The Apocalypse Bug
Part 4: In The Anals Of A Clan Sojourned Long Ago
Kelly's hands shook as she tried to dial the cell phone number. She began speaking before Cade had a chance to say hello. "Cade, this is Kelly. Something happened, this hospital wasn't careful. You need to get into that museum, now! I need that urn. You have.." She paused for a moment, trying to calculate how much time she had. "You have two hours. After that, I'll be too sick to do anything. Two hours until my death is sealed, along with everyone else's."
Cade paused just outside the museum. He could still hear the tremor in Kelly's voice. She had been trying to conceal her fear, but he knew she was terrified. The pressure was on. He had to get that urn to her in enough time for her to make whatever antidote she needed to make.
He stared at the door for a moment. Even after everything that had happened he had to be amused. 'Goodwin Locks' Apparently, this was going to be easier than he expected.
Kelly stood still, her mind racing, the images of all the people she had seen die of these diseases flashing in her mind's eye. It was ironic. Almost like Frankenstein being killed by his own monster. Fate apparently had a morbid sense of humor.
She knew everything she would go through. Every minute detail. She knew how horrible the pain would be, how she would have to endure it. For a moment, she entertained the notion of simply injecting an air bubble into her blood. But, she dismissed the thought as quickly as it came. She knew this was no time to be selfish. She had to think of the others, Dr. Graham and Nissa. Those two had sacrificed themselves for others. She had to fight. She turned back to the papers Jessica had given her. Somewhere it had to tell exactly how they'd used the creature's blood.
Cade entered the museum carefully. He was still a little suspicious. The security system the museum had installed was minimal. A child would know which wires to cut. It was just hard for him to believe. It shouldn't have been that easy.
"Eddie, I need to know where this Dr. Graham's office was." He spoke softly into his microphone.
"You got it, Foster." Eddie pulled up the map of the building. "It's on the lower level. Look's like they stuck him in the storage area."
Cade moved off in the direction of the stairs. He neither heard nor sensed the presence behind him.
Kelly froze, she knew there was someone in the room with her. She turned around slowly, until she was facing the man who had just entered. "You shouldn't be in here. It's..." She stopped as she studied the figure more closely. She couldn't help but smile a little. "Martin, I didn't expect to see you here."
"And I didn't expect to see you, Kelly. They're saying you did this, you released this disease."
"Do you believe them?" Kelly searched her friend's eyes. Perhaps it was a twist of fate. But, as she studied him, she began to notice things she had not noticed before.
"I don't know what to believe anymore, Kelly. Ted disappeared. They're saying you killed him."
"I did, Martin." He stared at her, not sure how to react to that. She continued "He was an alien." Martin continued to stare at her as if she was insane. She backed up slowly, hoping she didn't look guilty. She finally felt the cabinet behind her. Turning around she opened the cabinet and pulled out one of the bottles. "You shouldn't be here, Martin. They didn't close off the ventilation shafts, every human being in this building is infected." She inserted a hypodermic needle into the solution, filling it up completely.
"What are you doing, Kelly?" Martin questioned. He moved closer, trying to read the bottle.
"I'm just getting some morphine to dull the pain. I'm infected you know." She turned to look at him. "Will you help me inject it? I have a hard time giving myself shots." Martin nodded. He walked over to her and reached out to take the needle from her. She moved quickly, bringing her arm up and into his neck. She injected whatever was in the needle into the base of his spinal cord. "You know, Martin. You should be careful. I read those files at the CDC. I know your bodies react badly with salt." She glanced at the bottle she'd placed on the counter. "Saline solution is just as good, don't you think?"
Cade opened the door to Dr. Graham's office carefully, cringing as the door squeaked. He saw the urn immediately. It was probably a foot tall, and maybe a foot in diameter. It appeared to be made of solid Jade. The same creature carved on Kelly's amulet was carved all over the urn. It was incased in fiberglass. As Cade was about to move over to pick it up he heard someone breathing.
The fear enveloped her like a glove. It pressed against her hot, damp skin. It filled her lungs, and made breathing almost impossible. The pain was intense, a never-ending stream of agony growing steadily more excruciating as time dragged on. At last, she understood the feeling of pain experienced by her many patients over the years. She only wished now she could make it stop.
Eddie sat nervously in the trailer. He had an uneasy feeling about the entire plan. Cade had called him paranoid. It had been meant as an insult, but it hadn't worked.
He was the first to admit to paranoia. But, he wouldn't admit it wasn't well founded. In a world where honesty is as scarce as kindness, it is easy to understand why distrust is as much a part of life as breathing. It was better to be cautious about who you trusted and what you believed then to have blind-faith in everyone.
Eddie listened astutely to Cade. It was more excruciating to be on the other end of a headset than it would have been to accompany him. He froze as he heard Cade's voice. "What the......" Cade's voice was cut off and there was only silence to greet Eddie's ear.
"Foster? Foster, you there? This isn't funny......Cade?" He sat perfectly still as the realism began to sink in. Cade wasn't there. Something horrible had happened. "Great. Just great. Of all the times... Now what am I going to do?" He glanced at the clock and groaned. "I have one hour and ten minutes to get the urn to Kelly and keep Cade from being dissected!"
Eddie took a cautious step out of the trailer. He could feel eyes watching his every move. He had no idea about what was going on. Not even his paranoid mind could understand this mystery. He was no hero. No matter how much he liked to fool himself, he knew he was no Cade Foster. He was just Crazy Eddie, the "masked brain." Now, he was being forced into a situation he neither enjoyed nor understood.
As he approached the museum he said a silent prayer, hoping that whatever Cade had done to the security system was still keeping it from sending a signal to the cops. Surprisingly, the door was standing open. He pushed on it and entered.
The darkness swallowed him as he took a few tentative steps farther into the museum. Like a child, he saw monsters in every irregular shadow, heard voices in every foot fall, and felt the presence of unseen danger grow as he continued deeper and deeper.
He didn't allow himself to look anywhere but at the floor. Something had happened to Cade, that much he knew. It was what he didn't know that frightened him.
In a shroud of darkness, the figure watched Eddie move. He knew he should attack him, but something held him back. His intuition told him this was not the time. He would wait for the proper time, then they would all die.
Eddie stood at the bottom of the steps. His heart was beating so fast it felt as if it was vibrating. It looked like some strange scene from a cheap horror movie trying to imitate "Psycho." There were tokens of taxidermy scattered all over the basement. He tried to peer through the darkness and see what could be lurking in the shadows. He could only see a few feet ahead of himself. And, he was blind to what could be lurking behind the boxes and long forgotten exhibits.
He spotted the door to the office. It seemed to be miles from the steps. Eddie took a deep breath and began to walk to the door. Each step took an unbelievable amount of will power. Finally, he made it to the door. He tentatively placed his hand on the door knob. He twisted, and the door came open.
The smell hit Eddie first. It was very faint and barely noticeable. He frowned, they'd drugged Cade. Eddie scanned the room, looking for the urn. He half didn't expect to see it. But, there it was, placed carefully on the center of the desk. He carefully picked up the glass box. He expected it to be a trick, it had to be a trap. Why would they take Cade and not the urn. It made no sense.
THUMP!! Eddie jumped involuntarily. The sound came again. It was a lound thump, as if someone had kicked something. It took all of Eddie's will power not to bolt to the door and run. He forced himself to look around the office. The sound was close. One of the corners was bathed in shadows. Somehow, Eddie knew that's where the sound was coming from. As if in answer to his thoughts the sound came again. He didn't know whether to attempt to investigate, as he knew Cade would, or leave it alone. He was given no chance to think any further. Eddie heard wood splinter and saw a figure fall to the ground. "Foster? What in the hell happened man?" Eddie rushed to his side. He quickly pulled out the gag and untied the rope that bond Cade's arms and legs.
Kelly stared at the receiver for a moment and said a silent prayer.
"Stephanie. Thank God you're there!" Kelly said, her voice weak and painted with the pain that now filled every cell of her body.
"Kelly? What are you doing? They're telling me you're responsible for all this."
"In a way, I am. But, not in the way they mean." She paused. "Stephanie, are you in Alaska?"
"Yeah, they sent me when they realized you weren't going to help them."
"I knew they would! I'm glad, I need you."
"I'm at the hospital. They didn't quarantine the corpse, and now I've gotten whatever this is."
"It's not as bad as it sounds. There's a cure. I need you to help me. Will you come?"
"Yes, of course I will! I'll be there soon, just hang on, all right?"
"You know I will." As Kelly replaced the receiver she sighed. "Easier said then done!"
Kelly began to laugh bitterly. Now, as the fever worsened and the disease progressed, memories inundated her mind. She began to think of things she had not considered since she was out of school. It was then, that the choice was made. She knew what she had to do. In some strange way, she was responsible for this incident. And, in some way, she knew there had to be more. Now, if she survived...
Eddie and Cade had no time to wonder about what had happened or why. They both new the value of each moment they wasted in the basement of that museum. As quickly as either could move they were out the door and on their way to the hospital. Eddie noticed a light blinking out of the corner of his eye. He turned around to look at Cade. "Foster, answer the cell phone will ya?"
Cade nodded. "Sure....Hello."
"Cade, thank God." The voice on the other end of the phone was weak, barely audible, and filled with an unbelievable amount of pain. It took Cade a moment to recognize the speaker. He tried to hide his worry as he replied.
"Are you okay Kelly?"
"I'm doing as well as can be expected. Did you get the urn?"
"Yeah, we've got it right here. It'll only be a few more minutes."
"Cade, you have to wear one of the biohazard suits when you come in to the hospital. If you don't, you could get sick. Do you remember how to put one on?"
"Yeah, sure. Are you positive I need to wear it?"
A bitter laugh met his ear. "I know you hate it. But, believe me, it's better than the alternative. I know."
Cade could hear himself breathing in the tight space in the suit. He hated it. He wasn't claustrophobic, but this was enough to make anyone more than a little uncomfortable. He watched Kelly closely. By the way she was acting, he wasn't sure if she would make it. She looked as if death already had a grip on her, but she was fighting with all her soul.
Kelly moved swiftly but diligently. She didn't know what she was doing, she was trusting an archaeologist she'd never met. She just hoped he was write. She dissolved the powdered blood in a small amount of saline solution and quickly injected it into her neck, very close to the carotid artery. She needed it to act as quickly as possible. She turned to Cade. "I'm going to lay down now. There's no telling how long this could take, or even if it will work. You might not want to stay."
Kelly was about to protest, but saw no point in it. Instead, she retreated to one of the hospital beds she'd had transported into the room. Only moments after laying down, she lost consciousness.
Kelly had always wondered if comatose people could sense their surroundings. She knew she couldn't. She had to spend each moment funneling her energy to fight the enemy invading her cells. It was a horrible feeling. Her body was not her own. Instead, it seemed to be changing. The most terrifying thing seemed to be, that she knew it was. Viruses like AIDS and Ebola do try to change the human body into one gigantic virus particle. She just had to stop it. Silently, she said a prayer. Somehow, she had to find the strength to fight this thing. For some reason, it seemed only God could grant her that.
In the darkness of the museum, the figure finally emerged from its hiding place. Everything had gone perfectly. It had done what the Assembly told it to. They would be pleased with it. Perhaps, they would be more pleased by its own self-control. Surely, they would know how badly it wanted Kelly and her new friends dead. But, it knew there would be a time for that. The Assembly must be able to see some purpose in the woman or they wouldn't have allowed Cade and Eddie to extract the urn from their possession. It smiled in anticipation.
Stephanie crouched over her old friend. "I don't think she's going to make it. There's no way. I mean..." She paused, turning to Cade and Eddie. "She has a temperature of 108. Most people wouldn't have made it this far. I think we just need to let her go. She's fighting now, but she can't keep it up."
Eddie stopped fidgeting with the biohazard suit and stared at the woman. "You're wrong. You must not know Kelly very well. She isn't going to let something like this beat her. I'm not giving up on her until she gives up on herself. She's going to fight, and if she dies it won't be because she gave up."
Kelly was tired. It took all of her will power to simply stay awake. She knew if she allowed herself to rest she would die. Perhaps that is what it felt like. Perhaps you just went to sleep. At this moment, Kelly was willing to find out. But, for once she knew she couldn't. She'd never been depended on like this before. No one had ever believed in her they way Cade and Eddie did. Somehow, she would beat this thing. Somehow.
The virus was progressing quickly through her system. It would invade one cell, reproduce until the cell could hold no more, and then explode out to invade a new cell. Slowly, it was working its way through her organs. The antibodies in her system didn't know how to combat this new threat. They tried to swallow the beings. Disintegrate them, like they did other diseases. But, it wasn't working. Instead, the virus would reproduce inside the white blood cell. It seemed there was no way to win.
It was only a few hours ago, when Kelly had injected herself with the blood. But, already something was happening. The blood began to act as the virus did. The antibodies would swallow the blood, and just as the virus, it reproduced. However, when the blood broke out, it attacked the virus. This new blood seemed to act like a catalyst. It sped up the virus. But, it made the virus turn on itself. Instead of destroying body cells, it destroyed virus particles.
The new blood's success, however, depended on how many body cells had been ruined. If too many were gone, Kelly could not recuperate.
It had been seven hours. Stephanie had tried to convince Cade and Eddie that no progress could be expected after only seven hours. But, they still had faith. Finally, giving up, Stephanie had gone to see if she could be of any help anywhere else in the building. All of the doctors and nurses had now come down with the virus just as Kelly had.
Cade and Eddie were sitting in chairs near the bed. Neither one of them said anything. It seemed they were both afraid that noise would somehow kill Kelly.
Kelly felt the change. It was almost instantaneous. One moment, it felt as if every cell in her body was turned against her. And then, it was gone. The pain, that had become so much a part of her since becoming infected, was now gone. She struggled against the urge to fall asleep and slowly opened her eyes.
Cade and Eddie didn't seem to notice her. When she could finally focus on them she realized they both seemed to be in some kind of trance, or maybe it was prayer. With a great struggle, she swung her legs over the side of the bed. This caught their attention.
"Kelly! You're okay. What are you doing?" Eddie shouted as he saw that she was indeed better.
"We're getting out of here. I'll leave instructions for the blood. Stephanie can do it without me. But, we can't stay. Right now is the perfect time to go. The doctors and nurses are sick. They won't notice or care who we are. We have to leave. Cade can't get caught by the police, come to the think of it, neither can I. It's better to leave now, while the getting good, than wait."
Cade nodded slowly, agreeing with her logic. "Are you sure you're going to be well enough to travel?"
"Yes, I'm fine. But, I won't be able to ride in a car. I'm still a little sore. I'll fly where ever it is we're going. Eddie and you can go on ahead of me. I have a few things I have to do at the airfield, anyway."
Eddie was going to protest, but he realized Kelly wasn't going to take any argument. The best thing was to leave.
Kelly paused for a moment. She stared at the instruments on the panel. She could still turn back. Even now, her fate wasn't sealed. But, then again, perhaps it was. The things she had done in her past still mattered. She understood that. She also knew what Cade and Eddie would do if they ever discovered the truth. No. She had to do what she'd been planning. It seemed almost pointless. A waste. But, it was a necessity. With determination she closed her hand around the steering wheel and pushed it first up, so the plane went into a perfect vertical line straight into the clouds, and then down again.
The crash was seen for miles. The fire lit the sky a brilliant red. The Coast Guard worked for hours. First, they tried to find the pilot. But, from the state of the aircraft, they assumed there would be nothing left to find. The largest piece of the aircraft they found was a piece the size of a car tire. The rest, had been shattered on impact.
The body crawled on shore. It was haggard, and tired. It collapsed into a heap on the sand. After a few moments, it straightened. It unzipped a pocket and pulled out a ziplock bag. It looked to the sky and smiled. "Life must end before it can begin...Thanks Jake. I owe you one."
Cade turned around and walked back to the trailer. Something was keeping Kelly. He was beginning to worry about her. Eddie came to the door. From the look on his face, Cade knew there was something horribly wrong. As he picked up speed, he began to scratch at a small red bump on his elbow.