Omega

[Friend and fellow blogger Emmie Mears is having another one of her flash fiction competitions, so I thought, what better time to flesh out an idea that’s been knocking around in my head for a couple of days?  I get to satisfy my urge to write without being committed to a full-length novel or story…yet.  Her contest isn’t quite open for submissions yet, but I just couldn’t wait to get a little feedback on this post.  Hoping it fits neatly enough into the dystopian/horror sub-genre…  Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to expand upon it at a later date.  *See notes related to story’s particular plot at the end of the post.]  

Omega-E spreads fast, but there is about a month from the identification of patient zero to the time when the dead start to outnumber the living. The CDC and the government try to manage the numbers, with mass cremations to control the spread of the disease and to keep the corpses from piling up. Americans are pissed. Until their fear trumps the need to mourn and bury their dead. The situation declines fast and martial law is declared, but it’s a token gesture, with soldiers stationed only where there are valuable resources the government deems “in need of protection.” In most of the cities and suburbs, there is no law anymore.

This makes gathering supplies a lot easier, but also a lot more dangerous. There are other dangers besides contamination. Looters, psychos. The marines guarding the supplies will shoot to kill with the slightest provocation. But the worst, other people like us, people whose desperate minds have turned black with panic. Sometimes you can actually see the madness, flapping around, like a bird with a broken wing, behind their too-bright eyes.

And then there are the Infected. Like zombies, only worse. They’re sick, shambling…and bleeding copiously. Omega-E is almost entirely hemorrhagic. Makes the cases of Ebola in Africa look like a head cold. The Omega virus dies more quickly outside of the body than it’s African predecessor, so chances of surface contamination are lower, but once infected…there is no recovery. The only upside is that incubation for Omega-E is brief, the tell-tale rashes, fevers, and vomiting appearing within 24 hours of contamination, with death only a few days later. This makes the Infected pretty easy to identify.

It also makes them very dangerous. Almost up until their last breath, usually dragged laboriously through lungs filled with blood, they are aware… and terrified. If the uninfected have a panic-bird behind their eyes, the Infected are infested with whole flocks. Like drowning victims, they’ll drag down anyone who chances close enough.

It’s easy to stay inside for the first week or so. As the pandemic ramps up, we make pilgrimages to the store and start setting supplies back. But eventually we’ll need to go out there again. We have a little girl. Even if we could live on next to nothing, she couldn’t. And although the electricity and water remain on for the moment, there’s no telling how long it will last.

I heard a rumor about the government instituting rolling blackouts to manage the power supply and “ensure continuity of service” for everyone. The pretenses are breaking down. Pretty soon they won’t even bother to lie to us.

We need a plan. A few more trips out for supplies. Right before dawn seems to be quietest. The pharmacy. The grocery. Guns if we can find them. And then we’ll go out into the country, or maybe the woods. Somewhere there are no people, where we can wait this thing out. It has to end sometime, right? Right…?

 *Due to the word count constraints imposed by Emmie, I didn’t get to delve too deeply into my desired plot  concept.  It may seem like “just another” zombie story, but what I really wanted to explore was how a couple like myself and my hubby would get along with our toddler in the midst of a pandemic crisis.  See, in horror films, you don’t often see many really young children portrayed and my guess is that it’s due to the “logistics” of trying to survive when you have to care for someone who not only completely dependent on you for their well-being, but also not yet cognitively developed enough to realize the necessity of basic evasive and survival skills.  For instance, how do you keep a frightened two year old quiet so you can hide from a passing zombie horde?  I want to follow a couple with no special skills (no ex-green berets or weapons experts here) as they endeavor to survive and protect what is dearest them, and I want to do it without taking the easy way out and “killing off” any characters that could be seen as a hindrance or potential “baggage” to the flow of normal horror stories/ films.  Of course, I have not gotten that far yet. 

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My Christmas Wishlist

When I was at Walmart the other day, I couldn’t help but notice all the candy that was out (chocolate ~drool~)  And then I realized with something like shock that it really IS almost Halloween.  I can’t believe it’s already almost the middle of September.  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays and it’s almost here again!  And you know what that means…

…time to skip right over Halloween and Thanksgiving and break out all the Christmas shit and carols waaaaay too early!

So in the spirit of consumerism, I’ve decided to get a jump on my Christmas Wish list.  Just in case all you faithful bloggers want to get me something, here are a few ideas:

1)Heat-seeking Nerf blaster-  For those pesky mid-night feline disturbances.  With this, I’ll be able to “discipline” the cats whenever and WHEREever they get into trouble, even around corners, all without getting out of bed.

“Here, kitty, kitty…”

2) Universal Remote – With settings for every gadget in the house, including but not limited to; TV, PS3, DVD player, Game Cube, washing machine, vibrator.   AND multi-function settings; (Husband) “do dishes”, “change baby”, “massage butt”, (Cats) “clean litter boxes”, “shut the hell up” (aka Mute)

Because the Husband’s Remote was just sooooo clever….

3) A New Tattoo– I’m not gonna be able to afford one on my own anytime soon, so I might as well put it on my Wishlist.

4) Gear for the Zombie Apocalypse- Preparation for Z-Day has the potential to get very expensive.  I’m going to need provisions, lots of provisions.   Like freeze-dried astronaut food, and a first aid kit that has a hefty supply of morphine and sodium pentathol (for those pesky field euthanizations.) Lots of leather clothes, cuz I don’t know what these skinny bitches in the movies think they’re doing wearing skirts and shit.  Also, I’ll need some tools for when I break into the pharmacy to steal my lifetime supply of Zoloft (the zombie apocalypse is not the time to give into those pesky anxieties and compulsions!)  And let’s not forget weapons, because, somehow I don’t think a Nerf Blaster is gonna do the trick, not even a HEAT-seeking one.

Really, Jill?

Come to think of it, as long as I have the universal remote, I don’t really need anything else.  I can just click the “zombies off” button.