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An infection is spreading across London. William Daniels just wants to find his daughter and a safe place, but things are never simple in the apocalypse.

Horror / Thriller
P.B. Simister
4.7 49 reviews
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Authors note:

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MY WIFE TRIED TO KILL ME. It’s not what you think. Something was wrong with her.

Holly was almost unrecognisable when she came home from work. Her face was pale and clammy, it looked like she’d been crying. I hugged her and helped her to sit on the couch.

“What happened?” I put my hand on her knee and looked into her eyes.

Her words were halting.

“I heard a scream coming from the churchyard.”

She didn’t need to add that she’d gone over to help, I knew her too well. “So, I walked over to see if I could help.”

My silly, wonderful, brave, Holly.

She sobbed again and looked into my eyes, her gaze full of sadness and horror.

“There was a man, homeless, I think. He looked like he’d been drinking a lot and rolling around in the mud.”

Everyone in the area knew the churchyard was a drinking and drug using spot. Nobody in their right mind would go in to investigate a scream. Nobody but Holly, she steamed right in to help.

“He was attacking a woman, that’s who was screaming.” A flood of tears streamed down her cheeks.

I asked if the woman was dirty, drunk, or both. Holly shot me a look that asked, “why the fuck would that make a difference?” and shook her head.

“Oh God. I just, I don’t…” She buried her face in my chest and screamed. My chunky brown sweater muffled most of it, but it was still loud enough to have me worrying what the neighbours would think.

I didn’t have a clue what I should do, so I just held her.

I felt angry.

Even though I made more than enough money, I was angry that she insisted on working.

She walked home despite us having a nice car.

I was angry at myself for not pushing her to give up the travel agent job. Not that it would have done any good. Holly was so bull-headed that she would have done double shifts just to teach me a lesson.

She pulled away from my chest, face plastered with snot and tears. Her skin was pale, like ethereal porcelain. I know it’s impossible, but the colour in her eyes was fading. It’s as if someone had hit the black-and-white photograph filter on our lives.

Something was very wrong.

“He killed her.” She stammered the words out between sobs. “Bit her throat right in front of me. Just ripped her neck apart and kept groaning like a pervert.”

This was, without a doubt, the strangest ‘guess what happened to me today?’ story I had ever heard. I didn’t believe it. How could I? It sounded like a late-night horror movie.

They’re coming to get you, Holly.

“I threw my shoe at him.” She nodded to affirm her bravery.

I checked. Sure enough, her left shoe was missing, and her slender foot looked bloodied and beaten.

My foolish, heroic, shoeless Holly.

“It just made him angry. He came for me, and I saw…” She paused to choke back more tears. “Something was… he looked wrong. Like he wasn’t human anymore.”

Now it really did sound like a bad horror movie.

She must have seen the doubt in my eyes, because she pulled away and rested her head in her hands. That was when I spotted blood seeping through the sleeve of her jacket. I reached out to touch it, but she jerked her arm away.

“It hurts,” she told me. “He grabbed my arm and took a fucking bite. Who does that? Who does that?”

I got even more curious about the bite and asked her to take off the jacket. She was determined to get her arm out of the sleeve by herself. After a few minutes of wincing, groaning and sharp intakes of breath, she accepted my help. Underneath, she wore her short-sleeved travel agent uniform blouse. The words ‘Come fly with us’ emblazoned in yellow on the sleeve just below her right shoulder.

I inspected the wound.

It was bad.

Teeth indentations circled the angry red wound and thin black veins spidered intricate patterns up her arm like a colourless kaleidoscope. I rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the first aid kit from the cupboard underneath the sink. I poured some warm water into a bright blue breakfast bowl and rushed back, urging myself to slow down as slops of water splashed over the rim. A yellow smiley face stared up from the bottom of the bowl, taunting me with its inane grin. I scowled at the smiley face and sat beside Holly.

She looked close to passing out. Heat radiated from the bite, like hot coals smouldering under the skin.

She didn’t even notice when I cleaned and bandaged the wound. Her eyes were open, but she was vacant, dazed.

“The lights are on, but nobody’s home.” Is how my father would have put it.

I had to call someone. We needed help.

I tried the local surgery, but the number was busy or dead, I couldn’t work out which.

Emergency services, then. I hated calling them, but this seemed like an emergency.

After cursing at the ringing tone for the longest couple of minutes that I’ve lived through, someone answered.

“Hello. Which service do you require?” The woman on the line had a sigh in her voice that told me this was her thousandth call of the day.

“Ambulance. Oh, and the police,”

“Tell me what’s going on.”

“My wife’s not looking good. Someone bit her.”

“Were you bitten, sir?”

“He killed a woman.”

“Who did?”

“Then he bit my wife.”

“Where is your wife now, Sir?”

“Should I take her to a hospital? Will you send an ambulance? Maybe the police can meet us at the hospital?”

“I need you to stay calm, sir.”

“Are you sending anyone or not?”

“A situation is developing. We haven’t been told the full details yet. All I can say is that anyone who has been bitten by another person or is acting out of character, they should be restrained and kept away from the rest of the family. The military are doing all they can.”

“Restrain? Military? What are you talking about? She needs medical attention.”

“I’m sorry, Sir. That’s all I can tell you right now. I strongly suggest that you restrain your wife as soon as possible and keep her away from any other family members.”

It was at this point that I realised Gemma wasn’t home from school yet.

“Oh, shit. Gemma.”


“Gemma. Our daughter, she should have been home from school by now. She’s only sixteen.”

“Sir, you must stay at home until further notice. There will be government updates on TV and radio, so make sure that you have one turned on.”

I was almost afraid to ask. Almost.

“Updated on what? What’s going on?”

“You need to restrain your wife immediately, Sir. Right now.”

“But I… Okay.”

“Thank-you. Help will come, Sir. We are working as hard as we can.”

The line clicked and went dead. I looked over at the couch. Holly had gone. I shouted out her name and heard footsteps on the stairs. I shouted her name again whilst making my way to the bottom of the stairs.

There she was, halfway up and looking like she’d just gone to the fridge but forgotten why. I asked if she was feeling okay and my heart sank when she turned to face me.

She looked like a corpse.

Her skin had the pallor of an overcast sky. Her lips were dry, cracked, and discoloured. Worst of all, the bright blue eyes I fell in love with were drained, replaced by the yellowing white of sour milk. I rushed up to her, taking the steps three at a time. I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her, screaming her name.

She didn’t respond.

Holly had left the building. No recognition, no answer, no life, nothing.

She stared down at the carpet, lost in its spiral patterns like a baby seeing cartoons on television for the first time. My hands slid from her shoulders and down her arms. Her head snapped up to face me and those colourless eyes looked at me like I was dinner.

She lunged forward, teeth bared and clacking together. My wife was trying to bite me, and not in a sexy way. I stepped back to avoid the ravenous attack and lost my balance. She tumbled down the stairs with me, snipping and snarling like a young kid pretending to be a dinosaur.

We twisted and turned, our combined weight thudding against each step until we hit the floor with a sickening slap. I heard a bone in Holly’s arm crack. It didn’t faze her at all. I was still regaining my senses when she leapt on top of me, teeth chomping while a low, guttural growl reverberated deep in her throat.

I shifted my weight and pushed her away. Scrambling to my feet, I pushed the door leading into the garage, ran through and hid behind the now open door. I heard Holly jump to her feet, followed by the click-clack of the one shoe that she still wore.

The noise came closer and closer until I could also hear her breath. She walked through the doorway and didn’t move for half a minute plus eternity. I needed her to go further inside so that I could lock her in.

The car-key.

I reached into my pocket with all the care of a tight-rope walker and fished around for the key.

Holly grunted and her breathing was faster, more excited. I froze in place, refusing to even breathe.

Had she heard me?


Her face must have been just inches from mine with nothing but a door between us.


She stepped away from the entrance and moved further into the garage. I breathed again.

What the hell was wrong with her?

Deep down I thought that I knew. I just didn’t want to believe it.

Fear gripped my belly with icy fingers and squeezed, urging me to choose flight over fight. I pulled out the car-key and punched my thumb down onto the ‘unlock’ button. The SUV made its familiar boop-beep noise. Both the front and back lights flashed, and the doors popped as they unlocked.

Holly growled and ran towards the noise. I jumped out from behind the door, rushed back into the house, pulled the door closed and slid the bolt across.

“It won’t be for long.” I leaned against the door. “Just until help gets here.”

I crumpled to the floor and stared up at nothing. A short gasping sob became a wail, and I was soon curled into a foetal position and weeping until…

The next morning.

I awoke with a start to the terrifying melody of Holly scraping and snarling at the door.

Gemma still wasn’t home. I tried calling her three times.

“Hello?” She said. Then came a long pause. “Ahh got ya! Leave a message, muppet!”

I hate that answer service message.

We lived on a cul-de-sac populated by elderly people so when I peered through the window, I wasn’t surprised that there weren’t any signs of life.

It’s why we bought the house. We like the quiet.

Sirens blared in the distance, and I hoped that Gemma was okay.

I wasn’t sure whether going to find her would be a good idea or a terrible one. I’d been told not to leave the house. That help would come.

All I could do was wait.

I scribbled my thoughts into a notepad instead of doing something more practical. The emergency operator had told me to keep a television on. I found the remote and watched the screen flicker into life.

Maybe someone on there could tell me what to do.

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