THE ECLIPSE FILES (NEW ZOMBIE NOVEL) Chapter 2: The Encounter Part 1
Posted April 18th, 2017 by Codename-X12
in the Guardians HQ
/USER NOTE: Here's the next part-chapter of the zombie apocalypse novel! New chapter of The Guardians are in the works as well. Enjoy!
/FILE SELECTED: //Desolation_Zero: "Chapter 3: The Encounter"// /
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Chapter 3: The Encounter
, Day 9, May 18, 2017
My name is Jason Shane. I have worked as a doctor at Doctors Without Borders for almost five years in central Africa. But none of my training, none of my experience, could ever prepare me for the living hell I was about to enter.
We got the call a little past midnight. After the outbreaks of Ebola, we had given every village a radio unit to report cases. The frantic villager on the other end was raving half-unintelligibly about how they had quarantined some people who had been infected with something. This was almost always how people called in. Crazed and desperate, fearing that this so-called "wrath of spirits" was going to get them next. And with almost no details on the symptoms or how the infection was spreading.
After we eventually calmed him down in order to get more information out of him, he told us that only a half dozen were infected but had occurred in less than an hour. We pressed him for more, but he didn't know how it was spread, but only knew that none of the victims had died yet, because they were having "fits of pain" inside the quarantine building.
Our hospital was one of the smaller ones in Africa. We only had a dozen people on staff the nearest other hospital, which had a few hundred people running it, was about five hundred miles away. And mission control figured it was just a tiny outbreak of Ebola, so they sent four of us, Matthew, Richard, Sarah, and I to take care of it.
As always we didn't have much to go on with the evidence, so we prepared with the usual Ebola gear. In the first days we had only had basic rubber suits, but with more supplies in, we had full hazmat suits at every hospital. We put on the hazmats and loaded the ambulance with emergency equipment, water, rations, and medicine.
Richard was always a little paranoid, so he packed four anti-airborne helmets in case it was an airborne disease. They look a little like gas masks but the filters are bigger to get the microscopic viruses out of the air. Then we revved up the ambulance and were soon bouncing across the uneven dirt roads that are everywhere in Africa.
"What do you think we got for us tonight?" Sarah tried to start up a conversation as we drove along through the silent night. We had worked together for a few years ever since we had been assigned to the same hospital, so we knew each other pretty well.
"Maybe...bubonic plague?" Richard asked, trying to invent something wild.
"Could be, but it sounds more like a new strain of killer influenza to me," I added. "Maybe bird flu!"
"Yeah, but those strains are so random one of those could explain anything," Sarah pointed out. "I personally think it could be a mutated form of Ebola crossed with the common cold!"
"Smallpox!" Matthew cried out as the speculation grew less and less realistic.
In an hour we reached the small village. Dozens of straw huts appeared in the glaring lights of the ambulance's headlights. I shut off the ambulance and darkness instantly reigned once again as the lights disappeared.
"Get the basic kit," I told Richard.
"Already on it," he replied, climbed past the seats to the back of the ambulance. When he returned a minute later, he was carrying a large kit for first responders for disease outbreaks. We all grabbed flashlights and stepped out into the still night.
A native came running out of the village to meet us. He froze in terror, staring at us we were aliens. And we must have looked it in our hazmat suits and with our lights. In a moment the desperate situation overcame his fear and he ran the rest of the way to meet us.
"We quarantined the victims in the stone meeting place," he told us. "There have been three more since you called."
"Three more?" Sarah asked. We all knew the tribal languages of the people we had to work with daily. "Then it must be spread through the air."
"We do not know," the man replied. "However these three were already pale and twitching before the others were quarantined."
"Pale and twitching?" I wondered. "Show us this stone meeting place." He led us through the village and immediately we all saw in the light of our flashlights a small stone building in the center of the village.
No sounds came from within.
"Are they gone already?" Matthew asked.
"Oh no, they are still alive," he said. When we reached the stone building, he peeked inside a wooden, barred window and gasped in shock. "No! No!" he cried. I raised my flashlight and pointed it through the window.
The quarantine building was silent and empty. I unlatched the locked door and strode into the room, followed by the others. The terrified African man didn't dare come inside. We swept our flashlights over the scene and it became immediately obvious to us that something was very wrong.
Hundreds of scratch marks covered every surface in the room. They were etched up and down the walls, ceiling, and floor. I felt a jolt of shock in my heart as it almost skipped a beat.
They were human scratch marks.
And when we shone our lights at the other window of the building we got another shock. The barred window was gone, replaced by jagged stumps that had been the wooden bars. The stumps had been ripped and shredded and chunks had been torn away and lay in pieces scattered across the floor.
"What's going on here?" Richard's voice was shrill. "How long were they here?"
"Only a few hours," the terrified man replied from outside. He peered in through the open doorway, eye wide with horror. "We have never seen anything like it."
"We need to report this," Sarah said immediately. "It...it could be a new epidemic." My heart was beating so fast I could feel it throbbing in my chest. Was this the first outbreak of a new horror disease? One that could sweep across the face of Africa, and then the world? A new pandemic?
"Yeah, let's get the radio," Matthew agreed. The same sense of urgency that had swept over me was evident in his voice. He sprinted back outside and to the ambulance. Every ambulance had one for emergencies, and this was definitely one.
Just as Matthew reached for the radio to call back to the hospital, it began beeping loudly as it received a signal. Matthew picked up the radio unit and brought it back outside the vehicle.
"This is an emergency!" a horrified voice on the other end of the radio exclaimed. "I am the last one left! The others are all gone! They're gone! And they're coming for me!" Other his terrified raving we could hear the dull sound of a door being pounded on.
"Where are you?" Matthew asked. A drop of sweat ran down his face and shimmered in the light of our flashlights.
"I am the last one in a village on the outskirts of Inongo," the frantic voice replied. "Dozens of them came from the south, but when we called the villagers of Bandundu, there was no answer!" Panicked breathing emanated from the radio, until blood-curdling shriek of absolute pure fear and a thundering smash blared from the speaker. The shrill screaming continued for a moment before it was cut abruptly short.
"We need to get over there!" Sarah cried. "This is getting out of hand!"
"What is it, though!?" I asked as we scrambled back into the ambulance.
"Should we try Bandundu?" Richard asked. "That one guy said that's where it came from." I nodded wordlessly as I started up the engine and steered back onto the dirt road. Richard had grabbed one of the anti-borne masks and put it on. He looked strangely inhuman, like a creature out of some dystopian future.
A future that could very well occur if we didn't find out what this disease was and shut it down somehow. Richard handed two of the helmets to Matthew and Sarah, and they unzipped their hazmat head gear to put on the heavier-duty masks.
There were no speed limits out here in the most rural villages of Africa, so I gunned the ambulance going just over eighty. The vehicles rattled and shook as it darted over the rocks and potholes of the dirt road. It would have taken us forty-five minutes to get their going a normal speed, but we reached the town in less than a half hour.
Not knowing what we would find there, I switched off the headlights and killed the engine before the town was in sight. I put on one of the anti-airbornes and we silently crept out of the ambulance.
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