By: Gus Simmons
Nobody knew where the first case appeared on the Earth, but ten years later humanity was on the verge of extinction. People gathered around some tiny fenced communities in order to survive; much of the major cities were consumed by the plague. 20 years later humanity declined as well regressed; technology as people knew it was scarce and a novelty of the past.
The ghouls as they were called, where once human but they mutated and became savages who acted in pack; the cause of the behavior was an oral agent that went to different persons with a simple sneeze or any exchange of fluids. The virus itself mutated the persons who contracted it on a period of 90 hours into "empty shelves" of who they were, they became hollows, they became monsters and they started to roam the planet.
The hollows or as they were known, the shadow men; were terrifying, beyond the city walls you could heard them, even dwelling around the heavily armed sewer systems of the different cities.
In the old streets of Venice, Italy; Francesca always heard them, for being only 12 she could heard them from very far away. The wind always carried the laments of those beings but at the same time it was the bringer of destruction; over the years Venice became a safe haven after the only route, Via Liberta was demolished and people had to travel by the sea in order to arrive to the little island.
The ports were shut down and every person who reached the island had to be quarantined and if any possible new habitant showed signs of the disease was executed without any questions.
Francesca was researching about other safe heavens, she theorized that cities that were surrounded by large bodies of water could be potential safe heavens, then she thought about India and how maybe by now they were in a pandemonium due the large volumes of populations.
Her biggest concern was that food was going to run scarce at a certain point; and, going inland was a suicide. Mestre and San Giuliano were the closest areas, after the tragedy stroke they were diminished and they started to roam around freely; but, they couldn't go near water, it was almost as a pathological fear where even the sound could paralyze them.
She was wondering if they, not as the carcasses that walked Earth but rather as the bacteria itself had some kind of negative response to water but yet it was everywhere as a common cold.
The alarms, the panic alarms were played; Francesca feared for the worse that they landed on the island. She went running to the window and the scenario she feared the most was there, they were spreading chaos.
They, were everywhere; they, were killing everyone and transforming some of the people, spreading the infection. She wanted to cry because it was the end. The hollows were screaming and in a last act of defense she went running towards the building she lived; she thought the only place to hide was a small space that she called a panic room that was accessible from a trapdoor in her laundry closet.
She placed her short-wave radio and heard some people took shelter on the Orthodox Greek Cemetery that was in close proximity with Venice, but her idea of escaping seemed impossible as she heard they coming inside her apartment; she turned the radio off and tried to stand still.
There were two hollows in her apartment, one of them was child-like in size, the other one was more of an adult. She saw them by a small vent that connected to the living room.
She was fearful, because she didn't saw two of them so closely, she wondered what had could go wrong.? She never knew, she would never knew.