When a City Falls

A woman sat shivering on the cold floor of the lab. There was silence, but that was grossly unnerving with the preceding events. She leaned her head back against the white tiles of the wall, closing her eyes cautiously, as though she wasn't sure if it was safe.

Behind her eyelids, life rewinded itself.

Heather heard screams, horrible screams, and then the wet sound of flesh torn from flesh. The sound of flesh bending, then giving to cold, hard, groping fingers. Slurps and incomprehensible groans from those horrible creatures that ... that she had a part in creating.

She felt like Dr. Frankenstein, setting out with such a clear, crystal-clear, perfect diamond of a goal. And invariably creating a monster, because nothing turns out perfect, right. Oh god.

The screams of her coworkers, god, she could recognise some of them! That slightly nasally high-pitched one, that was Mary, oh god. Heather crouched down, covering her head with her hands and leaning her forehead against her knees. She hid in a little lab, all white-tiled perfection with just one perfect white table in the centre. There were glass windows, and she'd bolted the door when the news had been announced ... oh god, that was a severed foot bouncing off the tough glass. Heather stared in horror at the trail of blood it left on the clear surface, tainting it...

Rewind further. The experiments. The announcements. Even further back, two years ago. She'd been offered this great government job, though the details had been scarce until she'd accepted. But she had no misgivings at first: after all, it was a great job, she would get free accommodation, the hours were perfect and it was something she loved. Hell, when she'd met the scrumptious boss of the Mechanics sector, she'd sported a grin to rival the Cheshire cat's and been almost ready to accept just from the idea of working with him.

Heather was a scientist, specialising in biotechnology. Specifically, she worked at the cellular level, and this would be her first job out of uni. It was an amazing opportunity, and even with what had happened ... even knowing about all this, she still would have taken the job now.

Once she was settled in her lovely two stories of architectural pleasure, the briefing came. Heather was a little shocked at first realisation of what she'd signed up for, but that was okay, she had flexible moral standards. She accepted it quickly.

To put it simply, Heather was helping create biologically enhanced soldiers. Of course, the simplest way was through a virus, which would attach its DNA to that of the target's cells. The idea was to play around with the genes until they got the combination that was the most desirable with few side effects.

The problem was, all of a sudden it went wrong. They had gotten so far with their research, they were so close, and suddenly someone spilled something, or maybe put too much of whatever in there ... anyway, all of a sudden they'd created these horrible creatures that wouldn't die, and thirsted for human blood. They were vicious, even tearing limbs off each other in the race to get to the surprised flesh of the scientists. Even worse, the virus in them was so contagious, even if they just scratched you or bit you, you were done for. Within hours the virus would infect so many local cells and there was no cure for it worked that fast. It was the nightmare of medical science.

Hell, it was the nightmare of anyone who'd ever watched one of those zombie movies.

It was frightening, giving them a name. But it was so accurate, too. The image associated with zombies - machine-like, near invincible creatures that lost near all thought and reason - was so fitting. The problem was though, that these first zombies, they were trained Special Forces soldiers. They had tactics and fighting skills so deeply ingrained into their brain that even consumed by a vicious virus, they worked intelligently.

That was why Heather sat here, hiding, nothing to protect her but a length of pipe that looked like it had once been one of the long lab taps, ripped off in the ... the zombies' desperate scrabble for food.

And it was quiet now. Horribly quiet. The screams and wretched sounds of limbs and flesh torn off like no more than paper had been bad enough, but this ... this was terrifying. Mainly for the reason that if they were no longer in the labs, the creatures had spread out. Maybe they had found an exit, or made one. Maybe they were loose on the city of Bayns.

Chapter 1 »

Story tagged with:
Science Fiction / Horror /