Part One: "Renascentia"
The only sound in the lab was that of the air conditioning unit, which was keeping the room nice and chilly. There was no one there at the time except for a corpse that was laid out on a steel table beneath a white sheet. It was unmoving, stiff and still. Above, the fluorescent lights illuminated the room just enough to allow one to see without much difficulty. The facility never had installed brighter lights, but it was what its staff had to work with.
On one side of the room was a large door, held firmly in place by a hydraulic locking system. Next to it on the wall was a sensor that indicated whether or not the door was properly sealed shut, which would display a green light for 'a-ok', a red light if the door was open, and a yellow light if something was jamming it. At the time, the light was green. Admittance to the lab required the use of a special keycard.
In possession of that keycard was a Dr. Vincente Warren, a balding man with fashionable eyeglasses and a nice amount of stubble on his face. He stood in the room next to the lab, writing down information in his log as sweat poured from his forehead.
It had been a very rough day for the doctor. His wit was being tested and his body was depleted of energy. He had not rested in more than forty-eight hours, as he had been tending to certain matters on Levels C and D of the facility that he had deemed more important than sleep. Warren sat at the desk in the examination room that looked into the lab, staring at the corpse from the other side of a thick sheet of bulletproof glass.
He would look at it for a couple seconds, and then jot something down in his log, expecting something to happen, expecting for it to happen again. It had do, it just had to!
Vincente had seen it happen several times in the past two days. He had seen it happen to several of his close colleagues and friends who worked with him in the Violet facility. In fact, the corpse on the table had once been his assistant. Now, she was dead.
Not for long, though, he thought to himself as he kept taking notes.
Dr. Warren had locked himself in the examination room moments after the order had been given to place Violet on complete lockdown. Outside in the corridor, strobe lights pulsated violently, The alarm had stopped sounding about an hour prior, much to the doctor's relief. He was stressed enough without the alarm giving him a massive headache. Now, he was alone, and there was nothing that could get between him and his work. He had made sure of that.
He played with the keycard to the lab, rolling it around in his hand as he observed the corpse. Debating whether or not to suit-up and enter was eating away at his mind. He needed to be in there, but was worried of what might happen if the facility's power failed, locking him in there. On any normal occasion, he would have politely asked his assistant to enter the lab and take care of business. This time, however, the corpse just so happened to be his assistant.
"Come on, Mary," Dr. Warren grunted quietly under his breath, "Come on, you can do it...I know you can."
If anyone had been observing Dr. Warren in this situation, they would have marked him as a lunatic as he mumbled to himself. He wasn't insane, he was just intensely focused on the task at hand. He needed to observe the deceased test subject and take note of any changes that occurred to it, such as the changes that had occurred to all the other test subjects he had seen since the beginning of the breach.
Still, Mary lay on the table, completely motionless. The cold air of the lab was stiffening her joints and turning her skin a pale, almost whitewash color.
Vincente regretted not letting anyone else into the exam room as the chaos had consumed the facility. If he had allowed even just one more person in with him, then he could have sent them into the lab to do his work for him, to let them risk their own lives in the name of science. He needed to examine her more closely, but he was a coward.
"Damn it," he whispered as he shook his head back and forth.
There was no other option. He would have to go in there himself. He didn't want to, but he saw that he had no other choice.
He walked over to the side of the room where the lockers were located. Opening up the locker nearest to him, Dr. Warren reached inside and pulled out what should have contained a full-body suit to protect him from any pathogens being contained within the lab. However, he found that the suit was missing from its proper place. Cursing once more, much more loudly this time, he pounded his fist on the locker.
"Jesus fucking Christ," he sighed, "What else could go wrong today?!"
Taking a moment to calm himself, he looked toward the table that was in the center of the room and found a pair of rubber gloves and a face mask. It was the best he had, so he used them. He wrapped the string of the mask around his face and carefully placed a glove on each hand, making sure that they fit tightly to his skin.
There was a moment when he thought about running, fleeing into the dark corridors into a maze of death and gore, where his colleagues and former patients had found themselves stumbling about being grabbed by unseen monsters. Delta Squad had done nothing to help them out of the facility. They had abandoned them, all of them, except for that bitch Dr. Rachel Ortiz. They had scooped her pretty little ass up and left the rest of them to die on that fucking island. Damn Delainey Fischer had ordered her men out as soon as they received word from HQ that the Blood Eclipse program could officially be called 'out of control', and up they went in their little whirly-birds. Warren knew that Delta's follow-up report would be full of lies and falsified truths, which were essentially the same thing.
He never had liked working at the Violet facility. He had been transferred there from Red two years prior and had hated his job ever since. The building was an expansive maze of hallways, labs and offices. Now to his knowledge, every single exit and entrance were sealed shut. No one would be getting in and no one would be getting out. The same went for those who inhabited the three different villages on the island. Warren assumed that Delta Squad would have eliminated them to prevent them from escaping and causing panic on the mainland.
He fiddled around with his keycard for a few more moments before stepping up to the panel in the wall and sliding it in. In a downward motion, the keycard came free and the green light turned to red.
"HYDRAULICS DISENGAGED," came a recorded female voice through the speakers installed in all four corners of the examination room.
Dr. Warren stepped inside the chamber that was wedged between the exam room and the lab and could immediately feel the temperature difference. He could only imagine how cold it was going to be inside there. With only a thin, white labcoat, button-up shirt and pants to keep him warm, he found himself almost shivering.
He swiped the key again on the panel on the inside of the chamber and the door opened. This time, the cold air hit the doctor like a brick wall. It even sent him stumbling backward a few steps. It really was like a freezer within the laboratory, but he forced himself to enter.
Once inside, Dr. Warren placed the keycard in his pocket. Normally, he would have closed both the door to the exam room and the door to the chamber, but today he really did not see the need. He was the only one there. Hell, for all he knew, he could be the only damn person left alive in the entire facility. He hadn't seen or heard any signs of anyone else in what felt like forever. All he could hear was painful silence and the low hum of the lab's a/c unit.
There was young Mary, a wise and innocent woman that had not deserved what she had received. Her body was concealed by a sheet of death. It was white, but hours prior it had been stained red by the blood that poured from her bodily wounds. He knew that at any moment, it could happen.
He stared at the body for awhile, allowing his mind to go somewhat numb as his vision narrowed into a tunnel. How much longer would he have to wait before he saw any change at all take place? The time had always varied from person to person, but he knew that it would be soon. It would happen very, very soon. He was absolutely sure of it.
He watched as her arm slipped out from beneath the sheet and dangled beside the table, swinging momentarily before once again becoming still. The doctor wasn't sure if his mind was playing tricks on him, but he swore he could see a finger or two twitch on the dangling hand of his dead assistant.
Dr. Warren could hear a quiet but still somewhat audible hissing sound, and he knew. He knew that it was happening. Mary's fingers definitely began to twitch then, slowly. He watched as her chest moved up and then down, shifting the sheet that hid her body from view. She wasn't breathing. After all, she was dead, but she was moving. The corpse was moving. The doctor smiled slightly as he realized that his estimate had been correct.
It was happening.
Part Two: "Pierced"
The body was still dead. There was no doubt about that, and the doctor was well aware of that. However, the body was able to move due to something deep within the brain reactivating after the person's death. In this case, Mary's brain stem had been reactivated by the very pathogen that had led to her demise. It was now a parasitic infection that had complete control of its host's body.
The creature that had once been Mary Dawson sat up slowly, the white sheet that covered her fell to her torso, revealing her face. She had once been very colorful, her midwestern skin was considered to be beautiful by every man that had tried to start a relationship with her, but now was a cold, pale, pewter grey. Her brown eyes were now hazed over with a veil of milky death, their color now blended with the whites of her eyes. Her light brown hair, tied into a messy bun, was now halfway undone and hanging down awkwardly from the sides of her head.
Dr. Warren was saddened by the sight. That was his assistant, his friend. He had exposed her to the patients during the outbreak in the facility. He knew that he was partially to blame for her horrible death. Now, she was reanimating as one of the dead, and he knew that he was defenseless. She would charge at him once she stepped down from the metal examining table, and he would have to deal with her himself. After all, without an assistant, Dr. Warren would have to do everything by himself.
"Hello, Mary," Dr. Warren said glumly, "Looks like you're back."
Mary's dead brain now had dumbed-down senses. Her vision was impaired, her eyesight nearly deteriorated to the point of being rendered useless. She could not feel anything, either. No emotions were present within the dead female, and her nerves were as dead her soul, meaning that she could not feel even the slightest bit of pain. The wound on her arm went unnoticed, and she now used what senses she had left to seek out the one thing that all the other dead were programmed to search for: prey.
Her hearing and sense of smell were actually stronger than they had been before she died. She could smell the doctor. She could smell that he was alive and that he was something she could use as food. She could hear him speaking to him, but his words held no meaning to her. She was a creature that lived only to eat. She needed to consume as much as she could. Mary would eat anything living that she could get her cold, dead hands on without any hesitation, and she had the doctor pinned as her first victim.
Dr. Warren reached for the scalpel that was placed on the tray to his left. His hand clasped it tightly. If his hands were visible, one would have been able to see his knuckles turn white. Mary turned her head to face him, and he could hear her spine pop as she faced him.
Her stare had no warmth in it. Deep within her throat, Mary gurgled like an animal, her jaw moving up and down in slight but sharp movements. That morning, the doctor remembered how youthful and pleasant she looked. Mary had always been a very friendly woman, and there had always been an undeniable warmth surrounding her, but now her eyes were sunken in in their sockets, really defining her cheek bones and making her look much older than she actually had been.
"I'm so sorry, Mary," Dr. Warren sighed as she began to turn over.
The undead creature stretched an arm out in the doctor's direction. Her jaw lowered, and she hissed at him before falling over the side of the table and onto the cold, hard, tiled floor. Dr. Warren took a step back as she reeled on the floor, eventually getting onto her stomach and tilting her head up to look at him. Her arms contorted as she began to crawl toward him.
"Jesus Christ, Mary, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry."
Dr. Warren knew that he needed to put his friend down. It was the right thing to do. A man of science, he knew that Mary was dead and gone and no longer in that moving body, but deep within the poor doctor's mind existed the thought that she was suffering.
He bravely reached out to the dead assistant and grabbed her by the messy bun on top of her head. She grabbed his arm tightly and he could feel her boney fingers digging into the material of his suit. Raising the scalpel above his head with a tear in his eye, Dr. Warren quickly brought it downward.
The scalpel made contact with the area of Mary's skull just next to the temple on the forehead. The sharp blade was able to pierce the bone, which had been slightly softened by death, and entered the cavity that held her brain. His blow had been just strong enough to reach deep enough into her brain to kill the pathogen's poor host. Mary's grip did not loosen even as her head went limp, slouching over and onto the floor as the doctor let go of her hair.. Rigor mortis instantly began taking effect.
Dr. Warren grabbed Mary's dead hand and pulled it from his arm, throwing it to the side. A trickle of black blood made its way out of her skull and onto the cold floor. It began to pool around her head, but it was not a large amount. The scalpel remained in Mary's head, and it would until her body eventually rotted away and her skull turned to dust.
He entered the chamber and closed the door behind him by swiping the keycard yet again and reentered the examination room, quickly throwing off the biohazard suit and throwing another fit. He cleared every desk of everything that had been placed on them, tossing them to the floor. Ceramic mugs shattered and liquid flew, and the doctor found himself losing it.
Why had this have to happen? Why had Delta Squad left everyone behind? Surely they had a valid reason. They probably wanted to cut their losses and just declare the entire island a dead zone. They had already lost at least twelve members, by Warren's estimates, by the time they flew the coop. By then, there was no more order in the facility. People were dying left-and-right and it had become apprent to everyone that there was no regaining control of the situation.
His heart was heavy and he cried lonely tears. He was alone and afraid. He did not want to die in this underground deathtrap. His colleagues had, and he did not just want to be another faceless number in Delta Squad's follow-up report on the outbreak on Lamina.
He sat down in a chair and cried into his palms. His family back in the States would not know what happened to him. They would never know, because Sinclair-Reese would never issue a statement conerning the fates of those lost on Lamina. Whenever something like this had happened in the past, all records of those involved were erased. It was as if the individuals themselves had been wiped from existence completely.
The doctor was startled as he heard something from within the room. His eyes grew wide and he looked around. Seeing no one, he listened for the noise to happen again.
To his surprise, it did. It was a crackling noise. A radio.
"Hello? H-hello? Ca-can anyone hear me? Hello?" Came a male voice through a radio somewhere among the piles of objects that the doctor had thrown about the room.
Dr. Warren sprung out of his seat and began meticulously searching for the radio, eventually finding it under a white binder. He held it in his hand.
"Hello!" The doctor said as he pressed down on the 'talk' button', "Hello! Hello!"
It was several seconds before he received a reply, "Hello! Hello! Who...who is this?!"
"I'm a doctor," Warren told the man on the other end, "I...I'm on Level D."
"Y-you're a doctor?! On Level D?! I...I'm in a group on Level B. We're in...we're in the cafeteria. We...we have injured."
"Is the cafeteria secure?"
"Yes, for now, at least. We...we really could use some help, though! There were some DS2-3 members with us earlier, but they just up and left..."
"Can....can you get to Level D by any chance?"
"Level D's a deathtrap, man," the other man said to the doctor, "It would probably be better if you got up here to us. I'm not kidding, the lights are out down there and the...the infected are, too."
"Damn it," Warren whispered under his breath, "I'll try to get to you, okay? I'll try. Is there any way up there that you think would be the easiest route?"
"Try to get to Stairwell 3. 1 and 2 are compromised...but the last I checked, that stairwell was still clear and...there weren't any infected there."
"Alright," Dr. Warren said, "I'm going to try to get up there to you. I don't know how long I'll be."
"Just be careful," was the last thing the man said to him before the doctor threw the radio into his coat pocket and began searching for a flashlight.
Part Three: "Strobe"
The doctor disengaged the door's locks. He decided to hold onto the keycard, just in case it unlocked any other doors within the facility, and clicked on the headlamp he found in the desk drawer before throwing it over his head. He needed a weapon if he wanted to traverse the corridors, something better than a scalpel. He needed something that could do more damage, something...bulkier.
An idea occurred to him, but going through with that idea would mean a minute or two minutes completely exposed and vulnerable in the hallway outside the exam room. It was not an ideal situation, but it was the best thing thing that the doctor could come up with in such short amount of time. Outside there was a fire axe, or at least there should have been, just about twenty feet from the door.
Taking a deep breath, Vincente gathered the courage to open the door and did it quickly. A wall of warm air hit the doctor hard, almost taking his breath away. He knew that the possibility of fires breaking out in the facility was high, and that was probably the cause of the hallway being so hot, although there didn't seem to be any fire nearby. The strobe lights flashed violently, revealing the doctor's surroundings and nearly blinding him. The strange, pulsating lighting briefly illuminated the dark scene before returning to pitch black darkness again. The alternating light and dark cycle was sickening.
The doctor had never experienced epilepsy, and was thankful that he didn't go into a seizure. When the strobe flashed, Dr. Warren could see the bloodstained floor tiles and walls and knew that people had died in that very corridor. Some of the blood was congealed and in the process of drying, while some was still slightly warm and obviously fresh. Mingled with the blood were little chunks of meat, which made even an experiened doctor's stomach churn and writhe in pain.
A gurney was in the hallway, it's passenger no longer present and a bloody mess left where they had once been. An I.V. stand was tipped over onto the floor. He walked through the mess until reaching the fire axe that was hung in a case on the wall. The case's glass covering had already been shattered, but the axe had not been taken, much to the dotor's relief. He pulled it free and felt the handle's weight in his hands. It was strange to be holding such a weapon, but he knew that it would come in handy if he encountered any of the infected while trying to reach the cafeteria.
Holding the axe, he imagined how it would have felt like to kill Mary with it, how it would have been much messier. He shook his head, trying not to think of such things. He didn't want to think about how he had to put down his friend, and how he had to leave her body there.
Turning a corner, the doctor could see the bloodied remains of several individuals, torn to pieces and their innards forcefully removed, all sitting or lying on the floor in unflattering and seemingly impossible positions, as if they had been bent and broken. One was a female who had volunteered for testing two days prior. Dr. Warren remembered her as Emily, and could identify her mangled body by the Care Bears bracelet that adorned her left wrist. He felt bad that she had been there during the outbreak, that when the facility was placed on lockdown, she had no means of escape. Now, she had been partially devoured by the infected, and he knew that there was enough of her body left that she could turn at any moment.
He didn't want that to happen. Emily had been an innocent victim. She didn't deserve to become a mindless, shambling monster, or in her case, crawling monster. So, to prevent that from happening, Dr. Warren raised the axe above his shoulder and brought it down on her distorted face, breaking her skull, shattering her cheek bones and the bridge of her nose as the blunt blade of the axe entered her cranium and mashed the brains within.
The next one he saw was a close friend of his. In fact, the boy had been somewhat of an apprentice to the doctor. Much like Mary, the young man sitting against the wall had been one of Dr. Warren's assistants. His name had been Javier, and he had been a transfer from the Red facility, just like the doctor. A native of France, Javier had slightly curly blond locks and had been considered quite the ladies' man by the female staff members on Lamina. Now, Dr. Warren could hardly recognize him. He was so pale and bloody. Unlike the dead volunteer, Javier's facial features were intact, but his abdominal cavity had been completely emptied and his legs had bits of meat and flesh barely clinging to the bones.
Unfortunately for Javier, he had already turned and come back from the realm of the dead, wherever that was. Dr. Warren's presence only excited the undead lab technician, and he looked up at the doctor.
"Hello, Javier," the doctor whispered quietly, "I...I'm so sorry that this happened to you..."
Javier extended both hands out to the doctor, his fingers grasping at him wildly as he growled. He wanted to eat the doctor. As gross as that sounds, it was the only thing that the undead man wanted to do. It was the only thing that he could do. He would never get the chance. Dr. Warren raised the axe once more and mercifully brought it down on his head. The first swing didn't quite do the job. It had cracked open Javier's skull, but he still was able to reach for the doctor and weakly hiss at him. With one more swing, the doctor managed to kill him, and he continued on his way.
He reached the entrance to Stairwell 3 and, sure enough, it was locked and required a keycard to be opened. Setting the axe against the wall momentarily, the doctor swiped the card and the door could be opened. Grabbing his weapon, Dr. Warren stepped into the stairwell.
It was full of smoke. He coughed as he peered downward over the railing, seeing the glow of a fire from the lower levels. He breathed through his shirt, trying to keep the smoke out of his lungs but unable to do much for keeping it out of his eyes. The man on the radio had been right, there weren't any of the infected in the stairwell, but it was still a dangerous place to be. He bypassed the entrance to Level C, where an unknown number of infected Sinclair-Reese employees had gathered and were pounding on the doors.
Dr. Warren took a moment to observe the undead creatures. Their eyes were all sunken in, just like Mary's had been when she finally turned. Their complexions, which ranged from white to black to yellow to red and everything in between, had all become ghostly pale and lighter than they had been when they were living. Their pupils were all milky white and most of them were covered in blood. Some of it was their own, and some was the blood of their victims, their prey.
"Jesus Christ," Vincente said as he stared at them.
He was glad that they seemed to lack the intelligence needed to open the doors, but was not thrilled to know their prime directive. Continuing up the stairs, Dr. Warren came to the entrance to Level B, where the man on the radio said that he and his group were located.
There were not any 'zombies' gathered at the doors there, so he swiped his card again and entered the corridor. In there, it was cool. It was not as cold as the lab had been, but it was still significantly cooler than the stairwell. The doctor had worked up quite a sweat trying to get there, and now all that was left to do was get to the cafeteria.
"I'm on Level B," he said into the walkie-talkie, "I'm still on my way."
"We're still here, too," the man on the other end said, "Come find us."
He walked for a bit, navigating the hallways that twisted and turned multiple times before coming to the cafeteria. Through the doors, he could see the lights on inside and a group of people sitting at a couple tables within. He knocked on the door closest to his left.
"Hey," he said, "Let me in."
Part Four: "Welcome"
Vito had been worried that the doctor wouldn't make it to the cafeteria, but he was able to breathe a sigh of relief when there came a knock on the door and heard his voice.
"I-is that the doctor?!" Katya asked, her accent obvious in her speech.
"It better be," Carl replied as he tended to the resting man on the cot next to him.
Vito approached the set of double doors that they had barricaded with tables and chairs, preventing any of the infected from getting inside.
"Help me move this," Vito said to the others.
Katya and Carl walked over to where Vito was standing and began helping him in an effort to clear the entrance for the doctor, who stood out in the hallway, looking around for any shambling corpses coming his way. At first, he didn't see any, but then a couple slowly rounded the corner at the end of the hallway and immediately noticed his presence. Their heightened sense of smell and sound could detect the doctor by scent and the noise the cafeteria-dwellers were making.
After a few seconds of clearing, the doors were able to be opened, and Vito let the doctor inside.
"Shut the doors!" Katya yelled as she began reforming the makeshift barricade.
The doctor had not seen it happen, but even more infected had rounded the corner and begun making their way toward the cafeteria. Their actual number was unknown, but it was at the very least fifteen moving bodies.
"Goddamn," Carl said exasperatedly, "There are just so many of 'em."
Dr. Warren looked around at the group inside the large room. There were about twenty people, a few of whom were lying on the cots that had been setup when the cafeteria had been used for treating patients only hours earlier. During the initial lockdown phase of the containment breach, Dr. Warren had been here briefly to examine the victims of whatever pathogen it was that had escaped into the facility. It had been a bloody mess.
In one corner of the cafeteria were several bodies, all hastily covered with bloodied white sheets. Delta Squad had put those people down before pulling out of the facility, to which Dr. Warren was still fuming for being left behind. Vito approached the doctor and examined the bloodstained axe that he grasped in one hand.
"Welcome," Carl said as Dr. Warren glanced over at him.
"You okay, doc'?" Vito asked him.
Warren nodded and said sarcastically, "Just fine. I didn't have too much trouble getting up here."
"Good," Vito said in return, "I was worried you might run into....something."
Vito held out his hand to the doctor, "Vito."
Dr. Warren took hold of Vito's hand and replied, "Dr. Warren."
Katya looked at Vincente, "So, you are a doctor?!"
"Can you help my friend?!" Katya was suffering from borderline hysteria.
Dr. Warren had seen the Russian woman around the facility before. She was a technician of sorts, but was also a bookkeeper on Level A. She had probably ended up on this level during the lockdown, and now she was scared beyond comparison. He could see fear in the poor woman's eyes.
She pointed to the man that Carl had been tending to only a minute prior, who was sleeping lightly. Vincente could see that the man had a deep wound on his stomach.
"Please?!" Katya asked him again.
"L-let me take a look at him," the doctor said to her.
"Oh, thank you! Thank you, thank you!"
Katya, Vito and Carl followed Dr. Warren over to the resting man. His facial expression was one of intense pain. Kneeling on one knee, the doctor examined the wound on the man's abdomen. Just by staring at it, he could tell that it was a bite from one of the infected.
"C-can you help him?" Katya whimpered subtly.
"I don't know," the doctor lied.
"His name is Jesse," Vito informed him, "He helped get a few of us here, but one of those sick people got hold of 'im when he and Carl were trying to help a woman who was trapped in the bathroom. They...they couldn't get to her in time."
Dr. Warren nodded. He could imagine the woman they had been trying to help. He could picture her being cornered and torn apart by the infected in a narrow bathroom stall. He shook his head, trying to get the picture out of his mind.
"What can you do?"Katya asked.
He sympathized with the frightened woman, but her questions were beginning to slightly irritate him. He had already provided her with an answer, even it had been untruthful. He knew exactly what he could do. He could sit there and wait for the man named Jesse to die from fever. It was the only thing he knew that he could do, unless they could somehow put a bullet in his brain, which he really had no desire to do.
Dr. Warren knew that the man was going to become very sick very soon. The pathogen had been directly injected into his body through the saliva of an infected individual, and it was now coursing throughout his entire body and attacking all major bodily systems. His brain would soon begin to swell, he would experience a fever unlike any other witnessed in human history, and his heartrate would increase to an impossibly fast pace before slowing down to a complete stop. Then, he would turn, just like all the others had.
Being polite and considerate of Katya's fragile state of mind, he knew better than to flat-out tell her that her friend was going to die. It would be cruel. He looked into her eyes now, and saw that she was crying silent tears.
"I do not understand," Katya said as she grabbed her own face and shook her head back and forth, "What is going on?! I do not understand!"
Her English was not poor, but the others found that her accent was quite prominent. Vito had managed to calm her down slightly before the doctor had arrived, but she had felt that Jesse's head had begun to heat up slightly and had begun panicking once again.
The other people in the room were tending to the other wounded that were laying on the cots throughout the cafeteria, and had been staring at the doctor as he examined Jesse.
"He's not going to be okay, is he, doc'?" Carl asked, "I mean, I've seen what happens when one of those things bites 'ya. It's not pretty."
Dr. Warren sighed, "I've seen it happen, too. The...the best I can do right now is to try and stop the bleeding and see if that has any effect on his current state. All you all can do is help me."
"What do you need?" Vito asked him, "Anything...we'll help you."
"Gather me any medical supplies ou have and anything you think might come in handy here. We need to patch this guy up, and then I'll take a look at the others.
Vito nodded, "Carl, I think there's some stuff over there by Doreen and Clive."
"Got it," Carl replied as he ran to retrieve the supplies.
Vito was sweating. He ran a hand through his dark, curly locks and could feel the moisture that had accumulated on the top of his head. There was a faint smell of smoke in the air, but he chose to ignore it. He was sure that it was probably nothing. This day had been awful. All he had been trying to do was deliver some flowers to his mother, who worked as a biochemist on Level C, and then the outbreak had occurred and he had been locked inside the facility.
Now, Vito had no idea if his mother was dead or alive. He knew that the odds were that she was the former, although he had not yet abandoned hope that she was still alive somewhere in the subterranean depths of S-RP Violet.
Carl returned to the doctor with a large load of supplies in his arms, dumping them carefully onto the floor beside them. There were all sorts of things ranging from bandages to bottles of peroxide to somewhat bloodied rags.
"Okay," Dr. Warren said, "Let's get to work, I guess."
Part Five: "Morphine"
Doreen held Céleste's hand tightly. The French woman's grip was tighter than her own, and her hand was shaking. She maintained eye contact, although it was difficult. Céleste was crying, her eyes red from a continuous stream of salty tears, her hair was a mess, and there was a large amount of blood on the collar of her labcoat from the bite on her collarbone.
"It's okay, 'hon," Doreen whimpered, "It's okay!"
"N-no," Céleste said staggerdly, "I-i-it's not! I'm going to d-die!"
Doreen could tell that she was hyperventilating and that her heart rate was at a dangerously high pace, one that could cause her heart to fail if it were to increase even just a little bit more. She needed to do something to help her, and fast.
"Here," Clive said to her as he handed Doreen a syringe filled with morphine.
"Thank you," Doreen said to him, "Céleste, 'hon, I need you to try to hold still."
"Clive," Doreen said to her friend, "Try to hold her still. We need to do this."
Clive nodded and walked over to where Céleste was laying on the cot, where he proceeded to firmly grasp her by the shoulders in an attempt to quell her shaking.
"Got 'er?" Doreen asked.
Clive nodded, "Yep."
"'Kay, let's do this," Doreen said as she located the spot she needed to inject the morphine, "The least we can do is give her a good dosage of a narcotic, just to try to kill some of that pain."
Doreen found where she needed to inject and pushed the needle into her skin, pushing down on the end of the syringe with her thumb until all the liquid had entered the poor woman's body.
Within a few moments, Céleste stopped hyperventilating and her breathing slowed to a pace that was just slightly above normal. Her wide eyes became relaxed and she stopped shaking entirely.
"Merci," Céleste said as she looked into Doreen's eyes, "Merci beaucoup."
She nodded in response. She didn't know what else to do, what else to say to her. She didn't have the heart to admit that she was going to die. Doreen had seen in happen multiple times since they had first been placed on lockdown, and knew that there was no way that she would live. The least she could do was provide Céleste with momentary relief, and keep her from suffering. Morphine was a precious resource, but she felt that it could be used here.
Céleste closed her eyes and quickly fell victim to sleep.
"Oh, shit," Doreen said, thinking that she was slipping away.
Clive placed a finger just below her jawline and pressed lightly, "Still here."
Doreen breathed a sigh of relief, "Thank God. I thought for a moment there that she was gone."
Doreen couldn't help but feel somewhat responsible for what had happened to Céleste. She had been her work partner, and now she was lying on her back with a chunk torn out of her chest. It had taken awhile to stop the bleeding, but she knew that even if she didn't die from blood loss that she would be unable to combat the pathogen that was now attacking her body.
When things first started to 'go to shit', in Doreen's words, she and Céleste had been examining a sample of tuberculosis taken from Zimbabwe. It was nothing special, but it was important research. Then, their department on Level C had been told about the containment breach, and that Delta Squad 2 was being deployed to help deal with the matter. Her co-workers had been told to stay at their stations, but Doreen and Céleste had been told that their presence was required on Level D.
The first few patients showed very few signs of infection, at least at first. Eventually after an hour or so, they began experiencing nausea and mild coughing fits that gradually became more intense. Then, they caught the fever, and Doreen watched from the sidelines as the other doctors and nurses began treating them in the isolation ward. They became pale, and their noses began to run. When the first patient died, Doreen had been there. By then, Delta Squad had arrived, and Delainey Fischer had taken control.
When the first patient turned, she saw him lunge at and attack one of her colleagues, biting him on the neck and ripping out his jugular. Fischer herself had taken aim at the 'zombie', first shooting him twice in the chest and abdomen before firing at his head, taking him to the ground.
That's when Fischer ordered the two women to head up to Level B, where they would wait for further instructions. Their task turned out to be tending to the large number of patients that came to the cafeteria for treatment when the isolation wards on C and D became too dangerous and crowded. Things had spiralled out of control at that point, and people had been frantically running throughout the facility, trying to make sense of how the pathogen had been able to spread so quickly, especially since containment protocol had been initiated.
One of her co-workers, Sharon, had been bitten while traversing one of the stairwells, and had come to her and Céleste, hoping that they would be able to stop the bleeding on her ankle. Doreen had tried her best, but Sharon had become weak and eventually succumbed to her wound. It had been a rather gruesome bite, one deep enough that it had reached the bone and tore through muscle. When Sharon turned, Doreen had little time to react.
She had grown up in the Midwest, and had been taught to defend herself from a very young age. Her father had been an Army man, and had always wanted his daughter to be able to know how to defend herself if a man had ever tried to be slick with her. Although in this situation it was not a creepy man but rather a reanimated woman, she applied her skillset to it in the same manner. Doreen had reached for the pair of scissors that had been sitting on the table beside her and dug the blades into Sharon's skull.
It had not been a pleasant experience, and it was not the last patient that Doreen was forced to put down. There had been at least three others that she could remember, and she had used those same scissors to take care of two other patients before they had the chance to turn. All around her, people had been dying, and she had been too preoccupied with a dying man to keep Céleste from getting bitten by a lurking zombie.
Now, Céleste was the one who was dying, and there was nothing Doreen could do about it but wait and see how things turned out. She knew that it would be best if she could keep her from turning, but she didn't want to murder her. At the same time, however, she also knew that the morphine could only do so much, and that it would wear off eventually, leaving her to suffer once again.
Doreen didn't want to have to hold Céleste's hand as she died. She was her friend, but she didn't want to have to be the one to do it. She wished for her to go out calmly and peacefully, and for her to suffer as little as humanly possible in her condition. She knew that she was conflicted, and knew that a decision would have to be made sooner than later.
The other doctor was there now, and she had let him take over. There was that other man to tend to; Jesse was his name. He had been working with Delta Squad, though not officially affiliated with them, but it looked as if they had left him behind as well. They had all been left behind, and Doreen was rather pissed. She never thought that the company she worked for would have no sympathy for their employees, their assets, at all. The Violet facility was a great asset to the Sinclair-Reese Pharmaceuticals company, but she found it rather odd that they would be so willing to abandon it, and without hesitation at that.
Thinking about that, her train of thought then focused on what was going on outside of the facility. The island was not large, but it was not small either. Doreen lived in the village of Petra, and wondered if the island had been evacuated. Then she thought about Céleste's family. She had a husband and two children who lived in the same village as her, and wondered if they were even aware of what had happened. Surely they were, as it had been two days since it began.
We've been in this hellhole for two days, Doreen thought silently to herself, Where the fuck is the military?!
She sighed and looked at Clive, who looked as though he had seen better days. He had.
"You alright?" He asked her.
She nodded, "Just tired...just tired...just want this whole goddamn thing to be over with...just want to go home.'
"Same," Clive replied, "I hope my wife got on one of the ferries. I don't want her to be here right now."
"Do you think they're evacuating the villages?" Doreen asked, genuinely wanting to know his opinion.
"I don't know," Clive said as a grim realization hit him, "But if S-RP is treating the villages like they're treating us, then they..."
He didn't want to say what he was thinking. He knew that there was a good chance that there were not any evacuations, and that Delta Squad had simply rallied the townspeoples together and told them to stand still. Clive had seen the way they had handled some of the patients at the facility. Right before they were extracted, if they thought that someone had been bitten, they just simply put a single bullet in their brain, letting them drop to the floor like flies.
An image filled Clive's mind of his wife, Kaia, being taken from their home and brought into the town square with their neighbors, before being killed in a mass execution. He shook his head, putting the image away and focusing on the matter at hand. He wanted to get back to his wife, but knew that he couldn't until they could somehow find a way out of the facility, and that was going to be one tough endeavor, but he was already thinking about ways he could escape.
Part Six: "Slip"
Dr. Warren tried to stitch up what he could on Jesse, but the wound had been bleeding rather profusely, and he was having quite a difficult time. Carl had tried to help, but he really was much except when it came to the doctor needing a different tool to be handed to him. There was no way he would be able to save Jesse's life.
Katya had been watching impatiently, but knew that Dr. Warren was trying his best. Even then, his best wasn't good enough. She was alive because of Jesse, and now he was dying. Her crying had become silent, but her tears had not stopped falling down her face, and her cheeks were warm.
"It's no use," Dr. Warren said to Vito and Carl, "He...He's slipping. His fever is getting way too high and...I can't stop all of this bleeding. I think he's severed an artery."
Carl sighed, "Damnit."
"I-it's okay," Vito replied, "I mean, you tried, right? If that's the best you can do, then there's no shame in that."
He nodded reluctantly.
"So...that is it?" Katya asked to no one in particular and then turning her attention to the doctor, "He is just going to die?"
Dr. Warren looked the saddened woman in the eyes and could feel that she was being devastated, "I...I know that this is hard, it always is when someone is dying, but there is nothing else I can do for this man. I've tried, but this...thing...it's just stronger than any medicine we could possibly give him."
"I do not want him to die," Katya sobbed, "I do not want anyone to die...I want to go home...I want to get out of this hell!"
Vito looked over at Carl, who had also glanced over at him, and saw that they both could see her on the verge of uncontrollable panic.
"I'm sorry," Dr. Warren said as he looked at the floor.
"It is not your fault," Katya said as she wiped her face with her hands, "Th-thank you for trying."
It was at this time that one of the other women in the group stood from her spot and walked over to Katya, sitting down beside her and putting one arm around her.
"Thank you, Mallory," Vito said to her.
The woman named Mallory gave Vito a glance and nodded before making an attempt to soothe Katya.
"Hey," she said to her, "It's going to be okay. We're all scared...and none of us want anyone to die, either. The doctor tried, alright?"
Katya nodded and sniffled, leaning her head on Mallory's shoulder and bursting into tears. Whenever she tried to breathe, it was as if she was gasping for air, as her breathing was struggled.
Dr. Warren wiped his hands on a towel and turned to Vito again, "Is the water still running in this place?"
"Yeah. We're lucky that the power hasn't completely died out yet. If we have to go to auxiliary and then it goes out before help gets here, I think the dead will be the very least of our worries."
The 'absolute containment protocol' was to be initiated after the complete failure of all auxiliary power units in the facility, which would prevent all contaminants contained within S-RP from escaping into the outside world and wreaking havoc, but by the doctor's estimates, he guessed that they still had maybe a couple days of regular power before it went out and they would have to switch to auxiliary.
They still had the problem of the fires on the lower levels, but the smell of smoke had not gotten any stronger. Vito had Doreen and Clive close all the air vents that they could that had the potential to allow smoke into the cafeteria.
Vincente walked into the kitchen and washed his hands at the large sink that had been used to clean the countless dishes during the regular work-week, when the facility's employees would sit down for lunch. Now, most of them were either dead or infected, which in a sense were the same exact thing.
He needed to wash the blood off of his hands. It was in between wet and dry, which he found odd and disgusting. He was used to blood, but never this much. He had seen enough blood in the past two days to last him a liftetime and beyond, and it was something that he would probably never be able to forget. He was confused and scared, but relatively and surprisingly calm.
Rachel left us all behind. Fischer took her and her men and they flew the coop, he thought to himself, always knew this company was trouble. Should have stayed with Red.
He regretted allowing the higher-ups to transfer him to this facility. There was never any danger involved with his work at the Red facility, and now here he was nearly dead from the ongoing events.
Allowing his mind to wander, Dr. Warren was thrown off-guard by a loud shattering noise, followed by a scream. He sprang into action and ran back into the main area of the cafeteria, where he saw what had caused the noise.
Pale, bloody hands were forcing their way through the opening where a panel of glass had once been held firmly in place in one of the double doors leading out of the cafeteria. The infected, a huge number of them, were desperately trying to force their way into the survivors' only sanctuary.
Katya had screamed. She knew that she shouldn't have, but she was already on-edge and it just about pushed her over. She saw the arms and the hands reaching inside for her and the others and knew that she was not safe. Although they had barricaded the doors as well as they could, it was not the best fortification, and the weight of all those bodies against the doors was enough to push their barricade back slightly.
"Goddamn," Carl said as he rushed over to try and keep them from pouring inside.
Doreen and Clive rushed over as well, leaving Céleste where she was comfortably resting.
The tables they had placed against the doors could be moved via the wheels that were attached to their legs, which allowed for easy movement. They also allowed the infected to move them with relative ease, and that was not good.
Dr. Warren spoke to Vito, "What do we do?!"
"I don't know. I don't know how many there are!" Vito replied from across the room.
"Is there anywhere we can go? We can't stay here! They're gonna get in!"
"No!" Katya yelled, "Do not let them in! Do not let them in!"
It was at this time that Mallory left Katya where she was sitting and ran to help the others. All were struggling, and it seemed as though the infected were going to win. Some of the other people in the cafeteria had already stood up, frightened, and begun looking for a means of escape. The ones who could not physically move themselves but were conscious, could only look on in horror as the others struggled with the doors.
The doors gave slightly, opening just a crack and allowing one of the infected to slip a portion of their body through the opening, but still blocked by the table-chair-barricade.
"Ah! Fuck!" Carl shouted.
"If you're not helping with the door," Dr. Warren said as he addressed the others, "Look for a way out of here!"
They understood and quickly began their search. Everyone was desperate at this point. The window in the other door shattered only seconds afterward and two men ran up to help Mallory, Doreen, Carl and Clive.
"This way!" One of the men shouted from the kitchen as he pointed to a door with a sign above it, the words 'EMERGENCY STAIRWELL' printed above in big, bold letters.
"Is it unlocked?!" Vito asked the man.
"Okay," Dr. Warren said, "We need to move people."
"What about Jesse?" Vito asked him, "And the others? They can't move on their own."
The doctor had a difficult decision to make. Vito was looking to him for leadership, and that he didn't like too much. He had never been the best leader, at least not in his opinion, and now someone was wanting him to make a decision that would mean the difference between life and death for actual, living human beings. He knew that Jesse was going to die anyway, and so was the woman named Céleste. There was nothing he could do about that. The others could be moved, but only if they had people to help them.
"Help move anyone who's awake!" Dr. Warren said to the others.
Throwing an arm under the shoulders of the people who had sprained ankles, twisted legs and such, they were able to move three men and women and helped them hobble through the kitchen to the stairwell. Vito made a run for the exit himself, standing over the threshold, waiting for the others.
"Come on!" Dr. Warren shouted to those at the door, motioning to them.
"Aw, shit," Clive said as his arms gave out and he made a break for it.
Doreen and Carl followed suit, but Doreen gave one last, saddened glance to Céleste, who looked so peaceful where she was lying. Though covered in her own blood, Doreen could see that the morphine she had given her would be enough to keep her from suffering through such a painful death.
Mallory ran over to Katya, who had remained motionless throughout the entire ordeal, cradling herself in her own arms as if she needed the attention of a caring and sympathetic mother who was not there.
"We need to move!" Mallory yelled at her, pulling her by the shoulder, "Come on! MOVE!"
Something snapped in Katya's mind and she realized that Mallory was right. She realized that if she didn't move that she would be killed, and she definitely did not want that to happen. She stood on her own and Mallory was able to help her through the kitchen.
The two men at the door were the last to leave their post, and were thrown back by the sheer force of the undead horde pushing against the doors in unison. The blow knocked both of them to the ground, and Dr. Warren watched as the infected swarmed them.
Three were on the first man before he could even yell for help. All he did was let out an agonizing scream as they bit and tore into his flesh with incredible strength. They tore away huge pieces of flesh and meat, exposing the red meatpuppet that was underneath. His screams grew louder as even more descended upon him where he sat on the floor of the cafeteria, unable to do anything but let it happen.
"WESLEY!!!" The other man shouted as the crowd reached his position, "NOOO!!!"
As the other man's screams began to fade and die out, his own started up as the same fate came to him. The infected ripped him apart like a ragdoll, throwing him about and ingesting as much of him as they possibly could, bringing pieces to their hungry mouths like rabid animals.
Dr. Warren couldn't bear to watch it anymore. He had to turn away. He did just at the moment the undead had reached Jesse and Céleste, who were the luckiest of the unfortunate, as they were not awake to feel the pain that awaited them.
Where Vito stood, he had been able to hear and somewhat see what had occurred in the cafeteria, and knew that no one else would be coming behind the doctor.
"GO!" Vito shouted to him as the doctor entered the stairwell.
At least ten of the infected had found their way into the kitchen by the time Vito had begun to close the door, slamming it shut with a loud bang.
Part Seven: "Darkness"
There was an awful darkness in the stairwell. The emergency lighting there had gone out, and the only source of illumination came from the fires several floors below, a flickering glow rising slowly as they spread. Those who had escaped the invading horde of undead were now trapped in what would eventually become a furnace. The heat was intense, and there wasn't a single soul there who wasn't sweating.
It was rather quiet there, except for the exasperated breathing of those who were out-of-breath and the occasional knock or thump from somewhere in the facility's bowels. There were other people alive in the facility, in other places, hiding and cowering and hoping that help would come for them. However, they were so few and far-between that there was no chance of meeting up with the group in the stairwell. Several would be dead soon, and it was becoming apparent that no one's situation was getting any better.
To the religious, being in the stairwell reminded them of the entrance to Hell, only adding to their fright and discomfort. The entire place was humid and surprisingly wet, even with the heat. Droplets were pouring down from the ceiling above, and the floor and railings were coated in a thin layer of condensation. They had all been careful not to slip. If someone were to stumble down the stairs in the dark, they could hit their head just right and be dead in a matter of seconds.
"Wh-what stairwell is this?" Doreen asked, feeling around for someone.
Her hands brushed against Dr. Warren's back.
He grabbed her by the shoulders to calm her and to keep her from slipping, "Hey, it's okay, just hold still."
She listened to the doctor and stayed firmly in place. It was strange to be in such a small space with so many people, even if their group had gotten smaller only moments prior. They were all standing on the landing, huddled together in a random order. There were sixteen of them there, three being supported by another, as they could not properly stand or walk by themselves. The doctor was not familiar with this stairwell. He did not even know that there had been an access through the cafeteria's kitchen. He was turned around and he didn't like it.
"Does anyone know where we are?" He asked the others, hoping that someone in the group did.
Everyone was quiet. Not a single one of them had been here before.
"Okay," he said, "That's just...great."
"Hey," Vito said to the doctor, "We need to keep moving, or...find an exit...or something."
"What happened down there?" Clive asked no one in particular as he leaned over the railing to observe the light down below.
"Jesus Christ," Mallory added as she looked down in horror.
By now, Katya was once again beginning to whimper, but it was quiet. She was slowly regaining her wits, but she was still very frightened and confused. She had almost died by letting herself be so traumatized by death. She had seen death before. When she was six, her father had died. She had been devastated, but she was alright...eventually. Realizing that her fear was slowing her down, she was making an attempt to snap out of it. After all, moping around wasn't getting her anywhere.
Jesse, the man who had saved her life, was dead. She knew that, but she was still deeply upset. He had been bitten while saving her from the infected, and she felt somewhat guilty. He had passed out, and she had never been able to properly thank him for what he had done. Katya thought, if I were to be dead, then Jesse might be alive.
It ate away at her mind.
"Mitchell," Vito said to the man to his right.
"Yeah?" Mitchell asked in return.
Vito was thinking of ways that they could possibly get out. He knew that there had to be exits to the outside world above them on the upper levels, but getting there might prove to be quite a hassle. He wondered if his mother had tried to escape.
"See if you can get up to A level. We need to get out of here as soon as possible; if this place starts filling with smoke, we're all gonna be in some pretty deep shit," Vito explained to him.
Mitchell nodded his head, "I'll try."
With that, Mitchell walked away and to the first set of stairs leading upward. Vito watched as he made his ascent.
For a brief moment, the emergency lights in the stairwell flashed on, but went out almost instantly. The wiring had been screwed up during the outbreak.
"I don't want to be here anymore," the injured woman with the sprained ankle said, "I want to go home!"
"Shut up, Janet," Carl said, "We all wanna go home. Bitchin' ain't doin' you no good, alright?"
"Hey!" The man who was holding her up snapped, "Why you being so harsh? She's just scared!"
"Yeah, well, we're all scared. So, she needs to put on her big girl panties and hush it up for a few minutes," Carl replied.
Dr. Warren was not too thrilled that there was a growing tension among the group, and stepped between Carl and the other man.
MORE WILL BE ADDED...LAPTOP BATTERY RAN OUT...