The Remedy: A Zombie Short Story, страница 1
A Zombie Short Story By: Jason Thacker
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Copyright Jason Thacker 2011
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead or living dead, is entirely coincidental.
This book is protected under the copyright laws laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized use of the material or artwork contained herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the author or artist.
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Ian struggled to open his eyes as he felt the car come to a stop. His vision blurred as he glanced around; he recognized the Double Kwik convenience store sign in front of the car.
“Hey now, I see you've got those pretty blue eyes open," Ian's newlywed wife Sarah said softly.
Ian sat up in his seat and rubbed his eyes. "How long have I been out?"
Sarah smiled at him from the driver's side and said, "Since we pulled out of the factory's parking lot."
Sarah had picked Ian up from work after his twelve-hour night shift was over. Ian glanced over to check the clock. It showed 8:07; he had been off work since 7:00.
After a long yawn, he asked, "Has traffic been that bad?"
Sarah laughed as she said, "No, I've stopped to pay a couple of bills on our way. You've been out like a light."
Ian watched an old man get out of a beat up truck and walk into the store. "I guess I have."
"I've gotta run in here real fast to get some milk, and then we'll be on our way home. You just lay your head back and get some more rest," said Sarah as she gently rubbed Ian's arm.
Ian smiled at her. "Want me to come in with you?"
Sarah checked her hair in the rearview mirror as she replied, "That's ok. You just lay back there and get yourself some more sleep." She took one last glance to make sure her makeup looked all right. She then leaned over the console, and the two kissed. "I'll be right back," she said as she opened her door.
Ian leaned over the console as she got out of the car and told her, "I love you babe."
Sarah smiled and replied, "I love you too."
Ian leaned back in his seat as she shut the door. He watched Sarah walk toward the store’s entrance. The two of them had known each other since high school. They could finish each other's sentences and knew what the other thought by a simple change of expression. The two lost touch after high school while Ian moved away from their hometown of Pikeville, Ky to go to college two hundred miles away, and Sarah stayed home to go to community college. After a year, Ian dropped out and came back home to get a job in the local furniture factory. The two quickly rekindled their friendship and began dating shortly after.
As Ian watched Sarah walk into the store, he felt the familiar feeling of completeness he got every time he looked at her. She stopped to hold the door open for an older woman. As Sarah stepped inside, Ian closed his eyes and laid his head back on the headrest. His thoughts wandered as he tried to fall back asleep. Occasionally, he opened his eyes to look around. He no longer felt as sleepy as he did before his nap. Ian opened his eyes and reached over to turn on the radio. He looked around at the people that entered and exited the store as he searched for a decent song. Everyone seemed wrapped up in their own lives as they hurried to and from their vehicles. Ian was always an easygoing person and never understood why everyone seemed to rush through life.
Ian stopped on a station that was playing "Far Behind" by Candlebox. He sat back in his seat and fidgeted with Sarah's black hair bow that twined around the gearshift. As he looked at the clock, he wondered just how long the lines were inside.
He thought to himself, "She only went in for a gallon of milk."
Just as he looked up, he noticed a man walk around from the back of the store. His slender physique moved fast. He looked to be in his early twenties. The man pulled up his baggy jeans, covered with holes in the thighs, then pulled the white tank top he wore down over them. He looked all around the parking lot as he approached the door. Ian watched as the man stopped just in front of the door and reached his hand behind his back. Ian sat straight up in the seat when he saw the man pull a large Bowie knife from the back of his pants. The thug grabbed the door and stormed inside. Ian froze as he realized the man was about to rob the store. He worried the man would try to hurt Sarah.
Without thinking of the possible consequences, Ian unbuckled his seat belt and pushed the car door open. He hurried as he slammed the door shut and rushed toward the door. His heart pounded, and thoughts of Sarah being hurt raced through his mind. He barely saw through the tinted glass windows in the front of the store. Just before Ian pulled the door open, his worst fear became reality. The man stood in front of the counter with one arm wrapped around Sarah’s shoulders and the knife held to her neck by the other. His back faced the door.
Ian burst inside and stormed toward the man. The thug seemed too busy demanding money from the cashier to hear the door open. Onlookers inside the store watched in horror as Ian approached the man. The robber noticed everyone looking behind him. He turned with Sarah to see for himself. As soon as he turned, Ian slugged him right between the eyes. The robber stumbled back and released his grip on Sarah; Ian continued to come at the man. Ian shoved him against the counter and delivered another devastating blow to his mouth. The man made a quick swipe with his knife. The knife slashed through Ian’s forearm and made a deep gash. Ian's adrenaline numbed the pain, and the cut only made him angrier. The thug tried to stab Ian in his stomach but Ian managed to grab his arm with both hands and twist it until he released the knife. Ian took advantage and threw him to the ground; he dove on top of the man and pummeled him. Blood poured down Ian's arm from the cut to his fist as he punched the man's face. Soon numerous gashes formed above and below the man’s eyes.
Sarah stood back and watched as Ian pulverized the man. After they received the bulletin about the activated silent alarm, the police arrived on the scene. Two male officers pulled Ian up from the robber. They quickly placed cuffs on the man, pulled him to his feet, and walked him outside. The thug’s face was covered with his own blood, and the blood from Ian's knife wound. The man stumbled about as the officers lead him to one of the ambulances that arrived. An older male officer walked with Ian to the other ambulance.
He held the door open for Ian as he said, "That was a brave thing you did back there son."
Ian wore a nervous smile on his face as he replied, "Thanks. I was just protecting my wife."
He tightly held the bottom of his bloodstained, blue uniform shirt over the knife wound. The officer spoke to the female paramedic that waited by the back of the ambulance.
"He's got a pretty bad knife wound. I'm no expert but I'm guessing he's gonna need stitches."
The paramedic waved Ian to come closer. She took Ian's hand off the cut and moved his shirt to examine the bloody gash.
Upon first sight the paramedic replied, "Yep, I'd say you're right about that."
Disappointed, Ian shook his head as he muttered, "Great."
Sarah emerged from the store still visibly shaken by her ordeal. She looked around for a moment to spot Ian. She walked over and asked, "Are you ok?"
"I'm gonna have to get stitches," said Ian as the paramedic continued to disinfect his cut.
Sarah stood reserved with her arms crossed. She held her hand up to her mouth while looking at the cut on Ian's forearm.
Ian shrugged his shoulder and said, "Kinda. It's starting to sting more and more."
As the paramedic finished making a temporary bandage she looked at Sarah and said, "M'am, you're welcome to ride to the hospital with him if you want."
Sarah looked to Ian for the answer.
"You think you'll be alright to drive?" he asked.
She bit her bottom lip and nodded.
"Would you care to just follow us? That way after the doctor is done, we can just go home," asked Ian.
Sarah smiled as she said, "Yeah, that's no problem."
She leaned over and hugged him; Ian placed his good arm around her waist.
Sarah followed the paramedics to the hospital, where they rushed Ian to a room inside the ER. A couple of nurses went in and out of the sliding glass door of Ian’s room as they gathered information and vitals for the doctor. Sarah soon joined Ian inside just before the doctor and a nurse entered. The doctor held a doughnut in one hand as he looked over Ian’s charts in the other. The nurse prepared everything necessary for Ian’s stitches.
“Good morning Ian. How are you doing?” asked the doctor with a very thick Indian accent. He took a bite of his chocolate and sprinkle covered doughnut.
Trying to keep a positive attitude, Ian replied, “I’m a little tired. Just got off of work a little while ago.”
The doctor placed his clipboard on the counter next to the washing sink and threw the rest of his doughnut in the garbage.
“Well, my name is Dr. Hassip; this shouldn’t take too long. We’ll have you out of here in no time.” He wiped his mouth and dark mustache with a paper towel and washed his hands.
The nurse rolled a small tray covered with various needles, bandages, and other supplies next to Ian, who sat on the examining table.
“That was a very brave thing you did at that store Ian.” She looked to Sarah and said, “You are a lucky woman to have such a heroic man for your husband.”
Sarah smiled, “I know, he saved my life today.”
Ian, very modest, thought of his act as just a duty to protect Sarah as her husband.
Dr. Hassip snapped his gloves on and rolled a chair next to Ian. He started the excruciating procedure. Ian fought through the pain as the needle pierced though his skin with each stitch. He felt the thread drag through and pull the gaping wound together. Just as the doctor promised, the procedure progressed fast, and before Ian knew it, he was stiched. Dr. Hassip and the nurse left the room for a moment to finish Ian’s paperwork and get him ready to leave.
Ian and Sarah sat in the room and talked about how quick the doctor worked. Soon a light pecking came to the glass door. Ian and Sarah looked and saw a slender woman with long, straight, brown hair standing smiling. She wore a black business jacket with a white shirt underneath and khaki dress pants. Confused, Ian and Sarah looked at each other as if they recognized her but unsure from where. Sarah got up.
As she slid the door open, the woman asked, “Ian and Sarah Rogers?”
Sarah still wondered where she seen the woman before as she responded, “Yes?”
The woman held her hand out to shake Sarah’s. “It’s good to meet you. I’m Lynn Justice from WYMT News Channel 6. I’d like to get a few words from you both about Ian’s heroics this morning.”
Sarah then realized why Lynn looked so familiar and was very glad to meet her. “Sure, come in.”
Lynn walked over and exchanged pleasantries with Ian. She told him how much she admired courageous people like him and wished there were more people that would stand up for what’s right. Ian was very excited to meet Lynn but remained very humble about what he did for Sarah. As Lynn started to ask him specifics about the ordeal, an urgent message came across the intercom.
“Attention doctors, we have a code blue in the E.R. I repeat a code blue. Any available doctor please report to the E.R. to room number six; that is emergency room number six.”
Lynn glanced around as a look of worry crept across her face. “I think that’s… yeah, it’s the other guy’s room.”
Ian looked at Lynn and asked, “What other guy?”
Lynn seemed to be very surprised they didn‘t know. “Steve Goins, the other man from the Double Kwik.”
“You mean they brought him here? And he’s just a few rooms down from us?” asked Ian, visibly upset by the fact.
“Yeah, I passed by his room on my way in,” Lynn softly said.
Sarah panicked. “Oh my gosh! What if he knows we’re right over here and he tries to come in here after us?”
A couple of nurses ran by the closed glass door, followed by a Dr. Hassip.
Lynn tried to comfort Sarah, “He won’t be doing that. He looked like he was in pretty bad shape from what I could see.”
Ian, still upset with the man, said, “Good. Maybe the scumbag will think twice next time he tries to hurt innocent people.”
A few moments passed when another pleading message came through the intercom, “Attention, security is needed in the E.R. Security is needed in the E.R.! Room number six!”
Ian, Sarah, and Lynn all looked at each other.
“That was the same room!” said Sarah.
Lynn started toward the door. “I’m gonna go see what’s going on. I’ll be right back.”
Lynn slid the door open as four security guards rushed down the hall. As she exited, Ian jumped off the examining table to shut and lock the door. They heard screams and a loud commotion down the hall. Ian thought the man was trying to make his way to them. He prepared himself if the thug tried to attack them again. He walked over to Sarah and wrapped his arms around her.
The two of them waited in the room. The sounds of distress started to fade away after a few minutes. Soon Lynn returned to the door. Ian rushed to unlock it and hear news of what happened in room six. Lynn seemed visibly shaken by something; no longer the same calm, collective woman she was before she left the room.
Concerned, Ian asked, “You alright?”
Lynn walked into the room and took a deep breath while Ian closed the door.
“Guys, that man just lost it in there!” said Lynn.
“What happened?” asked Ian.
“At first, the nurse said she paged for a doctor because Goins lost all of his vitals. The man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing at all. The doctor and nurse were checking him and giving him CPR. That’s when he just started attacking them!”
“Do you think when they revived him, he was just in shock or something?” Sarah asked nervously.
Lynn shook her head as she replied, “That’s just it. The nurse said his vitals never showed back up on the monitor. That poor doctor… while he was giving him mouth-to-mouth, the man bit off the doctor’s entire upper lip.”
“You have got to be kidding me!” said Ian. Sarah covered her mouth.
Lynn‘s eyes widened as she continued, “That’s not the worst of it! Once I got there, he had already bitten into one security guard’s neck and another’s arm. The other two managed to restrain him on a gurney, but he was still trying to get to them.”
“Wow, that’s just crazy,” added Ian.
Sarah moved her hand away from her mouth and asked, “What did they do with him?”
“They took him down the hall through the double doors. I’m not really sure where they went with him after that,” said Lynn.
Sarah looked a little relieved to hear that. “Good. Let’s get out of here while they’ve got him through there.”
Ian agreed; he, Sarah, and Lynn walked out of the door and walked toward the emergency room exit. A security guard stopped them. He informed them the entire floor was locked down for a little while, until the situation was under control. The guard asked them to return to the room they were in and that someone would come let them know once the lockdown was lifted.
The three of them returned to the room and waited. They tried to make small talk to pass the time but each of them had the recent events on the
“How long do you think they’ll keep us here?” asked Ian.
“I don’t know. I’ve never known this place to have a lockdown like this, ever,” replied Lynn.
A doctor wearing a white lab coat and a surgical mask knocked on the glass door. Lynn stood next to the door, so she unlocked it. The doctor stepped in holding two syringes.
“Hello guys, I’m Dr. Holbrook. I’m gonna need to get a couple of blood samples from Ian and Sarah.” The doctor walked toward Ian.
Ian cringed at the sight of the needle. “What’s going on Dr. Holbrook? Are we in any kind of danger?”
Dr. Holbrook lowered his brow and tried to assure Ian everything was under control. “We just need to take some blood samples from the people that have recently come into contact with Mr. Goins. After his incident, we received word from the lab that something suspicious showed up in his blood samples. We just want to take extra precautions to make sure he didn’t pass this on to any other person.” Dr. Holbrook stuck the needle into Ian’s vein and drew his blood into the syringe.
Lynn stood back and watched. Something didn’t seem to sit right with her about Dr. Holbrook’s comment.
“What showed up doctor?” she asked.
Dr. Holbrook removed the needle from Ian’s arm and held a cotton ball on the puncture site.
He placed a bandage over the small wound and readied a second needle for Sarah he explained, “To be honest, we’re not sure. It looks like a genetic mutation of some sort; there is something in Mr. Goins’ blood that is attacking all of the white blood cells and at the same time, transforming the red blood cells into something we have never seen. We don’t know if this is some kind of a virus causing it to happen or something that has lain dormant in his body until now.”
Ian tightly closed his eyes as he shook his head. “So are you saying this virus, or whatever it is, caused him to go crazy?”
Dr. Holbrook nodded as he drew blood from Sarah. “It is very possible.”
Ian, upset by what he heard, was very worried the man possibly infected him with the virus he had. Dr. Holbrook finished drawing Sarah’s blood and put a bandage on her arm. “Doctor, please let us know if you find anything,” said Ian.