Prelude to the apocalypse – Rachel

Miami, USA

The children were giving her a headache.

Rachel Cole looked at her class and felt every sound from them pulse through her brain, a brain that was rapidly being overrun by ZV666. She loved the little dears, including the naughtiest of them, but right now they were an abomination.

She had no idea where that thought came from.

Standing, she waved over her teacher’s assistant, and whispered that she was just off to the lavatory.

“Are you okay, Rachel?”

“I think I might be coming down with a migraine.” Was she, though? This felt different, her thoughts cloudier. There were the dangerous ideas that kept leaping in there as well. Shocking and brutal images of what she was willing to do just to get some semblance of quiet.

Like Michelle, the virus hadn’t done much to her body, but it was ripping her mind to shreds.

Outside in the corridor, she stumbled with growing confusion. Fortunately, her classroom was close to the girl’s restroom. Normally, she wouldn’t use the children’s lavatory, but this wasn’t an ordinary situation. She needed release. That’s what her thoughts kept telling her.

Release yourself.

Free yourself.

Rid yourself.

In the restroom, she splashed water on her face; the tap running cold. For a moment, the shock cleared her thoughts, and she was filled with an unbelievable horror. The reflection in the mirror looked pained, her eyes squinting as the overhead lights bore into her retinas.

I can’t be thinking these things.

The madness was taking her. It didn’t creep, but bludgeoned itself to the forefront of her consciousness.

I need to be free.

I need them to be free.

I need to free the children from their pain.

Rachel felt herself slip, an awareness many of those driven insane by the virus didn’t have. She could feel the anger building, and she tried to direct it at herself. With as much force as she could muster, she ploughed both fists into the mirror. The glass and her bones shattered, the fingers on one hand becoming useless, gnarled claws as she continued her assault.

She could feel what she wanted to do and tried her best to resist it. Rachel nearly succeeded. With her one working hand, she plucked a mirror fragment from where it had landed in the sink and brought it up to her neck. Better to end it now than become what her thoughts were insisting.

The hand wavered there for unknown seconds, the point of the glass penetrating the skin, but not going far enough. This wasn’t self-preservation. It was an insistence that there were things she needed to do, her anger overpowering her innate desire to protect the children.

They will only be free when they are dead.

The glass slipped from her fingers, the cuts it had caused to her palm unfelt.

The next thing Rachel knew, she was standing outside her class. Blood dripped from her mangled hands, fragments of glass still lodged in her knuckles.

“Ms Cole?” Rachel knew the voice, but for the life of her couldn’t remember the owner’s name. She turned to see the burly security guard who backed up at the sight of her. Rachel said something then, each word blurring into the next.

The security guard was using his radio, calling his conspirators. They wanted to stop her from saving the children, wanted to stop her from ending their suffering.

That was when the last vestiges of Rachel Cole died. An intense animal fury claimed her then, the children no longer her priority. With a screeching cry, she ran toward the security guard, teeth bared, her arms swiping in front of her.

The electricity from the taser barely phased her, her diseased body accepting it. She closed the distance, pouncing on the guard, who was at least a hundred pounds heavier than her. With her now-clawed hands, she went for the eyes, the guard grabbing her wrists. Wrapping her legs round him, they tussled like that, her teeth snapping at him. Rachel had always been proud of those teeth after having spent thousands of dollars to have them perfected.

Now all she wanted was to rip the flesh off him, and on her third attempt the teeth made purchase, the jaws biting down. Two of her veneers fractured, but she didn’t care, the meat moulding to the inside of her mouth as she gouged it free.

With his own rage, the security guard managed to throw her away from him, only for her to rear back, grabbing his ear and ripping it free. Rachel’s legs disengaged, and she fell to the ground as other guards came running.

That was when the boot tip caught her in the temple. The guard had forgotten any semblance of restraint, humiliated and brutalised by the attack. Part of Rachel’s temporal bone cracked, but she shook off the dizziness.

More people were on her then, her arms pulled behind her back. As strong as she was, four people wrestled Rachel to the ground, wrists held firm by multiple hands as cuffs were placed. All the time, Rachel’s feet were kicking, landing several lucky shots.

And then the cuffs were on her legs, and all she could do was scream and squirm. By the time the police arrived, she was a hissing, insane beast who had no semblance of reason. Having already tasted the meat and the flesh of man, and so crazed by the desire for more, she bit at everything that came near her. When the spit hood was placed over her head, she gnawed at that. The skin under the handcuffs became raw and split as she struggled to free herself.

It took five men to get her out of the school and into the back of the police car. By then, she was already consuming her own lips and tongue, a desperate need for the bliss that blood brought overriding any concern for her own preservation. Rachel Cole bled to death in the back of that police car, swallowing as much of her own blood as she could.

If they couldn’t eat those around them, those driven insane by ZV666 quickly turned on themselves.


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