The Red Death Chronicles: Origins

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mrdent12
Overlord
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The Red Death Chronicles: Origins

Postby mrdent12 » Sun Dec 30, 2012 3:49 am

I have been having the writing bug, so in lieu of starting or joining a game I do not have time to keep up with I figured to start writing and posting here as time permits. Each story posted here is based on my own setting in a world that resulted from 9/10th of the world dying and the rest getting powers ranging from nothing to near god like.

Prologue

It waits. Once it has its hold, it waits without in an unseen place. Like a thief, it waits for an opening to strike without warning. As it’s victim slumbers and drifts into the land of dreams, it follows. More stealthy than a panther and silent than a cat it follows it’s prey. Taking cover, it strikes the imagination. In one fell strike, the red eyes come. Sometimes it is merciful and others it destroys without remorse. There are many names for it, but one is spoken more than the rest. It goes by the Red Death.

Numerous theories have been put forth by any person with a voice and still alive. Scientists claim it is a virus, but have yet to find the infectious agent. Religions across the remnants of the world preach it is a test and the ultimate doom of the unfaithful, but fail to explain why the test is so harsh and culled so many faithful. Environmentalists insist that the earth is fighting back, but fail to account for the abominations it creates that wreak more havoc than all of the coal in the world burning simultaneously. Once proud governments used to blame rivals for an uncontrolled biological weapon, but none of the former vaunted intelligence services had evidence. It escapes explanation, but yet it exists.

All that is known and perhaps will ever be known is the aftermath of it’s carnage. In its wake lies corpses with blood red eyes and a stench equal to nine tenths of the world rotting in the elements. Even its mercy is not merciful. It’s truly lucky victims are altered and possess astounding abilities turning some into monsters scarier than Lovecraft's, but with the face of a normal person. A few embrace it’s blessing for good, but the monsters have a way of separating the chaff from the wheat. Those who were spared the accursed gifts are the worse off, living in a world of gods as a man.

The Red Death did what no other power in the heavens or on the earth has managed since the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs. Old world governments crumbled due to the decimation of it’s citizens. Once thriving lands were consumed in brutal wars between red monsters and their pawns. Warlords basking in the frightening powers endowed to them raised armies and divided the world amongst themselves. Dissenters, mere mortals, and enemies of the warlords are the new pariahs in the land of self appointed gods. All that was is no more. Life still goes on, but life without a patron warlord god is hardly a life to mention.

Mighty empires powered by tanks, aircraft carriers, and nuclear weapons were no match for its’ monsters. Moscow, Washington D.C, and Beijing quickly fell in one last blaze of glory. Millions upon millions of bombs, bullets, and shells flew over the cities that first night. Nuclear weapons followed when ammunition stores and the men to use them ran out. New gods were not even tickled by hydrogen bombs dropped on them. As the world capitals crumbled, major cities quickly surrendered or lay vacant from the fleeing few who could not match the new claimants powers.

World leaders did what they could to evade it. Those who survived fled to their safe houses and mountain fortresses. To fresh deities these places were proving grounds. Whole mountains crumbled from seismic vibrations stronger than the ones that split Pangea. Island fortresses sank into the sea and became mere rumors mumbled among the survivors of the first days. Desert’s became lush forests and jungles waste lands. By the time it was over not a former large empire stood to oppose the new world order rulers.

Like all things, there were pockets of hope. Areas deemed unimportant or empty by those with larger dreams. A few pockets of civilization huddled under the wing of caring gods who used their powers to shelt who they could. Warlords tried to reign, but were brought low by the flapping of mightier wings. Enlightenment, love, and hope grow like weeds in the shadow of It. In the end, only a few monsters know how it will turn out and they are not talking.

Explorers searched for a new world, but the Red Death made it’s own. From the ashes of the old, a new world is rising. A world drenched in ever watching red eyes rose from the ashes like a phoenix. Heaven and earth paled in comparison to the new philosophies created by it. All it took was one night of dreaming.
Last edited by mrdent12 on Sun Sep 15, 2013 2:28 am, edited 2 times in total.

mrdent12
Overlord
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Re: The Red Death Chronicles

Postby mrdent12 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 9:22 pm

San Diego, Ca January 13, 2013 7:00am

A brand new day ushered in a brand new world. Not that Mike noticed. Mike was what one would call a slacker. His day consisted largely of eating, sleeping, drinking, having lots of sex, and surfing. This particular morning he was trying to sleep off a rather hard night of having sex and drinking. His sister was not making it easy.

“Will you stop that blender already! You’ll wake the dead with all that noise and kill everyone else. My head is already pounding. Who is Pamela?”, quipped Mike behind a closed door in a large room while simultaneously throwing a pillow that lay next to him and missing the door. Pamela, in this case, happened to be one of the girls he had met at the party the previous night and took home with him. Of the four girls, she was the only one who had left her number and panties near his face.

Mike or as the law would call him Michael Reddigar was the son of a wealthy real estate speculator. His whole life he had been told the world was his. Nothing was ever denied him and everything was at his fingertips, except a role model that didn’t sleep with every woman with a b cup or larger. Half the time his father was off on a getaway with the newest fling leaving Mike with his sister and household hands. By the time he was old enough, Mike set off to become a surfer and did quite well for himself winning a few big tournaments. For the past year, he had taken some time off to enjoy the fruits of his labors and other attractive perks associated with being a world renowned surfer.

“Pamela is probably one of the women you brought home last night at 1am. You weren’t exactly quiet with them last night. I am surprised you did not wake the dead yourself with all the praying and sounds coming from your room.”, screamed back Emily, Mike’s sister. It was the sort of scream that was well practised. She and Mike had been dancing the dance since he moved into the San Diego beach house. He would bring home women of loose morals and have a crazy night of fornication, as Emily would put it. She would sound like she had the moral high ground and try to make him feel like he was doing something wrong, as Mike would claim.

In truth, Emily Reddigar had no right to claim any sort of moral ground. While bright, she wasn't known for her brains in high school. Her many boyfriends never broke up with her with anything less than a glow. It wasn’t until college and waking up in a dorm room that smelt like feces surrounded by a dozen guys and half a dozen girls that she realized something had to give. So, she rededicated herself to her studies and eventually earned admission into Harvard law, with a little help from her father donating a new cluster of buildings to the school. Each time a new group of women left Mikes room at 5am, she was only reminded of her past as one of those sorts of loose women. Deep down she refused to call them sluts or whores as that would be calling herself one once. Loose women had a better ring to it.

“You are just jealous that you aren’t getting any. Its been ages since you even had a date with anyone. All you do is lock yourself in your room with those law books all day and night. When you aren’t spending time with lady justice you are exercising. I would be surprised if you even knew what having a good time was.” Emily knew Mike had a point, but wasn’t about to concede the dance to him. She controlled the blender making an energy drink and try as he might, she wasn’t going to let him yell over it from across the luxuriously furnished beach house. This morning she had something important to say. Something that wasn’t part of their dance. Like all rehearsed dances, one unexpected step and everything fell out of place this special morning.

“Whatever. I don’t have time for your man whore retorts. I need to ask you something important, in person, and clothed. The last time you came out here I almost went blind.”, retorted Emily. Something in her voice conveyed the seriousness of the issue that was pressing on her mind. On any other morning, Mike would go into the kitchen in nothing except his birthday suit, it always annoyed his sister, but this morning was different. Begrudgingly, he felt compelled to put on some black sweat pants that he wasn’t quite sure belonged to him and a large shirt that he remembered winning as part of some surf tournament, but had the scent of gardenia perfume.

With eyes half closed and looking like one of the girls he brought home on the walk of shame, Mike stumbled out of his room and navigated the maze of furniture between him and the kitchen. It took a few minutes that involved furniture moving into just the right position to stub his toe, but Mike made it to the kitchen. “Okay, I’m here. What is so important I had to leave the sweet scent of Pamela and future Mrs. Reddigar? It better not be one of your attempts to get me to drink one of your energy drinks or whatever you call them. After last night, it would probably end up all over the counter like the last one you convinced me to try and I don’t need it. All the girls tell me I look great.” While ego originated, Mike wasn’t wrong in this case. Surfing kept him in pretty good shape despite his heavy drinking. This shape wasn’t lost on the sort of women who frequented the beach parties and bonfires.

“Can you shut up about your latest conquests and sexual appeal? This is serious. Mrs Daniels and Betty weren’t out running this morning. Ever since we have been here those two run the beach 5:30am sharp. On top of that, it was like a ghost town out there. I didn’t even see a single person anywhere. You hear of anything last night before you got drunk?”, questioned Emily. By now she had turned off the blender and was looking directly at Mike with the mock trial lawyer voice she always used when she was really worried.

“Why don’t you just turn on the t.v? I can’t even remember Pamela and she is my future wife. Everyone is probably sleeping in or something. It is Sunday you know.”, replied Mike. From the sound of his voice, he obviously didn’t care what Emily was saying. She always worried about stuff and if he didn’t feel strangely compelled to answer Mike would have been back in bed with Pamelas scent.

Emily shot Mike a dirty look that would bring a baby to tears and send most grown men running in fear. “The news isn’t on right now and every channel I check has reruns playing. Its as if everyone decided to take a sick day. Can you come with me to check on Mrs. Daniels?” Her voice had changed from frustrated to weak. It wasn’t that she was weak, but Mike was a man and an older brother. Sounding weak might bring out his protective side and she wasn’t going back out there alone.

“Oh fine. You are probably just worrying again. Watch, we’ll knock on her door and she will come out looking like someone who was just trying to sleep. Most normal people like to sleep in a little on Sunday morning. We aren’t all freaks of nature like you.” Mike wasn’t happy. His sister was just overreacting, again, in his mind. From past experience, he knew Emily wasn’t going to give up on the subject until he gave in to her. A quick walk over to Mrs. Daniels place and he could get back to sleep.

It took Mike a few minutes to navigate the moving stationary furniture that seemed determined to get in his way. Once back to his room, he put on something a bit more appropriate for going out. Reaching into his dirty clothes pile, he picked out the boardshorts that didn’t smell that bad and a shirt that had the least amount of stains. All together, it took him a good half hour to get back to his room and meet Emily waiting impatiently at the door. After their terse conversation, she had quickly tossed on a comfortable tee shirt and jeans that showed off her model like physique. Once Mike came into view, she let him have it. “You look like a slob and took forever to get dressed. No wonder you can only get women to come back with you after a night of partying.” Mike only gave a snarky look as a reply.

Outside was just as eery as Emily said. Their wasn’t even any surfers out trying to catch the morning waves or cars speeding down the street trying to get to an early Mass. Mission beach was quiet in January, but not this quiet. Even Mike shuttered due to the uneasiness that permeated the air around them. Still, he attributed it to the many drinks he had the night before. It wasn’t as if all of the mission beach residents and visitors had disappeared. Things like that only happened in bad science fiction or movies that wanted to be edgy, but usually were really trying to save money on actors.

Walking across the street and knocking on the door pierced the silence so far only penetrated by the sound of the waves and birds flying overhead. Nothing. They knocked again. Nothing persisted. Knock and then nothing occurred several more times until Mike got impatient. Whatever strange stuff was going down, it was devouring his sleeping time. Emily was content to let Mike take the lead. If there was some burglar or killer inside she could use Mike as a human shield to buy her time to escape. “Mrs. Daniels wake up! Emily needs to talk with you. She seems to think something is wrong with sleeping in and has to wake you up to tell you about it. If you don’t come out we will have to force our way inside.”, screamed Mike. Emily was not amused.

Giving it another minute, Mike started slamming into the door with his shoulder trying to break the door down. In her mind, Emily was debating whether to let her older hung over brother keep trying to break down a solid wood door or to tell him she had an emergency key. On one hand, he was making a spectacle of himself, but on the other Mrs. Daniels could be seriously hurt. In the end, her desire to help won over her desire to be amused. ”I have a spare key she gave me in case of emergency. You don’t need to break down her door. The last thing I need is to have my brother gain an even worse reputation around here. Just stand back and let me open the door already.” Once again, Mike did not feel the need to reply in words. A simple sour look sufficed.

Mrs. Daniels home wasn’t as nicely furnished as the Reddigar sibling’s beach house. Still, it had a simple elegance that a woman content on living an easy going life possessed. A quick look around showed nothing was stolen and everything was still in place. All of the artwork, jewelry, electronics, and antiques looked right where Emily remembered. Something was different though. The air felt stale. Nothing in the kitchen was touched. No coffee was brewing. Coffee was always brewing at Mrs. Daniels place. “Everything looks alright to me. If she was robbed and murdered then some high value stuff was missed. She probably went out of town or something.”, observed Mike.

“Will you just check upstairs? I will be right behind you.”, urged Emily. Something wasn’t right and she needed to know what. What they found upstairs made Emily wish she wasn’t so inquisitive. Mrs. Daniels, a woman in her late 40’s, lay in her bed with blood red eyes. There was no pulse, breathe, or any signs of life in her body. A quick visual inspection indicated no obvious signs of injury or foul play. The dead woman looked peaceful.

“Uh, I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m going to get my phone and call the cops. We played your game of concern for the stuffy neighbors long enough. Let the cops handle it.”, Mike shakily blurted after a long moment of stunned silence. He wasn’t a hero. If something did happen to Mrs. Daniels or anyone for that matter it was his motto to leave it to people who knew how to handle situations like this. If it wasn’t surfing, drinking, women, or partying it was better left to others. People were paid to deal with this kind of stuff.

The scene wasn’t Emily’s cup of tea either. She had only seen pictures of dead people in crime scene photos or the television. “As much as I hate to say it, you are right. Lets get out of here and call the cops. Whatever happened to Mrs. Daniels killed her and we don’t want to stick around if it is a deadly disease or something. If it is serious, the cops will know who to call. We aren’t equipped or trained to handle these sorts of situations. Our civic duty only extends to reporting the incident and giving a statement to the proper authorities. I don’t know who the proper authorities are, but the cops will know. Its their job and they are trained for this sort of thing. Mike..?”. Mike was already down the stairs and heading back to their beach house to get his cell phone. Emily tended to get long winded and ramble when she was nervous.

By the time she made it back home, Mike was already on his cell phone with several visible bruises from the attacking furniture. “No one's picking up. The phone just keeps ringing and ringing. It’s as if all the 911 operators took the day off and didn’t bother to leave an automated message. Can you get anyone on your cell phone?”, inquired Mike who was now getting worried.

It didn’t take long for Emily to find her phone. She kept it in the same place all the time and made sure it was always there if it wasn’t on her person. For once, Mike was glad she had minor OCD. “No one is answering. Isn’t 911 always supposed to answer? It is not as if its a holiday or something for all emergency call answer people. At least someone would be there to answer calls. Yeah, I get its a Sunday morning, but lives depend on these people. How dare they just not answer a call? The lines not even giving the busy signal.” Mikes fraternal instincts he thought did not exist revived from the little flame of them that still burned inside of him.

“Lets just go down to the police station and talk to the cops there. There is always a cop on duty.”, reassured Mike. For the first time in his life he felt sad for his sister. She thought she had the perfect life and everything planned out perfectly. Now she finds someone dead and the people who are supposed to help with sort of stuff did not even respond. Something was going on and it just got through his alcohol influenced brain that it wasn’t a grand conspiracy to rob him of sleep.

Without a car or any means of transportation worth mentioning, Emily and Mike had to walk to the nearest police station. It had copied 911 and ignored all attempts to call it. “Maybe 911 and the cops went to breakfast? They need to eat and they probably figured everyone be sleeping in this morning.”, suggested Mike before putting on well worn beach sandals and his last clean shirt, at Emily’s insistence.

This wasn’t the morning to be clever with Emily. “To breakfast! Are you a complete idiot or has all that alcohol and sex killed every last one of your brain cells? This is a crisis. 911, the cops, and who knows who else seem like they just dropped off the face of the earth. The only living things we have seen all morning are some birds and dogs whimpering in the windows. Mrs. Daniels is dead from probably a deadly plague and the rest of our neighbors haven’t made a single peep. They might be infected by the same plague. Who knows how far it’s spread! We might be the only two people left alive on earth and you are cracking smart alec remarks about incorporeal entities having breakfast together. If we weren’t the last two people on this planet I would kill you right now for being an idiot. I mean...”. Emily’s face was turning a bright red and she looked like a ripe red apple.

They hadn’t got outside of the door yet and Mike was already in trouble. So, he changed the step of the dance. He hugged her. “Calm down, its alright. We are brother and sister. We’ll get through this. Its probably just some issue with the cell networks. The police station will be bustling with cops and everything will get sorted out.” A hug, Mike had never hugged Emily before or tried to genuinely comfort her. She didn’t know whether to be more worried or to feel safe. Her red apple face slowly returned to it’s normal tan hue and blood pressure dropped back down to a sane level.

Breaking the comforting hug, Emily took a step back. Surprisingly, Mike played the part of the protective brother rather well. She was feeling better. Taking a minute to regain her composure, her attention turned to the door and four mile walk ahead of them. “Come on. We should get going. Its almost 8:30 and Mrs. Daniels family needs to know about her passing.” Emily waited for the newly protective Mike to lead the way and just like she wanted him to Mike stepped out into a possibly plague ridden world to walk to a police station.

Walking down West Mission Bay Dr and Friars Rd was like walking through a ghost town. A once vibrant beach community suddenly had no joggers trying to get in a morning run, people wanting to get in line to Sea World early, hotel guests trying to find a place to eat, or cars exiting the always busy 8 freeway. Cars sat idle on the side of the roads and in parking lots almost as if they were abandoned. In a desert environment, tumbleweed would roll down the road unhindered and pushed by the cool ocean breeze. Somber quiet prevailed.

Of course, Mike wasn’t one to let silence make his sister feel unprotected. That protective flame was growing to the size of a forest fire inside him. He didn’t know why or even bother to wonder why, he just knew he had to protect Emily and make her feel comforted. “So, it looks like everyone decided to sleep in this morning after all. A bunch of slackers the whole lot of them.”, pierced the silence from Mikes mouth. It failed to solicit a response from Emily. “When we get to the cops, I think I should do all the talking. I have more experience with them than you.”, slashed at the silence again from Mikes sword voice. One way or another he was going to get Emily to talk.

“Everytime you talk to the cops you get thrown in jail. Last time it took the whole firm on dads retainer to get you out. I think I will do the talking.”, said Emily. Her head and eyes seemed stuck in a constant sweeping motion looking for any human movement. Someone had to be somewhere. There was just too many people in the beach area. Mikes constant blather wasn’t helping her in her attempts to find someone. She wished in her mind he would just shut up and help her look. A threat might come from anywhere. Just as she wished, the rest of the haunting walk was silent with both siblings looking around.

Upon arrival at the police station, Mike and Emily let out a sigh of relief. Just as quick the sigh was retracted. Their visual scans revealed the same scene they had just witnessed for four miles. Cop cars filled the parking lot and stubbornly stayed off patrol due to lack of a driver. The entry way and station visitor parking was vacant except for four cars that joined the other cars in the city by refusing to move. A breeze, the moving of trees, and a stray cat lounging in the sun on the sidewalk provided the only sounds to the scenery without any indication of human life. If Mike hadn’t accidentally stumbled onto the cats tail, it would have removed the only signs of animal life in the area.

“Its quiet, too quiet. Their aren’t usually this many cop cars still here or so few people hanging around. Every time they dragged me into the drunk tank, the next morning it was packed and everyone was on patrol. Whatever is going on must be big. Not even the cops are out patrolling the streets or the people clogging up the police station with minor complaints of petty vandalism.”, observed Mike. A few of those cases of vandalism in the past involved Mike, until he got too busy with the women he brought to bed every night. He was a reformed petty criminal saved by sex and alcohol.

A roll of her eyes indicated Emily knew of Mikes petty crimes. “You were responsible for a couple of those vandalisms. If dad hadn’t paid the bill to repair all the damage you and your friends did you would be in jail right now. Your criminal record is not the issue now though. All of the cops must be inside planning how to protect us from the plague outbreak with the CDC and military. Once they have a plan together they will come rushing out and fix everything. By tonight the city will be crawling with national guard and contagious disease specialists. We will be brought into some room where they won’t find the plague in us and then we will be sent out of the city with the rest of the people who are plague free. Its only a matter of time. Unless, what if all of the CDC and military are dead with red eyes as well? We are all doomed! The world is dead as we know it. Do something Mike. You know people in high places. Fix this! Dad can get us to that island he owns out near China where we can live away from the plague ridden world. Quick, call him!”, rambled Emily. Her expression was getting frantic. This wasn’t how her life was supposed to go. In a couple days she was headed back to her apartment near Harvard to start a temporary position at the law firm her dad just bought.

Sensing the urgency of the situation, Mike did all he could to calm Emily down. He rationalized it by everyone needing a calm head, but deep down he had no idea why he cared so much about a sister he never cared about before. “We don’t know until we go into the station. If no ones there we can always think of a plan once we know for sure. Now come on, we can go in together.” Mike extended his hand and started walking forward. Emily, not wanting to be alone, quickly followed.

Inside the police station was deathly still. Several officers were at their desks in a sleeping position with the same red eyes that Mrs. Daniels had. Not a creature was stirring. From the front door, it looked as if everyone on the night shift had just fallen asleep and never woke up. Static crackled over the radio near the front desk when Mike tried to use it to reach someone. Emily had learned a thing or two about police radios from spending so much time with her last cop ex-boyfriend and she couldn't figure out what was wrong.

Emily opened her mouth to ramble again, but before she could a voice rang out from the cell area of the police station. “Is anyone out there! Help! Everyone in here is dead! Do you hear me, they are all dead! The Lord of all Lords took their souls last night and left me with their rotting corpses. You have to help!”, screamed the voice. The same call was repeated several times for the next couple minutes. Mike and Emily stood in silence trying to decide if the owner of the voice was a lunatic or just really religious.

Whatever the case, Mike wasn’t going to sit around and wait for the answer to appear out of thin air. His goals were clear. Keep Emily safe, it was the brotherly thing to do. Having a lunatic or religious fanatic hanging about wasn’t keeping his sister safe. “We should head back to the house. Dads in Morocco, Macau, or some place starting with an M. We will get him on the satellite phone, have him send some bodyguards, and wait for all of this to blow over. A major port city going quiet as a church mouse is bound to raise suspicions.” Before he finished speaking, Mike was already pulling Emily back towards the door and away from the dead bodies of cops and people they were interviewing.

Leaving a man in need didn’t sit right with Emily. Yes, she did want to be protected by her brother and not die from whatever was going on, but she had a sense of right and wrong too. Sounding more resolute than after the discovery of Mrs. Daniels and the dead cops, Emily resisted Mikes urgings. “No, we can’t just leave him there. What if no help comes? There is bound to be some keys around here. All we need to do is open the cell and let him get out of here. Now will you help me or not?”. Mikes grip loosened on Emily and he gave her a look of protest before going right where the cops kept the keys to the cells. This wasn’t his first attempt to get out of temporary holding.

Finding the keys in the drawer near the front desk did not take long. “We let him out and thats it. Its too dangerous right now to have some religious lunatic with us. There is plenty of churches for him to seek refuge in around here. Deal?”, demanded Mike. From the sound of Mikes voice Emily realized she wasn’t going to get much more help from him without further protests. She had used up all her good will to fight off the urge to run home and didn’t have any left to get Mike to add a third member to their survivor group.

“Deal.”, was Emilys only reply. Mikes logic was impeccable. Once free, the man could find his own way, she reasoned. Further, whoever was in the cell probably had a plan to get out of the city. If not, he had plenty of cars just sitting around for him to steal. If things went south, Emily always had her brother to shield her. His unusual show of older brother protection qualities was encouraging.

Holding Emily behind him, Mike advanced to the holding cells without even stopping to think about which way to turn. All that time waking up in a cell hungover finally paid dividends. It was not an encouraging scene as the two siblings advanced, Emily ducking behind Mike and holding onto his shirt. She didn’t seem to mind it smelt like a dozen womens sweat. Dead bodies to the left of them and dead bodies to the right overrode any sanitary instincts, for the time being. Each cell had people laying in the cots, their eyes more red than blood. With closed eyes, they could be mistaken as merely sleeping off a nasty hangover or taking Sunday to sleep in a little. Evidence from earlier in the day eliminated that comforting mistake.

As the duo drew closer to the screaming, it stopped. Finally, the repetitive screaming for help ceased. Inside the cell housing the screaming man wasn’t what Emily and Mike expected. Chomping down on a torn off leg, a normal looking man who could pass as an accountant or banker under normal circumstances, smiled broadly. “Bless the Lord above Lords! My saviors before I starved to death on rotting corpses. The great Lord has bestowed on me two living meals to hold me over until the time of returning comes. Rotting meat, is not so sweet, but living tastes divine.”, cackled the blood soaked man.

Without breaking a sweat, the wall to his cell crumbled under one charge. It looked as if lego blocks made up the cell wall and the hungry man was a schoolyard bully wrecking lego castles. Now that there was a clear view to his prey, nothing was going to stop him. That was until a thick wall of solid ice formed in front of Mike and Emily. A hungry object and immovable wall met, the wall won. “What...what was that! Did you do that Mike! Where did that wall come from! A plague, cannibals, and now random walls of ice appearing. I wish all this scary stuff would go away and I never left the house this morning.”, whined Emily. Surprisingly, the cannibal picked himself up and walked away. He didn’t even look back.

One minute a crazed cannibal was going to eat the Reddigar siblings and the next he was strolling out of sight to the dead world that lay outside. Mike and Emily just looked at each other with blank stares. “You just wished all this strange stuff to go away and the crazy man just left. Last time I checked, crazy cannibals bent on eating someone didn’t just walk away. Come to think of it, I didn’t want to even get out of bed this morning, but I did. Since when do I volunteer to go first into a dangerous situation? You did something to me like you did to that lunatic.”, accused Mike after a minute.

“Me! We are almost eaten and you focus on a fantasy that I have some super power? Superpowers aren’t real. This isn’t a comic. You need to grow up and face reality. Everyone except us and the hopped up on drugs cannibal are the only ones not dead with red eyes that we have seen in the last four hours. That is real. I am so tired of your childish fantasies and loafing around. We are in real danger and it is about time you started acting like a man instead of an oversexed playboy.”, screamed back Emily. Of all the crazy things so far this morning, superpowers didn’t seem out of place. Mike had a point in his angry accusations, she reasoned. This was the same brother who had left her in a sleazy club alone so he could hook up with three girls. This was the same brother who had dropped her off in the middle of Compton at midnight because she was nagging him about his drinking. He didn’t do the protective thing well. Reason wasn’t going to win today!

“Yeah, I need to man up and take responsibility, but look in front of you. That ice appeared when we needed something to stop the charging cannibal. I have met a lot of people on drugs, but charging through brick walls? The evidence is overwhelming. Something in this world has changed. Is it so unbelievable that you can have a superpower? I probably summoned this wall of ice with mine.”, reasoned Mike. His demeanor changed drastically from a scared brother to one of action and reason, everything Emily attributed to a man. She was starting to think there was something to the superpower theory. Mike bringing up another ice wall and then an ice surfboard that floated proved the theory.

“Okay, we have powers. I can make anyone do anything I wish, you can summon ice and move it, and the cannibal is strong enough to break through brick. So what does it all mean? Everyone around us is dead and there may be others like us who survived whatever that red eye causing plague is. Are we just the lucky ones?”, questioned Emily to no one in particular. Her world was turned upside down, chopped into tiny bits, shaken in a snow globe, and left in pieces. She was strong, but this was too much. It just wasn’t fair. Life was just starting to work out. Tears started streaming down her face.

In a manly yet comforting fashion, Mike wrapped his arm around his sister and wiped a tear away. “Nothings changed. As long as you don’t control me and I don’t freeze you we will be alright. Lets just go back home and call dad. We can ride out whatever is happening on an isolated tropical island.” Mike smiled a warm and confident smile that gave Emily strength. It was too bad she would have to stop forcing Mike to be the brother she always needed.

Sighing a little, Emily Looked at Mike and pulled away. “I am sorry for controlling you. You should be yourself. I don’t want to go through life making you act how I want.” Just like that, Mike came to his senses. At first his face looked like it was going to explode in anger. Gradually it defused and the carefree signature smile appeared in place of the ticking time bomb. Old Mike and his throw caution to the wind attitude returned. Emily didn’t have the safe feeling, but she had her brother back.

“Just don’t do that voodoo on me again and we are all good. Look on the bright side, now we can protect ourselves on the way back to the house. Dad just bought a nice house right on the beach in Maui. The waves are great this time of year. One call and we will be on a plane there in no time with two dozen armed guards and maybe some hot women adverse to wearing swimsuits on the beach.”, grinned Mike. Until now he never realized how much his sister needed him to be comforting. The least he could do was try. As a small gesture, he summoned an ice surfboard and helped Emily on to it.

She knew she wasn’t always going to not control Mike, but as long as he at least made the effort to be a better brother she didn’t feel the urge to blatantly control him. Flying back was also much safer than walking back through the dead streets. What they found out front of the police station changed everything.

mrdent12
Overlord
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Re: The Red Death Chronicles

Postby mrdent12 » Sun Sep 08, 2013 10:50 pm

San Diego, Ca January 13, 2013 8:00am

Silence surrounded the predominantly red and white hotel room. Inside, the sound was similar except for the the groaning of a human sized lump underneath a red blanket with a white square. The world outside stood still and listened. Unlike the usual groans coming from under the sheets of a Gas Lamp District hotel room Sunday morning, this groan wasn’t due to a beer goggle accident or induced by alcohol coming back the way it came. Whatever owned the groan didn’t have the mistake filled last night sound to it. Instead, a dread of facing the morning after a relaxing rest resonated throughout the room. A refusal to accept the need for leaving the comfy bed and soft blankets that protected the human sized object curled up in a ball hid behind the dread.

Alexandra Smith was the name of the lump. Alex, as she was known by her friends, did not spend the night bar hopping or with some girl she met at the bar. Her past two nights had been spent staying in the hotel room, enjoying the comfy bed, and eating gourmet room service. Normally, her life consisted of running across the country to investigate some horrific crime, falling asleep at her desk with a mountain of paperwork threatening to crush her while she slept, or receiving a verbal lashing from a perfectionist boss trying to save the company every last penny. In short, she was an insurance investigator. After two years, she finally got the vacation she needed. Now, only a plush blanket stood between her and heading back to paperwork stacked higher than Mount Everest and a boss more fearsome than a hoard of charging Mongols led by Genghis Khan.

Like all bad ideas, the idea to leave the safety of the blanket originated from Alex’s stomach. Human beings are not made to live in warm blankets on soft beds forever. Hunger or an equivalent drive ruins paradise. This particular bad decision was the result of a stomach that had not received food for the last twelve hours. In fact, the last bit of food provided to the always hungry stomach was a chicken ceasar salad ordered through room service. Breakfast was just a phone call away on the other side of her blanket protector. Inside her head, a debate raged whether it was nobler in the mind to stay comfortable or to take up a phone and order an omelet with all the fixings. The omelet won.

Slowly, Alex pulled the comforter from over her head. A man with a round stomach, bald head, leather thong, and leather mask with a zipper over the mouth stood staring at her. Immediately the blanket returned to its protecting position. In her extreme relaxation from the previous night, she had decided to sleep without her customary pajama bottoms and victoria secret pink tank top. “Whoever you are go away! I have mace under my pillow and I’ll scream. If you aren’t gone when I pull this blanket down I am going to scream bloody murder and mace you until you're blind!”, exclaimed a very vulnerable Alex. It wasn’t that she was against men staring at her. Her last boyfriend routinely stared at her while she slept in the morning. A balding middle aged man, who she wasn’t in a see each other naked type relationship, wearing bondage gear was not the sort she liked admiring her naked sleeping form.

Feigning to reach under her pillow, as if feeling for mace, she pulled down the blankets to nothing except the desk and table near the side of the bed with her cell phone on it. No doors shut or creepy breathing sounds. He was gone. If she didn’t see him with her own eyes she wouldn’t believe it. Creepy man, as she dubbed him, couldn’t have made it out of the room without making a noise and wasn’t anywhere near a good place to hide. By all logical reasoning, he couldn’t have been in the room. Alex should know. Creepy men breaking in and stealing things was a fairly common story when she was investigating claims for expensive undergarments usually encrusted with diamonds or the like. Every time it was due to the bras and panties being pawned for quick cash. Yet, this time she saw the creepy man.

Hesitantly, Alex left the safety of the sheets and pulled on a long t-shirt she wore the night before while munching on her salad and watching Survivor reruns. Feeling a little less naked, figuratively and literally, she made her way over to the phone at the desk and the corresponding card with all the hotel extensions, after a quick inspection of the hotel room. Creepy man or not, she had to at least call management to let them know. Maybe there was some pervert staring at all the female guests while they slept. Plus, she might get free room service out of it. As an insurance investigator, she knew that it was in a hotels best interest to avoid claims of perverts and other criminal activities. It killed their insurance premiums.

“Hello, hello. Is anyone there?”, angrily yelled Alex into the phone. No response. “Someone better pick up this phone if this hotel doesn’t want a massive lawsuit.”, she persisted. Nothing gets management attention like the threat of a lawsuit. “This is my last warning. If no one picks up I am going to sue this place for letting some pervert creep into my room and stare at me while I slept.”. Normally, she was a nice person, but this morning she may or may not have seen a creepy man and was hungry. The drive for a free gourmet breakfast and a quick check of her room by hotel security was overwhelming her softer and more empathic side. For all she knew management was already dealing with the issue for someone else. In any event, she wasn’t going to be ignored. Food and safety were two of things she expected from a hotel that charged her bi weekly salary for a two night stay. One way or another she was going to have both.

Symbolically slamming the phone down, Alex resolved to speak to a manager, get a free omelet, mimosa, and plate of bacon. She was a woman on a mission. Of course, a woman on a mission couldn’t go about dressed in a long shirt and nothing else, at least for the type of mission she was embarking. At 30, she was an attractive woman and had clothes that allowed her to take advantage of what genetics endowed her. The top she slipped on was tasteful, yet showed just enough cleavage to get any man or woman’s attention. Her jeans fit her just right and exclaimed to the world she was an eleven on a scale from one to ten. If anger wouldn’t get her what she wanted, her clothes would.

Once dressed in her “get whatever I ask” clothes, Alex checked the room again just to make sure Creepy Man wasn’t hiding in some freaky position staring at her. The last thing she wanted was her undergarments to wind up in some pervert she didn’t approve of collection. In her head, she went through a mental check list. First, check under the bed. There wasn’t much room, but he might have had practice. Second, check the near opaque shower. Clear. Finally the closet, a perverts hiding place of choice. Putting on her best insurance agent intimidating face, she pulled it open to find nothing except clothes hangers and the little black dress she brought just in case she felt the urge to go out. Check, check, and check. Definitely no Creepy Man around.

Safe in the knowledge her undergarments were safe, Alex confidently made her way down the stairs. She had been through this drill hundreds of times. A little bit of confidence, anger, and cleavage with a dash of damsel in distress always did the trick. Men and women have been trapped by the deadly combination many times in her past investigations and there was no reason to expect an early morning hotel manager on Sunday to be any stronger willed. One quick trip down the stairs and a free breakfast was hers.

To further her cause, casually taking the elevator would not do. A woman had to look in too much of a rush to wait for an elevator. Alex was good, but she wasn’t good enough to pull off the “I saw some creepy near naked pervert in my room, but I waited at the elevator.” routine. Besides, taking the stairs helped her maintain her figure after indulging in all her culinary desires. She wasn’t getting any younger. For good measure, she bolted down the stairs at an extra quick pace that would rival any truly distressed fit woman.

Before turning the corner to the front desk, she stopped. Tears. She needed to have just the right amount to show distress, but not weakness. If she was too weak the front desk might try to comfort her and delay the omelet, mimosa, bacon plate, and waffles. Not enough distress would give her away. Alex’s mind dug up the memory of her friend from high school dying in a fireball resulting from a collision with a gas truck. Without the safety of a car, a fag and a rolling gas truck did not go well together. Thinking of Natasha’s death always brought just enough tears to her eyes even though they were not the best of friends and only knew each other a couple months.

With her head in her hands and tears dripping from her eyes she ran to the front desk. “You have to help me. Some creepy man was in my room staring at me sleeping.”, cried Alex. There was no reply. Keeping her hands over her eyes and face, she continued. “I woke up and he was just standing there in bondage gear. He could have raped or even killed me”. Women being raped and killed in your hotel never played well in the press. Any press is good press isn’t true when it comes to patrons being raped and killed while they slept. No response. Removing her hands from her eyes, Alex saw no one.

The front desk was deserted and no hotel staff in sight. It seemed as if everyone had popped off for breakfast and didn’t bother leaving a note. Hotels of the caliber corresponding to her current vacation spot advertised itself as usually having at least one person around to handle possible incoming guests, people checking out, or any other guest request. Yelling for help seemed like the next good idea. “Is anyone here? I was attacked in my hotel room and violated! Please anyone help me!”, screamed Alex. She was careful to not make too much of a scene. Too much and the police would get involved and too little she might not be heard by someone who could do something about getting here a free gourmet breakfast. Silence.

Alex was starting to get legitimately worried. By this point, she would have expected someone with any connection to the hotel to rush to her side and try to inquire what was wrong. Something felt off. In her bones and years of investigative work instincts, the scene felt off in some way. Her mind jumped to look for clues. One, there were no walkers passing the hotel. Two, there was no traffic on the street. Three, no one was around. Four, there was a smell of decomposing bodies rising from up behind the front desk of the hotel lobby. Taken together, it did not take the finely tuned intuition of an insurance investigator to determine something must have happened at night after room service arrived or in the morning. There was an easy way to check the fourth clue, she looked.

Sometimes investigations lead to places best not found before a hearty breakfast and a dozen mimosas. Alex’s investigation was in one of those places. A woman in her early fifties wearing an 80’s running suit and a man of around the same age wearing a matching suit lay on the floor cuddling with red eyes. They were not breathing. By all indications, they had come into the hotel, laid down behind the front desk and never woke up again. If not for the rotting smell and red eyes, it would look like they were a couple who just wanted some privacy to spoon for a little bit and had drifted off to sleep in their tender embrace. This wasn’t the first dead bodies Alex had seen. One house fire she had investigated had a young couple laying in there bed in apparently post coital cuddling with an ashtray filled with the butts of fags next to the bed.

Looking up from the oddly peaceful scene, she spied someone run past the front doors of the hotel. A real life person. He was in a tank top, shorts, and old fashioned Converse sneakers. Alex blinked and he was at the door. “Finally, another living soul! I thought everyone had died. Have you seen the streets? Everyone is in their car or a out of the way place and dead with strange red eyes.”, exclaimed the man as he ran into the hotel. Not giving time for Alex to process it, he continued. “Did you hear me? Everyone is dead. I even saw a cop in his car laying in the backseat dead with the doors wide open and eyes red as blood. Everything was still in the car.”

It took Alex a second to transition. Going from wanting a free breakfast, investigating why no one helped her, and finding out everyone in the town was dead all before breakfast was a little too much to process. Still, she tried to remain confident. “I heard you. Have you called 911 or seen any signs of life at all? Everyone can’t be dead. There is too many people here. Last night this place was swamped. Are you telling me, everyone just decided to find a comfy place, lay down, and die?”, questioned Alex. His story was ridiculous, but made sense in a way. Even in the mornings Gas Lamp at least had people walking or getting breakfast. Everyone dying would explain why she didn’t see anybody.

Taken aback, the man replied with a deadly serious voice. “Look bitch. Andrew Jones doesn’t lie. I saw what I saw. These bodies all look like the people laid down to sleep and didn’t wake up. If you don’t believe me you can look for yourself. Yeah I am a slacker, satanist, and generally mess around with people, but only a psychopath would lie about every ***deleted*** person in downtown San Diego being dead.“

Bitch, no one gets away with calling Alex a bitch. Alex was back to her feisty self. “My name is Alex not bitch. Just because the whole city might be dead doesn’t mean that you can insult me. Its just a little hard to believe that everyone is dead. It makes no sense.” Given her limited evidence and the obvious disrespect for women of the the messenger, trusting him at his word for such a ludicrous claim wasn’t something she was prepared to do. “Why haven’t you called 911 if everyone is dead? Yeah the couple behind the counter is dead. Who knows, it might have been poison. Any sensible person, including me before you ran in here would call the cops.”, persisted Alex.

Andrew had a strained look on his face as if wanting to say one thing and being stuck saying another. “I haven’t called the cops yet because I haven’t found a phone until now. Seeing all the dead people sorta puts someone in a state of shock. What do you think I see dead people every day? This isn’t T.V ...”, shouted Andrew before stopping momentarily. His mouth started forming one word and a completely different one came out. “lady. You might be used to seeing dead bodies, but the closest I’ve come is seeing them in ritual book pages or on T.V. Besides, I already told you the cops are dead. Do you really think they would leave their buddy dead in a car?”

This wasn’t something Alex was accustomed. Whoever this guy was, he obviously had no respect for women and an even worse ability to deal with the slightest bit of trauma. Still, she had to be sure the guy wasn’t lying. “Fine I will call the cops right now.”, was her only reply before dialing 911 at the front desk. Nothing. There wasn’t a busy tone or message saying all operators were out to breakfast and would be back after a plate of waffles. It was just silence. “Well the cops don’t seem to be picking up. Probably a problem with the phone lines here. I don’t have my cell phone with me and you obviously don’t have one. I remember there being a cafe down the next block. We can use their phone and you can show me all these dead bodies you claim to be on the street.”, huffed Alex. She lied. Her phone had a full charge in her room. Letting a strange guy ranting about everyone being dead into her room didn’t seem like a good idea though.

“I am not...”, began Andrew before his brain had the uncontrollable urge to change the flow of words. “going to be proven wrong by a woman. The place is probably brimming with bodies. You will see.”, reluctantly spoke Andrew. His facial expressions gave him away. If one looked up the definition of male chauvinist pig in the dictionary his picture would be next to the word. That is not to say he didn’t have success with women. When a woman is paid enough money, taken to the right restaurant, and given enough ruffies she will do anything a man wants. He just couldn’t resist getting his shot in and added, “If things go bad it is your fault I warned you. If you don’t want to do what I say that is on you lady. Don’t bitch to me about all the dead bodies and forget that I warned you about them.”

It was clear to Alex, this guy was a pig who was out of his mind. Really, something killing everyone in San Diego with only two survivors that had no idea what occured made no sense. Dealing with a crazy person after potentially being gawked at by a weird old fat guy wasn’t something she wanted to do anymore. If the cafe was full of dead people, she would call the cops. If the cafe was full of living people, she would call the cops. If anything was going on, she would call the cops. It didn’t matter and having to deal with a crazy guy would make dealing with any potential bad stuff take longer.”Fine. I will go by myself. You just get away and stay away from me.”, exclaimed Alex. In a blink, he was gone.

Now she thought she was really losing her mind. First a pervert and now a crazy guy appears to her and disappears the moment she wishes for it. Something wasn’t right. A quick check revealed the dead bodies persisted in being dead and not figments of whatever was affecting her. Last night seemed harmless enough. As far as she could recall the night entailed watching trashy reality T.V, eating salad for dinner with dark chocolate peanut butter fudge as an appetizer, and falling asleep in her birthday suit. Gas or some other factor might be at play. It was possible the hotel had a gas leak that caused some to hallucinate and others to die with red eyes. In any case, she wasn’t about to take anymore chances.

Still weary of someone watching her, she decided against returning to her room. The cafe down the street would probably have a phone and waffles on the menu. Waffles and coffee was all she needed. Everything would be sorted out by the cops and she could leave out the bit about seeing two people who vanished into thin air. Sounding crazy to the cops never played out well when reporting two corpses in a hotel lobby especially when one of the people she saw claimed everyone was dead. More than a few mental health insurance claims came from people hearing voices.

Upon leaving the hotel, she noticed again the streets were empty save for two joggers in the exact same outfits as the couple she saw dead in the hotel. They were about a block away in the opposite direction she intended on heading. Given the distance though, she wasn’t sure. Probably a trick of the mind, lack of an omelet, or whatever else was causing her to see things that could only be defined as white jacket visions. It was still early and only two people being out seemed right for such a lovely Sunday morning. Sunday was for sleeping in and only the hardest of the hard joggers ran at 8 in the the morning instead of taking a day of rest. Of course, it was slightly troubling that the patio seating of the cafe had people sleeping in the chairs. Probably just another delusion. They must be alive and her eyes just couldn’t focus enough to see them enjoying the strawberry mimosas in their hands while they waited for their breakfast. Everyone couldn’t be dead..could they?

Closer to the cafe, the fogginess started to clear. Noises and motions that looked like people enjoy their drinks while having a good chat reached Alex’s sensory organs. Clearly, the crazy man that was there, but really wasn't, was wrong. Any minute she would see the buzzing of waiters and people enjoying their meals inside the cafe would reach her ears joining the chorus already coming from the patio. Just like clockwork, the cafe was alive with people. All of the activity as she got to the cafe turned out to be as real as an egg white omelet with ham and bacon. Everything seemed normal. People were eating. No one was sleeping. Business seemed quite brisk for a Sunday morning. Reality T.V must have rotted her brain or she was too relaxed from the very comfy bed it was becoming increasingly obvious a bad idea to leave.

Something was different as she approached a girl no older than seventeen acting as the hostess. All of the movements were mechanical. Checking the list of open tables, responding to generic service questions from servers, sorting out the menus, and other hostess related duties were all done with the precision of a automaton. A teenager being that good was ridiculous. Several other oddities became apparent. Waiters came to the tables relatively quickly following the same paths every time, enjoyers of mimosas all had strawberry ones with them or on the way, and waffles were stacked high on most of the tables with more leaving the kitchen. Now Alex really thought she was losing her mind. Talking to the hostess, if there really was one, would sort everything out. “Hello miss.”, tendered Alex as she approached the girl. Looking up from the table map, red eyes destroyed whatever sanity Alex thought she had in the morning and flicked a switch in her brain to trigger the go to option in tense situations. She fainted.

Ten minutes passed and when Alex opened her eyes nothing had changed. People sat eating waffles and drinking strawberry mimosas with the waiters taking more orders that based on the words floating in the air consisted of mimosas and waffles. More thorough inspection revealed the waffle eaters and waiters also had red eyes. For good measure, she fainted again. Another ten minutes passed before she opened her eyes to see a man in bike shorts and a yellow jersey standing above her. “Hello miss, you alright? I saw you faint twice and got worried.”, said the man. In the background, nothing had changed with the scene. Waffles were eaten, strawberry mimosas drank, and the machines kept following some semblance of order.

“What's going on? I thought I was losing my mind. I could have sworn everyone in the cafe had red eyes.”, stammered Alex. Before the man could answer, Alex verified the red eyes were still there. “Please tell me you see red eyes everywhere and strange movements coming from everyone. Waffles are good, but everyone? Please tell me I am not the only one seeing this.” Half of Alex hoped she was and the other half hoped it still just a nightmare inside the cloud like bed of her hotel room.

“Oh I see red eyes and strange movements everywhere. The red eyes are not much of a surprise. Everyones corpse in town has those exact same eyes. It is strange that they are moving though. Here I thought everyone was dead. Last I checked, dead people do not just go about eating breakfast and drinking champagne. Come to think about it you don’t have red eyes and being alive is more out of place here than whatever is going on in the cafe. How are you alive?”, queried the man.

Never in her life did Alex think anyone would ask her how she was alive when she was laying on the cement after a mild fainting spell. Maybe after a major plane crash, but not a in everyday life. “I was born alive I guess...”, stuttered Alex. It took her a moment to compose herself. Either life was wrong, all she knew about herself was wrong, or it was a deep relaxation dream turned into a twisted nightmare. “This isn’t a dream right? It doesn’t feel like a dream, but everything going on looks like a demented dream. Maybe I was dosed with some drugs?”, openly questioned Alex.

Looking down at Alex, still laying on the ground, the man relaxed a little. “I can assure you. This isn’t a dream and no one has drugged you, as far as I know. People put some crazy stuff in their bodies these days. Can you believe people actually eat fried bacon wrapped donuts? That stuff will kill you faster than breathing the air in China or jumping in a pool of toxic waste everyday.”, rambled the man. Alex was only getting more confused. “Sorry, sorry. I was a bit of a health nut. Still am I guess. Back to the everyone being dead thing though, I promise I haven’t seen another person alive since I got a little tired in Childrens Park and decided to take a quick nap. Next thing I know there is a mass of corpses, including mine laying about the park with red eyes. A few...ghosts? Ghosts sounds good, were walking around.”

Ghosts? Alex never took it seriously, but with everything else she had seen since venturing from the safe embrace of bed was different than anything she had pinned life to be. “Okay, so if I am to believe that everyone is dead except me because of this red eye virus, how do you explain the cafe?”, retorted Alex. If the people in the cafe were zombies, shouldn’t they be craving her brain? It was clear they were not ghosts because they ate the waffles like they were going out of fashion. Secretly, Alex wished they would leave some for her at least.

As suddenly it began, everyone stopped eating waffles. Both Alex and the biker looked surprised. “Well I am not sure how to explain the cafe. Maybe just another effect of what killed everyone. One can imagine whatever is able to kill everyone can also make a cafe of corpses eat waffles and drink mimosas. If you still think this is all a dream, come with me. The park isn’t too far from here and you can see with your own eyes the dead bodies and ghosts roaming aimlessly. I know in your position I would demand proof as well.”, calmy said the man as he reached out a hand to help Alex up.

Reaching for the hand, Alex went right through it. She didn’t believe the whole ghost possibility until now. “So you really are a ghost? If you were a figment of my insane mind would you tell me? I am not going to wake up and find myself in a white jacket with my own personal padded room?”, asked Alex. There was only so much fainting one could do before they had to deal with what they thought their eyes saw and ears heard. Alex had reached that point and wanted to make sure she wouldn’t find herself in the anti climatic delusion of a crazy person coming back to their senses after a detailed psychotic episode or the cheesy cliche of waking from a dream. Before the man had time to respond, Alex got up. “It doesn’t matter. Lets go see all these ghosts and dead bodies.”, blurted Alex.

“I promise. If I was a crazy vision I would tell you if that was the sort of crazy vision you were having. It took me a couple hours to accept I had died, so I feel you confusion. You know I spent my whole life trying to be healthy. Every morning biking 10 miles to and from work where I trained clients all day long. Just last night my body fat was down to four percent and that morning I had biked a solo marathon for fun. When we get there I wouldn’t be offended if you throw up.”, comfortingly said the man. Making a following motion with his hand, the man signaled Alex to follow him down 5th street.

Small talk did not come easy to Alex with her mind still processing the mornings events. It felt strange talking to a freshly dead ghost. She didn’t quite know what to say. Hows life going? Life treating you good? Hows your day going? Taste any good food lately? Most starter questions she was accustomed to using when striking up a conversation either seemed insensitive, rude, or not applicable given his current state. One couldn’t exactly ask questions about how life was going or future plans. The more they walked, the harder it became to think of something because of the increasing number of corpses with red eyes lining various convenient locations to pop off and sleep. Still, she thought she would give it a go. “So, you come...came here often?”, is what came out.

Keeping up a steady stride and not looking surprised or taken aback by Alex’s question the man replied in a normal conversational tone. “Every Sunday like clock work. It is always so busy once the day kicks off downtown the only time to get a good ride or jog in is before everyone gets up. Sunday is especially good because everyone sleeps in or goes to church. What brings you downtown this early? You don’t strike me as the sort who gets up too early on Sundays.” Even while speaking, the mans pace did not slow down or falter. To an outside and astute observer, the man looked like he was trying to keep up a brisk pace and rush to get to the park without betraying his true purpose.

Given everything else going on, Alex was neither an astute or outside observer. From her perspective, he can across as a health freak who liked to keep a quick pace regardless of who was trying to keep up with him. She wasn’t out of shape, but she didn’t bike marathons for fun either. With the added shock of seeing so many dead bodies, her pace didn’t always match that of her guide and she had to jog to catch back up on more than a few occasions. With the combination of death and a brisk walk, her brain was quite busy. “I was staying at a hotel.”, was all her brain could muster. Normally she would be a superstar at conversation and may have even tried to get a date out of the guy that was hot, by any definition of the word. Current circumstances were not normal.

Whatever the man said in response to her short reply, Alex did not hear it. As they got closer to the park, a few people were standing over corpses that looked just like them. On the street, near an apartment complex, stood a woman. She had the blank stare of a statue looking down on the scene of a hectic civil war battlefield hospital. Her stare was directed at a woman holding two small children. For the moment Alex had, the woman was the apparent ghost and children her two children who used their mother as a soft place to sleep off the sudden drowsiness. Just as Alex almost caught up to the man, a little boy walked through her. He didn’t even seem to notice she was there or that he had passed through her like a holographic projection being disrupted by some object. All he yelled was, “Chocolate! Chocolate!”.

Something was afoot. Closer to the park, people no longer stood still or stared at their former physical confines. Alex was gathering a following. At first it was one or two random ghosts that seemed to be heading in the same general direction indicated by her spirit guide. Soon, more joined the group. She felt a little like Forest Gump running across the U.S gathering a flock of followers while he ran or in her case jogged to keep up with the extremely fit man leading her into an area with more ghosts like him. A few ghosts even said “hi”. By this time, her mind and body were on autopilot, so she replied with the customary “Hello” and a polite smile.

In the middle of the park, once she arrived winded, stood a tall man with red eyes, jogging pants with Marine written on the side, and a grey t-shirt with Marines written on the front. Surrounding him was a hundred or so people talking amongst themselves. Based on how they moved through each other, they looked like ghosts. From the surrounding streets, a steady stream of ghosts poured into the park with the haste of someone trying to see the president of the United States close enough to snap a picture before he finishes giving an impromptu speech. Wave after wave of ghosts passed through Alex. Few stopped to say sorry. Most kept their eyes on the man. Once the figure everyone came to see caught sight of Alex, he raised his finger and in a booming voice of an experienced orator shouted, “She is here! Our saviour has arrived!” Every ghost in the crowd turned to face her.

Alex’s head started racing with thoughts that she really was insane and having a psychotic break with reality. She never did like reality much, if she was being honest with herself, because it was so terribly dull with having to work and put up with more paperwork than the contents of the library of congress. Still, visions of ghosts walking in her head wasn’t much better. If the whole point of the weekend getaway was to escape from her life for something simple and easy where all she had to worry about was getting a free breakfast, she was failing miserably. Her mind must have snapped. All she could do to prevent herself from fainting again, as a defense mechanism, was to look at the man who lead her to the park in the first place. His reply wasn’t very comforting. “Tsk, he is talking to you. I would say something.”

“Saviour..I am not..”, stuttered Alex. Once again, her stomach was proven to be wrong. If she had stayed in the comfortable bed none of this would be happening. The blanket was safe. There was no one calling her a saviour, corpses with red eyes, people disappearing, and cafe patrons ordering waffles and mimosas like automatons under the blanket. Summoning up the last bit of coherence she could muster she finished her thought, “...a Saviour.” All the ghosts in the gathering crowd clapped with hands that went through each other.

“See my followers! When you all awoke this morning to find yourselves dead, I promised you a saviour who would be living and come to rescue us from this nonlife that has us trapped. Assemble my brothers and sisters and with a word she will bring us all back to life just as my prophecy foretold. I preached that one who did not die will bring back the life we all lost. We will rise up and take this world as our own and raise our saviour above all else for she can with a word reverse death itself!”, proclaimed the orator. “Without even knowing she grabbed me from the grave and gave me this new body so that I could herald her coming as the new ruler of the world! Praise her so that she might say the words we all long to here. ‘Return to life and live!’”

Spinning around to escape, Alex saw the streets overflowing with ghosts on their hands and knees bowing to her like a god. This was all in her head. She closed her eyes and reopened them. Everyone was still there praising her. Thoughts of what to do rushed in and out of her head faster than cars on the autobahn. Eventually, the one remaining thought was to play along as she was obviously over the deep end anyway, so why not be worshipped as a god? “Arise and live! Conquer the world in my name to make it a paradise! All who died to the red eye death come to me and lead the charge to reclaim a dead world!”, she loudly shouted. It all sounded like nonsense to her, but she was getting into character. If she was going to be crazy, she would at least have fun with it.

Instead of waking up from her delusion, she delved deeper into the rabbit hole. A swirling vortex of ghosts rotated around her and shot off in all directions of the city. The forty or so corpses in the park jumped up in the air and floated while ghosts shot into them. Some began to twitch and others violently spasmed. As quickly as it began, it was over. Alex and the orator were the only ones left in the park filled with corpses. “What...what just happened?”, asked Alex to no one in particular. She wasn’t even sure anyone could answer her if she had even asked anyone the question.

“Well, my dear, it is simple. You just raised an army to take over the world.”, said the orator in a conversational voice. “Yes, yes I know what you are thinking. How did that man know I could raise the dead? Well the answer to that is I didn’t. It was a lucky guess for the most part, but seemed reasonable given that you were the only one alive and could see all the ghosts still. I tried to raise the dead myself when I woke up, but when you are dead its hard to raise yourself. So, I did the next best thing and jumped into the body of a Marine jogging nearby. His military physique and imposing figure proved quite useful in convincing other recently dead to follow. Take that biker who lead you here. I had him fooled that he was sent on a mission to find the one true saviour of the world.”

“But, I am not…”, Alex didn’t quite know how to respond and the bodies starting to move around her didn’t help much. “a saviour of anything. I am an insurance investigator living in Poway. People coming back from the dead on my command and doing what I want them to do on the smallest wish I have is ridiculous. You, them, and all of this must be a crazy dream.”, is all Alex managed to get out before the bodies in the park started standing up and walking around.Their eyes still had the blood red color she had seen on all the corpses on the way to the park. If not for the eyes and the smell of death, Alex and any sane observer would state without pause that the people were living, breathing people that were going about their daily activities.

“This is very real. All of these people or whatever you want to call them are all under your command now and you ordered them to take over the world for you. Now that you have awaken them, they need a leader who will direct them to conquer the globe and raise new soldiers to join their ranks. Since you don’t seem up to the task, I guess I will need to take control of you.”, stated the orator. Horrified, Alex looked at the marines body as it fell to the ground and a light blue light shot straight at her. Before she could blink it slammed into her and vanished.

“My soldiers of redemption. Today we assemble and tomorrow conquer!”, screamed Alex. It wasn’t the sort of thing she usually said, but somehow it felt natural. Nothing felt different from before the blue light. Four arms, two legs, an ample bosom, one nose, two ears, and a mouth were all where they should be in her physical body. It all still felt like a dream. Instead of fighting the dream, she finally embraced i for what it was. For too long she had been put down and made to feel tiny by her profit seeking boss and oppressive mountains of paper sitting on her desk like a million tiny paper cut devices. This was her time, in her dream at least. “One by one, we will take the world and transform it into a heaven that rivals the heavens above. We fight!”


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