Authors: Jessica T. Ozment
The right of
to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by the author in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The story contained within this book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the author.
Chapter One - Genesis
Chapter Two - Journey
Chapter Three - Sam
Chapter Four - Horde
Chapter Five – The School
Chapter Six – Meeting up
Chapter Seven - Trapped
Chapter Eight - Roland
Chapter Nine – Escape
Chapter One - Genesis
He lays a hand across his chest as he walks into the room where Allison’s faint voice traveled from. He had been following the light whispers to an upstairs room they had been hiding. He squinted his eyes; desperately focusing through the darkness. He reached for the light switch, no power.
‘Ryan?’ Came Allison’s soft voice trickling out from the center of the room. It was barely above a whisper. Ryan shifted his gaze but was unable to make anything out. How he wished his eyes would adjust already.
‘Allison?’ He cried. ‘Where are you? I can’t see you.’
With that, he heard something scamper quickly across the room.
‘Allison?’ He choked again.
His heart nearly dropped to the floor when he heard a loud thud.
‘Ryan I am here….follow my voice…,’ it sounded as though her voice trailed off. Was she being dragged?
With the sweat building above his brow he moved slowly, and carefully, closer to the sound of her voice.
‘Closer…’ Allison beckoned.
Her voice became more shrill. Ryan felt a knot curl into his stomach as she called out to him. Something was wrong. They’d been together almost every day for the past six years. He knew her voice well; he could sense the unease in her tone.
Ryan finally decided to stop. In the darkness his hand brushed up against what felt like the edge of a firm bed. He traced the wooden frame along the edges, feeling for anything that could be Allison. As he felt along the side of the bed, his hand reached something wet. His initial reaction was to pull away; to wipe it on his jeans.
‘I’m right here baby…’ She murmured
At that moment Ryan felt a very cold and wet hand grasp his arm tightly. So tight in fact it burned.
‘Allison, what is wrong with you? Why are you so wet?’
Ryan waited for her response. She had gone quiet.
His voice started to shake. ‘Allison?’ He repeated.
At that moment, Ryan turned his head towards the bedroom door. He sees the lights slowly coming on one by one. Until finally the light in the room flicks on. Ryan turned quickly to face her . But it wasn’t Allison at all. It looked like it could have been her. Or, at least a shell of her anyways. He threw her arm off of his shoulder and backed away from her.
‘You’re not Allison...’ He could only manage a squeak.
As the lights brightened suddenly, a barreling voice shouted, ‘Cut!. I told you to hold on to the last sentence and make it sound… more intense!’
Ian threw his palm to his forehead and pressed it firmly there. He’d only been playing the part of Ryan for a few days but, already the director was starting to annoy him.
‘Alright! I’ve got it!’ He mouthed to Jim through a half smile.
He was getting tired of his antics. He was constantly barking at him over every small detail. No matter, it wouldn’t be long before filming was done. And then Ian would return to New York. He’d been taking smaller roles in order to get his name out there. But, lately it seemed he had been dealing with the worst of directors. He would just have to deal with it. He turned to his Co-star Kendra who was playing the part of Allison. Despite her stage makeup he could tell that she felt drained.
‘You alright Kendra?’ he asked, raising his hand to rest on her shoulder.
He watched as her eyes followed his hand, seeming to skim them over.
‘Yes…I am fine.’ She croaked as she got up and walked to the other side of the room.
It looked like she was afraid to be near him.
‘You sure?’ He asked. ‘You seem a little tense today.’
He motioned for his assistant to grab some refreshments. He took the water and offered her a bottle. Brushing back his black hair, he watched as she guzzled it down quickly as though she had been parched for days.
‘Why don’t we finish this scene tomorrow?’ He asked her, looking over at Jim for support.
Kendra bit down on her lower lip. Nothing irked her more than finishing the day with an uncompleted scene. But, she really couldn’t see this day lasting much longer with the way that she felt at the moment.
‘Ah, sure.’ She sat the empty plastic bottle down and walked over to Ian. ‘I guess that would be ok. I’ll just be in my dressing room taking this off.’ She said, motioning toward the atrocious outfit and body suit that she was wearing.
It smelt heavily of sweet candy due to the fake blood the makeup artists had doused her with. It had begun to make her nostrils burn.
‘Uh, Ok, yeah that sounds fine. But, you two better have your butt’s in gear and lines down by then!’ Jim shouted.
With that Jim turned around. He need no longer waste his time staring at the pair of them if they weren’t making him money.
Jim Cranston was the type of person who invested his time very wisely. His father taught him that, ”time is money” he’d say. And he took that as seriously as he could.
‘Listen up everyone!’ Jim roared. - That seemed to be the only way that he could express himself these days- ‘I’m going to be in my office if anyone needs anything…’ He paused taking in a breath. ‘And by that, I mean leave me alone!’
He swiftly turned and headed towards his office at the back of the warehouse. Which wasn’t entirely a warehouse anymore? The props and building crew had turned it into a house within a warehouse for the film. His tiny office was located in the back of the warehouse. He did this on purpose. He avoided other people whenever possible . Which was a bit odd for the occupation he had. Jim hurriedly raced passed the film crew to his office and slammed the door. The ‘DO NOT DISTURB’ sign rocking back and forth swiftly as he did.
With Jim’s exit underway, Kendra realized she had better start making hers. She was truly feeling horrible. ‘
If this didn’t let up, she would have to see a doctor soon
.’ She thought to herself.
‘Ian I’m going to head to bed. See you later?’ She asked brushing her brown hair away from her face.
Her brown eyes looked rather dim. The pair had taken to grabbing a drink after each completion of important scenes.
‘Yeah, of course. That is if you’re feeling any better than you look.’ He joked. Trying to put a smile on her face before she left.
He knew she needed something to cheer her up. He allowed a large smile to pass over his face. Kendra smiled half-heartedly. Ian could tell that all she had on her mind was hitting her head on a soft pillow. Far away from any cameras and hot lights pointed at her. She pushed passed him quickly as if she were about to throw up; running in the direction of her dressing room. It was also located near Cranston’s office. This happened to be Cranston’s doing. Kendra was a good looking girl.
Ian grabbed his manuscript of lines he had thrown into his actor’s chair. The one with his name on it for in between scenes and such. He would need to study hard tonight if he wanted Jim off of his back. This film was proving to be his least favorite. The only person who made it bearable was Kendra. And she was too sick to hang out with him. Resigned to spending the rest of the evening alone he made his to his dressing room.
On the way to his room, Ian noticed there was a small crowd around Jeremy - The key grip guy for the film. Their gazes seemed situated on his smart phone.
What could be this good?
He wondered as he walked closer to the cluster of people.
It’s probably just some dumb crazy cat video. Everyone is really into those these days.
The sound of the people’s whispers slowly began to get louder and louder. Whatever it was, it sure had everyone excited.
As he got closer he noticed that what he mistook for excitement was actually fear. Everyone’s face, including Jeremy’s, looked extremely frightened at whatever they were witnessing.
What the hell is up with everyone?
Ian asked himself. He was finally able to get a good view of what was playing on the cell phone… As he stared at the screen his heart sank deeply into his stomach. He knew now what the other people had known all along. The world had just lost its mind.
‘What in seven hells are we going to do?’ Ian heard Jon the kitchen guy blurt out, scared beyond measure.
The crowd began thinning out around Jeremy. They all backed away from his phone as if it were the plague. No one seemed to want to be near it, let alone touch it. Ian decided to move forward and get a better view. Jeremy saw Ian walk toward him.
‘As you’re still pretty calm, I take it you’ve not seen this yet?’
Ian shook his head as Jeremy restarted the video from the beginning.
As the video starts back up, Ian notices what appear to be Russian soldiers in a makeshift hospital. From the look of it, Ian could tell that they were at war. As the camera focuses, the cameraman walks towards the injured soldiers in the hospital beds. He zooms slowly into the frame of the face of a young Russian soldier who appears to be sleeping.
Is he sleeping? He’s so still and pale….what’s going on here?
The soldier never moved. The camera man grabs the patients chart from the end of the bed. He pulls up the top of the first page. And then speaks something in Russian. The words, ‘He is dead.’ translated across the bottom of the screen. The eerie silence that followed only made the realization more bizarre. At that moment, the viewer hears the cameraman speak something in Russian again. His words seemed rushed and worried. He leaps backward, nearly dropping his camera. The video bouncing around within the small confines of the cell phone eventually straightened up and re-focused. What Ian saw next would not be believed around the world for many days to come.
The soldier that the cameraman had focused on wasn’t dead at all…
Or was he?
Ian frantically thought.
He still had the look of death upon his face but, he was moving… The soldier stretched out his arm towards the cameraman. His mouth was open wide with rows of teeth, many of them broken and chipped. At that moment Ian looked back at all of the people who had already watched the video. His look was of disbelief
. How could the cameraman make something like this up?
No one seemed to care. They all seemed busy getting their things together. One person tripped over a cord from the cameras and ripped part of the backdrop from the last scene that they filmed..
Ian thought. Again his gaze shift back to the phone.
This time, you could not see very much of the background because, there was an alarming amount of blood covering the camera’s lens. As if that wasn’t enough, you could barely make out in the background shadows shuffling about the room
. What am I seeing here?
His hands began to tremble.
A banner for the local news channel passes across the video’s page. And then the newscaster appears in the camera’s frame. His look wasn’t that of disbelief. Oh no. It was the look of despair. Like he knew something that he didn’t truly feel like talking about. But, this was his job and somebody had to do it.
‘We come to you now from the Channel 12 newsroom with an alarming video. We are live coming straight out of Russia’s war zone nearing the capitol.’ The News Anchor dropped his gaze to his command prompt screen. He paused, took a deep breath and proceeded with the story.
‘It appears that there is a high body count, casualties of war that the military cannot account for. This is a follow up statement that goes along with the video we have just shown you. It appears that the dead are rising!’ The news anchor dropped his papers, coughed and adjusted his tie.
‘Ahem,’ he clears his throat. ‘It would appear that the dead are attacking people. Anyone they come in contact with. The government has called for a state of emergency in almost all of the United States. We are advising that you stay home, don’t open your doors. And above all be safe. Witnesses have reported seeing the dead bite other people and moments later that person experiences violent seizures, followed by vomiting and then…they turn.’
The anchors blue eyes flushed red at reading this statement. He didn’t look as though he believed it himself.
‘So, please get your family somewhere safe. And await further instructions as they come available, we will continue to bring you the latest and most accurate news…um’, he choked. ‘Here at Channel 12 news station’.
The anchor then dropped his papers, storming away from his desk at great speed. Then, the Russian video began to air once more, as if it were on a loop.
Jeremy stuffed his phone back into his pocket. He had a feeling he wouldn’t want to look at it again for a while. This was all getting to him. He thought he’d had it with his job as key grip working under Cranston. But, now this? He can be sure that he’ll be adding a few more greys to his already salt and pepper hair. He ran his fingers through his shaggy hair. He knew for sure that they couldn’t stay here. They needed to go. But, to where? He looked to Ian.
‘So…What do you think we ought to do?’ he asked turning his head around the room, soaking in everyone’s demeanors. Each person had a different look about them. Some were grabbing their things and heading for the doors. Others, well they looked to be in a state of confusion. They didn’t seem to know what to do. He could only think of sadness and a sense of hopelessness.