(The Gun of Crow -Prologue)
By: Antwan Crump
“We didn’t see it coming. The bodies piled in the streets and we…”
The woman stops and looks out of the window, toward the sounds of sirens and sanitation vehicles- sent to collect the bodies -and assess the living.
“We thought it was a virus.” she giggles slightly, wiping a tear from her -now emaciated- right cheek. This gives her pause. “You know, I used to be beautiful”, she jokes.
“You’re still beautiful.”, says the man in the hazmat suit, as he takes her temperature.
The woman smiles. “Can I hug you?”
“Sure.”, he answers politely.
As the two embrace, a hastened exhaust is heard. The woman falls limp. The man in the hazmat suit gently strokes her hair -as she takes her final breaths. He removes his euthanizer from her back,
“So beautiful”, he says – laying her warm corpse onto the ground. He stares at her for a moment before hearing –
“Sir. We believe we’ve found the source of the contaminant.”
The man reveals a sealed container -holding several bottles of creams and ointments.
“Most of this is contraband in the camps. Assuming these are water-based, she may have been poisoning herself for weeks. Albeit, accidently.”
The man waves off his associate and focuses his attention back on the woman’s corpse.
He exits her tent.
Walking outside, he signals to a group of extinguishers, who had been patiently waiting for the go ahead. On his command, they proceed to burn down the woman’s’ “home” – with their government issued flame-throwers.
“Officer James” the man calls, unzipping the mask from his hazmat suit.
“Yes, Sir”, James replies.
“Take note, that the spread may be worse than we had originally assumed. They’ve gotten into our water supply as well. “
James remains still, at the thought of the possible casualties.
“Do you have that Officer?” the man asks -breaking James’ hesitation.
James nods in affirmation, as the man in the hazmat suit, enters a vehicle and drives away from the quarantined sector of the camp.
James drops to his knees, weeping he cries out-
Instances like this had been happening throughout the country for weeks. Initially reported as a “passerby sickness” – as the death toll rose, suspicions that it may be something more sinister, rose as well.
It wasn’t until the death of the President’s son, that public health ordinances were put in place. Schools were closed, offices operated on limited schedules ;hospitals were consistently overcrowded and understaffed. No one expected that limiting the country’s operations would exacerbate the issue.
Exposure nearly doubled overnight. Though anyone who came into direct contact with the virus was certain to die, many of the cases were once or twice removed from the source – but they became something else entirely.
A noteworthy biologist from the W.H.O. (World Health Organization), would later point out that those people who’ve come into secondary contact with the virus, would not die – but would suffer from the slow deterioration of their cerebral cortex.
He remains on record. Simplifying the epidemic – “Essentially, the virus would eat their brain – so slow in fact, that they would never realize that it was happening.” He was right.
He also mentioned that “It [was] impossible for this virus to have occurred naturally.” His hint at the possibility of a biological attack -went mostly unnoticed.
Few people remember that part. Especially since that scientists’ career was maligned, when nearly every paper in the world suggested that he was promoting zombie propaganda. To his credit, the media’s mockery of him was short-lived.
Six months went by this way. The death toll declined, but the crime rate sky-rocketed. These weren’t your average purse snatchers. Most of the reported attacks were acts of random violence -people who simply snapped. Some were killed, most were sent to prison.
It wasn’t long until every prison in the country was filled with these hyper-aggressive inmates. Many of the correction officers protested. With the prisons understaffed – the inmates ran wild.When they began cliquing off- several -now prominent, gangs emerged.
A sort of odd frat-like symmetry – drove the gangs together. As a symbol of sovereignty, every member had themselves mutilated – in one way or another -to differentiate themselves from mainstream society. This was left out of most reports -until of course, they were freed from their cells, by an over-eager rookie.
Finally, it happened. The President called for a State of the Union address and answered the questions that had been burdening the nation. He meant, “Emergency”, they said “Union”.
“I have called you all here, to bring your attention to the fact that we have indeed been attacked.
It is unclear to what extent. But we are certain that many of our country’s reservoirs have been poisoned. We are aware of who has done this, as I’m sure many of you have – by now- seen the video online, of the monsters – who’ve done this to us.
Rest assured that we will be taking swift and ruthless action. Please stay in your homes and view our website, to ensure that you are taking the proper precautions. Concerning the recent outbreak of violence –
I have approved legislation that will immediately institute martial law, until such a time as we can guarantee your safety. Trust in your government.”
The country would crumble, less than a year later.
Many sought the W.H.O. biologist – who had precisely predicted that this would happen. He was tracked down to his home in Sweden.
When they found him,-his decomposing body- had been dangling from a support beam for months. They think he killed himself shortly after he was “laughed out of” his profession. He did leave behind some useful journal entries (among pages of profanity – damning the idiocy of the globe).
The disease went airborne soon after. With the world slowly falling into madness – order broke down. Those immune to the virus separated themselves from the dying and hyper-aggressive.
They’d successfully built camps – that spanned miles. However, protecting them -was an obstacle all on its’ own.
One by one, the great nations of the world fell. City’s burned, leaders were killed -order became a myth.
With hope lost, the focus of the remaining sane shifted, from finding a cure – to restoring some semblance of peace.
Rumors spread of a city -that had all but entirely vindicated itself from the virus of causality. Though some dispelled the idea – with few options remaining -several dozen groups were formed. All with a singular destination, Crow.