Hello Kittens! It's been years but I'm still here! Unfortunately real life has limited my time to write out these endless tales that are forever re-playing in my head. This is one that I've been thinking about for the last 6 years, believe it or not. I was intrigued by the messages portrayed through the characters in the film "28 Days Later" and I just couldn't help but think what if? So I finally sat down and put all my notes together and came up with a plot! If you're already thinking "Omg I h8 zombie/horror stories" or "I never watched the movie!" Never fear! This is definitely not one of those fics. I don't do horror. This story builds upon the drama between the characters so even if you haven't seen 28DL, the average reader will still "get it." For personal reasons I managed to keep the raunchiness to a minimum in comparison with my other stories. I've never been to England so after some lengthy research on British culture (and there's a lot of it) I came up with something I'm proud of.
Now for a little disclaimer action: This story is in no way shape or form making me any richer, nor meant to disrespect or slander the creators (FOX Searchlight) of the film in question, actors, screen writers, directors/producers, and whatever big shots that had a hand in making such an inspiring movie! This is just a crappy (not literally) fanfic by a sadistic fan who doesn't even have a job to pay you with should I somehow get sued for whatever reason.
Read and Enjoy!
30 Days After by Lastlegolife
Chapter 1: Survivors
Gray clouds covered the skies over the empty highway. The air was humid and promised rain by nightfall. The M602 would usually be crowded at this time of day. But it hadn't been used in nearly a month. The lush vegetation along the side of the road grew wild and free and was in bad need of proper trimming.
A small black cab sped down the abandoned highway, unbound by traffic rules and law enforcement officers. Grocery bags and suitcases were strapped down to the roof of the vehicle. More treasures jutted out through the back end of the cab. The trunk lid, which was tied down, held everything in place.
Frank, the driver, squeezed the steering wheel in anticipation. After all this time they'd finally reach the sanctuary they'd been hoping for. He glanced in the rear view mirror at his daughter, Hannah, a short and skinny brunette, who was sleeping in the backseat. The fifteen year old girl folded her arms against her chest and leaned against the woman next to her. Selena, whose features resembled that of an African goddess, merely shut her eyes and pressed her head against the cold window glass.
A third woman occupied the other window seat in back. She too was dark-skinned, tall, and a Yank. They'd picked her up only yesterday in the back of an abandoned store in Birmingham while searching for food. She told them that she'd been hiding there for many weeks, lost and alone. The twenty-something girl was just as ecstatic as they were when she learned about the surviving military base in Manchester. They welcomed her to their traveling party with open arms. She said her name was Lucia.
There was an obstruction on the road up ahead.
"Is that it?" Jim, the other man in the car, asked from the passenger seat.
"42nd Blockade," Frank nodded, slowing the cab down to a reasonable speed. "This is it."
Walls of metal and barbed wire stretched across the road. Concrete barriers lined the sides of it. A pair of empty military jeeps sat quietly near the open gate leading further into the barricade. Frank drove the small cab through a handful of overturned civilian sedans and passed an empty security booths. Upon entering the gates there were more military vehicles with massive guns mounted on them and empty supply trucks. Beyond that lay dozens of green tents and a lone helicopter but no life.
Frank stopped the cab and the passengers stepped out to look around. The same knowing expression read on their faces as they wandered around the area, hoping to find some sign of life. The older man examined a wide canopy tent that housed an outdoor kitchen and benches with plates of rotting food and sour coffee on them. Flies and scavenger beetles feasted upon on the abandoned leftovers.
Hannah approached him. "I don't understand Dad. Did they leave?"
"I don't like this. I think we should leave," Selena called from across the way.
"No!" Frank yelled back. He whipped around and peeked into the window of the helicopter. "Vehicles. We have to check the vehicles! There's gotta be something!"
Lucia quietly examined the helicopter from the other side. She pulled the door open and inspected the cockpit in hopes to find something of use or a simple sign that it was even still flyable. That would be good enough for her... even if she didn't know how to operate one. She sighed at how silly the idea was and hopped out.
Frank frantically peeked inside every vehicle in sight. The others followed him hopelessly.
"Frank?" Selena pleaded.
"We have to go?"
The brown goddess nodded softly. "Yeah."
"Go fucking where?!" He shouted.
The hush over the camp was deafening.
Frank stormed off toward the empty booths alone. He paced around the open gates in heavy thought. All of their hopes to for rescue had been shattered. If soldiers couldn't even survive through this, how the fuck did he expect to save Hannah. Going back to his flat would be pointless now for lack of food and water. Perhaps the grocery store where Lucia had taken up shelter would better serve as a temporary hideout. It wasn't safe but at least they have a roof over their heads and nourishment. He needed time to think.
Frank glanced upward. A decomposing corpse dangled from the roof of the next booth. A crow perched himself on the body, announcing his presence to the man below.
"Get out of it," he muttered.
The crow cawed again mockingly.
"Get out of it!" Frank growled and kicked the gate beneath him.
The tremor passed through the sheet metal and channeled into the pole that impaled the corpse above. A fatal drop of blood plummeted to the earth, striking Frank in his left eye. He gasped, clutching his face in horror. Pulling back his hand he saw a smear of contaminated blood on his finger.
"Dad? Are you alright."
His concerned daughter appeared before him.
"Yes sweetheart," he said to her softly. "I'm sorry I lost my temper."
Satisfied, the young girl turned to leave.
"Hannah," he called her back. "I love you... very much."
She chuckled and went over to hug him.
Frank reared back. "Keep away from me!"
Puzzled, Hannah moved a bit closer. "Dad, what's wrong?"
"Keep away from me!" He grabbed her arms and shoved her back. Her screams alerted the rest of the party and they came running. "Keep away!"
Frank stomped around in a circle, flailing his arms and screaming at the top of his lungs. Selena dropped to Hannah's side. One look at the old cabby and she knew.
"Jim!" She shrieked to the younger man. "Jim, he's Infected! Kill him!"
"No!" Hannah screamed and lurched forward only to be stopped by Selena. "No!"
Jim raised his baseball bat but hesitated.
"Jim kill him!" Selena kept the young girl pinned to the ground. "Kill him!!"
"No! No!" Hannah protested.
Frank turned to the younger man and glared at him through dark red eyes. Blood dribbled from the corners of his mouth. There were no words to reason with. The Rage virus had completely taken over his body. Eat to kill, kill to eat. He was no longer the happy-go-lucky cabby they had grew to know. He was now an Infected.
Gunfire echoed throughout the abandoned camp as bullets ripped through his torso. More invisible bullets rained from above striking the corpse as it crashed to the pavement. The firing ceased. Movement in the brush nearby caught everyone's eye. A gun and a head covered with a gas mask popped up above the lush foliage.
"Stay away from him!"
In front of them a second masked soldier rounded the corner with his gun drawn. He took aim at the corpse at Jim's feet. "Keep away from the body!"
The four civilians looked on in shock.
"Dad?" Hannah's eyes never left her father.
Frank was dead.
Private Clifton drove the black cab down the M602 gladly leaving the ruined blockade behind to rot. He glanced into the rearview mirror at his own pale face and scratched his rugged chin. When was the last time he'd shaved? He wore a green hood jeweled with colorful buttons and pins. He lifted it and scratched his pale forehead absently. When was the last time he gave a damn? Who cares what you look like when it's the end of the world! But perhaps, just for tonight, he would.
The soldier glanced at the small truck following behind him. In the back sat the four survivors. Each with their head down replaying Frank's death in their head. The soldiers had dragged his remains away into the brush to lay amongst a cache of bodies stored away near the campsite. Hannah silently stared off into space. She cried at first, but then drifted off into an eerie silence and hadn't spoken since. Lucia felt terribly for the girl but there wasn't a word that she could say to make it better. It was best to let her deal with it on her own.
Corporal Mitchell accompanied the four in the back of the truck. He towered over them, leaning against the side railing near the machine gun mounted on the roof of the vehicle. A grin spread across his lips as he scanned over the women. Had they all not hung their heads in sorrow over the loss of their dear friend, they would have noticed his blazing fascination with the African goddess.
Sergeant Farrell, the oldest of the three soldiers, occupied the drivers seat of the truck. Finally their efforts to find survivors had paid off. It was no doubt the others would be as equally elated to see them.
The cab turned abruptly onto a dirt road hidden in the brush. There was nothing but trees and fog as far as the eye could see. Mitchell spoke into a radio announcing their approach to a voice on the other end of the frequency. After a few minutes they turned onto a small unmarked street. The trees disappeared and revealed a massive field of green grass. Out in the distance sat a three-story red brick mansion. As they came closer they saw it had been converted from a typical English country house to a militarized fortress.
The vehicles passed through a set of iron gates. As they followed the dirt path, they approached a make-shift fence of barb wire and metal. Two soldiers in green camouflage appeared and carefully moved it out of the way so they could enter.
A slender man appeared between the two pillars in the main doorway of the house as they pulled up. His red hair had been shaven down to mere peach fuzz, and his brow was as bold as the rest of his facial features. His height and stature suggested his authority and demanded respect as he towered over all others present. The truck stopped and the quartet hopped out. The tall man stepped forward with a smile as gentle as his voice.
"I'm Major Henry West," he scanned over each of the weary survivors and shook their hands as they introduced themselves. "We have clean beds, with clean sheets, and a boiler that produces hot water, so you all can have a shower."
Lucia nearly salivated at the thought of a hot shower. No more trying to wash up with cold water out of a bathroom sink. She glanced over the area around them. There were sandbags and barbed wire everywhere. Flood lights were mounted high on various parts of the house. Raised platforms with heavy machine guns standing by in wait were positioned all around them. Her gaze passed over the other soldiers who stood nearby. She cut her eyes over to one in particular who couldn't seem to take his eyes off Selena's backside.
Major West politely ushered them into the house.
Lucia expected to see more civilians wandering the hallways around the foyer but was disappointed to see that there were none. The commanding officer led them to a guest room on the first floor and pointed them to a bathroom with a nearby shower attached to it. He promised them more suitable quarters by the nights end and left the room. Lucia was second to bathe after Jim. She couldn't remember the last time warm water felt so good. Unfortunately she'd have to put her original clothes back on. Thank goodness she had a couple spare shirts and a change of underwear in her bag in the trunk of the cab.
It appeared that they were the only civilian survivors in the building alongside of eight or so military men. She wasn't sure if she should feel happy or let down but it was a relief to be around more people and armed ones at that. But at the same time she was hoping for rescue, and it seemed like these soldiers were just as stranded as she had been in the back room of the grocery store. Wether she liked it or not it would have to do. At least there were guns.
Unlike the States, obtaining a firearm was very difficult in England. Strict and enforced gun laws prevented the average citizen from owning one. Even police officers had to abide by the rules. A beautiful law to maintain a peaceful nation it was indeed. But since Infection Lucia couldn't help but miss the Second Amendment.
I just wish the testosterone levels in this place weren't so high.
She shook away the thought. By the time Lucia finished washing up it was nearly nightfall so she decided to explore the house leaving Jim, Selena, and Hannah alone in the room.
The other two adults watched carefully over the teenage girl, whom fell asleep on a bed. Selena sat by the window, obviously still distraught over the days events. Jim sat nearby to offer her some comfort.
"How is she?" He asked.
"She's lost her dad, Jim," The African goddess chuckled painfully. "That's how she is... It's all fucked."
"What do you mean?" He asked softly.
Selena curled her legs up to her body and broke into tears. Jim laid a soothing hand on her shoulder.
"Don't do that," he cooed over her sobs. "Hannah is just like Frank said. She's a tough girl. She'll learn to cope with it just like you and I, and all of us have coped."
Selena shook her head furiously.
"I don't want her to fucking cope! I want her to be okay! When Hannah had her dad, it was okay for them, and okay for us," She shook her head again. "Now it's all fucked."
Jim watched her for a moment and suddenly kissed her. Caught off guard, Selena reared back and stared into his eyes before locking lips with him again. He'd been attracted to her since the first day they met in the streets of London but the African goddess wasn't so easily won over. The harsh reality of their situation had ignited her instincts for survival and she'd suppressed all emotions in order to do so. But seeing a family torn apart before her very eyes left her with a feeling of weakness and vulnerability.
Jim wrapped his arms around each other in a gentle embrace, but Selena pulled away from him abruptly and flew out of the room.
According to the 'resident tin-opener' of the house, dinner was served.
Lucia was likely to be the last to arrive at the table. Her exploration of the house had taken her to the study. It was a cozy room with a few fancy sofas and chairs sitting in a circle at the center of the room. There were tall book shelves against every wall except for the farthest which was home to three tall windows. The drapes had been pulled back and tied elegantly with golden ropes. On the back wall over the fireplace was an old oil painting of the mansion's former mistress whose now infected remains lay motionless somewhere in the neighboring woods with six large bullet holes in her chest.
Lucia paid little attention to it for her eyes were attracted to the large boxes that occupied every corner of the room. She ran her fingers across the words on one of them trying to make sense of the letters in the dark. S-H-A-R-P. She inspected another corner and found many other labeled boxes with pictures of stereo systems and other electronics on them.
Her brow wrinkled with confusion.
Lucia looked back over her shoulder, not least bit startled. A tall man with a very uneven haircut stood in the doorway observing her.
He stuck out his thumb and pointed towards the hall. "Soups on." The soldier stepped aside to let her pass then followed closely behind her.
The house had to be kept dark to avoid attracting the Infected still wandering around the woods. For a few moments, she was disappointed that he didn't insist on leading the way. The last thing she wanted to do was trip over something, but after feeling his eyes burning into her back, she understood.
"What's your name?" He asked.
She hesitated a moment. "Lucia."
"That's pretty." He said in a tone that annoyed her. "Are you an American?"
Lucia maintained a quickened pace though his body language suggested otherwise."That's right."
He took longer strides to catch up. "You're far away from home. How old are you?"
Something inside her gut didn't want to give an answer Up ahead there were sounds of chanting.
"Will there be chips or jacket spuds? Will there be salad or frozen peas?"
"What's that?" She asked.
"Just the boys celebratin' I guess. You're the first survivors we've seen since it started."
Lucia managed to get to the dining room without having to answer anymore of his questions.
In the center of the room sat a long cherry wood table. Each place was set out neatly with all the utensils, napkins, and plates laid out in their correct spots. The middle of the table was taken up by several silver polished candlestick holders which supported the only light source in the room. The soldiers were howling some sort of song she had never heard of before and beating their fists rhythmically against the table. They paused momentarily and looked up as she wandered into the room. She decided to take a comfortable seat in the corner next to Jim and the others
"Will there be mushrooms? Fried onion rings? You'll have to wait and see!"
The men continued to chant and smile.
Private Jones busied himself around the back table against the wall. He wore a ruffled pink apron over his green camouflage uniform. The image nearly made Lucia smile but her unsettling stomach forbade it.
"Hope it's chips, it's chips! We hope it's chips, it's chips!"
Moments later, the voices of the men arose and the chant was broken. The air was filled with applause and shouts of praise. Puzzled the four newcomers remained silent. Major Henry West entered the room dressed formally in a fancy military uniform and hat. A smile crossed his face as he walked tall and proudly to his seat directly across from Hannah. Private Jones shut the door behind him.
West casually reached over to Clifton and yanked the green hood from his head. He tossed it onto the table and looked around the room, gently signally for everyone to quiet down.
"So, what have we here." He glanced around at the platters Jones had neatly set onto the table. "Tinned ham, tinned peas, tinned beans, and . . ."
He paused at the covered platter and glanced up at Jones who grinned eagerly. The soldiers leaned forward in their seats as West lifted the lid. They gasped in amazement.
"Omelette!" West looked around the room in surprise. Then said to the pretty private, "You've prepared a feast Jones!"
Lucia struggled to cover the utter look of disgust that had crept it's way onto her expression as the Major listed the contents of tonight's meal. Is this what they called a feast? Even while in hiding in the back of the store, she had plenty of food at her disposal. Surely a house so grand had more than just canned carrots sitting in the pantry? From the looks of it the rations her were going to meager. Somehow this place seemed like a notch down on the shit list. But seeing as how she was in no position to complain or demand, she simply sighed inwardly and tried to remember if there was an irradiated apple in her bag outside.
It was then Lucia noticed the Sergeant sitting next to her at the end of the table. The Scottish man was staring hard at everyone around the table. He looked as if though someone had just spit in his tea, though he was uncomfortably silent.
"In honor of our guests, sir,"Jones announced proudly.
West picked up his fork and used it to tear a piece of the omelette away and onto his plate. "I was going to make a toast but this omelette will do just as well."
Selena and Jim gave each other a strange look.
West raised his fork in the air with a large chunk of egg dangling at the end of it. "To new friends."
"To new friends," the soldiers repeated.
Everyone's anxious eyes watched as West's fork carried the eggy substance up to his mouth. His jaw rose and fell twice then he stopped and his eyes grew wide. He looked at the pretty pink private accusingly then leaned over his plate and let the eggs fall out of his mouth. He tossed his fork down with a clatter.
"Jones, did you notice while cooking that these eggs were off?" His tone surprised everyone.
Jones glanced quickly around at his comrades who averted their gaze. "I-I thought the salt might cover the taste, sir."
West softened his voice and picked the last bits of egg from his teeth and tossed it onto the plate. "Get rid of it."
The pretty private hopped to his feet and began to do as he was told. Many incoherent grumbles of disappointment arose from around the table. West sat down in his seat and placed his napkin on his lap with a heavy sigh.
"I don't suppose you can cook can you?" He said to the three females sitting across from him. "Can't tell you how badly we need somebody around here with a little flair in the kitchen."
The ladies skipped a breath and gave him the same polite 'fuck you' look.
The soldier with the poor haircut, Private Davis, twirled his fork around against his plate absently. "What a fucking disappointment. When I saw those eggs, I thought it was Christmas."
Private Bell, the only other dark-skinned person in the room, lifted out of his seat and speared a thin slice of ham laying on the platter across from him with his fork and dropped it onto his plate. "We'll all be having eggs again soon once everything's back to normal."
Corporal Mitchell was quick to speak. "Ah, you muppet! Look at him, eh? He's still waiting for Marks and Spencer's to reopen. Listen mate, you don't know nothing!"
The newcomers shifted their eyes back and forth between the soldiers nervously as they all laughed at Mitchell's words.
"Well I think Bell's got a point," the Sergeant cut in. He was the only one of them who wasn't enjoying the laughter. "If you look at the whole life of the planet, we, you know, man has only been around for a few blinks of on eye. So if Infection wipes us all out, that is a return to normality."
There air became tense as everyone fell silent, possibly taking in his words. It was uncertain.
The Sergeant turned to the dark soldier. "Is that what you meant, Bell?"
The private shrugged. "Yeah, yeah."
"Have you met our new-age Sergeant?" West chuckled. "Our spiritual guru?"
The newcomers pretended not to hear him and looked away as the rest of the men giggled. The Sergeant was not amused.
"Tell me Farrell, why exactly did you join the army in the first place?" West asked in a mocking tone.
He went on.
"Let me tell you what I've seen in the four weeks since Infection." West started. The room remained quiet as he spoke. "People killing people; which is much like I saw in the four weeks before infection and the four weeks before that. As far back as I care to remember, it was just people killing people, which in my mind puts us in a state of normality right now."
The commanding officer received several odd glances from the newcomers but nobody noticed. No one moved or spoke for several seconds. Selena was first to come out of her trance and turned to the fifteen-year old girl next to her who seemed to be a stone's throw away from falling completely into shock.
"You're not eating," she said to her quietly.
"I don't want to eat," the girl replied softly.
"You must eat Hannah." West said with a gentleness that his men rarely ever got to see.
Hannah turned her gaze up to him. "I don't want to eat. I want to bury my dad. He's one of the people you're talking about?"
Major West could tear down the opinions of his second-in-command and preach proverbs to his men, but in the face of a little girl he couldn't think of a witty response and only nodded in agreement.
A large explosion outside rocked the room.
The plates rattled hard against the table. The soldiers jumped up and grabbed their guns. Sergeant Farrell began yelling out commands and directed everyone to get to their places outside. The newcomers watched slightly entertained as they all sprang into action. Sirens began to blare and the flood lights lining the front lawn switched on.
Jim and Selena ran after them and stopped by one of the windows in the foyer to watch the battle commence. To Lucia's surprise, West didn't make any moves to join in on the fight. Since he stayed, she stayed. There was no way in Hell she would leave Hannah alone with him after that little speech. She could already tell that something was up. Peace didn't live within the walls of the mansion and it never would.
"There's no need to worry," he assured them. "These sort of attacks happen every so often."
"That's nice to know," Lucia replied.
He tilted his head at her slightly. "Are you an American?"
The bullets stopped and the siren ceased. Everyone listened to the soldier's chatter as they reentered the mansion
She smirked. "Is it that obvious?"
"Are you an exchange student or just visiting?"
Lucia shrugged. "I think I've been here long enough to declare residency now."
The Major studied her a moment. Though her physical features retained the youthfulness of a teenager, the serious manner in which she carried herself suggested that she was a twenty-something woman well matured beyond her years. Lucia had skin the shade of creamy milk-chocolate. Natural beauty blessed her with an even-sized nose and a set of perfectly proportioned lips. Her sharp eyes were well complemented by a pair of thin eyebrows and medium length hair. Genetics allowed her to be tall but, to her dismay, thicker in several undesirable areas.
Suddenly Selena's shouts echoed into the room. Lucia was just about to get up but Major West beat her to it. He excused himself from the table and left the two girls alone.
Lucia turned her head toward Hannah. "Do you think staying here is a good idea?"
Maybe her assumptions were wrong? Or maybe it was because she was surrounded by so many strangers in a foreign land? Hannah shook her head silently.
Lucia slouched back in her chair. "Me neither."
She picked up her steak knife and wrapped the blade up with her napkin then stuffed it all in her right pocket. She grabbed several pieces of tinned ham from the platter and started to gobble them down quickly. She'd be damned if she starved tonight.
"Sergeant Farrell!" They heard West yell from the foyer.
"I don't like him." Hannah admitted.
"He's sure got a power complex doesn't he?" Lucia said. "I think we walked right into the middle of a civil dispute between those that believe his bullshit and the few that don't. I don't like having to live by the rules of power hungry men."
Lucia got up from her chair and went to the door to see if she could see what the others were doing. She watched Selena hurry down the adjacent hallway in a huff. Jim appeared and looked after her, then turned around toward Lucia and motioned for her to follow.
Lucia turned back to the dining room. "Come on Hannah."
By the time both girls entered the foyer Jim was already heading into another room with Major West. They could hear the voices of the other soldiers talking outside. So instead they followed Selena and went to their temporary quarters.
Selena had the machete raised and ready to strike as they walked into the door causing them to pause in mid-step. She breathed a sigh of relief and lowered her weapon before taking a seat next to the window sill. Lucia shut the door behind them and leaned against it. Hannah laid down on the bed and shut her eyes. Selena was visibly upset about something. Her hands were trembling even though she was fighting hard to keep them steady.
Lucia studied her for a few moments before she spoke. "We can't stay here. There's something not right about this place."
Selena leaned back and shut her eyes. She didn't speak for so long that Lucia thought she was being ignored.
"We can't go anywhere tonight," she said finally. "But we are DEFINITELY leaving tomorrow."
"I'll try to swipe a gun if I can."
Selena chuckled. "They'd shoot you first."
"Somehow I seriously doubt that."
There was a knock at the door. Lucia moved back and opened it. It was Jim and Major West.
"We have rooms all ready for you upstairs," he announced. "Get your stuff."
Now was not the time to discuss their plan to flee at the break of dawn. Jim and the others were taken outside where Frank's old black cab was parked. West waited by the doorway while they gathered their belongings. Lucia causally went to the front of the cab and pulled the keys out of the ignition and stuffed them in her left pocket while the Major was momentarily watching the men drag the bodies of the Infected off the lawn. He led them back into the house and up the tall staircase.
Lucia despised staircases. She took up the rear of the group. Jim dropped back to walk with her.
"What happened?" She asked in a low voice.
"He apologized." Jim looked at the floor. "Said it wouldn't happen again."
"You buy that?" Lucia looked at him.
He didn't have to answer. She dug into her pocket and pulled the keys out, careful not to let them jingle, and pressed them into his hand. He nodded silently and put them away.