Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Infection: Haley and Brian
The infection seemed to be centrally located. It hadn’t left the island of Manhattan.
This is not to say that everyone on the island had gotten the infection, but it is to say that the infection was maintained. The government had quarantined the island and had somehow kept all the tourists and business men and women from off the island to remain on the island. They had even gone as far as to turn cars and trains back from leaving the island and went to the homes of those that had been on the island earlier and brought them back. This occasion was a reminder to the American people of how powerful their government could truly be, and in what a quick time. The first moment of the infection occurred at 5PM on the evening of July 6th, and by 10PM, the same night, everyone that had been on the island, throughout the entire day, was back. The public became aware of the amount of cameras that were in place now, and aware that they were being watched and monitored at all times. The government had the power to find anyone at any time that they wanted to. In the future this would cause problems, as people would realize that the government could have solved every unsolved murder that has occurred over the past thirty years, but those problems were also quickly silenced out of fear of what the government could do, or out of what the government did to quiet it.
Haley and her boyfriend Brian lived in an apartment just a few blocks from Times Square. Their rent was pretty high, but they were okay with that. They both had good jobs, and they didn’t worry much about that kind of thing. Haley was much more concerned about Brian and her wedding coming up in two months.
She had planned everything to the T, but then things started to fall through. First her florist cancelled because his mother had gone ill back in Illinois, then the band she had hired broke up, and, in turn, cancelled, and then, as though to nail the last nail into the coffin, she lost the Boathouse in Central Park where they were going to have their reception.
Suddenly, with two months, she still had to find a new location for the reception, had found a new florist, and was in negotiations with a new band. Brian kept trying to help, but she kept pushing him away as nicely as she could. She didn’t want to come off as a “bridezilla”, but she knew that if he kept asking, she just might.
“Brian, just go see your mother today, she’s been calling you the last few days,” Haley smiled, looking up from her computer, while flipping through the hundreds of piles of papers scattered across the kitchen table. “You have the day off, and I will be no fun, so go see her. She would appreciate it so much!”
“Oh Haley,” he walked behind her and gently rubbed her shoulders, “I wish you would let me help, but I get it. I’ll go down to Jersey and visit my mom for the day. If you need anything though, just call me and I’ll be on the next train back here. ‘Kay?”
She looked up at him, lovingly, “You’re the best.”
“Oh, I know,” he gave her a kiss, “I just love to keep hearing it.”
Brian was home helping his mother with all the weird things that she needed done. He had already mowed the lawn, cleaned out the gutters, brought down a bunch of boxes from the attic, just to discover they weren’t the right ones and then put them back up to bring down a whole different bunch, called in help from a neighbor to move all her furniture around the house until she was happy with the new arrangement, and was now repainting the living room.
“You know ma,” he yelled to his mother in the kitchen, “you are lucky to have me around to do this for you!” He wiped his brow. “‘Cause I don’t know of another person who would agree to do this for you!”
His mother walked into the living room, drinking a glass of lemonade.
“None for me?” he asked. “You know, I swear they abolished slavery years ago,” he laughed.
“I will have none of that in this house!” his mother yelled, but then let a smile peek through on her face.
“What time is it? Is it time for dinner yet?” he asked, pulling out his Blackberry. “My God!” he exclaimed, “It’s after 6! Haley’s gonna kill me! I said I’d go to dinner with her and her parents later tonight at 7:30! I’ll never make it!” He started ripping off the paint-covered overalls his mother had given him to wear.
“Then hurry up now hun,” she said, stepping out of the doorway. “If you hurry now, you should be able to catch the…”
The loud knock on the door caused them both to stop and turn to look at where it came from. Brian’s mother walked over and opened the door slowly. Two large men stood on the other side wearing matching suits.
“May I help you?” she asked, straining her neck to look up at them.
“We need to speak with Brian Williams, m’am,” the one man announced.
“How did you…” she began, but was cut off as they both entered the house and approached Brian with speed and direction. They grabbed Brian by both arms and proceeded to drag him from the house.
“Where are you taking me?!” shouted Brian, as his mother shouted the same from behind, while futily hitting the men on their backs.
Brian was back at his apartment, a little worse for wear. The last hour had been a blur. He was bruised and bleeding in several places. He was laying on the floor before the front doorway and Haley sat next to him crying, while tending to the worse wounds.
“Who did this to you?” she cried.
“I don’t know,” he said, “some men in suits.”
He had stumbled his way back to his apartment. He had been knocked out at some point and had woken up in the middle of Times Square with many other disoriented looking people.
In the background, Brian heard the TV. A news anchor had been speaking about the infection that broken out. Brian had been back in the apartment for about 10 minutes and had heard a lot of what was known. He understood that there had been an outbreak and that they were quarantined. That was all that anyone knew.
Brian and Haley sat on the couch listening to the news. They had been sitting there since Brian had gotten the strength to move from the front doorway.
“Breaking News!” the anchorman reported. “News has come in that the infection has been contained and that the island will no longer be quarantined. They have found a cure for the infection, which they now call TS-49!”
Haley and Brian embraced. Things had gone from wonderful to terrifying so quickly, but things were going to go back to normal again. They had reason to rejoice.
Brian stood up and walked to the window.
“I’m so happy that this was all solved!” exclaimed Haley.
But Brian did not reply. He saw something that he couldn’t understand outside his window. The sky was going black, as though it was raining and the storm was moving ever so closer to their location, but it didn’t look right. There was a glowing behind it. Haley was still talking behind him, but he didn’t hear the words she was saying. He was transfixed on what was happening outside. He heard the TV anchorman stop talking abruptly with a large noise that quickly changed to static. His eyes wandered momentarily to the screen to see the snow. Haley stopped talked and walked to Brian’s side, feeling that there was something wrong. She looked out the window and they both realized together what was wrong with the approaching rain. The world seemed awkwardly silent although it was rather loud.
“I love you,” Brian said, holding Haley close to his side.
“I love you t…” Haley began, as the thousands of falling missiles reached their building and their world ended in fire and noise.