Wednesday, December 12, 2012

THE END OF THE DAYS OF THE Z (SHORT STORY)


In the forests of Seattle, Alex and Karen found a refugee after escaping from Modesto, California after the outbreak of the Veronica Virus in the city sewers and leaving the entire population in a mindless states as savages who prayed on others flesh or anything that breath and move. They reached the forest of Mount Baker and they found out what they were looking for, one of the refugees left by the government. The place they found was Tigers in the Heaven, a complete town constructed above the grounds around the trees of the area, it looked like an Ewok compound on real life but with toiletry and commodities to survive for ten years.

Both met each other on the road around Modesto, while escaping the city around the year 2002, and fall in love on the spot after Karen saved Alex's life after he almost got devoured by a roamer and Karen blew the guy's head into tiny pieces with her shotgun. The Veronica Virus according to the media reports started as a biological warfare to eradicate the population on the United States but the plan of the beloved leader backfired when the virus spread on an alarming rate as it infected rats who boarded different ships as well airplanes and quickly it became a pandemic as the rats infected other life forms and eventually due contamination because of the excrements the water supply of almost 100 countries that had ties with North Korea were put on state of emergency and eventually the survivors were evacuated but after the evacuation the downfall of society became a reality.

The virus in North America got his name due the first patient known was a young girl named Veronica Ashby who died and eventually reanimated as one of them, they didn't had a name, they were just lifeless corpses who roamed the Earth in anger and hunger; always, perpetually hungry. Veronica was only six years old before and when she died, but she managed to infect two doctors who were treating her and a nurse who subsequently died and helped to spread the infection around the city, from the city the infection spread through the States and President George W. Bush declared state of emergency but that wasn't enough because the case of California wasn't the only one as from South America and South East Asia other cases where presenting around.

Then, much of the people died and the people who died eventually came back as lifeless bodies, as zombies who eventually decimated families, cities and governments. Karen was only 29 when the pandemonium started and in the process she lost much of her family, leaving her as the only survivor of the tragedy; Alex was 32 and by that time he was living with roommate whom he killed after he succumbed to a fever and tried to devour him. Life became a living hell as they tried to find ammunition and supplies on their way out of California but they were running low and they didn't had too much of a luck finding other survivors but Alex was trying to reach the Tigers in Heaven compound as he knew it would be a safe haven but he wasn't sure even if they could go inside or if would be safe for them.

After a year traveling on the road, they finally reached the compound and they weren't surprised to find it on ruins but it was perfect to live on as no zombies were around. The complex was divided into two areas, the main hub where the military held training about surviving extreme conditions and the habitation area which was the one they were expecting. The tree houses were there on the top but yet they were empty, the two were wondering what happened to the families.? Maybe they were evacuated to the Caribbean as it was one of the few places around the word that wasn't affected on a total by the pandemic and the decimation event.

They found a little hanging stair and then they went up, the place was almost intact, they counted 36 units, each unit divided with two bedrooms and one kitchen. They realized that there were some canned goods around and electricity was still available as well water, they were happy that they found their little heaven on Earth. Their happiness didn't lasted long, as they found probably the reason why the families disappeared, they were held on an underground level as long as six football fields, there were kids who were dead and walking, moms, dads still dressed in their military uniform. Alex puked when he saw the walking dead, roaming inside their tiny cells.

- Maybe they were trying to find a vaccine and they volunteer.? He said it.
- I don't think so love, kids won't volunteer, this is macabre, this is wrong on so many levels.

The undead children were growling, screaming, they didn't knew they were trapped behind some Plexiglas, those little kids were the subjects that got Karen's attention to the fullest because they were marked with dates that were prior the case of Veronica, she was wondering the reality of the story sparked by the media and the government about the blame of North Korea and the rats in the sewer.

She realized that the entire complex wasn't a safe heaven, was a laboratory and an scenario to test possible outcomes if the virus spread out of control. But to who or what country the virus was really going to be sent to in the very beginning.? She didn't have a chance to knew it because there were no records of an experiment that went wrong but there was one kid who was alone who got her attention, the name was David Peterson, he was only 5 years old at the time he died and was being held since 1999, the kid didn't show too much decay but he was one of the most aggressive subjects they saw on the sublevel prisons, suddenly a fear struck her and she realized if the power and backup failed, she and Alex could be in serious trouble as there was no way for both to defend themselves from over a 100 subjects if they saw them not far away.

The first thing both did was to cut any entrance that could represent a threat and close elevators around the tree-homes and leave only two exits open to go up and escape if any emergency happened. A few months passed and Alex learned about basic mechanics to keep some of the generators working and Karen learned how to make a short wave radio to work properly and she spent days trying to find help but to no success. Around May the 20th Karen found someone not far, the person who seemed to be a man was in Seattle also and was in contact with some of the army who were stationed on the Alaskan border. She was happy to hear that because it meant an escape from an area that was completely devastated.

As for that month, they both had a garden and went to the city to try to find survivors and supplies but their odds were so minimal that they gave up finding an intelligent soul until the message they got on the radio. The voice was with distortion but they heard that by July the sixth, they should wait for a helicopter on the entrance of the base. Karen went back to see David that night while Alex was sleeping, the other zombies started to growl and act violently as soon they spotted some fresh food coming but they were trapped. Karen was wondering about their lives previous to the infection, she was wondering if they were really guinea pigs or just early victims that the government didn't reported until the public infection of Veronica and the hospital staff where the situation got out of control.? Maybe the government was experimenting, doing something macabre but why.? When she reached David's cell she realized that the young boy was less energetic than the last time she saw him a few months before, maybe he was decaying more and his energy levels where disappearing, she wanted to open the cage but she remembered how her little cousin was killed after a zombie played dead as a dog; the only thing she did was to took a photo and took the chart that was hanging near the big panel where she could see him as a memento because she was feeling sad for the poor boy as after researching she discovered he was the patient zero and not Veronica.

Days before the apocalypse, days before Karen discovered the little clue about everything, way before Veronica got infected and the pandemic started, there was a boy named David who was born in Tampa, Florida's MacDill Air Force Base. His mother was a pilot and also a meteorologist who flew around the globe mostly tracking storms in the Caribbean for the government and his father was a news anchor at WMOR-11, he lived a happy life as any other toddler until his family got relocated in Seattle on the Tiger's complex as his mother was working in conjunction with a civil project to protect wild life but that was just a fa├žade.

July 11th of 1999, a company named Monsanto started the process of creating a chemical compound based on serotonin to modify a strain of tomatoes that was planned to be sent to China and several communist countries as part of a pact with the W. Bush administration in order to ensure economic hegemony of the area because of the raising economical powers in the region and Monsanto could execute whatever they wanted if the project was successful but beside that there was a large stake of money at risk because they were trying to dominate the population in order to achieve their plan of economical dominion.

David was just an innocent victim of the complot, the reason on why he became the first victim was related to him getting sick and his father taking him to the infirmary and the doctor administering a string of the serum who only killed him, making him a zombie and making the U.S. military to think it was OK to launch the warfare attack to the countries they deemed dangerous to the free world.

As soon they realized they couldn't handle the threat they threw all the chemicals on the water supply and blame it to a country that had already had a negative perception within the general public and the media and launched a massive scale attack on North Asia in order to subdue the invisible menace. Then it came Veronica and at then the end of the world as we knew it, where everything went straight down the toilet.  When May the 20th arrived, just a little bit before the helicopter came to their location, Alex was waiting on the top of the living complex as they got a new coordinate to ensure their safety but Karen was looking one more time to the zombies, she took many photos as she could and saved on a backpack she found on one of the houses, some of the files to keep proof of the beginning of the apocalypse.

Before leaving the place, when she knew the rescue was on their way and not far away, she found a way to open the cages of the experiment victims and soon she escaped the place leaving them behind if they could find a way to escape. When she reached Alex and the helicopter, he asked her where she was and the only reply she could gave was "Gathering some things I found around."

When they finally left, Karen took a look on the compound and she saw the undead walking out through the doors where the experiments where held, even if they weren't aware it was the first time they were outside on the world.

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