Authors: Sean Kidd
Beginning of the End
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
© 2014 by Sean Kidd
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characters and events portrayed in this book are a work of fiction or
are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or
dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
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Dr. Peter Brooks fell
into line with the other passengers making their way out of the
filthy Lagos terminal. The line moved slowly past beggars, child pick
pockets, and barefoot soldiers with their slung AK-47s. Pete watched
as one of the soldiers verbally scolded a young girl who had taken
refuge against the terminal wall. She couldn’t have been more than
seven or eight years old. Passengers passed and glanced at the scene,
but none had the nerve to stop. The young girl paid no mind to the
soldier and focused on faces of the passing strangers. Pete was
staring at the girl, when their eyes met. She raised an arm and
pointed toward him. The soldier stopped yelling and turned, looking
down the corridor at Pete. The soldier spun back to the girl and
grabbed her under the arm leading her toward him.
“What now?” he
thought as he watched the soldier approaching.
As a member of “Doctors
without Borders," Pete had spent the last four months working
Ebola outbreaks, that had swept through central Africa. The jungle
towns had taken their toll on Pete, and he was more than ready to get
back to the states.
Pete turned away from
the approaching duo and looked straight ahead pleading to himself,
“Please just let me get on my plane and get out of this
god-forsaken country. I’m sick of the death and violence.” Pete’s
pleas were interrupted by the Lagos soldier, “You, Doctor?” Pete
stared straight ahead, ignoring the soldier, hoping he’d give up
and move along. “Hey! You Doctor?” Pete felt the soldier nudge
him in the ribs with the barrel of his rifle. He had no choice but to
look over. “Yes, I’m a Doctor.”
“Good! You take girl
to Cairo.” The soldier pushed the girl forward, and Pete watched as
he held up a plane ticket pointing at the destination, “Her
parent’s dead! You take same plane! Give to uncle in Cairo. She
lives there now.” Pete began to protest when he felt the girl
squeeze his hand, “Please!” the girl squeaked. Pete felt the
girl’s pain and gave an affirming nod to the soldier.
The line began to move,
and the two found themselves being rushed from the terminal. The
rolling waves of heat across the runway made their ancient two
propped Saab 340 look distorted and blurry. Pete hated flying and the
thought of a puddle jumper to Cairo turned his stomach. Pete’s fear
was momentarily broken when he felt a tug at his arm. He looked down
to see the girl in the white dress staring up at him.
“What is it, honey?”
“My belly hurts,”
she said as perspiration was beginning to form on her forehead.
Pete smiled and looked
down at the girl, “It’s okay, my belly hurts too. Are you afraid
of flying?” The girl shook her head “no” and moved her hand
down to her stomach. “Don’t worry, we’ll get you some Tums when
we get on the plane.
Fifty minutes on the
runway did nothing to help the girl’s stomach. She was passed out
in the seat next to Pete and the sweat was now pouring off from her.
As the plane began to climb, Pete laid a hand across her forehead.
She was burning up. In an hour, they’d be in Cairo and Pete could
pass her off to her uncle. He would certainly be able to find her
some medicine, or a doctor if she got any worse.
Pete laid back in his
seat and closed his eyes. Thirty minutes later, Pete woke up and saw
that passengers were already exiting the plane. The girl was still
asleep next to him. He woke her and the two struggled down the aisle.
His plan was to dump off the girl, get on his flight to the U.S. and
not wake up until he landed.
As they stepped off the
plane, an Egyptian family ran across the runway embracing the girl.
Pete tried to explain that the girl was sick, but they didn’t speak
English and seemed to have more important things to do, judging from
the way they whisked her away. “She needs a doctor!” he called
out as they entered the terminal.
Pete’s mood was
slowly deteriorating and the long slow British Airline Check-in lines
weren’t helping the matter any. He looked to the future for
comfort. Twelve hours to Heathrow Airport where he’d have time to
grab some dinner, and then ten hours back to the states from there.
Then he’d be home.
An hour before landing
in Heathrow, Pete rested his forehead against the cool, air
conditioned glass of the 747’s window. His stomach was beginning to
knot and his head was pounding. “That’s what I get for doing
something nice. That little girl must have given me her bug and I’m
going to be sick when I get home. Great!”
Two hours later Pete
passed through Customs and made it to his gate. He watched as
thousands of travelers roamed the terminal. Their constant moving
made him feel weak and dizzy. He just needed to get home and go to
bed. Time moved agonizingly slow, until they finally made the
boarding call for his plane.
He looked around the
gate and felt as though the other passengers were beginning to stare
at him. One of the flight attendants approached him, touched his
hand, and asked if he was alright.
“I’m tired of
traveling and just want to get home.” The attendant gave him a
smile and motioned him onto the jet bridge. Pete found his seat, sat
down, and closed his eyes. He fought to stay focused, “Ten hours to
Palo Alto and I’ll be home. Just ten more hours.” Pete leaned
back in his seat and closed his eyes. He never woke up.
CNN Breaking News: September 30th 6:03PM
CNN reports the first case of Ebola has reached the United States.
The Center for Disease Control confirmed today, that an unidentified
male is being treated in a Palo Alto Hospital for the Ebola Virus.
The CDC is reporting this is an isolated incident. Officials are
telling us, the male returned home from working in Africa, where as a
member of Doctors without Borders, he was providing medical treatment
to Ebola patients across villages in central Africa. Central Africa
is currently in the middle of a widespread outbreak, where it’s
believed the virus has already taken more than ten lives. Once again,
the CDC says this is an isolated incident, and there is no reason to
CNN Breaking News: October 2nd 1:00PM
Today the CDC released at statement, reporting Dr. Peter Randall, the
male who contracted the Ebola virus in central Africa has succumbed
to his illness. The CDC reports Dr. Randall’s strain of the Ebola
virus, may have mutated and become airborne. A spokesperson from the
CDC advises they are currently searching for all passengers on
British Airline flight 717 on September 28th from Heathrow to Palo
Alto. All passengers are asked to contact the CDC immediately.
October 17th 11:00am
“Man, will you turn
that shit off, before it rots your brain!”
chuckled, as he twisted his hand in front of him, trying to
manipulate the controller’s joystick from an awkward position.
“I said turn that
shit off! We’ve got a lot to do today!”
I looked over to see my
sorry ass friend Chevy, lying on the couch in his underwear with his
feet propped up against the wall and his head hanging upside down off
the couch. He was wearing one of his socks, while the other was
stuffed halfway into the hole of his underwear. He glanced at me, the
sock, then back at me again, “What?” smirked Chevy. “If you
don’t like it, don’t look at it!” he said followed by a
sinister, “I got you” laugh which he thought was almost as
amusing as the sock tuck.
My roommate’s name
wasn’t really Chevy. It was Matt. Matt Mathews. We are best
friends, and have been since grade school. Matt and I thought we were
pretty cool in high school, but had always been just a step outside
of the “In Clique." That was until the summer of 2010, when
Matt hurled himself into legendary status taking me along for the
ride. Matt and I grew up in upstate New York. A small town nestled
two hours north of Albany, and just fifteen miles south of the
Canadian border. To most New Yorkers, we were known as Canadians.
During summer vacation
between our junior and senior year of high school, Matt and I were
forced to spend the whole summer working as Grounds Assistants at the
Barrack’s Golf Course. Sometime that summer, Matt passed his
driver’s test. With license in hand, Matt decided he was going to
save every penny and reward himself with a car. In Matt’s case, the
car was a piece of shit Chevrolet truck. It was a black Chevrolet
1500 with a 350 under the hood, six-inch lift kit and 48-inch tires
covered in knobby treads as big as a boot heel. Even more
embarrassing than the truck itself, Matt insisted on having the back
window tinted with a Duck Commander logo. Oh, how he loved that
thing. I’d like to tell you that it broke down and was hauled away
by graduation. As I peer out of the living room window, I can see the
orange glare from the street light bouncing off the rusted hood.
By the end of that
summer, Matt had purchased his dream truck and lost interest in his
job. Matt made it to work most days, but spent a majority of time
there goofing off and hiding out until quitting time. A week before
summer ended, Dave the owner of the Barracks, caught Matt sleeping in
a golf cart behind the cart barn. It’s a well-known fact that Dave
ran his course with an iron fist, and was quick to fly off the
handle. Needless to say, when Dave caught Matt sleeping, you could
have heard the yelling all the way to Montréal that day. In the
middle of Dave’s berating, somewhere between “lazy” and
“useless” Matt decided if he was going, he was going out with a
Coup De Grace. Within five hours, Matt had arranged the biggest high
school party in history, and his venue was obvious. Dave locked the
gates on the main road that night unaware of the teenagers
approaching the eleventh hole from every direction. Two hours later,
there were a hundred kids running around drinking, screwing, and
playing bumper cars with Dave’s cherished golf carts. I imagined
having a party on the golf course was a bad idea, but I didn’t have
anything else to do that night, so I figured, “What the hell?” We
started a fairly good size bonfire, and a few of us gathered around
sitting on some cut logs, sucking down a few PBRs. I thought it would
be funny to start making fun of Matt’s truck, and it wasn’t long
before the peanut gallery joined in. In the true spirit of
friendship, we continued to poke fun at Matt until he was absolutely
furious with us. Isn’t that what friends are for? It took us about
thirty seconds until he was so pissed off he decided he couldn’t
take it anymore. Matt jumped up pacing between us, feebly attempting
to insult us, protecting his truck’s honor. A silence came over all
of us when the challenge was thrown out of the crowd. To this day, I
remember it perfectly. It came from that fat freshman with the hot
sister. I think his name was Dillon or Dalton or something like that.
He had on a pretty cool vintage Led Zeppelin Stairway to Heaven
T-shirt. I saw that he was in serious need of a toothbrush when he
got a little closer to Matt and me.