May 14, 2013 Leave a comment
Alan Miles stretched out on the bench outside Base Command and let the afternoon sun warm his body. His lunch hour was just about up and the thought of going back inside sucked the life right out of him. His head hurt. He’d read report after report from the American’s about these ‘non-terrestrial objects’. Almost two dozen so far and had just about had his fill of cryptic content.
“Thought I’d find you out here.” Captain Marcus Miles strolled over to the bench and sat down. “Nothing like some fresh air to clear the mind.”
Alan snorted, looking up at his older brother. “Then why isn’t it working?”
Marcus sat back. “How the hell should I know?” He leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. “What the hell is going on?”
“What d’ya mean?”
“You know what I mean.”
“The reports from Washington?”
“Yeah. What the hell’s going on down there? Who teaches these guys to be so cryptic? “
Alan didn’t reply.
Marcus ran his fingers through his short hair. “I mean, ‘un-natural formation’? Is that their way of saying man-made?”
“I guess so. It allows them to suggest that maybe these meteorites aren’t what they appear to be.”
Marcus straightened up. “Yeah and stating they’re manufactured is one step below implying it was a direct attack by terrorists.”
“No one’s said anything about terrorists.”
“Look, can we talk about something else?”
Marcus nodded. “You and Mellissa still coming over for supper tonight?”
“Yeah, I guess. It’ll be good to do something other than listen to those damn news reports.”
Alan snorted. “Melissa does nothing but watch CBC and CNN all day.” He shifted his position on the bench. “Do you know how much of that sani-gel we have? There are bottles of the stuff all over the apartment. I can’t touch her unless I’ve covered my hands in that crap.”
Marcus chuckled. “That’s a bit over-board.”
“Over-board isn’t the word I’d use.”
“To be honest, I can’t blame her. Look at how many are out on sick leave, and half the people in the village is sick.”
A grim look came over Alan. “Any dead?”
Marcus nodded. “Some of the older folks.” He looked at his brother. “What about here in the city?”
Alan shrugged. “A few of my neighbours are sick, but that’s about it, but then I don’t know everyone around me. Could be more.”
“Davy’s best friend is sick.”
“Is Davy okay?”
“Louise has been keeping an eye on him. So far he seems healthy.”
“Don’t worry. He’s a strong kid.” Alan playfully punched his older brother. “Takes after his uncle.”
The apartment building was quiet as Alan unlocked the glass front door. The smell of rotting garbage filled the lobby as a waste can overflowing with garbage sat in the corner of the room. Alan swore softly and walked toward the first floor hallway. This was getting ridiculous. He banged on the door marked SUPERINTENDENT.
“Who is it?” a raspy male voice said from the other side.
“Alan Miles. 2B. Have you smelled the shit out in the lobby? Don’t you think it’s time to do your job and clean it up?”
The sound of a chain rattled against the door and a small crack opened up in the doorway. The sweaty partial face of a middle aged man looked out at him. “Yeah..uh, sorry. I’ve been sick. I’ll get to that tomorrow.”
Alan’s anger subsided. “Sure. Whenever. Take care of yourself first.” He backed up from the entrance as the door slammed closed. Alan suddenly wished he had one of those bottles of sani-gel on him.
He walked to the elevator and reached for the UP button, but hesitated. He pulled the sleeve of his jacket down over his hand and pushed the button with a covered knuckle and did the same for the buttons inside. The ride up was quick, or maybe it was because he was lost in thought. So many people suddenly falling sick. Strange rocks landing all over the planet. What the hell was going on?
He opened the door to his apartment, and threw his keys down on the small table. “Hey babe, I’m home.” There was a pile of letters sitting neatly next to his keys. Alan picked them up and rummaged through them as he walked into the livingroom. “I’m going to take a quick shower before we head out to my brother’s.”
“Babe?” He took a quick glance around the room. He could see just about the whole place from this spot. Except the bedroom. The apartment was too quiet. “Babe, you here?”
He hurried into their bedroom. Several drawers were open and their clothing content was removed.
“What the hell?”
A sheet of paper was taped to the mirror of the dresser.
Alan. My parent’s neighbours called me at work. Mom and Dad got sick and fell into a coma. I’m taking the first train to Ottawa. Call you when I get there.
Alan lowered the note. “Shit.”
Marcus tugged on the pull-tab of his beer relaxed into the patio chair. It was the first chance in a few days he’d been able to just sit and relax. A part of him told him to enjoy it. He might not get another chance like this for a while.
“What time did Alan say he and Melissa were going to be here?” Louise asked, stepping out onto the back porch.
She nodded and walked over to the bar-be-que. “Did you want to cook, or should I?”
“No, I’ll do it.”
“Are you sure? I don’t mind? You’ve worked a lot of long hours and—”
Marcus smiled. “Really, I don’t mind doing the Bar-be-que tonight.”
She smiled and walked over to him. “I’m just glad you’re home.” She made herself comfortable in his lap. “I understand they need you on the base, but these extra shifts with you away is hard.” She bend her head down and gently kissed him on the lips.
“Yeah, but it makes the time we spend together so much better.”
He reached to tickle her around the waist and she slapped his hand away. He grabbed her and brought her closer to him, wrapping his arms around her waist as he kissed her deeply.
Alan’s voice was low. “Uh..I’m not intruding, am I?”
Louise pulled away from Marcus and quickly stood. “Yes, but that’s beside the point.”
Marcus frowned. “I thought you weren’t showing up until seven? And where’s Melissa?”
Alan stepped up to the porch. “Yeah, she had an emergency. Had to go to Ottawa.”
“I hope everything is all right.” Louise said.
“Yeah, just her parents. She’ll be back in a couple days.”
“Well we’ll have another bar-be-que when she gets back.” Louise tapped Marcus on the shoulder. “I go get the meat and you can start.”
Marcus nodded as Alan sat down at the glass patio table. “You wanna a beer?”
“Wait. Sit down.”
“Just hang on a minute.”
Marcus sat back down. “Is something wrong with Melissa?”
Alan shook his head. “No, but remember we were talking about this illness?”
“Yeah. What about it?”
A sense of dread washed over Marcus. “What?”
“Coma. I talked to Melissa before I came over. Her parents were fine, healthy as a horse up until four days ago. Then they both came down with flu-like symptoms.”
Marcus narrowed his eyes. “Flu-like?”
“That’s what she said the doctors are calling it. It starts off like a cold or flu, then rapidly gets worse. She said that a lot of the cases they have in the hospitals up in Ottawa are falling into comas.”
Marcus stood. He wasn’t sure why, but sitting wasn’t something he wanted to do. “Why haven’t we heard anything on the news?”
“Maybe to keep people from panicking?”
He walked into the house and over to the fridge. This wasn’t right. He wasn’t a doctor or anything, but Davy had been sick enough times that he knew the chain of symptoms didn’t sound right. Worse, it didn’t feel right.
Alan followed him inside, but stayed by the back door. “We need to tell someone about this.”
Marcus faced him. “I have a feeling people already do.”
Louise came out into the kitchen. “You guys have to see this.”
They followed her into the living room and stood beside the couch. The television was on and tuned to CBC.
Louise reached over and took her husband’s hand. “The said the President was going to address the nation.”
Alan sat down on the couch. “What about?”
Louise shook her head.
Marcus held his breath as the image of the President of the United States appeared on the screen. He didn’t hear all the speech, but what he did was eloquent and said with heart-felt emotion. As the last few words were spoken, Marcus knew this would be the start to something never seen before in human history. On this day a new word would be added to the lexicon of popular words;
The Carriers; Part Five
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