Viral Exposure: The Apocalypse

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
On the first day the virus was found. On the second, thousands were infected. On the third, thousands died. On the fourth, it mutated. On the fifth, it created a creature beyond imagination. On the sixth, thousands had become these creatures. On the seventh, the earth fell.

Submitted: April 28, 2014

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Submitted: April 28, 2014

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This is a short story that I based off a novel idea that I want to make. This is a teaser, I suppose, to see if the idea is good enough. This is a story that would come from the middle part of the narrative. 

 

The birds chirping could be heard far from their origin. Wild-life grazed with content at the grass that grew in the tranquil place. No body traversed this path anymore, now a forest of weeds and plants. It belonged now to the creatures of the forest. A once unheard wind could now deafen. This place had been a gas station long ago, but time had taken its toll, nature breaking through every crack and crevice. Rusted cars creaked and fell apart at the slightest breeze, remnants of those who lived and died. It was a sobering reminder that those who lived on earth did not own it. They were nothing more than renters, and when the time came, nature reclaimed its property.

Footsteps broke the ephemeral silence, thundering in the noiseless expanse. Two figures edged their way closer to the outpost, keeping a constant check on their surroundings. The dull crunching of their boots against the gravel sounded sharp in the silence. The two figures, both men, approached the gas station as if in fearful expectation. They checked and re-checked every inch around them, paranoid of the expanse. The two were afraid that someone, or something, might be waiting for them in the calmness.

One man carried an automatic rifle in his hands; the other, a small pistol which shook gently. The hands of the first were accustomed to weapons, while the hands of the second a newborn.

The veteran, who was known as Rick Ashton, was an elite marine who served in hundreds of military operations. Holding a weapon was as natural as relieving his bowels. Rick was proud of his body and kept it in shape because, in his line of work, it could easily mean the difference between life and death.

The newborn, however, was only a simple University student named Dexter Grant. Holding such a weapon terrified Dexter. He was the brainy type. Dexter excelled at school work, puzzles, and games that required thought and strategy. When it came to sports or other action type activities, he was beyond useless, and often times he relied on others. This was one of the reasons that Dexter relied on Rick, a man who had experienced terrors Dexter could only begin to imagine. Unlike Rick, Dexter was not one to keep his body in shape, a fact that had almost cost them their lives. Since the beginning of the apocalypse, running had become the profession of the two.

Rick tapped Dexter’s shoulder and motioned to enter the building. Dexter responded in kind, and the two made their approach towards the decrepit building. It was obvious he gas station had experienced a tragedy at some point. The pumps were a charred mess, as was the surrounding landscape. An explosion was the most probable cause. The windows of the station had been smashed into little shards and now covered the ground where the two walked; a slight crick-crunch sounding every step. The sides of the building were the colour of tar, and as brittle as glass. The building looked more like a charcoal briquette than it did a gas station.

Rick stopped at the door and motioned once again to Dexter. Drawing a heavy breath and readying himself, Dexter plunged himself into the darkness, every step carrying his reluctance. The first thing that caught his attention upon entering was the unbearable smell. It was a sour mix of food, feces, and some other smell Dexter couldn’t identify. Every breath brought the pungent stench deep into his nose and made him almost suffocate. It made him want to leave, but he knew all too well how low their supplies were. They didn’t know the next place they could get supplies, so he had to struggle through the smell.

His weapon, now tight in his grip, shook with vicious fervour. Every little sound made Dexter jump, causing his breathing to become ragged and hurried, and causing fear to exude from every pore. The darkness encircled the store and Dexter could barely see. More than once he almost had a heart attack as he tripped over an old magazine stand or a fallen shelf. Every step stuck Dexter’s feet to the ground, creating some frustration and annoyance, but it was drowned out by his fear. Spilled pop wasn’t life threatening.

After circling the darkness of the store, and putting his weapon away, he gave a sigh of relief. They were alone.

“All clear,” he called out to Rick. “There isn’t anything in here.”

“Right, then,” Rick responded, relief in his voice. “Get the shit and get out. We don’t know who the hell else is out here.”

With relaxing nerves, Dexter began to pack supplies into his bag. The store had been visited before, evident from the almost barren shelves. Before the apocalypse, Dexter would have never imagined he would scavenge stale food from a destroyed store. He would not have eaten food a day older than its expiration. But that was before Dexter had changed. Now, he would eat anything just to survive. Food was food, no matter how old.

Although the selection was scarce, he managed to pack chips, pop, water, medicine, and other necessary provisions into the bag. He played the chorus of tin cans and bags, each new addition sounding their unique melody.

“Bloody hell man,” Rick cursed at Dexter. “You trying to tell the world we’re here?”

Grunting like a pig in heat and turning his face the colour of tomatoes, Dexter managed to heft the bag over his shoulder.

“Easy for – huff – you to say,” Dexter responded between breaths. “You shouldn’t send the fat kid to do the heavy lifting.” Muted laughter could be heard from Rick. Despite such a tense situation, laughing came easily to him, even with the possibility that at any second both of them could be killed, leaving nothing but a pool of blood to mark their lives.

“Just get your ass out here,” Rick said through his laughter. Dexter agreed and continued to make his way toward the exit. His foot connected with something, and Dexter fell hard with a painful grimace on his face. The impact caused some of the bag’s contents to spill on the floor, resulting in a stream of curses flowing from his mouth.

“You good?” Rick asked with mild concern.

“Yea, I’m fine. I just hit a-“the words were taken from Dexter as his eyes caught a terrifying sight.

By now his eyes started to adjust to the darkness and he could make out details he hadn’t before. The store was a complete mess, and it was obvious that a confrontation had occurred here. Shelves and magazine racks were knocked down, and their contents strewn across the floor. The counter had been completely dismantled and turned into nothing more than a few pieces of broken wood. It was hard to believe that this used to be a store at all. But that wasn’t what caught his eyes. What he believed to be magazine racks he tripped over was a much more gruesome reality. Everything fell into place in his mind. The stickiness, the horrid smell, and all the things he tripped over: they weren’t shelves or magazine racks.  What lay before him were human cadavers, ripped open and missing several body parts. Many littered the floor, each holding a pair lifeless, staring eyes. The stickiness was their old, decomposing and horrid blood. But even those were not what caught his eye. What he saw made his blood run cold in an instant. Now blocking his exit was a hulking mass of decaying and bloodied flesh, along with an over muscled body and disproportionate limbs. Standing in front of him was a zombie, and a hungry one at that.

“What? Did you see a ghost?” Rick laughed again. Dexter’s pain brought Rick’s enjoyment.

“R-Rick,” Dexter said through his fear. “We’re not alone.”

This time there was no curse or tell-tale laughter, but Dexter knew the message had reached Rick. It was their contingency plan if something ever went wrong.

If shit goes down, and it will, tell me immediately, Rick had once told Dexter. Don’t do a thing. Don’t make a sound. Just get your ass out of there as quickly and quietly as you can.

It was good advice, Dexter thought. Who would want to spend a second longer with such a hideous, deformed creature that, with one flick of its wrist, could decapitate an elephant? With the utmost care, and over a period that felt like a millennium, Dexter gathered up the items and slowly made his way to the exit, watching the creature the whole time. It seemed that the creature had deformed senses, because it could not recognize Dexter by sight or smell. Usually, a zombie could smell a human miles before they were even close. It was once said that humans were the most pungent smelling of all creatures on earth, and that animals could hunt them down by their smell alone.

This zombie was probably close to its death, barely able to even stand. This was a good sign for Dexter: it would make his escape much easier. Adrenaline flooded his body, his heart pounding with vigour. Every step closer to the exit brought him closer to the creature. Even when he was close enough to feel the creature’s hot and nauseating breath, it remained unmoving. After what felt like an eternity to Dexter, he managed to walk past the creature. The feeling of relief that came he received was tremendous. It made him believe that he would be fine, and that everything would work out well. He believed himself to be safe, and resumed a regular pace. And then everything came crashing down on him. Before Dexter rested a simple can. All it took was a small misstep, and the can rattled down the store, catching the creature’s attention. Although the creature could not smell or see, it could still hear well enough. Dexter’s earlier crashing and banging had awoken the creature. This time, his antics had given the creature a target.

The zombie shrieked, a sound worse than nails on chalk board, and lunged at Dexter. He reached for his fire arm a fraction of a second too slow as the creature swept its arms at Dexter, striking his chest and knocking him into a wall opposite the exit. The force of the impact disarmed Dexter and forced the air from his lungs. Dexter, in obvious pain, slumped against the wall, all energy leaving his body. He felt excruciating pain in his chest and back, and the characteristic nausea that accompanies broken bones. If he had not been wearing the bag, he wouldn’t have been alive. The gun, his only salvation, laid less than a meter away from him, but it didn’t matter. Dexter could barely move. The creature bellowed again and charged at its meal, baring its gruesome teeth in preparation. Dexter tried to stand up and evade the attack, but he had no energy. Even fear and adrenaline couldn’t drive him into action. There was nothing he could do. Realizing this could be his death, he yelled with his last breath,

“Rick!!!!” 

 


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