WHEN THEY die
Chapter one: No mercy!
"He is dead."
"No!", Zed couldn't believe his ears. But it's a cruel world out there. "How am I going to face Zoe?"
"Tell her he's still in the hospital, she's only 5, it won't be tough to fool her.", jerked Dr. Brooklyn, Zed's dad's co-worker in Philips medical college hospital. "How did you managed when your mother died?"
"I. I ...", His mother was killed 5 months ago. Zoe didn't even know that. But he knew there's no need to mention that here. "Can I, at least see him for one last time?"
"That's not possible. His body has been dumped in a river. Everyone was too afraid to touch it so, the funeral was out of the question."
Some unsolvable mystery crystal started to flow out of his eyes. But Dr. Brooklyn wasn't in a situation where he could spare some time for him.
"Look, kid. I've more important things to do. The virus is spreading like wildfire. I don't have time for babysitting. Understand?"
"Y-yeah, don't worry. We'll be fine." He was serious. Because he knew that Dr. Brooklyn was more important in the hospital. He came here to see them and supply them with daily necessaries; neglecting a flood of patients back there. Saying goodbye, he went upstairs to watch the latest news on TV. Though he knew deep inside, nothing will change. It all started a couple of months ago. A new virus was discovered in the serum of'Boss indica' (cow) All the viruses found before had either DNA or RNA type nucleic acid. But this time, it was something different. Way different. It didn't have any nucleic acid. Instead, it had some kind of molecular dipeptide as it's genetic blueprint. However, scientists were very excited about this new discovery. Many research was going on. But that was the problem. They didn't take enough precautions. One day, during gene transportation, the virus accidentally came in contact with human DNA. It evolved so fast that scientists didn't get any time to run away or stop the process. All of them got affected, hospitalized. But was it a good idea? From there, the virus spread so fast there was nothing to do but witness the destruction. It was way too destructive compared to other viruses. In 90 percent of cases, the patient used to die as a result of excessive bleeding. The brain used to burst and eyes popped out. The rest of the cases, meaning the other 10 percent cases tended to be serious. But as their brains weren't affected, there was a chance to hospitalize them. Though most of them would die as a result of acute renal failure.
The TV was soon turned off. Nothing new on news. Only reports on virus X. It was annoying to hear the same thing over and over again. Especially if the news is depressing.
Zed was sitting on the couch, eyes closed. He was sad. It wasn't even a year when he had a happy family. Now he had no one to seek help from. It's only natural to be sad. But he had to pretend to be okay. Because he didn't want to drag his sister in this mess. He was only 14. It was tough. But he would do it. He felt a hand on his shoulder."Is everything okay brother?"
"Oh, Zoe! You're up already?"
"Yeah. ...Dad didn't come?"
"Ah, well, You see, he has been very busy lately. It's probable he won't be able to come home this week."
"I see.", grief was clearly visible on her face.
"Hey, there.", he dragged his little sister close to him to give her a warm hug. "You don't need to be sad, okay? I'm with you, ain't I?"
Sometimes, warm condolence results in a burst out of emotions. Zoe burst into tears."Big brother, where is mum ?" Did he have any excuse?
"you serious?" Shouted the head of the department of information.
"Do you have any better idea?", prime minister barked.
"W-well, we shouldn't deprive people of true information. It's their fundamental right....."
"Shut up! Do you think I want to lie to my people without a reason? Do you know what the situation is? Our economy is ruined. All people are staying at home. No work. If this continues, we will all be long dead before even getting that disease."
"But, sir, you know that all the PPE and other protection measures have been proven worthless against the virus X. Already almost 3 billion people have died worldwide. If we pull away from the lockdown then....."
"Oh shut up you medical geek! Do You have any experience running a nation? It takes more than an MBBS degree." The old professor of Haemotology had to remain quiet then.
" And you! Do as I say. Spread news that the virus is gone, we are starting the unlock process."
"What if the news channels..."
"Are you stupid? They always say what we want them to say. You just need to make sure no other country can Know it."
"Zoe, it's lunchtime, come down to the dining room."
Indeed Zoe was sad only hours ago. But it's quite easy to fool a 5 years old girl to make her believe, everything is just fine. Zed has already prepared a moderate meal for themselves. The supplies he received that morning, should at least last them a couple of weeks. He didn't intend to go out within that period. Moreover, no one knew how the virus actually spreads. There were piles of dead bodies everywhere. No one was bold enough to come forward and perform the last processing. Well, they couldn't be blamed as no mask or PPE could stop the virus from spreading. The incubation period of the virus was also unknown. But after the first signs were found, it only took the virus an hour to kill someone.
" What are we having today?"
"Slammed potatoes and Rice."
"What! Didn't we had them yesterday?" "Yeah, I know but..."
" No, but! I want chicken. I want chicken. I want.."
" Calm down! I will get you chicken, but give me some time, Zoe. We can't have chicken this week."
" W..well, umm,.... "
"Nevermind. But you have to promise me you will let me eat all the meat I want next week."
"Okay, okay. I promise."
, was he really serious?
"Big brother! The rice is too soft."
"Is that so?... Oh, it is!. Well, I still can't cook perfectly, you know... let's turn on the TV."
But they shouldn't have. However, there wasn't any way that they would know about the conspiracy of the government.
"I'm saying it again.", continued the reporter," the government has decided to start the unlock process. The virus X has been neutralized by the ongoing
month-long lockdown. Scientists have stated that everyone can come out and start working as there's nothing to worry about now. All the shopping malls, mills, commercials, and offices will be opening from tomorrow onwards. All the government employee must attend their workplace on time from tomorrow. But still, educational institutions will remain closed as a precautionary measure. Also, we request everyone to maintain social distancing for a little while longer.", stated the news.
"Whoa! I didn't see that coming!"
"What is it, brother?"
"Well, nothing much. But I think you will be having your chicken tomorrow." "Yaaaaaaaayyy!!!"
"Something is definitely not right", Jack, the chairman of the virus X investigation unit stated to his fellow self declared detectives.
"But I don't get it, Jack. There's no way the government is related to that s12 incident."
"Jack knows it, Bryan. He was talking about the actions taken by the government itself.", Stated Lynn, the tech master of the gang, fixing her glasses.
This group of youngsters or self-declared private directives were doubtful from the start. They noticed a pattern in the spreading of the virus X, they named s12, which provided enough evidence that all the destruction happening here is somehow controlled by some intelligent being or simply, a group of people.
Jack, an intern biologist by profession, at first doubted it to be done by outer space intelligence or so-called aliens, but as the genetic fluid was 'molecular dipeptide', it was clear, if someone, humans are behind all this. As creatures, built with any kind of protein should produce heat and if so, their satellite heat imaging system should have captured an UFO coming long ago.
" I don't know exactly what our government is up to now. It can be for reenergizing the fallen economy. But the decision is not the correct one as it will endanger our lives."
"You are absolutely correct, Bryan. But what should we be doing?", Asked Lynn. "I want you to crack down the government server and broadcast a message. Think you can do it?" "Affirmative.", Lynn answered with a grin.
These fellows were never connected to each other. In fact, it was a coincidence that they happened to be in the same apartment during the fateful days a couple of months ago. They liked to call themselves Cs12s as a reference to the s12 incident.
They sure were Investigating the incident but weren't sure if it was really a conspiracy or not. They knew all of it could be a coincidence. Even so, they were determined to get to the bottom of this matter.
"Hey, Zoe! Get prepared. We are going to the mall.", Said Zed kicking his boots in order to fit in.
" Whoa! really?!"
"Yep. I promised you, didn't I?"
"Y-yeah thank you brother.", she jumped to grab his neck and started swinging left and right.
"Hey, hey cut it out already! Go grab your shoes."
"I can go too?"
"Yey!! I'll be right back...woshh!". She ran upstairs to get the shoes that she kept a long ago. Who knows how many days she hadn't gone out of the house?
Soon they were walking along the street. Still covered with bloodstains. There were many piles of dead bodies scattered everywhere emitting a disgusting smell. But those flies flying here and there might have liked that stink. "Why they hadn't cleaned this area yet.", he was getting worried about his sister. A 5-year-old child should never face something like that. But he was overthinking. Zoe was so much Happy only walking in the street that she was too busy singing songs rather than watching those things.
"Maybe they'll remove soon. We shouldn't worry about small things. After all, the world has finally gotten rid of the virus X syndrome."
It was almost dusk when they reached the mall. There was no crowd at all.
"Big brother! Can I have it?", She went straight to the toy section.
"Come on, Zoe! you already have many of those bears."
"But this one is extra fluffy."
"We'll get it next time. Come along now." Making a face, she followed her brother.
Soon they were heading back. The sky was yellow. Little scattered clouds looking like twisted ropes, turned red due to reflected sunlight. The road was also empty. No vehicle at all, sometimes one or two sirens of an ambulance far away was decipherable. Tall buildings were everywhere. Most of them had jumbo screens on them, which were still broadcasting the news from that afternoon. No living creature was in sight except one or two people walking maintaining social distancing just like himself and Zoe. It was sure they only came out for groceries. He was a bit regretting the fact that he brought Zoe with him. He didn't know if she had seen any of the rotten bodies yet. He was continually changing paths so that they don't have to encounter one of those bodies. It was strange that there were a few birds to find. He remembered once that place used to be overpopulated with different species of birds. But why? Oh yeah, many kinds of interferon, antibiotics, and pesticides had been used to fight virus X. Maybe that caused all the insects to die. As birds hunt on insects, they disappeared too.
An old bridge was ahead. Down the bridge, the only river of that city flowed. The water was clear. Maybe the lockdown stopped or at least reduced the amount of waste thrown into her. The red sky was reflected on the surface of the river.
Everything seemed different when they approached near the bridge. The reason for the odd redness was blood. Subconsciously he remembered what Dr. Brooklyn said His father was thrown in that river. He tried to peep down learning towards the river, many unwashed parts of human body was still visible. He wondered if his father was still there.
"Big brother?!" He turned around hearing a soft voice."Are you okay?"
"Y-yeah, I, I'm fine. Let's keep going."
He was ashamed. He shouldn't have gotten emotional back there. But he didn't even realize when he stopped walking and when his eyes filled out.
As they continue going, many thoughts started crossing his mind. What a happy family he had! A caring mother, a dutiful father, a cute innocent little sister. They used to live a very happy life. Often went to picnic and hiking together. He still remembered how much fun he had last year when the full family went to the safari park. So many photos they clicked! How funny it was when his father fell down into the river during boating. What a life they had! He couldn't remember when he last walked with his sister like that.
He looked back only to become shocked. Zoe was lying upon the ground trembling. Her eyes were becoming bigger and red. With a terrible scream, her eyes burst along with her brain scattering fresh blood and flesh everywhere. Then there was only silence.
Zed was too shocked to move. Her body was still trembling and within a few minutes, everything had become paused. Zed, standing speechless. He wanted to go and grab her shoulder. He wanted to slap her and shout "WAKE UP!" But he couldn't. Unseen energy was stopping him from moving." Why!?",
Finally, an emotional outburst occurred.
"Why it had to be her?!" He fell upon the ground with agony.
" Why not me?... She was so innocent! Why her! It shouldn't have happened! Why I brought her with me!..... WHY!"
'you have to promise me you will let me eat all the meat I want.'
'okay. I promise.'
"I couldn't keep my promise. I'm worthless. I was never a good brother. I'll never be able to hear from you again."
"What a cruel world. They took you away from me. I lost my mother, I lost my father, I lost everything, everyone. But I still had hope. Because you were on my side. Now everything has come to an end. There's no need for me to keep breathing.
A jumbo screen on a tower on the opposite side of the road was still spreading fake news. His eye fell on the screen. Eyes burning with fire, he picked up a stone and attempted to throw it on the screen. Suddenly out of nowhere, the screen went blank. Soon it turned pure white with Cs12s written in the middle.
"Greetings everyone.", a mechanical voice continues, "Allow us to introduce ourselves, we are Cs12s; Confront Series 12. We all know, our world is going through the worst possible situation in her history. It all started a couple of months ago.
Today, our world is terrorized by virus X. In the beginning, we thought it to be a natural phenomenon.
But it wasn't.
We have plenty of evidence to prove that this is a conspiracy made by someone or some organization Let's just call them s12. For some unknown reason, they want to eradicate most of humanity from the world.
Their intentions are still unknown. But not for long. We were doubtful from the start and that's why we started an investigation. We prioritized working solely because we don't trust international agencies.
But today we had to reveal our existence and declare war head-on against s12 because our worthless government has started to spread fake news probably to drag people in the workplace to revive the economy. But they are risking our lives. We can't allow that to happen. Now then, we demand to stop the propaganda created by the government from spreading, or else we'd consider ourselves being forced to shut down all the network systems. We'd also like to request the mass not to believe the news broadcasted earlier and remain inside the home.
As much as we can say, s12,
we are hunting you.
wherever you go we will track you down.
farewell for now."
"Until now, I thought our enemy is invisible, untouchable.",
Zed had brought his sister home carrying her on his shoulders. Now, her lifeless body was lying on the couch. Zed sat beside her on the floor holding one of her bloodless hands.
"But with the new information I have, now it is possible that our enemy is touchable, meaning I can teach them a lesson.
I don't believe anyone. Not even those Cs12s.
I promise you that I will make them pay for what they did. I will make sure they pray for mercy. I don't care who are they or how powerful they are I'll make sure they get what they deserve. I'll do whatever it takes to make them sorry, even if the whole world goes against me.
I.....I was never a good brother. I couldn't get her the teddy bear she wanted. I couldn't get her the chicken she wanted to eat so badly. I didn't say her where our mother is. I also lied about our father's fate. I didn't said her that I loved her. I'm worthless. I was always worthless. I...... I... I couldn't save her. I couldn't keep even a single promise!..
"but no more."
"I promise! I promise I'll make them suffer! I'll turn their lives into hell!"
"NO MATTER WHAT!, I WILL MAKE THEM PAY!"
"I'LL SHOW THEM NO MERCY !!"
To be continued.....