This is #12 of Endangered and is titled Calm Before the Storm. It is the finale to Volume 1.
Calm Before the StormEdit
13 Years Ago, 2000
There he sits with a smile on his face. Bright blue eyes, bright brown hair, semi-muscular build to go with a small beard that sits on his face. While it’s hard to tell at first glance, this is Michael Nicholson; a much happier, younger one at least. The one who still had joy in life.
Sitting ever so casually on a worn out couch, including his feet on the coffee table and his eyes planted on the TV, he can’t help but glance over to the eating table, with a smile of happiness and pity. Currently at the table sits a young woman, right around his age, with long dark hair and a very pretty appearance. Yet still, she seems drained with her dark eyes and light Latina skin. Still she wore flashy clothes, which bought out some color. This was Zoey Benjamin, the girlfriend of Michael.
Currently Zoey tries doing her schoolwork, considering she wanted to do her best this year; this was her senior year. Unlike Michael, she was trying to put an effort for her future; especially since they already have a baby girl. The baby girl, two year old Sarah, sits silently in the corner of their small apartment, just playing with her toys. They may have not much, being struggling high school parents, but they had enough for their daughter.
“How’s the homework?” Michael finally calls over to Zoey, who doesn’t even look up from her work.
“Fine. Calculus is a fucki-” Zoey looks over to see that Sarah is watching, so she corrects herself. “-freaking pain.”
“Yeah, well at least I’m trying.” Michael knew what those words meant, since he wasn’t even trying in school. Michael would rather badger off people and get unemployment than work, unlike Zoey.
“Meh, I’d rather just annoy the fuck out of Mr. Reynolds. Guy is a fuc-”
“Michael!” Zoey interrupts him in mid-sentence, before nodding toward little baby Sarah who watches the two. “Don’t curse in front of the baby.”
“Why? She’s gonna hear cursing every time she goes outside anyways.”
“Yeah but, I want her to be a good kid.”
“And we weren’t?”
“Is that even a question?” Zoey jokes; they were always bad kids. It was only know that she tried getting back on the right path. Getting pregnant at 14 sure did change her life. Zoey then looks over to Sarah, who goes back to playing with her toys. “She wants to play.”
“So play with her.”
“I’m doing work.”
“Well I’m, doing this.” He points at the TV, and she just stares at him with her ‘are you kidding me?’ look, so he sighs. “Alright.”
Hesitantly standing to his feet Michael first makes his way toward Sarah, but stops. Taking one look at Zoey he can see the stress all over her. The way her skin is pale, pale eyes, and just the way she is lately. She’s super stressed. Work, High School, Caring for a Kid, shit from her parents….. it was all building up on her shoulders.
So instead Michael makes his way to her and lowers himself across from her, while she only looks up annoyed. “Michael, I asked that you pl-”
“I just wanna talk with you real quick, don’t get your panties in a bunch.”
“Well, what is it?”
“I just wanna say that, well, we should have a day out.” Zoey rolls her eyes. “No, no hear me out. You’ve had so much stress with everything that you deserve a break.”
“I’m stressed for a reason Michael, all the shit-”
“For one night you deserve to say ‘Fuck that shit’ and have fun.” Zoey still looks unconvinced so he goes on. “C’mon you're seventeen, you need to have some fun.”
“We have a ki-”
“We can get someone.”
“Zoey! You deserve a break, c’mon.” Michael smiles warmly but Zoey still shows some discomfort, so he continues. “Just one night, please.”
Zoey looks up at him and their eyes meet; Michael’s life full eyes and Zoey’s drained eyes. He smiles, and after a minute Zoey does to. “Alright then.”
“Haha and the fun begins.” Michael jokes, before grabbing her hand. “I love ya Zoey.”
“Love you too Mike.” Zoey beams, for once, and Michael can’t help but feel warm inside. Still, Michael had no idea that the fun they have tomorrow would be the last they ever had.
Michael currently sits at the edge of his couch, soda in hand and eyes just facing at the wall. He was in a daze, mainly because he was deep in his mind. His pathetic little mind. Taking another gulp of soda to ease up a little bit, he still just can’t get the image of that girl out of his head. Vicky, be believes her name was. She just randomly shows up, tells him off, and leaves. He deserved it, but still.
Michael never really did think of the girls he left; either out of pity or selfishness. Either one, Michael always just assume he would never see them again and life would be okay. But today his past mistakes finally came began to haunt him; much to his detest yet strange happiness. This at least gave him a wake up call to be more careful, so that was good.
Proceeding to finish the can of soda Michael then throws it onto the ground, and leans back against his couch. Resting his head against the pillows Michael then closes his eyes, and thinks about this Vicky girl one more time. About all the pain he probably caused her, and out of what? It definitely wasn’t out of interest or love; last time he had that was with Zoey.
Grimly shaking his head he finally stands from the couch and grabs his jacket, which holds home to his wallet and keys. “I need to go a fucking drive.” He mutters to himself while walking out of his apartment, saying it with such anger and sadness.
Reyes can’t help but walk nervously around his small apartment with both nervousness and anger. It’s been about six minutes since Joel arrived and about a minute since Joel told him the full story. About how Oscar is apparently dead and how Brown is sending hitman after them. Of course Reyes, although he didn’t want to believe it, knew it was probably true. He knew the game, and when loose ends had to be tied up this was the way. Still though, Reyes can’t believe he got himself caught in this shit, especially after he told himself he was gonna start over.
Joel sits more calmly on Reyes’s bed, his calm demeanor having not changed and a pistol still sitting in his hands. It looks like Oscar’s death hasn’t even affected him, although deep down it did. Joel wasn’t gonna show that however. After a minute he looks up at Reyes, who still walks around. “So Taco, what ya think?”
“I think this is un-fucking-believable, that’s what I think.” Reyes says while walking. “You people promised that I would be safe from this. That after that, y’all would leave me alone.”
“Let’s not play dumb here buddy, you know the rules. Don’t shit yourself and blame us, we both know there’s no safe in this game.” Joel says calmly. “We just say that to feel better about it.”
Reyes sighs. “Still, what the fuck happened.”
“Oscar made a mistake, Daniel is angry, we’re gonna die. Boom, there ya go.”
“I meant - whatever.” Reyes scoffs that one off coldly. “How do the hell do we get out of this?”
“Simple really. We well die,” Reyes looks at him weirdly, “I mean fake our deaths, dumbass.”
“Fake them? So we can just open up new identities and he can track us down again? No thanks.”
“Well we could run, and end up dying. Or, we could stay here and do nothing.” Reyes thinks while Joel goes on “I think A is the smartest option, so yeah.” Joel grabs his pistol, and cocks it.
“So lets just plan this out, huh?” Joel cockly says but Reyes doesn’t reply, instead just standing there thinking. He already ran once when it came to crime, he ain’t running again.
“You can run, but if you are, give me the pistol. I’m staying.”
“Phhft, you are one dumbass motha-fucka then.” Joel jokes but upon seeing Reyes is serious he frowns. “You’re being serious?”
“Why the fuck you wanna stay here? All you gonna do is die, unless you're suicidal then I see why you would.”
“You read my file, right?” Joel nods. “Then you know that I ran once, and I ain’t gonna run again.”
“Ain’t no shame in running, taco.”
“There is for me.” Joel gives Reyes a “you’re a dumbass stare” but Reyes returns it with a not giving up stare. After the two men just stare at each other Joel just sighs and throws his arms up in defeat.
“Alright then, stay it is.”
“Wait, why you staying?” Reyes ask Joel who just shrugs. “Hell why did you even come here?
“Meh, I got a soft spot for ya.” Joel smirks in a cocky, jokey way to which Reyes just rolls his eyes. He then glances down to his pistol, their only defense. This was fucking stupid.
“One more question.” Joel looks up to Reyes. “Is he sending hitmen after anyone else?”
“Some stick ass lawyer and two weirdo’s probably. But I don’t like them, so yeah.”
Tate finds himself sitting silently in an hospital chair, with the only sound being the constant tapping of his foot, or once and a while the tapping of his fingers. It’s been a few hours since the accident and while Tate managed to escape with a few bruises and cuts, Destinee hasn’t been so lucky. Mainly just a broken arm but the doctors were worried for the baby, so they currently we’re running some test to make sure the baby wasn’t injured in any way.
After a few minutes of waiting Tate finally sees the doctor walk out of the room, and he instantly stands, causing the doctor to notice him. He quickly walks to him, clipboard in hand. “Mr. Levine?”
“Yeah, yeah that’s me.” Tate nods while saying that and the doctor smiles.
“Well Mr. Levine, I’m happy to inform you that Destinee, and the baby, are safe.” Tate can’t help but smile widely, something the doctor smiles at. “She’s all safe, just a broken arm.”
“So nothing serious?”
“Nope she’s perfectly safe, and you can even bring her home. We just gotta get a few release forms and bills. You can go see her while I do that.”
Tate walks into the old fashioned hospital room and instantly notices Destinee sitting on the edge of her bed, already have changed out of her gown and into her normal clothes. After a minute she looks up at Tate and smiles wildy, something he returns just was warm. “I see you’re alright.” She says to which he shrugs.
“What can I say? Nothing can take down Tate fuckin’ Levine.” He says with a serious expression, but it only took a few more seconds afterwards for him to laugh; he ain’t the best withholding serious expressions. Soon after that Destinee chuckles to, her hand still sitting protectively over her stomach. Tate catches note of this. “So you’re okay?”
Destinee nods. “Fine. Just a few bruises and my arm feels like crap.”
“Looks like it too.”
“Oh shut up.” She lightly says, giving him a joking punch in the arm while at it. Tate laughs with her at first but also in that moment begins to think of the situation. With those two infected; this thing was real.
“Once we get out of here I’m dropping you off home.”
“I’m going to the store.” Tate simply says and Destinee jokingly smiles; Tate was never a shopper. But she noticed his serious face and before she could ask questions, Tate went on. “This thing is real, and soon enough the stores are gonna be packed with people. I say we get a head start.”
“So you’re just going to a supermarket?”
“Just for food?”
“Yep. Why ya ask?”
“Because I ain’t havin a freaking gun in my house.”
“Relax, I ain’t gettin no gun. Just some food and water, I promise.” Destinee nods her head upon him saying these words, and he smiles. They were gonna be safe.
Haruka finds herself once again sitting in the living room of Sandra, who is currently getting some drinks from the kitchen, while Haruka looks over the notes they got from the scene. Wasn’t much to be honest, and it just put up more questions. Why was the mailed man shot in the head? How did they get in the center of the city? Sure there was lots of question, but with each question added Haruka just found herself getting more interested in this case. To think she originally thought it was a simple ‘insane man’ case. Turns out to be something much more interesting.
Jolting down some more theories on her notepad, Haruka then proceeds to lower it once Sandra enters the room with two cups of presumably coffee. She gladly takes one. “Thanks gurl.” Haruka says before taking a small, gentle sip like she learned to do in Japan, while Sandra just sits down across from her.
“So how are the notes?” Sandra asks to which Haruka sets the cup down and instead reaches for them.
“Pretty interesting.” Haruka says, showing Sandra her notes. “But still, no answers to anything.”
“Oh. How about that vaccine out?”
“Don’t know yet. Gonna pick up a sample later.” Sandra nods and takes a drink of her coffee, while Haruka keeps looking over the notes, biting her pencil while doing so. “So how’s your life?”
“Well it’s just I wanna get to know the non-work you.” Haruka explains. “This whole time we never really talked.”
“Oh well, I don’t really have anything to say.” Shly says Sandra; Sandra was never the best when it came to personal things. She always prefered to stay in her cozy little shell that she set up around herself; unlike nearly open book Haruka.
“C’mon woman, there has to be something interesting.” Sandra doesn’t budge, so Haruka goes first. “Well I was raised in Japan-”
“You were raised there?”
“うん. Moved here about a few months ago maybe, got a job as a freelance reporter. Boom, my life story.”
“Why’d ya move here?”
“Me, no reason.” Haruka shrugs, apparent it was deeper than what she was saying. “And you, Ms. Dufraine?”
“Like I said nothing in-”
“C’mon, speak it.” Haruka says loudly, in a joking way. Sandra rolls her eyes.
“How old are you?” Haruka seems a little shocked by the sudden question, but answers anyway.
“Thirty-nine.” She says shyly, like her age bothered her. Sandra seemed a little shocked. Haruka acted, and looked, a lot younger for her age. “You?”
“Thirty-four.” This seemed to shock Haruka. Sandra was young, but acted a little bit older than thirty four.
“Oh. Now I feel old.”
“Hm, you should.” Sandra says a joke, she didn’t say it loud be she still said it. Haruka gasped jokingly.
“Did Dufraine just say a joke? I am completely shocked.”
“You should be.” Sandra jokes silently again before taking another sip of coffee. Going outside her shell just wasn’t her thing.
A much younger, more colorful, Sandra finds herself sitting silently at one of the round tables in the library. Sandra, who preferred the name of Cassandra at this time, brushes the long flowing hair from her face before digging back into her books. She was currently in college, although she stayed with an old friend instead of the dorms.
Cassandra bites onto her pencil while she thinks hastily about the math problem she was doing. She always hated math, but it was hard work, and she loved hard work. Taking an educated guess on another problem, before looking up from her book to across the library. She smiles widely upon seeing the sight of a familiar young man, who was around her age. Blue eyes, brown hair, colorful Caucasian skin...he was a pretty good looking guy. But Cassandra knew him more than his just looks; he was the kid of her own older friend. His name was Frederick, and she might have had a small crush on him.
She wasn’t close with him, and she only met him once, but the meeting was a spark. They hit it off instantly but they haven’t talked since their meeting, which was a week ago, due to college schedules. Frederick, who looked up from his table. noticed Cassandra and smiled at her. After a moment Frederick left his table and approached Cassandra, who grew a little nervous. He soon took a seat across from here.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Sandra Dufraine.” He smiles.
“Yeah well Sandra’s shorter.” Cassandra laughs and he smiles. “So how are ya? Been awhile since we talked.”
“Alright, I guess. Math’s a bitch.”
“Last I checked Math wasn’t a female dog, but I get what you’re saying.” Frederick was a funny young man, and he was charming. He already managed to charm Cassandra. “Here let me see.”
“Yeah, gotta have each other’s backs, right?” Cassandra nods happily and hands him her book and notebook, which he looks over. He was one of the smartest students on the campus. It only took a minute for him to begin using his red pen, smirking while doing so. Her heart dropped from all the times he was using it. She couldn’t be that stupid.
However upon sliding it back she looks down, expecting to see lots of corrections, but instead sees the beautiful drawn image of a A +++++ with a little smiley face at the end. She laughs out loud, as does he. “Well I feel smart now, but wait until the teacher sees this drawing.”
“He’ll look at you and say ‘Girl this be the best thing I’ve ever seen.’”
“I’m sure he will.”
“And so am I.” Frederick smiles again before checking the time. He had class soon. “Look I got class so I’m gonna leave my number on this piece of paper,” he holds up a piece of paper “and you’re gonna call me later.”
“And if I don’t?”
“I know where you live. No escaping me.” Cassandra laughs and writes her number on the paper. This was definitely a different Sandra, a more outgoing one. And by writing this number down she just started one of the best relationships of her life.
Sitting on the edge of her bed, Vicky buries her head into her hands and just sighs to herself. Rubbing her eyes, brushing the hair from her face, then laying down on her bed, Vicky has no idea what to do. It’s been a few hours since her encounter with Michael, and she’s felt pretty confident about herself. How she just stood up to him, she felt so proud of herself.
Making ticking sounds with her mouth, she then begins to tap against her bed and thinks about what to do. While confident she just can’t get the thought of that guy out of her head, and she once again sighs. Hopefully Lara will get back soon and the two girls can go out or something. She needed to get her mind off things.
It as in that moment that the door opens and Vicky notices Lara walk in. Her shaggy brown hair, pretty revealing clothing, and ragged up appearance right now… it looks like Lara’s been busy doing something. Lara didn’t notice Vicky at first and just rips off her slutty shirt, luckily wearing a bra, before plopping onto her bed. She seemed in slight pain too; it was then that she noticed Vicky. “Oh waddup Vic.”
“What happened to you?”
“Oh you know just things. Stuff.”
“What kind of stuff and things?”
“The stuff with umm the things.” Lara jokes light-heartedly but Vicky seemed concerned for her. Lara just didn’t want Vicky to know that Lara was once again working as a prostitute. Vicky already caught Lara a year ago, but Lara convinced her she stopped. But times were rough, and the job paid; and for...other reasons. “So how did the things go with that Mitchell dude.”
“I think it was Michael, and it went great.” Lara eyes her, confused that it went great. “Aka, I fucking told him off.”
“Damn, go girl!” Lara smiles and air high-fives Vicky. “How’d it feel telling the shit hole off?”
“Felt good. You should've seen his face though. Hilarious to watch.”
“Hahaha, wish I saw it.”
“Yeah it was good. So umm, back onto the things.”
“It was nothing, calm your puss' down.” It was in that moment Vicky thought about it. Lara’s unwillingness to talk about, her ragged appearance, and just the awkwardness….Vicky knew where this was going.
“Don’t tell me you’re...doing it again.”
“Well--” Lara could tell by the way that Vicky was sitting up that there was no escaping this. “-least it’s only dudes.”
“Lara!” Vicky almost screams at her, not knowing if she was angry or saddened by the news. “I thought you said that whole... thing was behind you?!”
“It’s not like this was my first choice on the job list. But desperate times call for-”
“Why not get a real job? You know where you have co-workers, a real paycheck, and a boss. Not...you and a sweaty dude.”
“Because I need money, not five bucks a week!”
“Better than being a play thing for perverted ass morons!”
“Well it’s all I can do! Every time I walk fucking down the street some dude is checking me out. This fucking city is built on this shit. I’m just getting in it.” Lara defends herself, while Vicky just rolls her eyes.
“So getting in the game is better than your dignity?”
“Vicky, you’re not hearing me. I need money and this is the only way! You act like I don't want other options.”
“It doesn’t matter if you like it, Lara! You’re still doing it!” Vicky results to yelling at her friend, and Lara feels her blood boiling. Lara wasn't thrilled what she had to do, but she needed money. This was the only way to make money. Why couldn’t Vicky just understand that?
“Fuck this.” Lara mutters to herself and gets onto her feet, before throwing on a random shirt. Before Vicky can even stop her Lara was already out the door, leaving Vicky alone and stressed again.
“I always loved this place.” Sarah remarks about the restaurant that James and her currently sit at; American Outback, the name of the restaurant was. They been going here for a long time, and the two always loved it. James, who for once was not wearing a suit and instead a more casual outfit, smiles.
“Same here. Your grandparents took us here all the time when I was a kid.” James says while drinking a soda, while Sarah smirks.
“Did mom come here too?” The question was so sudden that it threw James off guard; he may have loved Zoey but he hated talking about her. It just reminded him of what could have been. She could have been here, having fun with Sarah….but Michael ruined it.
“Yeah. She did.” James’s subtle answer manages to put the two in a brief moment of silence. Questions about Zoey always did this to them, so Sarah prefered not to ask them. She doesn’t even know why she bought it up. So she quickly finds a way to change the subject.
“That girl over there is good looking.” Sarah nods over to a lonely girl who sits over at the bar, and James turns toward her. She was decent looking, but James just wasn’t looking for that stuff. Sarah first, work second. That’s his motto. Besides, after his old marriage he doesn’t really want any more relationships. He didn’t want to be cheated on again.
“Yeah, she is. To bad I ain’t gonna do what you’re thinking.” James smirks while turning back to Sarah, who only sighs. She feels so bad for her dad. All he does is slave in his work, she just wanted him to get out there again.
“Dad, c’mon. Go on a date, lose yourself.”
“Didn’t we have this same conversation this morning? Don’t worry ‘bout me.” James says with a smile to cheer up his daughter, but inside he wasn’t smiling. He was lonely.
It was just another day, a boring old day. James, decked out in his lawyer suit, had just dropped Sarah off at elementary school currently makes his way to work, but he just doesn’t feel right. His skin is pale, his blonde hair drips some sweat, and he just feels like passing out. While James wanted to deny it, he couldn’t. He was sick.
After driving another few blocks he just mutters something to himself, before pulling over to the curb. He could barely drive. He just had to get home and lay down, maybe Emily can make him some soup. So he reaches into his pocket and pulls out his phone, before dialing the office. He was calling out sick.
After calling out sick, James had tried to call Emily but she didn’t pick up. She probably went back to bed so he thought nothing of it. Instead he just drove home and tried staying awake, hoping he wasn’t just gonna pass out at the wheel. Good thing he began to see his house in the distance, and he smiled to himself. He just wanted to get in, lay with his wife, and relax just for one day.
After turning off the engine and locking the doors, James begins to make his way up the steps until arriving at his front door. Locked. Digging into his pocket he quietly opens the door and walks in, not wanting to wake Emily up. Putting his suitcase against the wall and hanging his jacket on the hanger, he then makes his way up the stairs. Walking down the hall he finally arrives at his bedroom door and almost collapses against it, but instead simply opens the door.
Like he expected he saw Emily laying in the bed, but he didn’t count on the unknown man laying right next to her.
James doesn’t like to remember what happened next.
Michael sits once again at the edge of the bar, coke in hand and eyes just staring at the wall. His minds drift off from how his life sucks, to how he sucks, to how he ruined the people’s lives around him. He even ruins stranger’s lives. Why can’t he just do one thing right? Why the hell did life hate him….
Sighing to himself he just downs another soda before slamming it hard down onto the table, deciding to get some anger out of him. Still, he didn’t feel great. He still had so much anger to get out, so much pain.
Before Michael could even think more a woman leans down right next to him, wearing revealing clothing and a seductive look on her face. This was usually a girl Michael would try to seduce, but right now he wasn’t in the mood. “Well hi there,” the woman starts off “you’re looking nice.”
“Get the fuck out of here.” Michael bluntly says, tired of his constant life cycle. He’s tired of all this sex and shit, if he’s gonna be a better person than he has to stop this. The woman just rolls her eyes and walks away, while Michael just smiles lightly.
After a long day Haruka finally sits on her bed, her back against the wall and head focused on the notes in her lap. After leaving Sandra’s she just walked home and sat here, looking over this stuff. Her home was actually just a small apartment, with only a few items. Small, but liveable in. Not like Haruka cared about the size though, as long as she could live in it she was fine.
Putting the notes down for a minute she just rubs her eyes, then glances over to the calendar. In only a few days it was gonna be it; her birthday. For years Haruka’s been dreading this day. The day she turns forty. All these rumors have been reaching her ears and she is sort off...superstitious.
That and she hasn’t done anything with her life. In the thirty nine years of her life, soon to be forty, she hasn’t done anything. Nothing special, nothing good. If she’s gonna turn forty she wants to do something with her life, and prove that she isn’t useless. That she can still do stuff.
Sighing slightly she just picks up the notes and goes over them again, wondering where this infection started.
After a long time in the bar, Michael finally makes his way home. Hood up, hands in pockets, and eyes down, Michael just casually walk down the streets of Philadelphia. At this time they were pretty much empty except for the people like Michael, the people just trying to find something to do with their lives. The nobodies.
Glancing up from the sidewalk he is annoyed to find the road ahead under street construction, forcing him to take another way. Looking around the area he notices an open alley next to him, and after sighing, makes his way down the alley. Hopefully he won’t get mugged or any shit like that.
Michael, upon looking around the alley, finds it pretty much empty. Still, he can’t shake the feeling of something bad is about to happen. Looking around again he just notices a man walking by the front of the alleyway. He had ripped up clothing, and a bad limp. Michael just decided he would ignore him.
However upon walking bye he can’t help but notice the man basically jogging his way, and his guard goes up. He also appeared to be grunting something but Michael had no idea what the fuck it was, and he wasn’t in the mood for it. “Hey buddy, what the hell are you doing?” Michael calls out to the jogging man, who doesn’t reply. Well, he doesn’t reply with words.
Upon getting close to Michael he quickly tries to tackle Michael, but luckily he gets out of the way. The man, who is an infected, swings at Michael with his limp arms, and manages to hit him right across the face. Backing up with a slight bruise on his face, he looks up and watches while the infected comes again. “What the fuck buddy!” Michael shouts while backing away slowly, but the infected man tackles him.
Pushing Michael to the ground, the infected then tried clawing and biting at his face. Quickly Michael attempts to push him off, but this dude was to strong. In a last resort Michael punches him across the face, then gives a firm knee to the stomach, causing the infected to slump to the side. Michael takes this as his chance to jump onto his feet, while the infected gets up again to. Now the beast was like screaming.
Quickly gripping a brick laying next to a nearby trash can, Michael swings it at the infected’s head. The infected instantly steps back in pain, and scared shitless, Michael swings again. Then again. Then he swings one more time until the brick broke and the infected slumped onto the ground. It didn’t get back up this time.
Finally taking a giant gasp Michael collapses onto his knees, scared and confused. He tried processing what just happened but he couldn’t. He couldn’t because in that moment he heard more screaming, and could see more infected, running down the streets of Philadelphia like a parade.