Third Chronicle, Part 1

Posted: December 29, 2012 in Insanity Sublime, Zombie Apocalypse, Zombie outbreak
Tags: , , ,

To see is to fear

My name is Cynthia Anne Lovewell. I’m a Congresswoman of Oklahoma’s First Congressional District. I feel it is important, no matter what happens here, now, or sometime in the future, that when, God willing, this is all behind us someone knows what became of us; the President, the Joint Chiefs, myself and the other survivors here with me.

I have thankfully found an abundance of paper here, and as we are trapped, it seems I also have an abundance of time. So I will take advantage of both and, for the record and for whomever finds this, I will tell my story which is I suspect the story of a great many people.

I remember Thanksgiving in 2012 with my dear family. It was like every year; so good to not be Congresswoman Lovewell but instead just be mom and sister, cousin and friend, adoring wife; to enjoy the simple pleasure of baking holiday wonders, smelling the aroma, the warmth of the kitchen in contrast to the sharp chill of late autumn in Northern Oklahoma.

We baked pies and made stuffing, roasted the turkey——all the holiday cooking——then set the table and feasted. Good times shared with good food and the company of loved ones. Later we watched the Sooners trounce the Huskers. It was a fabulous time. By early evening most of the adults had migrated and segregated; the ladies to the kitchen for cocktails, and the men to the back porch for scotch and cigars. We were having our drinks and chatting of family and children when my 10 year old daughter, Ellie, came in.

“Mother you have to see this, you all you have to see this.”

“Ellie, that’s why adults have come in here, so you kids can watch the TV in the den and we can visit in here without interrupting each other.”

“I know mom but you have to come, you have to see what’s on the news hurry.”

She was very excited but in a way I wasn’t used to seeing her; not with joy or anticipation, but more akin to agitation like something disturbed her. It immediately concerned me.

She was so insistent that I finally excused myself and went to see what had gotten her so riled up. I found all the children, except my thirteen year old, Kyle, gathered around the television and watching a video clip from the news.

The video showed what appeared to be a riot of hundreds of people running crazy attacking other people trying to get away. The caption read: RIOTING IN INDIA CLAIMS HUNDREDS.

“You kids shouldn’t be watching this. Let’s turn this off.”

Then my nephew Jake said, “But Aunt Cindy, look at this. I found this first. We thought it wasn’t real but then it came on the news.” He points back at the TV.

Jake was on the computer at my husband, Sean’s desk. Jake had downloaded the same video as the news but this one was longer and unedited. I moved closer to watch. All the children went with me.

In this video I was witness to the beginning of the scene shown only briefly on CNN. A video shot taken out the rear window of a car. In the beginning the car comes around the corner and halts in the center of a road in a small town only a little more than a village.

The camera zooms down the street. Screaming could be heard in the distance faintly. Then a girl in a colorful long dress stumbles out of a building several blocks away and runs up the middle of the street wailing.

One by one more people run out into the street and towards the camera. Then more and more frantic people come running up the street toward the car. All of these people seem in severe states of hysteria. Immediately behind them comes a mass of other people running in pursuit and howling like crazed lunatics. This horde of hundreds chases the fleeing people down, swarming on each, and then it appears that they literally tear them apart.

Like the CNN video it was hard to tell exactly what happened because they were a good distance away. But unlike the CNN reel, this video continued.

More go down. Then only the girl remains alive and fleeing in an exhausted broken stride. I could hear the young men in the car arguing in Punjabi until finally they back up towards a girl who’s running and crying desperately. The young men are shouting and waving for her to run faster as they back up at speed, one of them has a door open and ready.

Oh the poor thing!

So fatigued and encumbered by the dress. You can see the crazies gaining and you know she’s not going to make it. You can see it in her eyes that she knows this as well. My heart shattered. She was maybe seventeen.

They leap on her, tackling her savagely to the ground. The car accelerates away. Because it is so close, the camera catches all the horror in her expression and her shrieks as the pack of possessed rip her open and limb from limb.

“Oh, my Lord!” I shouted.

But the worst was next.

The crazies, like wild hyenas, begin eating the flesh they’ve torn away. I vomit in my mouth and have to swallow it so the kids don’t know.

I was horrified, completely horrified. In my attempt to turn off the monitor I nearly swat it from the desk.

“How did you get this Jake?”

My nephew straightened the monitor, then showed me the site were the video had been originally download and cached before any censoring could be done. Once captured with his own servers this morbid individual could make the full video available to anyone knowledgeable enough or unfortunate enough to find him on the web.

I was almost as equally disturbed that the children did not seem too bothered by it at all.

What world are they growing up in that I am unaware of?

I scolded them all and forbade them to watch it further. I went to my office to think about what to do. Do I tell the others about it? What about my sister; do I tell Carla that her son was watching something so terrible?

Once I calmed down I couldn’t see what this event in northern

India, no matter how harrowing it was, had to do with our Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t about to ruin anyone’s holiday by talking about riots and cannibals.

Composed, I rejoined the party, but try as I might I could not get the thought out of my head that I had just witnessed something as foreboding as it was horrendous.

Carla was the last to leave that night. She and others would return early tomorrow and we would attack the disaster zone that was my kitchen and dining area. There’s always been a steadfast rule to the Lovewell home; there’ll be no labor on Thanksgiving once the cooking and serving are done. So the cleaning was always left to the day after.

Sean had just come in, he had been sharing cigars and scotch with the boys out on the back porch. The brisk November night air and the scotch had turned his cheeks and nose bright pink. It made him look boyish. It made me smile.

We showered together. I washed my husband head to toe, front to back. The love of the holiday with my family had culminated to this moment alone with my husband, and it wasn’t so much lust that I felt as it was love, pure and simple love for my good man.

Lovemaking was slow, as much for the tenderness I felt as for our full bellies. But even though I felt so much love, many times during the shower and while making love I was haunted by the image of that girl being taken down and torn up—her forearm eaten like a turkey leg, a ring on her finger catching the light … so surreal.

Long after Sean began snoring I still lay awake unable to get the image from my head. I made a solemn vow that my little nephew, Jake the computer genius, will not be allowed near a computer in my house again so long as he lives.

The next day the girls came and we cleaned but not before I made several calls to Washington to see what I could learn.

It was a localized fever within the peasantry of that part of the Punjab state, a mutation of the mad cow disease able to cross the species barrier and infect humans. A reference was made to the Hindu worship of cows and regular uncommonly close proximity as to being part of the cause. My first thought was, You’ve got to be kidding? Whose theory is that? I also knew that the farther north you went in India the more predominantly Islamic the country became.

Something stank and I didn’t like it.

Over the next few days nothing else emerged. No new footage. No information. India had declared a state of national emergency. Parliament had also banned all foreign press from the country as a matter of national security, and the Indian Air Force had cordoned off the airspace above the Punjab incident and declared it a no-fly zone.

As it was, the only peoples who knew what was really going on at that time in India was the Indians. I know my own government was keeping close tabs but I was not privy to whatever information they had—I was just a lowly Congresswoman after all—but if the country and government, of which I was a Representative, knew anything more than CNN they certainly were not saying so. This bothered me more.

But I’d done my due diligence; I had made my repetitive calls, and I had left multiple messages. I had just 10 days vacation to spend home in Oklahoma. I already had used five, I wasn’t going to waste what remained.

We had a good time; the sisters and brothers, the husbands and wives, and the children. The 28th we all went to Carla’s ranch. We went horseback riding, boating on the lake—it was a big pond truly, but we like to call it a lake. The boys went shooting and horseback riding as well. They practice roping cows and found they were no better than they were last Thanksgiving. The only real cowboy was Eric, Carla’s husband.

These were all annual rituals of ours, something we did year after year after year. For me these times only brought more joy in their repetition not less.

The main point of the traditional 28th and 29th at Carla’s and Eric’s was that we would all help put up Christmas decorations throughout their enormous ranch house. It was a fun time. The dining table would be piled high with barbecue ordered from Hank’s Hickory Shack eight miles down the road in downtown Jones.

And that’s how it went Wednesday, 29 November 2012; we were all feasting on barbecue having completed most of the scheduled decorating. It was about six o’clock. As usual the boys and girls had segregated as the day wound on. The boys were in the den watching some kind of sports show. They had taken their barbecue with them and that was just fine with us ladies.

When I heard Sean holler at the top of his voice, “Oh my Lord Almighty!” I thought I’d jumped out of my skin.

And then Eric Yells, “That can’t happen. They can’t do that! What in the hell is going on over there?”

The other men shot in their exclamations as well.

I never heard anything like that from our boys; neither had the other women or the children, and it plum shocked us all. We girls looked to one another in silence for a brief moment. I then put my drink down and as calmly as I could I hurried to the den to see what the fuss was about. All the women followed me and the children followed them.

What we saw there on Eric’s ninety-inch 3-D HD, eight thousand dollar television set was a series of images; satellite, hand-held camera, thermo graphic and long-range telescopic all showing the unbelievable; multiple nuclear explosions in northeast India. The “mad cow disease of the Hindus” had gotten so  uncontrollable that Parliament and the President of India felt its only chance was to detonate ten warheads on its own soil. All I could think was, What in the name of heaven’s really happened over there?

I flew back to Washington immediately.

Over time we learned of the severity of what would later be dubbed the Zombie Plague.

A virus, it was strongly suspected, attacked the control centers of its victim’s brain causing derangement in a form of primal animalistic behavior. That is how they explained the attacks and cannibalism.

Within a few months it was behind us. It was India that had the plague, and it was India now that had a vast nuclear wasteland.

Here in the glass bubble that is America, detached and protected from virtually everything, we were collectively more than happy to put the ugliness of India’s disaster behind us.

But not I.  I couldn’t let it go. The seed had been planted in my head and I could not ignore it. I pried and I prodded and persisted trying to learn more about what had happened; to find out what our various security agencies were doing about it.
I learned there were many ongoing operations in India, China, Pakistan, and throughout the Middle East dedicated to discovering if any of the original pathogen survived the detonations or if—God forbid!—any samples were collected by India or agents of any other government, organizations, or ideologies. It was, as far as our intelligence community was concerned, the number one priority. Every resource the United States had available was poured into this, for fear that the virus would fall into the hands of a fanatical enemy willing to unleash Hell upon the earth.

That fear was well founded, for that is exactly what happened.

On February 16, 2013 at 3:30 pm ET, I was in my office in the Capital Building; Congress was in session that month. It was like a wave, an invisible wave of fear; I could feel it coming before I heard it. I remember distinctly looking up from the proposed bill I was perusing.

There was a scream of shock. Then another.

I went out to the hall and I found my secretary.  She turned with red teary eyes and said the words I will take with me to my grave.

“The Zombie Plague … it’s here!”

I hurried back to my office and turned on my set. There, on CNN, was a scene not unlike what I witnessed on Thanksgiving except to say that there were many more infected zombies and many more victims in the broadcast.

The epicenter was at the airport, which had been completely overrun. The wave of infected had somehow already managed to cross the Potomac on the 395 and 14th St bridges. They were a little more than a mile from us.

Andrew AFB had scrambled F-16s and blew both those bridges to pieces, but too late. DC law enforcement, army reservists, and even civilians were already battling the horde as it surged forward.

The speed at which the mob traveled in this ever-expanding concentric ring of carnage was unbelievable. An average man can run at about 12 miles per hour for a mile. The speed at which the thousands of infected were surging was a steady and unbelievable 11 mph for miles on end! Given just a short time the hordes could out run a healthy man.

How could that happen?

The Capital Building, my floor anyway, had all but emptied in the short time it took for me to make these basic assessments. I chose to remain. It was a government building; large, and secure. What better place to be, and where would I go anyway?

Then I thought of Sean, Kyle and Ellie.

I tried to call. All the lines were overwhelmed. I use my cell phone. It was the same. Tens of millions of people all trying to make the same call at the same time, just like the millions of people trying to flee the city all with the same idea at the same time. No calls were getting through, and none of those people were getting away.

I knew we had a secure communications room downstairs complete with short wave radio, telegraph, satellite links, every form of communication known to man far as I understood.

It was the same idea at the same time again; the hall to the communications room was crowded with people shouting and pushing. The communications room itself was guarded by four armed marines with rifles at the ready.

Dejected I returned to my office and with no other options, I joined 200 million other cell phone users in redialing over and over again.

I finally realized that, even with overwhelmed cellular communications, text data transmissions should still be possible.

I texted Sean, Kyle, my sister, and then forwarded it to everyone in my contacts just to be sure and safe. In the text I communicated specifically what I knew from the news;
Washington DC, New York, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle all had virtually simultaneous outbreaks on Wednesday, 16 February.

I told Sean and Kyle to get Ellie and go to Carla’s. It would be the safest place. They have wide open range property of low population for the surrounding miles, and Carla and Eric have a huge storm cellar. Eric also has exceptional collection of firearms with which I was always impressed, but never so pleased about as I was now.

I did not realize my error until its consequences compounded. I should have just texted family first, got them secured and then text-blasted everyone. I was getting multiple replies, one atop another, atop another. It was difficult to get the specifics I needed from my husband and sister. After sorting through thirty-five or so texts I finally got to my husband’s delayed reply.

My heart sunk.

His reply was: I’m federal law enforcement, baby, I can’t hunker down, they’re going to need me.

Suddenly I started crying. I felt like I would lose my husband, somehow, my amazing Sean.

I texted him back sternly: You make sure you look to your kids and my sister before you go running off to those WHO NEED YOU!

He replied: Of course I will take care of our family, babe! I only meant that they will likely call my SAR unit to duty.

Suddenly I realized I had missed the meaning of his text altogether. I felt so guilty. I hoped that whatever satellite dish, or radio transmitter, or whatever devise that would be calling my husband away, would break somehow and fail, because of this dread that I had that that call would mean the death of my husband. The tears came fresh again.

Just then two marines came to my office door. One stayed, the other hurried down the hall. The young Marine, looking as sharp in his dress blues in the midst of catastrophe as I’m sure he did on the parade ground, and in complete calm, stepped up and held out his hand.

“Madam Congresswoman, I’m Corporal Coleman. I’m here to escort you to the helicopter.”

I didn’t know what helicopter he meant. I hadn’t heard one. I just knew that things seemed to be unraveling out of my control. I reached up and took Cpl. Coleman’s hand and allowed him to lead me outside to the front lawn.

There an enormous helicopter with the President’s Seal emblazoned on the fuselage was waiting with the rotors turning at the ready.

I was ushered on board. Cpl. Coleman fastened my safety belt, looked at me, took a half-step back, and presented a sharp salute. He then turned and went back into the Capital Building to help another citizen in need. I never saw that young man again of course. But he will always be in my mind and represent forever my image of the United States Marines.

After the helicopter was loaded to capacity, it lifted off with surprising grace for its awkward and ungainly appearance.
As we banked southward I could see three groups of two F-16s each perform bombing runs on the remaining bridges across the Potomac.

Then I could see the horde of infected. They had indeed crossed the Potomac and now poured into the perimeter of Washington DC proper. I could see the slow methodical retreat of the defenders as they gave ground to the thousands of oncoming zombies. It was terrible to behold, these were not monsters being gunned down, burned with flamethrowers, and blown apart with grenades. These were people—sick infected people! My heart went out to the defenders for the bravery they showed, and for the will they must have had to summon to lay their own neighbors low like that.

There were no tears from anyone on board. No one cried out or even gasped. There was no sound at all save the rhythmical “THWUPTA” of the helicopter’s blades as they carried us to safety. We all stared in silent horror and solemnly watched our nation’s Capital be consumed by the infected hordes of Armageddon.

 

Next: Ground Zero

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Comments
  1. rocco613 says:

    I was drawn in quickly by the setting, great details. Great pacing, a rising sense of urgency as details come in faster and faster. Fucking great man.

  2. ltdalin says:

    I agree with Rocco. I don’t know what else to say. Except: I imagine that’s how it would feel, for a woman, living through that. Very impressive.

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