The day was pushing on—it was about five o'clock in the afternoon—when Shaun Cassidy woke up with the worst headache he had ever experienced. He was still on the couch, but he must have woken up sometime and didn't remember. He had stripped out of his dirty clothes, covered himself in a blanket and had brought over a large saucepan, which he had thrown up in. His camera had been moved from the kitchen, and now lay on the coffee table near the body of the old lady, which thankfully had not moved. Shaun stood up unsteadily, and used the wall to help him move to the window, where his phone lay charging on the sill. When had he put it there? He had five missed calls from Brett, but Shaun didn't care for some reason. It was the sight through the window that caught his attention.
Heavy black smoke billowed from a raging fire not far from the apartment he was now in. From what he could see, several buildings had gone up near St. Patricks Church. There was no sign of the Fire Department. Smoke also billowed up from the Pine Creek suburb nestled in the hills south of the city. It would turn into a raging forest fire soon. On the roof of the grocery store opposite him, Shaun could see a young man shooting several of those things, but he would be overwhelmed soon. He was already standing on the edge of the roof. Shaun grabbed his camera from the table and started snapping pictures. Soon, one of the infected lunged forward, and his weight unbalanced the young man, who fell over. His head impacted heavily on the pavement. Shaun snapped a photo, and then closed his eyes, shuddering. His head throbbed, but he forced himself open his eyes and to take a few more photos. His camera was almost full. That couldn't be right; he had changed the memory card earlier. He checked the cameras memory only to find several photos of the old lady, the gun, and several shots from the balcony, one of which showed the young man who had just died waving at him frantically. He must have been up and about, and if he could not remember it that would mean his head wound was worse than he thought. Below, several of the infected were swarming over and overturned SUV. He had driven here in that, hadn't he? He remembered driving, and an accident. He was heading to the docks... he thought.
Shaun walked slowly to the kitchen. He needed something for his headache, and a drink. His mouth was bone dry. His bag was still where he had left it, but the stuff he had for headaches was open, and a few pills had been popped from their foil wrapping. When had he taken them?
Brett was becoming panicked. Those things were getting close. He had found a pair of handcuffs and some bondage equipment that Imelda, sexual deviant she was, had left behind, and he had secured the fire doors at the end of the hall as the infected ragged through a door that someone had left open further down the hall. They were now pushing at the fire door and moaning pitifully, the leather whip and handcuffs holding the door closed. There was also the phone call from his brother—five minute of rambling about sweet old ladies and car accidents. Brett had tried to call him back, but had gotten no response. What the hell had happened?
Now the power started to fail. He needed to get down stairs and start up the generator, and fast. If power went, he would have to reboot the entire system. He lined up some music and adverts—enough for twenty minutes—and then bolted down the hall in the opposite direction to the infected. Brett flew down the stairs to the basement. Thankfully, there was no infected in this part of the building. The security guard had gotten the doors locked. Poor man, his body was been devoured now, his blood spattered the reinforced glass doors at the end of the ground floor corridor. Brett did wonder about an open door into the canteen, and a slight breeze, but the generators were his main priority, he could investigate later.
The air in the basement was cool as Brett unlocked the door to the generator room. The tanks were full, which meant he would have at least twenty four hours of broadcast time, if not more. Brett had shut off lights and equipment in all other parts of the building, which would buy him more time. But he needed to start the generator first. The control panel was simple. Seven switches that could be switched to three different positions and then turn the master key (which Brett had taken from the station manager's office) anti-clockwise twice, then hit the green button at the bottom of the console. All the switches were set to neutral- dead centre. Brett thought for a moment before the settings came to him. Up, down, down, up, up, down and leave in neutral. Turn key. Hit button. The generator roared to life. Brett smiled and made his way to the first floor.
A napkin skittered across the floor from the canteen, and Brett could get the smell of the alley out back. That idiot of a security guard must have forgotten to close the back door of the kitchen. Brett cursed the dead man, and marched through the canteen, through the kitchen and to the door. The alley was deserted; the back door of Tim's Diner was open directly across from him, dried blood was smeared heavily on the ground, as if someone had been dragged away. Brett hoped that Miranda, a pretty young waitress he fancied, had gotten out. If she had, he would finally ask her out on that date he had always promised himself. She needed a nice man, especially now, in her condition, and he would look great—the Good Samaritan, the great man who was in love and did not care about his loves past.
He slammed the door shut and leaned his head against it for a moment, before noticing a meat cleaver on the floor. The words "Property of Tim's Diner, Oakland Street" was burned onto the wooden handle. Brett started to shake, and bent down to pick it up, then turned slowly, and took a deep breath. Miranda was looking at him with dead, milky eyes. Her brightly coloured nails were chipped and broken. Blood was drying around her mouth and on her bright blue "Tim's Diner" blouse. Her stockings were torn and she had lost a shoe. Bullet holes riddled her chest. Her warm teak coloured skin had a grey cast. A clump of her rich black hair had been torn out. Worst of all, however, was the fact that her blouse had been ripped below her breasts, allowing her swollen pregnant belly to hang out. A single bullet hole, dark red with congealed blood, was near her navel. She began to shuffle forward, raising her hands and taking quick shallow breaths. Brett raised the meat cleaver high above his head.
"Come on," one of the prisoners roared. "Unhook us. Give us some guns, we can fight."
"Or turn the guns on us," George reasoned.
"Why would we?" the guy who had been shouting said slyly. "We wanna get out of here as much as you. No point in wasting bullets."
"Well, I might have a few reasons," said James, while flipping through a thick file. He looked at the man and then began to read. "Emmanuel Simmons. On your way to death row for the murder of two Highway Patrol Men, a County Sheriff's Deputy, the attempted murder of another and you were also found guilty of planning acts of terrorism against the Federal Government. It seems you have trouble with authority. I don't want to turn round and find you holding a gun in my face."
Emmanuel spat in James's face.
"Don't listen to him. Don't give him one. But us," the other man said, indicating himself and the woman, "you can trust us with guns, right?"
"I wouldn't," said Andrew, checking the other files. He looked over at Mickey, Isabella and Jason, who were playing another game of Texas Hold 'em, concern written on his face.
"Ruth Mullen, shot her husband and two kids point blank range with a shot gun, she is on her way to Jackson State Mental Institution. She believes that all men and children are controlled by evil spirits and must be killed immediately. She is a head case," Andrew said, pointing at the woman.
"That's a lie," the woman screeched, "the great Mother Earth told me to do it. I am not insane, I only follow her wishes."
Andre shook his head, and continued.
"This fine man here is Mr. Jack Duroe. He is serving time for paedophilia. I wouldn't let him out near kids," Andrew said, nodding to where his brother and his new friends sat. Emmanuel Simmons looked at Jack in disgust. Andrew could see what was coming, but was not quick enough to stop it. Emmanuel stretched himself as far as his chains would allow and started kicking Jack in the head, all the while screaming "You sick bastard."
"I'm no bastard. My parents were married at the time of my birth," Duroe squealed, covering his head.
There was a rush of people to separate the two, as the female prisoner sank out "Look, look, Mother Earth proves to us that men are possessed by the evil forces of her enemies." The attention of everyone in the church was on the commotion at the altar, as Jack Duroe was dragged to one of the front seats and handcuffed to it. Once he was secure, Andrew made his way to his mother, who was by the front doors. There was a small part of the windows, about a foot square at the base of every one, that could be open, and she had opened one of them to look out.
"Everything sorted?" She asked.
"Hopefully. But we better keep them apart," Andrew answered.
She nodded and looked out the window again.
"They are beginning to gather at the gates, the infected. The smell of blood from the bodies must be attracting them," she said, sounding on edge.
"The gates will hold them. That is not what's bothering you, is it?" Andrew asked.
"Mickey..." she whispered.
Andrew closed his eyes and moaned a little.
"Mom, I know what you think, and how you feel, but Mickey is not dad. He is nothing like him. I am more like dad in looks and personality that Mickey is."
"I know. But it is further proof of what your dad is like. I know it's stupid. We were both young, but he walked out on us Drew. He went off with someone else and started a family."
"He left them too mom."
She nodded. "You are nothing like your father Drew. You wouldn't leave someone in that situation."
Andrew smiled and hugged his mother.
"Well," he said, grinning down at her, "if I ever get Carlos pregnant, I won't leave him. Every scientist and religious nut job will want to investigate him if that ever happens."
His mother laughed, and returned the hug.
Police HQ was crowded. Civilians and police scrambled around, trying to make sense of the situation. Up on the second floor, three officers stared at the communications equipment, one of them holding the severed power cord.
"Makes sense," he said. "This baby is the latest model, you would have to ram a grenade or two right inside her to make her stop, but like any machine, cut the power, and goodbye.
"Can you fix it?" another asked.
"Give me an hour."
The USS Honest Abe patrolled the waters of Jackson City Bay, making sure no ships left the port. They were expecting reinforcements soon, and for that, Captain Emilio Kurst was happy. He had orders to fire upon any ship that tried to leave port with the intention of either crippling her or sinking her. He didn't like the second option. He had been in the Navy his entire adult life, and was only two weeks shy of retirement. He had a spotless record, he had always done his duty, and he had won many medals he didn't deserve. They were "acts of valour" Kurst felt any person would do. But there was an Italian Cruise Liner in the harbour, and Kurst did not want his record tarnished by starting an international incident if he was forced to fire upon the liner.
Kurst stood behind the radio operator and listened to the babble coming from the city and the army blockade. They must be losing their minds over there. There was talk of cannibalism and helicopters been shot down.
"Any news from the harbour master?" Kurst asked.
"Last broadcast was twenty minutes ago. No boats had left the harbour, and there were no signs of any preparing to depart sir," reported the radio operator.
"Keep me posted."
The technician in the power plant moaned in despair as the machinery finally failed. Power began to fail all across the city. With a soft beep, the steel door to the control room, which was locked electronically, slid opened. Less than a minute later, the technician screamed.
Authors note: Hey hey. Asked you in the last chapter could you spot several references to TV shows, movies, games, books etc throughout the story. Only one was found, so here are the rest:
Rick and Daryl, George's sons. Their names are a reference to the TV show The Walking Dead.
The girl Mickey was chatting up- Isabella/Bella- and her comment about not liking to be called Bella. Twilight reference. (Thumbs up to HI98Productions).
The cop car racing in front of an oil tanker that is driven by an infected person and that crashed and burned? Reference to the opening sequence of Resident Evil Two (the game).
In chapter five, when Shaun is heading out to the military blockade and he gets stuck on Romero drive. George A. Romero? Dawn of the Dead? The father of modern zombies?
Well, thats it. What do you think?