Dominion of the Dead - NEW Chapter II "Dead Men Walking" 7.4.11
Chapter II: Dead Men Walking
Flashback – April 1, 1952 – USAMRID – Camp Detrich (now Ft. Detrich)
“Colonel. What exactly is this stuff we’re dealing with?” stated Private Wilson.
Lt. Col. Abram S. Benenson, head of the U.S. Army Biological Warfare Labs, paused to stare coldly at the Private.
“It’s need to know and it’s a Level 4 Biohazard. Keep your trap shut!”
The Lt. Colonel had just been appointed liaison to the new USAMRID or the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He thought to himself, if these poor saps only knew how deadly this stuff was they would have ran home to momma screaming. “I’ve got my orders to deliver these to Medical Research and Material Command and then this is going directly to NORAD. “
Even though no one was talking, the officer knew the why. The virus had just been weaponized and due for missile testing and possible aerial deployment. He had seen the tests on chimps and monkeys and then death row inmates. This virus they called AdTerminum or Latin for “the end” lived up to its billing. Nearly 99.9% fatality rate with infected descending into homicidal madness with an ability to take extensive damage to the anatomy before dying. The remaining 1% of the human population was genetically immune to the virus, but in each case the virus still affected the host. The side effects for the naturally immune ranged from nothing to increased strength, intelligence, reflexes and even accelerated healing. “God help us all if this ever got loose,” thought Lt. Col. Benenson.
Flash Forward - The Present
Date: DECEMBER 21, 2012
Time: 11 PM (I THINK)
After the run in with the homicidal Cindi, I headed immediately to the storage shed. It was used by the building facilities folks to store mowers, weed trimmers, etc. and big enough for one person to go in standing. I was still shaken by shooting a person. Not the same as punching holes in man sized paper targets. Paper targets didn’t bleed nor stare at you with lifeless eyes. Couldn’t think of that right now…stay focused.
I lay the black duffel on the ground and opened it up. Found the Surefire flashlight and clicked it on. Looked around…not much here in the shed. No windows (which was good) and with the door shut tightly behind me the light wouldn’t be visible. Tools hanging on hooks on the wall, looks like someone set up a small plastic garden washbasin and mirror for the lawn crew to wash up. It was attached to a garden hose and all I needed to do was turn a lever and get some running water. Propping my Surefire up to cast a light above me I took the time to turn the water on and wash up and look in the mirror. Blood splatters were all over my face combined with drywall dust and caked blood from the gash over my left eye. Cleaning up, I was none the worse for wear.
Surprisingly, after cleaning the blood and grime off my face…the cut over my eye seemed to have healed. Pretty odd that…it felt pretty deep and I thought I had a concussion…I normally don’t heal that quickly.
No time to think about that right now. I took off the remains of my suit…dress shirt, tie and pants and dress shoes…and set them on hooks and on the floor. I needed to get home and use camouflage and cover and avoid these crazies to make it. I found my ACU flight suit, gingerly put it on and zipped up. Found the black Danner combat boots with side zip and donned those as well. Next…a Blackhawk belt and low ride Safariland tactical holster made for the Glock and its accompanying rail mounted GTL 21 Tac Light with Laser and drop leg mag carrier. (found it used on eBay of all places years ago) I slipped in the Glock 19 in the holster on my right leg and the extra mags in the mag carrier on my left leg.
My survival knife was a Fairbain Sykes Commando Knife with a black leather leg sheaf (found and bought in an estate sale from an authentic retired british commando neighbor that had passed away years ago) and I wrapped it around my inner left calf leg accessible by my right hand. I opened the white garbage bag of water and soft drinks and Lean Cuisine microwave meals and started stuffing them in my black duffle. The duffle converted into a backpack and was made by Sandpiper of California and packed it tight and ready to sling on and move.
I needed to eat something and wanted to save my only MRE, so I ate a cold Lean Cuisine of Beef and Green Peppers. I wish I had a microwave but you can’t have it all…cold beef and peppers wasn’t so bad I guess. I wolfed it down with some bottled water and a can of Coca Cola. I knew I would need the caffeine. My commute without traffic usually takes less than 25 minutes….a 12 mile walk home would (ideally) take me a good hour to two hours depending on how much escape and evasion I did from these homicidal maniacs. As long as I got home, that is all that mattered. I prayed Amelia made it home and stuck to our plan. In an emergency, we converge home and hole up there.
I tried the Motorola two way radio and tuned to our designated channel 7 to reach Amelia but only got static. At least it was working. I shelled out the extra for a EMP hardened radio they started selling in early 2012. It came in a metal case. I started thinking about one of the survivalist threads that talked about an electromagnetic pulse from a nuclear device detonated above the United States. It would effectively destroy our highly industrialized society by rendering anything using solid state electronics dead. I remember reading a novel called “One Second After” in 2011 and the thought of an EMP attack gave me chills. I was hoping this wasn’t the case but it seemed the logical suspicion. Either that or all that Mayan prophecy nonsense of solar flares disrupting the earth (which could also disrupt our electrical grid) was coming true. No time to ponder…just time to act.
The food and water (and caffeine) made me feel better. It was time to go. I knew by memory the way to get home using side streets but remembered there was a trail network that would get me there as well. Before I left, I scanned the storage shed one last time and my eyes drew me to what appeared to be a machete left in the corner. I reached for the black sheathed machete and pulled it out. I whistled…it was actually a bolo. A slightly shorter with rounded versus sharp tip style machete typically used in Latin America or in the Pacific Rim. Looks like someone was using it to chop brush back in the fall….may come in handy. It seemed well maintained so I strapped the sheath tightly and tied it through one of the compression straps of my backpack. I could draw it with my right hand easily.
I clipped my Surefire flashlight to the belt and would just rely on the Glock Tactical light on the pistol for illumination. Probably safer that way as I didn’t want to have both hands in use the next time some homicidal maniac decides to rush me.
After the food and drink, and getting my survival gear on I felt a 100% better. Oddly, my mind was clearer, thinking through every scenario and plotting my next plan of attack and I felt slightly different. I just dismissed this as coming off an endorphin high. My wound healed pretty quickly (odd that occurred after only a few hours) and I was good to go. Something from the deep recesses of my brain made me go through all my past actions, and take stock of my supplies, run “End of the World” scenarios through to its conclusion, etc.
My brain felt supercharged and I could multi-task several things at once. It was then that I remembered the Xmas gifts as well as the ACU parka in the car. Leaving the shed (no one was around) I went back to the vehicle and grabbed the parka. I had worn a thin UnderArmour skin underneath my suit this morning so I was plenty warm with just the ACU flight suit on so I stuffed the parka in my black backpack.
I headed out of the shed and started down a hilly embankment with Northwestern Highway on my right heading northwest. Metropolitan Detroit and its suburbs was set-up similar to Washington D.C. in a “Hub and Spoke” style fashion similar to Pierre L’Enfant’s design of the capital. After the historic fire of 1805, Justice Augustus Woodward followed L’Enfant’s design and created key mile roads and streets for Detroit. In subsequent decades, highways replaced the streets or roads leading from downtown Detroit to the suburbs. Northwestern Highway was a key highway leading up to the northwest suburbs.
From my vantage point, I could see the devastation created by a Boeing 757 (that probably just took off from Detroit Metro Airport) losing power and crash landing on Northwestern Highway. Fortunately, Northwestern Highway was an expressway below street level and this seemed to contain most of the blast effect. However, the detonation of the jet fuel caused a thermal shock effect of tossing the cars (that were stuck in rush hour traffic) around the blast crater like a child’s matchbox car set flung wildly on the ground. I had never seen what an explosion of this magnitude did to people and vehicles. Charred remains of human beings were visible…the fires still burning giving me light in the darkness…and I could see that some of the victims were still behind the wheel of their car. Down in the expressway, I could see some people stumbling and staggering about in shock or worse. Their ribs showing and hideous wounds gaping….these were truly “Dead Men (and Women) Walking.”
I thought back to all those zombie movies I had seen growing up and the exclamations the hero or heroine would say “just shoot them in the head and they go down!” In the broadest sense, I suppose these were zombies (like Cindi) as they operated purely on base instinct but I hadn’t seen any of them trying to eat me. (yet!) However, they could still function and move even with obviously mortal wounds so “Walking Dead” seemed more appropriate a descriptor. Discretion is the better part of valor they say…so I will avoid these “walkers” (my nickname) at all costs.
I continued walking away from the horde of walkers. I wish I had packed some small binoculars (a future list item for the next apocalypse I guess) to use to visually scout ahead. I had yet to see a fellow living (normal) human being but knowing what time it was (close to 1 AM) my guess would be that people were either staying put at home or something even more terrible had happened. I feared for my wife even more, my brothers and sisters and their family and prayed everyone was safe. I headed into the dark, knowing that no matter who or what got in my way…I was going to fight my way home.
Chapter III: Meeting the Living
TO BE CONTINUED
this is really a great story - i hope you continue and do not quit as so many other writers have before. i hate to get hooked on a story and it fizles out never to be completed - thank you for the start of a great story....
Appreciate the feedback! Will work on Chapter III this week...Happy 4th!