Registration for spring classes was at 6 AM, and its a mad rush to see how fast you can put in course IDs and hit enter, because with all the other classes having done this already, the choices are pretty slim, and everyone wants the same 7 seats in that one class, whatever it is. Basically, the difference of 3 or 4 seconds can mean getting the class or not. So I wasn't going to risk oversleeping, as I tend to do, so I just didn't sleep at all.
Sounded like a great idea about 24 hours ago. Now that its 2 in the afternoon, I really do regret it. But on the bright side, something awesome happened at about 3:30 last night (this morning?) that gets to be recalled here.
So, Ethan and I went to the library for a change of scenery (and because my computer froze up, so no more Southpark). We went downstairs to the big 24 hour study room with a bunch of computers and whatnot, and we sat down at a few macs.
Oh, what's this? A purple flash drive? Left and abandoned? It could have a virus on it... they tell us not to pick up flash drives that we find and put them in computers because people are jerks and put viruses on them...... but its not my computer! Ah HA.
So I did... out of curiosity to see what was on it more than anything. A single file was saved on UNKNOWN, the drive, called 01.pdf (such specific names, I know)
So the next hour and a half was left to writing the following story, using the 4 sentences on the left side of the picture as a starting point. When I ran out of time, since I had to go hurry back to my room to unfreeze my computer before 6, I saved the story back onto the flash drive just under the picture, and left it there, just as it was.
One little disclaimer... please excuse any blatant errors and/or horribleness.... it WAS 4 in the morning, after all, and I was super jacked up on caffeine. So, without further ado, the impromptu story that came from a delusional mind this morning:
My father called in the middle of class on Thursday. He left a voicemail, followed by a text which read, “Kirsten’s in Hillcrest Rm 543.”
In a frenzy I ran to the bathroom to call my best friend’s mother.
Thirty minutes later, I pulled into the parking lot at Hillcrest and rushed to the fifth floor.
I had heard the stories on the news, but I never thought it would reach me or my family, much less my baby sister. I hoped to God that this wasn’t another case. It just couldn’t be. The last one on the news was in Pittsburg. I knew the symptoms… my cultures class was reading all about the cases in the Times.
I hit the 5 in the elevator repeatedly. It felt so slow. While the elevator slowly crawled up the building with 4 horrifically pleasant ‘ding’s, I silently prayed that it wasn’t this awful flu that was spreading so quickly. There haven’t been any survivors in a week of this outbreak, and the doctors and scientists are still baffled at the symptoms. They’ve never seen anything like it.
I ran down the hall as soon as the doors opened. After accidently bumping a cart and pushing past somebody in a white lab coat, I started looking up at the numbers above the door. 525… 530… 540… here. I stared at the door, then closed my hand around the knob and prayed one last, desperate prayer, then pushed the door open.
My family was already here. Dad was holding Kirsten’s hand, and everyone else, including my best friend and his mom, looked near tears. I looked down at Kirsten.
It was worse than I had imagined. It was unmistakably the very same disease that CNN was covering, that the Times was covering, the whole media was covering for the last week.
She didn’t even look like my sister. She was 9 years old, but she looked like 50. Her skin was a light gray color, her hair matted and discolored like her skin. Her eyes… oh God, it hurt to look into them… were completely lifeless; they were so vacant. There was blood behind her head on the hospital pillow. Her ear… it was bleeding. It looked like something had taken a bite out of it.
He turned and looked at me with a painful expression on his face.
“Yes, son, she’s got that flu. The doctors say she has a day or two left.”
He looked over my shoulder. The lab coat guy had hurried back into the room with something that looked like lab equipment out of a science fiction movie and attached it to Kirsten’s arm, inserting a needle into her vein. I couldn’t watch. I had to leave.
I sat in the lobby by the elevators down the hall, head down in my hands. Staring at the floor, I listened to the tv in the corner…
“…turn to Hilary Turner in Waco, Texas, where case 14 has been officially identified.”
“Thanks, Bill. Kirsten Richards, age 9, has been declared the 14th recipient of this mysterious Flu. Authorities say there is still no news as to how this Flu has traveled across the country so fast, but the symptoms are perfectly consistent in every case. Irritated, vacant eyes, discolored skin, a bite looking injury that is red and irritated, and a comatose-like demeanor, reducing the victims to moaning as their sole form of communication…”
At the word ‘victim,’ I lost it. I broke down in sobs. How could this happen to Kirsten? She’s just 9 years old. The perfect athlete, the perfect student. She’s just starting out her new season of soccer. They just got back from their first….
Oh God. They just got back a few days ago from their preseason match in Oklahoma. Who did she meet? Who had the flu? Were the other girls infected? How fast does it spread? Is it airborne?
So many questions, but no answers at all…
It was nearing 11 at night when I finally drifted off in the lobby chair, still thinking about all the unanswered questions and possibilities. When I woke the next morning, I couldn’t help but to go check on Kirsten.
It had gotten worse. The irritation around her ear had spread across her face to her cheek, and her lips and nose had started to scab. Her eyes were bloodshot. Her breathing was shallow and quick, and she was continuously moaning. It sounded painful. With tears in my eyes, I looked up at my father, who just stared back with the same pained expression as before, but with a new sense of exhaustion.
“The researchers told us about 15 minutes ago… they’ve reduced the time. She has about an hour. She..”
His words were caught in his throat as he started crying. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him cry before. It was too much to handle, I had to retreat back to the lobby.
The tv hadn’t changed.
“…and even so, astounding news has just surfaced in Virginia, where case 1 died just 2 days ago. Sources say that during the funeral of Mr. James Henderson, 43, Mr. Henderson’s body began moving and… wait, we’re getting live coverage from Lisa Chang, the reporter covering the story… Lisa?”
I perked up. That couldn’t be right. I looked at the tv, but ignored whatever that little five-foot-nothing Ms. Chang was saying. All I could focus on was the hysteria behind her. Mr. Henderson was clearly staggering around in the cemetery, trying to get a hold of the friends and family that had gathered to see him put to rest. What was once James Henderson was now limping toward the camera. In the instant before the feed was lost, the camera captured the holes in Henderson’s flesh, the dead look of his skin, and the blood red eyes.
As the feed returned to the anchors, those horrible, red eyes were stuck in my mind. They looked… hungry.
Could this be my sister next? How many people had not been found? Was Henderson really number one?
Was my sister really only case 14?
I couldn’t see my sister become that. I had to get out of there, but I couldn’t leave Dad and everyone else. I ran back into 543 and retold the news story in a squished 15 seconds.
“AndthatswhywehavetoleaveRIGHTNOW,” I finished with a gasp.
My dad stared at me with a different expression now. It was one of anger, but of astonishment and horror at the same time.
“You can’t be serious, can you? You want us to leave Kirsten here? Alone? On her deathbed? Drake, you’re welcome to leave, but I’m staying right here with your little sister.”
“Dad, you don’t understand. She won’t be Kirsten in a day. She’ll be…. Something else…”
“Drake. Don’t be ridiculous. This is your sister.”
“No, Dad, you don’t understand. We have to leave now.”
With no more words, my father dismissed my hysterics and turned back to Kirsten, taking her gray, decaying hand in his and brushing her hair with his hand. The lock of hair he rubbed came out without a fight. He stared at it for a moment before turning back to me.
“She’s only going to be with us for another half hour. Surely you can wait with me and be with her when she…. When she…” He broke off in a sob once again.
It became very apparent I wasn’t swaying anyone’s opinion here. The remaining bodies in the room silently stared at the conversation that had taken place and were decidedly staying with Kirsten. I sighed, turned, and left.
Having nowhere else to go, I went back to my apartment just off campus. My roommate left a note on the door that he was visiting a sick relative in Dallas and should be back in a day or two. I ate lunch, turned on the tv, and sat. I had to get my mind off of this. Spike TV should have done the trick, except all the stations had the same thing on. Seriously? 24/7 coverage on every channel of the Flu. There was no escaping it. Victims 2, 3, and 4 had followed Henderson. But the story had grown. The newly animated corpses were eating people. Tearing them open and eating them. Apparently some got away with only a scratch or a bite, and still others were getting away without any harm.
Edwin Thompson was interviewed about his mother, Case 3. Thompson had been bitten and was showing the cameras.
“She done got me on my arm, just here. Look, see? Took a right big chunk outta my arm. Hurts like a bitch, it does. I just dunno why she gone and done this. She and me always get in fights, but not like this… it ain’t like her.”
But I wasn’t particularly interested in Mr. Thompson’s musings on his mother. I was focused on that bite the camera was centering in on. I knew that bite. That looked just like the bite on my sister. On all the other 13 victims. He was next, I was sure of it. That’s how it spreads. It all makes sense… except one thing.
Who bit Kirsten? What… zombie? Are they zombies?... is lumbering around Oklahoma at some peewee soccer game biting 9 year old girls? Who else is out there spreading this… thing?
It’s been 3 days now. I haven’t left my apartment. My family hasn’t called. I don’t know what’s going on. The tv stations stopped working about a day ago. The last thing that they reported was an exponential growth in the victim count, and all of the first 12 victims had died and… come back. There were no more interviews. Every state in America had a few hospitalized people with bites. The scientists are all dead or running. Everyone’s given up hope of finding the cure, if there is such a thing. People are turning on each other. Fathers shooting bitten children, teens killing their bitten parents and grandparents, even schools that turned into hellholes when someone showed up bitten. Hospitals were bloodbaths.
That’s all the news could say before they were dead too. The phones don’t work. The power is still on, but I don’t know for how long.
I’ve still got running water, but the food is running thin. Had I known that America was going to be infested with zombies, I would have stocked up properly, instead of running on a barely stocked pantry like all college kids. I ate my roommate’s food; he never came back. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t trust the outdoors – I had no idea what was out there. All of Baylor could be fucking zombies by now. I needed to get next door to see if they had any food. I couldn’t last on poptarts much longer… mostly because they were almost gone.
A few more hours went by. I didn’t know how long it would take to find food, and I truly feared running out. I went to the window and snuck a quick peek out through the blinds. It seemed still. My confidence grew slightly and I decided it was safe enough to try Kassie’s apartment next door; girls always thought ahead and had food. I unlocked the door slowly, holding my breath, and glanced out the crack. Still nothing. I opened it just enough to slide out, still scanning the parking lot and the horizon to be absolutely sure I wasn’t about to become zombie food.
Nothing. I let out a sigh. I walked slowly, still alert, to Kassie’s and tried to look in through the opaque window in the door. I didn’t see anything moving, but I went ahead and knocked quietly. The only answer was a few seconds of nothing, so I knocked a little louder. It was so quiet; I could swear the knocking was as loud as a fighter jet. With still no answer, I took a deep breath and knocked even louder, nervously looking around with growing fear. With still no answer, I decided to try the door. It was open. Thank God, Kassie, for your lack of security. I walked to the kitchen and started going through the pantry. Stocked and ready. Smiling to myself, I loaded some Ramen and Easy Mac into a bag. I was starting on the refried beans when I heard a door from down the short hallway.
I froze. Step, dragggg. Step, draggggg. A leg wasn’t working. Then there was a moan that was completely inhuman. Could I make it to the door? I had to try. I pushed another 2 cans of whatever into the bag and started toward the door. She was there faster than I was. She came out of the hallway and suddenly stood between me and the door. I took a millisecond to really look at what Kassie had become. She reminded me disgustingly of Kirsten. The light gray skin, with decaying bits and pieces. Her mouth just a red, irritated hole that was continuously chewing and opening and closing. Bloodshot eyes under disgusting matted hair, barely holding on to her scalp. Her clothes were dirty… bloody from the new holes in her skin. It made me sad to the point of crying, but the fear returned in half a second.
She breathed heavily, like getting down the hall was the most difficult thing she – it? – had ever done. It stared me down, like a starving lion stares at a gazelle. I stared back like a deer in headlights.
She started at me with that awful limp. I reacted with impulse. I took a can from the bag and threw it at her. It hit her in the face, tearing off part of her forehead. She barely even noticed it, despite her white skull showing through.
So that's the story. If that wasn't quite good enough for you, I think you should read Harry Potter 7 before midnight, just to be sure you know EXACTLY what they mess up, from the scenery to the dialogue to the BASIC FUCKING PLOT. Yes, I'm going at midnight, as any Potter fan should, but I certainly don't have high hopes, based on the last movie. There's just so much that they can't do, because they don't have the background because they left it out in the first 6 movies! So much stuff they just can't do. Seriously, they can start redeeming themselves by giving Dumbledore a proper damn funeral, but they'll probably start off with some stupid action scene that wasn't even in the book.
Like burning down the Weasley's house. Again. I mean, seriously. Who's idea was that? If I were Jo, I would be absolutely insulted that the movie makers didn't think my action scenes were good enough, so much so that they had to go make up their own just to go with their stupid made up plot line. Twilight was simple. It actually WAS about stupid teenage drama and why girls need boyfriends, and the people making the movie knew that and kept the same emphasis when they made the movie. You know what I mean? The people making the Harry Potter movies have completely missed the point. They're trying to make it about teenage love and overly simplistic good vs evil, instead of the way Rowling wrote it, where Harry Potter is about friendship, courage, confronting fears, destiny, finding inner strength, and doing what is right, and so many other things. All along the way, there are an abundance of priceless, humorous moments that the movies have long since forgotten. How do you go through the series without knowing what SPEW is?
Okay, I'm done. For now. I'm sure I'll repeat this rant tomorrow, after the movie is done attempting - and failing - to be a proper representation of the first half of the final book in JK Rowling's amazing contribution to popular culture and literature.