Chapter 11 – Airborne
Darren gently reclined back in his seat for the fifth time in an hour, trying to sleep. The sky outside was starting to light up, a swarm of lower clouds forming mist, the tops of buildings and hills barely poking out from underneath. They were still another hour out from Dunedin, and where currently somewhere over Christchurch. He turned over again, unease flowing through his body.
"Dammit." He muttered and sat up straight before getting to his feet, stretching his uncomfortable body. "Fuck sleeping in those again."
Darren looked around and saw the others were actually able to sleep. He envied their lack of necessity for comfort to sleep and headed towards the kitchen area, finding a pack of frozen macaroni and cheese inside the small freezer back there. He grabbed it and chucked it inside the microwave. After he set the timer, he turned around and looked out the window. Fog covered most of the ground, but there were large parts that weren't covered in white. After a while of dazing while looking out the window, the microwave beeped and he reached in, grabbing the 'Mac and Cheese' and taking it out. Darren reached for a spork on his way past the cutlery tray and walked down the aisle, heading for the stairs as he slowly scooped the food into his mouth. It was hot, but not enough for him to not enjoy in peace. He walked down into the second-class area.
"What the hell is that?" He suddenly asked himself, lowering an overloaded spork back into the box. On the ground was a large amount of sporks, broken plates and glasses. On top of most of the pile was a trolley, ones the attendants used to push around. Darren quickly filled his mouth with food and put the box on one of the seats as he rounded the corner. He froze instantly, a piece of macaroni sticking out of his mouth. Bloody handprints were plastered all over the walls of the hatch, which was open. Someone, or something had already been in the luggage compartment and had managed to push the trolleys off and broken the hatch, allowing whatever was inside out.
"Oh shit." He tried to say. But there was too much food in his mouth still. He spun around and came face to face with a man, face torn off and an arm missing. Darren yelled but all that came out was a muffled noise. He bit down a couple of times and charged forward, planting his hands on the zombies' shoulders. He pushed it back and it fell over one of the seats. There was another five behind him. Darren opened his mouth as wide as he could and screamed. At first, there wasn't much audible. But then the food came pouring out and his voice was able to travel along the plane.
"We are fucked!" Darren moved forward and punched the man in the face, his fist penetrating his skull, which had weakened over the last five weeks of decomposition. He looked around the other five and saw all the guns had been put in a pile, probably by Emily or Nick. They were all next to the cockpit door, and that was beyond the zombies. Shit, this is a tight spot, he thought. All of a sudden, the plane rapidly dropped, sending everything into the air. Darren came down on the ground hard, a trolley landing on his legs.
"Fuck!" He yelled. A zombie landed on one of the chairs at the wrong angle, it's legs snapping. However, it was able to move itself onto the ground and began to crawl towards Darren. He turned around and began to lift the trolley off of his legs. Another trolley fell over as turbulence hit the plane again and moved everything. Now, Darren had two trolleys on him. He was able to lift the second one off his chest, but it was pushed down again as a zombie managed to get on top of him.
"Oh shit." He muttered. He held his hand up, grabbing the zombie by the neck to keep it away from him. He looked sideways and put his other hand out to stop the other zombie from biting him. Jesus Christ, where the hell are the others, he thought. The zombie on the ground snapped at him, his fingers barely out of the way. He looked back up and saw that the other one was drooling, globs of coagulated blood dripping down upon him. Some got into his mouth, but he managed to spit it back out before any could get to the back of his throat. His arms were beginning to wear out, and there was still no sign of the others. Darren was about to give up, just let tem bite him or anything when he just snapped.
"Get the FUCK OFF OF ME!" He screamed, louder, harder and faster as he finished his sentence. He pushed the one next to him back, pushing its head at an angle, breaking the neck, but not killing it. He then reached up with both hands and proceeded to pound the other zombie in the head with both fists, blood spurting from wounds as he attacked. Finally, a large chunk of bone fell out, shaped like a shard of glass. He reached over, grabbed it and plunged the end into the revealed brain of the dead. The bone went in and the zombie went out. He pushed the zombie off of the trolleys and shoved that to the side. He jerked his legs back, tearing a hole in his pants and got to his feet. He then turned to the one on the ground and lifted his foot up. He brought it down with a sickening stomp, blood, brain and bone spilling over the edges of his shoe. He looked up and saw Emily, lying unconscious on the stairs that went to first-class.
"Aw crap." He muttered quickly moving forward. One of the zombies that had been distracted by Darren turned and noticed Emily and ambled towards her, moving from side to side as the plane rocked about. There was a loud bang and the plane rocked violently, throwing Darren and everyone else into the air. He soared forward towards the cockpit and closed his hands, hoping to somehow stop himself wit them. One of his hands curled around something metallic. He looked up and saw that one of Emily's 1911's had found his hand. He crashed into the wall, hit the ground and got back up, painfully. He aimed and fired six times, one in each of the zombies head, and an extra one into the one near Emily, who was now strewn over one f the seats.
"Dammit." He lowered the pistol and ran over to her, sitting her upright in the seat. "Come on, Emily. Wake up."
"What the…fuck me!" Tom's voice suddenly rang in Darren's ears. He stared down at the debris. Blood, body parts and zombies were lying all over the floor, broken dishes and other stuff was also lying on the floor. Their guns that had been in a neat pile were littering the path between the seats and the cockpit. Nick followed Tom, his eyes taking everything in.
"Tom, why the hell is the plane shuddering around, and what the hell was that loud bang before?" Nick asked. Since the first jolt, the plane hadn't stopped shaking.
"That's the autopilot off. It has a system thing that pretty much stops turbulence, I don't know how it works, but that was the plan for me to know how it had turned off." Tom answered.
"Well, go start flying. We can't be that far off from Dunedin now." Darren ordered, still looking Emily over. She coughed a couple of times and opened her eyes, looking dazed. Tom entered the cockpit, closing the door behind him while Nick leaned against a wall, eyeing the guns.
"What happened?" She asked groggily.
"In a nutshell? Zombies somehow got on, and we're nearly there." Darren explained. She shook her head and then sat up, confusion on written all over her.
"Hang on to something!" Tom's voice suddenly screamed over the speakers. The three barely had enough time to grab onto something, Nick grabbing a pole along the wall, Daren and Emily both leaping back and holding onto the seats. The plane rocked and then tipped to the left, almost on a forty-five degree angle. It then dove downwards, throwing them into the air. Nick pulled himself towards the door and managed to open it with his foot by kicking the handle. It flung open, nearly hitting him.
"Tom, what the fuck is going on?" He yelled. Daren and Emily looked back into the cockpit and all four of them saw a flash of flame skim past the window.
"Holy shit!" Emily screamed, realising what it was just as everyone else did.
"Was that a fucking missile?" Nick asked.
"That's what it looked like to me!" Tom replied. He managed to straighten out the plane but kept diving down. The three piled into the cockpit and closed the door, strapping themselves into seats, Nick back into the co-pilots seat.
"Who the hell is shooting at us?" Darren asked.
"I don't know. Do you want me to turn on the radio and ask them politely to stop shooting and who they are?"
"Well, that would be a smart idea." Tom gave him the finger and grabbed the headset from the side of the sea and put it over his head. He flicked a button near to where it was plugged in.
"This is civilian plane…err…Tom. Yes, this is Tom. My name is Tom. Me and three others are flying this plane looking for someone who has been broadcasting a transmission over the last few days and had told us to come here. Well, we think we're meant to come here." Tom explained.
"Real smooth, jackass." Nick muttered.
"Fuck off." He replied. "Oh son of a bitch!"
Tom jerked at the controls and the plane nearly flipped over, another missile missing them, barely. However, without looking outside, they had no idea how close. The missile, which was tiny compared to normal SAM's, had been so close, it's flare and left a burnt patch on one of the engines.
"For fucks sake! Stop fucking shooting at us, you fucking morons!" Tom yelled into the microphone. Darren un-strapped himself as the plane realigned itself and moved up to behind Tom. He reached forward and grabbed the headset off his head.
"This is Darren, one of the four survivors of Auckland, North Island of New Zealand. Look, if you keep sending up rockets at us, your going to murder not only four New Zealand citizens, but waste four lives that can in fact defend others incapable of defending themselves." He explained. There was silence from the speaker. "Fucking hell! We're fucking New Zealanders! Like you! Stop fucking shooting!"
Everyone stared at Darren, assuming he was going to try a diplomatic way of handling the situation. Instead, he had most likely made it worse. Tom looked at the board for a few seconds, then shook his head.
"Nothing." He muttered. Darren was about to speak again when a voice came over the speakers.
"Mr…Darren is it? Just because you are a New Zealander, what makes you think we should let you land?" It was a male voice, and sounded slightly old, like from the voice of someone sixty or over.
"What?" Darren nearly screamed into the mic. "Because we are fucking survivors, you thick fuck! And don't try and pull that infection bullshit on us. None of us have been bitten, scratched or anything. In fact, I'm surprised we've got any wounds at all, and all those came from stupidity, carelessness, stupidity, faulty equipment, fault intelligence and stupidity."
Everyone stared at him, and the voice on the other end hesitated for a second.
"Alright, land at the airport, you'll be picked up there. Arrive unarmed." The voice ordered.
"Unarmed? Fuck that." Tom said blatantly.
"Sorry mate, but there is no way any of us are going anywhere without being armed." There was more silence, then,
"Land on runway four, which will be lit up, not that it will do much during daylight. Out." There was a burst of static and the connection was cut.
"Fuck!" Darren yelled, spinning around and hurling the speakers against the cabin door. "Paranoid piece of shit!"
"Hey, calm down. We can't be trigger-happy here. These people sound unfriendly." Emily suggested.
"No shit." Nick added, looking out the window. The airport was almost in the middle of the city, an island in the middle of a small lake, the only access being a large bridge, which was currently raised. As they continued to look at it, the bridge was lowered and black objects moved across it.
"I'm not liking this." Tom muttered. He turned the plane towards the airport and lowered the plane, everyone strapping themselves in. "Alright, I have no idea how much damage we suffered leaving Auckland, so I don't know how this is going to end. I suggest you all strap yourselves in, but get ready to unbelt and run towards the back of the plane."
"Why the back?" Emily asked.
"Better than being at the front and slamming into a building…or the ground." He replied, looking grim. Although it was hard to see in the raising sun, lights began to turn on along one of the five runways, and the bridge was raised again. Darren grabbed the sides of his seat as the plane began to shake, mechanical noises sounded as Tom lowered the landing gear. He turned the plane slightly as he aligned himself with the runway.
"Okay, everyone hang on. This is going to be one hell of a landing." He exclaimed. He pulled the large lever back, slowing the plane down as it came into to land, pulling it up so the back wheels would hit the ground first. They connected with the ground and the front was thrown down, more violently then any of the others had expected after watching them land in movies and TV.
"What the hell?" Tom whispered, but load enough for the others to hear him.
"What?" Emily asked first.
"No, 'what the hell' what?"
"We have a slight problem."
"What is it?"
"We will have a…distinct lack of landing gear in a few seconds. The wheels are broken." Tom explained.
"Oh, you've got to be shittin—" Darren was interrupted as the plane fell down almost a full five meters as the wheels suddenly collapsed, having sustained too much damage during the escape of Auckland. The first one was holding, pushing the front up. Tom pulled back on the ever, trying to slow the plane down more, but it was still going too fast, lifting off again. There was a sickening metallic snap as the plane lurched to one side, almost rolling over. The plane then flipped as the second wing snapped off, everyone upside-down for a few seconds as the plane skidded along the tarmac on its roof. The plane spun around as it flipped back over, everyone on the verge of chronic nausea. Te plane was still moving, and Darren was sure the plane had jack-knifed on the runway and was know drifting to the side. There was a loud crash and snap as the tail section slammed into the control tower and broke it off, the tower collapsing behind them. Finally, after another ten seconds of rolling over and over, it skidded to a stop, the plane now looking like a broken, partially white and red, banged up rectangular prism.
"Tom, I am praying that you never go for your real flying licence." Nick breathed, his eyes transfixed on the debris that had mounted up on the windows, blocking their view.
"Well…at least we're alive." He replied. Darren was surprised he didn't reply with an insult. Probably also in shock, like everyone else, he thought. Emily was the first to recover and unbelt herself, getting to her feet and moving towards the door.
"Okay, let's get rolling." Tom said, also getting up. Nick and Darren also got up, stretching their tense bodies before opening the cockpit door.
"Wow, disturbing." Tom muttered. The zombies that had been back there had been thrown around during the crash and they looked like they had been torn apart, blood all over the walls, organs and body parts everywhere. They spent two minutes searching the area for their guns. They now had no silenced pistols, Emily had only one pistol, her 1911, Tom still had his Desert Eagle and his AK-47, Nicholai only had his SPAS-12, his AK probably gone somewhere down the back. Darren had his revolver, which was still in his pocket, his Sawn-Off and his M82. Unfortunately, he could only scrounge up a few shells for the Sawn-Off, and only one full clip for the M82. Everyone was on their last clip or shells.
"We are so going to have to bluff our way through this." Emily said, checking her clip in the 1911, her last one hanging out of her pocket. Nick went over to the door closest to them and pushed at it, then kicking at it after realising it wasn't going to budge after the brutal beating it had taken. He finally opened it, the door flying outwards and clattering to the ground. He looked out and down.
"Oh, kick ass. We must have totally raped the ass off of this plane, we're only like…three meters off the ground here." He moved forward and jumped down, landing and receiving minor ground shock. Darren jumped out last, following Emily. He got to the ground and looked back at the plane.
"Holy fucking Canadian ducks." He whispered in awe. The bottom of the plane had been shredded off and was painted along the runway, sometimes in a straight line, other times lengthening out widthways. Both the wings had been snapped off right up against the plane, both far away down the airport, one hundred meters from each other. The tail had embedded itself inside the bottom of the control tower, the rest pile on top of it. Emily looked up along the front, and her eyes widened as she saw just how close the front had come to being torn off.
"Tom, I love you." She said in shock, staring at the thing metal that had saved their lives. They were interrupted by a metallic clack behind them. Everyone turned around, weapons raised. Tom had his AK in one hand, Desert Eagle in the other, Darren having the revolver in his left, the Sawn-Off in his right. Six people were standing in front of them, all armed with M16's.
"Holy shit." Tom said, stretching out each syllable.
"Which one of you is Darren?" The one in the middle asked. He was the oldest, looking about sixty. Four others looked similar, blonde hair, muscle built but with slightly different facial features. Goddamn rugby stars. Ones that think they're the shit but can't even get into the official league, Darren thought to himself.
"I'm Darren." Tom said, stepping forward.
"Yeah, so am I." Nick added.
"I think that's me too." Darren answered. The one in the middle stared at them.
"Come on, you ask a stupid question, you're going to get a stupid answer." Tom explained.
"How is that a stupid answer?" The sixth one, a woman, asked.
"You shoot at us after we've explained to you who we are, which was fucking stupid in the first place, then you act like we're fucking hostiles, which is also fucking stupid after we explain that we're probably the only survivors from Auckland. Do you want me to go on?" He asked.
"Watch it, smart ass." The woman growled, stepping forward, pushing the barrel of the assault rifle into his neck. Everyone but Nick aimed at her.
"You watch it, bitch." Emily growled.
"You shoot him, we shoot you. You shoot at us. Nick fires off a couple of rounds. We all die, you guys loose three, maybe even four people." Darren explained.
"Natalie, we don't want to start anything yet." The man ordered. Natalie didn't move for a second. Tom pushed the barrels of his Desert Eagle and Ak against her breasts, and pushed her away from him.
"Bullets would have gone through and hit home boy over there." Tom whispered, eyeing the kid on the far left.
"After you killing Mac, you fucking watch it." Natalie hissed.
"Mac?" Nick asked, confused. All six looked towards the control tower remains.
"And because of you, we're down a sniper, and Natalie's down a brother." The man explained.
"Wait a second, they was totally unintentional. We had no control of the plane after it crashed." Tom explained.
"Bullshit!" Natalie yelled aiming her gun back at Tom. He just ignored her.
"Like I sad, we're down a sniper." Te man explained, eyeing Darren. "I think it would be right for an exchange."
Darren nodded and unslung the M82, after putting away the revolver and Sawn-Off.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Nick asked.
"Defiantly not handing this over, that's for sure. Just showing them what it is." Darren replied, shouldering the rifle, but not aiming it at anyone.
"That's an M82 sniper Rifle, .50 Cal." One of the kids stated.
"Yep. This will blow your arm off from over a hundred meters." Darren answered. "Sorry, but we've been through way too much to simply put down arms for you."
"Fuck you, you killed my brother!" Natalie cried, water in her eyes.
"Maybe so, but at least we can easily apologised. At least that was out of our hands. Because the mother fucking ass holes that murdered my sister didn't give a shit. She was killed because they thought it was fun to throw a brick at us." Darren explained, hatred n his eyes. Nick twitched slightly.
"And what did you do to them, huh?" Natalie asked, her gun pointing towards Darren. His eyes glazed over, remembering that bloody night.
"One of them, I stabbed him in the stomach with his own bones from his face, then kicked him to death. The second, I struck him in the face three times with my head pushing his nose into his brain, killing him. The third, I beat him to a near inch of his life and then curb stomped him. The fourth, I blew his arm off with the M82 from the shoulder before taking on the other three. After about five minutes of no arm, I shot him in the hands and feet, blowing them of, once in the stomach and then in the head. Your brother died because we lost control of an already damaged plane. I am truly sorry for your loss. My sister died because of stupid fucking kids." Darren explained. The man looked over the four. Nick was crying a bit, a tear running down the left side of his face, Emily in shock, Tom with a look of sheer loathing on his face and Darren…blank, his eyes still glazed over.
"Look, we came here because we heard a message telling us to come here, something about help or something. So we came. We don't know if that was you, or if it was someone else. But please, don't start or try to start anything. We've been through enough." Emily explained. Natalie lowered her weapon, looking at Darren, her eyes transfixed on his.
"Natalie?" The man asked cautiously.
"He's telling the truth." She said, holding the grip with only one hand, the barrel nearly touching the ground. The other five lowered their weapons.
"Okay, follow us and we'll explain what's going on when we get back to base." The man explained.
"Base? As in military? Are you an army guy?" Tom asked, anger passed.
"No, but we took over one, all the others having either left or having been turned into one of those…things." The man replied.
"Things…you mean the zombies?"
"Zombies? This isn't a movie, guy."
"Sorry, but that's what they are. Shooting them in the head is the only way of death, and they seem to have the exact look you see in zombie movies. Ambling around, moaning as their lungs move out of sheer reflex, a distinct lack of life within themselves. Correct me if I'm wrong, but they're zombies." Tom explained. The man raised an eyebrow.
"I see. Names Frank." Frank said, holding a hand out.
"Names Tom. Just call me…Tom. That there is Nicholai. Just call him Nick. Yes, he's Russian." Tom explained.
"Actually, my Dad was half Russian, my grandmother marrying a New Zealander, my dad marrying a New Zealander but I somehow got stuck with a Russian name." Nick explained.
"Anyway, that there is Bitch Pants McCraby,"
"Well, that's what we call you." Tom had in fact called her that only once before, and he had spoken in higher notes than possible for the next few hours.
"Not me. I call you Miss McCraby." Nick added.
"Thanks." Emily said uselessly.
"And that there is Darren. He's the kind that goes in guns blazing when we hit a tough spot."
"Bullshit. That's you. You use more ammo than all seven of us used together, including you!"
"Okay, can the shit. What are we doing now?" Nick asked.
"Over there." Frank replied, pointing to a couple of cars not far away. "You guys go and lower the bridge and secure it for us." They nodded and jogged off ahead.
"Well that got rid of them for a while." Frank muttered.
"And who are they?" Emily asked.
"Just four out of a bunch of kids we found holed up at a school a few weeks back. Anyway, about that transmission. We didn't send it, we found it ourselves, and except we knew where it was coming from straight away." Frank explained.
"You did?" Tom asked.
"Yeah, but not intentionally. We were just where it was coming from. As I said before, we had managed to take over an army base. It was helpful, high walls with barded wire, a large amount of army vehicles and weapons at disposal, power and food. Everything we needed to survive pretty much."
"And then a week ago, we decide to turn on the radios, see how the world was going," Natalie added. "We couldn't get anything except for this message. It said, 'We are the ones responsible. We tried to expand people's life who suffer from cancer. The access code is," And then it rattles off some long number, and then continues. 'Please forgive us for the infection. We are the cause but we are sorry. Please help us.' And that's it. It just repeated."
"Access code?" Emily asked. "We thought I\the numbers were coordinates. And those coordinates lead us here."
"Probably just sheer coincidence. Because while we were searching the base a few days ago, we came across a hatch with a digital pad next to it, numbers on the pad. We put in the numbers and it opened, revealing a large laboratory like place. Inside we found a single survivor. Apparently, he had been in there with his colleagues for the past five weeks. He had survived by eating the dead. At first, we thought he was one of those…zombies. But then he started talking and we knew he was different. Him and his research team had slowly starved to death, the dying allowing their bodies to be eaten by the survivors so there would at least be some." Frank explained.
"S how were they the cause of the infection? Did it originate from there?" Darren asked.
"No, it came from somewhere in America, we know that. These people here were just researchers, going over data, not actually holding anything of use." Natalie answered.
"So if it came from America, how did it spread here? How did it spread worldwide and destroy almost everywhere in the space of three weeks? In the movie Reign Of Fire, the one with the dragons. It took them a few years to almost decimate the earth. And they were nigh impossible to kill. But these zombies…there's something wrong. The night before, there weren't even any reports of crazy people, bizarre murders, that kind of crap that precedes these things as the infection takes hold. The Plague engulfed the world in a matter of days, and taking a firm grasp in only three weeks. How is that even possible?" Tom ranted.
"Would you like us to explain? Or would you rather hear it from the words of someone who was involved in giving the order that brought this infection down upon us?" Frank asked.
"Where is he?" Darren said as they reached the second car. It was in fact not a car, but a hummer, although not military; it was bright yellow.
"Back at the base. We've been…interrogating him for the last few days we've found him and his little experiment." Natalie replied. The group got into the hummer and rode in silence through the city, stopping at the other end of the bride and covered the four boys as they rose the bridge. The city was in almost as bad shape as Auckland. The ground had become a filthy, rotten smelling orange carpet. Almost every window in everything on the ground was broken, and most walls had some form of blood on it. However, unlike Auckland, there were zombies everywhere. The ones in Auckland had somehow been attracted towards the north of the city, probably by another band of survivors who had somehow attracted most of their attention. In Dunedin though, the city had been caught totally off guard and about ninety nine percent were walking dead. The hummers came in use as the decomposing bodies were broken apart on the front, and the bars stopped most of the blood and organs getting on the front window.
"How far out exactly is this base from the city?" Tom asked.
"About four, five kilometres." Frank answered. The rest of the drive was in silence; the dense buildings became houses, to farmland to forest. They travelled up a dirt path, only one zombie seen in the distance of the morning light, and then gates loomed up overhead, big thick ones. The hummer parked in front of them and blared the horn three times quickly. The other hummer was already inside, the kids piling out of it. The gates slowly opened, barely enough room for the hummer to get through and then closed again.
"How many people are living here?" Tom asked, opening the door as the hummer stopped.
"About thirty or so. However, that number has been dwindled from fifty, people going off on their own, others just leaving for a better chance of survival. Only three of us know about the hatch. Me, Natalie and another guy, Henry. He's currently watching the…prisoner." Natalie replied. They walked towards the main warehouse and Frank opened the door, leading them in.
"Just dump you're weapons there. You can get them later on if you really need to." Everyone put their weapons down except for Darren and Tom, who kept hold on their pistols. Instead of a warehouse with large open space, they had entered into what looked like a reception area. Behind a desk was a large assortment of weapons sorted into boxes. They walked down a corridor, passing rooms and two barracks. The offices had been turned into bedrooms for couples and those with children. Singles had been put into the barracks. The group walked the length of the warehouse until they reached a door. Frank unlocked it with a key from his pocket and opened it. They walked into a storeroom with a shelf moved against another, the back of it having once hidden a large metal door. The pad was next to the door, which was open.
"How'd you find it?" Emily asked.
"Carelessness, stupidity and the faulty workings of the human mind. In other words, it was knocked over by me while moving something." Frank claimed.
They walked through the door and into a metal corridor, which angled down for quite a while. At the end was a large room, separated by a small railing with glass on the top, dividing it into four sections. There were two me at the far end, one tied up in a chair, the other sitting on a table looking at him. He turned at the noise of them and got to his feet.
"Frank, Natalie. Was I meant to prepare a feast for our guests?" Henry asked.
"Yeah…sure. Go ahead. Has our boy been good while we've been gone?" Frank replied.
"Oh yes. He's told me so much about this family he has, and he would like it so much to go back to them. Apparently, they live in Auckland, isn't that amazing?" He had an English accent, which sounded like it had been worn down a lot after a few years of living in New Zealand. At least he hadn't been home when it all started.
"Auckland? Than they're probably dead." Nick said, walking over to the man.
"Please, help me. These people are insane." He begged. He had two black eyes, a broken lip and bruising all over his face and head.
"Insane? Us? We're not the ones that killed the world." Frank growled, punching the man in the head, blood seeping from a old wound broken open.
"What's your name?" Emily asked, walking next to Nick, in front of the man.
"My name is Abe…Abraham Preston." Abe replied.
"Well Abe. Then your family are already dead. We just came from Auckland about six hours ago, heading here, where you sent us." Darren explained.
"Yes. That access code for the hatch. That also happens to be the coordinates for this exact location."
"Oh, you mean that. Yes, that was intended, to be used as the access code."
"Well, either way we are here now. And to be perfectly honest, I would like to know exactly what Frank is talking about. About how you are the cause of everything. And you are going to tell us everything." Darren asked, getting up really close to Abe, right in his face. "I want to know why I lost my sister. I want to know why a good friend was shot by someone we didn't even see. I want to know why Natalie now doesn't have a brother. I want to know just why the FUCK THE WORLD IS DYING!" Darren roared, punching Abe in the stomach. The chair was on wheels and it rolled back slightly.
"Why me? Why do I have to tell you?" He groaned in pain.
"Because it will be better to come from the devils mouth." Natalie snapped at him. Darren raised an eyebrow at her.
"Okay…fine." Abe muttered.
"Now, start from the beginning. Just what the hell was going on down here?" Tom asked.
"We were researchers, analysing data that was being sent from Los Angeles, our research centre. They were trying to create a cure for cancer by creating a contagion, which altered the DNA of a human to counteract any cells that began to become cancer cells. We were also trying to turn it into an airborne contagion so it would be quicker to spread it around the world. Had the plan gone properly, it would have taken exactly three days for the world to be cured. Think about it, al those suffering from AIDS, the little children suffering from leukaemia. Every cancer patient would be cured and the rest of the world would become immune. We would be known as gods among humanity." Abe explained.
"Gods? You did become gods. Unfortunately, you fucked up and now no one will deify you. Ever." Frank muttered.
"We have a station in just about every country. Each day we get a sample of the contagion and keep it safe, removing the one from the previous day. We were waiting for confirmation that the final one we had acquired was the cure. However, after a year, there was still very little success. Then, five weeks ago, we got a message from LA. It was scrambled beyond belief but we were able to pull a few words from it. According to what we were able to decipher, we were authorised to begin phase 'Resurrection'. Using what we had, we created as much of the contagion as we could and placed them inside a missile. This happened at the exact time all around the world. The missiles were made of the same material that the US Stealth Bombers are made out of, so they wouldn't be detected by radar. The outside was coated in a reflective material, making it almost impossible to see with the naked eye. The missiles were fired out into space, but not out of the atmosphere and gravity. The missiles all exploded and the contagion rained down on the world, spread by the winds of the world, some by the winds of space. We thought it was a success. The next morning, we went outside to observe the effects, to see what the side effects were if any had come up. There were over a hundred of us living in the base at the beginning. Very few made it back inside. People had been turned insane, biting and eating each other. It looked like something out of a Romero film from the seventies."
"Wait a second, are you telling me that you guys didn't know the side effects were going to be zombification?" Nick asked.
"In a way. Over the next couple of days, we were able to get a clean version of the original transmission. All we had heard were the words 'Resurrection', 'go' and 'start'. We had no idea at the time that it had said 'not to proceed with Resurrection. We are not going ahead with it. These infected with it will start going insane'. By the time we realised what had happened it was too late." Abe explained.
"What about a cure? You had to have a cue for all this. Some kind of vaccination." Emily stated.
"Would you? Would you make a cure for a cure?" Abe asked her. Emily stared at him, her eyes narrow. "We had no idea this was going to happen, so we never thought to make one. We thought we were curing the world. After about a week, we decided to send a transmission after locking the hatch door. Those things had somehow gotten in and were moving about everywhere. Obviously, you've heard it. We hoped someone would hear it and rescue us, and not ask questions. Unlike these three."
"Do you have any idea what has happened outside of these walls?" Darren asked.
"Not really. We lost communication with all other bases after the first week. All that I know is that most of the world is pretty much dead."
"Jesus Christ. You're in for a shock. America is now glowing green after all the nukes your president decided to detonate. He's probably either ashes against the side of the White House, or glowing green while looking for meat to eat. Europe is somewhat broken. Most of the large cities have been destroyed by now, France is fucked. England's in bad shape, as is Scotland. But at least the Scottish have people hunting zombies for a living. Then again, this is two-week-old news. We haven't been able to hear much for a while." He answered. Abe stared at him in disbelief.
"Yeah, so because of your screw up, the world is dead…and living." Tom added.
"It wasn't our screw up. It took time for us to get a clear message. We thought we were simply following orders. The error came from our LA source. A group of scientists managed to get there, risking their lives, and entered he LA complex. There had somehow been an outbreak. Everyone was dead, including our Head Of Research, Doctor Wall." Abe described.
"Alright, I've heard enough. What do we do with him now?" Natalie asked.
"We can't kill him. That would not be good." Henry replied.
"Why's that? He doesn't exactly deserve to live." Darren growled.
"Well, he thought he was doing what he was being told to. If anyone should be dead here, it should be Frank. He's the one with heart problems." Natalie said, Frank chuckling.
"Who cares? I say we just let him go. He didn't actually do anything wrong. People tried to warn him, he didn't get the warning. Besides. All the people who are responsible, most of them are already dead anyway." Emily explained. The others nodded, except Natalie and Darren, both remaining quiet. Darren turned and walked back up the metal corridor.
"Fuck!" He yelled, kicking out at the wall.
"Untie him, Henry." Frank ordered. Henry walked behind Abe and undid the ropes that had him bound. Abe slowly got to his feet, stretching his arms, legs and back.
"You guys can deal with this. We're going to find Darren." Nick suggested, turning and heading up the corridor, Emily and Tom following. The three headed out of the room and walked down the warehouse, seeing Darren leave through the door they had entered, not grabbing any of his weapons.
"You think he's okay?" Emily asked.
"He's probably just pissed straight up. Not ant anything…just pissed." Tom replied. They opened the door and walked out, seeing Darren sitting against the wall a few meters down.
"Yo, what's up?" He asked, looking over and seeing them.
"We were about to ask the same question." Nick replied.
"I'm just sitting here, trying to comprehend how stupid some people can be. If he didn't get a clear message, why did he go ahead with it?"
"Who knows…who cares? Shit happens, it's happened. The real question is, what do we do now?" Emily asked. Darren thought for a moment.
"What do you guys want to do?" He replied.
"Well, I don't think we're going back to Auckland anytime soon. We have no plane, there weren't any there I saw when we were coming in. I suggest we stay here anyway. There's food, shelter and more than four people. I mean, the bedding may not be the same as the Hotel back home, but it's better than the constant threat of zombies piling up the stairwell. Here, there don't seem to be many even about these parts. I think staying would be pretty smart." Tom explained. Nick and Emily nodded, agreeing with him.
"Too bad we couldn't bring the stereos…or the TV's." Darren muttered. "Here, we probably could have had them loud and not worried about attack."
"Kick ass. I'll go see Frank. He seems to be the leader, wouldn't be surprised if he is." Nick replied, turning and walking into the warehouse.
"What about you, you alright?" Emily asked Darren, Tom following Nick.
"Yeah, I guess so. I think we might be able to live this out. Sooner or later, the zombies are going to have to die. If they follow proper zombie law, then they're running by the electricity from their brains, which still produce it for six months after a person dies. That means they'll start dropping in four months. There'll still be those who have turned since being bitten or something, but they'll die eventually. I'll give the world probably another year at most before they're just about all gone." Darren explained.
"And until then?" Emily asked.
"Until then, let's get something to eat. I'm fucking starving." He answered. The two turned and walked back into the warehouse. The sun was now halfway into the sky, still early morning. Zombies still ambled around the forest not far from the base. Some moved towards it, the sun reflecting off glass and hitting the zombies eyes, but others just moved past it, ignoring the feast the could wait inside. There was the sound of silenced weapons and ones that got to close were put down. The sun rose steadily into the sky, smoke also rising from the burning plane wreckage on the airport runway.
Finally, I got it finished. I gotta say, the ending was pretty hard. I hadn't even finished the first page of this chapter and I left it there for nearly a month. But over the past two days I finally got it done. I think that this ending is much better than Invasion, which I wrote in the space of fifty minutes, whereas this chapter took two full days to do. I'm going to take a break from writing for a while, but when I'm finished, probably in a week or so, I'll start on 100.
Catch you on the flipside,