This is a recounting of one girl and several people she meets on the way during the apocalypse. Those who thought humanity would end because of a comet, a tsunami, aliens, or a destructive climate had it all wrong. This is 2012 and the surviving citizens of a dying Earth.
Cactus, Florida: Saturday, September 13th, 2012. 8:30 P.M.
The underground offices offer us scientists nothing but a sickly yellow glow. The glass walls separate each section and an occasional glance towards my left, or right hints at what my neighboring scientist is working on.
I roll my neck and try hard to not think about my shift ending in another hour. In front of me sits Jim, my volunteer test subject, whose forehead is dripping with sweat. His eyes are half closed and his mouth is slightly sagging. I walk towards him and sit down on my metal, industrial chair.
"How are you feeling Jim?" I say, taking in his graying hair. Yesterday, when I had injected my experiment into his willing arm, his hair was a tousled brown. His eyes, now bloodshot and tired, had once been dark green. "Jim?"
His mouth twitches and several throbbing veins pop up on his face. I note the change down on my clipboard and place the back of my right hand on his forehead. The coldness of his skin makes me recoil and I press the red emergency button on the desk behind me.
"Jim?" I ask him once more and press the button again.
His eyes roll back into his head before his lids cover them completely. His breath escapes sharply from his dark throat, before his limbs fall limply at his sides.
"Oh crap," I exclaim before the door to my lab opens up sharply.
"Kim?" Bruce enters with four others behind him. "Another one?"
"This one's worse," I say while looking through my notes. "He only took a day to pass."
"No success, then?"
"Not even close," I put down my clipboard and examine Jim's face closely. "But he was different. There were these veins popping up on his face and his passing was far more dramatic."
"Alright," he says and signals to the people behind him. "Get him out of here and send him down to the morgue. Remember, what you see here, stays here."
They nod and shift as one towards the body of my experiment. I step back to let them do their job when a shriek suddenly escapes from Jim, who is somehow sitting up, both eyes red and slightly bleeding. His mouth is wide open and Bruce and I exchange a quick glance.
"What the hell?" One of the young assistants screams while taking a step back.
Jim turns to him and lunges. I bump into my desk and scream as Jim grabs the unlucky assistant. The others run off into the glass hallways and screams enter my office as the other scientists peek into my experiment gone awry.
I watch horrified, paralyzed as Jim bites the last ounce of life out of the poor assistant's throat. Blood is soaking into Jim's white, standard hospital pants and his eyes flick up towards me.
"Oh god," I whisper.
He is on me in less than an intake of breath and I scream and try to push him off. His strength is greater than I had estimated when he had first entered my lab. My fighting is in vain and he holds me down on my desk roughly. I let out a long scream as he bites into my neck. My breathing becomes ragged and I look into his crazed, bloody, eyes.
"Jim," I whisper, before closing my eyes.