Wednesday 18

Not a good day. Trapper sick.

Thursday 19

Trapper worse. Overheard Daddy say he’ll have to β€œdeal with him.” He thinks it’s the Infection. Mom agreed.

Friday 20

Saw Mom stroking Trapper and crying. I snuck out of my room earlier and said goodbye to him myself. He just led there.

Saturday 21

Trapper is gone. Daddy took him into the backyard and then came back in shaking. Mom hugged him but I ran upstairs.

Sunday 22

Daddy is sick. Mom’s crying.

Monday 23

Mom says we’re leaving. I’m packing now.

Tuesday 24

Daddy is dead. Mom won’t say what happened. We’re going to Aunt Ruth’s.

The Tate Incident

The following transcript was recovered from the offices of Dr. Liam Maloney, a senior practitioner at the Nashua Wood Health Centre. His notes indicate that due to nature of the incident which led to this meeting, he felt it prudent to record the exchange for his records. While his notes do not go into any great detail regarding the preceding events (and no further evidence could be found), considering what we now know, the date of this entry, and the nature of the described incident, should be of the highest possible interest.

Interview: Myself/Mrs Katherine Tate. 2:30pm, July 14th, 2012. RE: The Tate Incident.

Doctor Liam Maloney: I know this is hard, Kathy, but I promise it won’t take long.
Katherine Tate: It’s OK… I’m fine, honestly.
You understand why I have to do this. I mean, you’re happy to continue?
Yes, I’m sure.
Good. Let’s start at Saturday morning. What do you remember?
It was sunny. Mark, Amber and I were out in the back garden. Mark and I were in the loungers, soaking up a little of the morning sun. It was before lunch but already almost twenty degrees. I was drinking an iced tea, Mark had a Sprite.
And where was Amber?
She was playing down the far end of the garden. I had told her to stay where I could see her but, as usual, she hadn’t. I know it sounds silly, considering we were in our own garden, but with the woods being just beyond it always makes… made me a little wary.
And Mark?
Mark was led next to me, with his headphones in as he always did.
So you couldn’t see Amber at all?
I could hear her. I was reading a little Stephen King, but kept glancing up every now and again toward our little forest at the end of the garden. Amber really loved it there. She was always bringing us back mini beasts and other assorted creepy crawlies she found. She’s nothing like me in that respect; I can’t stand all that dirt. But she loves… sorry-
It’s OK.
Well she loved all that. She’d spend all day in those bushes if we let her. Anyway, I’d call out to her and she shout back that she was fine, that she was exploring and stuff. It was a normal summery weekend morning.
So tell me when you first realised something was wrong?
I’m not exactly sure when it was I realised I hadn’t heard from Amber in a while. It still makes me feel sick thinking about it. Can you believe that the other night I actually tried to blame King for making his writing so engrossing. Ridiculous, I know.
But eventually you noticed something was up?
Yes. After I called out to her several times to no reply, I leaned over and nudged Mark. He told me I was being silly and make a joke about my mother, his mother-in-law. I called out one more time, but when she didn’t call back, Mark said he’d go check.
Go on.
Well I watched him venture between our two big trees and into the bushes. Whereas Amber would usually be on her knees and quickly out of sight, Mark, as you know, is pretty tall, so I could still just about see his head. It didn’t take him long to shout out and I went running.
That’s when you first saw it?
Yes. On the far side of the bushes, in a little clearing before the fence, Mark was crouched over Amber, who I couldn’t see. It all happened so fast. I didn’t even realise she wasn’t breathing. Mark was probably shouting at me but I don’t remember hearing him. I was just staring at the creature, it was stood in the dirt watching us.
It was standing?
It was up on its hind legs. It was about the size of a chicken I guess, but was scaled like a lizard. It seemed to have a few feathers on the top of its head and around its tail. I remember thinking how curious Amber must have been when she saw it. It looked kinda cute, not vicious at all. Of course, I was about to discover it was.
Do you remember what colour the feathers were?
I think maybe mostly white, with a tinge of blue. It’s hard to be completely sure, to be honest, but that sounds about right.
You’re doing great, Kathy. What next?
Just as I was about to move closer, it leapt into the air and onto Mark’s back. He was so focussed on Amber he hadn’t even noticed the thing watching us. He wailed as it landed on him and blood starting pouring right away. When it had been on the ground I hadn’t noticed how long and sharp the claws were on its little hands and feet. Mark jumped up and shook but the thing wouldn’t let go. It was biting him and Mark was screaming louder. I could see Amber now, cuts on her arms and legs and a big rip in her dress. She was covered in blood. I wanted to run right to her, but I had never heard Mark scream like that. I was still carrying my Under the Dome copy which, as you know, is a hefty tome. I swiped at the thing but still it wouldn’t budge. It was really clinging on. The hissing sound it was making was horrible; it really was like a mad dream at this point.
It hissed?
Yes, kinda like a cat, but a little higher pitched. And the smell was hideous, like when your dog has really bad breath but a hundred times worse. I wanted to throw up; later I did. The thing continued to hiss and scratch and bite and Mark was screaming and thrashing. I whacked the thing as hard as I could with my book again and it finally fell off and went scattering into the bushes.
You didn’t see it again?
No. I assumed it disappeared into the woods, but to be honest I was a little bit distracted.
Of course.
I sat with Amber as Mark rushed back inside and called for an ambulance. She wasn’t breathing… But if I had known how much blood Mark was losing, I…
It’s fine, Kathy. The rest I know. You’ve done great. We’re done.

This interview was carried out five days prior to the first recorded cases of the Ratchings Virus, otherwise commonly referred to as ‘Outbreak Day 001’.

Day One

Swell_Kel joined the conversation
Swell_Kel: I’ve been calling you!
Swell_Kel: How’d it go? πŸ™‚
ClaireBear17: Sorry 😦
Swell_Kel: Don’t worry…give me the details! πŸ˜€
ClaireBear17: Not feeling too good.
Swell_Kel: Did he finally make a move? πŸ˜†
ClaireBear17: Feeling a bit sick.
Swell_Kel: Hunny what’s wrong?
Swell_Kel: Claire…come on…its me πŸ™‚
Swell_Kel: Tell me…
ClaireBear17: Nothing…I’ll be fine.
Swell_Kel: Shall I come over?
ClaireBear17: No.
Swell_Kel: What happened? πŸ™„
ClaireBear17: Well I snuck in…he was asleep on the sofa…
Swell_Kel: You cracked open the wine didn’t you! πŸ˜‰
ClaireBear17: No! Listen…
Swell_Kel: Hun what happened? 😦
ClaireBear17: His parents were out but he was just asleep…no DVD, no drinks
Swell_Kel: OMG
Swell_Kel: Waster!
ClaireBear17: So I shook him awake…but he was angry
ClaireBear17: Realy mad
Swell_Kel: WTF he didn’t do anything did he?
ClaireBear17: He grabbed me so I slapped him…ran to back door but he tripped me up
Swell_Kel: Are you fucking kidding me…I’m gonna kill that asshole! πŸ‘Ώ
Swell_Kel: U ok?
ClaireBear17: Kickwd him off…got out house
Swell_Kel: But ur ok? He didn’t hurt you?
ClaireBear17: I’m k…just feel sick
ClaireBear17: He jst bit myankle…weirdo
Swell_Kel: I’m gonna kill him!
Swell_Kel: I’m coming over…
ClaireBear17: No im k…jst need
Swell_Kel: Just need what?
Swell_Kel: You still there?
Swell_Kel: Hun?
Swell_Kel: Claire?
ClaireBear17: Felng realu hot
Swell_Kel: What? Ur worrying me. Whats going on?
Swell_Kel: Claire? Hellooooooo?
Swell_Kel: 😦
Swell_Kel: Bet your throwing up..
Swell_Kel: Gross :p
Swell_Kel: Ok…not funny!
Swell_Kel: Claire???
Swell_Kel: I’m calling you…pick up
Swell_Kel: Or don’t πŸ˜₯
Swell_Kel: Fine…not funny anymore..I’m coming over
Swell_Kel: CLAIRE?!?
Swell_Kel: On my way…
Swell_Kell left the conversation
ClaireBear17: dnt

The Rabbit’s Foot

It was a cold Monday morning when Baby Claire’s rabbit died. It had been ill for a few days and her dad had the burial all prepared. Tears were shed and dirt was shovelled and Fluffy was laid to rest. Minus one furry white foot.

Several days and a bucket of water and borax later, the foot found itself keychain bound to the dad’s set of keys. It was for Claire of course, and it would be hers one day, but at only 3 years of age, her father would be using it for some time yet.

But not that long.

Several Fluffy-less days later, the dad’s drive to work was unexpectedly halted. He was a reliable, attentive driver, never easily distracted. Usually anyway. However, on this misty morning, a small bump in the road would undo his many years of good driving. As the car bounced up from the concrete below, Fluffy’s fluffy foot fought itself loose from its keychain prison. Trousers riding up as he drove, his bare skin felt the gentle tickle of fur, creating just enough of a distraction for him to take his eyes off the road. As his gaze dropped down, a car pulled out, and the lives of all involved changed forever.

The first person on scene was a Good Samaritan who witnessed the accident as she went to pick up her laundry. She quickly raced over to the father’s car, but, so intent was she on helping an already dead man, she failed to hear the gushing sound of fuel leaking from the engine. A small electrical spark later the car, the father, the Samaritan and the surrounding area exploded up in a wonderful display of twisted metal, blood and flame.

A paramedic reaching the scene minutes later discovered the foot miraculously undamaged at the side of road, having been blasted from the wreckage by the explosion. Saddened by the scene around her, the young woman, only two weeks into her professional career, consoled herself by travelling back to the hospital one item heavier.

It did not stay in her possession for long.

After a suspiciously long lunch break, a rushing young paramedic missed a stairwell step and enjoyed a short, sharp drop and broken neck. The rabbit’s foot was found, and kept, however, by a notoriously brilliant and well-liked doctor, who intended to give it to his wife as a surprise gift, making up for the fact he had missed their anniversary a day earlier.

Later that same afternoon, the brilliant doctor, a specialist in infectious diseases, was called away on a very important and highly classified matter. Just hours later, he found himself in a small town in the French countryside. He didn’t know it at the time, but the man he had been sent to see was infected with a new, and highly dangerous virus for which there was no cure.

It took the doctor three days to discover this fact. Many died in the meantime. On the day he discovered the cause of the outbreak, his symptoms began. Within twenty-four hours, the doctor died. On his deathbed, as hundreds of other infected people spluttered and convulsed around him, the doctor passed the rabbit’s foot on to his research assistant, wishing that it bring her better luck than it had him.

It didn’t.

Word soon reached the assistant that the French authorities intended to cut their loses and eradicate the town. She left within the hour. Three hours after that, the entire town was bombed and along with it any trace of the virus.

Or so they thought.

The assistant didn’t realise it, but she infected everything she touched and everybody she came in contact with on her frantic journey to the airport. Hundreds of people now unwittingly carried the virus’ deadly spores as they went about their daily routines. Within days, half of Europe would be infected. Several weeks later? Well, I’m sure you can guess. But that’s a tale for another time.

And so, on a stormy Friday night, the rabbit’s foot found itself on the red-eye travelling north to Manchester airport. It’s new owner was already feeling the debilitating effects of the virus as she boarded the aircraft. One hour in, almost all of the passengers were also feeling the effects. Two hours in, and the research assistant was dead. Three hours in, and the pilot spluttered his last breath and promptly died at his controls.

The plane quickly fell from the sky and found not its intended destination, but an equally desired one. Witnesses from miles around saw the ensuing explosion. There were rumours at the time that the fireball could be seen from as far away as Bristol. What was true, what was indisputable, was that the house the aircraft landed on would never be lived in again.

Luckily for its widowed owner and her only child, known throughout the family as Baby Claire, they were out at the time.