Things Had Been Black

February 29, 2008
By Sam Gibbs, Huntingdon, PA

Things had been black for a while. All Mac could remember was riding in a car with his best friend Ed. Then he suddenly remembered those searing yellow lights. A drunk driver in a semi truck. After he woke up in the hot hospital, he knew the wreck might have caused him to go into a coma. Mac still wondered why the hospital was dark and acrid smelling. He stood up and surprisingly his legs did not give out. There was no one his room at all and all the TV showed was static. Mac began to panic. Even though he became easily paranoid he sat back down and ran his hands through his long black hair. He looked out and saw something that looked like hundreds of ivy-covered buildings outside his window, with things like deer and bear roaming the streets. Multicolored birds flocked among the many buildings.
Mac decided he had better get out of there. As soon as he had stepped into the hallway he knew where that hideous acrid smell had come from. What was a half eaten human corpse was sprawled on the floor. Mac felt sick but he didn’t know why. However many years he had been in that coma he knew he had not eaten the least bit of food. He stepped around it and went to find his clothes because he noticed he was still in that old hospital robe. He found a room that said “Employee Uniforms”. He found a well fitting comfortable pair of scrubs and a pair of shoes that went right on. Now that he had actual clothes on, he felt much more comfortable. He ventured back into the hallway and went to find a way out of the crazy place. He knew he was not on the bottom floor so he went down a hallway and since the power was not back on yet he found a staircase and made his way down.
After he had found a way out he had looked around to find an eerie mist hanging over everything. He had remembered broad daylight when he had first peered uneasily outside the hospital window. Also for all the ivy that had been hanging around, it had gone from being in a hot stuffy hospital to an almost ice cold temperature outside. He could still see but it the mist still sort of annoyed him. He found a general store and walked in. Luckily there was food that had not spoiled yet in all the freezers and many drinks in bins of water that had previously been filled with ice. He got out a pack of hot dogs and went to the employee lounge and found a microwave. After cooking the hot dogs he went back out and got a can of Mountain Dew. By the time he had finished the pack the mist seemed to have lifted but now that he saw the sky again he knew it was getting close to nightfall. Even though he had been in a coma for a long while he was still in great need of a nap.
He found a Comfort Inn and went inside the unlocked doors. The air seemed to have been off long ago but it was still cooler in there than it had been outside. All of the lights still worked so he went to the elevator and pushed the up button. As he walked into the elevator the doors began to close when what looked like a whole group of people walked into view as they crossed the parking lot almost limping towards the door. He hit the floor 3 button as many times as he could and as he was traveling up the floors he heard shattering glass below. As soon as the doors opened he sprinted hastily to the closest room and since the door had been open he searched the room then slammed the door. He knew anything wanting to get in either had to have the intelligence to get the right key card or it would have to beat his door down. He then fell into a very uneasy sleep. When he awoke it was about 4 in the morning and he thought he had heard crashes two floors below. He knew what ever he had seen was either angry or looking for something. He bolted out of his room making sure to wedge the door with something then locked all the staircase doors. He went back to his room and removed the wedge from his door. He then fell back asleep feeling a little better about things. He woke again around noon feeling well rested. He felt brave enough to leave his room and when he looked downstairs it looked like a tornado had hit. The creatures he had seen the night before had oddly disappeared. Had they only been a figment of his imagination? Had it all been a dream? Either way he knew he would have to venture downstairs for breakfast. For how cool it had been the night before it had become unusually hot in the whole hotel. He also noticed the lights were out. He was guessing they had killed the power and the broken glass he had heard last night had surely let in all the warm, humid, summer air. He unlocked the staircase doors knowing he may need to come back here later on. He remembered the elevators ran on electricity so the last door he unlocked he decided to go down. Luckily, the staircase ended right across from the kitchen. Since it had only been hot for a few hours none of the food had gone bad yet. He used the oven and made some eggs and toast for breakfast. On the first full stomach it felt like he had had for years he decided courageously to search Huntingdon for anymore of those creatures.
He walked out into the hot summer day with a brisk wind blowing which was very relaxing after all the stress he had been through. He was walking into a more heavily forested part of town when he tripped over a heavy lump. He turned around and saw a dead body. He almost lost the good breakfast he had just eaten. He held it down and then he examined the body but was also careful because he flipped it over with a stick. Whatever it was it was it had pasty white pale skin. It looked as if it had some sort of disease. Then he noticed whatever it was must have been a human once because it had many human-like characteristics about it. He remembered the medical scholarship he had been offered and hadn’t taken and suddenly thought of something. He searched the pockets and luckily found a sterile needle to get blood with. He carefully inserted the needle where doctors had used to draw blood from him or had given him shots. The blood wasn’t its usual crimson but more of a violet or lavender color. He decided to trek back to the hospital to find something to analyze the blood in. Even if the report of it was confusing to him he knew lavender or violet was not a usual color of human blood.
When he reached the hospital he notice the creatures that he had saw the night before (now afraid to admit something may have happened to the human race) must have been to the hospital too because everything was destroyed. He walked around the hospital searching for a lab to test the blood at. As he walked into the lab he saw shattered glass guessing whatever he got the blood from had been in here. Luckily, there were still working machines to test the blood in. He pushed all the blood into a vial and slid it into the machine. While he waited he decided to return to the cafeteria for a lunch. Apparently the power was running again because for the first time since he had woken up there, Mac had noticed the lights were on. From a sort of turning vending machine he had punched a hole in by wrapping his outer jacket around his hand he had gotten a frozen grilled cheese sandwich. He walked over to the microwave and popped it in. While he waited for his grilled cheese to cook he turned back around to get another can of Mountain Dew. Even though it had only been two days without humans around him Mac was starting to get a little scared. After he had finished his lunch he returned to the lab. On his way back he had wept because even though he didn’t know what made him think of it, he remembered even though he had been in college he would never see his parents again. The results showed some sort of sort of alien DNA. Mac knew that the test results weren’t normal because in heavy ink at the bottom of the paper it said, “CORRUPTED.” He had never seen results like this off of his own blood test even though his blood was pretty odd. He knew he would have to purify the blood and just at that moment a thought entered his mind. He could cure the human race with the purified blood. He began testing his own blood right away making sure not to use a hypodermic needle. He found the difference. Some sort of airborne chemical had entered everyone’s system. It had not affected him nor had the zombie-like creatures attacked him. They may have had the false idea that he was dead but apparently for the last little part of his coma he thought his heart might have stopped. After many hot days and nights where in one night he woke up to one of the creatures waiting outside the door. He had used the fire escape axe and had slain all of the creatures waiting but kept a body for research. A few days after his bout with the zombies he finally found the cure. It was water with high levels of lead in it. He knew that was toxic but it was better than being a zombie and they may not contract the poison anyway. He may have to get close to one of the zombies but he was going to their terrible rein over humanity or at least him.
That night he brought the bloodied axe outside and he saw an army of the zombies heading for the Comfort Inn he had slept in about a week ago. He was either going to die trying or he was going to save the human race. He ran hurriedly toward them. One had caught his scent and grunted to the others. They trudged toward him almost silently. He had a few vials and had extracted most of the lead from the hospitals old pipes. He used the blunt end of the axe to knock a few out and while others slowly closed in he began to inject the cure. After maybe 25 or 50 other people had gotten the cure and had began to look normal quickly he noticed he was out of the cure and also noticed he had wondered far off from the hospital. He knew the people would find the vials and know what was in them. He knew if anything happened others could carry on what he had been doing. He walked up to a group of zombies. For some reason a memory of the crash and an old picture of his parents he remembered from when he was a child popped into his head. The zombies were Ed and his parents. He took one of the lead filled needles from the ground jammed it into himself and withdrew some blood. As he and the zombies walked toward each other there was nothing but silence in the night. It was very solemn. He knew even at this young age he was going to die but it was for the world. He was gripped on the shoulder by a cold hand as he was just about to reach them and he turned around and decapitated a zombie. Its head rolled silently to the ground as his eyes suddenly flared with rage. As hundreds of zombies closed in he swung frantically. His rage disappeared and he had started to cry. This was the end was going to die and it would be for no one to remember. He hoped someone else could help the human race. After he got his parents with the needle and at least nipped Ed someone who was still a zombie came up behind him and disemboweled him.
The human race was finally going back to its normal way. Since his parents and Ed were still zombies for a little bit they were spared. They and a few others carried on his work and slowly brought the still living zombies (some were actually dead others were in more of a form) back into a human state. Mac alone had saved the human race but out of pure omen he was not spared to live a full life. His parents memorialized him in Washington, DC after telling the tragic tale of their son. Ed started a charity to help fund the memorial. This is the story of how an entire world of people was saved by one paranoid college kid studying for a degree in engineering, Mac Johnson.

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