Hurricane Horror – Flash Fiction Friday


Written in response to this week’s prompt from terribleminds:  The country’s in EBOLA PANIC, going so far as to elect an Ebola Czar. (Did you know that vending machines kill 13 people a year? I look forward to our new Vending Machine Czar to address this grave concern.) Disease of course freaks people out. And next Friday? Halloween. The time of horror! Which means it’s time for you to freak people out with disease. Write 1000 words of flash fiction. It should be horror. It should feature disease as an axis of that horror.

 

galv-natl-lab

Grace understood why her mother was nervous about her work, especially these days with Ebola jumping its African borders and showing up in various parts of the world, including America. When Grace got the job at the Galveston National Institutes of Health Bio Lab, she knew her family might consider it dangerous, but she thrived on the danger and the coolness factor of where she worked.

galv-natl-labworker

This hurricane that popped up in the gulf at the last minute is just adding more fuel to her mother’s worry fire. The building is fortified and withstood the last major hurricane just fine, but still it is eerie to know that if something happened Ebola, Anthrax, Smallpox and other highly infectious diseases and bio-terrorism agents are housed here.  With the storm bearing down on the island, most residents were worried about evacuating, not what would be left behind in the lab they typically don’t think too much about most days.

HurricaneIkeAtGalveston_s

She gathered up a few things in her large bag and rolling carry-on, since she would be staying as part of the emergency ops team as the communication team lead. Her main job was to get info out to employees after the storm. Throwing her phone charger and a couple prescriptions and several packs of cigarettes, as well as an extra lighter in her purse. A quick stop at the store for a few personal favs for snacking and she’d be back to the bio lab facility for the duration of what was to come.

The traffic was already crazy with people doing their best to get off the island and make it inland to hole up during the storm. She was glad she wasn’t going over the causeway. Though it took twice as long to get back to the lab as it should’ve, she pulled in, parked on an upper level in the garage and grabbed her bags for the walk in. The storm maybe coming, but the weather is absolutely beautiful – as it typically is before a hurricane rolls through. She can see that the wind is kicking up though.

She got settled into her office and took a nap. She would be up tonight and the media message released pre-storm had been handled. All employees had provided contact numbers and they knew how to contact work. Surprised at how tired she was, she slept for about five hours. When she woke, she went to the ladies room to freshen up and checked her computer for any messages, before making the rounds to see how things were going.

As the eye of the storm was approaching, she decided to sneak away for a cigarette. To smoke, she had to leave the administrative area where her office was and go down underground where the labs are located. She shouldn’t be smoking inside, but she knew a safe place. After smoking about half of her cigarette, she heard it – it was eerie, made her ears hurt, gave her chills up her spine. Though she had never experienced one herself, she knew this had to be the sound of a tornado and it must be bearing down right on top of the building.

As they sound became deafening, she found a spot to take cover, and just as she got settled, the earth shook violently around her and air seemed to be sucked away, causing her to gasp just a little as she took a breath. The sound was so loud, she closed her eyes and prayed to God to keep her safe. It seemed to go on forever, but then as quickly as it came, it was gone and the air around her seemed to stabilize, making breathing easier.

As she came out from under the spot she had hidden in, she saw the sky – the building was gone, including the ceiling and walls of the lab. She could see one of the technicians was on the ground and she could also see that the freezer section of the building was blown apart, vials shattered under the weight of the beams that had fallen onto them. She could see the water was rising in the street, thanks to the almost full moon – the only light there was in the blackness.

full-moon-night-sky

Several of the labs were in pieces, and two were just gone. As this storm formed in the gulf and strengthened quickly, the nominal phase down period wasn’t available, and there were experiments going on in the labs – making that material even more at risk for a containment breach. As she approached, it looked like a lot of material was now just gone – but where? Is it one piece, is it in particulates? Is it airborne, in the water, in the dirt? Where in the hell have all these samples of deadly pathogens disapeered to? How rampant and far have have they been dispersed? Being in close proximity of a major shipping port, as well as an international airport, would make it easy for these pathogens to escape this area easily. Especially true since this island is a tourist area.

Now that the eye of the storm was passing the island, she knew she needed to do her best to get the news out to her superiors. The documented containment process was of little use in this scenario. She wasn’t even sure what was left of the facility as a whole. She had to get out of the underground area and get to the building where the communications area was located.

As she got her wits about her and decided to move, she realized she was bleeding – little spots on several areas  on her arms, hands, neck and face where little shards of glass had hit her during the tornadic explosion. Thank goodness it wasn’t worse, she thought – then she remembered where those shards of glass probably came from. She knew there was a high probability that she had been exposed – to something or multiple things.

Now her mind began to race, almost in a panic, as she realized exactly the position she was in and how ALL the rules, processes, procedures, and protocols were useless now, literally out the window.

 

 HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!

© ~ Sadie ~ and Windchimes and Dreamcatchers, 2013-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to ~ Sadie ~ and Windchimes and Dreamcatchers with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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