This is the 96th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.
Plague Curfew, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 7th March 2013
Word count: 972
“Urgh,” Mike groaned in bed as light flooded the room. He tried to roll, but without a blanket that wasn’t much of an escape, and the light hurt. It hurt his eyes even when they were closed, the warmth made him feel sick, his head was a screaming ball of pain.
He rolled right off the bed and hid behind it instinctively.
“Get up Mike,” a stern but feminine voice said, followed by a sigh.
“Urgh,” Mike said groggily raising his head above the parapet of his bed and looked at his beautiful and cruel wife who gave a small laugh at the sight of him. His simple brain ran through a series of reactions, fear, hunger, arousal, though given the pain and the confusion he was frozen in place.
“Come on get up,” she said sternly, “I’ve no sympathy when it’s self inflicted.” She was just finishing getting dressed.
“Urghhhh,” Mike said as he admired her soft supple skin.
“Now you’re not even being funny, bye Mike,” she said grabbing her coat and bag to head downstairs.
Mike pulled himself up and went after her, keeping out of the sunlight as much as he could.
“Urgh,” he said at the top of the stairs.
“Oh go back to bed Mike,” his wife said angrily as she put on her shoes at the bottom of the stairs. “If you’re not off to work you might as well get this place cleaned up. Serves you right for being out drinking after this stupid virus curfew.”
Then she was gone, and with no other stimuli, he had no interest in staying awake, so he went and laid down. An hour or two later the post man knocked on the door, waking Mike up. He ran to the door where he could see the silhouette through the glass.
“Parcel,” the postman said seeing movement.
“Urgh,” Mike said, with a certain degree of eagerness and enthusiasm.
Mike looked at the door, some faint idea made him reach for the door handle, which opened easily.
“Here’s your parcel,” the postman said handing over a brown oblong package, barely paying attention to the half naked man that had opened the door.
Mike took it, and started to open it, ripping gouges into the brown cardboard like an animal until he get inside finally.
“Thank you,” he said with a smile, his whole demeanour changing.
“Sign here,” the postman held out some electronic device. Mike signed and then returned to the house closing the door behind him. He rushed to the living room put the new game in the Xbox and proceeded to wile away the morning killing zombies.
At lunch time, he got himself something to eat, and intended on tidying up, but he want to get to the end of the next level, which of course ended in a cliff hangar.
Before he knew it it was quarter to five, and he suddenly realised his wife would be home shortly. He went into activity overdrive and rapidly cleaned everything he could see. He grabbed some chicken from the the fridge, quickly chopped it, added a ready sauce and bunged it in the oven to cook.
Then he was safe, he reckoned, even if it wasn’t perfect, it would look like he’d done something worthwhile with his day off.
Hours passed and his wife didn’t come home. At first he tried switching the game on, but concern easily trumped gaming. He called her office, her friends, her family in town, nothing. The last anyone had seen her she had set off from work a bit late, but still inside of curfew. He called the military advice line, who put him through to holdings, they hadn’t arrested anyone that night.
Curfew was long since in effect in their northern town, but regardless he resolved to go out looking for her. She wasn’t the type to bar hop, and she wasn’t the type to ignore curfew. That was his style. He wrapped himself up in his coat, and put the obligatory medical breathing mask on. There was no virus, as far as anyone could see, it seemed like some big government experiment, but if a mask made things easier, so be it.
Outside he set off up the street towards town. He could see lights ahead, which was odd, town itself should be closed down. The pubs and clubs that were open after curfew, unofficially, were on the east side of the town away from the town centre.
As he turned on to main street he was caught by a scene from a horror film. Bodies were strewn everywhere, fires raged, and there was no one alive insight. Mike wanted to look at the bodies, look to see if his beloved wife was there, but the sights he saw made him feel physically sick. He turned and ran away from the awful scenes.
A helicopter erupted from behind the dominating shopping centre, it’s spot light falling on Mike. He ran harder and harder.
“Stop,” a voice shouted over a loud speaker, “You are in violation of curfew. Surrender now.”
Mike didn’t surrender though, in a panic he kept running, he was on the street to home and he was convinced all he had to do was get there.
“I think he’s inf…” some on the loud speaker started to say, before it was shut off.
The helicopter circled round the Mike, the spot light never leaving him. Then suddenly, Mike was mere yards from his home, when the blast came. Mike didn’t feel it, as his brains exploded everywhere. The helicopter lifted off and out of the way, and several black four by fours with tinted windows arrived, their occupants set about cleaning up the scene. Each was dirty and tired, it had been a long night on curfew duty.