Friday, November 13, 2009

Piney Creek Hunting Club - Chapter Four

Chapter 4

Tony was awakened by a loud voice on his clock radio. Normally the station it was tuned to played the local classic country station, but today the twangy country songs were replaced by a reporter who was reporting about a crash at the Salt Lake City Airport. He spoke quickly and sounded almost as though he was out of breath.

“For yet unknown reasons, Flight 298 which departed from Beijing, crashed into the northwest terminal here at Salt Lake International Airport. We have confirmed that the airport is on a total lock down after a large riot that apparently broke out following the crash.” the reporter said quickly as he pointed to the airport far in the distance. Dozens of flashing lights from the emergency vehicles that surrounded the airport made the huge building look like a bizarre red and white disco. As the camera zoomed in on the airport, it showed a very grainy picture of some obscure figures moving around in the flashing lights.

Tony sat up in bed and yawned widely. Another reporter on the radio started to talk about other instances of riots and similar things in other major cities around the world. The reporter also spoke about an ‘uncontrolled pandemic’ in China and how the Chinese government had just declared all of China was now under quarantine. The Chinese government had also shut down all media broadcasts, Internet access and any other way to get information. Tony turned off the radio and headed into the bathroom for his morning shower.

Later, as Tony climbed into his truck and started the engine, the radio in the truck – which was tuned to the same radio station as his clock radio – was still broadcasting a news report instead of music. Tony quickly tapped a button on the front of the radio, changing the tuner to pick up the satellite signal instead of the local FM station. He sped off towards his current job, a large house his company was building on the other side of the valley. As he drove, he listened to a commercial-free satellite station that only broadcast classic country songs. Traffic was very light and Tony was happy that the drive to the job site took almost half and hour less then it usually did.

As Tony pulled up on the job site, he noticed that his entire crew was gathered around one of the trucks in the parking lot. He climbed out of his truck and headed over to the group. His crew was gathered around, watching a small LCD television that was in the cab of the truck. The small screen displayed two news anchors sitting behind a large news desk. The two anchors were talking about how they expected the chief of police to give a statement about the recent incidents at the airport at any moment. One of the anchors announced that they were going to the news conference and picture suddenly switched to a view of a small, white podium that had been placed in front of a large brick building. A clean-cut, uniformed man stepped up to the podium and began to speak.

“At this time we are asking the public to stay away from the entire area surrounding the airport complex. We have also started an evacuation of the surrounding hotels and businesses.” the man stated almost blankly. It was apparent that he was trying his best to keep his composure.

“There is at this time, a large group of individuals that have taken control of the main airport concourse and surrounding buildings. They appear to be under the influence of a PCP-like drug. Those under the influence of the drug act very irrationally and should be avoided entirely.” the chief of police said at he stared directly into the camera. “We cannot emphasize how important it is for everyone to stay out of this area. We have the situation under control and have already taken a number of the suspects into custody.” he added.

“Okay guys, let’s get to work. We have to get that second floor done up this week so they can get that roof sheeted in and over our heads before the weekend.” Tony said as he turned to walk away.

“Alright, we just received word from our News on the Roam reporter, Carlos Santava.” the first news anchor said to the camera. “He is near the airport in an undisclosed location. We are going there now for a live report.”

Tony turned back to the group and continued watching the broadcast.

The picture faded into an image of a young, male news reporter standing near what appeared to be one of the many 'Park and Ride' lots that surrounded the airport. Behind the reporter there was a wide field and in the distance beyond that, the top of the control tower seen above a thick row of trees. The reporter started speaking about an uncontrolled riot at the airport. He stated that there several confirmed reports of injured officers and civilians and there were also some unconfirmed reports of fatalities.

“Damn!” someone in the group standing around the truck exclaimed.

Others in the group began to discuss the events that were unfolding on the small screen.

Tony looked up at the partial building they were supposed to be working on. Tony was hoping that his crew would get a lot of work done today. He wanted to have most of the second floor of the building done by the weekend. He wanted to get some time Saturday to try out a new custom predator call he had received a few days earlier. It didn't look like any real work was going to get done today.

Tony looked back at the small screen. The reporter had moved a short distance out into the field. He was gesturing at the control tower in the distance and speaking about the airliner that had crashed into the concourse only hours before. As the reporter was speaking, a figure stumbled out of the trees in the distance. You could clearly see the figure was wearing a police uniform. After the officer had walked a short distance into the field he stumbled and fell.

“Carolyn and Tom, I think we have an injured officer here! He just came from the direction of the airport!” the news reporter exclaimed as he started to jog in the direction of the fallen officer. The camera man followed behind at a strong pace, causing the picture to bounce significantly. As the reported neared the fallen officer, the officer slowly climbed to his feet and started in the direction of the reporter.

“Are you ok? Do you need help?” the reporter said to the officer loudly.

The only response that the reporter received was a low, gurgling moan.

As the reporter and the cameraman drew closer to the officer, you could see the officer’s uniform was covered in large splotches of what looked like blood. He also appeared to be very stunned and had a large amount of blood on the side of his head. As the reporter approached the officer, the officer started grasping the air as though he was reaching for something he knew was there but could not see.

Just at the young reporter crossed the last few steps to the officer; the officer once again stumbled and fell. The reporter knelt down beside the officer to help him to his feet. The officer suddenly grabbed the reporter by the shirt collar and pulled the reporter down on top of him. As the camera drew closer it appeared that the officer was having great of difficulty getting to his feet. Both men finally struggled to their feet, the officer still holding onto the collar of the confused reporter. It was now very clear that the officer was gravely injured. A huge slash ran across his forehead and down the side of his face. A large flap of skin was hanging down, exposing the bloody skull of the officer.

The reporter asked someone standing behind the camera to call 911.

The reporter then turned to the injured officer, and started to speak. Before the reporter finished his first word, the officer grabbed him by the hair, and in a single move, bit down on the nose of the reporter. The reporter screamed out in pain and started flailing his arms against the officer. The officer shook his head violently, completely tearing the nose from the face of the reporter. As the reporter fell to the ground in agony, the officer followed him down, chewing and swallowing the nose. The picture began to shake and started to back away from the fallen reporter and police officer, who was now trying to dig the eyeballs from the skull of the screaming reporter. In the distance, other figures could be seen emerging from the tree line.

The picture suddenly went black and within a few seconds changed back to the two stunned news anchors sitting behind their desk. The female anchor announced they were having technical difficulties and that they had lost contact with the remote reporter.

The group of construction workers stood in stunned silence, not believing what they had just witnessed.

“What the hell was that!?” someone in the group exclaimed.

Tony carefully thought about the events that were unfolding. He was really trying hard to remain calm in front of his crew. He knew the airport was only a few miles to the east and he didn’t know for sure if there were more of these insane people out wandering around.

“This looks like it could get ugly.” Tony said. “Ok, Lets all just head home for now and see how this all plays out and if everything is ok we can just meet up here in the morning.” He added.

The other workers quickly agreed and started gathering their tools. After the last of his crew had left, Tony locked the metal gate that led to the half finished building and headed towards home.

As he drove, he turned on the radio. He switched the receiver from the satellite signal to the local FM band. On the radio a reporter was reading a warning to the general public in the downtown area of Salt Lake City. The reporter warned of a large mob that was quickly approaching the city from the direction of the airport. The group was reported to the attacking innocent bystanders and destroying property. The reporter continued and warned everyone who was listening to the broadcast to get indoors and lock all doors and windows. He also mentioned that the police were so swarmed with calls that the police were asking that people not call unless it was an emergency.

“We are just getting word from the CDC.” The reporter announced. “CDC Officials want anyone who has seen anyone who is acting in a strange or unusual manner to call 555-4323. Officials are warning the public to stay away from anyone who exhibits violent behavior or appears to be sick or injured. They warn that this apparent disease is very contagious and is being transmitted at a very high rate.”

“We are also getting word that due to the out of control riots and violent attacks on innocent civilians, marshal law has been implemented in the following cities; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, New York, Chicago and Boston.” The reporter added. “All people in these cities have been told to stay indoors; the public is not allowed to be on the streets, in these cities, at this time. We will be passing any new information we get onto you as we get it.”

Tony sped home much faster then he usually did. Traffic had already picked up quite a bit from what it had been just a couple hours earlier. Tony had already started to plan he course of action. He wondered if what he had seen on that small screen was really true, if it wasn’t some kind of a sick joke being played by someone. He also knew that something was very wrong and it might be a while before it got better.

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