Read The Demented: Confliction Online

Authors: Derek J Thomas

The Demented: Confliction

The Demented: Confliction
A novella by Derek J Thomas

Version 1.1

Copyright © 2014 Derek J Thomas

All Rights Reserved. The Demented: Confliction is an original work of
fiction. All characters and concepts are solely owned by Derek Thomas. Names,
characters, places, concepts, and events are the product of the author’s
imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to events or actual persons
living or dead is entirely coincidental.

A huge thanks to my friend Brad. You inspired me to start and continually suffer through my ramblings to keep me going.

Chapter 1: Zero Day

Jake Turner had no idea that he would be dead in less than
twenty four hours. Neither did the rest
of the city.

It was early, well before Jake usually got up, but today was
different. He finally had a lead on a
job. It had been over a year since he had
obtained his degree in Computer Science.
Had he known before he went to college that everyone and their brother
was getting CS degrees he would have went for something else.
Thanks
a lot high school counselor
.

Like the average bachelor pad, a mountain of laundry was
piled on the couch. Black gaming
controllers were scattered across the magazine laden coffee table. The walls were blank other than a Mickey
Mouse clock and a poster advertising the 1980s movie “The Thing.” The faint odor of unwashed dishes and rotting
garbage lingered in the air.

His roommate, Brent, yelled from the back room, “What are
you doing man? It’s way too early.”

“I have an interview downtown in a couple hours.”

“They won’t hire you.”

“Thanks.”

“Well hold it down, my head is pounding.”

“Take a couple aspirin.”

Jake knew he had barely made a sound since he got up and
took a shower. He now stood in front of
the bathroom mirror and looked over the suit he had found at the local thrift
shop. It seemed like overkill for an
entry level tech job, but he was sick of getting rejected and wanted to mix
things up. The suit was a little too
small. He held his arms straight out
toward the mirror, revealing several inches of white shirt. After a few tries at relaxing his shoulders
and tugging at the sleeves he gave up, coming to the realization that he should
not have bought the first suit he found just because it was only fifteen bucks.

“You look like an ignoranus.” Brent said as he staggered past the open
bathroom door.

Jake dropped his arms.
“That’s not a real word.”

“Whatever.”

There was a loud banging at the front door.

“Stop it!” Brent
yelled from the kitchen.

Jake was a bit surprised by the rage in his voice. Brent was usually a fairly laid back
guy. He took one final look in the
mirror and shouted, “I got it.”

Before Jake could get to the door it flew open and a man and
a woman came barging into the living room.

“What’s up girls?”
The man, wearing a white Portland Trailblazers jersey, said.
  Not waiting for a response he stepped over to
the couch and shoved the mound of laundry to one side, spilling items to the
floor.

“Ahhh, come on Nate, those are clean.”
  Jake said.

Nate looked up at Jake and said, “What are you, a vacuum
salesman?”

Jake hesitated briefly, not getting the jab for a
second. “Business people wear suits, and
it’s for a job interview.

“What? Abby and I
came over to hang out…play some video games.”
He looked up at Abby and then back over at Jake.
  “You won’t get the job anyway.”

“Thanks, not sure why I call any of you friends.
  He looked over at Abby. “Except you Abby.
  How’s your mom…still up at the hospital?”

“You’re so sweet.
She’s still struggling, but she has a lot of fight left.
  They moved her up to Harborview in Seattle.”

Jake was about to respond when a loud groan from the kitchen
caused all of them to turn.

“You keeping a bear in there?”
  Nate said with a confused look on his face.

“Brent…he’s super grumpy.”
Jake took a step toward the kitchen.
“You okay Brent?”

Nate Shouted, “Hey Brent, you wanna play some Xbox with Abby
and I?” When there was no response he turned
back around on the couch, patted the cushion next to him, and said, “Abby, come
play with me.”

“You better be talking Xbox.”
  Abby responded with a smile.
  She bounced across the room and plopped down
next to Nate, grabbing a controller off the coffee table in the process.
  She looked up at Jake and said, “When’s your
interview?”

“Not for about an…”
  Jake started to respond, but was cut short by
a loud growl from the kitchen followed by dishes shattering on the floor.

Jake ran for the kitchen.
“Holy crap, you okay?”

Abby sat wide-eyed, looking over at Nate.
  She slowly mouthed, “O.M.G.”

Both of them silently wondered if they should go help,
quickly leave, or just sit it out. Jake
screamed from the kitchen. Nate hopped
off the couch and turned toward the sounds.
Instinct told Abby something was wrong.
She dropped the gaming controller and stood.

The blare of a car alarm filtered in from somewhere outside.

There was a loud grunt followed by a deep
thud
from the kitchen.

Abby raced into the kitchen and stepped into a scene that
seemed from another world. Brent lay on
the floor in a growing pool of blood.
Jake stood over him, holding a marble rolling pin in one hand.
  Blood splattered his gray suit.
  Nate stood off to the side, looking back and
forth between Brent’s body and Jake. His
mouth hung open, unable to get a word out.

Abby said, “What did you do?”

Jake looked down at the rolling pin in his hand, a confused
look crossing his face. He quickly
dropped the pin like it was a venomous snake.
“He was going crazy…rushed at me…I…I freaked out.
  He’s okay…right?”

Abby started to say something, but stopped when a scream cut
through the walls from out in the apartment building hallway.
  The three of them turned toward the living
room. The car alarm continued to blare
outside.

“Nate, call 911.” Abby
said. She hunched down next to Brent and
checked his neck for a pulse. He was
gone. Blood oozed out of a brutal wound
in his temple. Part of his skull was crushed
in, revealing the gruesome parts of a head that should never be seen.
  His eyes were puffy, swollen, and circled by
deep red flesh.

Jake looked down, stress covering his
face. “Okay?”

Abby knew he was in shock.
She looked up and shook her head.

“Schiznits!
  You guys gotta see this.”
  Nate shouted from the living room.

Abby’s heart pounded in her chest.
 
What is
going on?
She stood and followed
Jake out into the living room. Nate held
the white curtains back from the window and was peering down below.
  Abby and Jake tucked in next to him to see
what he was looking at.

The street below was filled with chaos.
  A blue delivery van had crashed head on into
a compact car, sending the smaller car spinning onto the sidewalk.
  The car knocked a fire
hydrant loose, water gushing from the exposed hole.
  The rear of the car had slammed into a
minivan, the source of the blaring alarm.
The van’s driver side door hung wide open, the seat empty.
  To the side of the vehicles was a mass of
people. They were struggling with one
another, but packed into such a ball of arms and legs that it was impossible to
distinguish any individuals.

The three of them stood watching in stunned silence for
several seconds. Abby was the first to
speak. “Somebody turn the TV on.
 I’m going to lock the door.”
  At the front door she slammed the deadbolt
into place and stood listening at the door.
Through the wood she could hear the sounds of a scuffle and shouting.
  The sudden blare of the TV drowned out the
noises.

Both Nate and Jake stood in front of the TV.
  Jake had a remote pointed at the TV and was
rapidly flipping through the channels.
He stopped when he came to a news station.
  The three of them stood watching the anchors
warning people to stay inside and lock their doors.
  A ticker scrolled across the top of the
screen that read, “
…911 immediately and do not approach them. Urgent! If you
or anyone you know has received a flu shot within the past year call 911
immediately and do not approach them. Urgent! If you or…

All at once the three of them took a step away from each
other, fear crossing their faces.

Nate was the first to say it, “Either of you get the shot?”

Jake shook his head, “No way, I never put those toxins in my
body.”

“Toxins?”
  Abby said while shaking her head.
  She almost laughed.
  “I never got mine.”
  She pointed back toward the kitchen.
  “What about Brent?
  Anyone know if he got one?”

Both Nate and Jake just shook their heads, unsure.

A loud shriek came from the TV, causing the three of them to
turn back around. The male news anchor
was standing behind the desk shouting.
He began flinging the papers on the desk to the floor.
  The female anchor remained in her chair, but
tried reeling away from the man. Abby
gasped when the man suddenly turned and lunged at the female.
  His arms grabbed her by the head, while his bared
teeth went for her neck. His weight and
momentum caused her chair to tip over backward.
Only their legs were visible at the edge of the TV screen.

“What the…” Nate
began to say, leaving the rest unsaid.

“This is all a hoax…has to be.”
  Jake said.

Nate pointed toward the kitchen.
  “Yeah, tell that to Brent.”

Abby began heading to the kitchen.
  “What do you have for weapons?”
  She shouted over her shoulder.

“Weapons?
  I…I don’t have anything like that.”
  Jake responded.

Nate ran over to the window.
He looked down below and saw that the mass of fighting people was gone,
only a pair of bodies remained. They
were covered in blood and gore, making it impossible to even tell if they were
male or female. He saw movement further
down the street.    It was a young man,
wearing only a pair of boxer shorts, rushing between parked cars.
  Boxer kept looking back as he sprinted toward
the fountain of water from the broken hydrant.
Rushing behind him were nearly a dozen people.
  They were quickly eating up the distance,
rapidly gaining on Boxer like wolves on the hunt.
  Their movements were awkward but they were
still incredibly fast. Nate felt like
yelling out the window to him, but he had no idea what he would say.

Abby was banging around in the kitchen.
  She hollered something, but he was too
focused on the street to understand what she said.

“There’s someone in the hall.”
  Jake yelled from behind Nate.

Abby came racing out of the kitchen with
some large knives in hand. “Take one.”
  She said to Nate.

He grabbed an eight inch kitchen knife and turned back to
the window. Boxer was just running out
of view with the group of infected right behind him, leaving the street below
deserted. Screams and the distant sounds
of gunfire reminded everyone that the city was far from normal.

Nate finally realized Abby had handed him a knife.
  “What’d you give me a knife for?
  You know I have some guns at my place.”

“Your place is three blocks away.”
  Abby snapped back.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa.
  We can’t leave here.
  We’re safe inside the apartment.”
  Jake said.

As if to pound his point home, loud banging started up in
the hall followed by a shrill scream.

They all stood motionless for a moment.
  Abby was the first to speak.
  “Let’s barricade the door and hunker down
until we know what is going on.”

Jake rapidly nodded his head, relief washing over his face.

“Get the couch over in front of the door.
  I’m going to try to find some news.”
  Abby said while moving over to the
recliner. She pulled her phone out of
her pocket and tried dialing her dad, but only got a message stating, “All
lines are currently busy, please hang up and try again later.”
  She pulled up Safari to see if she could get
to her favorite news site. While it sat
spinning she looked back over to the TV.

The scene on the TV had changed little.
  Part of the female news anchor’s legs was
visible at the edge of the screen. The same
ticker continued to loop across the top of the screen.
  Abby glanced down at her phone only to see it
still trying to connect. She looked back
up and began flipping through the channels.
Unable to find any stations that had “live” people, she flicked it back
to one of the 24/7 news stations that had an empty desk and left it there.
  Her phone finally had the news site pulled up
and splashed across the top, in typical media fashion, was red text that
stated, “The Apocalypse?” The image
below the text was of a street filled with wrecked and burning cars.
  Amongst the wreckage were dozens of people
frozen in violence. On a normal day it
could have been a photograph from any of the dozens of countries that were
always in turmoil. At a glance it was
like the typical rebel uprising, however a closer look showed there were no
police, no government officials, and no army, just civilian chaos.

Nate shouted from the kitchen, “If we’re hanging here, I am
not leaving that here.”

Abby and Jake knew exactly what “that” was.

She tapped on the link to get the full story and when her
phone sat spinning again, she got up and headed for the kitchen.
  Jake had already joined Nate, and they both
now stood staring down at Brent’s bloody body.

“The back bathroom. Let’s lay him
in the tub.” Jake said.

“Ahhh man, this is wrong on so many levels.”
  Nate replied.

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