Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Blighted - Chapter 1 (Partial)

Here's what I've got so far; not proofread.




The Blighted
part 1
Archer Garrett
~~~
This is a work of fiction.  All of the characters, organizations and events in this novel are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously; any resemblance to actual persons, living or undead is entirely coincidental.
~~~
Copyright © 2012 Archer Garrett. 
All Rights Reserved.
No Part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, copied or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.
~~~
Prologue


60 Days After the Outbreak
World Health Organization (WHO), South Pacific Region
Suva, Fiji
The exhausted soldiers leaned against the parapet walls of the flat roof and scanned the surrounding city with their binoculars.  An occasional walker was noted below as it randomly shuffled about, but so far, there were no signs of a real threat.  Hopefully it would be a quiet today; they certainly needed the rest. 
In the lobby of the building, five floors below, a group of nearly a dozen men with spears and machetes waited for an update from the watchmen high above.  They had long abandoned the use of firearms in all but the most dire of circumstances.  The rifles’ loud reports only served to attract more of the undead, and their ammunition supplies were dwindling precariously low.
In the center of the roof was a sprawling array of solar panels.  A confusion of wires led from the panels to a battery bank on the fifth floor, just below.  The rain over the past several days had been both a blessing and a curse; it had refilled their cistern, but nearly drained their power reserves.  Hopefully the next few days would be sunny; a day without power was a day without research.
The commanding officer on the roof sighed deeply as he surveyed the city below.  The view inspired both a sense of awe and utter hopelessness.  The nearby streets of Suva Old Town were once filled with tourists as they explored the numerous shops and dined in the sidewalk cafes.  The colonial architecture was a mocking reminder of times that were no more.  Now, they were hauntingly barren, except for the occasional, shuffling corpse and the endless parade of wind-blown trash.  The officer turned and scanned the jagged, northwest horizon wrought by the island’s mountainous interior.  There had been no word from the survivors on the opposite side of the island in Nadi or Lautoka for nearly two weeks; he wondered if he and his companions were the last of the living on Viti Levu.
“Help!”
He cursed aloud as the cries echoed through the surrounding area.  Apparently not.
“Help!”
He watched as two distraught men fled along Renwick Road, in their direction.
“Help!”
“Sir!  Should we take them out?”
“No!” the officer replied, “Don’t you remember what happened last time we fired a weapon?”
The young soldier nodded sheepishly.
“We were nearly overrun!  And that was almost a month ago!  There’s surely more of them things now.  Radio the lobby, have the men go out to get them and shut them up, before they get us all killed.”
“Come in Ratu.”
“Go ahead.”
“Send some of your men out to get those fools before they wake the entire city.”
“Affirmative.”
~~~
Ratu and the others dashed out of the building’s main entrance towards the pair of terrified men.  The machetes and spears bobbed rhythmically with the men’s strides as they gripped the weapons tightly.  Ratu was filled with dread at the thought of what the men were fleeing.  If they had managed to survive this long, the pair was obviously capable of defending themselves.
As Ratu and the others reached the men, the dread that was within him turned to rage.  Ratu’s machete clattered on the pavement as he put his full weight behind the punch.  The man’s knees buckled as the massive fist violently connected with his jaw.  The second man lost the last remaining vestiges of his composure as he watched his companion collapse on the filthy street.
Ratu leaned in so that he was inches from the face of the refugee that was still standing.  His hot, rancid breath swirled about the man’s nostrils as he growled menacingly, “Are you insane?  You’ll wake the dead        !”
The refugee closed his eyes and dropped to one knee as he began to shake and weep uncontrollably.  The wounded man cradled his jaw as he sat up and draped arm around his friend’s shoulder.
“How many are after you?”
The men ignored Ratu as they curled around the soldier’s feet like scolded dogs.  They were broken men, exhausted from endless terror and sleepless nights.
“How many are after you?”
The wounded man looked up with bloodshot eyes and tears streaming down his face as he continued to rub his jaw.
“We’re all dead; all dead.”
Ratu’s radio crackled to life with the panicked voice of the young soldier on the roof, “All of you get back here, now!  Barricade the doors; get the guns!”
As Ratu and the others looked up, an endless wave of undead appeared from around the corner.  As terrifying as the sight of the horde of corpses was, the sound was even worse; it was as if a great swarm of hornets were upon them.  An endless drone of groans and gurgles shattered the silence of the cloudless, midsummer’s day.
Ratu crouched low to retrieve his machete, before jerking the men to their feet.  The faces of the soldiers were pale with horror as they turned and fled to their refuge.
~~~
Dr. Ito’s assistant, Emma, finished transcribing the notes from the previous day’s observation and uploaded them to the database.  The information on the database, referred to as RISA, could be accessed by hundreds of collaborating doctors and researchers from around the globe as they frantically searched for a cure.  In another life, the assistant would have never performed such a lowly task, but times were different now; everyone had to pull together.
Communication between the researchers had begun to devolve as they became increasingly isolated.  The last conference call had been ten days ago, and some members of the team had begun communicating solely through RISA.  Emma could understand the eccentricities that were arising from the despair.  The research was becoming increasingly maddening as a cure continued to elude them, while the world continued to descend into a darkness that had been truly unimaginable just weeks ago.

3 comments:

  1. Oh no not another "walking dead" story Garrett. There are so many of them.But I know your's will be good, your writting reflects it.
    Papa Mike
    III

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yea I know. Gotta try my hand though.

    ReplyDelete