Chapter 1 - Party Time
Sam and his family lived on the outskirts of Cambridge, sixty five miles north of London. Today was Sunday and his habitual time spent on the golf course had been undermined by his kid’s birthday party. The children weren’t twins but one was only just a year older than the other and they were all better served with the one big birthday party. At least it only took one day a year out of his busy work schedule. He felt selfish but wasn’t too bothered, his wife was much better at these things and she tended to take control anyway.
Right now he could barely hear himself think because there were some two dozen little ’uns and parents wandering around and playing all through the kitchen diner and out into the garden.
Sam chose to escape the racket for a few minutes by sitting in the living room with the door closed while his wife, Becky, maintained the role of host on her own for a few minutes. He felt a little guilty for doing this until the small shot of brandy he’d sneaked from the ‘medicine’ cabinet slipped warmly down his throat and spread into his stomach. Sam relished the sensation and felt the stress easy immediately. He turned on the radio just in time for the news. They had just started on a story that had been worrying him; it seemed to be about terrorism but something told him it was way more than that.
“Doctor Peter Ericson, a senior researcher at Cambridge Biological Research, having spent the last three weeks in custody following his arrest under anti-terrorism rules, has now been charged with the murder of thirty two people in the recent spate of suspicious deaths relating to Brexit supporters. He is expected to plead not guilty. Tensions among the scientific community have been high of late with claims that Brexit will cause the advancement of British science to falter due to the loss of EU funding. These claims have been disputed by the government, while this alleged action by Doctor Ericson only goes to illustrate the extreme views of some in the Remain camp.
“Meanwhile, also in Cambridge, several more people have been admitted to hospital with suspected overdoses of the designer drug, Spice. The drug causes temporary catatonia, and has been labelled Zombie Dust by the media because users mimic the mindless state of zombies.”
Sam tuned out again, the second story already an irrelevance to him. As far as he was concerned it had nothing to do with him, if people chose to put that crap inside them then they had whatever happened coming to them. Along with most of the population, that was his position.
A scream broke his reverie. Leaping to his feet he ran out of the living room and into the kitchen diner. Two children were lying on the floor convulsing with blood spitting from their mouths, garishly decorating their pastel coloured clothing. Distraught parents were crouching on the floor beside the three on the floor. He saw three more outside suffering the same fitting on the grass; a group was gathering around them.
“What the…” Sam blurted.
“Do something! They’re dying!” Becky shrieked, clutching Chloe tightly to her. “Sam! Help us!” she cried again upon seeing him remain inert, standing there, white-faced and statue-still.
Sam tore his gaze from his wife and looked down again at the children. Finally recognition flared, overcoming his brain’s disbelief and he fell to the floor, kneeling by his son, Ollie.
“Oh, god,” he cried, slumping beside his child, cupping the boy’s head to stop it from hitting the floor as the tiny body jerked and writhed.
Digging into his pocket he pulled out his mobile and struggled to tap out 999 because of the fresh blood on his fingertips. Finally the call went through.
“Ambulance, I need an ambulance!” he blurted. “C’mon, c’mon,” he urged. He gave his address and tried to describe what was wrong. He looked at his wife who was clutching their precious little Chloe as tightly as she could. Both parents were crying.
“They’re coming,” he whispered to no-one in particular. His son had stopped moving.