November 6, 2014

Race for Safe Haven - Routine Traffic Stop (NaNoWriMo update #2)

[Posted by Ted H]

Been starting off on a decent pace. Not surging ahead, but at least keeping ahead of the daily checkpoints. Today will prove to be an especially interesting day since I'll be working 12 hours. Gonna see if I can get any writing done during my lunch breaks. I don't wanna fall behind this year, even for a day....I don't even need food, right?


Also, my never ending eye for editing has already had me make changes and additions to the early going portion. It's now different that what I have posted. Hell, I'll probably make changes to the part I'm posting now once I'm done here. That's writing, go figure. I know my creative writing professor would scold me, Don't wast precious time revising when you should be pounding out now work and all that jazz.

Current status of my 2014 NaNoWriMo: 8,404 / 50,000 (41,596 words to go!)
Current pace has me writing my 50,000th word on: November 30

Joooooin us!


[Race for Safe Haven - Routine Traffic Stop]

            The rest of the night was an unclear blur as Rhett next found himself barely able to register the bartender announcing the last call. He glanced down to see an empty tall glass in his hand. He knew that it wasn't the original glass of liquor that was given to him earlier but he couldn't tell how many glasses he had downed during the night. All he knew was it was time to go. He patted his pocket and felt his keys. He apparently had been in good behavior for the bartender to not take his keys.
            He stood up, taking a moment to adjust. The bartender was on the other end of the bar. If Rhett was quick, he could duck out without the bartender seeing him. The bartender might try to stop him, but Rhett knew he could manage to drive home despite his condition. He didn't think he was that drunk. He stumbled into the door and disappeared into the night before the bartender could notice him. He left his credit card for his tab in there, but he wasn't planning on using it anytime soon. He probably wasn't going to use it again until the next time he drank anyway.
            The outside world was darker than Rhett expected, and he was still a bit dizzy from standing up. His stomach wasn't in such agreement anymore either with what felt like the gallon of alcohol he poured down his throat. He was feeling sick from the drinking, which sadly was his plan. He just needed to get home before he decided to throw up or pass out. He made his way to the back of the parking lot to where his car waited in the same spot he always parked it. That habit being the only reason he was able to find his car not only in the dark but also despite his drunk state. Every step he took made him more and more unsure of his ability to drive home, but every step made him feel more and more locked into his decision. Returning to the bar and requesting a cab at this point felt like defeat, and Rhett refused to be defeated.
            Rhett made it to his car, waiting beside a light that no longer functioned, and took a deep breath. He pulled his keys out and slowly went through each one until he found the one for the car. Every move and decision from here on out was slow and deliberate; such was the routine of driving home inebriated. The one difference this time was the cold that was threatening to take over providing a constant diversion in his head.
            "Okay," he said as he fired up the engine. Instinct was doing the bulk of his driving. He had driven back and forth from his house to the bar a thousand times by now. He could do it blind. All he had to consciously do was keep himself under the speed limit and look out for any bright lights heading in his direction. Easy.
            Once out of the parking lot and onto the open road, Rhett decided he needed music. He turned on the radio but there was a recording talking. He switched stations but the same voice played. "Seriously?" he said as he scanned through every station he could. He made a point to stay away from country and pop stations, but he was switching to even those in effort to find somewhere that was playing something else besides the recorded man.
            Going up and down through every station to no avail, Rhett finally gave up, a sense of defeat washing over he as he blindly reached for his CDs he kept in a compartment under his armrest. As he searched, he allowed himself to listen to what the recording was saying, feeling it might be important if it was preempting everything on the radio.
            "...Due to the escalation of the situation, the Onondaga county sheriff is mobilizing all available personnel, effective immediately. All off duty officers must report-"
            "What the hell?" Rhett said. Before he could listen for more, flashing red lights lit up behind him and his eyes darted to his rearview mirror. "Oh shit!" he yelled as he saw a police cruiser behind him. "Oh fuck, oh shit," he said as he pulled over near some woods and watched the cop park right behind him. Whatever was happening on the radio was no longer concerning as Rhett switched it off and began to wonder how he could possibly not go to jail now.
            Rhett waited as a cold sweat overtook him. He gripped the steering wheel and tried to will the alcohol out of his system. He figured he must have swerved or blew a stop sign while listening to the emergency broadcast. Part of him still wondered about what was going on, but the rest of him was more worried about the cop that was now approaching his car.
            He rolled his window down as the cop arrived, flashlight in one hand and his other on his holstered gun. "How ya doing tonight?" he asked. Rhett mumbled something in response, not daring to make eye contact as the cop illuminated his face with a flashlight. "Doing some drinking tonight?" he asked as he steadied the light on Rhett's face. "No sir," Rhett lied "Just feeling a bit under the weather. Trying to get home." Rhett focused on not slurring any words and hoped that the cop would be as scared of getting sick as the man from the bar was earlier. He could envision a scene where the cop becomes worried that Rhett has the W-F disease and sends him away, not wanting to risk infection.
            "Would you mind stepping out of the vehicle please?" the cop asked, undeterred by Rhett's claim to illness. Rhett slowly complied as he stepped out of his car and faced the cop. He immediately thought the cop would ask him to take a breathalyzer. He'd certainly fail, but he knew he had the right to reject the test, as much good as that would help.
            "Can't be that sick if you're out and about at this hour," the cop said "Where you coming from?"
            Rhett hesitated a moment to answer. "Work."
            "They let you work sick?"
            "I was fine, uh, earlier."
            "They send you home or did your shift let out?"
            Rhett was hesitating again looking for an answer when he noticed the grin on the cop's face; a cocksure grin that said everything Rhett didn't want to hear. He also noticed now that with each breath he let off a potent and unmistakable smell of liquor. The cop had no interest in where Rhett worked or whatever story he was trying to concoct. He was just fucking with him before the inevitable arrest.
            Rhett remained quiet while the cop waited with his grin. "I said, how was work today?" the cop asked, Rhett stayed silent. "You're right," he continued, noticing Rhett's annoyed expression "I don't think you were at work either. You want to try another story?" Rhett continued to glare and say nothing. He had no interest in entertaining the cop, which was starting to grate on the officer.
            "Fine then," the cops said, finally losing the grin "Step over to the front of your vehicle, put your hands on the hood and keep your legs spread." Rhett contemplated the idea of ignoring the order and firing off some quip about the cop wanting him to spread his legs, but he noticed he still had his hand on his holstered gun.
            Rhett slowly made his way to the front of his car and assumed the position. He decided to change the subject as the cop began patting him down. "Don't you have more important things to be doing right now?"
            "Oh, now you want to chat?" the cop said, ignoring the question.
            "The radio said you were being mobilized."
            "Still have to keep the peace elsewhere. Keep the streets safe from the drunks, for example."
            "What the hell is going on?"
            "Riot," the cop said after a pause "Apparently some infected are trying to bust out."
            "That doesn't make sense. Why would they try to escape? They're sick. And why would every cop in the city need to stop a single hospital riot."
            "It's not one hospital, it's every hospital....And some...some of the people escaped."
            "In the city?"
            The cop didn't say anything as he finished patting Rhett down.
            "Hey. What do you mean every hospital?"
            "I don't know," the cop said as Rhett heard the sound of handcuffs being taken out "And it doesn't matter for you anyway; You'll be in jail. Now put your hands on your head."
            Rhett did as asked and the cop grabbed his left arm and brought it behind his back and attached the first handcuff. Rhett sighed, closed his eyes and hung his head. Seemingly the only cop in the world not dealing with a riot, and he happened to be on the street Rhett drove home drunk on. The cop grabbed his other arm as Rhett picked his head up at the sound of a soft moan. "You hear something?" he asked, but didn't need a response as the cop let go of his arm to regard an approaching figure.
            "Ma'am, I need you to step back," the cop said. Rhett turned himself to better see. Slowly dragging herself towards the two men was a woman, concealed mostly by darkness and occasionally lit up by the cop car's flashing red lights. Her whole body swayed from side to side as she walked, both arms limp. "Is she alright?" Rhett asked.
            "Get back on the car!" the cop screamed at Rhett, causing him to immediately spin around and practically hug his car, the loose handcuff bouncing off the hood. The cop, worried that the woman might be injured, approached her cautiously. "Miss," he said as he pulled his flashlight back out "I'm a police officer. Are you alright?"
            The woman moaned again and shuffled herself at the cop at an increased pace. The cop shone the flashlight at her to light up a pale face with a slacked jaw. Her neck was red from a gaping neck wound that was still bleeding, albeit not as much as it should be, onto her dark T-shirt and jeans, causing the light to reflect off the heavy blood stains.
            "Oh shit," the cop said as he ran up to the woman, Rhett risking another peek as he turned his head to watch. "I just need you to lie down," the cop said as he reached out to her. The woman snapped her arm to meet the cop's hand and grabbed it, pull it close and bite into his wrist. The cop screamed and struggled to push the woman off of him while she tore flesh and refused to let go of his arm.
            Rhett was speechless as he watched, unaware of an approaching figure in the woods coming at him from behind. The cop managed to kick the woman off, not before she tore a chunk of flesh off of his arm. "Oh my God," he said as he looked at the damage. "Stay on the ground!" he shouted to the woman as she chewed of the flesh in her mouth, not at all satisfied and ready to get up for more. He pulled his gun out and pointed it at her.
            A stick snapping grabbed Rhett's attention as he turned to see a man exit the woods towards him. He had the same pale expression and blood smeared all over his mouth and chest. He stepped onto the street and reached for Rhett the same way the woman attacked the cop. "Oh fuck this," he said as he backed away towards the cop.
            "Get back on that car!" the cop screamed at him as he reeled around and pointed his weapon at Rhett, barely noticing the new man stumble into view. "Shoot it!" Rhett cried as he ducked. "Freeze!" the cop yelled at the man, summoning all the authority he could while aiming with his right arm and trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his left. The pale man paid no heed to him and continued to approach him and Rhett.
            "I said FREEZE!" the cop screamed. The man now turned away from Rhett and went straight for the cop, undeterred. The cop squeezed off a shot, striking the man squarely in the chest. He stumbled back momentarily, then continued forward as if nothing happened. "The fuck you shooting blanks for?" Rhett yelled. The cop didn't hear him as he marveled at the man with a bullet in his chest walking along as if nothing happened. "Must be some kind of drug?" he wondered.
            "Behind you!" Rhett yelled as the cop turned to see the woman reaching for him. He raised his right arm to defend himself as she grabbed it as big into him, causing him to drop his gun. While fighting her off, the man closed the distance to him and bit into his defenseless neck. He collapsed under the weight of the two assailants, giving them easier access to their meal. He fought and flailed as hard as he could, but he soon found it hard to breathe as blood began to pool in his throat. Soon after, he struggled no more.
            "Oh fuck," Rhett said, frozen in terror as he watched two people devour another. He glanced in the direction the woman came from and saw two more figures moving in similar fashion, heading directly for the flashing lights of the cop car. He could also hear movements in the nearby woods. He glanced near the scene of carnage to see the cop's dropped handgun. Without thinking, he quickly made for it and scooped it up, the stray handcuff hanging off his wrist dragging on the street pavement, alerting the woman to his presence as she turned to him.
            For a moment she stared at him and Rhett got a good look at her eyes. The normally white sclera was dark, Rhett was unsure of the exact color, but she looked at him with a lost gaze yet undeniably focused. Rhett pointed the gun at her in case she made an attempt at him. She looked at him a beat longer before turning back to her meal. She had no intention on attacking Rhett when an easier meal was lying before her.
            Rhett backed away, trying to ignore the wet sounds of flesh being torn or organs being pulled out. There was nothing he could do for the cop, at least not anymore. More of these people were coming, and not all of them would ignore Rhett. The moaning he heard in the dark also suggested there were more out there, more than the ones he was already accounting for. He had no intention on being the next meal. He fumbled his keys out and broke for his car. Once in the car he looked back to the cop's body and the approaching figures, now joined by three more slow moving people, all in some way injured and bloody. He fired up the engine and drove away as fast as his car would allow.
            The rest of his journey home was thankfully uneventful. Once in his driveway though, he slowly opened his car door and pointed the pistol out. He quickly ducked out and closed the door and waited. What he remember from those people was they had no intention of stealth; if they wanted to get at someone, they went straight at you and weren't quiet about it.
            After waiting for what he felt like long enough, Rhett quietly made his way to the front door and unlocked it. After closing it and locking it back up, he collapsed to the ground with his back on the door. "Holy shit...holy shit...holy shit..." he repeated to himself as he dropped the gun and held his head in his hands. He dared not turn any lights on or make any effort to call attention to his house. He didn't understand what was happening and he didn't care to know. He just wanted this nightmare he was in to end.

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