The Carriers; Part Seven
June 25, 2013 Leave a comment
A car horn blared as Captain Marcus Miles directed traffic at the intersection of Queen and Ontario. At the corner, a tan-coloured car sat crinkled under the concrete traffic light post, the driver’s side door wide open. The lone occupant was still slumped over the steering wheel; his head partially through the windshield. A blanket covered most of the body, but one blood soaked arm was still visible.
Marcus tried to keep his mind on what he was doing, but it was hard. Things were going from bad to worse faster than he thought. There were remains of unattended accidents all over the city, and this wasn’t the first dead body he’d seen left out in the open. Paramedics were scarce, either sick themselves or refusing to work, and he had a bad feeling it wouldn’t be the last body he’d see in the street.
He didn’t want to be here. He should be back at base doing…something! Something other than standing in the middle of a street directing a dwindling stream of cars past an accident site. Half the base staff was out sick and his CO was working with a skeleton crew. Less than a skeleton crew. He needed to be there, not here. He looked at the body in the car. No, this wasn’t right. As much as he wanted to leave, he couldn’t abandon the accident. This had been a person. He deserved something more than rotting away in the remains of his car.
He pulled the white surgical mask down past his mouth. It was too hot to be wearing that damn thing. He didn’t need it out here anyway. He hadn’t seen anyone walking the streets in almost two hours. People were staying home. Not that he could blame them. As much as duty poked at him to be at the base, he’d rather be at home with his wife and son. Louise was frightened. He could hear it in her voice when he spoke to her on the phone the other night. When he told her he wouldn’t be home. Not just yet.
Dammit! He should be with his family!
An OPP cruiser pulled up along the side of the street. The driver didn’t look like he’d been out of the Academy any more than a year.
Marcus pulled the mask up over his face. “Please tell me you’re here to relieve me.”
The young officer got out. “Sorry sir, no. I’m just here to relaying a message from city Council. They want you at City Hall.”
“When is the township crew getting here to fix this light?”
The young officer shook his head. “Not sure. From what I heard, most of them are sick. Not sure when anything’s going to get fixed.”
Marcus looked over at the crumpled car. “Anyone coming to get him?”
The young officer shook his head. “I’ve radioed in a few times, but no one can give me anything definite.”
Marcus exhaled. “Great.” He looked back at the accident. “We can’t leave him there. The body will start to rot and decompose.”
“I’m not sure what we can do?” The young officer placed his own mask over his face. “The hospitals are so full they cleared out the morgue to accompany the sick.”
“What about the mortuaries?”
“None of them are open. No staff.”
“Well we can’t just leave him here.”
“Sir, go. I’ll stay with him.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah, I’ll keep radioing in and try to get someone out here to collect him.”
Marcus put his hand on the young man’s shoulder. “Thank you officer…”
“Daly. Henry Daly”
“Officer Daly.” He gripped his shoulder tight. “Thank you. When I’m done at City Hall, I’ll see what I can do for him too.”
The young officer nodded as Marcus walked toward the Jeep parked in front of the old police station. He drove up Queen a few blocks. Bags of garbage lined the street. Most were ripped open and their contents spilled onto the road. There were a few people out, masks over their faces, but judging by their clothing, they probably didn’t have a home to go to before all this started. Marcus cursed softly as he drove past some of the downtown stores. Windows were smashed in and the display cases emptied. It didn’t take long for the criminal element to take over. It was close to three weeks since all this started. He wondered where the humanity had gone.
There was a small group of people standing on the steps of the old limestone building. Marcus didn’t see the mayor at all. He parked the jeep and got out.
“Are you the folks who wanted to see me?”
A short, balding middle aged man stepped forward. “Are you Captain Miles?”
Marcus walked up a couple steps. None of them looked very healthy. He put his mask over his face. “Yes.”
“I’m James Atwell. Deputy Mayor for the city.”
“Where’s the mayor?”
“You don’t look too good yourself.”
“I’m not. As a matter of fact none of us are. That’s why I sent for you.” Atwell stepped down.
Marcus did too.
“The sickness is spreading faster and becoming more severe.” Atwell said. “We are all that’s left of all the employees in the building, and none of us can continue. We have to leave and focus on our recovery.”
Marcus nodded. “That would be best. What can I do to help?”
Atwell coughed into a handkerchief. “We need you to take over running the city. There’s no one left that’s qualified, and your base commander said you were one of their best.” Atwell looked past him. “Although, I’m not sure what all you can do. City services are all but decimated. Public works has a small staff and to say they’re overwhelmed is an understatement.” He looked at Marcus. “If they don’t find out what cause this and cure this…”
“I know.” Marcus didn’t want to think what might happen if they didn’t. “Look, don’t worry. You all go home and take care of yourself. I’ll get some people in here and we’ll try to keep things going for as long as we can, or until someone comes back to take over.”
Atwell nodded, and the group walked down the stairs.
“Anything important I should know about?”
“Plenty,” Atwell said. “But there’s not enough time to tell you everything.”
Marcus pulled his mask down. “Lovely.”
Captain Alan Myles ran his finger over the busted lock. Whoever broke into their weapons cache knew exactly what they were doing. He looked over his shoulder to the young solider standing a few feet away.
“When was this discovered?”
“Fifteen minutes ago, and I went right to the CO.”
“Do we know what was taken?”
“From the looks of it, automatic weapons and some ammo.”
Alan looked back into the ransacked room. “How much ammo?”
“Enough to keep them busy for at least a day.”
“Which means they’ll probably be back.” He shut the gate door. “We’re going to have to move all the weapons to a new location.”
The young soldier frowned. “All of it?”
“They had no problem getting in the first time,” Alan said as he walked past the solider. “And we don’t have the man-power to keep a guard on 24/7.”
“Any ideas as to where we should relocate it to?”
Alan stopped and faced him. “Find the largest military transport vehicles on base and load them up.” He turned and walked away. “We’ll park them closer to the main building. It’ll be easier to guard them.”
Stolen weapons. Great. That was all he needed. As if his day wasn’t bad enough now he had to worry about the fact there were military grade weapons on the street, and he knew whoever broke into a military base would have no qualms about using them. With the police department weakened and the military not far behind, Alan wasn’t sure how, or if they could get those weapons back. One thing he did know; them would be back.
He walked into the base commander’s office. Colonel Norris stood behind his desk with several sheets of paper in his hand.
“How bad is it?” he asked, not looking up.
“Bad enough,” Alan said. “A few weapons gone along with ammo. I’ve ordered all the remaining weapons and ammunition into military transports. We can keep a closer eye on them if this way.”
“Good idea.” He handed one of the sheets to Alan. “Look at his latest report. The CDC estimates this virus has infected over seventy percent of the global population.”
“That’s not the worse. They estimate a total infection within the next couple weeks.”
Alan read over the report. “How is that possible? Is it air-borne?”
Norris sat in his chair. “Who knows? That report came out three days ago. No-one’s heard anything from them since.”
“Or worse.” Norris rubbed his face in frustration. “We’ve received reports from CFB Trenton that infected people are now lapsing into coma’s. Their base hospital is receiving comatose civilians and military personnel. Over-flow from the local hospitals.” He looked up at Alan. “We should prepare for the same response here.”
Alan blinked a few times. His head suddenly felt foggy and he had a hard time focusing. “Yes, sir.”
“Your brother is not stationed at City Hall. I suggest collaborating with him and whoever is in charge at the Dieu and Kingston General.”
Alan’s legs felt weak as dizziness set in. He lowered his head hoping the dizzy feeling would go away.
“Captain Myles. I something wrong?”
Alan looked up at his CO. A wave of heat raced through his body before he passed out.
The Carriers; Part Seven
© 2013 Dark Conteur Collection of Works