Okay, a brief note to this before reading. I recently decided that it would be fun to write a zombie horror/survival type thing. But Resident Evil has been done to death and Dawn of the Dead is too linear for my tastes, then I remembered Quarantine. Okay movie with a strange plot that was only sort of explained (ala Cloverfield style, which is a touch annoying). So, I thought I'd challenge myself and try to expand on a back story that really didn't exist in any tangible form in the movie. This picks up, more or less, where the movie ends (with some twists thrown in for good measure). Now, that being said, I'm a bit rusty at writing full out fanfic type things. So I can't really promise stellar quality for the first few installments. lol.
In any event, hope you enjoy it and reviews are welcomed (as usual).
The door to the front lobby swung open slowly, its hinges creaking as the muzzle of a rifle protruded from behind the solid oak paneled door. Outside, flashing lights tinged the face of the apartment complex in various hues of red and blue as the strobing lights from several rescue vehicles flickered in the streets. The front entrance was suddenly bathed in a piercing white-blue light as a helicopter made a low pass over the roof of the building, its rotors clearly audible on the ground level, disturbing the protective plastic sheeting that draped the apartment from top to bottom, causing it to flutter in the wake of the down draft caused by its passing. The chopper soon continued on, circling the structure and flooding the windows on each floor with its searchlights, looking for any signs that the quarantine may have been breached before the hazmat teams were sent in. The helicopter hovered for a moment near the front right corner of the building before the pilot opened his communication channel.
"We have no signs of movement. Bravo Two-Zero, you are clear to proceed."
The message crackled over the radio to the ground team, and they responded in kind. Clicking on the light to his tac-rail mounted flashlight, the first soldier took a few tentative steps through the open door and into the darkened interior. He advanced cautiously, breathing steadily from behind his gas mask as he used the light from his rifle to illuminate his surroundings, scanning the lobby and flooding a small periphery of the dim room with light before he began to sweep it across the vestibule, passing over the tiled floor to the nearby wall housing the mailboxes. Holding the stalk of his rifle close to his shoulder and gripping the fore grip tightly in hand, his index finger resting gently on the trigger as he moves his thumb upwards slightly, deactivating the safety, he passed his light towards the stairwell, finding the deceased body of a woman who had been cuffed to the banister. Her limp, motionless body sprawled out on the steps, her skin and clothes soaked in blood that had poured from deep wounds on her neck. Taking only a moment to eye the sight, he scanned back to the left towards a vacant elevator, the floor stained by a large pool of blood that emanated from the corpse of a dog, its head appearing to have been smashed in with a blunt object of some kind. Silently, he gives a hand signal to someone behind him, waving his hand forward, instructing them to follow.
Instantly, eight more soldiers move in, single file, their guns at the ready as their lights dart about the room, searching every darkened corner for any sign of movement or life.
The lead soldier scans a doorway at the back of the room beyond the stairs with his rifle, finding a minuscule smear of blood on the floor just in front of a large metal door that separated the rear of the building from the front. He reaches a hand up to the radio on his shoulder and depresses the push to talk button. Speaking into the mic, his voice somewhat muffled from behind his mask. "This is Bravo Two-Zero. We've entered the apartment building, no signs of life on the ground floor." He said, his words doing little to paint the truly grizzly nature of the scene in full for the biohazard teams that were waiting in the wings behind he and his men. But now was not the time for detail, his mission was specific, secure the building and prepare it for decontamination.
Looking back at the rest of his men who had entered just behind him, he issued his directive. "Richards."
"Set up a perimeter, secure this floor and call in the hazmat teams for clean up."
"The rest of you, sweep and clear this place floor by floor. Keep it tight and don't go anywhere alone. Understood?"
His commands were met with a mixed reaction of nods and "yes, sirs" before a small group of men brushed past him and proceeded towards the rear of the building as the remainder of his men fell in line behind their commander and prepared to follow him.
With his men in action and doing what was needed, he continues forward, approaching the stairs, keeping his eyes and rifle trained on the woman, stepping over her and on to the first step, cautiously making his way to the first landing where he aimed his attention up the next flight, sweeping the walls and floor with his flashlight. Everything was dark outside of the influence of his light, coupled with the low peripheral he had inside the stifling mask, it was damn near impossible to make anything out until you were right on top of it. "Damn quarantine regulations. Who's bright idea was it to cut the power in here anyways?" He thought, irked at the dismal situation into which they had been placed.
Squinting through his goggles and focusing his vision into the center of his light, the soldier moved forward and raised his foot, planting it firmly on the next step up before he glanced back down into the lobby towards the others.
The two men who were supposed to be covering his back were busy gawking over the sight of a dead body and had lost all focus. Speaking harshly, he brought them back in line. "Park! Newman! Get your heads out of your asses and focus damn it!!" His stern order was again baffled by the mask, but it made its point, catching the attention of the two soldiers and calling them to the first landing.
Hurrying to his position, Park apologized. "Sorry, Captain." He said in a low voice.
The Captain sighed in frustration. "Don't be sorry, be alert and do your job." He said over his shoulder before resuming his climb up the staircase, the others close at his back as they neared the top.
Taking that final step up to the landing on the second floor, the Captain did a quick recon of the open apartment door to his right, peering into the darkened room for a moment, shining his light down the main corridor into the living room. Finding it seemingly empty, he shifted his attention left, giving another hand signal to the soldiers behind him to continue their advance as he maintained his active sweep of the floor in front of them, running his light over the line of doors on the right hand side of the corridor as the men behind him filed up the steps onto the second floor landing. As the Captain led the way towards the stairs leading to the third floor, a loud crash was heard emanating from somewhere above their position.
Reacting in an instant, the Captain's hand shot up, his fist clenched in the standard "hold position" signal, bringing an abrupt halt to the advancing line of soldiers. They held their ground, waiting for something, anything, a myriad of lights suddenly focused on the stairwell leading to the third floor.
Anxiety built in the cramped hallways of the building as the commotion above increased and seemed to be moving in their general direction. The Captain gripped his rifle tightly in his hands as his pulse raced. He fought to calm his breathing and hold his nerves steady to ensure that his aim would be true should a hostile entity show itself. His mouth felt dry and his heart seemed to be beating out a deafening rhythm in his head as beads of sweat formed on his brow and palms. His knees felt weak, almost as if they could give out at any second. Yet, in spite of all of the physical maladies assailing him, the adrenaline coursing through his veins negated his conscious recognition of his anxieties. Instead, it gave rise in him to an unparalleled sensation of invulnerability and awareness. He somehow felt connected to every one and everything in the room. He could read the actions of his men with exceptional clarity as they waited at his side with bated breath for whatever was coming their way. His rifle felt as if though it was not a tool, but an extension of his person. The adrenaline was slowly, but surely, altering his mental state. In place of his trepidations was an almost fearless intrepidity and sense of security.
Suddenly, an inhuman shriek pierced the silence, drawing everyone's attention upwards in time to catch the rapid movement of a figure as it rounded the first turn on the way down from the top story to the third floor landing between floors. It was too fast for anyone to comprehend at first, but once the thing came into full view on the landing, several dozen flashlights suddenly converged on its form in the darkness, it became obvious what it was. The tattered remains of an L.A.P.D. Officers uniform identified them with clarity as one of the officers who had first responded to the disturbance over five hours ago. If he had been human once, there was little indication of that now outside of his still human form. Foam built up on the person's mouth and lips, their pupils tightly constricted, flinching at the sudden introduction of light into the dank conditions they had become accustomed to over the hours here. Blood seeped out from deep neck wounds and stained the normally white T-shirt beneath the black uniform shirt a deep sanguine red. For all intents and purposes, there was little reason to believe this thing was even human anymore.
The Captain stared back at the creature for a moment, his mind wracked with disbelief at what he had come face to face with. The officer stood at the top of the stairs for a moment, equally stunned by the presence of the soldiers, before it let out another scream and advanced on the small squad, hurling itself down the stairs towards the first solider to come within arms reach.
Reacting to the threat without a moments pause, the Captain gave his orders, squeezing his trigger first and letting a controlled burst of the 5.56mm rounds from his M16-A2 penetrate the thing's chest. "Fire!!"
Soon, the entire squad followed suit, unleashing an obnoxious cacophony of noise inside the building, their combined efforts bringing a quick end to the grotesque creature's existence as it fell short of the squad and crumpled up in a lifeless heap near the bottom step, its chest riddled with multiple entry wounds from several dozen direct hits.
It took a moment for the events to sink in and process inside the Captain's mind, but he finally came back around, the radio on his shoulder snapping with static as a frantic tone kept calling out for a report.
"Report! Captain, report!.... Report now!! What is the situation?"
Reaching a hand up, he keyed the mic and replied. "We encountered a.... A...." His mind struggled to cobble together a viable response. They had been sent here under the assumption that this was a terrorist attack of some sort. But terrorists don't turn people into ravenous zombies that attack other people on sign for no reason. Capitulating to that one thought, the only thought that fit at the moment and answered the question. "It was a zombie, sir." Releasing the button on his radio he almost couldn't believe that word had slipped out of his own mouth.
"Zombie". That was just a scary creature made up by Hollywood so they had an excuse to make movies. At least, that's what he thought they were. They didn't actually seem plausible.
An eerie silence filled the second floor hallway as a pause overtook the radio waves for a moment, all communications seemed to cease as a new plan was, presumably, being formulated by the CDC. And, on many levels, the Captain hoped that they were going to order them back outside to seal the place back up. Hell, at this point, if their new plan was to bomb the place to rubble, he would be all for it. This place gave him the creeps and set his mind ill at ease, even more so now that he had encountered what they were truly up against. He eyed the dead officer on the bottom step, wondering what kind of disease or biological weapon could do this to a normal human being. Turn them from a docile person into a violent maniac with a blood lust. It didn't make sense, and, maybe, in a lot of ways, he didn't want it to make sense. Perhaps the truth behind the matter could be more terrifying than whatever was going on here in this little corner of the world.
Suddenly, a voice crackled over the radio into his ear, startling him at first and causing his pulse to momentarily rise before he calmed himself upon realizing what it was.
"The plan proceeds as usual, Captain. Clear that building and prepare it for decontamination."
He was just about ready to reply to the voice when it interrupted him again.
"And, Captain.... There were no survivors. Understood?"
The order stunned him and took him by complete surprise. Murder survivors? What the hell kind of mess had been unleashed here that would warrant that kind of call? Just to be sure he got that right and it wasn't a figment of his imagination, the Captain clicked his mic on. "Sir?"
The voice repeated the ultimatum again, a harsh, cold disposition to it that defined the order in no uncertain terms. "There were no survivors, Captain Masterson.... Are we clear?"
Masterson swallowed hard when the words were repeated to him. Much to his chagrin, he had not misheard them. His superiors were actually ordering him to shoot survivors on sight to keep a lid on things. Responding as steadily as he could, he confirmed that he had received the orders clearly. "Understood, sir. Bravo Two-Zero out."
Turning back to his squad, Captain Masterson could hardly believe the order he was about to relay to his men. It took a second for the words to form, but he finally forced them out. "We proceed as planned.... Survivors are to be treated as liabilities. Shoot everything on sight."
Simply reiterating those chilling words was enough to deliver a twinge of sickness to his gut, and he could tell by the body language exhibited amongst the men of his squad that the order had not landed well with them either. But they were soldiers, trained to follow orders. And he was their leader, trained to set the example. Turning his attention back up the stairs, he led his men forward once more into the breach, where their resolve and mettle would undoubtedly be tested to near its limit.