Gavin piped up.
"Yeah, but we need to see it first. We don't know what the puncture site looks like." Zoe stated.
"I'll go and see it. I'll figure something out." Gail said as she started to walk towards the stairs.
"Hey, ask if there are some chips or something too." Gavin yelled after her. Then he looked at us. "What?"
A few minutes later, Gail returned. She threw a bag of Salt and Vinegar chips at Gavin and sat back down on the couch.
"I told my Mom that my arm stung and asked her if her needle site was bothering her. She said no, she was fine. I asked her if she was sure and went over to her. I pulled her sleeve up and there was a bluish dot just right here." Gail pointed at the crease inside her elbow. "We can do it ourselves. We just have to get the right coloured ink and then dab it on."
"I will look at my parent's punctures when I get home. It's not going to be easy to do the matching thing, but we will have too." I told them.
When we left Gail's place an hour later, Gavin walked me home and then continued to walk with Zoe. My Dad was sitting in the living room when I kicked my shoes off in the front hallway.
"Hi Dad." I said as I stopped at the doorway. "How are you feeling?" I asked him while I rubbed my arm for effect.
"I'm good. How about you?" he put down the book he was reading and looked over the rim of his glasses.
"My arm is a little sore. The cough is leaving me I think." I put my hand on my chest.
"Yes, I am a little tender there too." He rubbed the inside of his right arm.
"Can I see that? Mine is not even red yet." I walked towards him and sat down beside him on the couch.
He started to pull his sleeve up and when he got to his elbow, he straightened out his arm. I could see a tiny light blue dot around a little scab that was forming.
"I took that stupid piece of cotton off as soon as I got into our car." He pulled his sleeve back down and adjusted his glasses.
I stood up and started to walk away.
"I thought you weren't going to get the vaccine." Dad called after me. I stopped and turned around with a smile.
"I didn't want too, but everyone else was getting it so I bucked up and took one for the team." I replied light heartedly, still backing out of the room.
"Ah ha, peer pressure. It works every time." Dad chuckled and picked up his book again.
I entered my room and quietly closed the door. After quickly looking over my finished homework, I picked up my phone and first called Gavin.
I checked with both Gavin and Zoe to see if they had seen their family's marks and they both reported that they had.
"I think I have the right pen." Zoe informed me.
With that, I settled for the night, thinking it would be just fine. Just fine. I had no real reason for the uneasy stirrings in my stomach. No evidence, no clear cause to worry, and the problem could be pondered later. Tomorrow I'd figure it out. With the unreasonable fear pushed to the future, I slowly drifted off to sleep.
My alarm rang. It was just as annoying as all the other days it had managed not so much to wake me up, but to irritate me into wakefulness. The sound of dread that had started my mornings since the first day of school. I groaned and pulled the covers off and shuffled into the bathroom, shielding my eyes as I flicked the light on. Groggily, I brushed my teeth and did everything else I needed to before I went downstairs.
I couldn't help but notice how eerily quiet it was. Mornings were never quiet, not in my home. Normally, the radio would be on, blasting my mom's favourite talk show or the news on the living room TV would inform us all about the miserable state of the world while dad enjoyed his coffee, listening with half an ear to the world around him. But not this morning. As if no one was here but me, like the house was abandoned. I collected my things and was about to go downstairs, but decided to peek into my parents bedroom at the last moment.
Their door stood wide open and what I found inside was utter chaos. Sheets, pillows, and comforter lay on the floor; the mattress had been pulled half off the bed frame, and stuff from dresser and night-stands had been swept down or ripped out; covering the rest of the floor. The air was heavy with perfume. I didn't see the bottle but it was clear that Moms favourite scent had been one of the casualties in there. Glass, alternatively dull black and bright reflective, crunched beneath my feet as I stepped into the room to get a better look at the mess. How could I have slept through that? And who had ripped apart the bed, shattered the mirror, and ripped holes in the mattress? Fear suddenly gnawed at me as a thousand thoughts ran through my mind. Did someone break in during the night? Why is it so quiet? Kidnappers? "Mom?" I whispered into the ruined bedroom and backed out into the hallway. I glanced around the hall and saw nothing out of the ordinary, heard nothing, no one. But something was very wrong here. I threw one last glance at the glittering chards of glass covering my parent's carpet and the threshold. "What the hell happened here?" I quietly asked. Lit only by the rising sun, the empty room had no answers. . "Weird." I muttered although weird didn't come close.
I backed out of the room and went downstairs, running my hands up and down my arms; a sudden chill settling over me. The vision of my parent's bedroom was fresh in my mind as I headed toward the kitchen. I glanced at the clock. It wasn't even eight yet; they should still be home. "Mom?" I called. "You there?"
When I slowly rounded the corner and stepped into the kitchen, nothing but silence greeted me. "Mom?" they sat at the table, facing one another, but they hadn't set the table for breakfast yet. Something else was different too, but it took me a moment to analyze what was wrong, but then I knew; no scent of coffee drifted through the house. Dad always made coffee first thing in the morning, no exceptions. I glanced at the coffee maker. It was empty and silent.
I took a step forward and stopped. "Mom?" I asked again, surprised at how uncertain I sounded. Maybe I didn't really expect an answer. They were there, but the couple in the kitchen with me didn't seem anything like my parents. No way would they be like that. Unless... shock? Did someone die? Did something happen; something awful? I didn't want to know but I couldn't help thinking they looked like the old Victorian death photos, corpses propped up in different poses, except they were simply sitting at the kitchen table. Unmoving. Mom had on her night gown, but it was torn at the right shoulder. Her hair was a mess, sticking out here and there, hopelessly tangled. And she had a split lip that slowly dripping blood down the front of her torn gown. Dad's appearance was no better; pyjama top ripped and with only one or two buttons holding it together and one sleeve nearly torn off completely. His hair nearly as messed up.
They just sat there, staring straight ahead. I stepped closer to them and despite the empty look in her eyes, as if she didn't know I was there, I reached out a tentative hand toward my mother. I hated the slight tremble running through my fingers so I fisted my hand, hesitated and drew a deep breath.
"Are you two okay?" No answer. I uncurled my fingers and tapped my mother on her bare shoulder, and recoiled from the touch. Her skin was as cold as marble, and grey, like the color had been sucked out of her. Suddenly, her head snapped around and baring her perfect white teeth at me, she growled.
I gasped and stumbled back while holding my arms out to the sides, palms up. That is not my mother. I tore my eyes from her cold rage with an effort and glanced at my father. He didn't seem to see me, but suddenly he was fully aware and intent on my mother. He thrust his arm across the table; the chair pushed back by his legs as he lunged, and he groped at her long brown hair, grabbed a fistful, ripping and pulling at it. She turned to him, clawing and scratching at his face, his hand, returning the attack in kind. I couldn't believe it.
"Mom? Dad? Stop it!" I took a step toward my father, wanting to pull him away from her, to stop the insanity. I reached for his shirt.
He whirled, forgetting my mother in a blaze of rage, and the back of his hand hit my face with a solid slap. The impact felt as if the hand had been inside a cold and stiff leather glove, whipped my head to the side, and a cry of surprise escaped my tightening throat. Numb shock turned to burning pain and I reeled back, covering my face with both hands. My heart raced, my eyes went blurry from pain and disbelief, and fear. I stared at him.
He breathed deeply and stared at me. But he didn't see me. His eyes were directed at me but nothing else was right. Slightly glazed over, focusing on something that wasn't me, they looked through me and into something I couldn't even begin to imagine. Glassy, unfocused, and not my Dads anymore. I looked over at my mom. She leaned against the fridge door, her one hand buried in her hair.
I glanced from Mom to Dad and tried again. "I don't know what's going on here, but are you two alright?" The question sounded feeble and stupid in my own ears and I was surprised to hear my mother reply.
"Yes." My mom whispered, not looking in my direction. "Go to school now."
I hesitated for another moment. "Sure. Yeah, school..." I said quietly without much conviction.
Suddenly my dad groped behind him, grabbed the chair he had been sitting on and pulled it until he held it with both hands. The last thing I saw before I backed out of the kitchen and the horror I had seen, was my father lifting the chair, swinging it around with a furious gargled howl of glee, and toward my mother.
I turned and ran as all hell broke loose behind me. The chair, it must have been the chair, crashed against something hard with a sound of splintering wood. Apparently it didn't hit my mother but something more solid; another chair, the table? Glass crashed and shattered, something thumped against the wall, something else fell and skittered across the floor among shards of glass. I wanted to hold my hands over my ears to shut out the bangs and thuds, scraping and more crashing of things thrown around. Sounds of destruction mixed with snarls and growls, grunts and groans, wordless screaming. Fighting. My parents, fighting like tomcats, trashing the house, trying to kill each other. Unbelievable!
I snatched up my bag and left the house, slamming the door hard on the way out. The closed door muffled the sounds, but they echoed loudly in my head. I leaned against the door, breathing hard, trying to calm my mind and trembling body, until something heavy hit the door from inside. I shrieked and threw myself down the steps, away. I needed my friends. Now.
Shocked and upset, I walked off, fighting hard not to let the tears flow from my eyes. "I can't believe the two of you!" I shouted over my shoulder to the people that wouldn't hear me. "God damn it!" I yelled loud enough for people a few towns over to hear.
"What's wrong?" A voice yelled. I turned around. Gavin, Zoe, and Gail were running to catch up with me. "You alright, Bailey?"
I kept walking. "No, no, I'm not alright. I'm about ready to lose my mind."