The Vector Race: Chapter Eight : The Vector

Copy of virus

Jack slowed and then stopped as he came to the large intersection.  9th and Loma had been one of the busiest intersections in town. Now it resembled something from one of the far too many apocalyptic movies that had aired over the last ten years.  Jack almost laughed at this thought, that’s exactly what had happened, without the zombies, though he might welcome a zombie at this point. Walking through one of the most densely populated cities in America and seeing nothing but a few dead bodies was unnerving to say the least.  It’d only been five days since he escaped the hospital. Four days since they had claimed he was a monster. Three days since the first outbreak was announced. Two days since the CDC quarantined the city, no one in, no one out. Yesterday the few people who had defied the lock down order were dropping like flies in the street. And today, today there was no one.  Jack felt tears sting his eyes as guilt filled him. Had he created this? Or was this the consequence of the CDC playing with something they didn’t understand? He didn’t know and he wished he didn’t care, but he did. The guilt was nearly paralyzing. There were two thoughts that gave Jack a drop of encouragement. The first was that the virus hadn’t left the city, though his gut told him this was nearly impossible. They hadn’t quarantined fast enough. The second was that maybe, just maybe, Jenny was still alive. Maybe she had survived somehow. It wasn’t his simple attraction to her prior to everything which drove this thought. Rather, it was his belief that even if he wasn’t personally responsible for the outbreak as a whole, he was responsible for Jenny’s sickness. It was this very thought that propelled his feet as he pushed off and continued to pedal through the city.

Jack pushed his bike into the rack and leaned down to chain it. Sadness crept over him as he stopped himself from doing so, there was no one to steal his bike. Walking into the hospital, his footfalls echoed putting him on edge and Jack sighed at himself, there was no reason to be on edge. He was no longer a fugitive, at least not in this city. As he looked around he became thankful the electricity was still on. It would be hell to navigate in the dark through the maze of dead bodies that littered the hospital and no electricity meant no a/c.  It’d only been a few days and although decomposition had begun to set in, it was nowhere as intolerable as it would be in a couple more days, especially once the a/c went out.  Jack only glanced at the elevator and then turned towards the stairs. The hell if he was getting trapped in it to die a slow, suffering death if the electricity happened to go out on his way to the third floor. He took his time up the stairs, not that he had a choice. People had flocked to the hospital with dead and dying loved ones, expecting help, expecting miracles. The stairs where no exception to the plethora of dead and Jack did what he could not to step on any of them out of some sense of respect. Jack pondered about the strange respect for bodies that had lost the one thing that should be respected, their souls. How the worlds morals were backwards as souls seemed to be the least respected in the modern age. He shook his head and opened the door to the third floor. Here, death had come sooner, he could smell it and his heart dropped. Part of him didn’t want to continue forward, he didn’t want to see Jenny’s cold, dead body. The other part of him, the stronger, wiser part knew he needed the closure.  A man’s body lay where it had fallen in death, half way through the doors of the hall that led to the third floor. The automatic door ran on a sensor and hung fully open revealing the plastic doors of the quarantine area that he had been imprisoned in for a short time.  As he unzipped the first set of doors he cringed at the smell.  Obviously most of the people here had died the day he had escaped or the following, as decay had set in. The smell that emerged as he unzipped the second set of plastic doors made Jack gag. Unable to move forward he quickly made his way to the fourth floor and found a mask to wear.  The mask didn’t block the smell entirely but made it far more tolerable. He walked through the hallway of the third floor going from room to room. He found Dr. Randerson’s body in one of the rooms as he thought he might, green with decomposition and revealing what had started the spread of the virus. The bloody helmet had been removed. Jack thought back on his entry to the hospital, he had thought one of the bodies looked familiar in the lobby. It was the security guard from this floor. It wasn’t hard to put together. They had brought Dr. Randerson in this room and genius here had removed the helmet. The virus was airborne, highly infectious, swift and deadly. It had spread through the third floor like a fire at back draft speed, exploding into the city from the body that lay blocking the doors that may have contained it. The body-guard had done what everyone in his situation would have done, he ran. He made it to the lobby before he succumbed to death, but not before he had infected everyone in it. That meant, what? Thirty seconds incubation period, one minute full infection, and no more than two minutes until death? That also meant the bodies were infectious otherwise it would have killed itself off by now. Jack stood in wonder. How did it mutate and become this titan virus? A loud crash distracted him and Jacked walked cautiously down the hall towards the noise. He heard muffled yelling and sped up, someone was alive, for the moment anyway.  Jack was easily able to locate where the muffled voice was coming from. He slowly opened the door to find a man in a haz-mat suit yelling at some broken vials lying on the floor.

“Hey!’ Jack’s voice was loud and gruff.

The man turned, his eyes wide as he stepped back and nearly fell when he saw Jack. “Holy shit, holy shit…” the man looked more than crazed. “You’re immune?”

“Apparently so.” Jack didn’t step forward, he was still unsure of the man’s sanity.

“Wow, this means… oh you’ve no idea what this means. I mean you, you could save us, everyone. You, your blood …” The man’s face was red with excitement and Jack feared he may have survived the virus just to die of a heart attack.

“Okay, I get it but you need to calm down.”

“No, you don’t understand. That idiot Dr. Frandelitinni he messed up big time and now, now everyone’s dead but you, and that means you have an anti-virus and that means we can create an anti-virus..”

“Stop! What do you mean Dr. Fran…whatever… messed up?”

“It doesn’t matter now  ‘cause you’re the cure, well at least the preventative.”

“Jack?”

Jack turned to see a white and shaky Jenny walk into the room. “Jenny, you’re alive!”

“Ah, apparently, what the hell happened? What is going on?” Tears flowed down her cheeks as she leaned weakly against the wall.

The man in the suit squealed, “Oh this is, this is like winning the lottery of life award! Literally, because if she’s alive that means the original anti-virus worked.”

Jack rushed to Jenny’s side and helped her sit in a chair. “The anti-virus?” He turned back to the man.

“Yep.” The man looked at Jack as if the entire city wasn’t already dead. “Oh, I need to call and let” he paused as a look of confusion crossed over his face “…someone know. Hmm.”

“What?” Jack stood, fully facing the man.

“Well, I guess I just call Atlanta and hope someone answers.”

“You are not calling anyone until you answer my questions.”

“Sure, like what?” The man clasped his gloved hands in front of him, the apathetic look on his face made Jack want to body slam him.

“Like what mess up were you talking about? And where did this anti-virus come from that you injected Jenny with.”

“Jack, please my head hurts and I’m so confused.” Jenny touched Jacks arm getting his attention.

“Wait a minute.” The man interrupted before Jack could comfort Jenny, “You, you’re, you’re him. You’re Jack? Ayub? You’re The Vector!”

thriller
A suspense story by Lance Timor
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Presented by Poff Publishing ©2015. All Rights Reserved.
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