Twenty years ago was the mark of the end of the world. While the world is celebrating a holiday called ‘Christmas’. An emergency broadcast was played to the entire world by each country’s leaders and declared martial law.
Reports of a deadly sickness that had infected many human individuals can’t be concealed. The Dead do not remain dead and worst the reanimated bodies, craves for human flesh. The day when it was acknowledged, chaos descended to earth. Fear, panic, and sense of self-preservation dominated the world. The thousands of years of work towards civilization crumbled in weeks.
Lucas bit his lips remembering how the world sinks through the eye of an eight year boy. He shook his head and focused on reality.
The woman stopped smiling and faced the crowd. Some people are getting nervous with the woman’s back facing the hungry dead man and half step away her flesh is just in reach for the undead to reach.
“Listen up!” The woman’s voice is round and full. She got the attention of the crown with just two words.
“I think it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a Level 1 Mutant huh?” She said and walked around. The undead human behind her follows her as she moves around.
The chain clanking and the groaning is making Lucas hard to focus on the woman or her words.
The undead is partially naked with its blackening torso for everyone to see. That’s when Lucas sees it’s pants. The undead are wearing the same pants just like women. Military issued pants, instead of boots the undead is barefoot.
“This undead monster behind me, he used to be one of my best soldiers.”
The crowds start mutterings.
“Can anyone guess what went wrong? Hmm? Anyone. How about you? ” The woman randomly picked a man who looked like he was having a hard time breathing.
“Yes? Me? Ahhh… yes,... vaccine?” It was an intelligent guess.
“Correct!” The woman said and gave an applause to the man.
There are two ways to become undead, first is to get contaminated by a mutant. Transfer of fluid through blood or saliva is enough. Though it doesn’t always guarantee that a human will turn, sometimes, humans have stronger antibodies against the transmitted virus.
The second one is unpredictable because everyone is already infected and vaccines keep the virus under control.
The second one seems to be the case for the undead mutant in front of them. Seeing other than it’s bloody mouth, there are no other wounds inflicted on its bone and skin body, then it means he mutated from the inside
The woman faced the undead and kicked it to its stomach. The monster stumbled down and it crawled back to her. Still trying to get a piece of her.
Lucas sees it again. The woman’s smile as the monster craves for her.
“This man, my trusted soldier, apparently sells his vaccines rights. Ha! Now look at him, he is now one of them.” She kicked it again and again. Dislocating its jaws.
The monster growls at her and the woman draws her gun to the side and clicks it ready to fire.
“Not only did he let himself fall this ugly. . .”
She shot the undead straight to it’s brain.
*Bang * Bang *Bang
Three more bullets were fired at the unmoving dead body.
“This motherfucker ate his teammate!! My other soldier!! Can anyone believe that? So listen up you listen up you shits!!” The woman turned around and pointed the loaded gun at the crowd. Everyone panics and tries to avoid the gun’s range.
There’s a small chuckle from the woman before she withdrew her gun.
Like suffering from some bipolar issues. The woman returned to her usual calm self as if the outburst didn’t happen.
“So don’t forget to take your vaccines on the scheduled dates. Okay? If I catch any of you selling your vaccines I’ll throw you outside. You can try your luck there.” She smiled at the crowd and put back the gun to her waist.
After walking away from the dead undead, her soldiers start dragging it and rebuild the crate from earlier.
The show is over, people are dispersing, while Lucas remains and stares at the blood stain in the ground.
“Lucas, come on, Allen will scold us again.” Donald put his hand to his shoulder which brought him back.
He also turned his back to the scene.
“When is your vaccine schedule?” Donald asked.
“1 week from now.” Lucas answered.
“Ahhh. I still have 3 months. Do you have enough money for the vaccine?”
Lucas didn’t answer but he gave an awkward smile.
When the world was in chaos 20 years ago, it wasn’t until half a year after a vaccine had been made and by the time it was out, more than half of the world’s population had already died and took another millions of lives before it got distributed.
“The salary is not until the second week. Haa! Maintaining the walls’ pay can barely afford food and rent. How are we supposed to afford vaccines at this rate?” Donald said, sighing as the lift went up to the wall again.
In the post-apocalypse world, hierarchies are placed. With the government on top of hierarchy, others are determined by their job titles. Below and in direct order of the government are the military, Renaissance is one of the main pillars of the Wall defense and thus placed higher in the hierarchy. That explains their popularity. Meanwhile, Wall Maintenance is one of the jobs that ranks lowest in terms of job titles. One can say it is just one ladder away from a jobless person.
Lucas gets off the shift before the sunlight goes down. The evening tends to get a little cold at night so he wraps his worn out scarf around his neck and puts his gloveless hand inside his denim jacket.
Though only few can afford to have a car in this world, there are other modes of transportation. Like bicycles, horses or energy fuel motors and not a single, even the cheapest transportation, can Lucas afford.
He sniffed the cold and continued to walk. At the end of the road, he is faced with a gate, with an identical wall built of wall. He showed his ID to the guard and verified it was him
Name: Lucas Maximillian
ID Number: 0103-0981
Job Title: Wall Maintenance
He passed through the gates and another wall city greeted him.
The walls will look like a flower blooming. It will be seen from a bird eye view or maybe a pie inside a pie and another pie and another but instead of a pointy end, it would be a concave.
Here is the thing with the walls. The more inner you are, the more secure you are, that’s why the first four digit number in the ID Number represents the Wall district a person is. The lower the number the greater number of walls they can pass through.
As of now, 0103 is the lowest and outer layer of the wall, when the wall 0104 is finished, another ranking will be held again.
Lucas turns a corner and he sees figures of people waiting by the door of his apartment.
“Hey, Hey, Hey, Lucas! It’s nice to see you...again.”
Lucas caved his shoulders and his eyes were glued to the dump streets.
Three men in black approached him. One guy with a still lit cigarette and tough looking body built wrapped his hands on Lucas' shoulder.
It didn’t take long before he was left alone in a muddy street all beaten up, it took him a few minutes before he finally picked himself up and started dragging himself to the door of his basement apartment.
There were no lights in there, he is getting light from the street lamp that barely illuminates the almost empty room. Only a sleeping bag, one table with an empty cup and lots of empty bottles and plastics from a bread packing filled the room.
Seeing his reflection on the cracked mirror he sees his nose, mouth and the sides of his eyes have new cuts but he bit his lips as he disinfects it and puts bandages on it.
He smiled a little and dragged his beaten body to the door once again.
The door slides open and Lucas enters a small lit room, he puts down a piece of apple on the table and sits on the chair.
The machine beeping is the only sound that can be heard in the small isolated room. There is not even a window placed and the ventilation is not that good.
“Hey, Andrea, Brother is back.” Lucas said as he lightly touched the hands of a skinny person laying down at the hospital bed. Wearing the hospital gown and many tubes attached to a little girl, is too hard for Lucas to watch.
He caresses the girl's hand as he watches her sleep soundly.
A voice from the door called to him.
“Good evening Doctor.” Lucas stood to his seat and welcomed the doctor.
The doctor came in with a chart on his arm and a candle lit lamp. He placed the land to the machines and read it as the vitals of Andrea a good. When took the lamp to see Lucas' face he sighed.
“Ah! Did they come again? Come to my office.” The doctor said,
“I am okay doc…” Lucas looked away, but the bruises became more visible as he turned the other direction.
“I will brief you about Andrea’s condition, while we fix those wounds.”
Lucas was hesitant at first but eventually agreed.
On their way to the doctor’s office, though it was not like the pre apocalypse look of a hospital. The facilities are good enough to function as a proper hospital. The hospital is brimming with people, especially this is the only hospital placed in the 100's district. It was convenient since it was also placed in wall 103 which made it more accessible.
“Doctor, am I taking too much of your time?” Lucas said as soon as they entered the doctors room. It was a well lit room that did not need a lamp.
“Sit down.” The doctor says as he pulls a medicine box out.
Lucas complied. He sees the cheap material engraved steel with the doctor’s name placed in his table.
Doctor Martin Wakefield.
He is in his 50s and one of the most valued assets of the walls. Doctors who survived the apocalypse are actually placed on the top hierarchy, higher than the military and a little lower than the government since they possess knowledge that will be hard to pass down.
“Doctor, I am so grateful, We all are… that despite your title you choose to open a hospital on lower walls.” Lucas blurted out.
“I vowed to save lives no matter what the circumstances are. I just stay true to my oath.” The old doctor in spectacles said with a benign smile.
He gently turns up the bruised face of Lucas and starts dubbing it with betadine.
“Thank you doctor…” Lucas still can’t help but be grateful to him.
They stayed quiet for a while, while the doctor redo his bandage since it was clumsy work.
By the way, Dr. Martin sat in his seat behind the table. He opened the chart record of Andrea Maximillian.
“Andrea, is showing stability after a week of observation, the new vaccine is working alright with her body… but Lucas, this is going to be tough…”
Lucas already knows it’s tough. The hospital bills are piling up. He has already exhausted all the loans he can take. The people who went to see him are just one of the many creditors he has.
“...The vaccines should be taken at least once every three days.” The doctor continued.
On top of it all, how will he afford such an expensive vaccine?
While it’s true that the vaccine helps to prevent internal mutation, there are cases that the Vaccine doesn’t work, or if it does work, it can only last for a week or just a few days. The latter was Andrea’s case.
Three years ago, her body started rejecting the vaccine, making her mutate faster. The signs of it are bloodshot eyes, fever, blood cough and the most visible is internal rotting. The virus kills the person first before it reanimates to a flesh eating monster.
Lucas starts trembling at such thoughts. Her sister's condition suffered from all these signs and she is now a secret because if the government knew about this, Andrea would be thrown outside the wall or she would be shot dead like the soldier from earlier.
People with ineffective vaccines cannot be permitted to stay inside the walls. It risks the population inside the walls.
Not being able to imagine his sick sister being thrown outside to fend for herself or turning to undead, Lucas shrinks to a dilemma.
“What should I do doctor.?” Lucas felt helpless.
“Your vaccine schedule is next week right? I can ask for higher dosage on your prescription and this is the money to buy the vaccine. ” the doctor said, making Lucas eye’s grow large.
“Dr. I,I I can’t always do this to you, you’ve helped me too many times, that I’ve lost count already.” Lucas pushed back the money but kept the prescription.
“Then you can pay me once we heal your sister. It will be a medical breakthrough if this is successful” Dr. Martin smiled at Lucas.