*Warning* slightly rude joke towards the end.
The gentle drip, drip drip of the liquid was the only sound in the room.
Neil pushed his glasses up and leaned down to look at the amber liquid collecting in the bottom-most flask.
“Experiment 345” he mumbled to no one.
Every failed experiment had been another step towards a cure. He had to find a cure. Time was running out.
Leaving the liquid Neil circled the small clean room. Five months he had been locked down here, while above him a virus like no other savaged the land. Families turning on each other in a bloody massacre that had decimated the population by half, if not more.
Reports from London and New York had stopped arriving a month ago. Neil had no idea what was really happening above ground.
He couldn’t allow himself to think of that now. He wouldn’t allow himself to think of Ben, up there without him.
At least he had Naz to keep him company, good old Naz from the before times. Naz had helped him secure funding for all of the cures they had given to the world. Traveling the globe searching for those with enough foresight to see the world was spiraling out of control.
The first reports of anything wrong came in from New Delhi. Ten months ago and a few lines on a newspaper’s sixth page. It was soon forgotten over celebrity gossip and a bomb attack in Melbourne. But Neil continued to hear the rumbling of something through his contacts with the C.D.C. Three weeks later and the virus was rampant in many places in India, from Delhi all the way down to Mumbai on the coast. People were fleeing the big cities and the virus was killing everyone it infected.
“Could it be the enzymes?” Naz burst through the door, pulling on his white lab coat as he did. His hair was on end and his face bore the signs of deep sleep. " I was dreaming, and I just thought maybe we need to change the sugar enzymes, perhaps they’re creating a reaction In the B-7S chromosome.”
“Jot it in the book.” Neil pointed to the dogeared ideas book off to the side. " We can try that tomorrow.” Naz rubbed his eyes like a sleepy toddler and jotted his idea into the book.
It was the same every day, they brainstormed, and then they created another flask of liquid that wouldn’t save anyone.
" This should be ready soon. We will test it on the rats we caught last week but it’s looking the same way the last lot did. We are missing something but I just can’t figure it out.”
" The puzzle is right there before us but it’s like someone has stolen that last piece.”
" Or lost it down the back of the settee,” Naz added smiling wrily. Neil chuckled.
A deafening siren pierced the silence of the lab.
" Shit.” they both knew exactly what it was. Someone had penetrated the outer doors. They were either under some type of attack or a rescue party was there to tell them it was all over.
Scrambling for the lab door Neil made it first and started the long run up the corridor. Airlock after airlock swished open as the siren deafened and called them towards the exit. The strobe of lights flickering across the walls created a psychedelic world where everything was up and down all at once.
Up a small set of stairs and they both slid to a stop in front of the largest airlock of the whole facility.
The door was still closed tightly.
The siren shut down and the silence was as loud.
" WHAT THE FU..” before Naz could finish a hand appeared at the small porthole before them, he stumbled backward and fell into a groaning pile at the bottom of the stairs.
“You ok?” Naz groaned in reply and Neil peered into the darkness that was their final door to the outside.
The blackness inside the room was absolute. Neil could see nothing other than his own reflection. His tired eyes blinked back at him but the hand was gone. The silence was eerily quiet and Neil could feel every single nerve reacting to something he knew was coming.
Naz scrambled to his feet rubbing his side as he started up the stairs.
Then Neil heard the sound.
The sound of nails on glass.
Thousands of scratching fingers on glass and metal. The chattering of teeth and the groaning sound of death.
They had gotten through to them in their bunker. There was one door between the main building.
" Run,” Neil screamed and Naz did. They both retreated back the way they came. Locking each door behind them would give them some time. But they were out of luck.
They were out of time.
Back in the lab they crashed through the door and secured it with the deadlocks. Deep in the facility, they could hear the crashing of objects and the screams that echoed through the tunnels like winter storms through the mountains.
" We tried, we really tried,” Naz said collapsing to the floor, tears of frustration spilling down his face.
" Do we have the time to try that last idea of yours? " Naz shrugged.
" I don’t know, does it matter?”
" I think it could, if you are right then we could save the world. I am sure that if we had an antidote these creatures wouldn’t smell us. At least I am hoping that even if we were attacked then we wouldn’t turn.”
" Great, die as a zombie or…. live as amputee surrounded by zombies.”
They both smirked at the awful joke and started to mix the chemicals for what would be the last dose of a serum that could save the whole world.
" You send a message out, at least if we die someone can come and get our work. If there is anyone left who can even brain.”
Neil nodded and started inputting data and files to every single person on every single list he could find on every single database that the computer had.
The sounds from the hallway were louder by the time the mixture was finished.
Its colour was strange, purple instead of the usual amber and the two looked at it.
" Ready to be a lab rat?” Neil drew a measure into two clean needles and passed one across to Naz. They injected themselves with the liquid and threw the syringes in the bin.
" For Ben, I loved him the moment I saw him and I will always love him.”
" For Karen who had the biggest ti…”
And the lights went out.