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Who I am to wonder?

Anna sits tightly on the back seat, almost in hysterics as we drive away from the scene. Two mutilated bodies, one even on a brink of turning into crisp, and the cause? It s unknown.

We are just on our casual drive, our house lay miles away, and I just fetched her from the University after mine was cancelled due to the bombs scare of some student. Well, I believe it is the students, who have sent the messages to the dean in order for him to cancel whatever business we might have been doing inside the campus.

"Shut it, Anna." That made her sob more and weep.

I would have ignored her cries if it were not for the casual throbs on my forehead. A migraine, how unfortunate.

Thump. Thump. It s getting worst, but I can t just pull over, and grab my meds, not until I am assured that we ve gotten far away from those people, who might have caused their death. It s horrible, believe me, I even doubt whether a person could have done that. Whoever might be the culprit is, they are dangerous.

I have dialled the emergency number along the way, but all I get was the same voicemail for an hour.

Exasperated, I stop. This is only getting out of nowhere. I opened the radio, only to be stopped again by Anna s sudden shriek.

"What—" However, before I could question her, I was bewildered, when something hard collided in front of the car.

It happened too fast. I pulled the breaks and breathed sharply. Shaking, my eyes widened. Did I just hit somebody? Goodness, God forbid me, I might have killed the person.

The impact is too strong to leave fatal injuries! A concussion, if ever they have hit their head on the road, or much worst dies in just a matter of seconds.

Anna stops crying, but I haven t had any idea whether to be relieved or what.

"Stay here in the car." Unbuckling, and holding myself, I opened the front seat.

My chest beats erratically, my breathing was not even either way I felt like getting a heart attack if I had it.

Who wouldn t anyway? My stomach churns, but I get sickened the moment my eyes landed on whatever it might be. It looks human, but its appearance is…It is the same as those corpses, but much, less decent, but still horrible, and grotesque.

There s a large chunk from its side, and I can see the remaining flesh hanging from that part. A bone, if I am not mistaken, and what s left before something had bite off its blackened complexion. Its limbs, compared to us are much longer and sharp. It has some claws!

Oh, dear! Was it a monster?

When its eyes ogled and settled right across to where am I, that s my cue to run back in the car, opened the engine as fast as I can, and drove away to whatever that damn thing is.

"S-sam?" Anna sniffled, but my mind is too blank, shock I might add to what I have just seen.

I am not dreaming, am I?

If I am, this is the nightmare that I wouldn t want to have again, never again.

There was static, there s a piece of news being broadcast, which seems to pull me away from the reverie about so many things. I ve been thinking a lot, when I say a lot, they are more than an avalanche, simply as to say they are countless.

"My people, t-today…" The voice came rasp, and hoarse, I can even hear the person choking from his own words.

In the background, I heard what I can assume was a woman s bloodcurdling scream, some glass breaking, and papers scuttling. It sounded like something was creating turmoil, leaving everyone in a panic. It s chaos, even if I can t see it. Whoever was the person in line, he is brave enough to remain there, regardless of the situation.

"…W-we are here to say that there s an unknown pathogen spreading across the country. Those people whom you might have seen loitering in the streets w-with only what remains to them was no longer human, but a flesh-eating monster. W-we are on a code red, and the Government was trying their best to help. W-whoever can hear this message, all I wish for you is to be safe, wherever you might be-…."

There are another screeched, and the line went dead. My blood runs cold. The car slows down as my hand loosen from its hold. Anna called after me-

"S-Sam…Sam, can you hear me?"

She s terrified, I know, and I was beyond scared to what I am even seeing that I need to blink twice.

There are corpses around the road, growling like an animal, while the others…on bended knees with their sickening claws, and skin were all sharing the same flesh they were once. They are eating humans.

For heaven s sake, what s happening on the earth?

My phone buzz and the voice mail came ringing back in my ears.

"S-sam, you need to go back, our experiment- I m so sorry, I didn t know, I just wanted to see how it will work, I m sorry, the virus has been weaponized—I don t know what happened, but it escapes the lab- and then this…I am sorry, please… S-sam, I am scared... P-please, help me. W-we can still fix it, right?"

We can, but the damage has been done….It is too late, Aly.

Minutes earlier before the chaos put hysterics, the monster long before had not yet existed. They were just regular people, human with features the same as them, two legs and limbs, a visage and a smile plastered on their face. However, this day felt unusual. I couldn t quite place my finger on it.

When I arrived at the laboratory just outside our University, Jackson, the security guard whom I had grown accustomed to greeted me.

"Is Aly here already, Jack?" I asked while trying to fix my bed hair.

I yawned.

It s 5 am, when Aly s call woke me up. She sounded excited, telling me to come all the way although it s freaking early. If it wasn t for the breakthrough she s been talking about, I wouldn t be here driving from Montessana to Xavier s University. This is where I am trying to fill my master's degree just so I could be eligible to apply for NASA.

"She is, Sam," Jackson replied with a smile on his lips. He raised his cup, which is almost half empty. "Coffee?"

"Thanks." I returned his smile. "I ve got mine all the way already."

When I walked past him, I could feel the sudden cold breeze whipping across and biting my cheeks. It made me shudder, but I pay no heed. It is unusually cold when the sky is on its ethereal blue coloured hue, and I can see the sun peeking from the east. It doesn t feel like it would rain soon, which I am in favour of, because I am still going to pick up Anna after my work here in the laboratory is done.

As I stepped inside the building, the lights flickered on. It was automatic. They turned on if there is a presence they could detect, and turned off on their own if there are no bodily heat present at that time. The hallways lay firmed ahead of me. It stood still and erect.

My phone buzz.

I couldn t help, but roll my eyes, when Aly s name flashed on the screen.

Speaking of the devil.

"What?" I picked it up as I began to walk.

I passed by some classrooms, labs that were left unattended. There isn t any soul whom I could see yet, perhaps, because I ve been here much early than my usual 8 am attendance.

"Where are you?" She asked. "You re taking too long, Sam!"

She sounded impatient.

"Good grief, Aly." I pursed my lips. "I m in the building already."

"Really?" Her impatience has been replaced by enthusiasm dripping in her voice.

Sometimes, I could barely comprehend her mood.

"Yeah, so it s better to be worth of my sleep," I warned her.

"Chill! I am sure it would be!" She laughs at the other line.

I only replied with a huff.

It didn t take me long to reach our lab. Outside the door, she and my name are engraved on it. Samantha Cowell, and Allison Connor. We are both of the same age. The only difference between us, I was aiming for something, while Ally wanted to prove that she can be better out of herself to her dad. She only shared one thing about him with me.

"Dad has always been like you know strict." She said. "I ve never heard him praise me once, and so I wanted him to be proud from the profession he stop dreaming for a very long time, Sam."

Her heart who seek for him bleeds. I knew how hard she push herself, sleepless nights, and days filled with her spending on the lab instead of the outside world the lay promising for her. She has her potential, but she dreams to be seen by the only person who could not even glance at her way.

Mr. Connor was once a renowned scientist, a product of hard works, but the horrific incident made him unable to even move his hand. He was paralysed for life. The impact from the car tragedy had destroyed some of his joints, and nerves, leaving him immobile and perhaps, the frustration that filled him stopped the fatherly love he could have given to Aly.

When I pushed the door open, I saw her submerge, absorb, while her eyes are trained to the microscope probing her discoveries this time.

I was torn whether to let her be or call her, but I settle onto the latter part.

"Aly," I said aloud and knock.

That caught her attention.

When she turned her head to look at me, she was already grinning.

"Finally! I ve been waiting for your arrival!" She sounded enthusiastic.

She quickly went closer to where I was.

"Come here! Let me show you something!" Excited, she grab my hand and pulled me beside the microscope she left earlier.

My orbs move, my gaze landed on the mess and the blood I could see she used as a specimen. I frown. It was much redder in colour than the usual testing tube we used.

Suspicious grew inside of me.

"Is that...blood?" I frown.

"It is!" Aly confirmed.

"No." I shook my head and look at her. "Is that human blood, Aly?"

I saw her pupils move, and her sudden gulp.

"Well..." She awkwardly smiles.

Incredulous, disbelief was all written all over my face after I confirmed my suspicions.

"Aly, you can t be serious." Shaking my head, I rub my temples. "We are not allowed to use human types of blood, it was against the protocol!"

We ll get in trouble if somebody found out. At Xavier University, we could dwell and explore all the way and however, we want. We were provided with the necessary tools, and equipment as long as we comply. We will use animal blood coming from Guinea pigs and not strictly human blood. To how Aly retrieved it without getting caught, I have no idea, unless...

"Where did you get it?" My eyes are wide.

I saw her fidgeted on her spot. She was looking everywhere, but not me.

"Aly, don t tell me..."

I couldn t believe it!

"Okay fine." She finally surrendered, perhaps feeling the intensity of the way how I stared at her. "It s mine, okay?"

She crossed her arms.

"Are you crazy?!" It was beyond what I imagined.

"No one will find out, okay?" She reassured me.

"Oh god, I don t know what I should do with you!" I hissed. "We are going to be both in trouble."

I was fully awake now.

"I know, but fewer worries about that, look what I found out, come here." She urged me.

"No." But I was firm. "You needed to dispose of it before I tell the headmaster," I added seriously.

Her expression changes.

"You wouldn t do that." She was frowning.

"I will." Our eyes meet. "You don t know what will happen once it gets exposed."

"I am being careful—"

I cut her off.

"Still, dispose of it or get expelled," I warned her before turning my back.

I was only stopped when she spoke.

"But you didn t know how much it could have helped us." She explained. "I had it weaponized, Sam. It could help by any means you couldn t imagine. It is a breakthrough that the world should have seen."

"You are crazy." I shook my head.

And before I knew it, I was fully out of the door.

What I didn t expect was it would be the beginning of the doom, the downfall of humanity and the creation of the undead, a newly formed pathogen that exposed those to turn into a flesh-eating monster.

"S—Sam!" Anna s cries bring me back from the reverie, recalling the memories of the past, yet the regrets are all too late now.

"I m scared." She trembled in her seat.

I gulp down the lament and stomach the sickening sensation that keeps clawing its way out.

I open the engine of the car as it roared to life.

"W—where are we going, Sam?" Anna asked, but I couldn t speak.

Even I have the same question, yet I haven t had my answer yet as I was groped by both of my conscience and regrets. To nowhere knows I drove off, to where I can save her and me, although the blame should be put on Aly and I.

If only... If only...but it s too late now to redeem the damage and the uproar that cost a life, not, it should be lives.


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