Virus Z | Book 4 | Outbreak

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Virus Z | Book 4 | Outbreak Page 1

by Stewart, K. M.

  Virus Z


  Book four

  K.M. Stewart

  Table of Contents

  Chapter One: Emma And Madison - Two Weeks After Outbreak.

  Chapter Two: Tom And Karen - Outbreak Day One

  Chapter Three: Emma And Madison

  Chapter Four: Tom And Karen - Takeoff

  Chapter Five: Emma And Madison

  Chapter Six: Tom And Karen

  Chapter Seven: Emma And Madison

  Chapter Eight: Tom And Karen

  Chapter Nine: Madison & Emma

  Chapter Ten: Karen And Tom


  Chapter One

  Emma and Madison - Two weeks after outbreak.

  M adison, run!" I scream. The zombies are headed straight for us. I didn't think zombies would be here by this afternoon. Usually, after the zombies' morning hunt, they are tired from running after people and gorging on them. So, they go somewhere to nap and digest. Apparently not today. That's bad news. It means they are hungry. Madison and I are on their menu.

  "Hurry, this way." I grab Madison and run faster. We were now running on the I-5 Expressway. We can hear them growling and snarling behind us. They are getting closer.

  "Your mom is going to kill me if I get you killed. I shouldn't have brought you with me." I say.

  We are running down the highway. We are trapped. There aren’t even any abandoned cars to hide in or under. There is nowhere to go except forward. They are just a few feet away from us. They are extremely fast. It's probably been awhile since they've eaten. I see the hunger in their eyes. Some are in bad shape and rotting, which means they haven't eaten in a while.

  "I have an idea, but you have to trust me." I grab Madison by the shoulders. Her eyes are tearing up. Her facial expression is dire. I take my best friend and gently push her on the ground, laying myself on top of her. Madison looks confused. She opens her mouth to ask a question. I shush her. If this doesn't work, we are both dead, or worse, turned into zombies.

  I don't know if this will work. I remember when Ben turned into a zombie, I shielded Mrs. Norris from him. It was almost like I was invisible to him. I think he thought I was one of them. Maybe I smell like a zombie. Or I'm just not appetizing enough.

  The zombies are just a few feet away. I undo my ponytail and use my hair to cover the sides of her face. I don't want them to see or smell her.

  They are just a foot away. They stop and start looking around. They scatter and go in different directions. Except for one zombie. He's slowly sniffing around. He gets down on his hands and knees. He's sniffing at the ground like a dog. A small breeze kicks up. He catches Madison's scent. He's headed straight for us. The zombie is crawling towards us, mouth wide open. Still laying on top of her, I quickly pull my arms around the sides of her face and clasp my fingers together on top of her head. I don't know why I'm not appetizing to zombies, but I'm trying to cover Madison the best I can, even though he's inches from our faces, sniffing and snarling. I turn my head down and look at Madison in the eyes. I don't want the last thing I see to be a rotting zombie biting my face off. He loses the scent after I cover Madison's face better. He gets up and walks towards the wandering zombies. We don't move a muscle until they are all gone.

  Chapter Two

  Tom and Karen - Outbreak day one

  A ll four of us are riding the elevator up. This is our first time riding up the elevator since we arrived against our will ten years ago. Tom, myself, Mr. Chow & Robert the zombie. It finally dings, then the elevator opens. We still don't know where we are. When we arrived ten years ago, we were blindfolded. No one seems to pay attention to Mr. Chow walking around what they think is a man on a leash with a metal box on his head. I'm sure everyone is used to his strange stunts. Karen and I are looking all around us. It’s a large office space with cubicles. There are people walking around with lab coats. There is probably a lab somewhere nearby. To think we've been here all these years and none of these people tried to let us go. They fear Mr. Chow. That's why.

  We are looking around trying to figure out where we are. All of the signs on the wall are written in Chinese. Are we in China? Some people are speaking Chinese and others English. "This way to my office. It has the best window view of the street below." Knowing Mr. Chow's lavish taste, Karen and I were expecting a spectacular office. He opened the door. It was very plain, basic and small, the opposite of his usual taste.

  "Come in. Open the blinds. I don't want you to miss the show." Mr. Chow says and shuts the door behind us. This office is the exact opposite of everything else he owns. It's a small space, just a desk, chair and some filing cabinets. There is no glamour or glitz. I'm guessing he doesn't spend much time in here. "Look Tom! He's making that zombie bite people."

  I take a look out the window. He's dancing and marching around. Curious onlookers come to see the commotion. He's pushing new zombies into innocent people. We are on the second story. But we can actually hear him shout, "Why are these zombies so slow? Aren't you guys supposed to be more aggressive?" He shoots his guns in the air to startle them.

  "They just aren't hungry yet. If they turned with a full stomach, it will be a while until they start hunting." Karen points out.

  "He's going to run out of bullets, just shooting them in the air. It might not be long until he needs them. Is he actually trying to do a conga line with the zombies? I’ll be shocked if he survives." Karen says. We were both so entranced by the horror unfolding that I almost forgot to see if he locked us in.

  "Karen, he didn't lock the door. We've got to get out of here." I say.

  "We don't have money or passports. Where will we go? We don't know if the authorities are on his payroll. It's best we try to find an American embassy."

  "No. That will take too long. I have a better idea."

  "Wait. Tom. The vials of the virus. The rest are down in the basement. We have to go back to get them."

  "Karen. We can't. Mr. Chow is the only person with a key to that elevator. It won't go back up without it. He may not even survive. If we go back down there, we could die. None of these people tried to help us get out, and we were down there for ten years. Why would they now? Besides, if someone goes down to retrieve them, they won't be coming back without the key." Tom says.

  "Won't he or his men come looking for us?” Karen asks.

  "He got what he wanted. We are of no use to him anymore. Follow me, quickly. Before we run out of time." I tell Karen. I whisper as we walk. "All these years I've tried to get as much information from Mr. Chow as I could. Just stay close to me and don't say anything. The more he would drink, the more he would say. That's why I never said no to his company."

  We walk down the stairs to the first floor and exit the building. We went out the back door. We are in a parking garage.

  "What are you looking for?" Karen asks.

  Suddenly I see it. A black SUV. I can barely see the silhouette of a driver in the front seat. The windows are tinted.

  "He always has a driver or two on standby." I say as I knock on the driver’s window. "I didn't mean to startle you." I tell the driver.

  "Who are you?" He asks.

  "We are associates of Mr. Chow. He has offered us a ride to his plane. You are to call the pilot and ensure the maintenance crew has fueled the plane, so that everything is ready to go by our arrival." I say.

  "Why didn't you call the pilot? You haven't told me who you are." He snaps back.

  "Those who do business with Don are of no concern to you. You are just a driver. You aren't supposed to ask questions. Don won't be pleased when he finds out how you've treated us. He said all I had to do was tell you the access code and we were all set."

  "Tell m
e the access code." The driver asks.

  "Midnight express." I reply.

  "Let me check. I haven't heard that one before." The driver replies. He pulls out a clipboard with a stack of papers on it. He starts looking through them. My palms start to sweat. This is taking longer than I thought. If this doesn't work, we are going straight back to our prison.

  "I can't find it. Who did you say you were again? Maybe I should call Mr. Chow?" The driver asks.

  "I don't think a phone call is necessary. Why don't you check again?" I ask. He glares at me suspiciously. He didn't say anything but looks again, more slowly this time. He gets to the last page. "I found it! It's an old code. But it's still valid. It never expires." The driver exclaims.

  "You two sound like old ladies clipping coupons." Karen intervened.

  "Let's get out of here. And sir, please do hurry. There are zombies wandering on the other side of the building." I say. The driver chuckled a deep laugh. He even smacked the steering wheel.

  "You two are crazy. I don't know who you are or what drugs you've been taking, but let's go."

  Chapter Three

  Emma and Madison

  W e are headed towards the Pacific mall in Seattle. After years of hand me downs from my cousins Ava and Olivia, I've had enough. They are way taller than me. Their taste is horrid, it’s all bright colors and patterns. I'm tired of walking around looking like a fruit salad or a flower garden. Almost my whole life, I've lived with them and my aunt Susan. They treated me as a servant and called me Cinderemma. Not anymore. I've recently moved into an empty room in the underground compound that's under Washington middle school. School is officially out, probably forever.

  The room is way bigger and nicer than my old room. That's a perk of a degrading society, the lack of rules. Although aunt Susan called the police on me once when I was late home from school, it wouldn't happen again. Except I wouldn't be surprised if she had called the police. It's not because she's concerned about my wellbeing. It's because she needs someone to wash her dishes and mop her floor. She'd probably have me on zombie lookout all night now.

  This time the police won't come looking. They already know where I am. Officer Andrew Gibson regularly visits the underground lab. That's Jack's dad. We are still working on our research. But for now, I desperately need clothes that fit. And clothes that don't make me look bright and flashy. My best friend Madison snuck out to come with me. I almost got her killed on the way here. I'll make it up to her.

  "We're here! " Madison cheers.

  "I'm thirsty and starving,” I say. We head to the food court. I'm not surprised it's empty. Some shops are open. They are bartering for supplies and food. For a crumbling society, most people are acting fairly civilized.

  "Did you expect people would be cooking today?" Madison asks.

  "Nope. Look! A vending machine!" I'm glad I brought some money. I have coins and dollars. "I told you money isn't totally useless." I say. I put money in and out comes two Cokes. Now for a snack. I really wanted a candy bar. The only thing left are Twinkies.

  "I hate Twinkies." I sigh. I get two.

  "You are so lucky anything is in there. What are people using money for anyway?" Madison asks.

  We walk around and look for what's open. I have some items to barter. Some people still want cash, although I don't know what they use it for.

  The mall is several stories tall. It's an open atrium. From the bottom level, you can look up and see all of the floors above. No one uses the bottom level encase zombies invade. The stairs are barricaded with razor wire, to keep zombies out. There is a door we go through. An armed guard opens it. We are on the second level looking around. It's very quiet, but somewhat busy. We've all learned, the quieter you are the less zombies find you.

  It looks more like a street flea market. There are booths with merchandise. We are walking and looking around and I trip and fall. I've spilled my coke all over myself. Madison is helping me up.

  "Oh no. You're all sticky and wet." Madison points out.

  "Are you alright?" A lady from a dress booth walks over.

  "Yeah. I'm just really sticky now." I say. She walks back to the booth. She's going through racks of dresses and picks one. "Here. Take it. Better get out of the wet clothes. It looks like your size. No one is ever going to want this anyway." The lady says.

  "A white prom dress. No way I'm wearing that thing." I say.

  "Don't be rude Em. Thank you, ma’am. I'll go take her to change." Madison says to the lady.

  "You look beautiful. Like a princess." Madison says.

  "I feel ridiculous. Let's hurry and get some stuff and get out of here." I say.

  Chapter Four

  Tom and Karen - Takeoff

  I can't believe we are actually boarding Mr. Chow's private plane. We are at the Beijing international airport. This is the same plane that brought us here 10 years ago. The interior still looks the same. "I wonder if Mr. Chow is still alive." Karen asks.

  "We aren't going to stick around to find out. We need to get back home to Emma." I reply

  "Do you think Susan still lives in the same house? What if they don't live in Seattle anymore? For all we know, they could live in Alaska or something." Karen sighs.

  "We will find Emma. Wherever she's at, I'm sure she's fine." I reply. We are both quiet for most of the ride. We eat lots and drink the non-alcoholic beverages in the well-stocked refrigerator. "We both need to rest. Let's try to nap." I tell Karen. We are both so anxious and shocked that we are on our way to Seattle. The butterflies in my stomach make it hard to relax. I'm sure Karen feels the same way.

  "Do you think the zombies will be contained? Everything isn't over? Is it?" Karen asks after some time. I had the same questions.

  "Everything is probably going to be ok. There weren't that many zombies. That section of the city has probably already been evacuated and sectioned off." I theorize.

  We both drift off into a deep sleep.

  Suddenly we are woken by the plane's captain making an announcement over the intercom.

  Chapter Five

  Emma and Madison

  S o now I'm parading around the mall in a ridiculous white prom dress. I'm not even old enough for prom yet. It's hard to ignore the stares and curious glances. I just want to find some decent clothes and get out of here. I have my items for barter. I even have a small amount of cash. I don't know what people are using money for these days. Some people still want it.

  Madison and I find a merchant that's willing to barter what I have for the clothes I need. I have some matches, candles, a flashlight and some AA batteries. I barter for some blue jeans and t-shirts. I keep looking through the neatly folded clothes. I find a camo jacket in my size. I love it. This would definitely be helpful in a zombie apocalypse. I'm not completely out of things to trade.

  "Would you trade a pack of Twinkies for the jacket?" I ask.

  "I love Twinkies ! I haven't been able to find these anywhere. You've got yourself a deal." The merchant says.

  Madison and I walk quietly away. She's giggling. "Don't you think we should tell him the vending machine in the food court is full of Twinkies?" Madison asks.

  "No way. I can come back and trade for more stuff." I say.

  We head back to the bathrooms so I can change out of this ridiculous dress and wash off the sticky Coke. It's on the first level next to the food court. Suddenly, we hear it. The loud roar of zombies, pounding on the doors of the mall. Boom. Glass shatters. They've made it through the mall entrance. Immediately the gun fire rips through the air. The growling of the zombies and gun fire is deafening.

  I peek out of the bathroom door. Madison is hiding in a stall. Zombies just keep pouring in. The armed guards are outnumbered. They are reloading their guns as fast as they can. Zombies are falling to the ground, but more keep coming in. I can't believe I have just seen the same zombie from earlier, the one who tried so hard to find Madison. The zombie followed us here and brought his friends. If anyone gets killed
, it's my fault. There’s another fact that zombie movies got wrong, they aren't stupid mindless beings. I'm not sure I can get Madison and I out alive this time.

  Chapter Six

  Tom and Karen

  W e are in Mr. Chow's private plane. The pilot is going to make an announcement over the intercom.

  Ding. "We are preparing for an emergency landing in California. I've just got a report that Seattle airport runway is overrun... with zombies." The pilot says reluctantly.

  "But how? We just left China. It hasn't even been 24 hours?" Karen asks.

  "The jump drives. Everyday Mr. Chow came and downloaded the progress Robert made. Someone has been following the steps to make the virus. Like a recipe out of a cookbook." I say hoarsely.

  "Who?" Karen asks. My mouth has gone dry.

  "His investors. I tried to talk him out of it. I told him all the money in the world wouldn't fix a zombie apocalypse. Over the years, that's the only thing I could never really get out of him, who was paying for it and why.” I say.

  "It seems they systematically released the virus, so the outbreak would occur the same day in various locations. It's harder to contain that way." Karen observes. "Emma is probably in Seattle. Do you think she's ok?" Karen asks.

  I squeeze her hands and look her in the eyes. "She's fine. I know it. She's smart and courageous like her mother." Karen smiles.

  Ding. Then another announcement comes over the intercom. "Please buckle your seatbelts and stay seated. We are getting ready to descend for landing." We are both looking out the window. Smaller objects in the distance appear to become larger as we get closer to the ground. We can see the Los Angeles airport now. Planes are coming and going.

  We land. We see the pilot and co-pilot emerge from the cabin. "Welcome to Los Angeles." The co-pilot says politely.


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