Chapter Eleven: Upping the Ante
“Alright, we won’t be long in here,” Rikki said, walking up to another set of double doors. “Those creatures are headed this way.”
“How do you know that?” Brook asked from Angelina’s back.
“The doors haven’t been knocked down yet, Sweetie,” Angelina answered. “So, the zombies haven’t been here yet, but they will be. They’re knocking down every door they come to. It makes sense.”
Rikki stuck her key into the door and then slid her ID through the scanner, a double layer of security – implemented whenever a hospital lock down happened. And it was especially important in this instance as they were entering the maternity ward.
“This is a hospital,” Rikki said as the first set of double doors opened, the girls walking through them – then through the second set of doors and finally through the third set. “If there are doors, they will be locked, from time to time. So, knocking them all down makes quick access to every location.”
The maternity ward looked a lot like most every other area of the hospital with patient admittance. But it was a bit more … homely … in feel. There was a central nurses’ station in the room. On the left side were the new mother rooms, looking more like bedrooms than hospital rooms. Some of those rooms had stations for the newborns, if the mothers didn’t want to be separated from their babies. On the right side was the nursery, a long glass window showing those little plastic cases where the very newly-born babies were placed.
“Britney, Lorna, Georgia … go in that room and lay down,” Rikki said, retrieving a few supplies from the nurses’ station to make some quick treatment for the girls’ injuries.
Everybody walked into the bedroom Rikki pointed to, all of them oogling over the tiny little crib-like casing next to the bed.
“That is so cute,” Iris said sweetly. “So the baby never leaves the mother’s side.”
“If you think that’s cute …,” Angelina said, then walking over to the tiny crib and making Brook sit in it, a few minutes of relief for Angelina’s back needed.
The girls oogled a bit more loudly, Brook blushing a shade of pink but still thoroughly enjoying the feeling and attention.
“Alright, I’ll mend what I can here,” Rikki said, walking into the room and straight over to Britney who seemed to be in the worst shape.
“I hate to ask this … but what did you mean when you said that we might be dealing with a new strain?” Angelina inquired.
“Well, its indication of a living thing. But in this case, it’s a bad indication,” Rikki said, treating the scratches and scrapes of Britney’s body and then moving on to Georgia to do the same. “A virus is a living organism that can change as it grows.”
“That’s just eerie sounding,” Brook said from the crib.
“Normally when something is only the size of a mere cell, such changes don’t often happen. But if you think about it, common animals like cows and horses and sheep and the like … they all used to be a lot smaller and frailer than they are nowadays. And the reason for their growth and their changes was because we bred them to be bigger.”
“So … this time, the author was watching Animal Planet when he was typing out this episode?” Iris whispered to Britney.
“Probably,” Britney whispered back.
“When a virus changes in a manner that alters it dramatically, it is often called a mutation,” Rikki continued, moving on to clean Lorna’s wounds. “The change, in this case, is an increase in strength – most likely brought about by the restructuring of particular muscles.”
“I still don’t understand,” Brook said shyly.
“Basically, every zombie with the new strain of virus is just as strong as Ursula was back at the camp. And it’s not so outrageous to imagine how that’s possible,” Georgia said. “Here’s a true story: Years ago, a mother in Florida got into a heated argument with her college-aged son who was home for the Christmas break. Right after this argument, he went outside and crawled under a car, continuing to work on it as it had some mechanical problems that needed fixed. Suddenly, the jack gave way and the car collapsed on him. From the kitchen window, the mother – still angry from the argument – panicked and ran outside. So was older and had no real strength to her. Yet, because of the rush of adrenaline, she was able to get her hands underneath the front of the car and lift it up as if she was as strong as Superman. Her son crawled out from underneath the car. She had saved his life.”
The group looked at her with shock.
“That’s a true story,” Georgia said, Rikki finishing her mending of Lorna and nodding in agreement. “The body doesn’t have to be strong for real strength to be present. But the mind does. And it is the mind that this virus attacks first – regardless of the strain. We’re dealing with something that makes the impossible a functioning reality.”
“Well … currently, reality sucks,” Lorna added.
And at that moment, a zombie appeared at the door of that bedroom, a nurse … or the remainders thereof. The front right side of her neck was missing, a bite wound still seeping blood from a recent attack. She had probably stumbled into the maternity ward after having been bitten. And her transformation had just become full a few moments ago. It was surprising that Rikki hadn’t seen her laying on the floor in the nurses’ station. But that was of no matter, presently.
The zombie shut the door and lunged at the girls, everyone scattering to the walls. It snarled with an evil look on its face, blood still gushing from its right jugular vein.
“Has anybody peed yet?” Britney asked.
“I’m trying!” Brook cried from the crib, the zombie looking over at Rikki and then slowly moving in her direction.
The zombie tilted its head to the side, glaring Rikki down.
Britney looked at the bed and then over to Georgia who nodded. They both had the same thought at the exact same moment.
“Angelina, come here,” Britney said, Angelina crossing over to her.
Georgia then charged at the zombie and bumped into her from behind, then crawling up onto the bed and getting to her feet to face the zombie. Its attention was suddenly taken away from Rikki and redirected towards Georgia. The zombie shuffled up to the foot of the bed, looking up at Georgia and snarling.
Britney grabbed Angelina’s left hand with her right hand.
“Charge!” Britney screamed, she and Angelina running at the zombie and knocking it forward onto the bed at the same moment that Georgia leaped off the bed and grabbed the bed’s control.
The zombie landed face down and everyone pinned it to the mattress face down as Georgia used the control to fold the bed in half. The sound of crunching spine bones was heard as the bed fold up completely. Yet the zombie was still snarling, now unable to move but still not dead. It was a hideous sight to behold and sound to hear. Everyone stepped backwards, Brook climbing onto Angelina’s back.
“I can’t understand how they have found such organization in thoughts,” Rikki said to Georgia. “It’s like they are receiving directions from someone … or some thing.”
“Yeah … from the host,” Georgia replied.
“Time to go!” Iris exclaimed, not wanting to see or hear any more.
The zombie doctor. Doctor Glen. He had to be the one directing them. And for some reason every zombie knew who Rikki was. Perhaps this was because the zombie doctor had told them.
“Okay. Let’s keep moving,” Rikki said, motioning for the girls to follow her. “On the far side of the rehabilitation area is direct access to the stairwell.”
But what would be waiting for them in the rehab room?
Upon catching sight of Rikki in the psyche ward, the zombie doctor returned to the morgue on the first floor. Getting into the patient database, he looked up information on who Rikki was placed in charge of. Clearly, the band of girls who were with her in that psyche ward were the resistance force that had already killed several of his zombie troops. But he had no idea who they were.
Britney Davenport and Georgia Atwater were the names that came up. The doctor found the names of the other girls from the same college … including Yara and Chloe … two girls who were dead on arrival. Also, two girls whose bodies were currently in the morgue.
An evil grin fell over the zombie doctor’s face as he turned around and walked over to the corpses. Finding Chloe and Yara, he thought up a devilish plan to eliminate both Rikki and the resistance she was helping to keep alive.
First, the zombie doctor bit into his own lower lip. Then, lifting up Yara’s right wrist, he sunk his teeth into her veins – his own blood entering her system and re-animating her. Then he repeated the process with Chloe. Both girls stood to their feet, their eyes having turned pitch-black. And without saying a word to them, he sent them both off into the hospital. Their specific instructions were to find that group of girls from their college and to kill them.
Chapter Twelve: What’s Weighing on the Mind
Every door to every room on every floor was now removed, ripped off its hinges – save for a few areas on the second floor and a few areas on the fourth floor. These areas didn’t have much purpose and wouldn’t be traveled through at all by the zombie dead. And with no obstructions to push through, they had free reign over the entire facility. Their next mission signal, coming from the zombie doctor, was to resume the search for any living souls.
Rikki and the girls were being targeted for extermination.
The sound of the girls’ crinkly strides was all that was heard in that second-floor hallway, save for the growls and groans of the dead in the distance. It had already felt like they had been there a lifetime, though they had only been there a few hours. And the hope of rescue was already beginning to leave them.
“I mean … let’s be honest about this,” Iris said as they slowly moved towards the rehab room entrance. “What is the likelihood of us even getting someone’s attention outside from the food court?”
“Probably better than getting someone’s attention outside from up here,” Georgia replied. “Plus, when we’re on the first floor, we’re on ground level. Up here, we would have to jump from a window if we wanted to chance our own escape.”
“You see, that’s the problem with it, right there,” Iris stated, lowering her voice to a whisper as they were nearing the rehab room entrance. “Would they even save us, at this point … even if they saw us banging on the cafeteria windows?”
“Shush,” Britney whispered, getting up alongside the doorway and squatting down – quickly peeking into the rehab room, then returning to her hidden position. “There’s two of them in there.”
“We need to find another way around,” Iris whispered.
“There is no other way around,” Georgia whispered back. “Isn’t that right, Rikki?”
“Not unless you wanna go back through the maternity ward and the psyche ward,” Rikki answered honestly.
“No!” everyone whispered in unison.
“Well, we can’t go through there!” Iris whispered, pointing to the rehab room and looking at Britney like she was crazy for even considering going in there – which she actually was considering.
“Why? Why can’t we go through there, Iris?” Britney asked, a little dumbfounded by Iris’s reluctance, given the facts of the situation.
“Because there are zombies in there!” Iris whispered with exasperation.
“Iris, in case you haven’t been paying attention, there are zombies everywhere,” Brook said, still on Angelina’s back. “But if we can get through the rehab room, we can finally get to the stairwell and get down to the first floor. Isn’t that right, Rikki?”
“Otherwise, we have to navigate our way across the entire second floor, all the way to the other stairwell at the far end on the other side,” Georgia whispered. “Those are the options we have.”
“Those are not the options we have,” Britney said, breathing quickly and working up her courage. “We’re going through this rehab room, right now. Georgia, give me that scalpel.”
Georgia handed her the scalpel as everybody stood up.
“Alright, girls,” Britney whispered. “All I need you to do is knock the second zombie down and don’t let him get back to his feet … for just a little while. I’ll take care of the rest. Georgia, you’re gonna need to gag the second zombie. We can’t have either of them making too much noise. Otherwise, we’ll have an entire horde to deal with.”
The girls stared at Britney, wide-eyed and imagining what that would be like – surrounded by the undead with no chance of escape.
“Everyone ready?” Britney asked, holding the scalpel in her right hand. “Go!!!”
They entered the rehab room quickly, Britney grabbing a resistance band from a small table at the doorway and barely getting past the second zombie. Sprinting at the first zombie, she leapt up the air and wrapped her legs around its waist as she slammed into the front of its body. Jamming the scalpel into the zombie’s left eye, she readied the resistance band. And when the creature opened its mouth to growl in pain, she wrapped the resistance band around its mouth tying it at the back of its head and then grabbing the scalpel. Pulling the scalpel out of its left eye, she jammed it back in-n-out several times – then pulling the scalpel back and preparing to sink it into the zombie’s right eye.
But the zombie tossed her to the right, Britney hitting the wall and falling to the ground.
As this was happening, Angelina handed Brook to Rikki. Rikki carried Brook over to a wheelchair in the corner of the room. Georgia ran up to the second zombie who had begun shuffling in the direction of Britney. Leaping up onto his back, she got the resistance band around its mouth and tied it at the back of its head. Then, holding the knot, she leaned backwards. The zombie fell straight back to the ground. Angelina, Iris and Lorna grabbed hand weights, running over to the fallen zombie and beating the Hell out of it. Georgia kicked his feet out every time he put his soles flat the ground, attempting to stand up.
Britney shook her head for a moment, trying to shake the dizziness she currently felt from the blow to the wall. Looking on the ground for the scalpel, she was cut off by a swift kick to the stomach. Grabbing the hair on the very top of her head, the zombie lifted her up and tossed her across the room. She would land on the universal gym on the far side of the rehab room, a square machine that had a weight lifting station on all four sides. All of the weights were kept in the middle of the machine, accessed by pins and levers to increase and lower.
The zombie lunged at her, Britney managing to crawl through the middle of the machine before it got to her – over the weight stacks and past the coaxial cables that were holding the weights. She crawled through to the other side, the zombie trying to crawl through the center of the machine as well. And when it tried, Britney put her legs on the foot plants and pressed in. The stack of weights underneath the zombie’s head shot straight up under its chin – pinning the zombie’s head in the machine the same way a head would get stuck if a lowered car window was suddenly raised up.
But that zombie wasn’t giving up, putting its feet on the ground and walking straight forward. The entire universal gym unit slid backwards until it hit the wall. This caused Britney to lose her footing, the foot plants dropping back and the weights lowering. With its head now freed, the zombie reached for Britney.
But Britney wasn’t giving up, either. She slammed her feet back into the foot plants and shot the weight stack up under the zombie’s chin, again and again and again – the zombie’s jaw dislocating in the process. However, Britney was fatiguing quickly. And this might well have meant that the zombie would have gotten to her.
But the other girls also weren’t giving up. Collectively, they picked up the second zombie, unconscious from the plethora of strikes from those hand weights and carried him over to the universal gym. Wrapping the handle bar from the one side of the machine around his throat, they allowed him to fall to the ground. And when he did, another stack of weights was lifted up in the center. This set of weights shot up into the first zombie’s gut – forcing its lower half upward and snapping its spine at the lower lumbar.
Helping Britney out from behind the universal gym, Rikki and the girls headed through the rehab room and out into the small corridor behind it. Angelina pushed Brook in that wheelchair but had to pick the girl up again when they got to the stairwell.
“Why didn’t they rip the stairwell doors down as well?” Georgia asked, opening the door and cautiously walking into the stairwell – then looking up at the two floors above and down at the floor below. “They didn’t rip any of the stairwell doors down at all.”
“Probably because they couldn’t get them to open,” Rikki answered, folding up the wheelchair. “These doors open in from the stairwell. They likely just couldn’t figure out how to open them. That’s got to be the reason why they tore all the doors down everywhere else.”
“But we’ve seen zombies in this stairwell earlier,” Georgia said, perplexed. “This doesn’t make sense. I guess it doesn’t matter, though.”
“Come on, girls,” Angelina said, leading the way with Brook on her back.
And down the stairwell they went – crinkle, crinkle, crinkle … all the way to the first floor.
If nothing else, they would be able to get some physical rest in the food court while also getting something to eat. However, there would be very little respite waiting for them there.
Chapter Thirteen: The Power of Power
Wasting no time as more agents arrived outside, the growing force of disease control agents and police officers made another bold move. They cut the power to certain areas of the hospital building with the intent of encouraging the infected people inside to move in the direction of areas where there was still power and therefore, still heat.
But this was a hospital. And back-up lighting kicked on automatically, restoring a level of power to the entire complex. If they had killed power to the entire building to begin with, they might well have been able to override the automatic back-up power system. However, if they had done that, any patient in that hospital who was still connected to any sort of life support system would have died. It was a risk too great for them to take.
So the back-up power kicked in and the zombie dead did instinctively begin to move in directions where heat was still present. The plan worked … fundamentally. Though this made the job of managing the whole problem a lot easier for the CDC, it made the task of staying alive significantly more difficult for Rikki and the girls as they would encounter larger numbers of zombies in their travels to find new hiding places.
Having traveled down the first flight of the two-flight descent to the first floor, Rikki and the girls stopped dead in their tracks when the lights went out. Then the back-up lighting kicked on, moments later.
“What just happened?” Angelina said, the girls looking around.
“Power surge?” Georgia asked, quite perplexed that the hospital’s power system would even jolt at such a problem.
“No,” Rikki said, handing the folded-up wheelchair to Georgia and leading the girls the rest of the way down to the first-floor door.
Crinkle, crinkle, crinkle. The sounds echoed up and down all six floors of the stairwell, including the one that led to the roof above and the one that led to the basement below. Opening the door and peeking out, Rikki then quickly walked over to the first key entry she could find, sliding her card through it. The girls followed closely behind her, Georgia and Britney keeping look out as Rikki kept trying her key card, again and again and again. But it wasn’t working.
“I get the impression this is not a good thing,” Angelina stated.
“Well, yes and no,” Rikki answered, turning around and facing the girls. “I still have the keys to most every door in the hospital. But if the doors were electronically locked when the power went out, then I won’t be able to open them anymore.”
“So I guess it’s good, in that sense, that they tore down most of the doors,” Lorna said, hopeful that the power surge hadn’t just worsened their situation.
“Yes, but there’s still one fact we can’t get around,” Rikki said grimly. “The power was shut off deliberately. It wasn’t by accident or storm or any other cause. I don’t know what the reason is. But I do get the impression that we don’t have much time left.”
The girls grew wide-eyed again at that thought of being trapped by the zombies, with no escape possible.
“Let’s get to the food court, quickly,” Rikki said, leading them in the direction of the back entrance to the kitchen.
“Well, let’s think about this,” Georgia said as they crinkled down the hallway. “What would shutting the power off do?”
“That would depend of who shut it off,” Rikki replied.
“Right,” Britney stated, piecing it together. “If the zombies shut it off, it would be to encourage us to move into the areas where power was still on. But if the police or whomever outside shut it off …”
“… it would be to move the zombies into areas where power was still on,” Georgia said. “But why would they do that?”
“For the same reason we would do that,” Angelina remarked. “To stay in the heat.”
“Oh, that’s evil,” Iris added. “If we’re all heading towards the heat, then we’re all going to meet up in the same places.”
“Maybe we can hide in the walk-in coolers in the kitchen until help arrives,” Brook suggested innocently, piggy-backed on Angelina. “I bet the zombies didn’t knock those doors down.”
“It may come down to that,” Rikki said, opening the back door to the kitchen area and peeking in.
No gruesome deadlies were munching on the buffet. So, Rikki and the girls went inside.
Instantaneously, everyone’s mouth began to water. They hadn’t eaten anything of substance in days. And now they were gonna pig out, regardless of whether the zombies were chomping down on the apples or not. Brook was put in the wheelchair and then the group scattered, opening refrigerator doors and grabbing at the food they found.
As the girls ate, Britney and Rikki watched them, their situation seeming worse than ever – despite the calmness of the moment.
“We’re headed for a lot more trouble, aren’t we?” Britney asked, the gravity of the situation taking over the happy scene in front of them.
“I’m afraid so,” Rikki said, leveling honesty with her. “And I can’t imagine that the CDC is working on a rescue plan for us. I really don’t blame them, either. They have a much more difficult responsibility than merely saving the seven of us. They have to save the world. I know that sounds melodramatic, but this virus has to be something very scary and very serious for them to have quarantined this hospital and then to have cut power to portions of it.”
Britney nodded her understanding. Then her eyes lit up.
“What if they were put in an even more difficult position than their responsibility?” Britney asked, Rikki giving her a look of confusion. “The truth is: they could save us if they wanted to. It would be dangerous and risky, yes. But they could do it … if they wanted to. So, what if they suddenly had no choice but to save us?”
Rikki raised an eyebrow at the idea.
“I’m listening,” Rikki said, folding her arms and turning towards Britney.
“Well, the way I see it: the CDC isn’t really our saving grace at the moment,” Britney said, grinning slightly. “Our greatest ally is the media outside. If the media knows we’re in here and if they get footage of us fighting for our lives inside, that just might create a public dilemma the CDC couldn’t ignore.”
“It’s possible,” Rikki said, sighing. “We’ll have to work on that, but you’d better get something to eat right now, too.”
Britney couldn’t have agreed more, waddling over to her girlfriends and chowing down. Rikki sighed again, her belief that the infected Doctor Glen was heading up and commanding the zombie masses being a thought that troubled her tremendously. He was no slouch and if his mind was intact, they were in more trouble than they realized.
Continue on to Episodes 14-16
………………….. The ABDL Twisted Books
If you like these books, you may want to check out: The Dark Age Play Series