The fire crew hastily gathered up their hoses, casting glances over their shoulders at the still smouldering ruins of the car, feeling a little uneasy. A badly burnt body sat in the front seat. The youngest fireman in their group emerged from an alley where he had been sick. It was his first day on the job and he had never seen a body before. It had hit him hard. He leaned against a wall as his colleagues sniggered at him behind his back. He didn't care though; he was too busy staring down the body to notice. He was just about comfortable with the sight when he swore he saw the body move.
"Um, Gerry," he called to one of the older firemen.
"What?" Gerry called back.
"Can I, um, talk to you over here for a second?"
This got some more sniggers from the other firemen, but Gerry didn't seem to care. He ambled over.
"What's up Paddy?" he asked a note of fatherly concern in his voice. Gerry was like that with any newbie who came to the station. He saw it as his duty to take them under his wing and guide them.
"I could have sworn I saw the body move," Paddy whispered, looking pale. Gerry looked at him sadly.
"Yeah, that happens the first time we all see a burnt body. It's just the way the smoke moves or the body settling. Trust me Paddy; it's nothing to worry about."
"No, I mean it. Look," Paddy said, pointing at the car. Gerry turned slowly and his eyes went wide. The body in the car WAS moving. It was lifting its arm slowly and reaching forwards towards the opening where the windshield used to be. Bits of burnt flesh flaked off as the body began to drag itself from the car. It was making wheezing noises.
"Jesus bloody CHRIST," he cried. "Bernie, we got a Biohazard Level One," he called to their superior.
Bernie spun round, about to tell them to stop joking when he saw what they meant. By this time, the body had hauled itself through the window. There was a soft rustling noise as it split in two and everything below the waist slid back into the car. Bits of burnt intestine slid out of its torso. The body began to haul its torso across the bonnet of the car, its burnt flesh fluffing off. The sound of the ribs being dragged over metal seemed to echo in the stunned silence as the gathered fire crew stared on in sick fascination. The body slid off the front of the car, impacting with the surface of the parking lot with the noise of some of its ribs breaking. Through gaps in the ribs and remaining flesh, Paddy and Gerry could see the remains of the lungs struggle to draw breath.
Low, under his breath, Bernie went "Fuck me!"
Chapter One- A Graduation, a memo and a call to become active
Andrew Parsons looked at himself in the mirror again. He fixed his copper coloured hair, straitened his bow tie and smiled, his dark green eyes sparkling. His six foot one inch, one hundred and seventy seven pound frame filled out the tuxedo nicely and his tan skin seemed to glow. Andrew still had trouble believing he was graduating High School. Ten months ago, he never would have thought he would have seen this night, what with all the zombies and that crazy doctor. He had been lucky to get out of Jackson City alive. There was a knock at the door and his mother and boyfriend came in.
"Look at my little boy," Lizzy Parsons sobbed a little. Carlos stifled back a laugh. At eighteen, Andrew was six inches taller than his mother and had at least fifty pounds of muscle over her. It was Andrews turn to hold back a laugh, however, when his mother turned to examine Carlos.
"Look at you Carlos; you look so adorable in that tux."
Adorable wasn't the word Andrew would have used to describe Carlos. Carlos Valdez was of Latino decent, with short, curly black hair and big, puppy dog brown eyes. He was five inches taller than Andrews's mother and had at least forty pounds on her, but she fussed over him as if he were the same four year old who had been brought over to her flat in footy pyjamas and clutching a shabby teddy bear named Snuggles.
"I have to get a camera," she said. "You two, stay put." She then left the room, wiping her eyes and muttering something that sounded like "My boys."
"Jeez, your mum emotional. Kind of scary," Carlos said, wrapping his arms around Andrew.
"I know, give me a herd of zombies or General Sanchez barking orders at me and I would feel a lot better," Andrew said, leaning closer for a kiss. The sound of someone making fake sick noises prevented them from going any further. Andrew sighed.
"Mickey, if I find you, you are in for a world of pain."
Mickey stuck his head out from underneath Andrews's bed, smiling.
"Seriously, you two need to get a room," he said.
Andrew growled. "We have a room. We are in it right now, but I have a pain in the butt younger brother who won't seem to leave it for some reason."
Mickey grinned wickedly. "Hey, is it wrong that I love you and enjoy your company? Anyway, I just needed to grab something under your bed for later."
"What would I have that you could possible want?"
"Umm..." Mickey said, looking confused for a moment. Then his eyes lit up. "Deodorant," he said, nodding. "That's it. I need deodorant." He then slid out from under the bed and took off running. Carlos chuckled.
"You think he was taking a condom?" he asked.
"Of course he was," Andrew sighed. "Now, how about a kiss before my mum comes back to snap a lot of photo's?"
The Agency for Bio-terrorist affairs was officially a branch of the Department of Defence, but it didn't report to the Defence Secretary. Its director, General Sanchez, reported directly to the President on all matters. The Agency was one part of an international operation to combat the ever increasing threat of bio-terrorism.
General Sanchez sat behind his desk typing up a report for the President. His office was scented by the large bouquet of lilies his secretary had placed on his desk. It had been strangely quiet recently. The last report they had on Jeffrey Rush, he was in hiding in France. By the time the extraction team had arrived, Rush had booby trapped the room he had been staying in and had fled. Five of his agents had died as a result of exposure to Triple-S. General Sanchez was brought back to reality by a knock at his door.
"Come," he called. His secretary came in holding a fax.
"Sir, report from our Irish counterparts." She placed the memo on his table and left without another word. The General sighed and picked up the memo.
To: General Karl Sanchez
From: Major General Francis McCrery
Subject: CRS Infection / Whereabouts of Jeffrey Rush
Report: At one PM (local time), a fire crew responded to reports of a burning car at a parking lot in the centre of Galway City. Upon extinguishing the fire, it was discovered that a body in the driver seat. A biohazard alert was raised when it was confirmed that the body was still moving. Medical reports confirm infection of CRS. CCTV footage confirms the presence of Jeffrey Rush moments before the car was set ablaze.
Further investigations have led us to Dublin Airport, where Jeffrey Rush boarded a plane for Baarein using a false German passport. It is believed that Rush used a shipping company to move several large crates to the island nation several months ago, where they have been sitting in storage. Our operatives, accompanied by the local Chief of Police opened the crates to find it empty. However, one remained unaccounted for. Records show it was loaded in Amsterdam, but it was never unloaded in Baarein. The Baarein Navy stopped the ship to find that the crate was not on board. Have instructed our agents and local police to keep eyes open for arrival of Rush. Recent photos of suspect have been distributed.
The incident in Galway has been contained. The infected body has been removed by the army Bio-Terrorism Response Unit and disposed of appropriately. All tests have come up negative for traces of CRS in the air and it is believed that the body may have been infected by injection. Dental records point to the body being that of a well known local drug user who spent time in rehab receiving medical and dental treatment.
"Margret," General Sanchez called his secretary over the intercom, "place a call to Major General McCrery in Ireland. Then get me Andrew Parsons and Carlos Valdez."
"Sir, Agent Parsons and Agent Valdez are not on the active list yet and they are at their High School graduation dance."
General Sanchez thought for a moment.
"Place them on the active list after you have made the call to McCrery. Call them about noon tomorrow and inform them that I want them here immediately, with their passports and ready to deploy."
Andrew woke early next morning and smiled. Carlos was snoring contentedly on his chest, the sun was shining through his curtains, the smell of bacon and sausages filled the air and he could hear Jason and Mickey playing football down in the back yard of the house while Isabella alternated between cheering on her brother and her boyfriend. Life was good.
"Come on Carlos," he whispered, shaking the snoring figure gentle.
"But mommy, I don't want to go to school, I wanna go fishing with daddy," Carlos muttered, and then started drooling on Andrews chest. Andrew looked at him sadly and wrapped his arms tighter around him, feeling sad. He lay like that for a few minutes until his phone began to ring.
"Hello," he whispered, not wanting to wake Carlos.
"Agent Parsons, this is Margret Muller, General Sanchez's secretary. Agent Valdez and yourself have been moved to the active list. You are both required to attend a meeting with General Sanchez at three thirty this evening. Good day." With that, she was gone.
"Shit," Andrew muttered. "How am I going to explain this to mom?"
Authors Note: This is the first chapter of the sequel to "The Rising." Read that before you read this or you will be lost with some things. What do you think? Continue?