Nobody ever saw it coming. Everybody thought it was just sci-fi jargon until it wasn't. We didn't know how it started, it just happened. All the books, all the movies, all the conspiracy theorists were right all along.
The first time I saw it was on a Sunday. I hadn't celebrated Mass in months. The priest walked up the aisle, as was how the Mass is started, and everybody at Church saw his bleeding left hand. Somebody in the crowd shouted "the blood of Christ!" as the priest raised the cup with the wine. After that everything was out of control. People were clamouring for the altar to drink the "blood of Christ". This was a bloody Catholic mass, who better for the blood to come from than from a Catholic priest?
I don't even know why I didn't drink the blood. I always thought to myself there would have been a rational reason for why the priest was bleeding out, even if the wound was already bandaged up. Here I was, a disillusioned Catholic in a crowd of nearly a thousand people, all of them going crazy, all of them continually asking the priest to put his hand over their bottles of water or their glasses or over their mouths, even. The priest was reluctant, but even he couldn't control the frenzied crowd.
There were only a handful of us who didn't go over to drink the blood, but I think I was the only one to just run away from Mass. I had to go somewhere after the Mass, so I thought they wouldn't mind if I got out a little early.
I just couldn't believe that that was the blood of Christ himself. It was too good to be true. Sadly for me and for everyone else, that was the end of everything.
I woke up tired and still dressed in my attire from the night before. I heard a car crash, random shooting, and people screaming in pain. Looking out my window, I couldn't understand what was happening. This was Metro Manila; it's considered a normal part of life to hear these things – but not in the upper-class, gated communities like the one I lived in.
What got me outside of my house was when my neighbour drove his car straight into my front yard, causing serious damage to my garage door. I remember bursting out of my front door, screaming at the top of my lungs.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I screamed as he got out of his car, wearing his nightclothes and brandishing a bloody left hand. I remember feeling that the wound looked eerily familiar, as though I'd seen it before. Right there it hit me: whatever injured the priest from last night probably also injured him.
"You've got to help me," my neighbour said, breathless, still trying to stop the bleeding from his arm, "my maid is insane! She tried to bite me! I knew it was a bad idea to hire a Catholic maid, they've all been brainwashed!"
"'Brainwashed?'", I repeated.
"That's right, brainwashed! You and all your Catholic people are out of your minds! Everyone who went to that stupid priest's Mass last night, all of them are going crazy. Trying to bite people and all that! I heard Julie from next door had her leg ripped off by her own husband! And he went to your house of demon-worship last night, too!"
"All of those who are trying to bite people, they all came from Mass last night?" I asked, still confused.
"YES! That's what I've been trying to tell you, you idiot," he shouted at me. "You'd think you'd have brains for being a millionaire at 22! Moron, read my lips: my-maid-tried-to-bite-my-hand-off." His face was losing colour, his hand was still bleeding.
I shrugged off the insult and told him to help me push his car off my garage door to clear the driveway. I had no idea how I was able to comprehend the situation, but all I wanted to do now was to get out of the area.
I got my car out of my garage after I pried open the door with a crowbar (I don't even remember owning a crowbar) and he entered the passenger seat, his hand bleeding all over the seat.
"Have you got money?" I asked him as I suddenly felt my wallet in my back pocket and my cell phone in my front pocket.
"Yeah, I grabbed my wallet and phone as I ran out of the house-"
"And rammed my freaking garage door," I said, starting to flare up at the fact that he destroyed my garage door.
This led to an argument that I don't remember the words to. The next thing I remember is dropping him off at the hospital, where there were literally hundreds of people, many of them sporting the same bleeding wounds all over their body. I remember one man getting out of his car with a bleeding crotch.
I left my neighbour there and went back to my house, pondering over how to clean my blood-soaked passenger seat. If I knew then what I knew now I would have brought along the crowbar and drove as far away from the city as I could.
I didn't bother dressing up when I poured myself a cup of coffee and turned on the TV to the sounds of static. I didn't bother to turn off the TV when I fell asleep on my chair in the living room.
I remember waking up to the sounds of banging on my door. Looking out my window I saw my neighbour, Susana. I immediately opened the door; she nearly tripped herself coming in.
"Close the door, hurry!" she said. I did as told, locking us in. Then I stared in confusion as she began to push my chair onto the door.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"There were three people out there on the street eating my dog raw – RAW. I was just standing there as one of them tore off his leg and just chewed on it. I yelled at them to stop, then they all looked at me, all of them were filled with blood. One of them had this big knife sticking out of his chest. They started moaning, their arms were raised and they just started shuffling towards me. It was like they were doing the Thriller, I had no idea what was wrong with them. I just ran."
I remember staring at her. Her hazel eyes seemed to glow with fear. I don't know what got into me that I just believed her. She looked outside my window, and then she jumped back, screaming in fear. I looked out, and saw three bloodied people shambling towards us. One of them was sporting a butcher's knife stuck to their chest; the wound where the knife was wasn't bleeding out at all.
So there I was: with Susana, not knowing what the hell we were going to do in a house that was not built to withstand break-in. I remember that back then I still believed that they only became sick because of drinking the priest's blood, that they were still alive – even though the huge knife sticking out of that guy's chest would say otherwise. I did, however, believe that I did not want to get bitten by any of them.
Here I am now, chronicling these down in whatever piece of paper I can find, to be read by nobody. Maybe when everything returns to normal I'll be able to put these together and make a book, like that girl who wrote a diary.
Maybe Susana and I would have had a better chance if I knew then what I knew now.