Hey, on-off writer Alec 'zipscool' Tucker here. This is a story I've been writing up for my Level 3 Extended Project, for those of you who don't know what that is – well it's pretty much coursework, only you choose exactly what you do, and since I enjoy writing so much it was a no-brainer as to what I wanted to do for it. The story stands under 50,000 words (49,220-something if memory serves correct). Anyway, read, and if you feel nice enough, please leave a review, and in return, I'll review one of yours, doesn't that sound fair?
With that said and done, on with the apocalypse!
Journals of an Apocalypse
Part One: A Synopsis
It is not entirely known how the epidemic, which quickly became to be known as 'British Flu', emerged. Some rumours and speculation have it originating at a pharmaceutical company laboratory in the middle of Northumbria, Wiltshire and Lancashire respectively. Others say – with varying degrees of certainty, that the outbreak was the result of an experiment performed by the government which went disastrously wrong – or right, as some conspiracy theorists would have you believe – concerning work on more recent outbreaks of a new strain of the African Ebola virus. More radical suggestions put forward supernatural causes, such as extra-terrestrial influences. As ridiculous as these may have sounded, it would be worth noting that some cults – some more radical than others, did emerge across the British Isles as the virus spread. Regardless of these, what is known for a fact is that the very first recorded reports of the emerging virus were documented on the 11th September 2011, and from that day, spread like wildfire throughout Britain.
Initial response to the outbreak was light, and entirely ineffective. Various health inspectors were dispatched to areas displaying an alarming number of cases concerning sickness-related fatalities. The reports they made showed fully that they lacked any sort of understanding of the emerging epidemic, victims were isolated with moderate success, and the inspectors made reports which suggested careful observation, and for samples to be taken in order to synthesis a possible vaccine, or cure. In the second week, the Society for Microbiological Study discovered that – in a manner similar to the Zaire strain of Ebola – the virus attacked organs and the brain, unlike Ebola though, it acted more as a mutagen than a virus, not destroying the infected body, but changing it, further study also brought to light a startling discovery; the virus was mutating at an alarming speed. Soon, reports of the sickness appeared in every corner of England, and quickly spread to Wales and Scotland, casualties initially only reaching double figures soon spiralled into the thousands. Barely a week after the initial reports, Health Inspectors reported a yet-more devastating find: The dead were returning to life!
Though the symptoms varied almost daily, the end result was always a horrible fit which resulted in death, depending on the severity of the wound, the body would reanimate within twenty and forty hours (though some have reported corpses rising almost within hours of death), and it would go on a carnivorous rampage. Any conventional method of incapacitating or neutralising an ordinary human did not work on these automatons; they shrugged off any punishment which would have felled even the hardiest man a thousand times over. The only successful method of dealing with them seemed to be destruction of the brain, many scoffed at this theory, condemning it as science fiction; only truly understanding the nature of the threat when rotting hands started pounding on their doors, and by then, it was far too late.
Fortunately for mainland Europe, a quarantine was imposed before it could spread to mainland Europe, the Channel tunnel was sealed off with alarming efficiency, and had armed guards watching it constantly for any signs of a potential breach. Boats attempting to cross were thoroughly searched for any trace of infection, and those that displayed even the slightest signs were torched. Aircraft were escorted back to the mainland by fighter jets, and shot down if they ignored warnings, all crashes were checked for survivors, and anyone found near, infected or not, was quickly detained, or in a few rare cases, shot dead on the spot. It was not long before the EU met and discussed the growing problem of refugees, who were spreading out in all directions from the British Isles, some had reached Iceland, and reports of British Flu were appearing at a worrying rate on the tiny country. Everyone knew full well action had to be taken, and so, steps had to be taken, they were radical, haphazard in some cases, and it turned practically the entire population of Britain against Europe and the United States... but it kept the disease at bay.
Surgical strikes by commandos and Special Forces destroyed airports, docks, ports, and all methods of transportation within them. Those that were too deep within infested territory (particularly Heathrow, which was swarming with so many of the dead, that you could not even see the ground beneath them) were carpet bombed mercilessly, and in many cases people were still hiding in these locations when the warheads hit. Following the attacks, all forces along the quarantine line had standing orders to shoot and leave no trace of the infection, generally, the officers complied, albeit reluctantly and there was a rise in the amount of suicides among those forces stationed along the Exclusion Zone, which was made worse when a Wikileaks document detailing all sensitive information related to the quarantine, and the true nature of the biological hazard loose in the British Isles.
It could not however, even compare to the scene playing out on the Isles; the worst was brought out in a great many people, and in the early days of the quarantine, there were rapes, looting, and murders aplenty, and that was before the dead were well and truly knocking on Britain's door. When corpses began reanimating en masse, the entire situation changed, people fought and died together, or seperated and died alone, it was estimated that over a half of the population had joined the ranks of the undead in the first week of this period of time, quite aptly named "The Terror".
It was reported that Manchester city's Lord Mayor set up a self-imposed quarantine, ensuring that no one got in or out of the city. Unfortunately, the virus was also locked into the city with the people and within a matter of days the place was a ghost town, utterly devoid of any life. Even today, the city is considered a 'no-go' area, and has a blockade entirely surrounding the cursed place, and occasionally, anyone wandering nearby will hear sporadic gunfire as the dead previously locked in the city escape its quarantine-line which is showing more and more cracks with each passing day.
It was a similar story in many of Britain's major towns and cities, and in some, the people rose up against the present authority, replacing them and ruling the towns they 'inherited' with a form of feudalism not seen since the 16th Century. However these were extremely rare cases, and those that have resisted aid or help from the coalition between the fragmented slivers of the British Army and the French/American forces have been dealt with lethal force, the leaders of such settlements seemingly entrenched in a fantasy world. One report details that one such leader in a small town in the middle of Essex ordered the townsfolk to commit suicide rather than receive help from 'outsiders', more alarmingly is the fact that each one obliged the de-facto mayor's request. An eye-witness account from an officer states that each man, woman and child willingly took up the sharpest object they could find, and plunged it into their abdomens. Those who didn't die within the first minute found other methods of suicide, one or two even charging at the guns of the advancing troopers, maiming and killing those that didn't open fire or take extreme measures to restrain them.
Similar events were, unfortunately, not entirely uncommon over the course of what many of the British are now calling 'The Reclamation', there were many such instances of isolated individuals or even entire towns and villages reacting with open hostility towards approaching military personnel. A more famous (or infamous) incident would be the poisoning of an entire company of American soldiers by the townsfolk who welcomed them initially with open arms; throwing a celebratory feast for their liberators. The troopers were dead by morning, those who didn't partake in the feast were brutally slaughtered, their equipment plundered by the townsfolk, who then used it with a reckless abandon on another army group who came to check on their comrades' mysterious silence. Unfortunately for the populace, this 'group' turned out to be an entire regiment, with a full compliment of armoured support, the ensuing fire fight lasted all of a half hour, and barely a shed was left standing when the soldiers finally ceased fire.
Eventually though, over the course of a ten-month campaign; order was restored, London was cleansed, and the members of the British Government who had been able to flee the country returned to decide how best to rebuild the shattered country. Much of the population overbroad – whether on business, vacation, or those lucky enough or with enough sense to have been evacuated before the outbreak had spread too far were relocated to the capital, as, though the war was all but won, pockets of undead still littered the country. Even a year since 'V-B Day', Edinburgh is still heavily infested, as are much of the Highlands, though a coalition of French and US ground forces are making gradual progress towards the Scottish capital. Wales suffers a similar predicament to much of Northern England, and many of its towns are still regarded as 'white-zones': complete no-go areas; too heavily infested for human habitation or direct engagement by armed forces. Ireland on the other hand, has not reported any outbreak of British Flu whatsoever, likely due to the numerous splinter-factions of the IRA (and, as some reports have suggested – the official IRA itself) rooting out and exterminating any trace of the infection with a ruthless efficiency and speed that bordered on fanatical. Their methods may not have been humane – or even legal for that matter – however they achieved the desired result, and may very well have saved the country from the plague.
The end result of the plague was an increase in funds to the recently formed IAVSAV (International Association for Viral Study And Vaccination) in order to further develop our understanding of the weird, wonderful and in this instance – downright horrifying world of Microbiology. In addition to this, the refortification of towns was introduced, though not much progress has been made in this front with the vastly reduced population, it is a similar story for much of Britain's industries of course, agriculture and pastoral farmers being the hardest hit, due to an estimated 90% of Britain's livestock consumed or infected by the undead .
The resentment from a great deal of Britons towards its allies, particularly the United States and France – who had by far the largest presence in maintaining the quarantine, and were also responsible for the destruction of all of mainland Britain's airports and harbours – remains today. Many with French or American backgrounds now find themselves the victims of harsh persecution, regardless of whether or not they suffered just as much as the 'true Britons'. Steps are being taken by the British government to remedy this, however it remains to be seen how effective these steps will be, or if the people will even listen to the demands of their government after having lived so long without one. Only time will truly tell whether or not the British people have the will to rebuild their nation, or if they will let it slide into anarchy once more.