Read Zombies! (Episode 4): The Sick and the Dead Online

Authors: Ivan Turner

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Zombies! (Episode 4): The Sick and the Dead

BOOK: Zombies! (Episode 4): The Sick and the Dead
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Zombies! Episode 4 - The Sick and the Dead

Smashwords Edition

 

Copyright 2010 by Ivan Turner

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you're reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

***

 

What has come before.

 

Shawn Rudd, a high school senior in a hurry to meet up with his secret boyfriend, encounters a zombie on the streets of Brooklyn. With no hesitation, Shawn confronts the zombie, stabbing it and then bludgeoning it with a lead pipe. He then turns on the zombie's hapless bite victim, killing her with a blow to the head as well.

 

Investigating the crime, Detectives Johan Stemmy and Anthony Heron are confounded and chilled by the fact that the man Shawn killed had been dead for twelve hours at the time of the incident. Their investigation takes them to the apartment of the Koplowitz family where they

confront Mrs. Lucy Koplowitz, and her eight year old daughter Zoe, already zombies. Zoe bites Stemmy in the leg, thus infecting him. He dies hours later and Heron sees to it that he will never turn.

 

A week later, a customer, of
Push Ups
gym, Karl Rappaport, becomes ill while working out and drops a weight on his foot. Abby Benjamin wheels him to the
Sisters of Charity
ER and waits for a doctor to attend him. While waiting, Karl dies from the infection. The doctors bring him straight back and try to revive him but to no avail. Minutes later, he awakens on his own. A nurse comes to help him only to be bitten by the zombie that he has become. Her wound is severe and it only takes seconds for her to die. Shortly thereafter, there are two zombies in the ER. While the chief of emergency medicine tries to get everyone out, a young doctor named Peter Ventura recognizes the threat and locks down the ER.

 

The
Sisters of Charity
event causes a nationwide panic and people disappear from all of the major cities. But the panic is premature. The zombie infection doesn't spread like people fear. Within a couple of weeks, people begin to trickle back into their homes and their lives.

 

Out of the clear blue, Lance Naughton comes to see Dr. Denise Luco, finding her submerged in her work. In an effort to pull her out of her funk, Naughton takes her to dinner. Their awkward encounter blossoms into an unexpected connection.

 

John Arrick's date with his girlfriend, Suzanna, goes poorly. She'd sick and, when he suggests she see a doctor, she gets angry and storms out. Later she returns and stays the night. By the next night, however, she is very sick and it's clear that she's infected with the zombie plague. Arrick manages to get her to her own apartment and sits with her while the infection runs its course and steals her life.

 

Awakening in the dark, Arrick is confronted by the zombie that Suzanna has become. They struggle their way into the bathroom but Arrick manages to fend her off, smashing her head against the bathtub. He struggles his way out of the apartment, soaked in her blood, and finds his way home. After a bout of cleaning and a shower, Arrick discovers the bite mark and realizes that his victory over the zombie is hollow and worthless.

 

***

 

AT
about four o'clock Sunday afternoon, John Arrick pulled himself out of bed so that he could go and get some water. It had been more than eight hours since the symptoms of the zombie plague had first begun to show. It had started with sneezing and coughing. Quickly, body aches had set in. He was almost forced prone by the pain in his back, which he had wrenched while fighting off his zombie girlfriend and subsequently cleansing himself and his apartment of the infection. All in vain.

 

On Friday night, Suzanna, his late girlfriend, had come by for their date. She was already sick by that time and his mention of it had sparked a fight. She had left, but returned later and forced herself into his apartment. With no other options, Arrick himself had left his own apartment and spent the night and following day out. He returned Saturday night only to find Suzanna deathly ill. In hindsight, he felt that he should have fled the apartment, called the police or the health department, and gotten himself tested. At this point, all of that was moot. He'd done the chivalrous, if stupid thing. At Suzanna's request, he'd struggled her back to her apartment and stayed with her while she'd slowly died. After she'd turned, they had fought. Arrick had won the battle, braining her against the lip of her bathtub, but the victory had been hollow and short lived. Suzanna had bitten him.

 

Every time his mind cleared enough for him to think about it, he laughed. Because, really, it was comical. Zombies. Zombie bites. Head shots. It was fiction! But the pain in his body and the pus filled, flaming red scratch on his thigh were not. His ebbing life was a reality from which he could not escape. As he stumbled out of the corridor and into the kitchen, he wiped his nose with his sleeve. A streak of red was left in its wake.

 

He breathed in once.

 

And breathed out.

 

And then his nostrils filled up once again.

 

John Arrick knew that his time was coming close. What horrors would he commit as one of the undead? Forgetting about the glass of water, he rummaged through a counter drawer and pulled out a yellow legal pad and a red marker. With weak teeth that were only hours from seeking the flesh of other humans, he ripped the cap from the marker and began to write in large shaky letters.

 

BEWARE! ZOMBIE INSIDE!

 

There was some scotch tape in the drawer (he could do with some actual scotch instead). He ripped off four uneven pieces, the last one leaving behind a jagged trail on the cutter. Halfway to the front door, he stopped. What would he be when it was all over? Was it a complete death and then a reawakening? Would there be anything of John Arrick left in the body? He thought of Suzanna, of her empty eyes, and the hunger that had driven her to attack him. Certainly, she had seemed to be nothing more than an animated corpse, the soul having long since fled. But he was scared. He was so scared.

 

When he got to the door, he made sure that the chain was secure, turned the deadbolt, and moved the end table up against it. He stood there for a few minutes, just breathing in and out through his mouth, praying, hoping, doing nothing. Then he turned himself around and marched back to his bedroom. On his way, he tried to drop the note on the kitchen counter but it slipped to the floor and he just didn't have it in him to pick it up. He completed his journey, the last he felt he would ever make as a living human being, and flopped his exhausted body onto the bed. He thought once about calling his mother, once about calling his brother. But in the end, he just closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable.

 

***

 

REALITY
came blundering back through Denise Luco's dreams during Monday's mid morning. She was in bed and she was at peace and she was dreaming of Lance. And then the zombie plague returned full force. There was Lance, infected, starved, hungering for her flesh in a way that was very different from their experiences of the weekend. She came awake with a start and realized that she wasn't in her own bed and she wasn't at home. At least she wasn't at the lab. After their intimate encounter Saturday night, Lance had pushed her to spend Sunday with him. Despite the overwhelming responsibility she felt, she was able to convince herself that a day off would do more good than another day spinning her wheels in the lab. Because it was in her nature, she played hard to get, but there had never really been a decision. And Lance had shown her a wonderful Sunday.

 

Now it was Monday. She'd spent the night with him again, but today she would have to head back to the lab and immerse herself in the plague.

 

She was alone in the apartment. Lance had mentioned that he was going in early. She'd made him promise to wake her before he left but before they'd drifted off to sleep, he'd promised to break that promise. As she thought about it, she giggled a little bit, both delighted and embarrassed by her own girlishness.

 

The moment passed.

 

In an hour, she had to be at the lab and be Dr. Luco again. She needed to be a shark because she was meeting with lawyers today. Lawyers and bureaucrats and PR men. All morons. Yesterday, before anything else, Lance had gotten on the phone and started connecting the dots on the whole
Head Shot
fiasco.
Head Shot
was the new name of a popular cold and flu medication. It was the strongest anti-viral you could get over the counter and it really did work if you took it within eight hours of becoming symptomatic. With a cold. That they'd labeled it the "perfect defense against the zombie virus" was a travesty. And, oh yeah, a big lie. So Lance had made some calls to the health department. They had made calls to the representatives of the pharmaceutical company responsible for the manufacture and distribution of
Head Shot
. Denise had wanted a court order forcing an immediate recall. No such thing was going to happen on a Sunday. Even the press release she wanted had to be forestalled until Monday afternoon. Well it was Monday now and it was time for the wheels of justice to start grinding forward.

 

Denise showered and dressed in a smart new outfit that Lance had gotten her yesterday. She would have gladly gone back to her apartment to get something to wear but he had insisted that she not leave his sight for one instant. She could have bought her own new outfits but he didn't allow that either. He was so different from everything that she expected. He was so very typical in many ways and yet he pulled it off without bluster. Though they had been working together on and off for a month, she felt that she had gotten to know him only in the last two days. And she was impressed. In fact, she could not ever remember a time when she had been as impressed by a man. As she buttoned up her top, she wondered if it was possible to fall in love in a weekend.

 

She giggled again.

 

But by the time she was out the door and into the street, Denise was put to rest and Dr. Luco had settled firmly into place. The meeting was in thirty minutes and she expected to arrive ten minutes early. The people from the health department would most likely be on time and the people from the pharmaceutical company would most likely be late. By all rights, the health department people and she should present a unified front but somehow she didn't think that would be the case. Bureaucrats one and all, she anticipated a boat load of red tape and nonsense. She surmised that it would only be a matter of time before she was so completely frustrated that she would have take a stand and bring out the big guns.

 

She was ten minutes early. Almost to the second. The conference was being held at
Arthur Conroy Memorial Hospital
in upper Manhattan. It was where she kept her lab, where they had brought Detective Johan Stemmy when he'd been bitten, and every single victim thereafter. Her lab was in a bunker, literally a bunker, three stories beneath the ground. In case of contamination, the place could be locked down in under three seconds by manual switch or voice command. The voice authority required a spoken sixteen digit key code which she and four other doctors had committed to memory. The manual switches existed in every staff room, including the cafeteria. There were no windows. It took a keycard, a fingerprint, and an eye scan to get inside the complex. She wondered how Lance was always able to get in.

 

Nine minutes after she arrived, the men from the health department arrived. The first was a fat old man named Alan Lochschenborgh. He was a health department representative that Luco had met before. They had been introduced, shaken hands, and gone their separate ways. Her limited experience with him gave her no clue as to how he would handle the conference. In his company was an attorney named Mikael Seaver. Seaver was young and handsome, almost as handsome as Anthony Heron though not nearly as intimidating. Seaver wore his inexperience on his chest. Though well groomed, she could detect a faint line of sweat at his hairline. When he shook her hand, it was tentative, encrusted with anticipation. Luco wrinkled her nose in disgust. This attorney was going to make their job a lot harder. She was sure the people from the pharmaceutical company would send their best.

 

And they did. They sent their best and their most obtrusive. Luco and the two men from the health department had already taken seats in the large conference room when their opponents walked through the door. Lochschenborg and Seaver had taken seats next to one another while Luco had chosen to sit apart. The men from the pharmaceutical company took seats opposite their counterparts. The teams surrounded her.

BOOK: Zombies! (Episode 4): The Sick and the Dead
8.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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