This is Issue # 2 of Dead Frontier by Walkerbait22, titled Just The Beginning.
Issue 2 - Just The BeginningEdit
Cole slumps at his desk over his unfinished script, a military drama called War in the West. Having not written in months, he stares at the papers blankly until he hears a loud knock on the door.
“It’s Micah!” Cole rises from his seat and smiles when he sees Micah with two cases of beer and a DVD copy of Pulp Fiction. “You don’t look good, man,” Micah observes.
“Thanks,” Cole says flatly as Micah enters and sets the beers on the table.
“I’ve got beer and your favorite movie just to take your mind off of this for a while.” He hands Cole a cold beer, and he gulps down half of it in a few seconds.
They pop the DVD in and enjoy, but the incident is still in the back of Cole’s mind as he watches and quotes the movie with his friend. When the credits role, Micah says, “Just as good as the first time we saw it.”
“Should I go to the police?” Cole asks.
“I would. Just tell the truth; they’ll understand that you were scared and ran. You just panicked,” Micah advises.
“I guess I’ll go tomorrow.” Cole shuts off the movie and switches the television to regular programming. Newscaster Dick Johnson from Channel Five is reporting frantically.
“Here we have new footage from New York,” Dick says before the camera cuts to mayhem in New York City. Thousands of people are packed in the streets in a frenzy. They run in every direction as SWAT members attempt to create order. A SWAT officer fires a few rounds and Dick says, “That must have been one of the infected.” The camera cuts back to the grey-haired newscaster. “If you’re just tuning in with us on Channel Five, there’s just no way to describe this. It’s some kind of cannibalistic disease spreading in New York. We’ve also received reports of incidents in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Louisville, here in Chicago, and even in London and Moscow. Reports are conflicting right now, but it’s believed the virus fries the brain of the victim and gives them cannibalistic tendencies.”
Cole and Micah sit in stunned silence as the news shows more disturbing footage from Atlanta and London. “No. Fucking. Way,” Micah says. “You said that guy was eating someone right?”
“He was. Holy shit,” replies Cole.
“We have a helicopter over downtown Chicago right now,” Dick reports as the camera cuts to the familiar streets of the North Side. But now, it’s full of panicking people, eerily similar to the scene in New York. “The police advise you to stay in your houses! The streets are already jammed with people trying to flee! Do not leave your homes!” Then, the camera fizzles and there is a long beep. ‘No signal.’
“Fuck. I’m staying here,” Micah says.
“You can room here,” Cole offers. “Shit, I have to see if Hannah’s okay.” Cole pulls out his phone and dials the number of his ex. No ringing, just a dreaded beeping. He redials again and again; each time he hears the beep, his heart sinks a little lower. Finally, after his 8th time dialing, he hears the phone ring, but Hannah doesn’t pick up. Hi, this is Hannah speaking, but I can’t come to the phone right now...
Cole leaves a voicemail. “Hannah, it’s Cole. I don’t know if you’ve seen the news or not, but there’s some...fucked up shit happening. I just need to know you're okay.” He halts himself from saying I love you. “Call me back.” He sets the phone on the coffee table and anxiously waits for a call, text, or anything from Hannah.
“Maybe it’s like that swine flu thing a few years back,” Micah suggests. “Everyone’s probably blowing everything out of proportion.”
“Blowing everything out of proportion?” Cole questions. “Did you see the footage? They were fucking shooting people. And you didn’t see what I saw today. This is serious.”
A few long hours later, Cole is drunk and lies on the sinking couch cushions, with Micah lying face down on the carpet. He hears his phone vibrate on the coffee table, and the light from the device lights up the room. The name Hannah illuminates the screen and a picture of a pretty woman accompanies it. “Hannah? Hello?” Cole asks, conscious of his rapidly speeding heartbeat.
“I-it’s me,” Hannah says.
“Are you okay? Where are you?”
“I’m fine. I’m just in my apartment. I tried calling you, but the lines were down. I thought something happened to you...”
“No, no, I’m fine. Micah’s here too.” Micah sleepily groans from the floor. “Did you see the news?”
“Yeah, it’s fucking insane. I’m planning on leaving the city tomorrow.”
“Leaving? The news said--”
“Yeah, they said not to leave. I don’t care. If you’ve seen the news, you know it’s stupid to stay here.”
“Where are you going to go?” Cole asks.
“I don’t know, somewhere less populated. My parents’ probably.”
“I’m coming with.”
“Cole, I don’t need you to protect me,” Hannah says. Cole clenches his jaw tightly and tries to ignore the remark, instead changing the subject.
“I think I saw one of them today. The infected people, I mean.”
Hannah gasps softly. “What? What happened?”
He recounts every haunting detail of the story, and Hannah is silent a few moments after he’s finished. “It didn’t get you, did it?” she asks.
“No, I’m fine. Just a little shaken.” He pauses for a moment. “Look, Hannah, I want to see you tomorrow, just to make sure you get to your parents’ house safe. Is that okay?”
“That...that’ll be okay. D-do you think this whole infection will blow over soon?” she asks.
“I don’t know. But it doesn’t look good.”