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Under a Yellow Sky [Jan2014]

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posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:10 PM
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The pain was immense. It was a white hot explosion in the back of his head. He opened grainy eyes and saw the putrid, yellow sky above him and had time to think that his clumsy feet had once again found a patch of ice to slip on before being swallowed by blackness. No, it was not blackness. Andrew saw colors swirling, translucent and dim at first, then becoming more distinctive. The colors became shapes, then images bleeding into memories.

He remembered waking up beside his wife. She looked exhausted, having been up several times with the baby on the previous night. Even with her features drawn and with dark circles under her eyes, her beauty still brought a tingle to the pit of his stomach. He slipped from the bed covertly and went to the kitchen. While waiting for the first cup of coffee to brew so he could steel it from the pot, he flicked on the little TV on the counter.

The newscast that was on was confusing with the sound all the way down. They were showing pictures of space rocks then switching to some foreign country where bodies were laid on the ground single file covered by white sheets. Andrew pushed the button to increase the volume. Katrina stumbled into the kitchen and beat him to that wondrous first cup. Apparently he was not as sneaky as he thought.

“The death toll continues to rise and the number of infected cannot even be speculated at this time. Reports are coming in from all six continents with the same terrifying statements. Health officials have asked that anyone experiencing the symptoms to quarantine themselves in their homes and call the number on the bottom of your screen. If the line is busy, please keep trying.” He reached for the handle on the pot…

The sky was hanging above him again. It reminded him of sickness, the color of infection and phlegm. He hated that sky. Dirty snow flakes drifted down on him cold and lazy and never ending. He tried to lift his arm and fireworks of agony went off in his head…

“They are saying that it came from outer space….from an asteroid or space cloud or something, but I think we created it and it got loose. They are calling it Azure Syndrome because it turns the skin blue.” He had watched the same newscasts that Katrina had seen, but she felt the need to talk about it. Andrew understood that it was her way of dealing with what was going on around them, so he let her rehash it all to him.

“Apparently, no one is immune and it travels through the air. That’s why they don’t want anyone going to work or school or the grocery store. It’s not killing everyone, though. Remember, they showed that one girl that didn’t have the fever anymore. True, she had brain damage and had to be restrained so she didn’t hurt anyone, but she is alive. I’m sure they will find something in her blood to help them make a cure. Sick and dying are terrible things but this madness that comes with the fever is so much worse. I don’t think…”

The window in the front room shattered. Andrew bolted in that direction and arrived just in time to watch Edgar from across the street grab his wife’s head by a handful of blonde hair. He slammed her face into the carpeted floor over and over. Immobilized by shock and indecision, Edgar managed three more slams before Katrina’s shriek broke Andrew’s paralysis. He didn’t notice the shards of glass cutting deeply into his bare feet as he pulled his friend away, but he did notice the spots of burgundy on the cream colored rug that were being connected by a spreading pool. He also noticed that even through his pajamas and robe, Edgar’s skin was hot enough to burn his own naked forearms as he held him struggling and howling.

“Yesterday was their anniversary” he heard himself mumble through cold lips as he broke through to consciousness once again. Remembering the reward for movement last time, he tried only to move his fingers. They may have moved or they may not have. How long had he lain here in the snow? Had it been long enough for his fingers to become numb? He tried his foot. There! He definitely felt his leg twitch. Small victory, he thought to himself. I’m laying here with my head cracked in -60 degree temperatures with no shelter to go to if I could walk, but at least I can tap my foot if a marching band comes along. Andrew barked a laugh and swam down into the murk again.

They were huddled together in a gas station. He was listening to the battery powered radio that they had brought with them. There was no music now, just the emergency broadcast system that occasionally played a recorded message for anyone listening. It had been the same since yesterday. Andrew had heard it so many times that he had memorized it without trying:
“It is now believed that as much as 85% of the world’s population is infected. We no longer believe we have time to find a cure. We must make it impossible for this disease to survive in the air by dropping the temperature of the Earth. In 24 hours 50 nuclear warheads will be detonated in the Asiatic region, now the least populated place on the globe. The ensuing nuclear winter will drop temperatures below freezing everywhere around the planet. Any non-infected survivors please try to make your way to the equatorial areas. We will be setting up subterranean shelters there. God bless us.”

The plan had been to go to Katrina’s sister’s house in the country, thinking it would be safer to be around less people. They had never made it out of the city. The streets were blocked with abandoned cars and blue corpses. When they had set out on foot they were chased by those infected but not yet dead and by those non-infected opportunists. Andrew had brought all of their money and credit cards so they would be able to buy food, but it was pointless. The stores were all raided and their shelves cleared by looters.

Andrew turned the radio off and lay down by his wife and baby daughter. He drifted off to sleep thinking that they might try to get out of town by the drainage system in the morning.

“Andrew, wake up.” Her voice was a balm to his irritated soul. “WAKE UP!!!”

All he could see was white. He was freezing. He blinked several times and the snow slid from his eyelids. There it was… that damnable sky. All of their hopes had depended on ruining their own planet. Making it so cold that the disease couldn’t live here had worked at least. There were no more infected after the fever did its work of killing those already exposed off. It had turned colder within a week of the bombs. Unfortunately, it kept getting colder. It never stopped getting colder. The first snow had come and Andrew had foolishly felt relief. Now it only snowed and nothing else. He had walked for what felt like forever. His only hope was to make it to the equator. That was for later. Right now he had to get out of the weather before he froze to death.

Bracing for the pain, he lifted his arm again. It was harsh, but bearable. He used the momentum of swinging his arm across his body to help him roll onto his side. That was decidedly not bearable. Pain shot from the back of his head in two electric arcs to the back of each eyeball. He stayed awake long enough to hear himself scream.

They had been sleeping in the sewers for what Andrew guessed was four days. It had taken a long time to find a way in and in that time he had killed a man. They had walked right into a gang of people in an alley that were cutting
edit on 10-1-2014 by Cameoii because: Correct title




posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 12:12 PM
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flesh from a body on the ground. Two of them had taken off at first sight of Andrew, but the one with the knife chose to stay and defend his “prize”. Katrina had screamed as they grappled, but as the other man was stabbed by his own knife and lay bleeding, Andrew slapped her to get her to shut up. She had to understand how much danger she was putting them all in by making so much noise. They had come across evidence of cannibalism twice more before finding an entrance to the sewers big enough for them to walk into.

He was only able to blink and gag this time before fading out again.

Now she was shaking him awake. He felt a moment of pride at the fact that she did not make even a whimper. She was learning. Then he heard the sounds that had led her to wake him. Footsteps and muffled voices were echoing around the tunnel in which they lay. There was no way to tell the distance or even the direction. If they ran, they faced a possibility of running directly into the visitors. He leaned in to Katrina’s ear and whispered “we hide”. As if on cue, the baby chose that moment to start fussing. Katrina picked her up and rocked and bounced her to no avail. Even over the baby’s wailing, you could hear the voices getting louder and the footsteps running. Katrina put her hand over the baby’s mouth to muffle her. She squirmed and fussed, then quieted. Several minutes later, the noises had faded and all had grown calm.

Andrew looked at Katrina and saw that she was trembling so badly that she seemed about to drop the baby. He took his daughter from her and realized that she was not breathing. He shook her small body and got no response. He laid her on the concrete floor and tried CPR. When Katrina understood what had happened she began screeching and clawing at him to get the baby’s body back.

He heard the screams and footsteps returning as he tried to fight her and turned to see three kids running toward him with demonic expressions on their faces. The nearest swung a bat toward him and he had no time to dodge the blow. Then all was black. When he awoke, the baby was gone. Katrina lay dead beside him in a pool of blood. Her face was unrecognizeable. Their bodies must have been too heavy for the kids to carry or drag.

Andrew awoke with his breaths coming short and fast. His face was half buried in snow and numb. He felt hot tears on his cheeks instantly freezing. After losing Katrina and the baby, he had walked in a daze for God knows how long. When he finally came to his senses, he had been cut deeply across his chest, had a bloody knife in his hand, and was walking through three feet of snow bare foot. He had lost three toes and he had no idea where he was. Had he walked south toward salvation or north adding to his likely demise? His only companion was the mottled sky and there were no answers to be found there.

He had managed to survive through all of that and he was not going to let something stupid like slipping on ice do him in. He rolled slowly to his stomach. Not so much pain now. Either the damage to his head wasn’t as bad as he thought or the cold had numbed him to the pain. His eyes found an outcropping of rock about twenty feet away. He would crawl to that and at least be out of the snow and wind and out from under that hateful yellow sky while he collected himself. He was sure he must be somewhere in Central America now. He could make it to the equator.

He dragged himself by the elbows, spitting out snow when it plowed up beneath his face and got into his mouth. He could tell that he had feinted a few times on the way to the rocks because he awoke with his arms buried in snow, but there were no dream memories that haunted him after waking. He thanked God for small favors and pushed forward. As he reached the rock, he realized that he would have to maneuver himself completely around to get the most shelter. That’s when he saw her.

She was dressed like him, in heavy clothes that made her look swollen. Her jacket was caked with dirt and ripped. He could tell she had been in the wilderness for a while like him. Her long hair was billowing out from beneath the hood of her coat. She was small young looking. He wondered briefly how a young girl had managed on her own out her for this long. She must have only been 8 or 9 when Azure Syndrome came along. She raised her hand and Andrew thought she was asking for help until he saw that she held a slingshot.

Andrew glanced back to where he had come from and saw the blood trail he had left. There in the center of the largest stain was a small silver sphere, still warm enough to melt the snowflakes falling on it. In what felt like slow motion, Andrew ungloved his hand and reached up to the sore spot in the back of his head. He felt the small hole on the right side of the back of his head, then the slightly larger hole on the left side. His fingers came away slick with blood and something that was the same gruesome color as the sky. He raised his eyes again and watched her deftly slip another ball into the worn leather cup of the weapon. His last thought was that enduring a pandemic and a winter apocalypse had been difficult, but no one could survive the human race.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 08:18 PM
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reply to post by Cameoii
 


Haunting and gruesome but well constructed premise.

Good luck!



posted on Jan, 12 2014 @ 09:23 AM
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reply to post by grayeagle
 


Thank you! This story did have more morbidity to it than I usually include. There were actually a few parts in it that I removed because they made me uncomfortable to read. It's strange how that happens, since it came from my own mind in the first place.



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