Authors: Jack Walker
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Cover illustrations by Jack Walker, Copyright © December 2015
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Mission:- New York
UN Building, New York, 11PM
“Breaking news: There are reports that there has been an attack on the UN headquarters this evening, and there are reports of people being killed inside the building by terrorists. We have reports coming in so far, but they are sketchy at best. We urge restraint by the people of New York tonight. We will bring you more on this story as it develops.” said the bored news anchor, looking down at the notes handed to him. “This is John Williams reporting from outside the United Nations. Hang on, somebody has just handed me more information.” he said with alarm on his face. A reporter handed him another brief with all the latest information direct from a ‘source’ inside the building. Straightening his tie he scanned the sheet of paper and gasped. He looked at the reporter, and mouthed silently
“Are you fucking kidding me? This is bullshit! How could this be happening?” Realising that he was still being recorded; he swung back to the camera, and smiled going a bit grey in the face. “My apologies, I was just handed some interesting information and it seems that we have bit of a problem from inside the building; it appears that the people who have died inside the building are somehow reanimating. Yes, they are real life zombies.” He said shakily. “We have some video evidence of this as one of the security cameras has captured one of the dead workers getting up and attacking various people inside an office. Please be aware that this is unedited and is real as far as we can ascertain. Please be advised this has graphic content and younger viewers should not be present.”
The anchors image skipped to a video that was started playing. A man rushed into the security room clutching his throat, and apparently trying to get help from the security guard. The security guard closest to the stumbling man got up out of his chair and approached the man who had fallen to his knees. He was clutching his throat and looked like he was gasping, trying to get air into his lungs. The security guard was approaching carefully trying to see if he could help the man, with his hand on his pistol, he approached carefully. Falling over the man retched, and started to go into spasms, thrashing on the ground like an epileptic. The security guard reached up to his radio and spoke briefly into it. He kneeled down in front of the man on the floor and tried to get him to lie on his side, obviously his first aid training had finally been initiated. He tried to get his hands off his throat, but it looked like the man had a death grip on his throat. Stilling suddenly, his hands fell to his sides; causing the security guard to start, reaching for his gun. Everyone watching could see the security guard visibly relaxing as the man rolled over onto his back. The security guard reached out and placed his fingers on the man’s neck, feeling for a pulse. The head shake conveyed the message that there was no life. He stood up and walked away from him; he reached up toward the radio on his shoulder and spoke briefly into it. He could not see what everyone watching saw; the brief flicker of movement from the corpse. The ‘dead’ man suddenly lurched to his feet, and moved toward the security guard who was still talking and had apparently not heard the man getting up.
Grabbing the security guard, he bit into the man’s neck, blood spurting all over the office and the video showed the man getting dragged to the ground, blood pumping and splashing everywhere. The dead man bit into the guard’s torso, ripping a chunk of flesh out and chewing, then reached forward to repeat the process. Blood gushed from the body of the struggling security guard as he tried to push the man off him, but the loss of blood was making his struggles weaken. The dead man struck again, sinking his face into the guards stomach the dead man ripped another piece of him off, pulling his guts out in long stringy ropes. The struggles of the guard had now stopped and the corpse of the man now lay on the floor in an ever expanding pool of blood. Losing interest, the dead man now got to his feet and staggered toward the open door, wandering out into the hallway. The camera angle was not enough to see the man who had died and had reanimated wander off down the passage. However, the next moment everyone watching saw the dead guard struggle to his feet. The open door beckoned, and the guard staggered toward the open door.
Horrified everyone watching the video was stunned to see the guard get up, and gasps were heard from the studio as the video continued, the guard was suddenly stopped in his tracks by what appeared to be gunshots being fired by someone off screen. Flashes of gunshots were the only indication that there was somebody firing at the now dead security guard who had just stepped out of the security office. The guard fell to the ground, but continued to writhe and struggled to his feet and continued toward the gunshots. Flashes erupted again as the shots slammed into the guard. Not going down this time, the guard reached out for the unknown shooter who was out of shot of the camera. Suddenly the man’s head erupted in a splash of gore, blood and brains spraying everywhere as his head vanished. The body of the guard fell over, twitched once and stopped moving. Then the shooter stepped into the office and looked around. He was a large man, six foot three, a goatee and wearing a guard’s uniform as well. He strode into the security office; locking the door behind him and sat down in the chair behind the computer. Reaching out for the keyboard he started typing rapidly; He was probably composing an email, everyone surmised as he typed rapidly and the video blinked off.
“Well, that was interesting indeed. The video was a result of the security guard sending it to us via an email. We are not the only news station who has been sent the video.” He stammered, “It is certain that the dead man who now originally died has escaped inside the building and is possibly trying to infect others. It appears as though the disease or infection is spread by biting people. Also, the infected people need to be shot in the head to stop them attacking.” Said the anchor calmly, his voice now settled into a more reserved and calm tone. “The security staff has now got the situation under control inside the building, and the police are en route to help out in this situation developing.”
The door opened on the ground floor into the alley and nobody saw the man who staggered out into the alley next to the United Nations building. The dead man strayed down the darkened alley, looking for another victim. The streets being relatively quiet, he was not immediately noticed by pedestrians. The streets swallowed the lone man staggering off to find another victim. By the time that this information came to light it was already too late. The security camera covering that alleyway had been out of action for about six months, and had been delayed from being fixed by laziness. This fact was only discovered after the building had been cleared out by the police, and the open door was the initial point of the infection escaping into New York.
Struggling with his laptop, he tried to grab the keys out of his pocket and open the door. He had forgotten how badly the door was sticking and cursed under his breath as he tried in vain to get the door open. Simon tried to get the key in the right position and jiggled the key slowly, getting more and more irritated by the stubborn refusal of the lock to open. He sighed, bending down and finally placing the laptop on the step of the coffee shop, he could now use both hands. Straightening up, he got a decent hold of the key, jiggled it and turned at the same time, finally succeeding in getting the door open. Retrieving his laptop he went into the coffee shop with the laptop ready to try get his accounts done before he opened up at 8:30 am. Walking in he placed the laptop on the counter next to the register, reaching up to the coffee machine, switching it on to brew himself a coffee before he settled down with the laptop to get his work done. Simon switched on the radio, and the song ‘Like a virgin’ came on half way through. He sat for a minute catching his breath, then got up and locked the door and pulled the blind down so he would not be disturbed. Being relatively quiet at 6am, he had not heard much traffic noise, and wondered about this in the back of his mind. Putting those thoughts aside for now, he quickly returned to make the coffee he so desperately needed. Grinding the beans was always the best part of the coffee Simon though, as it released the fresh smell and flavour of the beans. The noisy grinder was a solid and reliable piece of equipment he had purchased when he had opened the coffee shop, and was still working fantastically well after three years of daily service to him and his customers. With the noise of the grinder on he did not hear the news report on the radio, saying that people were being attacked up near Central park. He concentrated on the task at hand, making sure the beans were ground just enough to produce the right blend and aroma. Placing the ground beans in the filter he brewed the beans, creating the dark aromatic blend he so much enjoyed first thing in the morning on opening the shop.
Finally he sipped the dark liquid and savoured the spicy aromatic flavours of the South American beans. The taste hit his taste buds and he relaxed a bit more, sitting there and enjoying the empty shop. He knew the rush was going to be on soon enough. Sighing, he sipped, feeling that familiar tingle of the coffee hitting his bloodstream and he smiled. Opening up the laptop he sat down behind the counter after pulling up a stool to sit on. He hit the power button and waited while the laptop booted up. Taking another sip of the coffee he so fondly enjoyed, he leaned back and watched as the screen eventually came to life displaying the windows log and the login box. Entering his password he waited for the desktop to load up and finally managed to log onto his email account. Scrolling through his emails as they landed in his inbox he dismissed quite a few as potential spam, and moved the emails entitled
'Zombie Attacks Real
' and '
' etc. into the junk folder. He did not even open them up to see if they were potential marketing ploys to get people to click on a link to buy survival gear for outdoor pursuits or anything like that. He proceeded to get the spreadsheet open from the email from his accountant, and proceeded to go through the figures column by column. Losing himself, he hardly remembered heard the sirens screaming past; roaring on to the emergency brewing in the city.
It was the scream that finally made him take note of what was happening outside. He got up hurriedly from the stool and realised the time, being nearly opening time, but curious as to why someone was screaming out in the street. His shop was located in a relatively quiet district on First Avenue between East 33rd and East 34th Streets. Relatively quiet being a bit of a misnomer, as his coffee shop was always busy, with patrons often just walking in off the street. He rushed to the door and after pulling up the blind, finally saw who was screaming; it was a large woman who was on the ground with a man standing over her, and he looked desperately ill. He was looked like he was about to try and attack the woman by either mugging her or possibly wanting to rape her. In broad daylight! He could not simply stand there and watch this happen. He strode quickly back to the counter and reached for the baseball bat that he kept there as an emergency weapon in case of muggings or robberies. The scream penetrated again as the woman shrilly screamed, possibly in mortal fear of her life. Then he heard the scream change pitch half way through and he realised it was a scream of pain. Rushing to the door again he wrenched the door open and saw the woman lying on the ground with the man on top of her, like he was preparing to kiss her neck.
The man ripped a chunk of flesh out of her neck, and scream died in the woman’s gurgling blood. Simon reached stood frozen on the spot, his blood draining from his face as he realised that the woman had just been murdered; No, ripped apart in front of his eyes.
"Hey you, leave that woman alone." Simon shouted, "Get out of here or I will call the police!" he threatened with a voice quavering slightly.
The ill man slowly swivelled his head toward Simon and hissed violently, blood dripping from his open maw of a mouth. Simon blanched and stepped back toward the open door of the shop. The 'creature' returned to his feast on the ground in front of him, and Simon heard the crunch and tearing of wet meat. Simon turned his head and retched at the sight of the man and the woman on the ground, and as he looked back fascinated yet disgusted he saw the body of the now silent woman shaking with the ferocity of the man now tearing open her stomach and shoving his face inside to bite and chew some more. The wet tearing noises and chewing were loud enough that Simon could hear it from his shop doorway. He retched again as he stumbled back into the shop, and quickly closed the door behind him. Wondering what was going on he turned around and looked through the closed door out into the street.