“We’ve got the new specimen in. Ready the testing chamber for it.” Dr. Bernard, a middle-age man with shark-like features, pursed his lips as he watched his new test subject being carried in inside a glass box. The chimpanzee, shipped to the hospital from Madagascar, grinned evilly at him from inside the container, clapping its hands madly. The nurse, a young woman with sharp blue eyes and pitch-colored hair, silently handed Dr. Bernard a clipboard, hoping for a sign of recognition from him. He snatched it from her without a word of thanks.
The crew that transported the specimen dropped the cage with gruff grunts. The chimp went mad inside, thrashing around and banging its clenched fists on the sides of the container. The transporters stalked out of the testing chamber, letting the steel doors slide together behind them. The glass container’s walls fell to the ground, and the chimp was free to roam about in its new home.
The walls were stark-white, bleached daily by a nonspeaking janitor. The tiled floors, white as the walls, shone sharply under the fluorescent lights above. Every corner was rounded off, as not to harm the specimen.
A team of doctors, wearing white full-body suite and masks over their heads, walked into the room in a straight line; they walked in step, they moved congruently, they breathed in sync. Circling the specimen, each doctor grabbed a limb. Dr. Bernard walked in importantly behind them, in the same attire, grasping a handful of syringes in one hand, the clipboard in the other.The chimp screeched madly, grimacing at the doctor, watching him intently. Dr. Bernard handed the syringes to one of his assistants as the doors closed. The chimp went silent, fixing its beady black eyes on the metal doors, but screamed again when a syringe came down, piercing into its leg. More doctors swarmed in to assist the ones who were already inside, stabbing the chimp with sedatives until all it could do was go limp and succumb to sleep.
They watched it for days. it didn’t wake up. “Doctor, the specimen is not going to wake up.” The nurse spoke quietly, ducking her head in hopes not to make eye contact.
The doctor turned red, huffing angrily. “We’ve done far too much work already.”
The nurse sighed, still looking down, and walked away, her heels clopping loudly on the pristine floor.
Dr. Bernard looked up and into the window that overlooked the testing chamber. His face went white. “Where is the chimp?” He bellowed. The chamber doors opened, and a team of doctors rushed in, but not before the chimp (who was hiding below the window) craftily snuck out of the testing chamber and hid under a nearby table. The doors slid shut, locking the team of doctors in the testing chamber.
Dr. Bernard, trembling with rage, bellowed orders to find the chimp at anyone he could. The chimp, giggling to itself at the trouble it’d caused, ran madly around the room now. If anyone came near it would hiss and growl, threatening to bite – or worse.
Dr. Bernard jumped on the chimp, not fearful. The chimp burst into mad laughter and sunk its teeth into the Doctor’s thigh. Bernard screeched in pain, his eyes becoming bloodshot in mere seconds. The chimp threw the limp body of the now-unconscious doctor to the floor and ran to the middle of the room, pounding its fists on its chest. The team of associate doctors huddled, screaming, in a corner. The chimp, intelligent enough to know how to scare them more than they already were, ran at the group of people like a torpedo. They scattered wildly, yelping, madly trying to escape the chimp. But they were too slow.
The chimp took them down one by one, infecting each one as it bit into their flesh. The floor was not visible, covered entirely by the limp (but still living) bodies of the testing staff. The chimp disregarded them, stepping carelessly on them.
In the waiting room of the hospital, everything was silent, as it should be. That portion of the hospital had not yet been notified of the outbreak. The people waiting had impatient expressions on their faces. The receptionist’s fingernails clicked annoyingly on the keyboard. Her lipstick was smeared ever so slightly under her bottom lip. Her hair, dyed a dark shade of burgundy, flew wildly out of it’s bun.
The automatic doors opened. A man walked out, one of the associate doctors. He swayed back and forth, limping in his bitten leg. His eyes were blank white spheres. The woman with the smeared lipstick looked up, annoyed; her jaw dropped and a small squeak escaped from her lips. The doctor’s associate fell upon her, tearing off mouthfuls of flesh. Her screams were drowned out by the rest of the people waiting. The on-duty receptionist yelped, jumping up from his desk, and pulled down the protective metal shield, as to hide from the doctor’s associate.
More poured in now, the ones that had been bitten. They ran into each other, blinded, snarling. Those not yet infected trembled under chairs and behind them, too – trying desperately not to be found, but all of them were, one by one.
Soon the lobby looked similar to what the testing chamber had looked minutes before. Bodies piled upon more bodies, blood everywhere, the stench of near-death.
The infected that were able to walk and infect more people did so – moaning miserably, they moved painfully around the building, leaving a trail of bodies in their wake. Soon, there were only a handful of the uninfected. They huddled together in a janitorial closet on the fifth floor of the hospital.
“Fuck….fuck!” A young boy, probably 17 or 18 with dyed black hair, slammed his fists into the door.
An older man, twice his age at least, sighed and looked at the younger one reproachfully. “Don’t curse, there are women here.” He motioned towards 3 women – two older, one young and heavily pregnant.
“Sorry.” The young boy breathed in, out, calming himself down.
The pregnant woman sat down, silently weeping. The small amount of mascara she had on ran down her face in blotched black rivers. The older women, obviously sisters, comforted her with soft cooing. It had no effect, but the effort was there.
The older man paced back and forth, wringing his hands. The teenager watched him, annoyed, eying every move with dark eyes.
“We’ve got to leave this damned closet at some point.” the teenager said.
“No.” growled the man. “If anyone leaves, it’s you and I. Not the women.”
One of the older women looked up. “I’m not going to stay here if you leave.”
“Me either.” Said the other.
“I’m not letting you get hurt!” pleaded the older man. The teenager scoffed.
“Like it matters,” said the younger man. “we’re all going to die anyways.”
“Don’t say that!” Said the older women, in unison. The pregnant woman moaned.
“For the love of all things holy, please STOP FIGHTING. If we all stay in here, we’re safe. This baby is going to be here soon. I’m going to need all of you here with me.”
The closet was silent now; all eyes were on the pregnant woman.
They bickered amongst themselves tirelessly; the women wanted to stay. The men wanted to leave, to possibly find safety. Eventually the women gave in, exhausted of fighting for no reason.
The older man, followed closely by the teenager, slowly opened the door. He looked out, carefully watching for signs of movement. There were none. He took one slow step, followed by another, and more after that, until he was beyond the door of the closet.
Here they descended upon him; the infected; tearing off his arms, biting him until he laid in a bloody heap on the floor. The teenager, mortified, tried to make it back to the closet, but they attacked him before he could get close. They were more careful with him, though – taking care to cause as little harm to him as possible.
He spasmed on the floor, eyes rolling back. One of the older women, screaming, mortified, slammed the door to the closet.
They didn’t try to get in – they knew the women would have to come out at some point. So they waited, silent.
Inside the closet, the pregnant woman clutched her swollen belly and paced back and forth. One of the older women handed her a cup of water she had gotten from the sink at the back of the closet; she drank it thankfully, but stayed silent. Every so often she would stop, clench her fists; knuckles turning white; and take a deep breath. After the contraction, she would resume pacing, nervous.
“We have to get out of here.” Said one of the older women. “You can’t have this baby in here.”
“I’ll be fine.” The pregnant woman said. Her eyes were swollen and her voice was hoarse.
“No, you won’t.” said the second older woman. “You’re going to die if you don’t get help having this baby.”
The younger woman glared hatefully at the second older woman. “I’ll be fine.” She hissed. As she said this, she sunk to the ground, moaning painfully. “The baby, the baby, the baby…” she whispered, unable to make a stronger sound.
The first older woman lifted the shirt of the pregnant woman; the sight was horrific. Inky blotches of blue blood below her skin tattooed her stomach. Any skin not bruised was stark white.
“But I’m not infected.” panted the pregnant woman. “So my baby shouldn’t be either.. right?”
The older women didn’t know, so they silently nodded their heads in unison as they worked over the mother.
She screamed, blood beginning to trickle from between her legs. Her eyes swelled more. The older women knew this was not normal. They looked to each other, and back – and screamed at the horrific sight before their eyes.
Her stomach had obtained very definite bite marks – from the inside. Blood visibly pooled where the teeth marks indented her skin. She turned white; her lips were blue. More and more bite marks appeared from underneath her skin – the older women knew it was only a matter of time before whatever wanted out of the pregnant woman would be so.
And then, it happened. With a bloodcurdling shriek, the pregnant woman went stiff – and a head protruded from her stomach. Covered in blood, the newborn sported knife-like teeth and fingernails to match. Its eyes were extremely intelligent, that so of a fully grown adult.
And then came a pounding on the door.
“LET ME IN!” wailed a frantic voice.
That of the teenage boy who has been bitten.
The older women didn’t know what else to do – they opened the door, letting the boy spill in. None of the other infected tried to get in.
“Let me see my baby.” growled the boy.
“Your baby?” said one of the older women.
“Yes.” said the pregnant woman and the boy at the same time.
The older women were astonished, but did not stop the boy as he dragged himself over to his baby.
Half of his body was torn apart, not bleeding anymore, but covered in blood. Whose blood, though, was uncertain.
He held the baby in his arms; the woman who had beared the child coughed, spattering blood on the walls. She died soon after.
The boy cooed at the baby, his eyes loving. The child laughed, scratching at its father’s arms with its claws.
The boy became frantic once more, though, not long after. He turned to the remaining women. “You saw me getting bitten. But, I’m only half-infected. i was scratched by fingernails of the infected, which partially transmitted the disease, but I was never bitten. I am sane half of the time and – ” he grimaced, clutching at his stomach. After a few deep breaths, he continued. I’m sane half of the time and, whatever else the other half. I don’t know what to do.”
The older women, cowering in a corner, looked at each other. “How was the baby infected?” Asked one of them.
“Bodies of the dead that were infected are being stored in the hospital’s main water treatment ducts. If you’re drinking water from the faucets or sinks, you’ll be infected.”
The older women gasped. One cried out, biting on her hand to keep quiet. “I gave her water before the baby came..” she wailed. “This is my fault!”
“No, no, no.” the other woman said, her voice doubtful,
While one woman cried and the other soothed, the boy writhed on the floor. His eyes became glazed over. His teeth elongated, along with his fingernails.
The women, stunned, were suddenly very still. The baby clapped, shrieking with glee.
The boy animalisticly scuttled back and forth, moving on his hands and knees, moaning and clicking his teeth. He flew through the air onto one of the women, biting into her neck like a knife through butter. The other shrieked, but did not try to escape.
She met the same fate soon after.