A New Life

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A New Life

Post by Strike on Mon Dec 26, 2016 3:31 pm

[b]Part I

"Kennedy!" The supervisor shrieked over the klaxon of the hospital's emergency sirens and the wailing of patients. "Get your ass back in there, and get back to work!"

"I need to go home, goddamnit! [i]My kids
are out there in this!" Her voice, usually heavy with a rugged Australian accent, was shaky and muffled through a respirator. She was juggling her cell phone and her key card as she fumbled at the back door. Through the phone's speaker, a little boy's sobbing voice was cut in and out by violent static.

"KENNEDY!" The supervisor boomed back, but it was in vain. He watched the nurse finally swipe the card and shove her way out the door. "We need you, you bogan! People are dying! Go and do your job - "

"I am doing my job!" The door slammed behind her and she sprinted towards the parking lot. "I'm coming, baby," she panted into the phone as she ran. "Mummy's on her way. You know the special masks we put in your room? Go put them on, okay? You need to go put them on now, Cabby! Your sister too!" It was havoc outside - people were rioting in the streets near the hospital, trying to get in even to get the most basic care. Half of them were sick beyond any hope of recovery. Some of them had slouched over lifelessly, either dead or too weak to get any further. She had to dodge corpses on the sidewalk to make it within sight of her car, and some of the more aggressive rioters singled her out in her scrubs. She heard them shouting at her, begging for help or screaming profanities, tugging dying family members towards her and pleading for her to save them. Her hand dipped into her pocket and tightly gripped her mace. She saw the familiar color of her car in the distance, several rows down, and veered towards it as fast as she could.

An old man, obviously stricken with the horrible disease, ran towards her. His face showed an ungodly color that indicated that he was infected, and he was nearly in a state of psychosis. "Save me! Save my life! You're a bloody nurse! Goddamnit, help me! We're dying out here! You're killing us!" It's the apocalypse! God will strike us all down!" Unlike the others, he didn't stop running as she tried to ignore his helpless pleas. "Save me! Save me!" He came at her with a wild, hopeless fury in his eyes. Fear shot through her. She could be killed, right here. This man could stop her from getting home to her babies, attack her, infect her with that terrible disease, and then no one could save her kids. She thought of them cowering in fear at home, terrified. She needed to get to them, and that was all. She hesitated, trying to dodge out of his way but finding her route blocked. She drew her mace and begged for him to leave her alone, please stop, please let me go home, please please, but to no avail. "SAVE ME! SAVE ME!" He came closer, and she screamed. Mercilessly, she sprayed him dead in the face, sending him backwards shrieking in pain. "YOU BITCH! You're killing us! You're killing us!" He staggered and she shot off, careful not to get close enough to let him touch her.

She sprinted and didn't look back, couldn't even think until she reached her old beat-up car, locked herself in, and sped through the partially blockaded streets to get home to her apartment. Her cell phone was dead now. The radio blared emergency alerts. Panic had set in upon the city, and even driving that short distance was nerve-wracking and dangerous. Police and EMS personnel were entirely overwhelmed and vehicles had been abandoned on the street. People were dying left and right, faster than anything she had ever seen before, and it seemed as if all hell had rained down across the world. By the time she made it home, she swerved her car onto the side of the road and got out, barely taking time to check that her respirator was secured before sprinting into the apartment complex. She found her door - locked, just like she had told them - and struggled inside. She shut the door hard behind her. The babysitter was dead in the middle of the living room floor, face-down. Oh, God. She was too late. Her babies...

"I'm home! Cabot! Taylor!! It's Mommy!" There was silence for a moment. "It's Mommy! Come out! Oh, God! Are you okay?! Please..." Then, the anxious pitter-patter of little feet coming down the hallway sent tears of relief welling into her eyes. "Keep your masks on, it's going to be okay, you need to come with Mommy, okay? Come on, we need to go!"

Part II

For the first time in her life, Tara Kennedy didn't take the time to buckle her kids into their car-seats when she loaded them in. She flung the door shut and threw herself into the driver's seat, thanked everything good and holy for the relief of her old sedan's engine humming to life, hit the lock button about five times, and jammed the power window buttons up until the regulators whirred in protest. The car's headlights illuminated the havoc on the street in front of her. A car - she recognized it as one of her neighbor's - had veered off the side of the road, taking out a street light in front of the apartment complex. It was still running, and the interior lights showed the side of a bloody airbag. She looked away. There were two bodies in the street, not moving. About a block down, there were people running in every direction. None of them had respirators, she noticed. That was a mistake. They were infected, then.

She threw the clunking car into drive and started rolling down the street. Sirens wailed in the distance. She saw what she thought was a humvee, one of the armored ones like the Army Reservists used. Damn, had they called them in? How bad was this?

Taylor was sobbing in the back. Cabot wasn't sure what was happening, but he had his favorite action figure, GI Joe Jebediah Sunman, clutched tight in his little hands like there was no tomorrow. Maybe there's not a tomorrow, Tara mused to herself as she turned down a side-street to avoid the blockade at the next major intersection. She was trying to wrack her brain to remember that address. That virologist at the hospital, the one visiting from China, had told her something about an evacuation point. She thought he was crazy; it hadn't made any sense. But now, she realized he must have known more. Her little inner-city hospital couldn't have afforded to ship in an expert of his caliber from out of the country unless it was damn important. She was banking on that now. She turned again and heard Cabot's concerned voice from the back.

"Mummy, why are all those blokes in the street hurt?"

"They got sick, Cabby," Tara noticed that her voice shook as she answered.

"Are we going to be sick too, Mum?"

"No, Cabby. Keep your mask on, and you won't. Check your sister's for me, too, right?" She turned again. There was another damn roadblock. She didn't know another way.


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