Authors: Samie Sands
Specimen fourteen is showing some interesting developments. No, actually I think that might be the wrong words. She is simply diminishing in the way that I suspected she would. Her motivation levels have waned to practically nothing. Occasionally, if I get too close to her enclosure and she gets a whiff of my uninfected scent, or if I accidentally make a lot of noise, she’ll get up and resume hammering against the glass, growling, moaning, and spitting with what can only be described as rage. This will last for a few hours before she appears to simply give up or forget what she was doing and slumps back to the floor, in the same comatose state as before.
Her body is falling apart. Literally. Chunks of rotten, blackened flesh have been falling off of her. A lot of her insides are now visible and none of them are sitting where they should be. It’s uncomfortable to look at. She’s slowing down more and more each moment. I’m certain that she’s becoming a whole lot weaker. I’m very excited by this development; it’s the first step in a positive direction that I’ve come across in terms of AM13. However, it’s difficult to test this further at this stage because none of my previous research has looked into this area at all. I’ll just have to keep a close eye on Rachael and see how she continues to deteriorate. This is the closest thing I’ve had to an answer and I’m determined to follow through with it. Even if it is the ‘wrong’ answer, it’s something.
Something is better than nothing, right?
I have given specimen seventeen a sample of the cancer drugs that Jason was originally taking. She was the only subject that I could possibly try this on, even though she was deep into the first stage of infection. I need to keep the other two specimens as they are to confirm anything that I discover from specimen fourteen. If I had more specimens, I’d continue on with this path, but I don’t, and there is no guarantee I’ll receive anymore. In fact, from a non-scientific point of view, I’d much rather I didn’t. I’d like to minimise the suffering as much as I can.
I didn’t have high hopes for this medication slowing down the infection in seventeen, but I had to try. I suspect that it had as much to do with cancer as the drugs Jason was taking. Of course, this is another grey area. As far as I’m aware, Jason is the only specimen I’ve had who was suffering from cancer. All this has shown is that my
was correct. Joanna progressed onto stage two in record time. She is now in stage three.
I could almost think that the medication sped the process up for her.
Sorry, I’m trying to only write things down that I’m certain about, or at least that I think are correct
in my personal opinion.
I don’t want this entire record to be a mismatch of guesses, but without the correct equipment, knowledge, and variation of specimens, I have to simply do my best.
So now I’ll just continue to monitor Joanna’s progress as I’m doing with the others.
Jason has finally reached the second stage of infection. He hasn’t said anything, but he doesn’t need to. I can just see the agony plastered across his face. As soon as he refused a game of chess, I just knew. Even his loss didn’t prevent him from wanting to play. This is pain, pure and simple. His skin is greying, his tongue is turning white. All the signs are there. It’s bad, really bad.
He’s still fully coherent and a lot more alert than any of the other specimens have been during this period, which makes it much more unbearable to watch. Jason’s body seems to have a much higher pain threshold, which isn’t working in his favour. His arm has been rendered useless. I wouldn’t be surprised if his hand eventually falls off
I know that’s a pretty horrific thought, but it’s what I can see in front of my very eyes. It’s black, it stinks of rot, of gone off meat, of decay. The tendons are stretching to almost breaking point. The entire limb looks worse by itself than any of the previous specimens I’ve seen. It’s as if that part of him has been in stage three for months, and the rest of him is simply catching up. Maybe this is what I would’ve seen had I kept the others here. Maybe it’s what I will see in the coming days with fourteen. It’s not a wonderful thought; in fact, looking at it makes me doubt that the victims will die. Jason seems to continue on just fine, even if his hand/arm is suffering.
I hate writing this down about my friend, as if he isn’t a human being, but simply something that should be monitored. I’m watching him die, and instead of being able to grieve, I’m documenting the process. It’s insane, all of it.
I can’t watch this. I can’t stand seeing Jason go through what all of the others have. I can’t bear the thought of him in stage three, hammering on the glass of his enclosure, unable to recognise me or remember any of our friendship. I keep imagining it and even the thought is unbearable.
I’ll have to get out of here before then.
Something so terrible just happened. So awful that I need to write it down just so I don’t forget the earth shattering fear that I’m experiencing right now. My heart is racing and my hand is still shaking, so I’ll get this written down the best way that I can.
I was woken up by a humongous crashing sound, which blended in with the nightmare I was having in a terrifying way. My heart sank. I just knew that sound meant something awful—when does it not? I could feel it deep inside my chest. To make it worse, it was pitch black, the darkest I’ve ever experienced. The electricity generator must have cut out at some point during the night. I started to panic, I mean
panic. Something was obviously going on and I couldn’t even see as far as the end of my nose. I’m not too proud to admit that I sat gripping onto the edge of my sheet, ears straining for any new noises for quite some time.
As soon as I ascertained that it was safe enough for me to move, I crept into the laboratory. I had to feel my way forward, my eyes just wouldn’t adjust to the blackness. I whispered Jason’s name, wanting to check he was okay. It’s not that I didn’t care about any of the other specimens; I just knew that Jason was the only one in any condition to answer me. At least, he had been.
I was met by silence. I started to feel incredibly sick, I was sure that noise would have woken him up too, so for him not to answer me was very strange. I started to assume the worst, the way your mind does when you’re put in a frightening situation. I became certain that he’d blasted through the stages at great haste and was now deeply into the third stage. Lost to me before I could even say goodbye.
I kept moving on, trying to position myself outside his enclosure so I could glean a better impression of what was happening. Growling noises seemed to be emanating from every angle, I wasn’t even sure if they were real, or still part of the nightmare I’d been having.
The lights flickered on and off rapidly. Someone was obviously trying to get the power up and running, and wasn’t doing a particularly good job of it. During this time, two horrifying facts came to life. The first was that Jason’s door was wide open. The second was a trail of blood leading from his enclosure towards the bathroom.
My presumptions were correct. Jason was no more.
I didn’t feel sad. I didn’t even feel scared. I didn’t feel anything, just a numbness that kept my feet frozen to the spot. My mouth ran dry and I felt like my throat was beginning to close
I don’t know how else to describe it.
Then there was more noise. Shuffling, wheezing, inhuman sounds which just confirmed all of my worst fears. My fingers began to throb with the tension. My legs moved of their own accord. My brain wanted to run far away in the opposite direction, but as that wasn’t an available option, I pushed myself forward.
I tried to prepare myself for what I was going to see. I warned myself that this could quickly turn nasty. I knew I could get bitten, I was perfectly aware that was a high possibility. I forced myself to imagine killing Jason, because I knew I might have to. I desperately didn’t want to fight, I didn’t want it to come down to that, but still I continued to move.
It turns out that I didn’t have enough time to fully consider all of my options because the next time I looked up, he was there, right in front of me.
He had his back turned to me at first, but I could still see the blood dripping from him. It was blackening and coagulating. By this point, the lights had returned to normal. In my terror I hadn’t noticed the moment they’d stopped flickering. I pushed my back against the wall, trying to hide myself, my breaths were heavy and fast. This moment was about to change everything. I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.
Then, movement. I knew it was happening, it was all over. A single tear fell from my eye as I knew Jason was fully infected and about to pass it on to me.
The sound of his voice quickly knocked me out of my stupor. That simple greeting shocked me to my core and filled me with relief all at the same time. I lost control of my legs and fell to the ground, dizzy with conflicting emotions.
Jason wasn’t confused about my behaviour for very long. It was easy to tell why I’d been acting so strange. The blood dripped from his original bite wound. His skin is almost dissolving around it, exactly the same as what’s happening to specimen fourteen. The moment was bittersweet, because although we could both laugh about it then, it’s a reality that we will soon have to face for real. This incident just highlighted that.
I could jump up and down with excitement. This place looks much better protected than I’d even imagined it would be. Even Pete can’t argue with the security this place will provide. I doubt we’d
have to move on from here. I’m sure we could stay here for as long as is necessary—maybe even forever, if that’s what it comes down to. Of course, the possibility of that becomes more realistic by the second, but I don’t say that to the rest of the group. I can’t, especially not after that speech I made. The one that was quite certain we’d all be rescued at some point. Deep down I’m perfectly aware that no one is coming, but I need to act positive, just to keep up morale.
There are a few zombies scattered about the base, all in uniform. They must have been RAF fighters that got left behind in the race to the airport, or they were forced to stay behind due to infection. They look strange, almost comical. They seem much slower and more sluggish than any I’ve seen before, almost as if any movement is a great effort. Even the sight of us hasn’t riled them up
much. Of course that could all change when we get within reach, so I won’t allow myself to become complacent.
It’s decided with barely any communication that Randy, Pete, and I will go inside to clear the area. They both look as quietly confident as I feel. This looks like it’s going to be one of the easiest challenges we’ve had to face. I feel anticipation buzzing through me as we get ready to go in. I grip tightly to the handle of my axe, waiting to start. This time my suggestion to stick together goes down well—luckily everyone is starting to see that my ideas are smart and the right ones to follow. We position ourselves in a circle formation so we can see every angle. This way, we shouldn’t have any nasty surprises.
We find a tiny gap in the fence, near to the ground, to climb through. I make a mental note to remember to fix that later. I don’t think that the zombies will have the intelligence to think to come through here, but it’s far better to be safe than sorry. My heart is pounding as we creep forward; my confidence is beginning to wane. I know we
do this, but the reality of the situation is always a little bit terrifying. Plus this time, we have the pressure of everyone watching us. It’s a strange sensation, like I have a spotlight shining on me or something—and not just in my imagination this time. I can’t re-visualize any mistakes to suit myself. This is much more than me just picturing myself inside some damn movie.
I’m soon distracted by the sound of a blade slashing through rotten skin. It’s amazing how quickly you get used to these sounds and can recognise them immediately. I swing around, trying to get myself into the right frame of mind, but Pete has already finished the job without any issues. I feel uneasy as that seemed
too easy. I remember how challenging it was to force my blade into Lexi’s skull—are the zombies becoming weaker or are we becoming better fighters? I’ve noticed it more and more as time has passed, when I’m in the middle of a battle, it’s all I can focus on.
As much as I want to, I can’t delve into my thoughts too deeply right now, because more zombies head towards us. We fight in silence. My axe has absolutely no problems and I can’t hear any stress coming from the others. It’s only taking single strikes to defeat the zombies in these battles. In previous fights, my aim had to be absolutely perfect and even then it took a few times to
finish them off. I’m pleased by this evolution, but I can’t help being confused. I’ll have to bring it up with the others later; I need to know their opinions. Especially Emily’s. She’s clever enough to have a rational answer for me.
I lock eyes with a zombie coming towards me. It’s letting out a small, pathetic moan as it slowly shuffles in my direction. It’s slow, too slow. It’s moving at a snail’s pace, making the tension tight. I watch him with fascination, trying to glean some answers about what’s going on. In the end I’m forced to break formation, I’m too impatient to wait for it to come to me. I need it gone as quickly as possible.
“Alyssa!” Randy shouts out angrily. I turn, ready to apologise even though as I moved, I felt like my actions were justified. We
promise to stick in that position no matter what. But I’m stopped in my tracks by cracked, broken, rotten nails digging down into my shoulder, breaking through my skin.
I freeze, the whole world stops around me. I’m dead, I’m finished, I’m done. I can’t believe it. I acted irrationally, stupidly, and it’s gotten me killed. A zombie scratch is certain death, everyone knows that. Every single zombie-based film, TV show, and book agrees on that one fact, I’m sure of it. I rack my brain trying to think of an exception, but nothing comes to mind. Even if that is all fiction, it’s where so much of my life-saving information has come from, so I can’t stop my mind from automatically heading in that direction. My heart beat slows down, almost to a stop. I stare at my axe, wondering what my next move should be. Should I kill myself, or keep fighting until the bitter end? I don’t know if it’s wise for me to continue on until I turn, then I’ll become a danger to the others and one of them will have to kill me. Would it be selfish to give one of my group that responsibility?
They say your life flashes before you when you’re about to die. That doesn’t happen for me in this moment; just a million thoughts, plans, and ideas rush into my brain at once, so I can’t concentrate on a single one of them. I imagine myself trying to grab the words as they float through my mind, trying to understand them, but being frustratingly unsuccessful. Everything going on around me is forgotten. My entire world has become me, by myself, and the large scratch trailing down my back.
I don’t know how long I’m stopped still in that state, but suddenly sound bursts back into my ears, making me startle. Pete is pulling me and shouting loudly at me to get a move on. I look down to see the zombie who had his nails in my skin is dead, annihilated on the ground. I don’t know who did that, but it was far too late. I’m dead no matter what. I feel like I’m staring at the thing that ended my life for hours, but in reality it’s probably only a few seconds.
My eyes snap up and I realise that Pete has pulled me behind a building to hide while he figures out what’s happened to me. Randy isn’t with us, so he must be still out there, fighting. I slip to the floor, trying to pull myself together. I don’t cry, shock is currently consuming me, numbing everything else. Pete shakes me, he’s speaking but I can’t understand a word he’s saying.
Finally his words start to penetrate my brain. “Alyssa, come on! Pull yourself together, is it the scratch? You don’t have to worry about that. I’ve been scratched by the infected in plenty of fights. It doesn’t do anything. There’s no fluid involved. That’s why it
to be a bite—didn’t you know that? Look.” I turn to see scars all over his arms, how have I never noticed them before? “Come on, you’ve got to get yourself in order, we’ve still got lots to do. If we want to go inside, we’ll need to clear out this building and pretty soon.” I stare back in a daze. “Come on, Alyssa.” He starts to plead. “Think about the others. We can’t leave them outside the fence for too much longer unarmed.”
Emily’s face fills my mind and gives me the determination and willpower to stand. If what Pete is saying is correct, then I’m actually going to survive, and if that’s the case, I need to make sure this place is secure so everyone else can live too. I haven’t quite accepted the truth of what’s happening yet, but I need to work on that in my own time. Right now I need to get back into battle mode. This is nowhere near over yet.
We walk out to find Randy surrounded by the remaining corpses. He is holding his knees and panting heavily. This battle has been won, at least. Now we need to see how bad the inside is. We need to get it cleared out before it gets dark, unless we want to camp again. I couldn’t bear it, especially not being so close to a decent building.
The door to the main building slowly creaks open. I try to get myself to fully focus; I need all my other thoughts to disappear for now. I’m sure I can hear Pete’s nervous heart beating from over here. I try to give him a reassuring smile; all the while our fate is being decided.