The infection came silently going undetected. No one knew from where it came it no longer mattered because we were too busy surviving. In the spring of April tenth of this year was when the infection became more prevalent. People were getting sent home because the hospitals were so overrun as it was with existing patients that were infected. Doctors scrambled to find the cause and a cure. Symptoms in the first faze were blood shot eyes and itchy skin, a slight sensitivity to sunlight. Faze one was in the first twelve hours of infection. Faze two symptoms would occur in the first 24 hours of becoming infected, these symptoms would be the eyes would go from blood shot to yellow, the pupils dilate, the muscles of the body restrict, people complain that the tongue felt rough and the mouth dry accompanied with extreme fever, loss of appetite. The heartbeat slows dangerously low. Within the first twenty four hours there is still sign of a coherent human being, after that the last and final faze is extreme bouts of violence and the desire to kill, a complete lack of language skills, and an increased level of strength. The third faze is more of an observance versus the first and second faze which come from the mouths of the infected themselves. No one has survived to talk about the third and final faze because well they’ve become one of them, the infected. But it’s so odd the infected looking nothing like zombies in the movies, no rotting flesh or limbs missing. In every since of the term the infected look very much still human just with yellowish eyes. Sometimes it might be too late, you think it’s someone uninfected until you startle them and then they’re upon you. The infected seem normal just walking about or sitting, it’s been witnessed; there isn’t any twitching about like zombies of movie lore. You walk up to someone and ask if they’re ok only to see them turn violently coming at you with swinging arms trying to take your life. It’s not like in the movies, they don’t want your flesh they aren’t some supernatural undead because they do die, some experts say the infection somehow keeps the person alive varying from three weeks to lord knows how long. Some have been seen to die within a few days of infection, others living much longer. The theory is that the infection somehow keeps the body alive even when not eating or drinking fluids, functioning at the sacrifice of all mental reasoning, possibly that’s why the mind is lost leaving only a violent shell. One can only become infected if they are bitten, there is something in the saliva or the mouth that causes this, possibly the virus that is carried only chooses to live in the mouth who knows, but I’ve seen people scratched and even bled upon and have not turned or become infected. April tenth the infection flooded from hospitals and from family homes into the streets. Violence was nothing new, but violence everywhere you looked in such an aggressive manner that was a different story. Law enforcement was overwhelmed, government shut down in just days. Any now many months after it all began life has taken a turn for the worse here in Columbus Ohio, July first twenty Eighteen. The swarms of infected are growing, and the chances of survival are shrinking. My name is Eric, and before all of this I was just a homeless man living on the streets of downtown Columbus Ohio. I had family but they lost touch with me over the years growing tired of my chosen laziness or so they assumed that’s what it was but in fact I fought depression daily. I also had a serious problem trusting others, I felt as if someone was always out to get me. I was never diagnosed as crazy but I’ll admit maybe there was something off about my way of thinking, that’s why it was hard to keep a job. My mother would always say that you can’t keep a black man down, that might be true but then again I was a crazy black man so things might’ve been different in my case. My father was greatly disappointed in me he was a college graduate from Ohio State University, after graduation he got hired on at Battelle working on things of a scientific nature, what those things were he never told mom or me. So when people asked what my dad did for a living I’d just say “He does stuff at Battelle” and if you were from the area it seemed that was enough to know. Mom was the silent type, she was the happy wife working her odd schedule as a nurse at Riverside. I say it was odd because she was never home at normal times and even less on holidays. She never opposed my father and even if she disagreed she’d never show it. I grew up on the east side of Columbus in a middle classed neighborhood. But as my fathers paycheck increased he decided it was time to move to Delaware Ohio but by that time I’d already moved out and was an adult. My parents loved living out there, dad was always busy with the horses and mom just enjoyed country living. I would visit from time to time until my father discovered one day that all of my belongings were in my car, he asked me was I living in my vehicle and if so why? A perfectly healthy man should be able to take care of himself, he was already upset with me not deciding to further my education and now he’d discovered that I was homeless. Well our discussion got heated and we ended up in a yelling match, the end result was I left and never went back. I’d call mom from time to time on her cell phone and she’d sneak away from dad so we could catch up on current events until one day her cell phone number was disconnected. I know it wasn’t because the cell bill wasn’t paid, they could afford luxuries as simple as that. I personally think that dad found out that she was talking to me and changed her number or maybe just turned it off. Dad was like that, you didn’t cross him or he’d never forgive you. I remember where I was when the infection started getting out of hand, I was in the custody of Franklin County Corrections sitting in a jail cell for standing by the freeway with my trusty sign that read: need money, please give” My favorite spot for holding my little sign and get money was right off of exit ramp seventy one north and Greenlawn by the baseball fields at Berliner Park. In the summer that park would get pretty packed with all the baseball, and softball matches they held, that’s when I made the most money. And I was looking forward to the spring time money that could also be made just standing there holding my sign waiting for a kind soul to wave to me, or roll down their window and call me over then quickly hand me a few bucks. I’d also get frequent travelers that lived further down Greenlawn avenue in German Village. I could always tell who they were, they always drove either Volkswagens, or Saab vehicles it must be what they liked driving because I always knew, plus they would give ten or twenty bucks instead of a dollar or two. It was a good spot until I got caught by the police standing there, I was warned not to be out there because of course it was against the law. The final time I got caught I also happened to be a bit intoxicated and got a little cocky with the officers. They would’ve probably let me off with a warning like they always did but I had to start cussing one of them out with alcohol on my breath and lord knows you don’t tell a cop that his mother is good at oral sex that’s a sure bet you’re going to jail. And that’s where I ended up. News of the infection had already been on television and people were talking about, even among the homeless. The news said that it was the next pandemic, something that could to be stopped. But of course no one believed the news because it was always someone else who was getting infected. That’s the problem with society, no one cares as long as it’s someone else. But then sometimes the kindness of strangers can surprise you. I got put in jail on a Friday afternoon expecting a relaxing stay for the weekend compliments of Franklin County. While behind bars I’d watch the news on television the infection was out of hand they said, like so many times before but this time they were saying things that made people take notice. They were showing images of people being killed in the streets but not just by one person but groups of people on violent rampages. The wake up call was when only one newscaster was on tv, that was on Sunday. He looked afraid, his clothes weren’t neatly pressed and his hair didn’t look combed. Everyone in the cell was silent when he spoke. Yea I remember that. Some of the prisoners complained that family didn’t come to visit on Saturday like they usually did, and phone calls weren’t being answered, there was a feeling that something bad was happening you just didn’t know what. But then the newscaster came on looking like he did, he didn’t say much but what he did say stayed very clear in my mind. “We’re signing off now, stay safe, God help us…” Then it went to an emergency broadcasting message with that God awful beep. The beep would pause followed by a recorded message that said “Please stay in your homes, do not venture out or you may be shot. When normalcy has been regained you will be informed, this is for your own safety that we inform you to stay in doors” the message would just repeat and there was more to it but you get the point. Everyone started getting restless after that calling for a guard to come in and tell us what the hell was going on. No one came until Sunday night. It was an officer I’d seen when I was first brought here. He frantically ran to each cell unlocking them but no one was running out, instead large groups formed around the officer people yelling out asking what was happening. The officer looked so terrified when he spoke. “It’s all gone to hell!” He cried out before hauling ass out of there. Something told me I’d better follow suit, if a cop is running and he has a damn gun then so am I.

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