Chapter 3 (Leah)
Leah pulled her curly hair into a tight bun. She tried in vain to straighten out the wrinkles on the blue scrubs she wore. Her nursing placement shift at the hospital was almost over. Most of the day was divided between school work and her friend Karen.
Karen’s father was ill with the flu, this flu like illness had been raging for over a month now. Even though super vaccines were developed over 10 years ago to ward off all flu viruses for up to 10 years, the unfrozen ones were not taking to the vaccines. Instead they seemed to be getting worse. Leah gritted her teeth in frustration, she hated calling them the unfrozen. That was Jason’s derogative term for the many who were cryogenically frozen and had been revived. Looking at her reflection in the mirror she applied lip gloss to brighten up her tired face.
She made her way back to Karen and her father, exiting the washroom. Karen’s father had died years ago when they were both little girls. He had been unfrozen for three months now and just last week he got sick. He got so bad Karen and her mother decided it would be best for him to remain in the hospital.
A loud scream brought Leah to a sudden stop, her sneakers screeched against the white tiled floor. Her heart pounded frantically, something in that scream frightened her. Goosebumps chased their way all over her body as she ran towards the direction of the commotion. She rounded a corner, and her eyes flew open in terror and confusion. Liz, her placement nurse. was being attacked by a patient viciously. Liz continued to scream in pain and tried weakly to fend off her attacker. He ripped a chunk of flesh from her arm using only his bare teeth, blood splattered on the white tiled floors. Leah remained frozen in horror as she watched as the patient greedily chewed and swallowed the chunk of flesh.
A doctor bolted past her, to Liz’s rescue, he pulled the patient off and pinned his arms behind his back. The dark- haired patient thrashed wildly, his long legs kicked in every direction. He growled like an animal, his cloudy eyes darted around. Blood and spittle hung from his dry cracked lips. Leah felt sick, her stomach turned with disgust, which didn’t happen very often, considering she wanted to be a nurse.
Liz sat on the floor and cried hysterically as she assessed her bloody arm. Leah finally moved into action, she pulled out her pocket med kit.
“It’s going to be ok,” Leah croaked barely finding her voice.
Liz grew pale and her wound stank even though it was fresh by minutes. Leah wrinkled her nose and pushed a button on the grey box to disinfect the wound and stop the bleeding. The med kit flashed with a red light, the wound was still infected. Leah tried again, she pushed the button twice to no avail. The light still flashed red, Leah figured there was something wrong with her med kit, but at least the bleeding had stopped.
“Try mine,” Liz reached into her pocket slowly and handed Leah her Med kit.
Leah aimed the med kit directly above the wound, and pushed the button. The same thing happened, the wound remained infected and stank almost like rotten flesh.
“You might need antibiotics,” Leah smiled weakly.
Patients and hospital workers had gathered around investigating all the commotion. The young doctor still struggled to get the crazed patient under control. A few brave souls offered to help but the doctor shook his head no.
“Get her somewhere comfortable,” he turned to face Leah, referring to Liz.
Helping Liz to her feet, Leah half carried her down the hallway. She had used the Med kit to seal up the disinfected wound with a skin like bandage.
“I’ll take it from here,” a stern looking nurse offered to help.
Leah had seen her around the hospital before, but couldn’t remember her name.
“Her arm, the bite wouldn’t disinfect,” Leah gently released Liz, who sweated profusely.
“Hmm,” the other nurse muttered and carried Liz into an empty room to lie down.
Justin one of Leah’s classmates jogged past to help the doctor.
“Finally, something exciting happens around here.” He nodded at Leah with a wink.
Leah was horrified there was nothing exciting about this mentally disturbed patient who snarled at everyone. Justin injected something into the patient’s arm, as he flashed her an all is ok smile. Leah managed a weak smile back as she watched the doctor loosen his grip. The crazed patient took this opportunity to lunge at Justin’s throat. Leah stifled a yelp of disbelief as his teeth ripped Justin’s throat open. Everyone in the hall screamed and ran. Leah could swear she heard more growls. The doctor looked frightened and bewildered as he looked to her. “Run!”
Shakily Leah dodged panicked people as she made her way back to Karen.
Karen was at the door wide eyed, her blonde hair wild. “What on earth is going on, I heard screams?”
Fighting hard to find the words to describe the scene she just witnessed, Leah slammed the door shut behind them. Justin’s body lying bloody on the ground as the patient ripped at his flesh was on replay in her mind. Liz’s screams still rang in her ears desperate and frantic.
“Leah please talk to me!” Karen shook her back to the moment.
“We need to leave this floor, it’s not safe.” Leah grabbed Karen and pulled her towards the door. Her heart pounded so hard it hurt.
“What, why?” Karen poked her head out the door as people ran by, the hospital floor erupted into chaos.
Karen closed the door and turned to Leah, “We can’t just leave my dad here.”
As if on cue Karen’s father, Rick, began to shake violently on the bed. As he shook so did the machines around him. He vomited and spewed foul smelling dark liquid all over the sheets. A low growl escaped his throat as his blue eyes became milky white, and the pupils disappeared.
Leah’s breath caught in her throat, “Get away from him Karen!”
“Seriously what the hell is wrong with you?” Karen pressed the button to alert the nurse her father needed help. She attempted to wipe up some of the vomit.
“Dad are--.” Karen was cut off by her own wail of pain. Her father tried to rip into her flesh with nothing but his teeth.
Leah’s adrenaline kicked in and she crossed the room hurriedly to defend her friend. She grabbed a vase with flowers and smashed it into Rick’s head as hard as she could. It stunned him long enough to let go of Karen’s arm. He focused his hungry eyes on Leah and lurched out of the bed towards her. She kicked at him the need for survival taking over. Rick lost his balance crashing into the window behind him. Leah grabbed Karen’s uninjured hand, and dragged her into the hallway. They slammed the hospital room door shut. Rick growled angrily, as he threw his body against the shut door with so much force the door vibrated.
What on earth was going on? Why were patients behaving like cannibals? Leah’s mind raced frantically as they rushed towards the transport chambers at the end of the hall. The hospital floor was madness, people screamed loudly, and growls intermingled.
Karen sobbed, but kept the pace with a determined Leah.
“Transport chambers are shut down,” a man yelled to them as he ran fast in the opposite direction.
A woman who clutched a small child slammed into Leah knocking her to the floor. The woman didn’t bother to apologize, just got right up and kept on running. Leah groaned in pain and accepted Karen’s help to get to her feet.
A menacing growl froze both ladies in place. Liz sprinted at them dark liquid dripping from her mouth. Her eyes were clouded yet crazed at the same time. Leah’s feet felt like they were nailed to the floor. She knew that they had to run but her body couldn’t cooperate.
This couldn’t be Liz, no way. Liz was kind and bubbly, but the woman barreling towards them seemed like a rabid animal.
Karen took her hand and they both sprinted for the stairs. Leah pushed the staircase door open with such force it slammed against the wall behind it. Breathing hard she tried to close the door behind them. Liz threw herself in between the door, grabbed Leah’s scrubs, and tried to pull her back into the hall. The stench of her breath burned Leah’s nose and eyes. Liz growled a low guttural sound.
“Karen, give me your shoe,” Leah demanded.
Her friend was confused, but complied immediately.
“I’m so sorry,” Leah apologized as she slammed the heel into Liz’s face and broke her nose. She kept slamming the spiked stilletos into Liz’s face, careful not to get bitten until the nurse lost her grip and staggered backwards.
Leah and Karen slammed the metal door shut, she stared down at her hand to make sure there were no bite marks. The shoe was ruined, the heel was bent and a few of the metal spikes had come off.
Karen was beyond hysterical she gulped in air between sobs. “What’s going on, why did Liz chase us?”
Leah couldn’t explain it, nothing tonight made sense. She had helped Liz no more than a half hour ago and now Liz was trying to what, trying to kill her? She could feel Liz throwing herself violently against the door on the other side.
“Maybe they’re sick, a new bug.” Leah tried to rationalize the crazy.
She sunk to the ground and tried to think clearly. Her phone buzzed and she reached into her pocket to answer it. A holographic screen popped up with Jason’s image, he was in his car.
“Jason, this is not a good time. Whoa! Slow down!” Leah could barely make out what he was saying due to the loud cries in the background. The hospital was falling apart as she spoke. She clicked on the mute button that placed her in an invisible noise cancelling bubble.
“Yes, I’m at the hospital. How do you know that? Is Krista alright? Jason what happened? Ok, aright I will meet you on the roof,” Leah slid the phone back into her pocket with a long sigh.
“It’s not just here, Jason said that his friend’s aunt attacked them, I don’t know if she is ok,” Leah chewed on her bottom lip a nervous habit.
Karen moved in and wrapped her arms around Leah’s slender shoulders. They hugged tightly, not sure what their next move should be. Wails or terror and crashes could be heard from the floor behind them.
Neither woman noticed the man at the bottom of the stairs who eyed them like prey. He growled fiercely in warning, Karen and Leah shouted in shock.
“Don’t hurt us!” Leah exhausted, tried reasoning with him.
He was a short balding middle-aged man, or was. He stood up, flesh fell from his lips, as he staggered up a step, his bloody teeth bared.
“The roof now, run don’t stop!” Leah shouted at her friend.
They both ran up the stairs two at a time panting hard, barely containing their terror. Each floor from the sounds of it seemed to be in chaos. The man chased after them, he was closer with each step. Nothing seemed to tire him. He grabbed the back of Karen’s shirt pulling her towards him. Karen whirled around and kicked him down the stairs, her eyes full of fear. As quickly as he fell, he was up again. Hunger burned behind his dead eyes, his blood stain teeth chomped in anticipation.
Leah’s lungs and legs burned from the sudden exertion. They had 3 more flights of stairs to clear before the roof. She hoped Jason had arrived already, at the speed the crazed man was moving, she couldn’t be sure if they would be able to shut the roof door behind them.
A door was forced open at the top of the stairs leading to the roof. For a second Leah thought it was more crazed patients about to stop their escape. She almost sank down on the stairs about to cry in defeat. Jason sped down the stairs bewildered to see Leah and Karen being chased.
“Jason help!” Leah and Karen dove behind him as if he was a shield.
Jason pushed the man over the railing and he fell two flights down. He didn’t stop to see if the man would get back up, he turned and followed the ladies to the rooftop.
The crazed man ran out on to the roof and flung himself at Jason. Jason dodged him easily and grabbed the man from behind, he pushed him facedown unto the roof. The man seemed to feel no pain, he bounced right back up and slammed into Jason, which knocked him off his feet.
Jason felt the air knocked out of him, he couldn’t believe how much stronger this unfrozen thing was. He pushed the man off him with as much strength as he could muster, careful not to get bitten. Not losing any time Jason got up and kicked the feet out from under the crazed man. With this advantage Jason stomped his boot repeatedly into the head of the unfrozen. He was out of breath, but he kept stomping.
“Jason, you have to stop!” Leah tugged his arm and moved him away from the obviously dead man. He focused his attention on his best friend and pulled Leah into his arms for a tight embrace. Before she could stop the tears, Leah began to cry hysterically, the stress of the night getting to her.
“You’re ok, I got you.” Jason smoothed her hair. Leah sniffed in his familiar scent immediately feeling comforted.
Karen walked over to them shakily, “you killed him.”
“Karen, I don’t know how to explain this to you, but that was no longer a man,” Jason extended a hand to her. The cool night breeze blew Karen’s blonde curls crazily around her head.
“He was just a man, he was sick, and you killed him. We’re going to be charged with murder!” Karen’s voice rose frantically.
Leah pulled away from Jason and wrapped her arms around Karen. “It was self defence, he would have killed us,” Leah attempted to calm her friend down.
“My dad, we have to help him, we have to go back,” Karen attempted to go down the stairs. Both Jason and Leah jumped in front of her.
“Hun listen to me, your father is not himself, he bit you. We have to let the doctors…the police handle this.” Leah struggled to find words. There was no way they were going back into that hospital after what they saw. People had turned into crazed cannibals unwilling to listen to reason.
The fresh night air took on a foul smell. “We need to get out of here now!” Jason grabbed both girls rushing them to his aero car. A group of cannibals raced towards them bloody and bruised. They snarled like wild animals with the same milky eyes.
All three hopped into the aero car and Jason began to lift it expertly into the air. Bloody hands and bodies slapped against the car windows, while Karen’s scream pierced the night air.