Death’s Calling Part 2

Posted on July 11, 2012


The next school bus arrived in a hurry, the sounds of gunfire and screams not too far behind. The driver slammed on the brakes as he pulled up to the curb, but the tires slipped on the wet road. When it finally came to a stop, he opened the doors, and looked wide-eyed at an angry police officer.

“The fuck’s the matter with you?” he roared. “Where are your tire chains? And you should,” the bus driver cut him off and pointed in the direction which he came. “Are you stupid man?” He yelled back just as loud. “Can’t you fuckin’ hear that? Get everyone on the bus now!” The policemen bit his lip, wanting to sock the fat bastard and looked back at the bewildered and frighten people, who were glancing in the direction of the sounds of gunfire. “Alright!” he yelled to get their attention. “Everybody on the bus! No pushing or shoving! Please remain calm!” Hardly anyone did, and he had to keep reprimanding them. “Please!” as they packed themselves on the bus, “Please! Stop pushing! You’re going to be alright!”

“Fat chance,” he heard someone say. He searched the many sets of panic-stricken eyes, but none met his gaze. The anger swelled in his chest. “Smart-ass comments will get you kicked off, goddammit! Any who incites panic will be left behind!”

“No more room! No more room!” the bus driver suddenly blurted out. “No more room! We’re leaving!” The doors abruptly shut in a woman’s face, and the bus began to depart as the policeman beat his fists on the door, screaming, “You fat pig bastard! You leave when I say you leave!” But the bus driver ignored him and sped along.


He looked back at the people, who stared back at him, their eyes wide with fear, their jaws agape in disbelief. He looked over at the awaiting police suburbans, and then noticed the fireman with Orielle and Trevor. He pointed at them. “Those children! Where are their parents?”

“They were downtown,” the fireman responded solemnly. The policeman nodded, expressionless. “Get them in my car. It’s the one in front.” The fireman nodded and walked Orielle and Trevor to the nearest of the two police suburbans. He opened the back door and helped them in. They both fastened their seatbelts without being prompted. The fireman gave them a half smile and shut the door without a word. The policeman looked back at the crowd and bit his lower lip. This is where things got tricky. “Folks,” he began, uncertain, poised to run. “I apologize deeply. But there won’t be another bus, I..”

“What?” a woman shouted, flabbergasted. “What are we supposed to do?” another man asked, the fear resonate in his voice. “Don’t any of you have cars?” the policeman asked, taking a step towards his car. “What about the ban?” the same woman asked. “Fuck the ban, alright?” the policeman shot back. “The government can’t do anything to protect you now. You’re on your own.” And with that, he ran to his suburban, which had been idling the whole time.


What was left of the apartment tenants quickly dispersed, heading towards their own cars. He was about to floor it when the back left passenger door swung open. Orielle screamed at the suddenness of it, but calmed down when she realized it was the fireman. He quickly sat down and slammed the door shut. “Let’s get out of here!”

The policeman didn’t bother to ask why he didn’t return to his crew and stomped on the gas pedal. For a split second they went nowhere as the tires didn’t catch friction, but finally shot forwards, just as the other tenants began pulling out of their parking spaces. The other suburban followed close behind.


Jets soared overhead, and thunderous booms echoed not far behind. Orielle held Trevor as he cried. The fireman fidgeted anxiously, his palms sweaty. He watched the buildings pass by in a blur. The streets were clear, thanks to the ban on civilian vehicles being driven in the event of an outbreak. At one point a Humvee column of the Illinois National Guard passed them. The fireman stared on blankly as if they weren’t there. “Hey,” the policeman suddenly said. “What’s your name?”

“Frank,” he replied despondently. After a moment, “you?”

“Jamal. Listen Frank, those two kids are going to be our responsibility for a while.”

“Our? And why?”

“Their parents are gone man, don’t you get that?” Jamal bit his lip again. He wished he hadn’t said that. He could feel Orielle’s small eyes on him. Trevor cried harder. “There’s no one to watch them.”

“We can leave them with the army at…”

“No man!” he slammed his palm on the steering wheel. “The army’s too busy trying to contain the infection and get everyone evacuated. They’ll get lost in the crowd of evacuees.”

“You and I have a duty, Jamal. We can’t just forget about our jobs and play hero. We leave them with the army at the evacuation site and that’s it.” Jamal took a sharp turn, and they all leaned to the left. He looked back at Orielle and Trevor with sad eyes. Frank was right. “Alright,” he said with finality, “we’ll leave them with the army.” 

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