Chapter 1 – The First 6 Hours, Part VI

To put things in perspective:

Zeke 1 had arrived at the Georgetown University Emergency hospital at 9:45 PM.  By 10:05 Detective Wes Harrison had ventilated the first Zeke in the western hemisphere.  At the same time, Zeke 2 had risen in the ER ward and bitten a nurse.  Oh screw it, all hell broke loose just then and there…

It was now 11:00 PM just 1 hour into The Great Panic and its name was making sense already.  The hospital was burning on at least 3 floors. 15 Metro Cops went inside the building, along with a dozen firefighters.  The parking lot was a parade of emergency vehicles.  Zekes were swarming most of the floors, penetrating the stairwells and cutting off all exits even though they sought to break out of the building and onto the university campus.  The Zekes’ lack of cognition was the only thing preventing a swarm of over 100 from pushing through the egresses available to them.

Several Zekes had left the building though.  One spectacularly went through a 3rd floor window while tackling a doctor.  The bite was in-flight and the Zeke and his victim, along with an immediate bystander made 3 loose in the parking lot.  This scattered all the faint hearted about 10 minutes ago.  Where did those 3 Zekes go?  Everywhere!  It was later calculated that a simple equation could predict the spread of the infection and coined the “doubling rate”, the amount of time it would take the the number of Zekes to double.

If a single Zeke entered a location with any number of people, the doubling rate was based on the standard and predictable behavior patterns of human beings in a crisis.  First, the Zeke would surprise everyone equally.  Regardless of what information the humans had, the appearance of the Zeke would shock everyone.  There were two ways this happened.  One, if no one knew anything, perhaps if the gathering was at a restaurant and a Zeke crashed through the front door or plate glass window, 90% of the witnesses would freeze and do nothing for a few seconds.  That was all the Zeke needed to bite the nearest person.  Two, if everyone knew about the Zekes coming to get them, the mere appearance of the Zeke would still freeze enough people for victim 1 to be infected.  So the outcome is the same.

Next thing that happens is interesting.  Once the first person is infected, and the shock wears off, about 50% of the people will panic and tend to run in the opposite direction of the zombie.  This would cause an immediate reduction in the opportunity to escape in an organized fashion.  The rest of the witnesses would break down as follows: 25% would flee in a different direction, reacting to the other half who barred their own exits, 10% would stare in paralysis and be unable to cognitively assess the situation, another 10% would go into hero mode and attempt a variety of approaches to mitigate the event, and the rest would be somehow related to the first victim.

So let’s do the math as we scale up the epidemic:

A Zeke enters a room with 5 humans.

The Zeke has a 100% chance to bite the first person.

That leaves 4 witnesses, 2 will flee successfully – for the time being, from this location

1 will be related to the first victim and stay to see what happens to their friend or loved one

While 1 will stay and try and mitigate the situation.

The 2 that did not run will most likely get bitten since the Zeke can bite and reload within seconds, and the first victim will be turned in just a few minutes.  Either way, a room of 5 turns into 2-3 Zekes pretty fast.

This scenario was happening all over the hospital for 1 hour now.  Three Zekes had doubled every few minutes now into its 6th order.  Making nearly 200 Zekes and over 50% of the entire hospital population.  Additionally, our 3 loose parking lot Zekes were now off into the campus residential area and had been biting students for 10 minutes, doubling twice already.  At this point, the first responders were only starting to get their story straight and understand the gravity of this event.  The communication channels were filled with unverified and unintelligible chatter.  No one had a definitive order on what to do.  “Fall back and form a perimeter, 4 blocks from here in all directions.”  Captain John Mercer barked into the radio in his squad car.  “Form a quarantine line.  Get CDC and all other agencies on the line immediately,” Mercer started rattling off, “Get the National Guard, get the fucking FBI and the fucking Army on the line.  We have lost control here, we do not know what we are dealing with!”

As he released the transceiver button the lobby of the hospital filled with Zekes, he could see them through the glass facade.  It was a swarm of about 25.  More than his total unit in the parking lot.  “Pull back now!  MakeStreet Wisconsin and Reservoir the staging area.  Stop all traffic entering this area.” He shouted back into the radio while his voice carried to the 4 officers near the emergency room carport overhang.   Then it happened, the Zekes pushed through the swinging doors and hit the night air.  The 4 front line cops screamed for them to stop and drew their sidearms.  They fired in panic, they fired in vain.  Mercer saw it now, first hand, and his Sunday School days and talk of the Apocalypse flashed before him.

He saw the infected, most in hospital johnnies or white uniforms, run at NFL linebacker speed, and hit with equal force.  Women, sick old men, children, all swarming and sprinting toward any human.  They were running them down like wounded prey.  Mercer thought of Harrison and his final warning.  “Sonofabitch Harrison.”  He muttered and closed his squad car door.  He saw them coming for him as he sped off, clipping an ambulance and taking out his left side headlight.

Wisconsin Avenue was 4 long blocks down Reservoir Road.  That abutted the main campus and had dozens of dormitory residences.  As Mercer sped by, people were entering the street and forming standby crowds.  The horror these people would face in the next hour was indescribable.  This was ground zero and they were the first ripple of death.  There were 2 other cruisers with Mercer and he told them to stop, one on each side of the street and blockade the whole road.  “Get out and order those people back into their homes, lock the doors, the whole shit tell them.  You have less then 5 minutes!” he said into the radio.  Mercer then slowed down, flipped on his PA and started warning people to evacuate on foot immediately.

As he got farther away, he thought of a staged evacuation.  People too close had no time, best for them to barricade themselves inside.  Others, with some time could just flee on foot to yet-to-be-set-up shelters.  He could see a plan developing.  Too bad the people were not listening.  He slowed to a crawl and repeated, over and over, for them to evacuate.  “Just follow me to Wisconsin Avenue, we have shelters there.”  He started as some people paid attention.  “Please, everyone, there is no time to return home for any items.  Just head over to Wisconsin Avenue now!”  Only a handful followed him.  Many stayed to watch the smoke and flames rise from the hospital, some ran home to collect items or just put on the TV.

That was the irony with The Great Panic, people didn’t panic enough.

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Chapter 1 – The First 6 Hours, Part VI

HospitalfireAmy Sessions, the head pediatric nurse at the Special Care unit at the Georgetown University Hospital was in automatic mode with the kids on her floor.  She was an obese African American woman who had been in the service of the hospital for 3 years.  The seventh floor had not be invaded by Zekes yet, but she knew a disaster of some kind was happening downstairs.  The emergency alarms had gone off, security breach!  The fire alarms had gone off as well just a few minutes ago.  Her calls to the hospital administration hotline were unanswered and no one from the senior staff was answering cells for the last 10 minutes.  Miss Amy, as the 18 kids on the floor referred to her, was not going to panic just yet.  Her charges were kids, between 3 and 16 years old.  Most of them were either recovering from surgery or cancer patients.

Amy Sessions started taking things into her own hands.  She could not have know what was happening just 3 floors below her.  By now the Zekes were moving through the 4th floor, starting to ‘swarm’.  Swarm is a term coined days later to refer to the instinctual tendency for the Zekes to form aggressive groups, running between where they are and the nearest humans.  Swarming allowed Zekes to corral the fleeing humans and push them in one direction.  This behavior was not only indicative of their higher order instinctual capacity to hunt, but also it terrified the living prey by maximizing the show of strength the Zekes really had.

As Zekes started to swarm through the lower floors, the humans began to flee the hospital in any way possible.  Immediately the stairwells became a favorite route.  They provided some egress and people began to reach the street and flee into the surrounding university grounds.  On the lower floors, it was 10 seconds to run down the stairs, and the Zekes followed their victims into the stairwells effectively cutting off the upper floors.

Amy Sessions considered this to be a fire drill and proceeded to collect the ambulatory pediatric patients and begin to prepare them to evacuate.  She first went for the least infirm ones and started unhooking them from their various monitoring devices.  She went into semi-private room 712 and woke up 2 patients.  One was 7 and the other 9.  They had been receiving Chemotherapy this past week and were relatively mobile.  “Listen kids, ” she started, ” we have to leave the hospital in a hurry.  I am trusting you to stay calm, you are warriors and you can handle this.  Get your shoes on and get your coats on.  That is all you need.  Wait here in the room, I will be back in a few minutes, OK?”  She looked at them with mutual trust and caring like a mother.  The mother she biologically was not, but her unyielding dedication to her job, her profession and most importantly her kids came from that instinct.

Officer Steven Smith rode in one of the many elevators toward the top floor.  He had not encountered any Zekes yet, but the chatter on the radio seemed insane and he was not about to abandon his mission.  He was instructed to go to the Pediatric ward and check on the kids.  Smith waited as the floor 6 light lit up, then the floor 7 light.  The ‘ding’ and the doors opening made his heart skip a beat.  He had no idea what he would encounter.  Fortunately it was calm and the lights were low for sleeping.  A few nurses scurried about preparing for evacuation.  Amy Sessions immediately saw the blue uniform in the elevator foyer and went right for Officer Smith.

“What is going on officer?  Tell me the whole truth, I can help you best if I am informed.  I am Nurse Sessions, I am in charge here.  Why is no one answering the emergency admin line?”  She put her stout self 12 inches from Smith.

He leaned over and put his hand on her shoulder.  “Miss Sessions, I don’t even know the truth, but I know what we need to do.  Downstairs the world is ending, do you understand me?  My radio is squawking with the most insane shit I ever heard.  Lord knows we have little time and no where to go but up.  We cannot evacuate down, there is fire and all sorts of death down there – ”  his eyes widened as he spoke making Sessions feel like he had exactly one last bit of warmth to impart and that was it.

“Okay, what do you need me to do?”  She looked him deep in the eyes and waited.

“Get as many kids to the roof via the west stairwell.  You must keep completely silent and you must move quickly.  The patients that cannot walk or you cannot carry will be taken care of when more officers and hospital staff come up.  They are on their way up.”  Smith totally lied about that last part.  He was pretty sure that there was zero coordination left downstairs and he and Sessions were going to save a handful of these kids and that was it.  Session looked at him and because she had been a pediatric nurse and seen doctors deliver false hopes so many times, saw right through Officer Smith.

“That sounds like a good plan,” she conceded, “I have 4 or 5 that are ready to go now.”  Her heart died inside her over-sized bosom.  She could not protest the situation to this cop any more than she could comprehend why his plan was so cold and calculated.  Something must be so bad downstairs.  Sessions went back to room 712 and ushered her first 2 warriors into the hall.  They stayed put in the hallway while she entered the room across the hall.  Two more little warriors joined the group.  Then the 4 of them marched down the hall to a final room and fetched a 5th member.

Sessions looked at her little people.  She counted them – 5, that is all that would be coming out.  How could this be happening?  She had to be strong.  Five was better than zero she thought.  She huddled them in a tight circle around her.  “Team, ” she began, “We are going on a really important mission tonight, someplace we all have never been.  We have to be quick and strong and brave and most importantly, quiet.  Can you all do that?”  They nodded and even seemed excited.  “No matter what you hear, no matter what you see, no talking and no separating from the group.  Eyes on each other and me.  Got it!”  She got stern with them at the end.  These kids didn’t deserve a harsh word ever for what they had been through, but from the feeling she got from Officer Smith, they needed some force behind the orders.

They all start walking toward the red EXIT sign down the hall, the west stairwell, one flight from the roof.  Amy Sessions had of course never been to the roof, never even thought about the roof, but tonight she was going to save 6 lives by walking up.  Officer Smith was on his radio.  He had broken through to SITCOM down in the parking lot.  “This is Smith, we are on the seventh floor, relatively quiet, and we have children to evacuate.  Looking for helo transport in 5 minutes, over.”  he released the talk button and prayed.

“Roger that Smith,” came back an unknown voice, the good news! “We have helos responding now, we have roof coverage and are sending others there to evac also.  Be advised that east stairwell is compromised as is north stairwell.  Use west stairwell only, over.”

“Understood – west stairwell – 5 minutes, over?”  Smith just needed that confirmation so badly.  Again, he had not seen what was happening below, but it made him feel alone and helpless.  “Just confirm, please, please…” He said aloud, but not into the mic.  Ten seconds passed and nothing.  Were they still there?  Were they coming with the choppers?  Ten more seconds and silence.  “Oh Goddamn, please,”  he said into the radio, “repeat evacuating patients to west stairwell to roof for helo pickup in 5 minutes, over!  Confirm, over!”  Smith was sweating.

“Confirmed.”  It was short and garbled, but it triggered Smith to action.  He ran down the hall toward Sessions and her little heroes.  She waved him off in an effort to keep the kids focused on their mission.  The appearance of a cop would just excite or scare them.  He stopped short and got the hint.  She reached the exit door and ever so gently depressed the Panic bar to engage the door latch.  It made a small bit of noise and creaked open.  She was greeted with a smell of smoke and distant screaming.  She closed the door behind her.

“Listen kids, I am not going to lie to you, it smells like smoke in there and you can hear noises, but we are not afraid.  We are not afraid, are we!”  Amy Sessions was going to get these kids out no matter what.  They all nodded and kept their silence.  She went back to the door and opened it nearly silently.  She waved in the 5 kids and held them at the landing for the seventh floor.  She entered the stairwell and let the door close gently.  They were in!  The emergency lighting was on, it has a red hue and lit the stairs well even though it was very dark.  Smoke wafted up from way below, but was not overpowering.

BOOM!  Came the first O2 explosion from far below and scared them all.  A few shrieks and squeaks came out of all their mouths.  Sessions put a finger to her lips, “shhhh, we are silent warriors, ” she whispered and motioned to the right and the stairs that went up.  They began to climb to the roof outlet door.

Back in the seventh floor pediatric ward the rest of the residents were starting to panic.  Officer Smith and several other nurses were collecting some other fairly mobile patients and packing them up to move out.  The ward was keeping it together pretty well considering.  Smith was the only Metro cop on the floor.  He so badly wanted backup to arrive.  He so badly wanted the elevator door to open and have some fellow officers emerge.  Remember, the ultimate team?  The elevator did not open, not for minutes as Smith helped out the nurses.  He was going to send another group up to the roof.  Six more patients who could walk or be carried.  Six and five is eleven, that would be great if 11 kids could be saved tonight.REC-stairwell

He actually heard the choppers swoop in and saw their lights through the windows at the far end of the ward.  He was holding it together nicely, he felt reassured of the plan.  The east stairwell door produced a THUD and then a banging that seemed to almost rip its hinges off.  The emergency egress doors were push out, which means pull open from the inside.  This was the saving grace for Smith and his charges.  Zekes had trouble with things like doors because they didn’t retain any cognitive memory once turned.  They also swarmed and pushed violently to get through any barrier toward their prey.  At this moment, more and more of them were pushing with an adrenaline-fueled frenzy against that steel fire door.  The moaning started to echo through the door.  Smith froze there, would the door hold?  Now he experienced the terror that millions would face in the coming days.

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Chapter 1 – The First 6 Hours, Part V

ImageInside the hospital there was a carnage and terror unlike anyone could imagine.  The building was the perfect killing zone for the Zekes.  A hospital is filled with immobilized and infirm people, unarmed administrators and medical staff whose first reaction to a Zeke would be to try and help them.  That single instant when they should run, doctors and nurses paused to consider their “condition”, that would be their death sentence.

As the Zekes spread out, from ward to ward, the attack became a frenzy and the screams rose up and out of the building, through the very walls.  Metro cops were going from hallway to hallway, up the stairs and even room to room.  They were encountering the recently bitten, the convulsing and the awakened Zekes all over the place.  In the ER, the first ward hit, no humans were left.  The Cardiac-Thoracic unit, the best in the city, was overrun and smoke was pouring out of a utility closet – the first fire had started.  The fires would prove to be the catalyst which would force the outside world to come to the aid of the building.  The Fire Department would respond, open up the building, and attempt to extinguish the fire.  It would allow the Zekes a conduit to the street.  Such tactics would accelerate the Great Panic and make it impossible for containment.

When the first Metro cop was taken off his feet by a Zeke, he was shocked at the sheer force of the leap.  The physiology, or Zombiology would not be understood till days later, but those first responders were getting a crash course right now.  Zekes were able to use adrenaline at a much higher rate than humans and it gave them hyper aggressive capabilities for short bursts of attacking energy.  It could turn a elderly lady with terminal cancer into a juggernaut in just 4 minutes.

Cops always considered themselves part of the ultimate team.  No matter how dangerous the criminal adversary, the cops had one thing on their side, numbers.  In this case though, when an officer went down, he joined the ranks of the enemy.  It was tragic how the good guys’ numbers dwindled.  Then the shooting started, certainly too late.  It was 10:04 PM on Doomsday, the Great Panic was 25 minutes old and the hospital was now a battle zone.

Metro Cops in the hospital fought bravely, but in vain.  Their tactics were incorrect to start.  They fanned out, trying to help the living escape.  The helped push gurneys into elevators, they took direction from administrators, they ran to the aid of the bitten.  They had no idea that the bitten victim they were carting off to the street would wake up and bite them before they got out.  Cops fell with their guns never drawn out of their holsters.  They awoke as Zekes and confused the officers still living.  They couldn’t consider firing on them or the seemingly helpless hospital patients.

After 10 minutes of this hopeless melee, the gunfire began.  Cops finally took their own survival as a primary course of action.  They starting shooting anything that moved toward them.  First they tried immobilizing shots as they shouted orders to “Freeze now!” and “On the ground or I will be forced to fire!”  These things they were taught to say when confronting an adversary with deadly force.  Too bad Zekes had no understanding of language.  Too bad they had no fear and no consideration for the consequences of their actions.  A Zeke’s mind is erased by the infection and the turn.  Leaving only basic instinctual programming.

The officers began firing, but it did not really help them.  Only a head shot would down a Zeke and most officers were not trained to shoot that way.  It was too hard to hit the head with a handgun in most situations.  Aim for the torso was what the Academy instructed.  This principle caused further widespread panic in Metro cops.  They started firing and Zeke just kept coming.  Officers emptied entire clips into the torso and limbs of their enemies.  The bullets shredded the Zekes useless internal organs, tearing off arms, blowing off legs, spraying the same black ochre Harrison coated Triage #3’s back wall with.  They kept coming, crawling on the floor, bouncing off walls and leaping right into the path of fire to get that bite in.

The cops had no chance.  They were surrounded, outnumbered and truly terrified.  Harrison could only imagine what it must have been like to be faced with an unbeatable enemy.  As he rImageeached his cruiser, an unmarked navy blue Crown Vic, he opened the driver door and reached for the radio transceiver.  He pressed the ‘talk’ button and had no words.

From his vantage point, across the Emergency room parking lot, then the street and then into the diner’s lot we was 150 yards away.  Red and blue lights filled the night sky, five cruisers? ten?  Ambulances were returning to roost and offer medical support for the injured who never came.  The Zeke Virus is 100% successful to change every bite victim, there is no one to patch up or care for.  There was no way that anyone who was not already out was getting out.

A window on the third floor exploded and 2 bodies came flying out, one firmly affixed to the other in a death plunge.  Harrison watched the fall and the landing.  Remarkably, one of the figures jumped right up in the parking lot and ran right for the nearest person.  Flying Zeke got a hold of a random person and bit down on his shoulder.  The rest of the bystanders ran for their lives. One – the fallen victim, two, the Flying Zeke and three the parking lot victim – 3 outdoor Zekes now.  That was all Harrison needed to see.  He quickly sat down into his cruiser and started it up.

Captain Mercer’s cruiser reached the hospital and his heart sank.  People were running everywhere, a lone Metro Cop was waving his hands to direct people in a single direction, no one was paying attention.  That cop saw Mercer’s cruiser and ran over.  Mercer rolled down the window.  “It is total fucking insanity in there!” He gasped and spit right in Mercer’s face with the ‘t’ in insanity.

“Calm down officer…” Mercer read the name off the nameplate on his uniform, “…Goldman.  Tell me what is going on.”

“Some virus is infecting people inside the hospital, this is the report from SITCOM inside.  He said that people were attacking each other, biting them!  Fucking crazy!” Officer Goldman huffed and puffed.  “Cops are getting attacked, bitten also.  SITCOM gave the order to use deadly force to protect selves and others!  Something just happened in the parking lot, one of the infected came out a window- third floor- and started attacking people down here!”

“What the fuck!?”  Mercer thought of Harrison’s warning and decided to listen now.  “OK, evacuate from this area now, get everyone back…3 blocks and create a perimeter.  Start trying to identify who is infected and who is not.  Set up barricades, use cruisers, get SWAT here, call the National fucking Guard, NOW!”  Mercer looked to his left, at the unnamed driver, “Turn us around.”  Mercer grabbed the transceiver and broadcast everything he just said to Goldman.  The living were now running past the cruiser with deathly panic etched on their faces.

Back in the hospital the fire had spread and now the O2 lines were exploding all over the ward.  BOOM!  Windows were blew out and the fire was now visible outside the building.  Independently Harrison and Mercer stared at the glowing orange now added to the red and blue lights.  The situation had gone critical.  The distant sirens of the Fire Department got nearer.  How could they fight a fire and Zekes at the same time?  It was 10:11 PM and the number of Zekes were re-doubling quickly, could it be 100 already?  Had anyone else figured out how to put them down?  Harrison wanted to stay and fight, stay as he had in Sadr City 10 years ago.  Stay, pinned down, with no hope of survival as Sunnis peppered his position with AK fire.  He had gotten out of that hellhole alive, but he didn’t have a wife and son to think of then.  This was different.  Harrison put his cruiser into drive and sped off down Reservoir  Road.  All he could think about was Jen and Samuel and that Cessna.

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Chapter 1 – The First 6 Hours, Part IV

day2konahospital115Jerome Haskins pulled his large frame up from the floor.  His eyes fixated on Asian Male laying motionless just a foot from his face.  He kept his gaze on him as he stood up.  “Is that guy dead – finally?”  He said to ER Doc.

“He was dead, and now he is down for good,” Harrison answered abruptly.  “Now, who else was in this room?  You, EMT, where is your partner?  Doc who else was in here!”  The urgency in Harrison’s voice led ER Doc and Adams to believe that Harrison had some protocol he was following.  What was the protocol?  Where did this cop come from at the moment when we needed him most?  Questions that needed answers, answers that needed processing.  All of it was just pointless considering what had just happened.  The black ochre from Zeke’s brain dripped down the institutional white plastic wall, Adams and Haskins collected themselves, sweat glistening off their foreheads.  Haskins breathed hard, Adams thought about Ramirez.

“My partner left a few minutes ago with a bite…wound…to…the…hand…” Adams’ words drifted off as everyone mentally connected the dots about Ramirez.

“What?!” started Harrison, “He got bit, you saw it?”

“Yes, I did.”  Haskins added.

“Where is he now?” Harrison holstered his Ruger, addressing ER Doc.

“He was taken to the nearest aid station,” ER Doc looked frightened, “with the triage nurse we had in here.”

“How long ago?” Harrison was again rattling off questions.

“A couple of minutes, max!” ER Doc started, but was cut off by a scream from outside Triage #3.  A scream, a crashing sound, more screams, footsteps running all entered Harrison’s ears and tore through his brain.  Haskins and Adams sprang into action.  They bolted out the door into the Emergency room.  Harrison and ER Doc followed.

The Emergency Unit at Georgetown Hospital consisted of 12 curtained treatment bays, a central administration desk about 20 feet square and 8 triage rooms just like they all emerged from.  Chaos was something the staff worked hard to eliminate or at best keep localized.  What Harrison saw was utter failure of that mantra.  Fifty feet across the unit he saw a struggle.  A man with an EMT uniform was grabbing a nurse in a bear hug and trying repeatedly to bite her.  She was flailing about in his grasp and screaming.  Another nurse lay on the floor behind EMT convulsing just as Asian Male had 5 minutes ago.

Haskins and Adams sprinted across the unit and closed on Ramirez who plunged his teeth into the left cheek of ER nurse spurting blood all over his face and hers.  He immediately dropped his grip and lunged at the next human being closest to him.  Harrison drew his Ruger and fired into the air two times.  The rounds echoed through the unit and all living humans took immediate notice and dropped to the ground.  Oops, not the reaction he was looking for, “Everyone out, now!  Out to the street now, evacuate the building. Now! Go!”  Screams and more screams now.  Nurses and administration staff ran for the double exit doors while patients did their best to get out of the triage bays.  Most of them were not able to jump to attention and staff began helping them.  It was a pathetic scene considering what was happening just 50 feet away.

Haskins reached Ramirez and tackled him to the ground.  Just like his linebacker days, Haskins flattened Ramirez.  The hard tiled floor was unkind to both bodies when they struck and Haskins had the wind knocked out of him.  Ramirez had no wind and was unaffected by the hard surface.  Although his body was neatly pinned under 280 pounds of Haskins, Ramirez tried a neck craning bite on Haskins’ shoulder.  He could not reach but chomped wildly at air.

Adams moved past Ramirez and Haskins and tried to attend to ER nurse #2 with the bitten cheek.  Then he saw ER nurse #1, convulsing just a minute before behind them a few paces, now she was awake, the same black eyes as Asian Male.  The same moan coming from her twisted mouth.  Adams abandoned ER nurse #2’s bite laceration to consider his own safety.  ER Nurse #1, now Zeke #2, sprang off the floor with an agility reserved for Circ de Soliel performers and flew through the air and crashed into Adams.  She tackled him like Haskins tackled Ramirez.  She took Adams down to the floor, that hard tile floor and positioned herself in a straddle.  For a second it looked oddly sexual to Harrison who was running now toward the whole fracas.

“Get out the way!  Again, like last time, roll off him, now!” Harrison had the Ruger in ready position.  It was too late.  Zeke #2 wasn’t listening and buried her jaws into Adams neck for a lite snack of neck sinew and skin.  Blood streamed like a hose out of his carotid artery and his screams drowned out the escaping chaos behind them.  Harrison had no shot at Zeke #2 behind Haskins who was wrestling with Ramirez.  He stopped in his tracks and recalculated.  He leveled the Ruger at the back of Haskins head and prayed to Jesus with all his heart.

The door behind this whole carnage burst open and evacuees stumbled across the threshold.  Three more people became targets as Zeke #2 turned and jumped on the whole group.  More screams, more biting, more panic, Harrison surrendered right there.  Ramirez, his undead body swelled with adrenaline thrust Haskins up as a massive black fist swung for his face.  Haskins wasn’t playing orderly anymore, he was playing ‘fight for my life’ and decided a punch to the head would help him.  It did not.  Ramirez took the blow and bit into the hard flesh of Haskins’ hand. Harrison watched this now, for the first time, carefully.  He started backing away, Ruger out in one hand and the other digging for his cell.

Haskins winced and grimaced in pain, too much pain for a little bite thought Harrison.  Ramirez felt the weight of the large orderly come off him and easily squirmed out from under him.  Ramirez turned to look at the human buffet behind him where Zeke #2 was biting down hard on a forearm while the others backed off through the door they came.  Haskins slumped over and began to convulse.  His head smacked against the wall, then the floor and surely caused a concussion.  Behind Haskins, ER nurse #2 awoke as Zeke #3.  The math was not in Harrison’s favor and he reconfirmed – retreat and regroup, NOW!

Weston Harrison escaped while The Great Panic began.  He should have shot them all, just that one split second decision could have saved the whole country.  Could it?  He could have capped all of them, just 4 people.  As Harrison dialed his police commander and slipped away out the main ER unit doors behind him, he saw 3 Zekes disappear out the other doors to another unit of the hospital, out of his sight, out of his reach.

“Captain, we have a code alpha here at GTown ER,” Harrison shouted into the phone as he walked past the pandemonium in the waiting room, “a level 1 panic has happened here.  Listen to me, whatever calls you get from thismpd_car-corum_296 event, do not send personnel into the hospital.  We are not ready to handle this face to face-”

“What the fuck shit are you talking about?” Captain Mercer’s voice seemed far away, he must have been in a car driving very fast, “I was told you shot and killed a sick patient by a 911 call 10 minutes ago!”

“Captain! Goddammit!  Forget what you heard, trust me now, set up a perimeter around the hospital and evacuate everyone in a 10 block radius, start now or it will be too late.”  Harrison was in the parking lot now as the first police units were pulling up, blocking all vehicle traffic for escape.  Harrison’s cruiser was across the street in the diner parking lot where he probably just had his last cup of coffee for a while.

Metro cops stormed the hospital.  In the time that Harrison just took talking to Captain Mercer and exiting the building, 3 Zekes and turned into 9, Adams and Haskins had awoken and the cardiac-thorassic wing of the hospital was under attack.  Zekes had moved back into the ER unit and were mugging the patients and the staff who had not fled with Harrison.  This included ER Doc who stayed behind to help the sick get out.

Truth was that there was no getting out, it was too late for everyone in that building.  Zekes were rising in about 2 minutes.  Even though it took Asian Male hours to die of the Zeke virus on that plane flight from somewhere, a bitten victim dies and awakes in about 4 minutes.  The bite accelerates the infection and the change.  The epidemic was in full swing and Harrison knew it.  Duty called for him to remain on site with his fellow officers, but he knew it was futile.  He was the one man who had seen this before, he had looked into the face of Zeke twice before and knew the power behind those black dead eyes.  All Harrison could think of now was his family, the car loaded with supplies and his Cessna.

Captain Mercer raced to Georgetown, being driven by a patrolman he did not know.  The call had reached the departmental emergency level and all available units were en route.  Mercer looked at the cell phone, the connection with Harrison was lost.  “Fuck it,” he muttered, “just get us there as fast as you can.”

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Chapter 1 – The First 6 Hours, Part III

flatlineRamirez slid between the front seats of the ambulance to check on Asian male about 40.  His vital signs were monitored by the the KTMED.  Respiration was low, pulse was low and blood pressure was stable but not good.  Asian male was unresponsive to verbal cues and was not alert nor was he moving much.  The ride from Reagan National to Georgetown Emergency was 6 minutes with lights and siren.  Ramirez thought the trip could not be short enough.  He and Adams were always taking risks in this job, but this ride, this patient, made him extraordinarily uneasy.  They took the off ramp for the Arlington Memorial Bridge across the Potomac.  They would be there in 3 minutes, Asian male about 40 had to hang on.

Once across the bridge, a myriad of loops and ramps brought them to Route 66 and over to the K street interchange and Georgetown was right across the Whitehurst Freeway which ran into Canal Road.  2 minutes to go.  Some traffic at the back end of campus and Adams had to negotiate some cars.  Too late – The Crash Alert sounded – Wee Oooo!  Ramirez instantly fixated on the pulse going below 50 and the blood pressure dropping further.  Ten seconds later – flatline.  Ramirex took out the oral dam, a thin plastic set of lips and stuck them to Asian Male’s mouth.  He began CPR, 2 deep breaths then chest pumping.  Adams didn’t have to ask, he knew what was happening.  He got on the horn.  Adams began, “Coming in with flatlined male, no pulse, CPR started, ” He looked in the rear-view mirror and saw Ramirez in his 2 minute CPR drill, “no other treatment started, advise please!”  His voice rose at the very end to a slight panic.  Why was he scared?  He had driven a flatliner to this same ER about once a month for years.  Everyone was on edge since the rumors of the virus began last month.

“Nothing happening,” Ramirez stopped CPR as the ambulance made the second to last turn into the hospital driveway, “any reply from Gtown ER on mobile crash cart?”  He reached into a compartment on the right side of Asian Male and pulled out a portable defib unit and flipped it on.  “30 seconds to defib,” he shouted.

“Got it!” replied Adams as he slowed to make the sharp turn into the circular driveway of the ER entrance.  The carport was 200 yards away.  Asian Male had been flatline for about 2 minutes.  Being flatline for under 5 minutes was known as “yellow time”, meaning that resuscitation was possible and could have only a chance of brain damage.  After 5 minutes was “red time” and when most emergency medical staff would consider calling TOD – Time of Death.

The ambulance pulled under the carport and Adams slammed it into park.  He burst out of the driver door, ran to the rear doors and whipped them open.  He reached for the rear rail on the gurney and started rolling it toward the edge of the doorway.  Ramirez had the defib pack over his shoulder and the paddles under his arm as he helped wheel the gurney out of the ambulance and extend the chassis.  The wheels hit the pavement hard, almost toppling Asian Male, but he was strapped in.  They stopped and Ramirez hit him with the paddles.  Asian Male lurched skyward with a high arc to his spine and let out a deep groan.  Nothing though, no pulse.

The EMTs looked at each other.  There was that moment where they each searched through their feelings about death and their knowledge and experience about trying to save a life.  Once a defib did not work, the chances were very small to regain consciousness.  They wheeled Asian Male to the wide ER exterior doors and rushed through the vestibule.  Adams steered the gurney while Ramirez worked the squeeze bag to keep oxygen flowing into the mouth of the lifeless patient.  A quick nod to the admissions desk and then off into a triage room down the short hallway.

As they wheeled past, a blur of people, waiting patients, nurses, ER docs and other staff.  Into Triage #3, the door already open and an ER nurse already in the room.  She quickly hooked up the vital signs sensor.  A penny sized flexible pad taped to the index finger would get pulse and oxygen rate in the blood.  The chatter came quickly.  Adams started as Ramirez continued CPR with quick breaths.  “Asian Male, crashed about 3 minutes ago.  Picked up at Reagan National.  Vital signs weak on entry – ”

“Look,” the ER nurse pointing to the vital signs monitor, “nothing.”  Just then the ER doctor came into the triage room.

“Update?” He started, but he was interrupted by the Asian Male.  Despite no vital signs his whole body tensed up in a massive convulsion.  “Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Hold him!”  The gurney turned on its wheels and pulled everyone in a clockwise direction.  Adams dug his shoulder into Asian Male’s midsection carefully to flatten him to the bed.  Ramirez, startled, nearly fell back into the wall and toppled an IV stand.

“What the fuck?” he exclaimed and righted himself.  The ER nurse froze in her spot, her eyes fixated on the vitals monitor.  Asian Male convulsed again, and again.  Powerful jerking and arcing of the spine.  Adams, a large athletic man had to bear hug him to keep him from turning the gurney over.  The ER doctor stepped to the doorway of Triage #3.

“Two orderlies here, now!” he shouted into the hallway.  He broke for the pharma cabinet in the triage room and prepared a sedative in a syringe.  Fully 10 seconds had gone by and Asian Male was bucking like a bull at a rodeo.  ER nurse still motionless and now mouth drooping.  Ramirez moved back toward Asian Male and reached out to push his shoulders down and help Adams.  Then orderly #1 came through the door.  Haskins was a former football player at JuCo and tipped the scales close to 280.  His eyes widened when he saw the two EMTs working on Asian Male.

“OK, let me in there, I got this guys.”

Just as Haskins positioned himself at the head of the gurney, Asian Male finally awoke, if that is what you could call it.  His eyes opened, his mouth opened and all his gyrations found a purpose.  Ramirez looked straight into Asian Male’s face.  Everything went slow then.  Asian Male was awake, but not alive as ER nurse could confirm from the vitals monitor.  Haskins was nearly in position, ER doctor was ready with the sedative and was moving toward the gurney.  Adams was the only one not looking as his torso was desperately trying to ride the bull on the gurney in Triage room #3.

What Ramirez saw no one had ever seen before, but millions would see again.  He saw the face of Zeke.  He locked eyes with Zeke.  Those eyes, the black and soulless eyes.  With no white and no color, just all pupil it seemed.  Dry eyes with no light reflection.  Dark, dead eyes, but able to look right at Ramirez.  The mouth was open, wide open and a noise was coming out, like a final breath escaping, maybe it was a breath that Ramirez had blown into Asian Male just seconds before.  Then Asian Male was gone, his whole existence was gone, his name, his life and his soul, it was replaced with Zeke and Zeke had one purpose – to bite a living human!

Zeke twisted his neck in an impossible way.  It seemed to bend without breaking so that his mouth could reach Ramirez’ left thumb which was holding the shoulder down.  Zeke chomped right down on that thumb and Ramirez let out a yelp.  “Sonofabitch bit me!  Fuck! Fuck Fuck!” He backed off and looked down at his thumb, a chunk torn right out of the end and blood dripping down in a stream.zombie bite

“Get him down!” ordered ER doctor, “expose the upper arm, I have a sedative.”  Haskins took his massive paws and thick arms and pushed Zeke down onto the gurney now stained with Ramirez’ blood.  Haskins held Zeke relatively motionless for enough time for the needle to pierce the upper left arm.

ER nurse still staring said “Doctor, look at the vitals!”

“What? what? what are they?” he didn’t turn his head.

“Look!!” she shrieked.  ER doc did look and did then quickly traced with his eyes the sensor lead from the unit, onto the floor, across the floor and up onto the gurney.  Then his eyes saw it, the sensor lead, that penny sized flexible pad with the Band-Aid like adhesive.  It was still on Zeke’s left thumb.  ER doctor saw it, but he didn’t believe it.  No time to investigate if the lead had be cut by the gurney wheels.  Time was for the sedative to take affect, but it clearly wasn’t as Haskins and Adams had their hands full with this 40 something Asian Male who had be dead for at least 5 minutes now.

Ramirez took some heavy gauze pads off the triage table and covered his gushing thumb.  “Go with her to get that cleaned up now!  Get out of here now!” ER doctor directed Ramirez and ER nurse to leave.  “Get Stanton in here too, with some heavy restraints.  Why isn’t this damned sedative working?”  ER doctor turned to Zeke finally and looked him square in the face.  Something broke deep inside ER doctor in that moment and he realized that there was no restraint in the world which would hold this down.  Zeke was bucking more and more, the viscous clicking of his teeth was heard as he craned his neck to try and bite Haskins forearm that was now firmly beneath his jaw.

“Damn this guy is strong, what is going on with that fucking sedative Doc?” Adams gasped while face down across Zeke’s torso, “give it to him already!!”

“I did.  No effect.  No vitals, no response to the sedative. I do not know what is going on here,”  ER Doc was oddly calm and composed for a moment.  Then it was gone, he screamed, “Where the fuck is Stanton with the restraint harness!”

Out of the corner of his eye, ER Doc saw a figure enter Triage #3, it was not Stanton with the restraint harness.   It was Detective Wes Harrison of the Metro Police department.  “Carefully now team, on my mark everyone jump away from the gurney and down on the floor, you too Doc.”  Harrison said sternly and calmly.  “This only works if we all do it together and right quick.  Can I get an ‘OK’ on that?”

“What?  Who are you?”  ER Doc started.

Harrison produced his badge which hung around his neck from between his overcoat lapels.  Zeke was getting more active and even big Haskins’ arms were getting tired.  The altercation entered its 5th long minute.  “Once again team, all together now you are to release this person and get down on the floor, ON MY MARK!” Now Harrison was using his military Sargent voice, and it still worked.  Okays were heard all around.  ” One, two,” Harrison drew his Ruger .40 cal from inside his overcoat and prompted a gasp from ER Doc, “THREE!”

“No!” ER Doc exclaimed as he heeded his orders and dove down to the right.  Adams slipped off clumsily to the right also and Haskins just relaxed his choke hold from Zeke and they were all down on the white tiled floor.  Zeke, restrained only by the seat-belt like gurney strap squirmed and moaned as he tried to sit up fully.  He swung his legs to the left to try and get off the gurney, it tipped and started to fall over to the left.  Zeke looked directly at Harrison, right into the barrel of the Ruger.  Harrison squeezed off one round which crackled the air in  Triage #3 and deafened the 3 men on the floor.  The shot was perfect.  It fully ventilated the cranial cavity right above the right eyebrow and exited with a splat as 4 inches of Zeke’s scalp flapped up and coated the back wall with an indescribable thick black substance.

Zeke fell motionless instantly, the gurney did tip over and nearly landed on Haskins who had been spared the exit wound spray.  Harrison looked cool on the outside, but his life was flashing before him on the inside.  Jen, Samuel, back in Virginia, the car, the Cessna, all of it ran through his head.  This was it, he had now seen enough.  The speed of thought was in overdrive in his head.  Duty returned to his frontal lobe.  “You men OK?” he started-

“What the fuck did you just do!  You insane maniac, you killed this man! You fired a gun in the emergency room, you nearly killed us all.  We have open o-two flowing in this wing!” ER Doc jumped to his feet.  “Look at this room, we had restraints coming- You killed him!  We save lives here officer!”

“He wasn’t alive, was he Doc?” Harrison cut him off.

“I don’t fucking know, I don’t fucking know what the fuck is going on around here.” ER Doc continued.  Panic set into his face.  It was the most incredible 5 minutes of all those peoples lives.  It was the beginning of the Great Panic, right here, right now.  At the Emergency Medical Center at Georgetown University the Great Panic had started.  These men stood in the room with Zeke #1.  For that first few moments not one of them understood what had happened and what was about to happen.

Harrison broke the silence, “was anyone else exposed to this guy?”

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Chapter 1 – The First Six Hours, Part II

ambulanceAndrew Barnes paced outside of the International Terminal at Reagan National Airport.  It was 9:25 PM and it was cold.  Barnes was a Transportation administrator, which to him meant – get travelers into cabs in an orderly fashion.  Tonight was a busy night and the line was two dozen people.  The cab line was not nearly as long, so began the waiting.  People coming off long international flights would be smart to call ahead for a livery cab, to be waiting for them.  Who needs to wait for a Yellow Cab outside in the cold?  Barnes could feel no empathy for them now, foolish souls, some with lots of bags in tow, some light travelers checking watches every minute.  People shuffled down the queue, leaning on the steel railing, talking on cell phones in many languages and mostly ignoring Barnes very existence.

After closing the door to a van cab with 3 riders, he turned to the head of the line.  The man standing there looked bad, really bad.  He had his head hung low, barely balancing and slumped over the rail.  “Hey, are you OK?” Barnes stepped over noticing that the people behind this man in line were way behind and staring.  Nothing from the sick man.  Barnes reached him and took is strong hands and cupped this guys shoulders.  He lifted his head up and looked into death incarnate.  This guy was sick, and needed to get out of Barnes’ line.

The man’s face was clearly devoid of color, his eyes were slits and dilated, his body felt cold, like the night air.  Barnes radioed from his shoulder transceiver, “Medical emergency, International terminal, door number 4.  Male, approximately 40 years old, unknown origin.  Hurry,” Barnes rattled off.  He now turned to the man who was incoherent and slouched over the rail.  “Come over here pal, sit here on my chair, they are coming to help you right away,” he started, “Here in the good ole USA we have emergency services for everyone.”  Barnes added that last bit for all to hear.

Within 2 minutes an ambulance showed up and 2 EMTs hopped out of it.  Barnes recognized the taller one, Ramirez.  “Ritchie,” yelled Barnes from the curb, “this is him, right here.”

“OK Papi, I see from here, I got two good eyes,” replied Ramirez.  He approached the sick man and started asking him questions while getting some quick vital signs.  The pulse was low, the breathing was labored, all signs of something serious.  It was the penlight to the eyes which took Ramirez back and changed his face from cajoling to grave concern.  “Get the gurney Adams, ” he called to his partner as he stood back and looked at Barnes.  He leaned into Barnes for some very quiet questions.  “How long has he been in line?”

“Don’t know, but the line runs about 10-15 minutes, why?” Barnes replied.

“No problem buddy, just get back to the job.  We have to take him to the ER at Georgetown.  I think he has a severe flu or something.” Ramirez quietly answered.  “Just get these other people calmed down, look at them-”

With that Barnes looked at the line, which had backed 20 feet up the queue railings to make room for the EMTs and gurney.  “Oh, yea, don’t worry about that, just take care of him.”  Then it struck Barnes why people were so aghast.  The news had been pasted with reports of viral outbreaks of unknown origin for the past 2 months or so.  Cities all over Asia especially were reporting a highly infectious and deadly new flu strain.  Here in the West, no cases had been reported, but this was the INTERNATIONAL TERMINAL…

Ramirez lifted the sick man up onto the gurney at curbside and with his partner’s help wheeled it over to the back of the ambulance.  Up into through the doors and locked into the struts and he was secure.  The doors shut and the EMTs into the cab of the ambulance took 30 seconds.  They engaged the siren and rolling lights and sped off from the cab stand.  Barnes turned to the crowd who felt somewhat relieved and motioned for 2 women in the front to come down and get into a waiting taxi.

Ramirez radioed to Georgetown ER dispatch, “Coming in from Reagan.  We got an Asian male, in his 40s with clear signs of infectious trauma.  Prepare triage room in isolation.  This man is unidentified at this time, origin unknown,” He turned to Adams, who was driving with hands clenched on the wheel, “repeat, origin unknown.”


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Chapter 1 – The First Six Hours, Part I

coffeeDetective Weston Harrison, District of Columbia Police had been in a daze for weeks.  As he sat at the diner drinking coffee, motioning to the waitress for a refill, he exhaled deeply.  Since that first episode last month and his subsequent encounters at several area hospitals, these 3 cases bothered him.  Was it the events themselves, well they were bizarre, but more so it was the lack of reaction by his superiors.

He responded to case #1 back in March, seemed simple as the call came in, an unidentified patient had died in an area hospital.  God, how he wished that was all it was now.  Every time an unknown person, John Doe, dies in an emergency room, a police report must be filed.  He had responded to so many over the 12 years of his career with DC police that he felt nothing anymore.  The police needed to represent the John Doe’s family in a way.  To go over with the ER doctors what had happened, ask questions and try to close the case quickly.  Mostly this happened with the homeless or strung out Meth-heads or anyone who arrived with no ID or family members.  On rare occasion, as was that night, a person traveling internationally would arrive at the airport, clear customs and fall ill quickly after.  He had seen it all in his time: a man drop dead of a massive coronary at baggage claim at Reagan National Airport, another where a man was struck by a rental car shuttle bus while wandering around short term parking lot, and on and on.  Most people don’t know how these things get washed out of the system, but Harrison did.  He was a pro at sniffing out foul play or negligence.

That is what disturbed him so much about these cases.  All three were men who came off international flights, entered our country legally and then fell extremely ill shortly thereafter.  That in of itself was puzzling, but more bizarre was what happened in the ER.  He couldn’t quite even say it to himself out loud; they died, with confirmation, and they came back to life.  No, that was wrong, they did not come back to life, the came back from the dead.  He had not seen this with his own eyes, but he had been given accounts by ER staffers and doctors.  They had all the evidence too.  Something was amiss though.

He had case files on his desk about these three men.  All coming into the country at Reagan and all originating from Asian cities.  All with clean visa applications and approvals.  Nothing at all fishy, he had checked it over and over.  The only thing that pissed him off was that he was in the dark about the pathology of what they were suffering from.  How could a person come back from the dead, and not be alive?  He was not privy to the medical details, but he tried to escalate to his captain over and over.

“Forget it Harrison, it is above our paygrade,” started Captain Steven Mellon, “You do your job, you let the hospital do theirs!”  Of course the idea that people were coming in from another continent, dying in our hospitals of an unknown disease and then coming back from the dead to expire again was as juicy a panic story as anyone could latch dream up.  Capt. Mellon had the gag order on it from way on high.  Shit luck for Harrison was that he was now stuck to any subsequent cases as the sole investigator.  No need to spread the news even among the department.  He couldn’t even get any hard evidence from the crime scenes.  These crime scenes were always a mess too.  It did not go unnoticed that they all looked the same – like a fight to the death had occurred in the ER triage room.  Trays overturned, gurney out of place with some black substance staining it, perhaps some of that same black goo on the floors and walls, it was a mess.

Harrison was a veteran of the ER death scene, he had never seen black ooze come out of a body before.  He had also noticed the same thing in both the second and third cases at their crime scenes, heavy leather restraints fastened to the gurney side bars.  In the first case, they were not there.  He also had not ever seen the bodies, which he was repeatedly asking for.  Nope, they were cremated due to infection concerns immediately.  It was definitely a cover up.  Harrison had seen so many cover-ups in the hospitals that he ignored them unless he was ordered to sniff around.  This time, the orders were completely contrary.  “Don’t even inhale through that schnoz of yours Harrison, the CDC needs no help from you,” Mellon barked at him just this past Monday.

Again, the waitress missed his signal to refill his cup.  He raised his hand higher, finally she saw him and nodded knowingly.  Sure he did not have a uniform on, but his appearance, at least to a veteran diner waitress should have screamed C – O – P.  “Help a working man out will ya honey,” he thought to himself.   His pocket began to vibrate, he dug his smartphone out and saw it was -HOME- on the screen.  He answered, “Hi babe, what’s wrong?” Harrison always asked this when his wife called while he was on duty.

“No nothing, I just finished packing and did everything you said,” Jen Harrison’s sweet soft voice came through.

“Great Jen.  Everything is done?  Even the car turned around in the garage, nose out?”  He asked.

“Oh, no, sorry, forgot that.  Is it really necessary?” She continued.

“It is all necessary.  Please do it, and do not drive that car at all unless I tell you.  Leave it just as I said, please,” That last word he added extra reassurance.  She was frightened, but not nearly as much as him.  She had to keep the homefires burning and he needed to extend his wit and readiness to his wife and son.  These drastic measures were not so drastic to the causal observer.  A car packed with clothing, 8 cases of drinking water, food for 2 weeks, sleeping bags, portable fuel for cooking, a portable generator, 2 short wave radios, medical supplies, 2 rifles, 2 handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition just sitting grill to door in a 2 car garage looks like nothing from the street.  For Harrison’s peace of mind, it did wonders.  She agreed and confidently hung up the phone with an “I love you.”

Harrison felt better.  His suburban Fairfax county home was ready, ready for anything.  He was so close to this insane series of events that he just felt something brewing.  He was a former Sargent in the US army, served in Iraq in 2004 and mixed it up as much as anyone over there.  Never in his life had he felt so uneasy.  His time on the streets of Baghdad and the toughest hoods in DC were easy for him.  He just knew what he was up against.  Now, in this diner, with his cup refilled and steaming, he was freaking out.

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Chapter 1 – The Great Panic

WWZIn the 10 months since the Great Panic, the world has seen its Armageddon.  Four billion souls are confirmed lost to the undead plague, another billion have starved, perished from exposure, lack of medical care or mass suicide.  To the survivors, they now live in a world where 4 out of 5 people they ever knew in their previous lives are gone.  To be a human being on planet Earth now is to be living in a devolved society, but to be metamorphosed into a new generation.  Those who were living during that first few weeks have lived like no other humans ever have in our history.

Regardless of what you did before the Great Panic, how you lived, where you lived, what your family history was or any particular part of your life you would consider personal it is now gone.  The lifestyle of the 21st century person is also gone.  Those that still live spend all their time working to survive.  If they are lucky enough to have come together in the nascent communities around the globe where some rudimentary shelter and safety exist, they do not even dream of returning to the comforts of the past.  They dream of not having the living nightmare that has become their horrifying lives.

Just about every survivor on the planet has been inches from death at one time or another in the last year.  Each person has a story.  Each survivor has a moment which they can recall looking straight into the empty black eyes of Zeke.  Wes Harrison is perhaps the first person in North America to have looked at an infected soul.  As a DC detective he answered a 911 call at a downtown hospital.  What unfolded over the next hour was Harrison’s initiation into the Zeke Squad.  Although the Squad didn’t exist at the time.  He met Zeke in the emergency room that night.

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Zombie01Disclaimer: This blog, including any photos, excerpts, opinions, comments, fictional accounts or characters are not affiliated with the Film or book(s) World War Z.  This is a private and personal blog and not intended   for commercial use of any kind.  It is intended to enthrall and terrify all on its own.

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