Frederick Hines was perhaps the happiest man on Earth. He had finally perfected his masterpiece; his long years of dreaming and planning were finally coming to fruition. His vision was on the brink of becoming a reality.
He had no trouble smuggling his project out of GenTech. As a level 6 virologist he had certain privileges; he was held in good esteem not only by his colleagues but by anyone who knew him. Anyone who shook his warm, firm grip and looked into his clear blue eyes. No one suspected the writhing darkness that ticked away in his brain; the festering hatred that turned people’s smiles into mocking leers, the overwhelming misery deep inside that turned even the kind and caring into cruel monsters. No one had the slightest idea.
Freddy Hines was the original go-getter, the can-doer, the all-around ‘team player’. There was certainly nothing about his looks or attitude that would alarm anyone. He was handsome, brilliant; he smiled, he laughed, he went to church, paid his taxes and even coached Little League. He went on fun-runs and to bakes sales and city council meetings and served jury duty when called upon to do so. He never drove drunk or gambled; he held open doors for a variety of beautiful dates and helped little old ladies across busy streets all with a big toothy grin on his gloriously tanned countenance. He was well spoken, wore designer jeans, and combed his immaculate hair just like the men gracing the covers of those slick magazines with names that sounded vaguely sexual. He was a ‘type-A’, take charge kind of guy that you always wanted on your team. He was the man who rose through the ranks on hard work and dedication; not brown-nosing. He was everybody’s favorite co-worker and yet no one counted him as a close friend.
Freddy never let anyone close enough to really get to know him because it was all just carefully crafted camouflage. It really wasn’t much different than the old children’s story of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. He was a soulless predator milling around his unsuspecting victims; blending in and biding his time until the perfect moment.
Beneath his many charms was a heart as cold and uncaring as that of a gila monster. Behind that big flashy grin and inside his brilliant mind slithered an abomination; a gleefully capering madness that festered like a rancid wound. He was a psychopath in the truest sense of the word and he cared about no one and nothing. In this regard, Freddy was only one of many; the awful truth is that the world is as full of evil people as good people.
As he drove back home to his posh bachelor pad just twelve minutes outside of downtown Phoenix, the tiny blue case containing his project on the passenger seat beside him, he was grinning from ear to ear. He had never felt something so close to real happiness in his entire 43 years on Earth. It was the finest day he’d ever experienced and it seemed fitting that it would also be his last.
He was a little disappointed that he wouldn’t be able to see the true scope of his poisoned brilliance. He would be unable to witness the carnage and miss out on the exquisite aftermath. But, he supposed, it was really a small price to pay for the power to change the world. All of his planning and hard work, the sleepless nights spent sweating in bed while he thought about ending the plague that was mankind, everything...it had all led to this one shining moment. He intended to enjoy it thoroughly before he was swept away with the rest of them.
He parked his BMW in the garage and went inside to get ready. There was a concert he had to make in just a little less than three hours and he wanted to be good and ready when the show started. He’d heard that every seat was going to be filled tonight, thirty thousand to be exact, and he wanted to get to his as early as possible. He patted the little blue case in his pocket, flashing his mega-watt smile, his gosh-isn’t-life-great smile; one of the only smiles he’d ever worn that hadn’t been manufactured deliberately.
Thirty thousand people. It was going to hit them like a freight train. One vial of clear liquid was going to be the ruination of mankind. One perfectly terrible little virus was going to change the world and nothing was ever going to be the same again.
Frederick Hines found that he could not stop smiling.