After the deadly virus swept through the world in little under a week, people are finally beginning to heal from the horrifying events just a year later. But the cure that saved them all is mutating, and the natural, "harmless" side effect the doctors call The Spot is starting to consume its host bodies.
Prologue :: A Plague on All the Houses
"Get it off!" She screamed, her legs flailing desperately at the clawing, groping thing that gripped her ankles. Its mouth gaped wide, showing broken teeth and rotting skin, and she screamed violently and kicked. But its hands remained coiled around her legs, and its mouth kept following her movements. It was going to eat her, she realized with a horrified whimper.
"Oh god, someone get it off me!" Her begs and pleas fell to no ears. She'd been left alone in this house for days now, and it was obvious no one was coming back to her. Grief flashed through her for a brief moment before it was replaced with a crippling terror as the thing's teeth grazed her skin.
"No!" She shouted, twisting savagely. She clawed at the carpet, stretching desperately for the legs of the table just a mere meter from her. "No, no, no, nonononono-" With a last, spasmodic surge of adrenalin, she launched her body forward as far, and as hard as it would go. Miraculously, the thing's grip fell away, and though gasping and on the verge of retching, she scrambled up the height of the table and dragged herself on top of it.
Her vision shook, and she felt bile rising as she forced herself to the other side of the table. The thing was making horrible, gargling noises at her, groaning and opening and closing its gaping mouth at her. A sob jerked through her. Clutching the back of a chair, she watched as it stumbled to the left, trying to go around the table. She staggered right.
"Go away!" She yelled, her voice trembling badly. "Please." Her head dropped, limbs shaking with effort, "Please. Oh god, stop."
It kept coming for her. Breathing raggedly, she forced back more useless whimpers and, gathering what energy she had left, made a last exhausted sprint for the kitchen. It was slow and clumsy, but fear made her stumble, and her heart raced too fast for her to comprehend her chances of survival. Yanking the top drawer open beside a cabinet, she grabbed the biggest knife she saw and spun to face the thing staggering its way over to her.
The knife shook.
It crashed doggedly into a bar stool and went sprawling down with it. A scream got caught in her throat and came out sounding more like she was choking. It kept coming. Dragged itself. Clawed and writhed and twisted. It didn't look human anymore. She couldn't think of it as human. The word didn't fit beside the image sprawled before her. It looked like someone had hacked at its back, loose pieces of flesh hanging down in stripes through the ripped shirt, and its skin was rotting off the bone. She thought she might throw up before it reached her.
Gripping the counter behind her, she sucked in three shallow breaths that were meant to be deep, and darted forward until she stood above it. It's hands clawed out for her, and she shrieked and stamped down on them, kicking at them furiously. The knife was poised above its head.
"Oh god, I'm so sorry."
And shoved the blade's tip into the back of its skull.