Back Up Plan. Short Story.

So I went to the doctors this morning, my throat is all swollen and gross looking, luckily it isn’t that sore. I got a referral to an ENT, the closest appointment was a month away. Awesome.

I’m hoping that as my throat hasn’t gotten worse, it will start to get better. The pattern before has been that the throat would be so much worse the longer it was left, it had two days to get to work and it isn’t as bad as it has been before. I’m hoping it’s a good sign.

I have another antibiotic prescription, but was advised to hold off on it as long as I could, which I agree with. Obviously the antibiotics were not taking care of it completely and only reducing the symptoms. I’m hoping that perhaps my body will finally pick up the slack and deal with it on its own.

So there is some progress at least!

On with the show!


Back Up Plan.

He could hear them, banging around up there, but he was safe.

They had come last night, screaming and shouting but it wasn’t until a few hours ago, that they started trying to break in. After they started banging on the door, his parents had hid him here. He didn’t know where they were. They put him in the safe place and they went to take care of the people. They didn’t come back. There was food here though, food and water. He’d be ok until they came to get him or until it was time to leave.

When they first arrived, Jack had searched the house, but they were out of bullets. They had nothing to defend themselves, not beyond hand weapons. The group outside would overwhelm them long before they’d be able to get away. Annie was scared and the truth was that he was as well. They had put Todd in the safe room, they knew that he’d be safe. The secondary system would kick in, and he’d come out after a few days. He’d be out of harms way, that was the most important thing.

He couldn’t give up, they had survived so much already, he wouldn’t give up. It wasn’t his fault the people outside hadn’t prepared. Oh sure they laughed at him before it all happened, laughed at their crazy neighbour, always poking fun and using sly jabs, but he never held it against them. He had tried to keep it a secret from them, from everyone, but Annie had told her friends while drunk and they had spread it around the neighbourhood. He couldn’t blame her though, even he didn’t really believe it would happen, it was just a hobby to him, something interesting to pass the time. He never really expected a global catastrophe, he just wanted to be prepared for storms and anything else that might come along. His plans of escape had all failed. They had surrounded the house so he couldn’t leave. The backup tunnel had collapsed already, there was no escape.

No one knew what had caused it, it hit everyone at once. There was no news no time to get anything out. The entire world was plunged into darkness and anarchy. There were floods and earthquakes, massive storms that lasted weeks. It seemed like it was only a few days ago they had been sitting down to a family meal, not even close to a year. It wasn’t that bad at first. He gave out a little food here and there, told people his stockpile wasn’t nearly as large as people were saying. He even showed them the empty basement shelves. They didn’t know about the panic room, they didn’t know its walls were lined with food and bottled water.

There had been a sense of community at first, when there was still food, then the diseases struck. He had even organised the hospital visit. They had loaded up with antibiotics and painkillers, sterile gauze, everything they thought they could use. Not that they cared any more. He had seen Samantha out there. If it weren’t for him, she would have died long ago, when she cut her hand open and it got infected. They were too hungry to care.

He had hoped they would be weak, far too weak to break in, but madness  gave them strength. They would get in sooner or later. It wouldn’t be long until they started eating bodies. He suspected a few of them had already started. He had cut the family rations even more, so they would get thinner, look a little gaunt so no one would think they were hoarding anything. They didn’t understand that if everyone ate it would only feed them for a month or two at most. There were too many mouths. People passing through would consume most of it. If people heard there was food going they’d come from all over. At least everyone had been smart enough to keep that secret in the first few days.

The air filtration system in the panic room had broken two weeks before the attack, he couldn’t fix it, he didn’t know how and the manual had been lost or thrown out. It wasn’t a simple fix at least, he had tried repairing it himself, but he couldn’t get it going again. He knew there would be enough air for Todd, the panic room was air tight and wouldn’t provide enough oxygen for the three of them. Not for how long was needed. They would stay out here and try to fight. They’d keep him safe. Anyone that broke in would think he had already run away. Through the woods out back when it first started. He was small for his age, even if they thought he was still in the house they’d never find him. He didn’t want his son to be raised by those savages. Todd would be ok on his own. He had been taught well. They had gone camping, he’d be able to hunt and survive that way.

There was a loud crack as the door began to give way. He handed a bat to Annie. They knew the people outside wouldn’t listen to reason, as far as they knew the house was empty of food and water. They didn’t care though, they just wanted revenge. The door gave way, allowing a sea of bodies to flood the room, Jack could hear screaming. He didn’t know whose.

They fought as hard as they could, but soon they were dragged down by the mob, their lifeless bodies torn apart. By the time the mob saw the mist it was too late. Those who tried to run didn’t get far before they collapsed, coughing and retching, a pink foam bubbling from their lips. They died, contorted in agony, suffering a long, painful death.

Upstairs the banging stopped. The world seemed so quiet, almost impossibly so, his heart thudded in his ears, his breath rasped in and out of his lungs and beneath it all was a gentle hiss as mist slowly drifted through the faulty seals.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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