(Note to Readers: Part of Deadly Infection was posted earlier as Zombie Island. I’ve added more to the story, and renamed it Deadly Infection. I hope you enjoy!)
The infectious thing hid in the shadows and watched as fresh meat disembarked the yacht. It had been weeks since the last shipment, so the creature could barely contain the blood lust raging within its decomposing body.
It growled and pulled against the chains holding him in place. Its brain could no longer reason. It only understood his ravenous need for human flesh. The drive was constant, even after it had feasted, it still hungered. It was never fully satisfied.
It lunged its body again and reached a skeletal hand toward leaves, wafting in the warm tropical breeze. Only a lone finger-bone escaped the cover of foliage.
If the “fresh meat” had looked in its direction, at that precise moment, they would have seen the bony finger with its sagging, putrid skin. Perhaps it would have been their salvation, or perhaps not… as the trees were quite some distance from the yacht.
Four teenagers laughed as they balanced the plank resting upon a weathered pier. It wasn’t as stable as Kimmie would have liked, so she held tightly to Ted’s hand. Ted, sensing her fright, gallantly turned his body to welcome his girlfriend safely into his arms. Kimmie, much smaller than Ted’s athletic frame, felt engulfed within his embrace and she liked the feeling.
Carol, quite the opposite of Kimmie, jumped from the rickety plank and practically landed on Kimmie and Ted. All three fell together to land in a heap upon the graying boards. The wood was old and so the pier quaked beneath their sudden movement.
A raucous laughter emanated from the heap, while Mark stood alone on the plank, holding all four backpacks. Mark, feeling excluded, couldn’t help but wish, Carol, to be more like Kimmie. What he would give to have her fall into his arms…
Like that would ever happen… thought Mark angrily.
Carol, boisterously called to him, “Hey pretty boy…get down here, already!”
Mark, shrugged off his anger, slowly smiled, and headed toward the laughing heap.
Offering, his hand to Carol, he winked and said, “Yes, I “am” a pretty boy…and don’t you forget it!”
Carol, ignored his hand, jumped up on her own accord and replied, “I’m not arguing the point. Practically every gooey-eyed cheerleader wants you, and from what I’ve heard through the grape-vine, even a couple of the football jocks, as well.”
Ted helped Kimmie to her feet and added to the conversation, “As quarterback of the football team, I can vouch for that!” And then laughed hysterically
Kimmie nudged Ted in the ribs and whispered, “Hey, that’s not nice!”
“Aw come on, sweetheart…we’re just messing with his head. Isn’t that right Carol?”
Carol, nonchalantly studied the apple she had just pulled from her pack, took a bite and said with her mouth full, “Nope…meant every word.”
Ted laughed so hard he snorted. Once again Kimmie nudged him but she couldn’t keep herself from smiling. A red-faced Mark, saw her smile and turned a deeper shade of red. Unable to the think of anything clever, Mark said, “Very funny…HA..HA…” He turned and walked toward the island.
The four teenagers unloaded their packs and when they had finished, beach towels, sunscreen, chips and beer littered the white sandy beach. They settled upon their perspective towels and began to chatter among themselves.
The captain of the Shelly Anne watched the teenagers find their places in the sand. With a shaky hand he reached for the shift-throttle and began backing his boat.
The deal had always been to wait at least an hour before leaving. Nervously, he glanced at his watch. It had only been thirty-five minutes but the captain decided he would wait no longer.
“What the hell, can he do…he’s already paid me for the year…” he muttered under bearded lips. The sooner he could leave the island the better he would feel, and this had always been the case since day one. He thought back to that day and remembered the creepy little doctor who had handed him the money. As he tucked the cash into his jean’s pocket, he heard a faint noise that sounded like a growl. Startled, the captain looked at the doctor who was grinning back.
“The children are hungry, ” he had said.
After that, the captain had gotten the hell outta there.
Seeing the disappearing island in his rear view mirror, the captain ran a clammy hand through wind tossed hair and mumbled nervously “Damn crazy son-of-a-bitch…”
Dr Stevens pushed wire-rim glasses up a sweaty nose. Peering through the leaves he counted a total of four. Judging from their proximity, he hypothesized the location the four would try to enter the thicket. He’d been doing this for a long time, so he was rarely wrong. The undergrowth at this particular part of the island was thick with Deer Grass and Banat Trees, making it hard to penetrate. And so he had found breaking a limb or two here, and patting down the grass there, lured the prey into his direction, quite well.
Wanting a clearer look, Dr Stevens slid the wire rimmed glasses atop his head, removed a pair of binoculars from a vest pocket, and positioned them snugly against soul-less eyes. He saw a rather athletic looking male carrying a screaming female towards the water’s edge. The bikini clad female had her arms around the males neck with her face pressed into his shoulders, causing her blonde hair to cascade down his back. The female kept screaming but the big guy laughed and kept jogging until they both splashed into surf, and disappeared under the wave making its way to the beach.
Dr. Stevens moved his binoculars slightly to the right in order to see the other two. The scene he surveyed was much somber. There was a male, not as large as the other, but a nice build, sitting on his ass, knees bent, toes in the sand. Sucking on a beer, the guy looked as if he were sulking. The other female was stretched out, her belly against a beach towel and her nose tucked into the open pages of a book. She was also wearing a bikini but her dark hair was cut boyishly short, almost GI Jane style. Dr Stevens, almost chuckled at the comparison. He whispered, “Hmm…she will be the one to watch.” He focused the binoculars for a clearer view and saw that “GI Jane” had a nose ring and a dragon-fly tattoo displayed upon her back. At the sight, an unexpected laugh escaped his gaping mouth. “It was perfect…just perfect,” he thought, “…you may be tough, GI-Jane, but not tough enough to handle what the children have in store for you.”
Carol was sick of Mark’s googly eyes upon her. Thank god, she brought the book. At that moment she realized the book was upside down and quickly righted it, hoping it went unnoticed. “Pf-ff… so what if he did…” she thought; “maybe he’d finally take the hint.”
However, Carol had long given up on that. He was clueless. Hell, she wouldn’t have come if she’d known he was coming. At first, Carol had been excited about an afternoon trip to a “deserted” island. It would be nice to get away with her BFF, but said BFF informed her at the last-minute that the “guys” would be coming as well. Unfortunately, by that time, it was too late to back out, without hurting someone’s feelings.
Carol, sneakily peered over her book to see Mark finish off a second beer and then toss the bottle toward the incoming tide. Rolling her eyes, she thought, “What a dick…I’m so over his shit!”
Ted’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“…ah…com’on Kimmie. Don’t be mad. You’re just so hot, I thought you could use a little cooling-off!”
“Well, you…mister…are on my naughty list.”
Kimmie poked out her bottom lip and pretended to pout. She wasn’t mad…truth be told she was getting ready to jump into the water anyway. She just enjoyed teasing Ted…he was so easy. She shook her head gently to get the wet hair from her eyes, and then slid pink polished finger nails through her hair, to smooth it back, and out of her face. Ted stood in front of her with puppy dog eyes and open arms. Kimmie accepted the invite. She pressed her body against his, stood on the tips of her toes and pulled his face to hers for a “make-up” kiss. However the “make-up” session was interrupted by Mark.
“Hey, man, where’s the boat? Where’s the damn boat?”
Reluctantly, Ted pulled his lips from Kimmie’s and looked in the direction of the pier. Sure enough, the rickety dock stood alone. The boat was gone. Looking at where the boat had been, Ted felt a small tinge of panic. Trying to assure himself he said the next thought that came to mind.
“Um…I don’t know…maybe he had to get gas…or something…?”
“Gas! Where’s he gonna get gas! It took us three hours to get here and I didn’t see any freaking gas-stations on the way… did you?“
Carol laid down her book, put up a hand to shield her eyes, and looked at the empty pier.
Kimmie looked as well, and quietly mouthed the same question, “Where’s the boat?”
All four teenagers stared at the empty dock and vast ocean. The only sound, to be heard, was the incoming and outgoing waves that bathed the island’s white sand. Each one, too confused to speak, tried to rationalize the cause for the missing boat.
They stood like that for a couple of minutes until Kimmie’s quivering voice broke the silence.
“Ummm…wha…what are we going to d….do…?”
Ted, turned on his heel, ran to where the backpacks lay, and came back, cell phone in hand, hoping for a signal. Mark tried the same thing, and when he could find none, he cursed and tossed the useless phone on the nearest beach towel.
Carol slipped closer to Kimmie and took her hand in hers, not knowing if she did it to comfort Kimmie or to comfort herself.
The sun began its slow decent in the darkening sky. Low lying clouds oozed red and dripped like blood upon the horizon. If circumstances had been different perhaps it would have seemed romantic, however, for the frightened-four it felt more like an omen of evil to come.
Ted broke the cryptic silence, “Maybe we should try to find some sort of shelter before it gets dark” Pointing toward the Banan trees he added, “Under those trees looks promising.” Without waiting for a reply he headed toward the trees. Being the quarter back of the football team, made it easy for Ted to take control. He was use to everyone following his lead.
Mark hollered at Ted’s back, “What if the boat comes back and we’re not here?”
Carol had wondered the same, but also thought it a good idea to find protection for the night. After-all, who knew what kind of animals roamed the island, furthermore, the lower the sun dropped the colder it became. She looked toward Kimmie, sitting on a beach towel, arms crossed and shivering. Carol wondered if the shivering stemmed from cold or fright. Feeling sorry for her friend, she went over to sit beside her. Carol reached for the towel, lying beside them, and draped it over their shoulders. She laid her head against Kimmie’s and whispered, “Don’t worry, it’s going to be okay.”
They sat huddled together while Ted and Mark argued.
Dr Stevens looked at the children, only inches from their reach. All three lunged from their chains, and viciously reached rotting fingers toward the doctor.
“Come now, that’s no way to treat your Papa,” he cooed.
He stood gazing at their bulging eyes and gaping mouths. For a moment he pretended to be one of girls seeing the creatures for the first time, and quivered with delight. He had always wanted a daughter…or two…perhaps. At the thought the doctor giggled, pursed his lips and said in a childish voice,
“What a happy whittle family we’ll be.”
As he praised his soon-to-be family, he stepped a little too close to the creatures and one of them scratched his face with its jagged finger nail. Startled, the doctor stepped back and hissed,
“You wretched, nasty child!”
Without a moment’s hesitation, he angrily pressed a button on the small receiver he held in his hand. Immediately, all three creatures fell to the ground in agony.
“I thought we had gotten beyond that…” the doctor said through gritted teeth, and pressed the button over and over.
Dr Stevens touched scratch below his eye, and looked at the his blood dripping through his fingers. He stepped forward to stand above the piteous creatures. All three lay at his feet writhing in pain. Looking at them with soul less eyes he lifted his foot and brought the heel of his boot down upon the head of one of his creations. The brittle bone and rotted fleshed gave way with sickening slurp. The doctor’s boot went clean through the putrefied head to rest upon the bloodied earth. He pressed the button once again and the remaining two screamed. Their cries crescendo-ed through the palms overhead.
to be continued…