Thursday, May 5, 2011

"This Feral Nation" Preview

In two weeks, I'll be releasing a novella called "This Feral Nation". I'm in the process of revising, proofing, and figuring out how I'm going to release it. "This Feral Nation" is the first of three novellas that I plan on releasing over the next three months, all with a common theme, leading up to the print edition that will have a 4th novella in it.


This Feral Nation

It was luck, I guess. That I made it this far, at least. Dumb luck. But if you're reading this, which you clearly are, then my luck ran out. It means I'm probably, hopefully, dead. Or something far worse.
It's been so long since I talked to someone, to hear another voice other than my own. I never realized how quiet it can be, how still the world is without us. I wish you were here, to talk to you. I've spent the last six weeks alone, and God, it's crippling. Things were better with Charlie around. At least with her, I had small moments in the day to keep me going. Now? Now I wish it had ended on day one.
Where were you on day zero, I wonder? It's funny, everyone remembers day zero. Every minute detail. I guess that's what tragedies do. They stay with you, ingrained in your every thought, a shadow on the horizon, no?
For me, day one was the mall. It was myself, my brother Doyle, and his fiance, Charlie. We were all free that day, decided to go Christmas shopping. It was a special Christmas,, Charlie just found out she was pregnant. A little Christmas gift, she'd told me. Doyle was nervous about the whole thing, fatherhood. But I kept telling him he'd be fine. He'd be a great father.
So there we are, in the food court of the mall, eating some fries(God, I miss fries) and drinking some soda, when it happened. Day one. It started with a low constant buzzing. Nothing else seemed different. Just this BZZZZZ that was just a notch below everything else.
But then Doyle fell to the ground, in agony. He clutched his head and screamed, an ungodly scream. He wasn't the only one, either. All around us, dozens of people fell to the ground, screaming. I remember Charlie's panicked look. I felt ashamed, the way she was looking at me, begging for an answer. But I was still, completely still. Maybe if I had been an EMT or a police officer or something, I could've done something. But I'm an accountant. I knew numbers, not emergencies.
“Jack, do something!” Charlie screamed, tears down her face, as Doyle began to bleed from his eyes and ears. I noticed the others started to bleed to. Someone yelled out “It's the terrorists!” and the hysteria hit. I don't think many people noticed the changes.
It was an old lady, a goddamned granny with a walker. She was bleeding, just like the others, but then her face became twisted and contorted. Her jaw made a hideous crack as it become elongated, her teeth fell out out of her mouth, like bloody rocks. Her back arched unnaturally, brittle bones snapping and cracking in the old lady.
“Oh, God, Jack!” Charlie's scream brought me back to Doyle. It was happening to him too. So much blood, just pouring out of him, as his teeth fell out. Then I noticed what had fallen to the ground. Doyle had been gripping his ear in pain so hard, he'd ripped off his left ear. It lay on the ground in a pool of blood.
I'd like to say I rushed into action, that I got mys hit together, grabbed my brother and headed to the hospital. But that would be a lie. As Charlie held her dying fiancee, my fucking brother, I stumbled the ground and vomited. The world goes to hell, and I vomit. Makes sense, no?
A heard a growl, and looked back to where the old lady was. Or had been. She wasn't there anymore. In her place, was an animal. At least, at the time, I thought it was an animal. It stood on its hind legs, nearly nine feet tall. Covered in rough, brown fur. Large, red eyes. And the teeth...well, I'm sure you've learned about the teeth.
I couldn't process it, I just sat in my vomit looking at this, this thing. It stared at me, and let out a blood-curdling howl, and charged. It lunged and attacked a man, barely three feet away from me. It bit into his throat, and shook the man's head free from the body, as blood splattered me in the face. I don't think he ever even realized what was happening. And looking back, if I had been three feet closer to the beast, I said, dumb luck.
They were all changing, you see. Every one of the people who had fallen to the ground in pain, changing into these...these wolves. Maybe a dozen of them, in the food court. And they were hungry. You suddenly saw these things lunging at the closest person, tearing them to bits. And my brother was becoming one of them.
“Charlie, we need to go!” I said as I grabbed her. The girl was shell shocked, she had been sitting on the ground, crying hysterically. I don't even think she noticed the wolves at first. I grabbed her and we ran.
The last time I saw my brother, he was in mid-change. I don't know why he was taking longer than the others, but when we ran away, he looked at me. He looked at me with tears in his eyes. Every time I sleep now, I see him. Laying there in a pool of blood, watching his brother run away with his fiancee. Sometimes I pray, I pray that he died that day. That he isn't out there as one of them.
As we ran, we realized it wasn't just the food court. All around the mall, people had been changed into these monsters. You had the wolves attacking whomever they could, you had the people panicking and running, and you had the people that couldn't keep up. The ones that tripped, fell, got swallowed up beneath the heels of the mob. The floors became slick with blood, I could barely keep my balance.
We turned the corner, near the Macy's. The exit to the parking lot, to my car, is 300 feet away. But there was two of them, eating a poor woman. God, she was still alive. I saw them pull out her intestines, and she looked at me. And then they noticed us.
Have you ever had one of them charge at you? I'm you've had. You've had to, if you're still alive after all this time. They're so fast. I couldn't move, I was paralyzed. I should have died that day, to be honest. Eaten by those two beasts. But before they could get to me, someone grabbed Charlie and I, threw us into a room, and closed the door. There was a loud thud as soon as the door closed, and then the howling. They were trying to get in.

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