Before I begin this new story I would like to offer a big dedication to my blog friend, Kira Scribbled. This is an alternative to her story ‘Just Another Apocalypse Diary’. While both stories will be told in different ways and in entirely different locations, Kira has graciously allowed me to use her model. In essence, mine runs alongside hers. Massive thanks to Kira for agreeing to run with this idea and I hope to see both our stories evolve in unique, but no less thrilling ways. Please give ‘Just Another Apocalypse Diary’ a read (both Day 1 and Day 2) and be sure to keep up with both stories. Keep an eye out for shared references and details!
The TV was loud; much louder than Ryan Lloyd really needed it to be anyway given as he wasn’t sat four feet away from the screen. He’d rung in sick for the third day on the bounce. He wasn’t sick; he just didn’t want to go into work.
Every channel presented yet more crap as he flicked the buttons of the remote, but he eventually landed on a morning magazine programme and was intrigued by the headline showing on the screen that read NEW BLACK PLAGUE THREAT. He put the remote control down and listened to the silky voice of the male presenter.
“Rumours of an artificially mutated Black Plague virus are rife at the moment after video messages from terrorist sleeper cells were leaked explaining their new weapon that could potentially trigger biological warfare. The strain has undergone extensive tests at CERN in Switzerland and here to explain more about this virus is Doctor Thorgen Schaffer; a specialist in viral strains. Dr Schaffer, what can you tell us about this New Black Plague?”
“Well, Simon,” Schaffer began with a thick overcoat of an accent; presumably German, “the New Black Plague has been intensely studied and the results are worrying. The original Black Plague strain wiped out somewhere between a third and half of the population of Europe in the 14th century. Fleas living on the back of black rats were the believed carriers of the strain back then, but this new strain is not transmitted in the same way. As yet, we have been unable to discover how the pathogen transmits, but we do know how it affects its host”.
“And how might that be, Dr Schaffer,” asked Simon.
“The infected show no signs of symptoms for anything up to a month, but the effects are rapid and brutal when the symptoms finally do show. An extreme fever is accompanied by large and painful buboes appearing in great number all over the body of the host. Some grow so big that they burst. The flesh effectively rots before the virus finally reaches the heart and brain, shutting down all essential systems. Death occurred within twenty-four hours of the symptoms showing in all subjects”
Simon shifted uneasily in his chair; his fake smile suddenly becoming difficult to maintain. Ryan chuckled at the presenter’s sudden lack of élan.
“Mm-hmm,” Simon replied quietly. “And is the information factual regarding this virus being created artificially by terrorist groups?”
“The information is very factual. Make no mistake, Simon; the Black Plague strain was mutated under laboratory conditions. We have seen the makeup of the virus and this is no genetic accident. It has elements of the Kuru strain; native to Papua New Guinea. This has been manufactured; of that there is no doubt”.
“And the fear that this virus is out there is genuine?”
“It is no fear and it is very genuine. Three test subjects escaped the compound in CERN and we have been unable to locate them since. This was but two weeks ago. Believe me when I say that death is not the final stage of this virus”.
“How do you mean,” asked Simon; leaning forward.
“This will sound far-fetched, but I assure you it is the truth. After a given length of time; we assume after every blood cell in the body has been consumed by the virus; the corpse of the infected reanimates and their decomposing remains are overcome with a vicious bloodlust”.
Ryan burst into a fit of laughter. So much so that he fell off the couch, clutching his belly. He’d never heard anything so ridiculous in his entire life. He missed what was said next as he attempted vainly to calm himself.
“This German bastard is off his trolley,” Ryan said; still laughing, but soon calmed down to listen to what else was being said.
“…know that a bite from the reanimated corpse infects the person bitten. Their decline is much more rapid and severe than those infected in other ways. They suffer the effects of the virus and die within thirty-six hours; returning as a reanimated corpse also. Believe me when I say that this virus could very well threaten the entire human race”.
“Oh shut up,” Ryan said derisively at the TV.
“Are you close to finding a cure,” Simon asked seriously.
Dr Schaffer paused for several seconds; a nervous expression etched onto his grey bearded face. He scratched the side of his head; causing his glasses to flick up and down on the bridge of his nose before looking back at Simon.
“We are doing all that we can. I can offer no more assurance than that at this stage”.
“Is there any advice at all you can offer the people of Britain to safeguard themselves against the threat of this virus?”
“Stay indoors as much as possible,” Dr Schaffer said seriously; looking into the camera. “We have no way of knowing how far the virus has spread and to how many. The best chance anybody has is by minimising contact with the general public”.
“Get off,” Ryan said before switching the TV off. “What a load of fucking bollocks!”
He stood up from the couch and rubbed his short shaven coffee brown hair before approaching the lounge window and looking outside. The early springtime sun looked inviting with hardly a cloud present in the sky. In that moment, Ryan shelved his idea to stay in all day and went to his bedroom to get ready. He stripped out of his t-shirt and jogging bottoms before admiring himself in the mirror for a moment. He stood to his full six feet and one inch looking his naked form over.
“She misses you, Lloyd. She knows she misses you”.
Ryan had been finished by his girlfriend of two years just a few weeks ago after she found out he’d cheated on her. The one encounter she knew about!
The twenty-seven year old man was deeply good-looking with warm hazel eyes and a naturally disarming smile. He was in good physical shape. His light brown torso and chest were adorned in tattoos, as were his muscular arms. Ryan was mixed race; his maternal grandfather a Bahamian; and that gave him a tanned appearance. Physically, he was quite blessed in all departments, but the by-product of that was he was very narcissistic.
“You’ve gotta get to the gym, Lloydy. Get those abs back to their former glory and she’ll be back around here with those knickers down in a flash!”
Ryan laughed to himself. One last look over in the mirror with a laddish grab of his manhood and a pout before he finally got himself ready to leave the house. He was dressed in minutes and headed back downstairs into the lounge. Again, he stood at the window. A neighbour who’d just arrived home noticed him and gave a friendly wave. Ryan waved half-heartedly back.
Dr Schaffer’s interview came back into his head and he smiled with amusement. The fact that the man had basically told a zombie tale amused him greatly. How stupid did he think people were? And yet, he briefly imagined looking out of the window to see hordes of decaying undead looking to feed off those people still living. He shook the image out of his head as quickly as it had gone in, smiled again and shook his head.
“Crazy German bastard!”
Ryan walked away from the window and to the front door of his house, slamming it shut after he walked through.
TO BE CONTINUED