Thursday, April 18, 2013 Careless In the Fires

The necrotic streets claimed a certain hell-on-earth effect that could not be ignored, not even when distracted by the finest of human luxuries. He woke up in the bed of an expensive hotel room. Chambers felt the bandage covering his head and Rebecca hovering above him. He was not himself. Not once did he comment on his proximity to her chest. He merely asked her what had happened and Rebecca began to fill him in. 

The group of survivors were holding up in the Plaza Hotel after they fled the park. She tried telling him he had a mental break, “...We collected your arrows.” But what he told her made much more sense. He informed her of the blood spilling out of the zombie’s mouth and into his eye. How he could not let it infect him...and so on...and so forth...

Rebecca blushed and looked down, like she was embarrassed or ashamed. Something was wrong. Chambers no longer felt safe. He looked around and both his eyes moved. He ripped the bandages off and felt around. “No….no…no…no…” Chambers frantically twitched. " can't be happening..."

“Mr. Khan you should-”
“GET ME A FUCKING MIRROR DAMMIT!” he sadistically demanded. 

Rebecca handed a vanity mirror to him. He looked at his face without the bandages on. It was back. The eye was clearly dead and yet it moved in his head. However he could not see out of it and didn't have a fever. Some things cannot be explained right away... By-god... it was moving. They put it back in his head because they thought he was crazy; now his life could be at risk. He would not tell them, even if he grew sick he would just put their lives in the same unnecessary danger they just put him in.

Rebecca left the room to go tell Samuel and Atticus about Chambers, “If he gets a fever… that’s the only way to know for sure that he has it.”   
“Then it’s agreed. We go on like nothing’s wrong, Rebecca, you keep a constant eye over his condition. Notify either me or Atticus when it becomes a problem.”
“You won’t have to notify me,” Atticus protested, “And for the record I don’t agree with this. But I have a feeling that we’re going to have this argument many times to come…”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Samuel could feel the growing resentment in Captain Atticus Ross’ voice.
“It means we do things your way this time…”

Samuel shook his head in phony agreement and considered the matter settled. They got him ready to get back outside.
 “Time to go!”
 They ran down the stairs of the hotel and out the back through the cafĂ© kitchen. “It’s about twenty blocks. If we move steadily and stay close we can get there in less than an hour.” Atticus instructed, “Is everybody ready?”

Chambers took his head band off. He readjusted it and put it back on over his dead eye. He finished equipping himself and followed everyone out of the hotel. They ran through the alleyways, behind Atticus and Samuel. Chambers brought up the rear. Ed’s ankle was feeling a little better, and unfortunately they had to leave Frank behind in the cage… They left food and a knife. There was nothing else they could do. There were no keys to be found.  And as long as he was in the cage he was safe… 

Nora and Rebecca were kept in the middle and Marcus carried Chamber’s fire ax. Corey and his dog were still missing. Chambers kept looking back. He kept checking the way behind them for anymore stragglers or approaching zombies.

It was hard getting used to seeing out of one eye, but it felt better to know he could still move the other one. Deep down, beneath all the fear and contempt for the people who put that dreadful thing back in his eye socket after the pain and anguish of having to rip it out, deep down there was hope that he might someday get his sight back. But would that come at a price? He knew it wouldn’t always be this unnoticeable, not having an eye; this hope in…the bliss of ignorance…would keep him going. 

Chambers felt like a pirate. Before he was mimicking a survivalist, now it was time to change it up. First thing on the list was looting an eye-patch. Even before that there was making sure that there were no signs of him being infected. His favorite role, above everything else, was being human. He followed the group as they snuck across 8th Avenue. “Not far now!” 

“We need to avoid Times Square and the bus terminal just to be safe.” Samuel suggested.
“Good call.” 

They successfully got around the sleeping hordes and there the city broke, revealing the epicenter of the explosion. It was still scorching and wretched, leaking gases into the atmosphere. Everything was falling apart around it and dying. The sleeping horde in Times Square was just reanimated flesh too radiated to stand, a mound of crumbled corpses and mangled debris. The zombies were falling apart and their flesh was burning into the air. The most epic scene you can lay eyes on and simultaneously hope to never see in person.

“Wait a second…If the zombies can be dosed with nuclear radiation than what could be said about the antithesis?”
 "Stop trying to sound smart, Uncle Ed!" Nora embarrassed him.
“Ask Sam, he’s a theoretical physicist…”
“Is that right?” everyone moaned in approval.
“It holds up to the basic laws…and I'm not gonna lie, I've thought about it before... I mean it makes sense…” Samuel admitted. “Every action has an equal and opposing reaction. But I don't know anything about the virus to be sure, or if its even a virus to begin with...”
“So what are we saying?” Chambers wanted to clarify his theory.
“The nuclear explosion might cause the virus to go airborne…”
“Good God!” Quinn reacted uncontrollably. 

“Keep it down.” Atticus warned them.         
“This is it then," Marcus deduced, "This is the end of the world."
“No, no that can’t be. God won’t let that happen.” Nora deflected.
“I don’t think God got anything to do with this rock anymore, sweetheart” Chambers winked at Nora.
“That must be why Europe or China didn’t nuke us to begin with…” Ed pointed out.
“We gotta get into that tunnel and away from the cities for good!” Atticus tried yelling over to Samuel and the rest of the group.
“What do you know?” They asked him.

Atticus plain looked guilty.
So Samuel answered for him, “It’s called Project Clean Sweep. They didn’t just nuke New York, but Boston, Philly, Baltimore, and D.C. too.”
Everyone began to squirm and freak out on the street even more. “We gotta keep it together, people…we’re almost there.” Atticus warned them again as they crossed the street that led under the rest of the streets, down to the tunnel.

“That’s not all.”          
“Sam…don’t…” Even Rebecca was beginning to break, revealing their inner circle.
But Samuel persisted, making it clear he wanted everyone to be on the same page, “If the government isn’t stopped they’re going to nuke wave after wave of cities.” 
"Aw god."
“This is a disaster.”
“We’re here.”
They all crawled past the endless rows of parked and wrecked cars leading into the tunnel. Several lanes of roads coming together to dig through the earth, under the Hudson River. 3 stagnant, isolated, cement-smooth veins carved through New York City's underbelly by the endless hours of human effort and ingenuity. Now, in the light of a new age...It was the most terrifying pass imaginable.

"I'm not going in..." Quinn exclaimed.  
“Jesus, it gets dark in there.”
“We’re gonna need flashlights.”

“Well it’s about friggin' time!” yelled a voice over by the entrance.

There was Corey, Samuel’s neighbor in the baseball cap and his dog, Jackson waiting for them by the entrance to the tunnel. He was sitting on the roof of a red old cadillac with bruises and cuts all over his face and holding a CVS bag. They all greeted him and introduced him to Marcus, Quinn, and Chambers, the newest members of their group. Upon introducing Marcus, Samuel informed Corey and the rest of the group as to where they would be going once they reached the other side of the tunnel. “We’re gonna head south for Florida, his brother is stuck in a prison down there. It’s just I-95 all the way down once we get to Jersey-”

“You mean if we get to Jersey…Especially with no lights.”
“Oh... we got lights…”

Corey held up the CVS bag. He had swiped all of the supplies he could find from the drug stores between here and the crash, including near the bus terminal and Times Square, after he landed on his face over a block away from everyone else. He could not find them when he got back, and made a run for the tunnel, the only place he knew he would definitely see them again; and he was right. Corey handed out flashlights and candy bars to everyone. He whistled and Jackson, the American bulldog, ran ahead into the tunnel.

“Jackson will be our scout."

"So…Door number one, door number two, or door number three?”

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