Ep 6 – Uppercut

Wednesday 9:32 AM

“We now go to Colin Robinson at the Centers for Disease Control. Colin?” Calvin turned toward the TV where a reporter stood talking to a man in a lab coat.

“Thanks Adam. The CDC has confirmed that this new virus is spreading across China, Europe, and for some reason, Riverton, Washington in the United States. Dr. Avery Fermi, the CDC’s top infectious disease specialists is here with us. Thank you for joining, Dr. Fermi. Now, what update can you give us about this virus?”

Kate shouted over the shower. “Cal! Turn up the TV!”

Calvin grabbed the remote and tapped the volume up all the way, Dr. Fermi’s voice going staticky through the TV speakers.

“Well Colin, it’s not good. The virus is spreading and we’re still not sure how. It’s seems that it spreads through coughing and sneezing as you might expect from a cold or the flu. I can’t stress enough that citizens should cover their mouth when they cough and should wash their hands frequently. But other than that we’re still learning what we can.”

“Due respect, Dr. Fermi, is hand washing really going to protect people from the outcome of this virus? People have reported some pretty gruesome things when this virus runs its course.”

Kate shouted from the bathroom again. “Cal, turn it up!”

“It’s up all the way!” Calvin called out without taking his eyes from the screen.

Kate turned off the shower and came running into the kitchen, dripping and wrapped in a towel. They leaned down and rested their elbows on the counter as they watched the report.

“…that’s true, Colin. We have had trouble finding patients to study, even in the hospital, because of the final stage of the infection.”

“And Dr. Fermi, I hope you’ll forgive the directness of my question, but is it true that the final stage of the virus turns people into” The news show switched to the local daytime anchor, who looked like he had dressed hastily.

“This is KRVU Riverton, sorry for the interruption of our report from the CDC in Atlanta, but we have breaking local news. I’m going now to Zanna Jones who is in the Crown Hill neighborhood in Riverton where there have been reported sightings of a man in the final stages of this virus. Just a note that Zanna is on location without a camera operator, so we just have audio. Zanna, can you hear me?” Onscreen, the anchorman looked intently at the screen while he listened for the reporter’s response.

“Yes I’m here, thanks Adam. This is Zanna Jones in Crown Hill where earlier we received a report of a presumed victim of this virus walking confused in the street.”

Calvin and Kate looked at each other, then looked slowly past the wreckage of their living room and out the shattered front window at their Crown Hill neighborhood. Parked at the curb, just visible on the left side of the window frame, was a news van with KRVU on the side, and a satellite dish on top. A smartly dressed young woman in modest heels was standing in front of the van, microphone in hand, framed in their broken front window like an unfolding horror movie. Staggering toward her from the other side of the street was Mr. Wembly, his robe only loosely tied and his hands dangling at his sides.

Kate clutched Cal’s arm. “Oh crap, do you think Mr. Wembly is…”

“HEY! Watch out!” Calvin yelled through the window at the woman on the street.

The reporter (and surprisingly, Mr. Wembly) turned her head at Calvin’s shout. Mr. Wembly shifted direction slightly, seemingly unsure if he should stagger to the reporter, or to Calvin. 

“Good morning, sir!” the reporter called cheerfully, shielding her eyes from the sunshine in her eyes. “I’m just following up on a lead about the virus in your neighborhood. Hey what’s happened to your wind…HEY!” At that moment, Mr. Wembly, apparently having made up his mind about his target, had reached the reporter. He lurched forward, both hands grabbing her left forearm. Zanna stepped back and tried to yank her arm out of Mr. Wembly’s hands.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing!” She yanked her arm away, but Mr. Wembly’s grip held.

Oblivious to her yelling and struggling, Mr. Wembly leaned down and pulled her forearm closer to his open mouth. Seeing what he was intending, Zanna was having none of it. With a muffled bonk, she bopped him across the head with her microphone. When he failed to respond, and – moaning – continued to pull her arm to his mouth, she hauled back and clubbed him with the microphone, knocking the foam covering off and knocking Mr. Wembly back a step. 

“I don’t know who the HELL you think you are, but you have CROSSED a line.” With that, the reporter dropped the mic and, leaning back to get her weight behind her, threw a right jab to Mr. Wembly’s left jaw. The punch got Mr. Wembly to let go of her arm and stumble back a step. This gave the Zanna, neighborhood reporter for KRVU and regular at the local boxing gym where she typically worked out in baggy shorts and a sports bra just for the chance to show off her abs, a chance to bring her left uppercut straight up into Mr. Wembly’s jaw. She had trained for years, waiting for this chance to bring an assailant to his knees and by rights he should have pitched backward from the force of her punch. 

Calvin watched through the window as the reporter confidently punched Mr. Wembly with her free fist, then when he let go, bringing an uppercut into his jaw that served to pop Mr. Wembly’s false teeth out of his mouth. Cal, Kate, and Zanna all watched the gleaming white teeth arc over the reporter’s head and onto Cal’s recently mowed lawn. Horrified, Cal then watched as the reporter’s fist continued up through Mr. Wembly’s jaw and into his head, spattering her with blood and gore. Screaming and yanking back her fist, which was somehow trapped inside Mr. Wembly’s jaw, pulled Mr. Wembly against her, dumping her over on her back with him on top of her. 

As she continued to scream and wrenched her fist from his jaw, Calvin saw blood and pus and he didn’t even know what else gush from Mr. Wembly’s head all over the reporter’s face and into her mouth. Choking, she struggled to get up, but Mr. Wembly weighed her down.  Kate also started to scream as the reporter’s body jerked and spasmed as she tried to breathe through the zombie goo. But neither she nor Calvin could bring themselves to move a muscle as Zanna died in front of them.  

In addition to the sound of Mr. Wembly moistly gumming his victim’s face, Cal and Kate could hear the TV reporter yelling, “Zanna! Zanna is everything OK?! ZANNA! Oh god, someone call 911!”

Quietly, almost peacefully, the former Mr. Wembly, even through the wreck of his face and without his teeth, began to gnaw at Zanna’s eyes and nose, finding purchase on that soft flesh and quietly eating her while his teeth lay a couple of feet away on the well-tended lawn.