Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blogs of the dead pt 4

“Aww shit!” Martin’s voice tinged with pain, surprise and embarrassment rang out clear from the kitchen.
‘What’s wrong honey?” called out Amanda as she watched the storm that had blown in a few hours ago rain lash the floor to ceiling windows of the apartment. She could just make out the various lights of the harbour city still shining brightly although some now were flickering. In one hand a half empty glass of sparkling wine, in the other her Nokia smart phone with twitter up. The latest message was from Mike in London
“WTF is going on?”
She’d replied “I don’t know hon it’s all gone horribly wrong”
And in her mind she didn’t know if she was referring to what was happening outside or between her and her husband..

A few kilometres away a new billow of flame erupted into the air as a fuel tank near to Blackwattle bay exploded, it would seem that the torrential rain had not doused all the fires. Amanda guessed that many had been caused by planes coming down after the meteor storm thing. During the day she had seen a few other plumes of smoke, and from the direction of Botany Bay and the airport, there had been just one massive pillar of smoke.

They’d wanted to watch the meteor shower or whatever it was but instead they’d gone to bed and right there in the heat and passion he’d said HER name, that bitch Debbie fucking Halladay At first with all that was going on she thought she misheard but then as he drifted off to sleep he’d repeated the name. That was it her honeymoon which was going so well, ruined. Oh and then it seemed the world chose to come to an end at the same time. How sad.

They’d had their curtains closed and then whilst Martin slept she’d had a long bath to calm down so they’d missed the whole thing. She thought she might of heard the plane come down but wasn’t certain. The problems at Botany Bay though had shaken the building a few times so good knows what it was like closer in, say near Bondi. But to be honest she just didn’t care.

Amanda missed the apartment door being thumped. But Martin didn’t
“Is that someone at the door?”
“I don’t know’ Replied Amanda in a bored voice “ but I don’t really want to check who knows what loonies are around in all this shit” she gestured to the wind and rain outside forgetting that Martin of course couldn’t see it from the kitchen.
“Don’t worry I’ll check” Martin was obviously trying to sound brave and for a moment it actually sounded true. There was a clattering as it sounded like Martin was hunting for a large knife.

Amanda turned and saw Martin head out of the kitchen a large chef’s knife in one hand and the over wrapped in a tea cloth with a red stain showing. Reaching the door he fumbled with the handle.

To Amanda the next events happened in slow motion.
Martin awkwardly opened the door revealing the still lit hallway beyond.
His voice seemed to boom out “Hello?”
Then a man shambled into view from the direction of the emergency stairwell.

From what Amanda could see his features seemed slack. He was tall and it seemed well muscled, like a sportsman. His head was shaved and he was wearing some sort of sporting top coloured red and white. However even from nearly 10 meters away Amanda could see his eyes glowed a deep emerald green. The man’s mouth opened wide and a faint moaning sound issued forth before he launched himself at Martin.

Her husband staggered backward into the apartment. His attacker seemed not to care even though Martin managed to slice him a number of times with the kitchen knife.
“Amanda help me’ Martin cried out as the attacker managed to get closed enough to bite him on the face. Amanda could hear a wet tearing sound as part of Martins left cheek came away hanging limply from the attackers mouth, dripping blood on the white carpet. Martin screamed shrilly in pain and his attacker chewed manically on the flesh in his mouth before moving again at Martin.

Amanda felt she could not move even though the two men were now only a couple of meters away from her. All she could do was watch in horrid fascination as Martin was bitten again and again, his knife falling to blood spattered floor. Her whole consciousness was torn between her jealous rage at martin and his need for aid.

It was then she noticed that Martin was being pushed back towards the balcony door and an idea sprang into Amanda’s mind. She ran at the balcony door and wrenched it open just moments before martin would have hit the glass. Sure enough he stepped backwards onto the slick balcony and fell backwards smacking his back on the balcony’s rail with a dull crack. It seemed that Martin could only now sob in pain as his half ruined face was washed in the torrential rain.

His attacker also slipped on the wet tiles and the two men became dangerously balanced swaying back and forth…until Amanda launched herself at her husband’s attacker pushing him with all her strength in a savage burst of aggression. Amanda blinked as she also skidded on the tiles, but caught herself in time to find herself alone in the rain as Martin and the strange man tumbled the 10 storeys to the street below.

All she could do was stare down at the street below, with the rain pelting down soaking her clothes, and chilling her. As she stood there shivering Amanda could just make out some figures lurching along the dimly lit road.

*Guess my honeymoon is truly over then* she thought as a massive bolt of lighting lit up the harbour revealing many more shambling figures.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Blogs of the Dead Pt 3

Ritchie’s battered company SUV came to a halt just beside a sign announcing the start of Sarubi’s town limits. Lake Kabul lay somewhere of to the right but some ridgeline obscured his view. The sign was dusty and battered with numerous bullet holes. Much like many of the signs along the ‘Stans basic road system.

They’d left Jalalabad a few hours ago but having to be careful of IED’s and the possibility of ambushes had meant they had travelled slower than usual. Al’s SUV had fallen victim to an IED about 15km’s back. It was a big one, a couple of linked 155mm arty rounds and it had made short work of the Ford Explorer.

In a practiced movement Lyle and Dimitri exited the SUV and took up covering positions whilst Ritchie once again tried their offices in Kabul. It was the same thing the line just rang out. For once he managed to get a few bars of reception on his smart phone so tried the social networking sites the only things that seemed to work at the moment, he caught Sophie’s message but couldn’t remember if she said she’d be now in Barcelona or Madrid, so he sent a quick message
“Hang on you’re not alone”

The irony of that made Ritchie laugh for a second.. as very few people seemed not to be alone. Signalling his two colleagues he quickly reassessed their options. The best one was to drive back along the A01 to Kabul and try and get some sort of transport out the country. He just didn’t want to try and make a break through Pakistan and the war zone that was the tribal areas.

“So what do we do now?” Asked Dimitri the tall Russian had been working with Ritchie for nearly a year now and he was very dependable.
“Go to HQ and see what we see, I suppose” replied Ritchie “There’s a compound nearby so we can refuel and then we’ve got enough fuel to get us to Kabul”
“But how are going to get out this shithole?” Asked Lyle an American, who’d been with them for a few months.
“Dimitri can fly and there’s an Antonov that used to be owned by Blackwater sitting on the tarmac at Bagram ready to be used.” Ritchie said, moving the vehicle back onto the road, kicking up a fair amount of the ever present Afghan dust in the process.
“Yeah, I guess they won’t be needing it anymore!” agreed Lyle.

As they drove on towards the town there was silence before Dimitri re-opened the same conversation they’d had since the morning.
“So, do you think that feed from the Reaper was real?”
“Wasn’t no Pixar cartoon that’s for sure!” quipped Lyle
“Dimitri, I just don’t know it looked real and it didn’t look natural, but since the meteor storm most people who were outside are now dead so maybe it was radioactive of something” opined Ritchie.
“That green glow shit was pretty scary” said Lyle scratching his head vigorously before gazing out of the window looking for threats.
“Well doesn’t radioactive stuff glow green?”, asked Ritchie before continuing “I’ve checked some of the networking sites and there still seems to be people alive out there”.
“Where should we fly to though? The 32 has a range of about 2500 kms?” Dimitri asked thoughtfully.
“Oman I guess” said Ritchie, “plenty of stores there and I remember that Se’eb airport is dual use so we can pick up gear before moving along to Israel from there the Med is our oyster”
“You are assuming that Israel will be in a similar condition to here though” Stated Dimitri.
“it’s not rocket science Dimitri” said Lyle “Listen if this the end of the world it’s the end of the world and Israel’s not going to have any say in the matter, unless of course they caused it” he finished with a sneaky smile.

They conversation had taken them through the majority of Sarubi and almost to the company’s compound.
‘Look!” said Lyle pointing down the street “Birds won’t tough the bodies but those goddam doggies will!”
Sure enough a pack of four dogs were attacking a couple of bodies with gusto further down the street.

“Don’t take any chances. Lyle, you open the gates. Dimitri, you provide cover got it”
The other two men nodded.
“Good, we’ll be there in a moment”

The SUV pulled up outside the compound. The complex’s walls were thick and additional lighting and some security camera’s had been installed when the company took the place over in 2002. The only problem was the feasting dogs were now only 50 meters away but seemed to be giving the vehicle no mind. As the day was filtering away Dimitri and Lyle both activated the tac-lights on their customized AK-104’s before piling out.

One dog looked up as the SUV’s doors slammed shut, and Lyle ran to the gates and Dimitri took and over watch position opposite. Fortunately there was still enough power for the gate motors to work and they were in the compound in seconds. Ritchie dismounted his 417 recon rifle replacing the 50 round drum mag with a handier 20 round one.

It took only a dozen or so minutes for the three men split up and search the building for survivors. Finding none they met up back in the courtyard.
“Find anything?” Ritchie asked
“Only dead bodies” replied Lyle helpfully
“ The Intel cell team seem to have suicided” said Dimitri “Two had taken their assist pills and the third had shot himself”
“Maybe they knew something we don’t, sneaky bastards!” proclaimed Lyle
“Or they took an easy way out” countered Dimitri.
“Well it doesn’t matter now” put in Ritchie “Lets clear the compound of the bodies and settle in for tonight, and inventory what we’ve got..”

“What was that!” Lyle half shouted.
His two colleagues looked in askance
“That body, it moved..I’m certain of it” Lyle continued.
“Of course Lyle” said Ritchie not in the mood for one of the American’s jokes.
‘No I’m certain” replied Lyle sounding quite scared.
In the deepening gloom of the evening it was getting harder to see as the perimeter lights were not on. Lyle switch his rifle mounted tac-light back on and panned it around the courtyard.
“What the fu…”
All the bodies they could see were twitching as if suffering a severe epileptic attack. Before the men’s disbelieving eyes the bodies of their co-employees slowly started to get to their feet in a jerky un-coordinated manner.
“Things have got worse” muttered Dimitri…

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Blogs of the Dead pt 2

“..It’s like everyone’s dead, it’s so quiet, I’m afraid” Sophie pressed the send button on her phone she looked around her at the many bodies all over the wide boulevard that was La Rambla. Overhead the sun shone in the clear sky and there was a distinct smell in the air. She’d been walking for a few hours now from her holiday apartment near to the Universidad and had only caught a couple of glimpses of a few other people. They quickly ran away, scared it seemed of any human contact. Here in Barcelona’s heart it seemed that everyone had come out to see the meteor shower and for some reason everyone was dead.

Sophie had come down with food poisoning a few days previously and so had missed out when her boyfriend and their friends had gone down to La Rambla and the harbour to watch the show. She’d been searching for them amongst the thousands of bodies but so far had had no luck. Fortunately it seemed that there was still power being generated and the phone systems seemed to be working still. She’d sent a number of sms’ but no–one had replied but twitter seemed to be still up and some people were posting.

Clare her real life friend in Sacramento had just posted “the freeways are choked, crashes everywhere. I walked home. Very scared”

Nat, a blogger in Australia had posted “This is FKN bad, lots of car crashes, power fluctuating, lots of dead’

The sound of seagulls squabbling caught Sophie’s attention they were fighting over a piece of chicken, what was interesting that there were a lot of birds around and none were going for the human corpses. Looking around again taking in the many bodies which now to be honest had congealed in her mind as basically a carpet of death with no individual features. Across the boulevard she could see Café de l’Opera and decided she needed some water and to get out of the sun.

The front of the building looked as lovely as every with the soft lights in the cast iron chandeliers reminding her of better times. There were only a few corpses and many of the smartly dressed waiters seemed to be just in front of the café. Stepping inde she could smell burning and the steam spout on the main coffee machine was billowing out clouds of steam. Self-consciously Sophie walked around the bar and grabbing a couple of towels managed to turn of the now very hot control lever.

Looking around in the fridges she found some bottled water and took a couple of bottles. The first she drank straight down, the second she placed in her bag. Still feeling weak from her bout of food poisoning but not being able to face any food ,she went to the orange juicer with it’s cage of oranges and after a couple of minutes of working out how to operate the machine produced a glass of fresh OJ, a quick trip to the ice machine and she had a refreshing beverage. Moving to one of the seats by the door way she sat down.

The scene was very bizarre, it seemed that lots of guests had left their possessions at their tables and had gone outside leaving them behind. Handbags, mobile phones a couple of laptops it was a muggers paradise.

Except even the muggers were dead.

And that was when the dam burst within her. All the fear, frustration and loneliness came forth in a wave of sobbing and a bad case of the shakes which last it seemed almost forever. What brought her back from the edge was almost banal. From the corner of her eye she saw a small mouse slowly make its way into the café. It’s nose twitching and head moving from side to side every alert. Moving carefully it scurried past the near hysterical young woman and started feasting on a piece of bread that was on the floor. By the time Sophie had almost regained her composure it had also grabbed a couple of grapes and was walking back outside it’s cheeks bulging under the weight of the fruit.

As it passed Sophie the small rodent stopped and seemed to regard her and then went outside. To Sophie it looked like it was shaking it’s head. That made her laugh although the cleaner emotion still had a brittle edge to it. After blowing her nose on the table cloth *very ladylike* she thought, Sophie slowly drained the glass of OJ placing the empty glass on the table with an affirmative clack. She was about to check her phone again when she heard outside a faint call

“Hola? Hola?”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Blogs of the Dead Pt 1

It was the tortured sound of metal tearing against metal in the street below that finally broke through Mikes alcohol fuelled slumber. A full bladder and eyes that seemed to not really want to open were his most immediate concerns though as he stumbled out of bed and into the party detritus strewn hallway.

Fortunately the bathroom wasn’t locked so his most immediate need was quickly attended too. The bathroom wasn’t too amazing but it had a bath and shower and the often chaotic cleaning rota seemed to help it stay reasonably clean. As Mike got to the job in hand his eyes vaguely made out a slumped body in the bath, it looked like Steph’s latest boyfriend Felipé, but then it could have been Tony Blair for all Mike could really see or care about.

A brief childish urge resulted in the baths current occupier receiving a shower that would have cost him fifty pounds if requested from Katie the working girl who lived in the basement flat. That the body did not move amused Mike even more, and after zipping up and washing his hands he wandered back into his room.

The world was now coming into focus and from the gaps in the curtains, it looked like it was going to be another drab London autumn day. As his vision was now returning so appeared the start of a raging hangover, but Mike was curious about the crash that woke him, also that there was little or no traffic sound. Considering that the flat was about midway along Warwick road, which was considered the busiest urban road in the UK a lack of noise was stranger even on a Saturday morning..or even an early Saturday afternoon as at that moment Mike noticed that his alarm clock read ‘13.03’.

Drawing aside the curtains gave Mike a view of London not generally seen in the movies, fields of roofs propagated with forests of TV antennas and Satellite dishes. Looking down Mike could see a couple of cars had hit a white van and the result looked pretty poor.
“Spooky!’ Mike said to himself as he also noticed a few cars had decided to leave the road and ploughed into houses that ran along the road. Besides that the road was empty.

Mikes stomach turned over and made various drain like noises, which wasn’t encouraging. Quickly he changed out of the gear he had slept in and put on something a bit more suitable for wandering around, grabbing his jacket he made sure that he had his phone and wallet and headed towards the kitchen.

If the hallway was a mess, the kitchen was worse, with the bin overflowing with cans and bottles and the counter tops covered with pizza boxes and plates that at some stage last night had held ‘nibbles’. The glass bowl with neurofen was still full so Mike grabbed a strip to have a couple, after he’d had something to eat. As he headed out of the flat he poked his head into the lounge which seemed now to be ground zero for the disaster that had effected the rest of the flat. Amongst the debris were three more slumped bodies, one wearing a lime green skirt that had ridden up during the night and was showing a fair length of leg. For the life of him Mike couldn’t think who that was and so left the flat.

Walking down the stairs to the front door Mike noticed a distinct lack of noise in the building, all he could think was that lots of people we recovering from parties held to watch last nights light show. As he reached the front door Mike caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. His blond hair was pretty scraggy, too much stubble and when he turned to look his eyes were red rimmed pissholes in snow. Food and the more sleep seemed a very good idea.

Opening the front door meant that he got a full whiff of the leaking diesel and petrol coming from the car crash he could also hear what sound like a fire and there was also a burning smell in the air. And no sirens, in fact almost no noise at all.

Mike felt a rush of indecision, this was all a bit too much to take in his current fragile state but the need for food and an instant sugar fix overcame a need for feeling secure. So he moved off down the street and got about 10 meters before remembering the car crash. Hesitantly he turned around and almost did a 360 before steeling himself and walked slowly over to the mangled metallic mess. All three drivers were clearly dead, one was hanging half out of his windscreen. The van had a passenger and they looked pretty dead as well. Walking around avoiding the leaking petrol, diesel and blood, Mike could see that all three vehicles seemed to be filled with gear. Suitcases and the like.

It was clear that there was nothing he could do, so Mike pulled out his iPhone and dialled 999 only to get ‘All our operators are busy please ring again shortly’. Alone on the street next to the crash site mike couldn’t get it. No sirens anywhere and yet they were busy?! Mike flicked on Twitter to see what other people were saying….