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The Maddening (Part 1)

Novel By: Michael68

Mark did't see it coming, but the world was about to be consumed by a madness that would destroy it. View table of contents...


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Submitted:Jun 24, 2008    Reads: 161    Comments: 2    Likes: 2   

My breath caught in my chest as I stared in horror at what was happening. All the people around started attacking each other. One woman in a dark navy blue dress suit jumped on another woman and tore her throat with her teeth. A policeman near by shot the businesswoman in the head. She fell dead, even though it was already to late; the attacked woman was already dead. Someone turned and looked at me, then jumped and tackled me to the ground. I tried to fight him off but couldn't. I was helpless as I stared up at the crazed glare in his eyes. His breath reeked of what seemed to smell like rotted meat. My one hand grabbed his throat, his flesh felt almost cold and rough like worn leather. While my other hand franticly felt around for something…anything to use as a weapon. The whole time, the crazed man spoke in a language that was nothing more than garbled nonsense. What he was saying really didn't matter; all that did was the fact that I was going to die. That was unless I could find a way to get him off of me. It then that my hand came upon the handle of a butcher's knife. One that one of the crazed attackers had dropped when they had been killed. My hand grasped the handle of the knife and with one might swing, embedded the blade into the side of the man's head. He let out a loud, garbled scream as his body fell to the side. For a brief second, I just lay there trying to gather my wits. I had never killed anyone before, and now the crazed man's blood was on my clothes. Quickly I stood up and looked around me, as the attack continued. The cop, who had shot the businesswoman, now lay on the bloody sidewalk, his throat ripped open and stabbed several times in the chest. Resting in his opened hand was his revolver, his lifeless eyes staring up at me. Almost as if to cry out for help, but never finding any. If I were going to make it out of this city alive, I would need that gun and any ammunition that his corpse had on him. I moved to him, picked up the revolver and found two quick rounds on his gun belt. When my body became erect, that was when I saw how this madness had suddenly grew even more out of control. Vehicles on the streets running people down and smashing through the fronts of buildings. Exploding as people continued to scream in terror. In the air a police helicopter raced through the air, smashing into the side of one of the many tall skyscrapers. Glass and fiery debris rained down on the people who were quickly trying to escape. In the distance, more explosions could be heard, as if there was some sort of war that was happening. A war that no was aware of or even prepared for.
I placed the two quick rounds into my front pants pockets, knowing that I made to get moving. Even though I had a gun, that didn't seem to matter. For I could end up like the cop, who I lifted the gun off of. I made my way down the street, my hand gripping the handle of the gun tightly. The only thing that I could see around me, was the dead bodies and the vehicles that were wrecked and burning out f control. In my mind, I could not figure out what could have caused this. Some sort of terrorist plan? A government experiment that went out of control? Or maybe mankind finally snapped and reduced themselves back to the primitive beasts that we evolved from. Everything seemed to happen so fast that I hardly had time to even think. The only thing that I did know was that the crazy ones didn't use weapons like gun, when they attacked. As if they were some sort of Neanderthal, using only primitive type of weapons. Plus the fact of their cold flesh, crazed expression on their faces and gibberish language, would make it easy for me to pick them out of a crowd. But it seemed that everyone was that way, contaminated by something that was making them act this way. The only thing that I could hope for was to find survivors, ones that were not affected by whatever it was that the rest of the people were. And maybe they would know what made this happen, unless they were as confused about it as I was.
I walked about three blocks, when I heard the sound of a gun being fired. It was close, as far as I could tell, but wasn't sure which direction it came from. The tall buildings of the downtown area echoed the sound making it difficult for me to find what direction it was coming from. As I slowly moved forward, I raised the revolver up in front of me. There was no way I was going to take a chance on one of those crazies come charging at me again, out of nowhere. I kept looking around me, making sure that one of them wasn't sneaking up from behind. Of course, so far, from what I had seen, they weren't capable of a sneak attack. But that was something that I was not going to fool myself with. All that I could see was the flaming wreckage littered on the street, along with a few scattered mutilated bodies on the ground. And others that probably had been thrown from the windows of the office buildings.
"What the hell is going on around here?" I said under my breath.
A question probably asked to late, for no one would be able to answer it. No one who really did know the truth and who was to blame for this. From around the corner I could hear the sound of a woman screaming something, knowing it wasn't the crazies, for she was actually speaking English.
"Die you son of a bitch!" the woman's voice cried out.
And then there was the sound of a gunshot, and then another. "Oh thank God, another survivor", was the only thing that I could think of. At least that was what I hoped for, as my thoughts went back to the cop, lying on the sidewalk in a pool of his blood. I only hoped that this woman wouldn't be found be found in the same state. But what if she was like all the other crazies? If she somehow was able to still speak clearly and have the knowledge to work a gun? No matter what though I had to take a chance. So that way I could find out what had brought this about. If nothing else, just to have someone else to join me through this. That was if she would be willing to join me through this. It was a chance that I had to take, no matter what. As I made my way to the corner of the building, as the sound of the woman screaming was heard even louder. I hoped that she wouldn't think of me as on of them. That she would try and shoot me without even questioning me.
When I peered around the corner of the building, he was able to see her. She was a young woman with long black hair; the white blouse and black slacks were ripped and stained with blood. In her hands she held a rifle and had a backpack that she carried. One of the crazies, a man in a tattered and torn gray suit, came charging seemed that it wouldn't. I raised the revolver, knowing that I was close enough to hit him. I fired, the barrel of the revolver licked with fire and then the crazed man staggered. Then the woman's rifle fired, hitting his head, making him fall backwards to his death. Then she turned toward me, pointing the smoking barrel of the rifle at me. Her expression was like stone, as she stood there in silence, watching me move toward her.
"Look, I am not going to hurt you. I'm not one of those crazies that are running around the city." I explained.
"I know. You actually can speak and make sense. But what do you want from me?" she said.
"Nothing. I just thought that you would like to go with me. To get out of this city as son as possible." I said.
She stood there and thought about it for a moment, her eyes never leaving me. I was hoping she would agree, so that I would have someone with me. Just in case, I couldn't figure out what to do. I lowered the revolver to my side, to show her that I didn't mean any harm to her. Even though she already knew that, just from the way that she looked at me.
"Do you have any idea what happened? What could have caused these people to become like this?" she asked as she lowered the rifle.
"No, not really. I thought that you might know something." I said smiling.
"Not a clue." she said, then hesitated for a moment looking around us. "But I think that we should get out of here before more of those psychos come around."
She made her way toward me, a faint smile appeared on her lips as the summer breeze gently blew through her hair. In the back of my mind I knew that there would be no way that I could ever meet a woman like her normally, for we were from two different worlds. But this anything but normal, and no time for thinking anything romantic would come about. She stood in front of me, the faint scent of her perfume lingered around her, as I tried to find the words to say.
"I'm Madison Cruz." she said holding out her hand.
"Mark Thomas." I replied as I shook her hand.
She gripped it firmly, as if I was a client that she was trying to make a deal with for her company. It impressed me, but I knew that there was no time for small talk. Before I could say anything, there was another loud explosion, a couple blocks from where we stood. Black clouds rose up as the brief sight of flames could be seem.
"They blew up the gas station down there. We better head this way, so we don't run into any more of them." she said, acting as if she knew what she was talking about.
For all I knew, she probably did. Who was I to judge her, after all I probably knew as much about what was going on as she did, which was very little. I didn't say a word as I followed her down the street, wondering how we were going to get out of the city. It was obvious that we couldn't find a car to drive, for the streets were cluttered with wrecked cars and dead bodies. And trying to take a train would be a death trap in itself. The only thing that we could do was to walk, even though finding some safe shelter was what I found myself thinking about right now.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
"I'm not sure. No matter which way we go, we are bound to run into whatever those people have become." she said as stopped and then turned to me. "Do you have any ideas?"
"Maybe we should find some shelter so that we could think out what our next move will be. It seems that they are all out here running around. So there wouldn't be any of them inside." I said.
It made sense to me, but how true that could be, that was a different story. Still, it was better than us wandering around the city aimlessly, waiting for another one of those crazies to come after us. The only thing was, would Madison agree to it? That was the one thing that I was not sure about. She gave me a long hard look, as if she was trying to decide if what I was saying was helpful or just insane. In a way, after what I had seen so far, I wasn't sure of my own sanity at that point. But it seemed like the only logical solution that we could use. Or at least I hoped that it was.
"Alright, where can we go?" she asked and then looked around us.
Where we were was on the border of the Nothside of Chicago and Cabrenie Green. And I knew that we wouldn't have that much of a chance in Cabrenie Green, for that place was dangerous even before all this came about. The only thing that I could think about was this small club that was close by, which was located in the basement of a building. If these crazies were always running around without thinking, they wouldn't even notice it. Hell, a lot of people ever knew it was there to begin with. The only thing that I couldn't remember was what the name of the place was. My mind was already overloaded with the images of death and destruction that I had already witnessed.
"There is a place that we can go to. I had been there a couple times with a few friends. It is a club that is sort of hidden from the street. A private club, but I don't think those things would even notice it. It's only a couple blocks from here." I explained.
"Let me guess, it is in the basement of a building so that way only members would know where it is and no one else." she said as she moved closer to me.
"Yes, you must have been there before." I replied.
"It's called The Secret. I didn't hang out there, I used to work there as a bartender a couple years back. That sounds like a good idea, none of those things would notice it, because they are to busy running around like crazy." she said smiling.
In the distance we could hear two more explosions, which made it easier for us to decide what to do. In a quickened pace, we started off toward the place that we were talking about. Hoping that we wouldn't run into the mindless killer zombies that we had encountered already. As we did, the city had a strange and eerie feeling about it. Not because of the death that was around us, but the silence. That was the one thing that I was not used to. Mainly because at this time in the afternoon, especially in the summer, the streets would be alive with people moving about. Pedestrians going back and forth to there destinations, the streets streaming with cars, horn blasting and people trying to talk over the noise. Now it seemed like nothing more than a ghost town. How strange it is that the one thing that you notice the least, is the one thing that you miss the most.
We made our way down the city streets, always looking around us for one of those things to be coming toward us. But luckily so far, there wasn't any. When we were about two blocks away from the place that we intended to go, we heard the sound of someone screaming madly at the top of their lungs. It was a woman's voice, and I could tell she was not in pain or being attacked. It was coming from an alley that was two storefronts in front of us. As the sound grew louder, I pushed Madison into the doorway of one of the stores, waiting to see what would come out of it. Hoping that maybe it this crazed woman didn't see us, she would just run passed without even thinking. That was if these things were able to think at all. It was then that we saw a naked woman, in her early forties come racing out of the alley, holding a broken broom handle in her right hand, gabbing the air in front of her as she ran. Her breast bounced freely in every direction as she screams out words that were of gibberish, just like the rest. She continued to run down the street that would lead to Hyde Park, where thick black smoke lifted up into the air. Whoever would run into her, would have a horrible surprise in store for them. We just stood there, Madison had her rifle pointed at the naked crazed woman, just in case she started to come after us. But the woman didn't. She just continued to run down the street, in an almost staggering way, looking for someone to kill.
"I can't believe that crazy woman didn't see us. I thought for sure that we were goners." Madison said.
"I guess if they can't see someone on the sides of them, only in front. Which is lucky for us. Come on, we have to keep going." I said as I looked around to make sure that the coast was clear.
In a way I wanted to make a joke out of seeing that naked woman running down the street. Something like, Only in Chicago could you find a woman doing that. But then held back on it, for I figured that wasn't the time or place for something like that. Still, that quote stayed trapped in my mind, along with the image of the woman. Not in a lustful way, more fearful than anything else. Imagining that I would be the one that would cross her path and how this woman would try to kill me with the broken broom handle. Using it like some sort of knife, stabbing me over and over again. It was then that I heard Madison's voice, which broke me out of the nightmare that was running through my mind.
"I'm sorry, what did you say?" I said, looking at her.
"I was asking if you were alright?" she asked in a worried tone.
"Yeah, I'm fine." I said, not wanting to tell her about what it was that I was thinking.
In a way, I figured it really wasn't anything to mention, for it would probably only scare her even more. And right now, she was scared enough, even though she didn't show it. My eyes stayed focused in front of me as we walked. Yet for some reason, I had the feeling that something was watching us. Even though we were alone on the streets, that feeling lingered in the air. That and the rank odor of death that loomed over us. The more I felt it, the more I though of the dead cop, the crazed man that I had killed and that naked woman running down the street, ranting and raving as she wildly stabbed the air with her broken broom handle. How I wished that I could just forget about it all, even just for a brief moment. Just so I could forget about it all, even just for a brief moment. Just so I could find a moment of clarity, so I could figure out what to do. But that seemed to be something that was not going to come around.
We had reached the club a minute later. It was one of those local clubs, where you had to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the front door. Or as my friends used to call it, a "basement club", And I had been right about no one seeing that place from the street. For with the neon signs turned off with black curtains behind it and the outside brick walls painted black, no one would even know that it was there. So that might work to our advantage for a while. The one thing that I wondered about was how we would get in if the door was locked. Which of course, it would be, since most of the clubs of the Nothside didn't open until early evening. Yet, it seemed that Madison was confident that they would were going to get in. She pulled a nail file out of the small pocket of her backpack and started to work on the lock. The whole time, I kept a look out, in case any other those crazed people were coming around. Even though I couldn't see them, I could still hear their loud gibberish voices if they were near. My eyes glanced back over to her, watching her kneeling in front of the door, as she started to whisper vulgarities, making it obvious that she was not having any luck. With my back turned toward to her, I kept looking up at the street (or what I could see through the iron railings, hoping that no one would pass by and see us. It was then that I heard the sudden crash of breaking glass. Instantly, I turned back around to Madison as she continued to as she continued to break away the small window in the door. Then she looked at me with a sudden shocked expression on her face.
"What? Who do you expect me to get us in?" She said in a sarcastic tone.
I wanted to laugh, but was afraid that those things had heard the breaking glass and where on their way here. But it seemed that none them were around. As if they were migrating to one center location of the city, killed anyone that wasn't like them on their way. Madison cleared the glass away from one side of the window, reaching her hand in and unlocking the door. After she opened it, she turned around any looked at him with a playful smile on her lips. Like a child who was proud of what she had done and was looking for recognition for it.
"Shall we go inside?" she said.
"Ladies first…" I started to say, and then corrected myself. "No, I'll go first, just in case."
I raised the revolver up in front of me as I made my way through the darkened doorway. Even though I was sure that there was nothing in there, I wasn't going to take the chance. Once we were inside, Madison turned the lights on as closed the door behind her. I really wasn't worried of the light shining through the windows, for the black curtains would hide it. Even on the small window on the door, that she had shattered had a black velvet curtain over it. The club itself had dark brown paneling, a long bar to the right as we entered to the right and to the left was scattered tables, booths lines up against the far left wall and a small stage and dance floor at the far end of the room. I followed Madison further into the room, after shed had passed me. I knew that this wasn't the most ideal place to be with what was going on outside, but it was better that us wandering around outside in the streets. The only thing that we had to concern ourselves about was how we were going to get out of the city.
"You really know the places to take a lady, Mark. Do you come to this place a lot?" she said as she turned to me.
"Actually, I had only been here twice. The last time was a couple weeks ago. My friends wanted to take me here, to cheer me up." I explained.
"Why were you depressed?" she asked.
"I got divorced after nine years of marriage. But that is something that I am trying to forget now." I said in a serious tone.
She made her way over to me, looking so sympathetic. I really didn't want to talk about my past, for I felt that was something that should never be remembered. Especially now with what we were thrown into. Still, there was something about her that I found myself unable to ignore. Maybe it was because I had isolated myself for so long. Or maybe because of the threat of danger, which we now found ourselves in. Whatever it was, I couldn't take my eyes off of her, and who could blame me, for she was a beautiful woman. When she reached me, her hand reached up and gently touched my shoulder.
"I'm so sorry, I know what you're going through, I been divorced now for a year. It will get better though." she said in a soft voice.
"That is after we survive what is happening here." I replied smiling slightly.
For that brief moment we stood there looking at each other, as I found myself wondering what it would be like to kiss her. Yet, I didn't say anything about it, for I knew that this was now the right moment for it. There were too many things that we had to worry about right now as it was, and concentrating on that would only add to it. She smiled so sweetly at me as I tried to find the words to say to her. But the memory of what we had witnessed, continued to haunt my mind. Outside could be heard the sound of more explosions and yet it didn't seem to matter right at the moment.
"We should get comfortable, we'll probably be here for a while." I said.
"Yeah, until we can figure out what it is that we are going to do. I should change, this outfit is about ready to fall off of me." she said jokingly.
"How did you get like that?" I asked.
"Two of those things jumped me and when I struggled to break free, they ripped my clothes. I know that I look a mess." she said giving me a nervous smile.
She did look a mess, but in a way it sort of aroused me too. The front of her blouse had been ripped open revealing the curves of one of her firm breasts and the silk black bra. Any other man would have made a comment about the way she looked, hell…even would try to make a move on her. But this wasn't the time or place for something like that. I tried not to make it obvious that I noticed her breast, but it seemed that she already knew where my glance wanted to go.
"It's alright Mark, I am not offended that you want to look at my breast. In fact I would be more offended if you didn't." she whispered as she leaned toward me.
It amazed me that she would say something like that to me. My eyes glanced down at her breast for a brief moment, even though I felt sort of uneasy about it. The only reason that I did it was because she had expected me too. Then I looked up at her again.
"I'm not a pervert. I mean you are a very attractive woman and normally I would love to be with you. But I just don't feel comfortable thinking of you this way with what is going on." I said.
She smiled at me as her hand reached up and gently touch the side of my face. For a brief second I thought that she was going to kiss me, which in a way was what I wanted. But I had to push that thought to the back of my mind, for we had to try and find a way out of this madness. She moved even closer to me, and then we heard the sound of one of those crazies screaming outside. We both looked toward the window, praying that the thing wouldn't discover that this place was here. Before I could say anything, Madison walked over to her backpack and picked up the rifle that she placed next to it. I picked up the revolver and then made my way over to the black curtain. I figured that I could peer through the side of the curtain to see where that thing was. When I did, I noticed walk by on the sidewalk, its wide crazed eyes staring in front of him. Obviously what I had thought had been true, it didn't even notice this place. But I wasn't going to take the chance that they would find out sooner or later. Then I turned back around to Madison who stood a couple feet away, staring at me. The way she looked was as if she was expecting me to tell her the worst.
"It was one of them, but it just walked passed, didn't even notice this place." I said in a soft voice.
I figured that I wouldn't talk any louder, for that thing might hear and then come back. Slowly I moved toward her, lowering the revolver to my side.
"Well, that's good. But how long do you think that we can stay here before they find us?" she asked as she made her way back over to her backpack.
She placed the rifle on the bar, opened the backpack and then pulled out some clean clothes. It amazed me that she had extra clothes with her, as if, just in case something happened. When she placed them on the bar, she turned back to me, staring at me with a smile.
"I was suppose to go out with some friends after work. So I brought a change of clothes so I could change into them after I got off work." she said giggling "I live in the suburbs and with rush hour traffic it would have taken forever to get home and back downtown."
"Well, I guess that this worked out for your advantage. Or else you would have been forced to wear those ripped clothes longer." I said.
"Yeah, that would be uncomfortable for me." she said, then hesitated for a moment. "Do you embarrass easily?"
"No, why do you ask?" I said.
"Good, then you won't be to embarrassed when I do this." she said as she started to take off her tattered clothes.
I just stood there watching, wanting to turn away, yet my eyes couldn't take my eyes off of her. The sultry curves of her body, she seemed perfect. And I couldn't help it, because after all I was human. I tried to think about something to say to her, to get my mind off of the yearning that was festering inside of me.
"So, what do you think our best bet would be?" she said as she stood there in her matching bra and panties.
"Well, I think that we should try and get out of the city at night. Since these things don't attack someone unless they see them, we probably would have a better chance avoiding them at night. We could hide in the shadows so they could not see us." I said.
"But where will we go?" she asked, her eyes staring at me with such seriousness.
"Anywhere. We have to see if what is happening here, is happening everywhere else. The one thing that I know is that we can't stay in the city. It is to dangerous with all those things walking around." I said as my voice became uneasy.
She giggled slightly as her arms crossed over her chest. "Why don't you make us a drink. You look like you could use one. Relax. You look like you never seen a woman in her underwear before."
In a way she was right, it had been a long time since I had seen a woman dressed like that. Ever since my ex-wife had left me a year ago, before she had filed for divorce. I went behind the bar and looked for a bottle of brandy. Or anything stronger.
"Say, there should be a bottle of wine in the small fridge underneath the counter. The real good stuff, that's unless they had changed things around." she said as she leaned over to me.
When she did, she gave me a clear view of the cleavage of her bra, tempting me even more. In a way I thought that she was doing on purpose. Just to make me smile and probably to make me forget about the troubles that was outside. I found the small refrigerator underneath the counter, and found a bottle of expensive wine. On a shelf next to it sat two rows of wine glasses. I picked up two of them with my right hand and then my body slowly became erect. When I did, I saw Madison standing there, now wearing a pair of tight denim jeans and a black blouse. She leaned against the counter with a playful smile on her lips.
"I'm sorry, did you want to watch me get dressed?" she said jokingly.
"Why are you doing this to me?" I asked.
"It's just a joke. I figured that it would help you forget about everything that is going on out there. You mean to tell me, that you didn't like what you saw?" she said.
"Of course I did, I just didn't know any woman who was so forward like that." I said.
"Well, we are the only ones here and anyway, it helped you forget about what is out there, didn't it?" she said.
"It sure did." I replied.
"Well, just don't stand there Mark, pour the wine." she said smiling.
Within a couple hours the darkness came, and we had decided to go west as soon as we could. Following the nearest expressway for as far as we could. Luckily the nearest expressway was only about a mile away from where we were. Madison had found food in the kitchen and stuffed as much of it as she could. Sandwiches, chips bottles of water and soda and anything else she could fit in there. The one thing that impressed me was how she was able to be so resourceful. She also found another gun, an automatic that the owner kept in the office with six clips of ammunition. Madison told me that the owner had been always afraid of being robbed, that was why he kept it. I really didn't care the reason behind it, because it just meant that we had an extra weapon incase something happened. When we got outside, the streetlights were out, in fact all the lights were out. It was as if there was a blackout in the entire city. That was except for the club that we had been in. The one other thing that I noticed was that we hadn't run into not even one of those things all the way to the expressway. It was as if they had vanished, something that we had just imagined. Yet the one thing that told me it wasn't a dream was the burning ember of the city. The explosions had started a fire that had now started to grow out of control. We got to the 290 expressway and started to walk west, unsure of what it was that waited for us. Luckily, there weren't that many cars on the expressway when we had gotten further out, close to the suburbs of the city. But in the downtown area it was nothing more than a mass of scattered wrecked vehicles and mutilated bodies, the remains of the attack from those things. When we had got a distance away from the city, I looked back. Seeing the mighty city of Chicago, burning down to the ground. As I stood there, I started to think about the Great Chicago Fire, if the people who survived it, watching it burn, felt the dread that I was feeling right now? But that was something that I couldn't think about. I hade to worry about what waited for us further down the expressway. The only thing that we could do was to wait and see. Hoping that somehow we could find some sort of answers to what had brought this about. That was if there were answers to be found.


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