Word Count: 1,031
I paced the room, back and forth, back and forth. They had been gone for nearly half an hour now should I be worried? The man couldn't have gotten into the hotel could he? And even if he had what's the worst he could do? He wasn't exactly coherent and the hotel security staff were more than capable of doing their jobs, weren't they? My dad was a pretty big guy, it seemed highly unlikely that he'd get hurt.
Nevertheless, I could not calm the beating of my heart or the sweaty palms I had. Thoughts were racing through my mind and every second I spent in the hotel room seemed like another second gone by of me betraying my parents. What if they needed my help?
I decided to risk it. To hell with staying in here any longer, I had spent a week in this hotel, wandering from room to room and now was the time to break that. Now was the time to be brave. I pulled on my trainers, my beloved Converse that had seen me through the years, tugged on a jacket and left the room. The hallway was completely deserted, every door was shut and the light on the ceiling just ahead of me flickered once then went out completely.
I turned in the opposite direction and headed downstairs. Down one flight of steps, then another, round the long bending corridor and through the glass doors that led into the lobby. Immediately I sensed that something was wrong.
There was a small cluster of people crouched low on the floor, my parents were among them. The receptionist was on the phone looking frightened, her nervous eyes darting to whatever was on the floor. Curiosity clouding reasonable judgement led me through those doors and into the lobby. Nobody looked up as I entered and I saw why.
There was a woman laying on the floor unconscious. She was shaking slightly, her skin was ashen and her hair matted against her forehead. There was a nasty looking wound on her wrist. Bloody bandages lay strewn across the floor.
'She's unconscious but still breathing,' The receptionist said down the phone. 'Hurry!'
She hung up but did not join the others. Instead, she pressed her back against the wall as though she wanted to be anywhere but there. I was frozen to the spot, completely unsure what to do, if I should do anything. Should I just go back to my room? Nobody's noticed me yet.
It was like an out of body experience, like I was watching it from above. It was a scene in a movie and I didn't know my lines.
'Joe!' Dad sounded angry. 'I told you to stay in the room!'
Before I could respond, the woman on the ground jerked upwards violently and then fell flat against the floor again. She gave one last gasping breath before her chest stopped moving.
'She's dead,' someone muttered.
Another guy leaned forward and started giving her CPR. He tilted her head back, pinched her nose and breathed into her mouth. He was the only one who was doing anything, other people were in shock. A few of them stood up and backed away. There was only my Mum, Dad and the man giving CPR that remained on the ground. My mother was holding the girl's hand.
'She's gone,' Mum whispered. 'Let her go.'
The man ignored my mother and continued giving her CPR and it was then that I realized he knew the girl on the ground. He wore a gold band around his ring finger, much like the one the girl had. My heart seemed to shatter into a million pieces and yet still, all I did was stand there and watch. My eyes stung with unshed tears and I turned away, not wanting to see anymore.
A high pitched scream brought me back.
The woman on the ground was moving again, she had her arms wrapped around the man's neck and seemed to be hugging him. Or kissing him. It wasn't until I saw the man's panicked motions and desperate attempts to loosen the woman's grip that I realized she wasn't kissing him. She was eating him...
Blood splattered over the carpet and soaked the woman's white blouse.
Everything went into total chaos. Another man tried to pull the woman off her husband and she instead clawed at him, grabbing his arm and jerking him forwards. My dad saved him from her bared teeth at the nick of time. The man who's lips had been literally torn away started screaming, a choked sound as the blood filled his throat. People were screaming and running all over the lobby. Several disappeared outside. The receptionist cowered back behind her desk, peeking over the top of it.
'Dad!' I yelled as the woman turned on him. She was stood up now and nothing was stopping her. There was a milky film covering her eyes which were twisted in rage and hunger and fixed on my father. She stumbled fowards, arms outstretched, teeth snapping manically. My dad punched her and she collapsed backwards.
He ran back towards me and ushered me through the glass doors. My mother joined us moments later.
'Shouldn't we help her?' My voice sounded out of breath and half-strangled.
'No, get to the room. NOW.'
We all ran upstairs, leaving the crazed woman in the lobby with the scared receptionist and her husband. It felt like the most cowardly thing to do and the majority of my mind was telling me to go that poor man, at least call an ambulance for him. But there was a small voice in the back of my head. It sounded calm and reasonable and it told me that they were beyond helping now. It told me that the virus had reached Reno and it was far worse than the authorities had let on. The CDC had fucked up big time. I knew that someday the scientists could go too far. They'd cross the line and put the whole of humanity in jeopardy.
That's exactly what they had done.
The fucking zombie apocalypse had arrived.