A/N: So, the one-shot request is NOT open. But Blondie is an old friend from way back when I first started posting stories online and is the reason I got into writing boyxboy in the first place, so when she said she wanted to read a zombie story, I got on that shit. Go check out her work if you haven't before, it's bomb. Also, vote, comment, etc, thanks!
The energy in the SUV was that of nervous anticipation. Even though we'd spent the previous two weeks together, we hadn't exactly had a lot of free time to get to know one another, so although we kept catching each other glancing, nobody said anything. I wasn't really in the mood to talk anyway.
There were five of us. I knew their names and majors, but that was about it. Renee, Virology. Chris, Immunology. Felix, Genetics. Kristen, Pathology. And me, Biochemistry. We were all the best students in our individual fields - we wouldn't have been chosen otherwise - but, naturally, Renee was the biggest shot in the barrel and she seemed especially jittery. We wouldn't know the details of our assignments until we arrived, but we all assumed she would be appointed to Patient Zero.
I gazed through the window as the driver turned off the highway; we were still a couple of hours away from the IH299 Facility, the exact whereabouts of which had been kept a secret from us and most of the rest of the world until now. What was becoming clear was that it was secreted away in the mountainous woods under heavy security. We were still over a hundred miles out and we'd already passed two checkpoints.
I wasn't complaining though; the security was necessary. Contrary to how I feel in my day to day life; lately, I felt much safer every time I saw a guy with a gun.
I had just turned thirteen when the news reports started popping up; first every couple of weeks, then more frequently; cases doubling, tripling, quadrupling in South America, then Middle America, and finally... Patient Zero. It didn't matter how strongly the government reinforced the borders; it didn't matter when they closed them; it didn't matter when they quarantined every single Canadian citizen who'd traveled further south than Windsor in the previous six months. The virus got in, as viruses do.
And, as viruses do, it spread.
I don't know a single person who didn't lose someone.
For me, it was my dad.
I remember him coming home from work one day and muttering those fateful words: 'I think I'm coming down with something.'
There was no rationalising with my mom. My dad tried to convince her it was fine, just a head cold, at worst the flu; the guy a couple cubicles down from him had had it the week before and he was fine now, just wait and see.
So she took him into their room and closed the door and stripped him down and searched every crevice of his body and found it; the tiny lump of a mosquito bite, just behind his left ear. She immediately called the government's hotline and within an hour he'd been taken and so had we, away to one of the Orange Zones to be thoroughly checked for contamination and then to one of the Green Zones, virus-free and contained for own safety. I don't know what happened to my dad, but I imagine it involved a bullet to the head. I hope he didn't turn anyone else. I hope he didn't hurt anyone.
It took three long years but eventually the governments and armies of the western world started to gain control of the situation; eradicating mosquitos completely and annihilating all but a handful of the infected humans, detaining them in specialised facilities around the world for study. Slowly life started to return to normal, or some semblance of it; in the wake of what had happened a lot more kids my age were going into STEM fields of study and hundreds of thousands of us had applied for the government's IH299 student research summer program. At nineteen, I was pretty sure I was the youngest chosen candidate.