Monthly Archives: October 2014
I’ve never been a fan of haunted houses or horror movies. Having someone, or something, suddenly jump out and scare the crap out of me is not my idea of a good time. I know that there are many people who like the sudden rush of adrenaline, the hammering of their heart in their chest, and cold sweat induced by the fear that these activities bring about, but I just don’t get it. Perhaps it’s the fact that they know in the back of their minds that they aren’t in any true danger that allows them to find enjoyment in these sensations. I just don’t like being scared.
Unfortunately, necessity required that I walk into a building that I was unfamiliar with and knew contained an unknown number of zombies that would like nothing better than to eat me alive. Having both Bert and Beth with me did not ease any of the tension that I was feeling. I suppose that I didn’t really have to go into the hospital. I was perfectly content not knowing what made the virus tick. I didn’t need any of the items on Beth’s shopping list, nor did I need any of the materials to set up her isolation rooms. If Beth was right about what the virus is doing to me, then I most likely would never need any of the drugs she suggested we should look for either.
But if I’m going to have other people living in my building, and we’re going to work together for our mutual survival, then there are going to be times when I’m going to have to do things that I don’t particularly want to do. So I walked into that hospital with Bert and Beth. Bert hadn’t wanted Beth to come with us, but she knew her way around and it would save us a great deal of stumbling about in the dark looking for exactly what she wanted. The buildings on the hospital campus were all connected, though the ones separated by streets were only connected by walkways over the streets. We entered the hospital building that Beth said was primarily laboratory and research spaces.
We were a rather pathetic looking assault force: me with tomahawks in both hands and a gun hanging on my hip, Beth behind me with a pistol, and Bert bringing up the rear with a shotgun. We all wore LED lamps strapped to our heads to keep our hands free, and they did a good job of illuminating the hallway ahead of me. The building was quiet, and the halls were empty on the first floor. I kept expecting a zombie to jump out at me from one of the doorways, or at least smack a window as I passed a door, but it didn’t happen; which just made it worse the longer I went waiting for it to happen. Beth gave me directions, whispering behind me, and we made it to a stairwell.
I noted that there was a keycard reader next to the door, and I was really hoping the door wouldn’t open when I gave the handle a tug. But I guess that they wanted people to be able to get out in an emergency should the power go out and the door opened easily. The stairwell went all the way to the top of the building, and down two sub levels, and I listened carefully as the door clicked shut behind us. I attempted to peer up between the handrails, but my light only illuminated about three floors and didn’t really show me anything. But I continued to stare up into the darkness, straining my eyes and my ears in an effort to make certain we were alone in the stairwell.
Then Beth tapped me on the shoulder. I yelped loudly and am relatively certain my heart leaped hard enough to do actual physical damage inside my chest. I’m not sure if the virus kept me from passing out, but I suspect that without it, Beth would have had to put her medical skills to use to revive me.
“Jesus fucking Christ, Beth!” I hissed loudly. “You can not just sneak up on someone like that in a dark fucking stairwell that could be full of zombies!”
“Oh relax and grow a pair,” she responded, and actually had the nerve to sound annoyed at me. “You knew I was behind you. We only have to go up to the second floor. There is a lab there that should have all the equipment I need.”
I was about to snap at her again, but Bert caught my eye and just shook his head. I’m not sure if Beth could read the anger in my face. I suspect she is one of those doctors that are completely oblivious to other peoples’ feelings, having learned to tune them out in order to more easily deal with patients that could potentially die at any moment. So I inhaled deeply, released as much of the anger as I could, and then made my way to the next floor. After peering through the narrow window of the door and not seeing anything, I slowly pushed it open and stepped into the hall. Beth brushed past me, saw no obvious zombies, and took the lead.
When Bert saw the irritation in my eyes, he said softly, “You’ll get used to it.”
“Sure. You only needed 60 years.”
Bert snorted lightly, “That sounds about right.”
We followed after Beth, but didn’t catch up to her before she yanked open a door. Neither one of us could stop her as she raised her pistol and fired it into the lab. We found a zombie in a lab coat slumped over against a work table sporting a bullet hole in it’s head. Seemingly unfazed, Beth moved around the lab taking inventory.
“Damn it, Beth. BJ could have taken care of that one quietly. Do you want to bring every zombie in the building down on us?”
Ignoring her brother’s ire, Beth just said, “You two can start with that electron microscope.”
Bert just sighed at my raised eyebrows and made his way over to the microscope Beth had indicated. Though they don’t take up entire rooms anymore, the three-foot-tall device wasn’t easy to move. In the end, we had to tie a rope around it and lowered it down an elevator shaft to the first floor. After about two hours of work, and dispatching half a dozen zombies that Beth’s gunshot eventually attracted, we got all the research equipment Beth wanted loaded into the truck we were using. Before leaving, we located most of the isolation supplies we would need in order to save time when we came back for it. And so we could leave Beth behind.
While Bert and I unloaded the equipment in the front of our building, Beth kept the zombies occupied in the alley behind the building with the R/C truck and monkey. It was a long day, and hopefully it will be worth it.
I left this blog unattended for much longer than I had planned. But I have finished, and published, my second novel in The Immortal Virus series, and will now continue Barnett Jane’s story. I have some more ideas for this blog that involve The Immortal Virus universe, but for the time being, BJ needs to get off his ass and back into survival mode. I apologize for the extended break.
Scott A. Mehlman