Read The Dead Divide Us (Book 1) Online

Authors: Vincent S. Tobia

Tags: #zombies

The Dead Divide Us (Book 1) (4 page)

BOOK: The Dead Divide Us (Book 1)
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“It’s seems like a big deal east of you in those areas. But that’s the only place it’s been reported,” Paul said.

“And you guys are fine, nothing there? No one getting sick?” Rita asked.

“No, everyone here is fine, just kinda waiting around and watching the news,” Paul said.

Paul did not want to tell his mother the part about the sick people
attacking
each other; he felt he frightened her enough.

“Mom, I need you and Dad to do one more thing for me. While you wait for Robert to arrive…” Paul said.

“Sure honey, what?” Rita spoke back.

“Stay inside and lock your doors and windows,” Paul said sternly.

“What? Lock our doors? Because people are sick in
New York
? Paul you’re not making any sense,” Rita said confused.

“Robert will be there soon. Mom, call me back on the cell phone when he gets there, okay?” Paul asked.

“Hmm okay, we’ll call you back soon,” Rita said.

“You guys aren’t in any danger. Just wait for Robert,” Paul said, and he looked back out onto his street.

Glen, Warren and Roy were dispersing, walking away back to their homes. Except Roy was now walking toward Paul’s house. Roy’s bathrobe glided out behind him like a superhero’s cape. Was everyone still in their pajamas? For a moment the world had seemed to have gone mad. Was it?

“Okay honey, be careful,” Rita said.

“You too. Remember to call me back,” Paul reminded.

“We will. We love you.” Rita said, sounding sad.

“We love you too.”

And Paul hung up.

 

4

 

It was about four in the morning and Roy Benton was yet again knocking on Paul Landry’s front door.

Shawn turned over on his side, his back now facing the television, still sleeping. Eddie and Ruth heard the knocking and became slightly startled until Paul motioned to them that everything was alright and he would answer the door.

“It’s only Roy again,” Paul said.

Ruth had her laptop open. The large La-Z-Boy chair she sat in made her small frame look even smaller. Paul tucked his cell phone into his pajama pants pocket and walked quickly over to the door. As he did, he glanced upon his wife’s face which was now well lit by the laptop’s glow. She doesn't even need makeup to look so pretty, Paul thought. At that moment he was reminded of how well he had it. A tremendous feeling of happiness and accomplishment quickly overwhelmed him. He and the love of his life had two beautiful children, were living in an extremely nice home in a nice neighborhood, having three square meals a day, cable T.V. and all the opportunities in the world beckoning them to thrive with success. A lifetime of joy still awaited Paul’s family. But exactly how much time was really left now?

Paul’s stomach turned sour just as he turned the doorknob.

“Hey, howdy fellas,” Roy said as he swiftly entered the Landry residence. There was a somber and grave tone hidden behind Roy’s voice. Paul closed the door after him and then pointed to his sleeping son on the couch.

“Let’s talk in the kitchen,” Paul said quietly.

Roy only nodded and walked with Paul into the next room. Ruth closed the laptop, got up from the chair, and walked toward the kitchen as well.

“Eddie, you stay here and look after Shawn, okay?” Ruth said, trying to give Eddie a sense of responsibility and keep him away from anything Roy may tell them.

Eddie, who didn’t take his eyes off of the television said, “Okay, Mom. I’ll keep an eye on the news too.”

Before entering the kitchen Ruth thought to herself, “Eight years old and such a grown up kid.”

Ruth entered the kitchen and saw Roy standing next to Paul; both were standing at the island table in the middle of the room. Pots and pans of all sizes hung above the kitchen island. The entire kitchen was white with all of the counter tops and the top of the island black. Each school night before her family retired to sleep, Ruth got out four cereal bowls and juice glasses for the next morning. Last night had been no exception; the island was set with four places--her family’s places. Ruth walked up to the island, pushed aside one of the cereal bowls, and laid down her laptop. She popped the top and opened Google to look for any new news she could find on the apparent outbreak on the east coast. As she looked up at her husband and her neighbor, she took notice of Tony the Tiger staring at her from the counter top.

“Hi, Ruth,” Roy said.

“Hey Roy, what’s the news?” Ruth replied.

Roy turned so that he was now facing both Paul and Ruth. Roy was a tall fellow; if he wasn’t careful, he would hit his head on the hanging pots.

“Well, as you can imagine everyone on the block is scared. Only a few of them have relatives back on the east, but nothing like you have Paul. You are the only one with immediate family out there. Did you contact them?” Roy said.

“I did. I called my brother, told him the news, and he’s on his way to get my parents to safety,” Paul replied.

Roy nodded, clearly thinking about something, and pushed his thick rimmed glasses back up his nose. Roy’s balding head was shiny and wet due to the slight mist of rain falling outside.

“They live in Northeastern Pennsylvania, right?” Roy asked and Paul nodded a “yes” back to him.

“Did they say if they encountered the virus? Or sick people, whatever it is?” Roy asked.

Paul immediately thought of what his mother said,
“Your father and I were out back settling the horses; they were kicking around in their stalls this morning. Something spooked them good, probably a fox.”
And she was probably right, just a fox. There was no reason to worry about that; all reports of this outbreak were around Manhattan. Plus, she didn’t say to Paul, “Oh and you know what? A very sick looking man tried to attack us! Boy oh boy, was he sick looking!”

“Nope, they were all fine. Doesn’t sound like it's moving away from New York or the parts of New England that it’s reached. Does anyone else here have contact with those places? You know, in the hazard zone?” Paul said to Roy.

“Hazard zone?”
Paul thought.
"Did I just really say that?"
Like he was now living in a sci-fi movie?

“Sadly no, the only information we can get from those areas is from the television or internet and even that’s scarce,” Roy said, concerned. Ruth looked up from her laptop.

“I know. I’ve been searching for more info on the infected areas. I’m coming up with nothing,” Ruth chimed in.

“Well keep looking Ruth,” Roy said and then turned to face Paul. “I was just outside talking with Glen and Warren from across the street. We’re going to have an old fashion town meeting at the high school auditorium at 8 o’clock this morning. All of Green Falls is invited. Whoever shows will have a right to speak," Roy said.

A town meeting? Was that really necessary? Was this thing really
that
big of a deal? Paul felt a slight headache start to approach; he used to get head-splitter migraines back in high school. The only cure was to lay down in complete darkness and pray for sleep. He was hoping that this wasn’t going to be the case tonight. Paul took two steps to the right and opened a cupboard door above their shiny new Kenmore Elite stove and grabbed the bottle of aspirin.

“A town meeting? Really?” Paul asked, trying to hide the displeasure in his voice.

“I think we need to get everyone on the right track... basically gather information and keep people from panicking,” Roy said in his leader tone of voice.

“I’m sure the mayor and Sheriff Baxter will be there?” Paul said in an irritated manner. He didn’t like the sheriff.

“Yes, unfortunately they’ll be there. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to talk,” Roy added.

“And what if this thing blows over by then?” Paul asked.

“Then we cancel the meeting and go on with our regular lives. There’s no harm in preparing for the worst, Paul.” Roy said.

Ruth then gasped out loud and put her hand up over her mouth, staring at the laptop screen.

“What is it?” Paul asked. Both he and Roy rushed over to the laptop.

Centered on the screen was an image of what looked to be a severely dehydrated and highly stressed man. His skin was a grayish blue color. It appeared that all of the veins inside the man’s body were trying to escape, and his neck had numerous tendons stretching outward. What Paul noticed about this man right away were his eyes; they were blank and emotionless. Then he noticed the bullet hole in his forehead.

“Oh my God,” Roy said in disgust. “Please don’t tell me that’s one of the sick ones?”

“This was just posted onto Twitter. Username is TheHiddenTruth13. The caption for this picture is pretty long. It‘s actually posted in two tweets,” Ruth said and then began to read the captions to the picture of the sickly dead man with the bullet hole in his head.

“It says:
I watched them gun this one down. The Army is taking them all out but it seems to be spreading faster than they expected. I’ve seen what they are broadcasting on television and I know they are not showing you any of this. This man was ready to bite and kill an innocent civilian, a little girl actually. I believe the news is lying to you. This is more dangerous than you are being lead to believe. Sending a new picture to upload now
.”

Ruth clicked refresh and TheHiddenTruth13’s twitter reloaded with a new picture. All of Paul’s fears from the previous hour multiplied by fifty. Tears immediately filled Ruth’s eyes as she gazed in stupendous wonder and fear at the new picture. Roy’s mouth dropped and cracked under its own weight.

The new picture was of Times Square in Midtown Manhattan. Usually lit with large advertisements, Times Square was now blank like a newly cleaned blackboard. Black smoke billowed out of one window to the left of the picture. The streets below the buildings were all blocked with cars (most of them crashed into one another) and there were dead bodies everywhere.

“You’ve got to be shitting me,” Roy said, lifting his jaw back into place. “It’s gotta be doctored, photo shopped or something…right?” Roy said again and then glanced over to Ruth and Paul. The three of them exchanged a look of communal bewilderment.

              “Can you refresh it, Hon? If this person is posting the truth, I’d like to keep an eye on this,” Paul said to his wife.

Ruth lifted her pointer finger and clicked the mouse to refresh the page. TheHiddenTruth13’s twitter page started to reload, but then came back with an error message saying: Error Page Not Found.

“What the f…” Ruth spoke softly, then hit refresh again.

Same result. The twitter account page of TheHiddenTruth13 was gone.

“Alright, now I’m starting to
really
worry. Paul, what are we going to do? Was that really Times Square?” Ruth said frantically.

Paul held his hand up to his brown beard and stoked his own chin. He walked over to the sink counter and leaned on it.

“Roy, if those pictures are real then we’re going to need more than a lousy town meeting to help us,” Paul resolved.

Roy looked up at Paul, then to Ruth, and then back again to Paul.

“I know. But until we know that what we just saw was real, we can’t tell anyone. It would just cause more panic then there already is. Most people outside already have a feeling that the news stations are holding back information. This would drive them nuts,” Roy explained.

“What are we going to do?” Ruth questioned aloud.

“I say that we go about our business and keep the possibility of those disastrous images in our minds. You’ve got contact with family relatively close to there Paul. They’ll call you if something cataclysmic happens. Right?” Roy said.

“Yeah, of course. Robert and my parents are supposed to be calling me back.” Paul said, and then he reached into his pocket to take out his cell phone. No missed calls; that was good. Paul set the ring tone to ‘loud’ before setting it back down.

“So we’ll keep an eye on the news. See if the reports change. But Ruth, I’d like you to stick with the internet searching. What was that person’s online tag name?” Roy asked.

“It was the hidden truth, then a number…13, I think,” Ruth replied, unsure.

“That’s good. We’ll keep our families together on this one. I love this town, this street, but I don’t and can’t trust anyone as much as I do you guys,” Roy said, sounding sincere.

And he was right. The Benton’s and the Landry’s were very close -closer than any neighbors in Green Falls for sure. Roy Benton and Paul Landry worked together at Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington. They had met shortly after Paul started working in their graphic design department. Roy was not a graphic designer but a lead sales representative for Nintendo. Paul always thought that was why Roy was so good with people, because for his job, he
had
to be a people person. Roy and Paul eventually became great friends, but their real bond came when Ruth and Roy’s wife, Kirsten, were introduced. You would have thought that they were long lost sisters who were torn apart from some war-ravaged, poverty stricken, third world country. They had everything in common. Then down the line, when it came time for Ruth to deliver her first child, the Benton’s were right there for support.

BOOK: The Dead Divide Us (Book 1)
6.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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