08 August 2008

Fatal Cure - Chapter 1

The grey-haired old lady lay still, her neck at an unusual angle. I nudge her arm with my steel capped boots again.
“You dead? Christ, please be dead...”
...I talk to myself a lot now. There’s no one left to correct my socially unacceptable flaws. I’ve been alone for over a year.
Blood streaks her blank, wrinkled features. She remains motionless. Lungs burn with a lack of oxygen while I scan every corner of the overgrown car park. I’d been crash-tackled here by the geriatric. The shadowed shopfronts at the back of the lot constantly draw my eye. My neck tires of swivelling back and forth in a useless repetitive motion.
I stop.
High weeds erupting through the pavement cracks would have hidden an army anyway. The closest houses either side are quiet and still, and far enough away not to pose an immediate threat. I'm not fooled. Another attack could occur at any time. I feel naked and exposed despite my armour and weapons.
This old bag counted as my fourth murder in the last half hour. That’s if I could be bothered recording such statistics or even regarded the extermination of ‘possessed’ people as murder. I don’t. I call it survival.
I bend over to prop my weary weight on clasped kneecaps. The position gives me a more detailed examination of her body than I'd like, but I'm close to collapse and need a breather. Grey soupy liquid dribbles from her mouth, mixed with deep red blood. I close my eyes; not in guilt, that never enters my head, I am deathly tired.
Tired of struggling. Tired of living.
As soon as I recover enough I'm going home.
Short, heavy breaths succeed in fogging the visor of the full face helmet I wear. I flip it up. Unfamiliar to this level of exertion, I'm totally knackered. Sparks are shooting through my head...
...this elderly woman had been embarrassingly difficult to kill. When both pistols dry-fired I'd resorted to fists and boots. Lucky there's no real people around to witness us rolling on the ground, punching, kicking and screaming.
Admittedly I’d done all the screaming; it wasn’t my finest hour. The old bitch probably deserved a bit of admiration really, even if she was enhanced by a Parasite. I’m a hundred and twenty kilos of muscle; well, fatty muscle, and she’d put up one hell of a fight. I only broke her neck by accident; otherwise we’d still be at it.
Or worse. She might have gotten the upper hand. I didn’t like to think where that might have led...
...the black biker leathers and plastic armour I wore for protection made me sweat like a pig. I don’t even have a bike to go with this get up. Too noisy. A warm summer’s day wasn't the ideal time to be running around wearing heavy clothing either.
The armour pinched. It had ridden up when I’d grappled with granny. I’d have to take everything off to put it right. Every new discomfort made me angrier. My head is in disarray. It's a steam bath in here. Flapping the visor up and down circulates cooler air. Blood drips down my front. None of it mine. Shoulders ache from the heavy backpack. A tight waist strap sinks into a beer gut. I sag under the load...
...where’s my rifle? Fucking gone. I can’t place the exact moment of loss. Probably in that frantic street battle with those two bozo’s further down the road. Screw it. I wasn't going back to salvage it...
...never go back. Rule number four, or was it five? It was in the top ten somewhere.
I’ve played a hundred different computer games. None of them prepared me to kill for real like those anti-gaming do-gooders were always claiming. Wish I had picked up a few pointers. It’s very difficult to extinguish life, especially with no prior training in that art. Forget bludgeoning weapons or knife attacks; both are way too personal and take too long. I'd be flailing away for minutes before lucking out and hitting an artery or something debilitating.
Wait a minute. How long had I been here, feeling sorry for myself? Didn’t I appreciate the seriousness of the current situation? Every second I spent outdoors, in this empty city full of Parasites, put me at risk of a violent dismemberment or possession. I favour neither of those options for my passing. I’d already planned that part. It's supposed to happen in my nice, safe fortress, on my terms, in my bed, very peaceful like...
...these constant lapses in concentration might be the death of me if I don’t get home soon...
...still, it wasn't my fault the world had ended. I wasn't a violent man by nature, but right now I’d happily execute those clever, gene-splicing bastards who created the world-destroying beasties. The ones who constructed bugs that shit ‘life’. They’d marketed the miracle cure as ‘secretions’ of course, but it was bug shit all the same. The recipients hadn’t counted on the bugs’ microscopic larvae coming along for the ride when the cure was injected though, had they?
I remember my initial bitterness at being denied a place in line to be inoculated. The rich and famous and powerful had that honour. I was none of those things. One of the ‘masses’. An overweight, not so young anymore, computer software salesman. And now, perhaps, the last unpossessed human left on earth.


Scot said...

Excellent writing, man. I'll be following this story!

Coops said...

Thanks, I must apologise for editing after posting but I needed to make a few changes.

It will help me with the next few chapters so I thought it was worth while.

I won't do it again so don't worry that you will get confused by constant changes. I jumped in a bit quick at the start, that's all.

Sandra Fowke said...

Great start! You've given us strong sense of who your main character is and the world he's in with quick and succinct prose.

I'm hooked lol :)

Coops said...

Thanks Sandra, hope you enjoy the ride.

heymary said...

My opinion's only... Hope they help Coop. Loving it! ~M

"It supposed to happen in my nice, safe" should read,

"It is supposed to happen in my nice, safe"

"lapses in concentration might be to death of me" should read,

"lapses in concentration might be the death of me"

Coops said...

Thank you Mary. This exactly the sort of feedback I need.

I get to a point where I've read it so many times the missing words are automatically filled in by my brain.