The Graveyard Tales
Chapter 10: The Doctor is Out
As the zombie plague made its way throughout the United States, squads of soldiers were sent in to rescue survivors from areas the undead had 'conquered.'
The operation, dubbed 'The Graverobber Shift' was quickly terminated, the survivors left to fend for their own.
Among the few squads the survived was one sent into Maine, known far and wide as Ground Zero for the undead, the area where they were first seen. Along with a few survivors, who were later killed due to risk of infection, the soldiers brought back several pages of notes taken by one Dr. Frank Larson, a young physician at Bridgton Hospital. Among his most recent patients was Mr. James Patterson of Brownfield, Maine, a hiker who had been transported to the hospital. Patterson claimed he had been bitten by a human being, although these claims were dismissed as shock he suffered from the wound.
Dr. Larson was also one of the first doctors to study the undead, and was able to barricade himself in one of the hospital laboratories as zombies tore apart the city. For weeks he worked on captured zombies, trying to learn everything he could about them, how they moved, what they thought, what they were.
Though his research was found, the good doctor remains missing to this day.
He is presumed dead, either in the ground, or walking it as the very thing he sought to comprehend.
March 14, 2006 10:32 a.m.
A young man from Brownfield was brought into the emergency room today. James Patterson, 6'1", 210 lbs., Caucasian. He had suffered a deep, ragged bite to his left leg, and as the orderlies tried to staunch the wound, Patterson claimed he had been bitten by a person. The other doctors say the wound was most likely caused by a wolf or bobcat, and the young man's recollections are the result of shock. I'm doubtful however. The bite pattern isn't consistent with an animal, and I can see distinct human teeth marks.
We're keeping the patient overnight for observation in case he's infected. I'm going to keep an eye on him. He didn't appear to be in shock, and his recollection of the attack was very detailed, not like someone caught in the grips of pain-induced hysteria. Something about this just seems to be, I don't know, wrong.
March 15, 2006 2:45 p.m.
I came in to check on Mr. Patterson to find him running a fever of 110. He was convulsing and vomiting, and his skin had begun to take on a pale complexion. His wound has become infected, and several sores have appeared, oozing a strange green pus. This is highly unusual. We put him on a round of antibiotics after he was admitted. An infection of this nature just isn't possible. I've ordered him put on a stronger series of antibiotics. If his condition doesn't improve soon, we're going to lose him.
More people have been admitted today with wounds similar to Mr. Patterson's. All claim the same thing, that people attacked them out of nowhere, biting them as if trying to eat them alive. Some of the staff are getting scared. We deal with bite wounds, but they're rare, and always caused by animals. This is different. Animals aren't doing this. Dr. Piker, who I've come to know as a Grade A prick, just scoffed and said it was probably drugged-out punks (his words, not mine). He's notified the police, who said they'll look into it.
The other bite victims are starting to show the same signs as Mr. Patterson: high fever, vomiting, convulsions, and pale skin. Patient Zero, as everyone here is calling him, hasn't improved. His breathing has become shallow, and we've put him on a respirator. He's a goner, that's for sure, and while I'm saddened to see anyone die, the academic part of me is fascinated by what's happening. I've never heard of attacks like this happening with such frequency and ferocity. I'm curious as to what drives a person to commit these atrocities. And the infection! It's like nothing I've ever seen before!
I can't wait to do an autopsy.
March 16, 2006 9 a.m.
What I've seen here defies all medical science. This morning at 7:15 a.m., James Patterson died due to an infection which had taken over his body in a matter of hours. I was just about to order the autopsy when he suddenly sprang back to life! But he wasn't the same person. He snarled and snapped at us, and when one of the nurses got too close, he bit off one of her fingers, and ate it! We were able to get him strapped down, and it doesn't appear he can get loose. This is phenomenal. The infection, whatever it is, killed Mr. Patterson, then brought him back to life as something else. He has no pulse, and it doesn't appear that he's breathing, yet he is moving. It's almost like he's a zombie, a creature clearly dead, yet alive in some way.
But that's insane. Such a thing is impossible.
March 16, 2006 5:30 p.m.
All of the victims brought in with wounds like Mr. Patterson's have displayed the same kind of infection, and all have died in the same way. Moments after death, all awoke, and displayed the same signs as Patient Zero. Extreme ferocity, a taste for human flesh. One nurse didn't strap a patient down properly and he broke loose, then proceeded to tear the poor young woman apart, devouring her like a Sunday roast.
I managed to catch it all on tape. This will be instrumental in my study of these patients.
The other doctors want these victims destroyed, but I can't allow it. Can't they see the potential here? We're on the front lines of a whole new type of virus here. It appears to be spread through the bites these people have received. Once they die of the infection, they are reborn as carriers, and filled with the instinct to bite others not yet infected, turning them into carriers as well. The nurse who lost her finger has become infected, and I'm convinced that in time she will die and become reborn as one of these creatures.
More and more victims pour into the emergency room, and the governor has declared a state of emergency. These attackers, who appear to be infected with this virus, are increasing in number geometrically, and the police and even the National Guard have been unable to stop them. I've heard the Army will be called in.
I hope they don't kill them all. I need more subjects for my research.
March 18, 2006 4:30 p.m.
The hospital has been evacuated. The infected, I've come to call them zombies-though such a term would seem ludicrous at first, seems to fit these people quite accurately-are everywhere. They seem mindless, yet consumed with a desire to eat the flesh of the living. Whether they are aware they are passing on the virus with each bite is unknown.
When my colleagues told me to pack my things, I immediately refused. I have to study these creatures, learn what makes them tick. Dr. Piker ordered me to leave, then pulled out a gun and began shooting the reanimated infected in the head, starting with Patient Zero. It seems to be the only way to kill these creatures. Anything else only slows them down.
I pulled the gun from his hand, shot him until the clip ran dry. I was shocked when he promptly got to his feet, clearly one of the zombies. Incredible! Apparently the virus is in the very air around us. Being bitten is not the only means of spreading it. Death in any form triggers the transformation. The others ran, screaming for their lives. I only stood there, smiling. I am going to crack the code, find a cure to the virus.
I am going to be rich.
March 30, 2:33 a.m.
The city has been abandoned. Those fools, those idiotic, cowardly fools. They can't face the challenge of cracking the Infection. I've tried to think of a better name, but maybe it's best to go with something simpler, more primal. After all, this is what the Infection unleashes, a base, primal instinct.
The instinct to feed.
I've tried to think of a clever name, like the Z-Virus, or Rot Syndrome, but it feels like I'm trying to cage a force of nature. Nothing in the history of the written word has had the impact of the Infection. The Bubonic Plague wishes it was this deadly.
My research has made great strides. As I calculated, the virus is transmitted two ways. Through the air, by the attackers, who seem to spread it like the flu, but with a far greater range. Once it settles into an uninfected human, the virus goes dormant, unleashing itself once the subject flatlines. So, in theory, one could have the virus for five, ten, even one hundred years.
The second and fast way is for an uninfected human to be bitten by an Infected. The virus is transmitted through the saliva, and symptoms begin to show themselves immediately. High fever, sweating, labored breathing, pale skin. Once bitten, a subject has only hours to live, depending on their height, weight, and the location and severity of the bite or bites.
Once a person becomes an Infected, they are consumed with a never-ending need to feed. More than a need, it's a purpose. I theorize that food is really the one thing we need as humans to survive. Everything else is a mere luxury, and in the case of the Infected, the need to consume consumes them, becoming an unsatiable desire. It drives them like nothing else.
Only fresh, warm bodies can tempt them. I experimented using a few orderlies who tried to hide out in the hospital. It was so easy, slipping the tranquilizers into their water. By the time they awoke, they were in the room with the Infected, whom I had taken the liberty to chain. Oh, how they begged me to release them, tears streaming down their faces. One young woman, a vivacious young blonde named Emily, actually promised to be my love slave if I let her out.
It seems dignity is another luxury, one cast off in the face of the slightest obstacle.
Once released, the Infected attacked the living with savage ferocity. One could argue they were simply starved, but the fact is they had been fed only an hour ago. No matter how much they eat, they are always eager for more.
I noticed they often go for the neck. This may be due to the large number of blood vessels and arteries. Maybe they have a taste for blood. Like steak sauce on a nice, juicy T-bone.
Next I deposited a corpse, one with a bullet through its head to prevent turning. The Infected didn't even react, instead throwing itself against the reinforced glass in a futile attempt to get me. Recently killed humans are eagerly eaten, but after an hour or so, the meat seems to lose its flavor.
I believe it is our smell that differentiates us to the Infected. Warm bodies have a certain odor corpses lack, and once they have our scent, will home in on it like wolves. It is most interesting to note that once they see a fresh meal, they will never leave it. I learned this by sitting near the window and letting them see me. As before, they pawed and scratched at the glass, trying to get me. After several hours, they continued their attempts, despite a lack of progress. The Hunger must be truly all-consuming to drive a person this way.
My wife was the same way with shopping. I wonder if she's still alive? I'd like to use her in my experiments.
April 18, 2006 4:24 a.m.
The Infected are wonderful, simply wonderful. Perfect efficiency, ruthless determination. They say sharks are the perfect killing machines. Sharks wish they were this perfect.
They have no minds. This is obvious upon seeing them in action. But no one appreciates the beautiful simplicity of it all. All they think about is eating. Nothing deters them. They feel no pain, no fear. They don't long for friendship or love. They never tire, never give up.
Nothing stops them.
Except a bullet to the head, but how easy is that? Either you have to shoot them from far off, and I can you tell from seeing it myself, even the hardiest soldiers have difficulty remaining calm enough in the face of a horde of Infected to shoot one in the head.
I can only imagine how an untrained citizen would fare. Actually, I don't have to imagine it. I saw plenty of citizens fall to the Infected army. Like waves crashing against a dam of toothpicks, they swept over any defense, any obstacle. They don't attack in squads or battalions. They move as one. A ruthless flood of Infected. Like a swarm of locusts.
The Infected also have little in the way of motor skills. They cannot run, though when a meal is close at hand, they move with surprising speed. The rest of the time they move at a shambling gait, and are easy to outpace.
An ignorant layman would construe this as a weakness, but a genius of my caliber recognizes it for the strength it is. The Infected are infinitely patient, willing to wait days, weeks, even months to get their meat.
Still, I wonder if it's possible to correct this...
I have learned that while the Infected cannot open doors, they can climb stairs, though ladders are an insurmountable obstacle. As long as a person had their wits about them, evading the Infected should prove easy.
I wonder, can this be overcome as well...
When I began my research, I wanted to crack the code to the Infection, to find a cure. How could I be so blind, so arrogant? The Infection is a gift, a way to eradicate the true infectio-, humanity. We have become selfish pigs, more concerned with acquiring wealth or status. When was the last time we truly had to work for our daily bread? When was the last time we had to fight to survive?
Humanity has become corrupt, and so it must be purged. The same is true with infected crops. The rotten, diseased plants must be destroyed, so that the fit may rise and claim what is rightfully theirs.
But they are disorganized. They seek only to eat, when they are capable of so much more.
They need purpose, desire.