“C’mon Michael, we’re getting close,” Bethany said. Michael hunched over Colin’s shoulder as he tried to keep him upright. Michael hasn’t stopped puking, the corners of his mouth carried a pulpy yellowish foam that dripped off his chin.
“You have to clean his mouth Bethany. That’s just gross,” Colin said stopping. Bethany pulled the bottom of her shirt until it tore around her waist. She folded the piece of fabric over and started wiping the ends of Michael’s mouth. Michael’s body started shaking again. “You gotta be kidding me!” Colin said frustrated, as he dropped him on the cement floor in a hurry.
Michael posted on all fours and started making the vomit foreplay motions. His legs started cringing. His body sank back and forth. His shoulders dug into his neck until a raw thick mixture of what looked like clumpy orange milk started seeping out of his mouth and onto the cement floor. Once he thought he was done, he started throwing up again. He started collecting a large milky stack on the floor in front of his face. Bethany watched in horror trying to keep her stomach from replicating Michael’s. Colin stared at Michael’s back, and then stared at Bethany who was still holding onto her waist. He couldn’t bare to see her cry anymore.
“What makes you think that there are people up there?” Colin said as they both strapped under Michael’s shoulders.
“There has to be people there, you saw the light, it was on.”
“What if it’s them?” Michael replied.
“It can’t be them, how would they turn on a light?” she said, “Colin we can’t keep running on our own like this. We need to find help.”
Colin took a breath and adjusted Michael. He could see a golden light reflecting in a window like some treasure filled oasis in a room. It’s been 12 blocks since the Sedan broke down. No gas. From there they saw a window in the distance in some far off condo in suburbia. There had to be people. They’ve been driving without food for days now, hungry, and as of lately, relinquished any bottled drinking water they had stored in the trunk of the car. They took turns sleeping in the car. Especially with Michael’s sickness, they needed to find people. They needed help. The whole world couldn’t be lost just yet. They couldn’t be the last three humans.
Bethany rushed to the front door in front of them. Colin looked at Michael’s face, “Can you stand?” he asked in a whisper. Michael nodded his head tiredly. Colin placed Michael by the railing in front of the door and pulled his knife out, a long kitchen cleaver. Bethany knocked lightly. She looked at the window, knocked again, and stared at the glazing orange light through the glass. It turned off. They stared at the glass window which inside was covered by a gray curtain. Bethany placed her hand on the doorknob and started turning it. The door was unlocked.
Bethany looked back at Colin who nodded back to her. “You okay?” Colin asked Michael.
“I’m fine,” Michael replied in frustration.
Colin walked in front of Bethany, she reached out to Michael and grasped his hand. Colin opened the door wider. It was an empty
living room. Dark. Couches, television, work desk, book shelves, and books carelessly left open on the ground. Colin looked back at Bethany and Michael who leaned onto the doorway.
“I guess no ones here. . .” he said at the sound of a dozen guns clicking.
“WHO ARE YOU!” said a voice that broke the silence like lightning. An old man came from behind the bookshelf. The face of another person lifted from behind the couch, and a woman suddenly appeared from the open hallway. They all carried guns, long thick rifles that butted into their necks, frantically pointing up and down at Colin, Bethany, and Michael. The open ended barrels of their guns moved quickly, scanning them each up and down, left and right, waving around as if they were trying to catch an insect in mid flight with the tip of their rifles. Colin stood frozen, unmoving in the middle of the living room, shaking chaotically, his knees slowly pulling themselves together as they quivered. Bethany dug her body into Michael ducking under his shoulder and squeezing her face in between his armpit. Michael’s bones ripped in anguish.
“Wait! JUST WAIT!” Colin screached, dropping his kitchen knife to the floor, trembling before the three guns pointed in front of him. Michael, holding the pain down in his mouth, held onto Bethany as they both stood anxiously behind Colin. “We’re human, we’re not like them,” Colin said, holding his hands out with open palms and outstretched fingers. “I’m Colin Sarver and this is my sister Bethany,” he yelled as he stepped to the side opening Bethany to the open ends of the rifles. Bethany peered in front of her with widened frightened eyes as she continued to wrap her arms around Michael. “This is her boyfriend, Michael Barr,” Colin said.
“When was the last time you had sex Bethany?” said the older man in the middle of the other two, who behind his rifle wore a trucker’s hat and spoke behind a stubbly white beard.
“What?” Bethany said as if the old man overstepped his boundaries.
“Answer the question dammit!” he said holding the gun up and pointing it directly above her neck.
“Over a year ago!” Bethany replied with frightened vocal chords.
“You!” he said looking over at Colin, “When was the last time you had sex?”
Colin hesitated. He looked back to his sister and the three people in front of him in embarrassment. The old man waited as he delicately pulled the hammer of his gun back with the tip of his thumb. It stopped once it made a heart stabbing click.
“I’m a virgin!” Colin said finally, his breaths tense and sore. He felt a sour air heave in and out of his chest.
“And you?” the old man said pointing his gun at Michael. The woman of the group turned on a light; it illuminated the walls. They could see the sweat coming off Michael’s forehead. The front ends of his hair becoming wet with perspiration. He struggled through quick painful breaths.
“What’s wrong with him?” the man asked.
“He has food poisoning, it must’ve been something we ate on the way here,” Bethany said.
“Why don’t you have food poisoning then?” the woman asked, pointing her gun at Bethany.
Bethany thought for a second and then looked back at her, “. . . I don’t.. I don’t know. . .” she spewed defeated.
“When’s the last time you had sex Michael?” the old man asked tirelessly, “WHEN!” he shouted.
Michael looked over at Colin. Colin stared back at him. Michael felt a sympathetic hope smiling in Colin’s eyes. Michael turned weakly as he brushed his eyes at the three people holding up their rifles. He could feel a blistering heat cutting through him from inside his mouth and within his eyes. His face started to tear up. The shape of his jaw started to form a guilty impatience. He stared at Bethany and the soft naive expression in her eyes. “Two months ago,” he said.
“You cheated on me?” said Bethany. Her body went silent. She couldn’t feel the hands that wrapped around his. A quiet, peaceful, frustration wrapped around her throat and started choking her as her tears started running down her cheeks. A large clamorous spark ignited from the old man’s rifle as Michael’s head flung back.
Michael shook weakly as several lines of blood painted their way down his face from an open hole in his forehead. He fell to his knees. His eyes flickered like flies. Blood rushed out the ends of his mouth.
“Michael!” Bethany exclaimed kneeling in front of him, pulling on his shoulders. Her tears sprung from her eyes as she touched the lifeless skin on his face. “Michael! No! MICHAEL! Please. . .”
* * * * * * *
It was 8 months since the Zidia outbreak. It was a disease that traveled sexually through men and women. It didn’t take long until most of the world was infected.
. . . to be continued