From the story I’m focusing on currently.
Finally one of the boys, about six years old, opened the door. The boy’s mother grabbed the sandy haired, scrawny kid up and hugged him tightly. Ted saw the younger boy, a four-year-old and a younger version of his older brother, and hugged him as well. I stood near the door so I could keep an eye on the truck, but peered in the house as well. Everything looked well enough, but I knew better. My heart was pounding and I gripped my machete tightly, sweat dripping off my face.
“Where is grandma?” Erin finally asked the six-year-old, Sammy.
“She is in bed,” the boy explained.
“She is sleeping?” Erin asked.
“Yeah, she is not feeling very well.”
“Is she sick?”
“I guess. I don’t really know. She was ok earlier, but she went to go check on the neighbor’s kid and she started feeling bad.”
Ted took control, which is good because I was about to start ordering them around, but I really didn’t want to start a panic. Panicking only makes surviving more difficult. “Boys, get in grandma’s car. We’ll be right there.”
The little one, Conner, wanted to know why, “What’s wrong dad?”
“Just do it!” Ted shouted. The boys obeyed, knowing that something was wrong, but not sure what it was. Erin ran to her mother’s bedroom to check on her. Ted turned to me, “Do you know what this is? Now would be the time to say something.”
“I think so. But you are not going to like it. And it is going to sound crazy to you,” I began.
“I don’t care,” Ted admitted. “Something is very wrong. I have no idea what it is, but you seem confident so tell me what you think is going on.”
I took a deep breath. I checked the truck once more. Then I looked Ted square in the eyes and without a hint of irony I told him, “I think this is the beginning of a zombie outbreak.”
“What? Like in the movies? Zombies? You are crazy. That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. With everything that is going on I can’t believe you would waste my time with that.”
“I told you it would sound crazy.”
“You were right. Just because you brought us here, and I truly am grateful for that, how in the hell do you think it is zombies? I didn’t think there was ever such a thing.”
“I have no proof that it is zombies, I am only reacting in the case that it is. I know that the government has taken serious measures to prevent this virus from spreading, people are scared, panicking, and I would rather be wrong than right and not done anything about it.”
“I agree that things are pretty tense right now, but zombies?”
“I’ll tell you what, go check on your mother-in-law. Either way, I will leave.”
“What will she tell us?”
“I am only interested in finding out how she got sick.”
“What do you mean? If this is something to do with zombies, how will she get sick?”
“You don’t know?”
“Look you’re the freaking zombie expert, just tell me.”
“Well the virus lives in the brain. That’s why zombies act brain-dead. The virus actually kills all of the brain matter that controls cognitive thought and leaves only basic functions like movement. It can be passed through a bite however, which is why I want to know how your mother-in-law got sick.”
“Fair enough zombie man. Let’s find out.” Ted had a smirk on his face as he raised his hands as though surrendering. He didn’t believe me.
We walked to the bedroom where Erin’s mom was sleeping. We found Erin in the dimly lit room by her side, stroking the older woman’s silver hair. I stayed in the doorway so that I was out of the way. Ted went to Erin.
“How is she?” asked Ted.
“Not well,” Erin answered.
“What’s wrong with her?”
“It seems she has the virus they were worried about. She has a fever, she is sweaty and pale.”
“That could be flu though right?” Ted asked. “Doesn’t all that sound like the flu?”
I was growing impatient, but I wanted to know how she got sick so I butted in and just asked. “Did she tell you how she got sick?”
Erin looked up at me with her eyes squinted and face tight but answered, “She said she went today to see the neighbor’s daughter who was sick and later she started feeling ill. She said their kid was really sick. I guess the girl had been sick for about a day and her skin was really hot and her eyes were bloodshot. She said the girl had gone crazy from the fever.”
“Crazy? Like what? What was she doing? Did she say?” I asked body tense, voice rising louder than I intended.
“She said the girl was moaning strangely and she even bit mom when she tried to help her.”
“She bit her? Are you sure?”
“That’s what she said.” I shot a glance to Ted who was wide eyed. I didn’t say another word, just went to the truck. Ted followed me out.
“Is that what you were looking for?” he shouted at me. “Is that what you wanted to hear?”
I was losing patience. I shouted, “That’s not what I wanted to hear, but it was what I expected to hear.”
Ted recoiled. He exhaled heavily, “So what? What’s next?” His head hung low and body slumped.
“Ted, next I am going to go home and try to gather my family. I suggest you get out of here while you still have one. This is going to get much worse.”
“Are you sure? Zombies?”
“Do you want to wait around here to find out?”