HELLS ON EARTH
Part One: Limbo
Kevin vomited heavily into the toilet for the third time in three hours. All that as coming out was green bile. All he felt was stomach cramps. He sat on the floor then leaned against the wall, sweating beading on his forehead.
At least his eyes had stopped weeping out blood.
Amanda was in the shower cleaning up after he accidentally threw up on her a couple of minutes ago. She was as healthy as ever.
She had been by his side the entire three days. She had taken sick leave to look after him. He had endured a high fever, bleeding eyes and unending vomiting. Things she deemed a real sick, not man sick.
Usually, bleeding eyes was a sign to head to the hospital in a panic. But Amanda told him the disease causing the symptoms was rampaging its way through the country.
In fact, the entire world.
While Kevin phased in and out of sleep, she would provide updates on the progress. By day two, there was fear in her voice. Kevin was too sick to ask a lot of questions, he was too busy feeling like death, vomiting and bleeding.
As he leaned against the toilet wall, he was beginning to feel like he was getting better. Still sick, sicker than man sick, but at least he felt better.
The toilet door opened. Amanda stood there wrapped up in a towel. She said, “Shower, now, you stink to high heaven and now you are moving, I no longer have to put up with it.”
She closed the door and walked to their bedroom.
“Well, good to know she is still healthy, I suppose.” He dragged himself up the side of the wall. Using the wall for balance as he was getting waves of mild dizziness, and made his way to the shower. As he stripped off, he became painfully aware of how right she was about the smell.
After he had washed himself in hot water, he felt human again. He got dressed, brushed his hair and decided today as going to be a good day, even if he still felt terrible. He staggered to the TV room to see Amanda watching the news.
Before he could say anything, she said, “Shut up and listen. While you have been man sick, the whole world has been going to hell in a hand basket. You need to see this and tell me everything is going to be okay.”
Kevin looked at her for a moment. She was not one to worry about the world, or disasters, or anything. Yet here she was, watching the news and looking pale with fear.
He dreaded taking notice of the news presenter because he had a terrible feeling it was not going to be okay.
Not even close to okay.
He really had no option, so he turned his attention to the TV, opened his ears to the words, then allowed his eyes to see what was happening.
“…… Redeye is highly contagious, currently has a 90% chance of death and it appears that when the person appears to die, they are not dead. This is important. If someone dies from Redeye, they are not dead. They wake up between five and twenty minutes after apparent death. When they do, they are highly aggressive to the point of killing loved ones. They are biting people. It also appears that their movement is reduced, so they walk slowly and look, for want of a better word, like a zombie…..”
As the presenter was talking, images of victims of the disease were shown on the screen. Kevin was mortified because it was clear that he had just recovered from the disease rather than it killing, then zombifying, him.
He looked at Amanda then said, “I could have died and killed you.”
“Yes. And if they were saying 100% chance of death, I would have ended it quickly for you. But, until I knew for sure, I did things like…. and please don’t hate me, but I tied your leg to the end of the bed, carried the meat cleaver with me all the time and locked the bedroom door.”
He frowned at her. “That is why I love you. So practical, so pragmatic. What else did you do while I was away in man sick land?”
She looked uncomfortable as she said, “This disease, it is global. It is everywhere. The zombies are starting to turn up on the streets and in buildings. Hospitals are in trouble and some have been overrun. Darling, the army had to drop bombs on one large hospital to stop the zombies from escaping.”
She had tears coming down her face. Kevin felt a growing sense of terror that was engulfing his chest and paralyzing his limbs.
She continued, “I am not sure if I am crazy doing this, but I look at this and I think the world is going to come to a grinding halt soon. So, and please do not be angry with me, but I withdrew all out saving and bought $2000 worth of dried foods and stuff. It is in the spare bedroom. I figured that if I am right, we can stay here. I could look after you until you wake up alive or dead. I couldn’t move you and nobody was able to help. I believe I did the right thing.”
Kevin looked at her is mild amazement. “Hun, this is why I love you. Not only did you stay next me, you have also bought us time to think and hide. You saved our lives.”
Amanda smiled and relaxed. She knew she had done well, but it was such a strange thing to do that she felt weird doing it. The idea that the world was in serious trouble because of one disease seemed crazy. But it was happening in front of her on the TV.
Kevin asked, “How bad is it? I mean, the news is still happening, power is still on, so, it is not terrible, right?”
Amanda said, “Well, it seems that it is global. Every city in the world has cases of Redeye. It is everywhere. It turned up on the news the same day you got your bloodshot eyes. When you collapsed into bed, there were reports coming out of zombie outbreaks in hospitals. When your eyes started to bleed, I called the ambulance, but they said it is better to stay at home. At the moment, it seems the disease is already everywhere. It just appears out of nowhere. Yesterday they estimate that there were one million plus new cases worldwide. The day before it was one hundred thousand. That was when I bought the food.”
Kevin’s mind was reeling. He wanted to escape the city now, but he wasn’t physically capable of moving. He said, “It is days like this that I wish we had a car and not just our bicycles.”
He couldn’t quite comprehend the idea that this was it, life was about to change for the worse. The idea that they could work, save for a house, have kids and grow old had changed to potential disaster within one week.
His heart felt constrained.
Amanda asked, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I mean, shit. Surely, they will sort this out somehow. I am sure we will be okay, just ride it out for a few weeks. Right?”
Amanda reached over to give him a hug. “Nine out of ten people die from the disease. All nine that die return as zombies. And they are killing anyone they can get their hands on.”
“……. and this just in. The WHO has released a statement that there were over ten million new cases worldwide. A global emergency has been declared. All flights around the world have been cancelled. This is going to change the world forever…..”
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