Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 1
Let me start by saying that I’m sick of the media feeding on our fears. It seems they’ll stop at nothing for ratings; embellishments, omitting facts, creating entire stories based on a grain of salt. Whatever happened to honest reporting?
Well, that’s why I’m writing this. We can no longer take what the major outlets try to pass off as truth. Those days are gone.
Let me begin by introducing myself and lay out what you can expect from me. My name is Nathan. I’m a designer for an online retailer and, given my occupation, I felt like contributing something more, something with substance.
So here I am. If I can lay some truth out there so the world isn’t completely over-saturated with bull, I’ve done my job.
The first topic of discussion is this new flu going around. I’ll be reporting what I see on a daily basis; how many people I see keeling over in the frozen goods aisle of Vons, the number of employees calling off work, etc. I’m looking forward to your comments to tip the scales in favor of truth and honesty for a change.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 2
I wouldn’t classify myself as paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, by any means. But when we’re told that this new virus can actually alter the behavior of those infected…to be a danger to those around them, one has to wonder what the media’s true objectives are.
Now, instead of feeding on fears based on our own health, they intend to attack them as they relate to our family and friends.
This is a sample from the latest newscast: “We strongly urge everyone to be vaccinated. There have been reports of serious injuries to those within close proximity to the infected, by the infected. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.”
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 3
Patient Zero. Nothing is being divulged to the public, except that a man by the name of Dean Foes, who had been stationed at Travis Air Force Base (about 30 miles southwest of San Francisco), is now believed to be the first diagnosed with this flu.
They’re calling it the MAD flu, which stands for Motor Ascendency of Dependent. The name obviously has reference to Mad Cow Disease, and basically means a complete motor function authority shift, in which the virus is completely in control of, and dependant on the human brain.
More paranoid theorists are calling it the Zombie Virus, as it apparently causes severe dementia, lack of coordination, and leaving the host to fits of rage, though no cases of that sort have been confirmed.
Of course, those who look to gain from mass hysteria (those out for ratings and/or with stock riding on the success of the new vaccine) aren’t objecting to the free publicity. The Zombie Virus title, conjuring sensational images of mindless, slow-moving and unrelenting creatures of the undead, coupled with the Travis Air Force Base quarantine, have certainly helped the buzz factor.
Though details are sketchy in regards to why a quarantine would be necessary, I have little doubt that, because this has quickly become a nation-wide scare, the President would rather over-react to this situation now than be eaten alive after the fact for not doing enough in times of supposed crisis…if this were to actually become a real threat.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 4
It dawned on me. Not until this morning did I realize that Aaron, who works with me in our e-commerce department, also trains at that very base that is now quarantined.
I wanted to ask him if he’d seen anything this past weekend that might hint as to exactly what’s going on up there. When he sent an email out last night saying he wouldn’t be in to work due to illness, I assumed he was taking the day off to play the new Call of Duty (his own personal crack). After a long weekend on base, what better way to relax is there, than to slaughter unsuspecting human beings?
Figuring he was in perfect health, I called his cell to ask about the containment, if he’d seen or heard anything. That’s when a woman answered the phone. It was his mom. She had mentioned that he had been hospitalized several hours ago with fever, which took me by surprise.
I will never forget what I heard after that; a man in agony…a dying friend in the background of the line. Seconds later, the room went quiet, and a chill shot down my spine. The fever had killed him.
The phone on the other end dropped to the hospital bed. The next sound was her sobbing.
Then came the screams.
I can only describe what I heard as the tearing of flesh. Not just flesh…the sound of living tissue being ripped apart, followed by a gag and a gurgle against the speaker of the phone.
Commotion filled the hospital halls.
The line went dead.
I can’t begin to make sense of anything I just heard.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 5
There was only one person I could turn to for some perspective; my mom.
My mom is known for being a little reactive in times of almost-crisis; Y2K, the Bird Flu and Swine Flu scares, to name a few. She has, however, been a nurse for over 30 years and a student of alternative medicine for nearly a decade. As far as I’m concerned, she’s the guru of everything medical.
Under normal circumstances (if there have ever been ‘normal’ circumstances), I would be warned to prepare for the worst, followed by rational, yet extreme arguments to explain her reasons for concern. This was a different kind of conversation.
She told me to leave work right away, and that on my way home to pick up ER bars, freeze dried food, and bottled water as I could. I barely had time to ask her what was going on when she said “Please, just listen to me. I’ve seen things that…” her breath stopped, “that you wouldn’t believe. Just get out of there now and make sure Stephanie”, my wife, “does the same. I’ll call you soon to figure out a plan.”
The conversation ended with my compliance. After what I’d heard yesterday…let’s just say I’m not feeling completely comfortable remaining a skeptic. No matter how much I’d like to avoid being caught up in this…well, despite not being able to explain yesterday’s turn of events, there is something…beyond my understanding going on here.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 6
I’d been wondering what my mom meant when she said she’d seen things. I’ve never heard her so worked up.
Steph got home shortly after myself. It was then that she clarified the static-filled conversation we had as she was driving through the mountain pass toward home.
She told me what had happened before leaving early for the day; how she began to question everything she’s ever believed in, and come full circle.
A child by the name of Robert was feeling ill. From what I’ve heard in the past, this wasn’t unusual. Robert was gone 3 days a week with claims of illness. Those magical days he did show were filled with onslaughts of complaints; I have a headache, my stomach hurts, I can’t stop coughing (he would say with exaggerated loss of speech).
Steph never expected that the boy who cried wolf would be, well…the boy who cried wolf.
Once again, Robert was granted pardon. He knew the path to the nurse’s office well, which came in handy. Steph said that he looked like he was having real difficulty – like he was losing mobility and couldn’t see straight. He bumped into two students on the way to the door. Steph was thinking that if this was the fever, it was working quickly. It was only after everything happened, that she heard the details of the tragic event that took place at Emerald Elementary.
After a brief examination, Nurse Monica knew he should be at home or hospital. She instructed the boy to lie down on the cot as she made the call to his mother, who sounded like she was coming down with the same thing. She then called Stephanie to have a student bring Robert’s backpack to her office.
Given the symptoms, the nurse thought it best to contain what she had diagnosed as MAD flu.
Robert must’ve looked like he had fallen asleep. Worried, she went to check his forehead and was shocked to find a dramatic decrease in temperature. The fever had gone down, that much was certain. The strange thing was that it reduced in a matter of minutes.
Jacob, who was delivering the backpack, approached the glass wall to the nurse’s office. From there, he could see Robert pushing Nurse Monica against the east wall.
Blood sprayed against the glass. As the nurse forced the child away in shock, Jacob realized that she has been bitten. Horrified, he dropped the backpack and ran back to class.
All but one of the secretaries sprinted towards the principal’s office. The attendance secretary, Rose, remained. As she had the only seat not overlooking the nurse’s office window, she went to check on Robert and Monica. Rose gasped as Monica’s cries for help were silenced with a vicious bite to the throat.
Through the principal’s office window, they could see the blood making its way out of the nurse’s office. There was so much blood…pooling under the door and spreading across the floor. Eustace, the principal, dialed the police…and called for a Code Red Lockdown over the intercom.
In her class, Stephanie did her best to keep the kids calm and quiet. Lights were off, doors were locked, and the children crouched under their desks; standard protocol, only this wasn’t a drill.
After the police arrived, Eustace ordered an emergency evacuation until further notice. Stephanie, Jacob, and the office staff gave their statements to the police, who answered with disbelief.
Most of the staff, including Stephanie, left immediately after.
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 7
Flu vaccine commercials are running continuously and the President has urged everyone, young and old, to get vaccinated.
I’m scared to death. I realize this is serious, but I can’t risk vaccination. I can’t risk subjecting ourselves to the infected and contagious, and based on the research I did on the previous scare (H1N1), the vaccine would only be useful if targeting a specific strain of flu, which has most likely mutated beyond the strain originally tested for.
There are reports of this starting as some kind of kind of bio-chemical weapon, as military bases were the first to be hit with large numbers of outbreaks.
I just can’t help thinking back to the Muslim Army psychiatrist, Nidal Malik Hasan, who shot and killed 13 soldiers last year at Fort Hood, Texas. Reports indicated that the Army was aware of his tendencies toward radical Islam. Despite the warnings, the military did nothing, all for the sake of political correctness. That mind set may have been the catalyst for the epidemic now spreading throughout our nation.
As our military is weakened, our defenses our down. I pray for quick resolve.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 8
Last night, we hear this story…
“Emerald Elementary fell prey to MAD flu yesterday, as a student by the name of Robert Munez, diagnosed minutes before the attack, lashed out against the school nurse, Mrs. Monica.
Eustace Collins, the principal at Emerald Elementary, said this in regards to the attack, “She was a good, caring woman, putting others before anything else. To see her like that…torn to shreds like a victim of some wild animal…” he continues “how could a child…” he shakes his head “how could a child be capable of something so horrendous, so violent?”
The reporter continues, “Robert Munez is currently being detained in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. As stories like this rise throughout the nation, the MAD flu spreads beyond our borders. Shelly Winters has more on this.”
“Thank you Tina. Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Western Europe have all reported cases of the MAD flu. As the world is witnessing the worst epidemic since 1918, terrorist attacks are flooding London, Paris and Rome, with an attempted attack on New York.”
It turns out the flu vaccine was merely a means to keep the population docile and calm. The most disturbing news came later.
“An article written by a scientist for Center for Disease Control and Prevention has bridged the gap between what we know and what we thought we knew.” The piece begins, “Doctor Nathan Richmond, of the CDC, was ordered by Congress yesterday to bring forward his article as public domain. Reasons being as stated, “for the safety and future for all mankind”, said Congressman Ron Paul.
Dr. Richmond’s article states:
As I have witnessed, there are several stages to reanimation. Immediately after reanimation occurs, the host is fully mobile. Though coordination is lacking, the host exhibits traits of any drunk you may find stumbling through the streets, with a similar speech impediment. As diagnosing the host at this early stage will be the most difficult, it is also at this time they should be considered the highest threat.
As Rigor Mortis sets in, the host loses that fluid, albeit uncoordinated, mobility. Rash, jerky movements are the result.
The first stage of decomposition begins in the stomach, as the host’s own digestive enzymes begin to eat away its tissues. This is important to note, because the more a zombie feeds in the first stage, the slower the rate of decomposition.
Rigor Mortis lasts for approximately 36 hours. It is then that the host begins losing speed. The rate of decomposition is always dependent on temperature and humidity, and the speed of the host is dependent on the stage of decomposition. It is predicted that within a year however, unless frozen, the body will be almost completely decomposed. I say almost, because all the tests we have performed do not indicate normal decomposition in the brain, especially the brain stem, where the virus is housed.
Similarities in MAD flu are found in the following; viral meningitis, rabies, and Mad Cow Disease. Though certain similarities are present, diagnosing how to best treat MAD flu has, so far, been a great challenge. It is unlike anything we have seen before.”
There’s no denying it anymore. The dead are rising….
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 9 | 9:28 am
If you take away all of a human being’s weaknesses (fear, pain, any ties to his own humanity), what is left is a determined, unstoppable force. Now take away all high-level cognitive functions. What’s left is an unstoppable force driven by nothing but primitive desires. As if that wasn’t enough, now strip away their mortality.
They require no food, no water, and no sleep. Their numbers grow exponentially, and they cannot die…they’re already dead! The only way to stop a zombie is to stop all brain function (i.e. decapitation, blunt force trauma, or a shot to the head).
Most of what we know about war, since the beginning of time, is useless. This is a war unlike any other.
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 9 | 2:05pm
There’s a scratching sound coming from our neighbor’s house.
We share our west wall with two neighbors, spanning our laundry room and bedroom closet, but this noise seemed to be coming from somewhere else.
I followed the sound to our bathroom.
Our bathroom window looks out onto one of our neighbor’s patios. Nice family. I remember meeting them a few times as I took the dog out for a walk.
They had a Boston Terrier. It was still a puppy when I saw it, crazy little thing, full of energy. The little girl walking it was always smiling.
I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a daughter like that, to see her turn. I might have done the same thing.
The moaning is endless. Their dog, Otis was his name, I think… must’ve gotten too close before they tied her up. Poor thing is barely recognizable. All life from that place is gone.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 9 | 2:52pm
I didn’t ever want to look out of that window again. I knew nothing good would come of it, but there was something in the back of my mind that kept pulling…something that drew me to that window to look one more time…something in the corner of my eye that I may have missed.
When I received this message in reply to my last post, those suspicions had been confirmed:
HELP PLEASE!!! I saw you!….you were looking out your bathroom window…looking at something in the direction of your neighbors patio…I couldn’t see what you were looking at but it wasn’t good. My name is Crystal I am trapped in the house next to the one you were looking at. My roommates got sick I’ve been gone this past week came home and they tried to attack me. I have barricaded myself in the bathroom with nothing but the door lock and a small table holding the door. THEY ARE TRYING TO GET IN!!! PLEASE HELP ME!!!!
I pulled the curtain back slowly, careful to not make any sudden movements that might bring any unwanted attention.
‘HELP ME’ is now written on the window where she must’ve been attempting to wave me down before.
Who knows what may have happened up to this point. Almost an hour has passed since last contact. Did her roommates get through the poorly barricaded door? Was she infected? Clearly, her position had been compromised with all that noise.
My first instinct was to not put our safety at risk, to turn a blind eye. Then I realized… this is what we, as a whole, were fighting for now – survival…not to mention our own humanity.
Crystal, if you’re still alive…if you’re still safe, let me know your current situation. We’ll do everything we can to get you out of there.
Rise of the MAD Flu: Day 9 | 3:15pm
I’m no soldier. I was out of my element.
I knew, though, that if I was going to save Crystal, I had to be fast and efficient – get in, get out.
Timing was going to be crucial. Steph kept watch on our staircase, looking out of the window to the front gate (we were one of the few residents lucky enough to have a gate), ready to unlock the door and let us in when needed.
If there were any zombies tailing us, we were going to have to pack up and get out. Crystal may have had a lucky break with her now undead roommates, having been distracted by something else, but I’m beginning to realize that with any one of those things around, they attract more…and more. It wouldn’t be safe to stay here if one of them targeted our location.
I made my way around the house on the left, as alert and terrified as I’ve ever been. I’ve seen those highlights on the news from the ‘Don’t Be A Hero’ spot – it never ended well.
What was I thinking!?
As I rounded the next corner, I could hear them.
Gun ready, I quickly turned the corner and took aim through the open door at a zombie inside the house. I shot in two’s, due to my general lack of confidence in my abilities. The fact that I was shaking a little didn’t help.
I shot the only one I could see from my position. The first shot missed, having hit it in the shoulder blade. The second went in behind its ear. I turned back around, heart racing. The one I shot dropped to the floor.
I could hear the door to the bathroom finally give.
Damn! Don’t scream, just don’t scream…I’m coming.
I made my way in the house. I could see the other one now, barreling through the bathroom door. Time slowed.
I took aim as the zombie lunged forward at the girl in the corner of the bathroom, but I couldn’t get a clear shot.
Crystal was struggling to fight it off as I moved in closer. There was no way I was going to get a shot off in the struggle. Then it happened.
Her scream shot and echoed through the complex as she kicked the zombie off of her to the other side of the bathroom. I put two in its head.
Her forearm was gushing blood, and I knew what I had to do.
Like I said before, I’m no soldier…but this mission was over.
“I’m so sorry”, I whispered to her as I pulled the trigger.
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 9 | 7:42pm
We now have a destination; Sandpoint, Idaho. It was not two years ago that we were planning for a trip to Sandpoint. At that time my mom and her husband, Lee, were talking to an architect up there about building on a piece of land they had bought. The plan was to have their house built in to the landscape, into the side of a hill. The architect they were talking to, Lyle Barber, had studied under Frank Lloyd Wright in another lifetime, but still had an undying passion for the design process.
These travel plans are going to be different, however. With nearly all of the roads impenetrable, we’ll have to get creative.
Even if my mom hadn’t of texted with their destination, we were going to have to start planning an escape as it was. Despite our rationing, the food wasn’t going to last another week…and I have a feeling this is going to get worse before it gets better.
This just in:
“…the United Nations will meet tomorrow morning, having invited all of the nation’s leaders, in an attempt to unify the world against a threat that, without a unified attack, might be the end of the world as we know it. As the leaders of the world organize, there are hopes that differences may be set aside to plan a tactical offense against the ever-growing population of the undead before it’s too late…for all of us.”
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 10 | 2:45am
Shadows pass across the barely lit sidewalks and garage alleyways. The undead yearn for the living with moans that echo between the buildings. The stench rises with the moisture of the air as the rain washes away bits of rotting flesh from the source of that miserable sound.
I can’t be sure if these are stragglers that somehow managed to slip in through the gate as residents attempted to escape, only having been met with flooded streets, or if our gates were even intact at all any more. Despite being a couple buildings down from overlooking the entrance to our community, I can’t quite see the gate through the rain.
Hopelessness is clouding over everything else. How can we fight this? How can we hope to survive when the dead rise…when the dead’s sole purpose is to end all that is living?
Rise of the MAD Flu: DAY 10 | 7:15am
I took one last look at the girl on our neighbor’s patio. This time she caught the movement of our bathroom curtain and sprung in my direction. The chains rattled as her arms reached out for me.
Her body is colorless now. Her moans, which have been a constant reminder of just how hopeless this fight may be, grew more guttural. A fog was set across her eyes and as she clawed the air to gain an inch in my direction, her mouth opened to reveal the remnants of her dog, Otis, stuck between her teeth and a mutilated half-eaten tongue, wrenching from side to side as if waving to its next meal.
Before heading out, I texted our plan to everyone we knew. I told them that I’d update them in case there was any chance of rendezvous along the way…though I’m pessimistic about how plausible it would be to organize such a rendezvous. The road carries no guarantees of the comforts we have here, let alone a place to charge a phone.
As Martial Law was in effect, everyone was given strict orders to stay indoors, in an attempt to safely and effectively alleviate the threat of the walking dead. It appeared that we were the only ones in our community not in compliance with our government’s recommendations.
After a couple trips to the garage, I realized that we had generated some interest from packing up the Jeep. Though we were careful to move quietly, given the attention outside, we may have been the only unit with any activity… on ground level anyways.
It began as a scratching across our garage door. The sound was horrible. Then it became more ferocious. They were actually trying to scratch their way through the metal.
The low, monotone moans echoed as their stench made its way into our garage.
There were eight or nine of them. The skin on their fingers were ripped to shreds, the meat hanging off the bone. I couldn’t be sure how many we plowed over as I raced backwards and threw it into drive, but it was bumpy. The Jeep reacted to the cracking bones.
There were a few I could see from the rear view, staggering in our direction…and there was a drag.
The entrance gate looked as if someone tried to drive straight through it. A car had cracked the center of the gate, creating just enough space for a couple bodies to fit through at a time. I could imagine someone thinking that this would be a safe haven; a gated community. In their hysteria, however, they would destroy any hope of sanctuary they would ever have here.
I took the turn into the flood zone, through the fence, and down the fifty foot slope. We were in the clear. No one had thought to use this route yet, and the rains hadn’t ruined our only means of escape.
We found our way to the fireman’s road, paralleling the freeway.
After a while, I noticed Steph still clutching the rifle. Her knuckles were white. Her stare was chaotic. I touched her shoulder and she flinched…slowly coming back to me.
It was about a half hour later that we drove over a patch of rocks. A zombie lay in the road behind us, barely recognizable as something once human.