When It Fell
A/N: One thing that won’t change in this story is my author’s notes! They might be enough to put you at ease between chapters if my writing is good. This story is posted on another writing platform as well. The series as well in the form of all three books are available as well. I'll be posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday here on Inkitt
I was currently running late to my first class of the semester. This semester would set me on the final stretch of my degree and I’d no longer have to endure countless hours of study for classes for a little while. I had arrived in class and as expected there were about forty-five pairs of eyes on me as I walked through the door of the lecture hall. I scanned them for one and only one set of eyes as our professor continued introducing himself. Taking a calming breath to soothe my building anxiety, I made my way over to my little sister who was wearing a look of disappointment.
“Slept in?” She whispered softly as I took a seat beside her.
“I accidentally set my alarm to pm instead of am. So I woke up late.” I explained sheepishly as I settled down beside her, trying my best to settle in and look normal despite being late.
“What’s his name by the way?” I asked her, retrieving my notebook out of my backpack in an attempt to get as prepared as I could.
“Oscar Wilder.” She informed, disdain dripping off each and every single syllable. I would have thought she was annoyed with the professor. But instead, I knew it was annoyance directed at my tardiness. I rolled my eyes at her moodiness, turning my attention elsewhere.
“So, class. What would you describe the word history as?” Our professor spoke, walking to stand behind a podium with what I assumed were his notes.
Wanting to at the very least participate in class, I rose my hand, wracking my brain for something logical to say at the same time. I was instantly nervous when he pointed to me to answer.
“I swear I’m not stupid I’m just nervous.” I rambled, buying myself just enough time to think of something. All the while the class chuckled at me.
“The recording of people and their cultures?” I replied, unsure of myself.
My response seemed to take him by surprise as his eyes met mine.
“Precisely. A simple yet direct answer.” He replied before he went on, causing me to drown him out.
The sound of a soft cough could be heard as the door opened yet again, another late student entering class. I looked over at my sister, seeing her staring at the girl with a look of disgust.
“Did she do something to you? That glare could kill.” I drawled, slightly amused.
“Have you not been watching the news? Medical professionals are saying there’s some kind of nasty new virus starting to go around. She should have stayed home, I’d rather not get sick.” Alisha huffed, rolling her eyes.
“And not COVID-19 again.” She added, rolling her eyes as I instantly thought of what uprooted our lives what felt like mere moments ago.
“I rarely watch the news. It triggers me to no end seeing all the depressing things shown anyway.” I replied dismissively, vaguely paying attention to our professor as he discussed our classes’ calendar posted online.
“Just a little more of this and I can finally get that internship.” Alisha sighed, looking annoyed.
“All of us have to take humanities at some point, Alisha.” I deadpanned, humored by her hatred for this seemingly repetitive class.
“Its basically just artsy world history; which we’ve already taken.” She quipped back.
The sound of aggravated coughing caught everyone’s attention, our eyes all drawn to the front row. The girl that was late was doubled over in her desk. Our professor went to her aid while the rest of us watched as her coughs seemed to grow weaker before the hacking stopped. The room around me was deathly silent as our professor tried to rouse her from her despondent state. Something was screaming at me to run, but I was frozen in fear. Was that girl dead? Surely she couldn’t have been that sick? My fear melted into anxiety as the girl had yet to respond.
Our professor wasted no time calling the campus EMT, all the while he still tried to rouse the sickly girl. He rolled up the sleeves of his dress shirt and hoisted the girl over to the stage to lay her down.
“I’m not sticking around anymore. She’s probably infected us all with that.” Alisha sighed, moving to get up, but my hand shot out to catch her by the wrist, my eyes not once leaving the scene before us on the lecture hall podium
“I don’t know what it is. But I think you should stick with me. Something doesn’t seem right.” I replied distractedly, trusting my gut, which I learned after my very first psychology course was something that didn’t exist.
“You of all people should know that gut feelings don’t exist. You’re a psych major remember?” She replied indignantly rolling her eyes at me as she essentially read my mind.
In moments the EMT rushed into the room and to the aide of the unresponsive girl. Worried whispers were echoing in the classroom, some students even leaving. I was curious almost to a fault as to what was happening. Was this that nasty cold my sister had told me about just moments ago? Something that practically scared the life out of me in the form of the emergency alarm ringing throughout the building. And at that moment the girl sprung to life, her teeth sinking into the neck of the EMT who was previously trying to revive her. Screams of shock broke out in the classroom as people scattered like roaches under a spotlight.
I however was frozen in place as our professor was currently trying to fight off the girl who had gone from zero to one hundred in mere seconds. I knew deep down that I should help him. But also I had the innate desire to preserve my own life. I turned to my sister to see her frozen in fear just as I was. Just then, a conversation I had with my parents before going off to college echoed in my mind.
“Take care of each other at all costs.” Their voices rang, sparking my brain into action.
I grimaced as I tried to force myself to act first and think later. I was up in moments, a little clumsy on my feet for a second.
“Stay here. And fuck up whoever tries to hurt you.” I said quickly, turning to Alisha, giving her a shake, and getting her attention finally. I climbed up onto the desks, preparing my terribly unathletic body for action.
If I could be famous for something would be my thin figure yet horrible physical fitness. I let out a battle cry as I ran down the desks, almost falling multiple times along the way. And having watched so many action movies I slammed into the girl with a kick, sending her flying and landing awkwardly on the ground, my body feeling like it got hit by a train. I tried to recover from my nearly failed attempt at saving our professor. In moments the feral looking girl was viciously attacking me. I was barely able to hold back her chomping jaws, thinking these would be my last moments.
A fallen hero? What a disgusting trope. I heard another battle cry as a chair was thrown at the rabid girl trying to attack me, seeming to knock her out. Our professor stood over me, panting before he extended a hand out for me to grab. My body was still aching from my rather stupid plan to save his life.
“We need to get out of here. Something is wrong.” He spoke.
“No shit. That woman tried to attack me. Nearly killed me.” I cursed, anxiety setting in and my mind thought of thousands of possibilities as to what could be happening.
We walked up to my shell-shocked sister, who was staring wide-eyed at the now bloodied front of the lecture hall.
“S-she killed him an-and then she...” My sister attempted, tears starting to stream down her face.
“We have to go.” I said to her, giving her a shake, turning to see our professor with a haunted look on his face as he stared back at the scene that just unfolded moments ago. The halls beyond the class doors filled with haunting and pained screams.
I had to be strong for these people to keep them going I thought; no matter how terrifying it was for me. Whatever was going on was getting worse and worse. But I’d do whatever it took to keep my sister safe.
“Let’s go you two.” I sighed, steeling myself, a state of catharsis washing over my rampant fearful emotions.
And with that, I led the two traumatized individuals out into the hall. The sight before us was like one out of a horror movie. Students were attacking other students. People were practically being eaten alive, painting the walls in crimson blood as pained screams rang out like a chorus. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion around me, people running past me, being chased by sickly-looking students. I had to amp myself up again as I felt myself practically crumbling internally. Was this hell? What the fuck was happening here? I grabbed the nearest thing that could be used as a weapon, knowing I’d have to commit to violence to get us somewhere safe we could set off.
I wasn’t armed perfectly but it was enough until we made it to my dorm room. Giving the wooden broomstick an experimental swing, I turned to my companions, urging them to follow me, eventually getting compliance from them as we ran through the halls. My martial arts training from when I was a kid was partially coming back as I managed to strike down some of the rabid students that tried to attack us. The sound of surprised screaming snapped me out of my streak of violence. I spun around to see my sister trying to fight off one of the strangely violent people.
I mustered up as much aggression as I could, tackling the creature off of her, being outmuscled by the clearly deranged man. I mentally scoffed as it seems no matter who I saved I got into hairy situations. My body was starting to fatigue under all the abuse I was putting it through. And just when the man’s jaws were about to tear into my flesh, a metal object clanged across my attacker’s skull. I was a bit disgusted by the blood that splattered across one of my favorite t-shirts. Another stranger was standing over me before he harshly hoisted me up.
“We need to get the fuck outta here.” He said hurriedly as we began running to escape the current building we were in.
“Not to be blunt but who the hell are you and why did you save me?” I questioned, clumsily avoiding a support beam.
It seems we were running in the right direction. Not many people or savages as I chose to call them were running this way. Though still the echoes of pained screams could be heard deeper into the building.
“The names’ Daniel. And I was behind you guys and I saw how much ass you kicked. Not letting you die bro.” He smiled despite the utter chaos going on. I took a mental note of this personality snapshot he had given me and focused instead on my surroundings.
Our group burst through the doors into the outside world, seeing people fleeing for their lives, some being torn apart by these now rabid people.
“W-where are we going?” My sister asked, looking terrified at the sight before us. I couldn’t blame her for being scared. For fuck-sake I was too.
Without warning something slammed into me roughly, knocking me to the ground. When my vision cleared it was yet another one of the infected. Instead of fear filling my body and petrifying me, I was filled with rage. Remembering the many boring hours of receiving crazy amounts of combat training from my ex-military parents, I rammed my knee into my attacker’s chest, my body flooding with more strength than I felt I had. In a fit of rage I forced my attacker off, seeing that the others were taking my sister further away to safety; besides I didn’t want her seeing me like this.
I grasped at the broomstick I had armed myself with earlier, stabbing it into some loose fabric, pinning my attacker down by her flowing shirt. Placing even more demand on my already faltering body, I ran after my sister and the others. I saw that we were heading into the building my dorm room was in. Pushing myself even further I caught up to them, being hugged tightly by my sister.
“I thought you were gonna die.” She sobbed, causing my emotions to flood back as my adrenaline to rush was starting to fade. As badly as I wanted to comfort her at this moment, we weren’t safe being exposed like this.
“Let’s go, my room is in the building.” I informed everyone, seeing that we were all starting to look exhausted.
“Bro you’re fucking legendary.” The guy who’s name I learned was Daniel complimented as we entered my dorm building.
I gave him a weak nod as I fought to catch my breath.
Blood had already painted the walls here as well as distant screams deeper into the building. But I felt that if we made it to my room, we could barricade ourselves in there until we came up with a collective plan; if we would stick together at all throughout all of this. Mentally I was already falling apart. What was happening? I was forced to react for so long that when things were slightly calm everything seemed surreal. Though the screams and bangs I heard echoing through the halls reminded me of what was happening. I was in desperate need of time to think this through. Was this even an isolated event? Though with the infectious nature of all of this I doubted it.
Stolen from my thoughts, Oscar gave me a nudge to get my attention.
“Are you okay kid?” He asked softly, Daniel watching our backs.
“We should get going.” I replied simply, internally sighing. I wasn’t okay the more things settled in. In just a few short minutes I’d seen so many people die. So much blood spilled.
Oscar gave me a funny look, but I didn’t have the energy to explain myself. What I needed was a sense of security to collect myself and let everything sink in. After a few more easily won scuffles with the rabid people we arrived at my room, my body screaming at me for rest. Daniel was the only one mentally okay enough to help me fend off our attackers. My hands were trembling as I unlocked my room door, practically stumbling and falling apart inside.
“Lock the door.” I panted, not having the strength to get up from the floor as I caught my breath.
Though when I did recover a bit, I turned to see everyone sitting in various places in my already small dorm room. Not trusting a lock to keep infected out of our sanctuary, I forced myself to stand, heaving my wardrobe in front of the door.
“Okay,” I panted, turning to everyone, getting their attention, seeing the exhaustion and fear in everyone else’s eyes.
“We need to discuss what’s on our minds.” I attempted, my strength still with me.
“What the fuck is happening?” Daniel burst out suddenly.
“I have no idea.” I replied, seeing as everyone else didn’t want to speak yet.
“Those things came out of nowhere on campus. First, it was this guy and it spread in the building. It was scary as hell. It was fucked up.” Daniel replied.
“What time?” I asked curiously.
“Around 1:00pm. I was heading to my calculus class.” He informed me.
“I was heading to humanities at 2:00pm. How did I not see anything? Or get attacked for that matter?” I wondered aloud.
Daniel gave me a shrug as I heard a heavy sigh leave my sister, her composure seeming to return. An hour between those events means I and Alisha had lucked up making it to class without being attacked.
“While we still have power. Turn on the television to the news while I think.” She commanded softly, taking a seat on my bed.
I did as she said, flipping my television on to the news station, instantly being greeted by a helicopter view of the carnage taking place in the town just outside of our campus.
“Authorities are asking that everyone stays inside during these times. Only leave to flee danger. Everything that can be done in this atrocity is being done.” The news reporter spoke, tears welling up in her eyes as chaos ensued around her in the downtown streets.
I flipped to another local station, seeing pretty much the same thing. It was a ton of footage of rabid people running through the streets attacking one another. So now I turned to social media, seeing that this was happening in a few neighboring states.
“We’re fucked.” I said breathlessly, my legs giving out underneath me.
“We can survive this. We can figure something out. I don’t wanna die.” My sister sniffed.
“I just can’t think of a way out. This shit is everywhere.” I huffed, feeling hopeless. So much had already gone wrong in previous years. Just why did it never seem to run out of steam?
“We need to get away from people until this all settles down. Maybe the national guard can be dispatched?” Oscar reasoned, finally speaking.
“Or they could just bomb the entire city.” Alisha added bitterly.
It made sense to do just that. To prevent the spread of infected. But the thought of dying sucked and it wasn’t something I was okay with. Maybe we should all try to live.
“They’re unhinged. The military likely can’t fight off a threat like this. That girl that attacked you was still alive after you struck her in the head with that chair.” Alisha reasoned.
“What?” Daniel replied, sounding shocked.
“If it’s what I’m thinking. They’re more durable all of a sudden. There’s so much we don’t know. Their best bet would be to bomb the city to ash.” Alisha huffed, her words grim yet realistic. She seemed to be trying her best not to snap.
“Something like this is straight out of a movie. I want to study it and find out what it is. Maybe if I can find that out we can put an end to this?” My sister reasoned, getting a grip.
“You can do that?” Daniel exclaimed, looking at my sister as if she were a wizard.
“I only had one class this semester before I graduated. And that was humanities. It doesn’t seem like any of us will be graduating anyway.” She replied.
“Let’s stay positive everyone. This could turn around.” Oscar added positively.
As much as I had been through in the past couple of hours was killing my ability to be optimistic. I doubted something so blunt could be reversed.
“Oh shit.” My sister cursed suddenly.
“What?” I asked, wondering what got her so flustered.
“We need to get clean. What if we all turn in here and kill each other?” She proposed.
Alarm shot through me as I realized we all were in direct contact with the infected. Were we all infected now? I felt fine aside from my body aching from some reckless stunts.
“Clothes off and out of the window. Wash your hands and then shower.” My sister said hurriedly.
“No no. I’ve seen how it works. It happens and takes people fast when they’re bitten.“Daniel countered.
“What if the incubation time is different depending on the strength of individual immune systems?” My sister proposed, the gears of her brilliant mind finally assessing our situation.
“I don’t think we have the means to find out. The halls are overrun and getting out of here would require fighting.” I added.
“If I could just get my hands on a sample and get to one of the biology labs I can get us a small amount information while we still have power.” My sister replied, determination filling her gaze.
“That’s crazy. Those things hit like fucking trucks.” Daniel scoffed.
“I’ll do it.” I said, electing myself for a specific reason. I knew that if one of us didn’t take the reigns and do bold things, we’d never survive.
“You’re like five pounds soaking wet kid. Going alone doesn’t seem like a good idea.” Oscar pointed out.
“My sister is right though. I trust that she can find something out. I’ll go out for supplies and get her a sample. Then we can escort her to one of the biology labs.” I explained, getting a thankful look from my sister.
“I think we should get off of this campus as fast as possible. Since it infects people its best to isolate ourselves until things die down.” Oscar interjected.
He seemed to be drawing experience from previous life events.
“That can come after we get that sample and gain some insight.” I challenged, seeming to have won this debate.
“I can and will go alone.” I finished.
“That’s stupid to go alone, man. Sure you kick ass but I don’t think you know how strong those things are.” Daniel sighed, looking a little troubled.
“Maybe whatever is doing this to them is altering them neurologically to exceed their bodily limits of physical strength.” Alisha replied.
“I’ll go with him then.” Oscar sighed.
“When will you two be going out?” Alisha asked.
“I suggest tomorrow after some rest. We can stay up in shifts.” Daniel suggested.
“I agree. I don’t think I can take anymore roughing up today.” I huffed falling onto my bed, staring up at the ceiling.
“This is just so fucked.” Daniel said softly, pacing around the cramped room, prompting me to sit up and watch his actions.
After all, the only person in our ragtag group that I knew well was my sister. The other two I wasn’t as trusting of. Sure they both potentially prevented me from being torn apart. But did that mean I could trust them? Would the infected people around us be the last of our worries? From what I’ve gathered so far just by watching these two strangers wasn’t enough to draw full conclusions.
Oscar is either really timid and fearful, or suffers from some form of PTSD. Daniel seems unusually positive in such dark moments; a mask of sorts? They must have grown uncomfortable under my watchful gaze as Daniel cleared his throat before speaking up.
“Staring is rude man.” He chuckled nervously.
“Want someone to read your brain as if it’s an open book? Talk to Issac for five seconds and he’ll have picked apart your deepest inner-workings.” My sister a small smile playing on her lips.
“A psychology major I presume?” Oscar questioned, turning his gaze on me.
“Yep. In moments like these, people’s true intentions can run wild. Can you really blame me for using my skills to size you two up?” I revealed with a shrug, my tone guarded.
“Well. We need some level of trust among one another or we’ll tear each other apart.” Oscar tacked on wisely.
Suddenly my phone rang in my pocket. When I fished it out I saw that it was my father.
“I’m going out for a call.” I told everyone.
“What the hell Isaac. Just take it here.” My sister scolded.
“It’s dad. I’ll lock the stairwell doors while I’m out.” I replied curtly, grabbing two short-swords my father gifted me from a deployment in Japan.
I answered my phone, hearing commotion on the other line, plugging in my headphones and putting my phone in my pocket. Unblocking the door I headed out into the dimly lit hallway, a few of the infected idling at the ends of the hall strangely.
“Hello? Isaac? Are you okay?” My father spoke finally, concern evident in his voice.
“Yeah, dad.” I sighed softly.
“I don’t know what the hell is going on but me and your mom are coming to you guys.” My dad spoke hurriedly, saying something I couldn’t quite comprehend to who I assumed was my mom.
“No dad, the campus is overrun.” I attempted to explain.
“Can you two get out safely to us then? The town here is in chaos.” My father spoke hurriedly as I had my gifted swords at the ready as one of the idle infected caught sight of me.
I couldn’t bring myself to stab it so I steadied myself and seemed to knock it out with the handle of my sword.
“What just happened?” My dad asked firmly.
“One of them ran at me.” I explained, wishing my father would get to the point.
“You two aren’t safe? Where is Alisha?” My father asked.
“She’s with me. She’s in my dorm room. I stepped out to take this call.” I explained, watching one particular infected person jerkily moving in the corner.
“Don’t do anything reckless Isaac. And get here before power gets shut down.” My father said, my brain tuning him out as I studied this unusual infected.
“Okay dad, I’ve got to go, something weird is happening.” I said distractedly as the infected twitched violently in the corner, making strange grunting sounds.
“Stay safe and get out of that campus.” He said curtly. Despite his tone, I knew he was probably worried sick; hell, I was a mess myself.
Something that terrified me rang out in the halls. From someone clearly infected. A pained scream left it though its body language was off. Its body shook violently as another scream left it. This time something haunting left its body. A terrified sounding ‘no’ left its mouth. Without warning its head whipped around to stare at me, that same haunting screaming echoing in the halls around me.
Whatever infected these people changed them. I don’t think I could even call them people at this point. With that thought I drew both of the swords I had, extending them both out. I was taken by even further surprise as it impaled itself on the blades, blood splattering from his abdomen as he pushed himself further into the blades in an attempt to attack me. I was knocked off balance by the other infected I had knocked out earlier rousing it awake.
“Fuck!” I screamed, hoping someone in the room heard me struggling.
Fighting off two of them while being pinned to the ground made it harder. My strength was fading as they tried desperately to tear at my flesh. Being saved for the millionth time today, a large ceramic lamp was smashed across the head of the abnormal infected, and a devastating kick to the other’s head seemed to kill it. I looked up and saw that it was actually Oscar, panting as he stared down at me.
I was shaken. I felt I saw something I wanted to unsee. Was that intelligence that infected displayed. I quickly got up after I shoved the dead weight of the infected off of me.
“What happened?” Oscar asked as he took in my clearly shocked expression as I stared at the infected that ‘spoke’.
“I’m not sure. I need to think.” I replied, pulling my swords from it.
“Help me drag them to the stairway?” I asked, seeing Oscar look at me as if what I was saying made no sense at all.
“We put their bodies there for safety and lock the door to both the stairways on either side of the hall.” I explained, getting a compliant nod from him finally.
A/N: Phew, what an exhausting and long chapter. Chapters in this story will be pretty long compared to the rest of my work, averaging about 4k words per chapter. Hence why uploads will take longer than usual for me! But anyway, I hope you all enjoyed this first chapter. A lot has happened! And a lot more will happen in future chapters!