The Burning Road

It had been four months since the end of the world. David Roberto Garcia could remember it clearly, when the news reported a virus that was meant to serve as a biological chemical weapon, escaped from a government facility and was transforming animals and humans into strange creatures. David’s father, Carlos Garcia was a high-ranking member of a government-owned corporation called, Morbius Inc, to be more specific he was the head of the science division. Carlos had taken the idea of a virus very seriously do to his works, “Gather anything you need to survive and get ready to leave.” He had said. David didn’t give it a second thought, he went into his room and got his travel back pack, he put in a change of clothes, a book on foreging, a survivalist knife, a flashlight, and a bag of sunflower seeds. David had taken classes on survival per his father’s suggestions, “One day the world will go to hell, and you’ll need to learn how to live.” He said.

David figured as he zipped up the bag that his father some how knew that the virus was coming. Than there came a scream from David’s mother Gabrielle. He quickly rushed out and saw his mother clutched over she had a huge bite mark in her arm. Standing in the doorway was one of the neighbor girls, a young girl with long blonde hair and pretty blue eyes. Her mouth was covered in blood, Gabrielle’s blood.
He also noticed the color of her veins, they were black and red bulging, disgusting tumors seemed to burst from what was once a normal girl who liked to hang out with her friends. She roared an animalistic type horror before charging at him, his faithful dog Angel attacked the strange girl giving him time to take his knife and stab her in the back of the head. Her blood pulled around her head, thick and dark, with dark purple vein like tendrils writhing through the blood.

David took a step back from the blood before turning to his mom, who was looking at him, her veins now looking black through her skin and large red, disgusting tumors. She roared and ran towards David only to get shot by Carlos, “What the f**k?!” David asked.

Carlos frowned slightly, “That bio-weapon. It created these things, it turns people into canibalistic creatures. The government is calling them ferals.” He said softly. David understood as he gathered his things and ran out with his dad and their dog. They soon drove off to find David’s girlfriend, Charlotte who worked in a bakery making various baked goods. They had to fight off a horde of ferals in order to save Charlotte, who had been working alone with her mom who died trying to save her.

Four months passed and the Blood-Letter Virus as the weapon was called has spread to animals and even shaped the environment to the new predators needs. In Nevada as the trio and the dog walk along the road, it was the unbearable, scorching heat. The long walk from Haven to Los Fortunos, the city that was once Las Vegas had been four months long, on foot. Without the car, the dangers were more serious. The ferals weren’t the only threat they had to deal with.

As the trio and the dog approached the old St. Angelo Mall, Carlos aimed his rifle with an attached scope to see if there were any threats like the ferals or worse, Stingers. Stingers were the name given to giant three-foot long wasps who laid their eggs in their human and animal prey. Carlos nodded at David and Charlotte signaling that he couldn’t see any creatures.

The trio moved into the mall hoping to find anything useful before they continued on their journey. They didn’t have any hopes of finding much. David turned on his rifles flashlight mod as he looked around the dark mall, Angel and Charlotte stayed close to him while Carlos went elsewhere, “Okay ladies, stay close.” David whispered as they moved through the mall into the abandoned pharmacy. To their surprise they discovered some left over medicine, protein shakes, and pain killers. Charlotte smiled and kissed her boyfriend’s cheek before going towards the supplies and began packing them David followed suite keeping his weapons close, just in case.

Soon enough their came a rustling noise, David aimed his rifle in the noise’s direction. Angel began growling as she stood defensively of the two teens, “What’s wrong girl?” Charlotte asked. She soon got her answer as a man in a gray hoodie with the hood pulled up and dark blue jeans. His face was covered by a red bandana and upon his back was black backpack. In his hands he carried a fire ax. He was a member of a vicious gang of outlaws called, the Wasteland Looters. David could tell from the familiar hoodie.

The man looked at them, his skinny body moved slowly with a limp, as if he was hurt, “I wont let you take me like the others.” He said in a raspy voice. He got ready to swing his ax before David gave a sudden whistle. This was Angel’s command to go for his throat. She obeyed and knocked the man over, biting his throat out. He yelled in pain as she did so, his blood pumping from the open wound.

Angel returned to David and nuzzled him, her soft fur feeling nice against his bare hand as he pet her head, “Good dog.” He said. He walked over to the man and searched his body for anything useful, and found nothing but the ax. He handed it to Charlotte so she could defend herself. As he turned he saw a sight that made his blood run cold, on the wall there was painted a bloody smiling face and beneath it on the floor was a large pile of dead looters. This was the work of the serial killer, Smiling Jack.

Smiling Jack had been rumored to be causing problems for survivors trying to move through the Burning Road to Los Fortunos, he would kidnap people and turn them into ferals in order to perform experiments on them, he’d even brand them with a smile face so anyone who came across the ferals would know who they ‘belonged’ to. He’d even murder bandits like the Looters and paint a bloody smile face at the scenes of the crime as proof that he had been there. David began to sense that there was something overly wrong with this picture. He couldn’t understand why there had been a survivor of the mass murder, Smiling Jack never leaves anyone alive. There soon came a groan, a familiar groan.

The trio turned to see a feral entering the pharmacy, it was an obese feral, lacking a shirt and covered in the familiar disgusting tumors and dark veins. It carried a bloody meat cleaver in its right hand, and lacked a left hand and instead it had a bloody meat hook with a lit lantern attached to it. It had an iron bird-cage over its head with blood covered spikes on the Iron bars of the cage, “Back up slowly,” David whispered as the trio began backing up. The creature which lacked a nose began sniffing at the air breathing out blood droplets as it exhaled breath, it must’ve been blind because it didn’t seem to notice them, but it was looking for them, “Go.” He said leading them around the creature and out of the pharmacy. The creature soon turned its head as they took of running and roared an animalistic roar before chasing after them. David turned and quickly fired off a shot, hitting it in the head. The beast collapsed to the ground dead, but before it died David noticed that he was right, the creature was blind, to be more specific it had no eyes at all. They had been surgically removed. What really made him panic was the smiling face brand that had been burned into its flesh, “Babe we need to go.” He said as he heard more roars as various ferals began chasing after the trio.

The abandoned mall, seemed to amplify the sound of the roars and the running footsteps. David would turn every now and then to shoot some of the creatures. He couldn’t take them all though and had to keep running. However upon running into another part of the mall, the metal security gate dropped down behind him as a sudden voice came over the old loudspeaker, it sounded distorted and broken, “Hello, meat bags. I am Gridlock,” The voice muttered. The word gridlock was spoken four times like a broken record, “You’ve made the biggest mistake walking into my territory.” The voice said again with a laugh as a loud mechanical door began opening, our of the darkness came a large, hulking feral wielding a large chainsaw caked with dried blood, it had a burlap sack over its head with barbed wire roughly tied around it. It began frantically swinging the chainsaw around as it screamed like a wounded beast. Gridlock soon laughed maniacally over the loud speaker as the beast charged at the trio who quickly moved out of the way. The beast hit the wall and began angrily hitting it with the saw.

David soon saw a man in the corner waving them over. David nodded not having many options and lead the trio over to the man. He raised a finger to his lips before pointing to the roof, David could barely make out the shape of a giant, three-foot long, grotesque wasp. David knew what the man was going to do, he nodded and handed his rifle to the man, hoping he wasn’t doing something stupid. The man aimed at the wasp and fired. The wasp howled in pain and began looking around seeing the feral. It soon attacked the feral, “Works every time.” The man said softly.

The fight between the creatures was the bloodiest fight David had ever seen, the stinger stood no chance against the feral. The chainsaw cut through the stinger killing it, its thick, yellow blood flying everywhere. The man than aimed at the feral, it had a single eyeball exposed in the sack and he fire right at it, killing it.

David took the gun back and moved closer to the dead feral, he got a better look at her seeing that the feral was female. Gridlock began yelling over the loudspeaker, “No fair! This isn’t how it was supposed to go!” The voice yelled. The man chuckled softly.

“If your done playing games how about you come out?” The man asked.

“Haha, doctor if you think I’m that stupid than you will be the one to die first.” Gridlock said softly, the distortion stopped and the voice became clear, it was the voice of a middle age Latin woman.

“Come on, we’re not here for you. Smiling Jack is somewhere in the building and I for one don’t want him to kill anyone.” Said the doctor. He had a dark red beard and long red hair.  The voice said nothing as another metal gate soon opened and the doctor began walking out, “You two coming?” He asked. David and Charlotte nodded and followed, Angel staying close by them, “I’m Doctor Alistair Heart.” The man said smiling.

“I’m Charlotte. This is my boyfriend David and our dog, Angel.” Charlotte said softly. The man smiled kindly.

“A pleasure.” He replied.

“What kind of doctor are you?” David asked.

“I’m a surgeon.” Alistair replied.

David wasn’t sure what it was but he was having a hard time trusting this man. Alistair lead the trio into the old clothes department. Than to an old storage compartment where he took out a pistol, a canteen of water, and a bottle of pills. He took offered Charlotte a swig and she excepted. He than offered one to David who reluctantly excepted. He soon began ti feel dizzy, “What the hell?” He asked before blacking out.

David soon came too and found Charlotte and Hector strapped to operating tables. He began looking around and saw that he was also on an operating table. Doctor Alistair Heart was off in the corner washing his hands, “Did you know that the Blood-Letter Virus can infect humans within twelve seconds?” Alistair asked, “After all the people I’ve infected with the virus, I still can’t figure out why.” He said with a twisted smile.

David began to panic ad tried to move, “You’re Smiling Jack.” He said realizing the truth.

Alistair smiled more and nodded as he began to whistle Tiptoe Through The Tulips, “I use to be a surgeon before the virus infected my wife and daughter. I had no choice but to kill them, and I’ve spent the past four months trying to find a cure.” He said.

David scoffed, “By infecting people?”

Alistair looked at him his hands beginning to shake, “I have to do what it takes to cure the virus, I mostly used outlaws and bandits at first but as I continued the experiments I began to slip deeper and deeper into my own rabbit hole. The virus messed with my mind, it’s like I’m not even in control anymore.” He said softly. David began to realize that the doctor originally wasn’t a bad guy but his hatred for him grew as the doctor got closer to Charlotte, off to the side David saw a Latin woman letting Angel out of her cage. Angel soon rushed up and bit the doctor causing him to scream. He locked her to the side and saw the woman, “Gridlock.”

Gridlock smiled softly, “You’ll pay for what you did to my men at the mall.” She said as she ran off. The doctor began chasing her grabbing a scale as he moved with the speed of a rabid animal. Angel whimpered as she chewed as one of David’s straps breaking him out. He soon freed himself and helped the others. He soon got a good look at the room he was in, it was an old room covered in rust and dried blood. The room was filled with cages full of ferals who were groaning and moving around wanting out. The trio gathered up their materials and went up a ladder up to a walkway to try and find a way out.

Alistair found them however as they reached a locked door, “Gridlock was a b***h to find.” He joked. David noticed that the man was covered in blood, the scalpel shimmering with the red liquid. He must’ve killed Gridlock. Hector began fighting the man off pushing him into a cage, a feral lept at the man biting at him. He began howling in pain as he pushed away a large chunk of his neck was missing. David saw that Hector also had a bite, “Seems I’m too late.” The doctor said as he tried to kill Hector. David thought fast and quickly shot the man. He soon slumped over dead.

Charlotte ran towards the dead man and grabbed the key on his hip and soon unlocked the door, “Come on,” she said. Angel began to growl at Hector as he began to twitch and snarl.

David aimed his rifle at his father and sighed, “I’m sorry dad,” He said softly wondering if he had it in him to pull the trigger.