There it was, festering on the calf of my left leg. A blister the size of a dime filled with pus, blood, and something green. You could see my blue veins being pushed to the surface to view. I was filled with the only feeling that could explain my current situation…ornery. All of the hard work I put in from getting away from civilization, and locking myself in my cabin had just proven to be futile.
It’s only been a week since the unknown breakout of the disease everyone is calling the “Madness”. It started Monday when WGN did a breaking story on a situation that broke out downtown at Northwestern Hospital. There was a man that was fished out of Lake Michigan that appeared to be alive, but in a coma. They didn’t mention the type of condition he was in, his identity, or how he may have ended up the way he was. All I know is that the outbreak started with him.
It was my day off from work, I work in downtown Chicago, when I saw it on the news. From helicopter view, the hospital was surrounded with every fireman and policeman available with hazmat suits on. Of course there was a bunch of people gathered trying to figure out the situation, and found out that the entire hospital and everyone inside were under quarantine.
The first day it looked like everything was under control. The news only leaked the information they were given, but no one truly knew what was going on inside the place. The next day I resumed with work, but something compelled me to check the news on my phone for updates.
It was of no coincidence that I heard several helicopters and a ton of sirens blazing through the air and streets of Chicago towards Northwestern. It disrupted everyone in the work place, even my boss who decided to go outside and check out what was happening. Eventually we all went back to our desks and resumed our work, but you could see the worried expressions on each face.
After the work day ended, I had half the nerve to go over to the hospital, but thought better of it. Instead I went home, sat in front of the television with my dinner, and watched the news. That’s when something horrific happened. There was no way to edit what was being represented to us live.
A man about average height with a bloodied hospital gown limped outside one of the hospital doors. The police shouted to the man to go back inside and stay put, but he kept moving forward. At another camera angle I saw a knife in his hand stained with red blood that dripped to the ground beside him. His skin was pale and raw with greenish blisters covering majority of his skin, but that’s not what frightened me; what he did next did.
His arm with the knife in hand lifted into the sky, and he threw the blade at one of the policeman. It hit him dead in the middle of his forehead. I’m not sure when the screaming started, but there must have been complete silence from the shock everyone around the officer felt. I found myself staring at the screen in complete awe until he fell to the ground dead. Then all hell broke loose.
The man in the gown wasn’t the only one to walk out of the hospital. There must have been a dozen or more people with blistered skin covered in blood that now stood before the police and everyone else. Some were missing limbs while others had organs hanging from their torsos. A blood curdling scream came from one of the blistered individuals, and then they attacked.
Gunshots rang out, and screams littered the streets of downtown Chicago as more and more people spilled from inside the hospital. It was so horrific to watch this taking place, but I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the screen. This was being broadcasted live until someone took out the camera man, then all you saw was people dropping to the ground with blood spilling about.
It was only when the camera went dead that I was able to move. Immediately I logged into my phone to see if there was anyone else covering the story. It was then when I encountered an article for the Chicago Tribune that alerted me to the outbreak. Panic consumed me as I skimmed through the article linking the John Doe they pulled from the lake as patient zero. Could he really be the cause?
I couldn’t sit there and ponder for long considering I live 15 minutes from all of this. What could I do? What could be done? I didn’t have long to consider as the screams started outside my window.
Image: Stephen King: The Stand
Stay tuned this week for the next part…