|Reason to Worry
Author: Many Midnights PM
A man hears about a terrible disease on the TV, and discovers the hard way what it's all aboutRated: Fiction K - English - Horror - Words: 1,126 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Published: 09-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3058472
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Reason to Worry
Tim reclined back in his favorite chair. He was anxious to wipe away the residual traces of his work day, and the remote control in one hand and a cup of hot lemon-ginseng tea in the other was just the ticket. He tapped the power button on the remote and settled back into the worn upholstery of the recliner.
A severe-looking newscast woman materialized on the dusty, 32-inch television screen. Her jet-black hair was speckled with flakes of ash and dirt. Her makeup was smeared from her apparent wrestling with her emotions.
Tim set his cup of tea down on the coffee table and increased the volume on the TV.
"So to recap, the situation has now reached epidemic proportions. Most of Macomb County, as well as neighboring counties Lenawee and Genesee, has been infected by the so-called Eye Flu, a dangerous and highly contagious pathogen that renders its victims homicidal maniacs." The woman glanced around behind her, her otherwise pretty face marred by fear and anxiety. "But the worst part is that somehow the infected can actually retain enough self-control to appear normal for a brief time. In fact, the only way to tell a person is infected is an unnatural red film over their eyes. Health officials are scrambling to find a cure for this disease, which presumably carries a nearly 100% mortality rate."
Tim felt his stomach knot. Why hadn't he heard about this sooner? Panic began to seep into his mind, freezing rational thought as it went. He realized that he needed to do two things: arm himself and call somebody. But who would he call? And he didn't have a gun, so what could he use as a weapon?
The answers hit him. He could grab one of the knives out of the rack in the kitchen, the big one with the serrated blade, and then call his buddy Eddie. He thought about calling his mother, but she lived in another state and he didn't want to give her a reason to worry.
The doorbell rang throughout his 900 square-foot bachelor pad. Tim was startled, but quickly jumped to his feet. He muted the TV and darted into his kitchen, snatching the knife from its respective slot. Cautiously, he approached the front door.
"I can hear you in there, you bum!"
It was his friend Eddie. Tim swung the door open and was greeted by the sight of his best friend.
"Man, get inside! There's some weird crap going around." Tim pulled Eddie into the house.
Eddie fell into Tim's recliner. Making himself at home, he tossed his designer sunglasses onto the table and began toying with the remote control.
"Why is the sound off?" He pushed the mute button and watched as the newscaster's voice returned to her mouth.
"As reported earlier, nearly 75% of the downtown district, including the Fire Department headquarters, has been compromised by the infection."
Eddie leaned forward in the chair. "Is this the crap you were talking about?"
Tim set the knife down on the dining room table. "Yeah. Something about a type of flu that's lethal. Turns people into psychos."
The newscast lady continued. "The infection apparently has been traced to a warehouse on the city's east side, near Bonnie and Lenore. Health officials have determined it to be a man-made pathogen. Authorities are converging on the building as I speak."
Tim felt his heart skip a beat.
"Eddie, isn't that where you opened that shipping business of yours, on Bonnie and Lenore?"
Eddie stood up. "Yeah, so?"
Tim walked over toward the front door as casually as he could. "So, what exactly is your business shipping?"
"Computer parts mainly, software, stuff like that. Why?"
Tim nonchalantly slid the deadbolt on the door into place.
"Nothing. Nothing at all." He stared at his friend, studying his eyes for any abnormalities.
"What are you getting at, Tim?"
Tim snapped out of it. Eddie looked normal. His eyes were the same brown they had always been. And just because the police were looking by his warehouse didn't mean...
"Apparently, the disease has spread," the newscast lady interrupted. "Authorities report the entire northeast section of the city and parts of the neighboring suburbs have been compromised." She paused as she held her hand to her ear. "I just received orders to evacuate the area immediately. We will continue to broadcast from the road as the..."
Both Tim and Eddie watched as the pretty newscast woman with the jet-black hair was viciously decapitated right in front of the camera. It happened so fast that her head was still perched on her shoulders for a few seconds before falling to the ground.
And then the screen went blank.
"Oh my God," Tim said in disbelief. "We have to secure the house! We have to find some weapons!"
"I've got one right here," Eddie said quietly, almost casually. He held up Tim's knife. As he walked toward his friend he rolled it in his hand. "You weren't supposed to know about this, nobody was, except of course for the terrorists I do business with."
Tim was at a loss for words. His friend, his best friend was a criminal, a traitor.
"Because I can."
"But what happened?" Tim eyed the door, waiting for his chance to escape.
A chorus of shrill screams cut through the neighborhood. Tim looked out the bay window and saw people being chased by red-eyed maniacs wielding knives and axes. One even had a shotgun and proceeded to blow off the head of the young woman he was chasing.
Eddie shrugged it off. "Let's just say that my experiments got out of hand a little."
Any chances of escape Tim had were dashed when Eddie pulled a gleaming 9 mm from his waistband.
"I thought we were friends."
Eddie laughed. "I don't give a crap. I merely put up with you. You're just a dumb peasant."
"But how did this spread? What happened?"
Eddie began to shake then. His face grew pale and he began to sweat. The gun trembled in his hand but remained locked on Tim. "I'm afraid my time is up," he slurred. He let loose a shot over Tim's head. "You see, I'm the cause of my creation spreading. I was the first to be infected. It was an accident. So far, I've managed to keep it under control until... until now. I had nowhere else to go, so I came here." He dropped the knife but still held the gun on Tim. He then reached up with his free hand and slipped the contacts out of his eyes, revealing blood-red orbs spinning wildly in his head. "And now, old buddy, your time is up as well."