It’s been relatively quiet in my part of the world. That and I’ve been pretty busy with writing and what not.
So today, instead of writing a post…I’m going to share the first chapter of my latest WIP.
I’m about half way through it, and I’m anxious to start querying. It’s also my zombie novel. I love zombies. Who doesn’t?
Patient zero was a twenty-year-old female from a small farming town in Southwestern Pennsylvania. She went out hiking twenty-four hours before being taken to a hospital. She never realized she had been bit by anything.
The disease spreads fast. The first symptoms start within two hours. The infected has a scratchy, sore throat. Nothing major. It escalates from there. Soon, a fever sets in. Then they complain about being really cold despite having a temp of one hundred or more degrees. Their skin begins to get clammy, and a small sweat breaks out on their forehead. A few hours later they have respiratory problems. Their breathing becomes shallow and raspy. Right before death their eyes get a milky cloudiness to them, their pupils dilate so much it looks like they’re black. Aggression is the final stage. At this point they are contagious. Of course, this is when they’re most likely to bite you before dying.
Patient zero was taken to the hospital toward the end of everything. She was put onto a neurological floor, even though the doctors weren’t entirely sure what was wrong with her. As the family sat by her bedside they were distraught watching as she slipped further and further into delusion and the sickness that overtook her ravaged body. At the time nobody knew what was going on. Nobody knew that it wasn’t treatable, and nobody knew just how contagious it was. In the middle of the night was when the aggression started. Most of the family had already gone home. Her twin sister decided she would be the one to stay.
She ended up falling asleep in a recliner next to her sisters’ bed, but woke when she heard grunting and growling. She looked and saw her sister sitting up in bed. Her head lolled from side to side. She was so excited. She thought that her sister was getting better. It’s too bad she didn’t run. It’s too bad the nurse didn’t run.
“Um, somebody! Hey, she’s getting up and pulling off the wires!” the twin shouted.
The room was near the nurse’s station so she knew someone would hear. Somebody had to come and make sure her sister stayed in bed.
“What’s wrong?” the tall, brunette nurse asked as she turned on the light.
“She just sat up, and started growling,” the young girl looked hopefully toward the older nurse.
“Hmm… well, let me check her out, and see how she’s feeling,” the woman smiled.
The girl watched as the nurse pulled out her stethoscope ready to listen to patient zero’s heartbeat. Patient zero was still sitting up, the growling still going, and her head seemed like it belonged to a rag doll. It was like she had no control of it. The nurse placed the cylinder end of the stethoscope on patient zeros back and listened. Patient zero continued getting more and more agitated. She snarled and snapped at the two who were trying to help. The nurse tried to listen to the girl’s heart but she was bit. The purple, latex glove was torn and blood spilled from the bite near her thumb.
“What the shit!” the nurse screamed, yanking her hand back.
“What happened?” the twin asked, jumping out of the recliner.
“She bit me!”
“Oh my God! I’m going to find another nurse or someone to help!” she shouted, scrambling out of the room trying to get away from the blood and her increasingly angrier sister, “Can someone help? My sister, she bit the nurse, and there is blood everywhere. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
The rest of the nurses and aides who were sitting at the nurse’s station jumped up and rushed into the small room. The twin stood outside the door, watching in horror as four nurses and two aides tied her sister to the bed with sheets. One of the nurses ran out and to the phone. She couldn’t really hear the conversation, but she did hear something about a code, paging security, and finding someone on call. After slamming the phone down on the cradle, the nurse ran off to a supply room.
Within seconds an overhead page could be heard, and people swarmed onto the floor from everywhere. Doctors, nurses, security guards, and everyone else that worked in the hospital it seemed.
“Excuse me?” she asked one guy who ran past her.
He kept going.
“Uh, sir?” she asked a guy in what appeared to be a security uniform.
He didn’t say a word. He carried a large black case, and squeezed into the room. The nurse who was bitten finally emerged from the room. Blood covered the front of her uniform, and more was pouring from the wound. A young doctor in a white lab coat held onto the uninjured arm, helping the nurse down the hallway. Standing on tiptoe, the young sister tried to peer over everyone’s head. She just wanted a glimpse of her sister to make sure she was okay.
Just as quickly as everything started, it was done. People came out of the room murmuring amongst each other. Nobody paid the young girl much mind. She could have been invisible. Once the last person cleared out she saw her once lovely, full of life sister lying unmoving on the hospital bed. Her arms and legs were tied to the bed with leather restraints.
“Becca?” she asked quietly.
Her sister didn’t respond. No growls, no grunts, nothing. She never even moved.
“Hey, Becca, it’s okay. I’m still here,” she whispered, inching closer to the bed.
“I’m sorry, honey,” an older voice said from behind her.
“What’s wrong? Is she sleeping?”
The older nurse shook her head solemnly.
“She’s not…” the girls voice trailed off.
“I’m afraid so.”
“How? She was perfectly healthy yesterday! She just got bit by something,” the tears streamed down the girls cheeks.
“Sometimes, these things happen. Nobody knows what bit her, or what disease invaded her body.”
“It’s not fair. She was so young,” the girl continued to cry as she stared at her dead sister’s ashen face.
“No, it’s not fair,” the nurse put her hand on the girls shoulder in a meager attempt to console her.
She stood near her sister’s bedside staring at her. How were her parents going to handle this? How was she going to get through life without her best friend?
A soft groaning started from the supposed dead girl. Her eyes shot open; they were bloodshot, cloudy, and just not normal. The younger sister looked up hopeful. The doctors had all made a mistake! Her sister wasn’t dead!
“She’s not dead!” the girl squealed trying to run to her sister’s side.
“Um, she was,” the older nurse held tightly to the young girls shoulder.
“Let me go! She’s okay! See?”
“I do see, but four doctors pronounced her dead. There is no way that four doctors could be wrong,” the confused nurse pulled the girl out of the room.
“They were wrong!”
“I don’t think so, sweetie. Come sit at the nurse’s station, we’ll get this all situated, and as soon as the doctor gives the okay, you can see her,” the older nurse smiled at the young girl.
The young girl couldn’t help but feel like she was being lied to. The nurse was freaked out, and if four doctors pronounced her sister dead, how was it possible she was still moving around and making noise?
Patient zero was the first undead.
I am patient zero’s sister.