The Chorley Chronicles

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

I'm a big fan of the zombie genre, so thought I'd have a crack at writing my own take on them.

This is the opening chapter- naturally...- contains one or two adult words.

Hope you enjoy :)

Chorley Chronicles

Day Zero

Chapter One.

I felt like death warmed up.

I blinked in the pale sunlight shining through the crack in the curtain; I hadn’t pulled them properly last night. My chest felt tight, my throat raw. My lungs still felt like they were on fire. I raised myself up on one elbow, reaching for the bottle of water on the bedside cabinet, taking a long pull at the lukewarm liquid.

I scratched myself, like all men do first thing. My head was turning over yesterday’s events. It had started at work; I remember the warehouse was hot, hotter than usual, the temperature outside pushing the mid seventies. The stock take had been going on for an hour or so, and I’d already had a small attack. The dust was the worst of it- that and the oppressive heat. I didn’t often get asthma attacks, but when I got one…

I’d taken five minutes out, had some water, went outside and breathed in the hot, dry air. I felt a little better, but not much. Back inside to finish the job, sooner it was done the sooner I could knock off, this was overtime but I’d rather be up on the Pike than here earning. I was supposed to meet Jase and a couple of his mates- extreme sports fanatics from Australia. Jase had got hold of a paraglider and had promised me a lesson. If it involved throwing yourself off somewhere high and risking death, then Jase was up for it. I just hoped I’d be feeling up to it.

One of the warehouse guys had pulled a box off the top of one of the tall racking units, sending a shower of year-old dust into the already cloying air. I took a face full of it. That set me off.

I sat on a stack of boxes, hacking and desperately trying to catch my breath. I pulled my inhaler from my pocket and took a hit. My breathing eased a little. I sat upright, trying to open my airway, and took another suck from the inhaler. Chris stood over me, not knowing what to do, just patting me on the shoulder saying, “There, there…” I leaned forward again, my eyes swimming in a fug of dust and light, my brain thick and heavy, my lungs feeling ready to leap out of my throat and slither away across the warehouse floor. I became aware of a pair of feet in my field of vision.

“What’s going on here? Get this stock taking done before you have a break. You can piss about on your own time”. Owen Jones, the warehouse manager, all heart as usual. His view on illness was ‘if it hasn’t killed you, it can’t be that serious’.

“Danny’s had an asthma attack”, Chris told him, “He needs to go home”.

I started to say I was all right but it came out as a wheezy cough.

“He looks alright to me,” said Jones, “Come on; we all want to get home, so get cracking…”

“No” Chris was a defiant little fire-cracker when she got riled. “Danny’s going home and I’ll drive him there, if you are too ignorant to see he needs help….”

Jones studied the situation, took in Chris’s look of anger, and decided not to push the issue. “Ok, ten minutes, then I want you back here to finish. Ok?”

Chris hadn’t bothered to acknowledge him; she’d just helped me to my feet and took me to her car. I sat there with the door open while she got my keys and phone from my locker. Her car reeked of ciggies, she had half a dozen of those traffic light air fresheners hanging on the rear view mirror to combat the stale smell of tobacco- all it did was make me feel worse. I took another puff from the inhaler, the steroids kicking in and soothing my lungs somewhat.

Chris slammed her door shut and turned to look at me. Her normally spiky hair was stuck down from perspiration; her usually elfin looks took on a more sinister appearance. “Fuckin’ Welsh twat”. That pretty much summed up most people’s opinions of Jones. I smiled at her.

“Thanks for this, Christine”. She hated it when people feminised her. She was honestly the most attractive female I’d ever met, yet went out of her way to be as unattractive as possible. She scowled at me. “You owe me for this, big time”. She turned on the ignition, the sound system erupting into life, some dubstep crap that she liked to listen to. I put my hands to my ears and she scowled again and punched the power button off. “Big fuckin’ time…” she said as she slammed the car into gear.

She’d got me home in one piece, just about. How she kept her licence was beyond everyone- the streest of Chorley would be better off with her banned.. She drove like a White Van Man at a White Van Man convention, paying no regard to anyone else on the road. She’d stuck a cigarette in her mouth at one point, then turned to scowl at me, narrowly missing some old dear on a zebra crossing, before ripping it from her lips and tossing it on the dashboard. I smiled my thanks to her. We pulled up outside the house, the handbrake pulled up before we’d actually come to a complete stop, sending me forward and almost colliding with the windscreen.

“You be ok getting in?” She said it like ‘make sure you can get in cos I’m not offering to help you’. She was all heart, that girl.

“Yep” I said, deciding that to push it would be a bad idea. “Thanks again. See you tomorrow?”

She gave me a one finger salute as she screeched off down the road, taking the corner at 35 miles per hour, the tyres howling in protest. I opened the gate and went inside. My landlord, Mark, was in the kitchen, eating a bowl of Frosties.

“You look like shit”

“I feel like it. Had an asthma attack. I’m going to lie down for a while”

“If you’re up for it later, I’ll be going down the ‘Engine’ for a few?”

The ‘Traction Engine’, our local pub, was at the end of the road. Right now I wasn’t sure I could make it up the stairs.

“Maybe…. I’ll see how I feel, ok?”

“That girl you like’ll be there… the one with the tits”

“You’ll have to narrow it down a bit, Mark- most of the girls I like have tits…” I turned and walked up the stairs, leaving him to his cereal. I sent Jase a text, telling him I’d not be making it up the Pike and to try not to kill himself or anyone else. He texted back ‘No worries’. He didn’t waste words.

I fell asleep almost straight away, when I woke up it was getting dark. I could see the Pike from my bedroom window, the sun setting behind it. The sky had an unusual quality to it, almost like a mist hanging over the horizon, making its way inland. My chest still felt tight. After getting up for a wee, I decided that I’d give the pub and the girl with the tits a miss, took another puff on my inhaler, and fell asleep again.

So, here I was, awake the next morning. I reached over and picked up my phone, several messages, a few from Mark as he got progressively drunker. He wrote some crap when he’d had a few. I ignored the rest of them. I got out of bed and pulled back the curtains, looking out over the street below and the Pike in the background. This place might be a shithole, I reasoned, but the view was great.

I stood for several minutes, drinking it all in, then got a nagging feeling in the back of my mind. Somehow it seemed… odd. Something was wrong, different. I couldn’t place my finger on it. I looked at the clock, just after eight. I went to the bathroom and showered and cleaned my teeth, then back in the bedroom to dress. I was drawn back to the window. What was it? I looked up the road, then back down. Then it struck me. There was no-one about. Apart from two men in short sleeved shirts and ties walking slowly up the path a few doors down, there was no-one about. Sunday morning was always a bit quiet down here, but there was always a car on the road, or people moving about. What time did people go to church around here? I stood and listened. Silence. I couldn’t even here Mark snoring off his skinful from last night. Maybe he’d got lucky- no, that never happened. Maybe he’d had an accident. I checked my phone again, scrolling through the messages. Just his usual crap, the girls were asking after me, Emma looked hot and he was gonna hit on her, they’d all gone outside to look at the moon cos it had gone green. Had he been on the absinthe? Green moon…. The guy was an idiot.

I turned on the radio and I sorted out my washing, only to be met by a hiss of static. I pushed the search button on the DAB radio and listened as it scrolled through, each channel it finding reporting the same white noise. I checked the aerial, moving it from one side to the other, but no joy. I picked up my phone and selected the local news website. No connection. This was odd.

I wandered down the stairs and picked up the remote for the tv, pressing the power button. The BBC news channel popped up on screen. The newsreader looked serious, I stood watching for several seconds before realising the mute button had been pressed. The bottom of the screen held a scrolling red bar with black writing. “….urged to stay indoors. Reports from as far away as Formby, Redcar and Truro, all confirming infection. Loss of communications in affected areas. Local police not responding in most areas. Reports of strange green gas over infected areas. Residents in affected areas are urged to stay indoors. Reports from as far away….”

Behind the newsreader a video clip was playing, a long range shot of people walking aimlessly. People nearer the camera wore biohazard suits- some carrying weapons. The camera zoomed in towards the figures in the distance, showing them in greater detail. Close up, they looked pale, their eyes looked… dead. They appeared less aimless, almost like they were crowding towards the men in suits. They looked like…. zombies!!!

I looked incredulously at the screen. I hit the mute button and the newsreaders voice filled the room.

“… from our scientific editor, Colin Hawkes”

“Thank you, Hugh. There is no word on the contents of the green cloud, tests are being carried out on several victims but it’s too early to speculate on the cause of the gas cloud. It appeared to originate from an offshore drilling platform in the Irish Sea, though we have been unable to contact anyone on the rig or at the company’s headquarters in Bristol. The Army have been drafted in were possible to contain the infection, which appears to have infected almost everyone from as far north as Blackpool, and as far south as Cornwall. Experts are saying the infected have suffered some brain damage, and are experiencing almost a living coma. There are reports of infected people attacking each other, though we can’t confirm these as we are excluded from these areas. The cloud has spread across the width of the country and is dissipating over the North Sea. Back to the studio.”

That meant most of the country was infected, including… here? Then how come I was ok? I looked in the mirror, checking my face for signs of… what? Death?? I looked tired, and a bit pale, but that was just the effects of the asthma attack, surely? What the hell was going on?

I turned back to the tv, sat on the sofa, not believing what I was seeing. The huddled crowds behind the group of Army personnel seemed to be turning their attention to them,shuffling towards them en masse.

Just then, the doorbell rang.


Submitted: February 15, 2013

© Copyright 2021 sanchez88. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Cheekyz

.o0(ohhhh the plot thickens, Love it!)

Fri, February 15th, 2013 9:56pm

Desilu

Not my genre,but your writing is as good as ever.
Your use of words is precise and faultless.
Dee.

Sat, February 16th, 2013 2:58pm

Author
Reply

Thanks, Dee, a bit of a departure for me :) Appreciate your comments.

Sat, February 16th, 2013 9:13am

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