On sale now for $2.99
by Edmund Kelly
Publisher Edmund Kelly Publishing
On sale now for $2.99
Addiction & Pestilence is a fast-paced post-apocalypse thriller that has received several 5 star reviews and has been called, "Hauntingly Entertaining!" Come take a journey through hell and find out who has the strength to survive. A compelling look at addiction and the perseverance of the human spirit.
Overcoming one’s addiction to drugs or alcohol; defeating evil or the Devil
Tuesday, October 27th
The little black mass appeared out of nowhere. It floated and danced like a butterfly, yet it stayed in the same place. Karen carried out the heavy basket of laundry and placed it under the clothesline, looked back at the house and yelled, “Jimmy, bring Momma out the bag of clothespins.” Jimmy got up off the kitchen floor, picked up his red toy car, grabbed the bag of clothespins and made his way out the back door.
“Here, Momma,” Jimmy said as he dropped the bag of clothespins at her feet and took off running after the bright yellow and purple butterfly that just past through his legs. “Vroommmm!” he said as he flew his car behind the bright butterfly that danced its way from shrub to shrub.
Jimmy followed the butterfly around to the front of the house but had to stop as it flew across the street. Jimmy could go to the sidewalk, but the street was forbidden by his mother. “Aw,” he said as he pushed his red hair out of his eyes and stood watching the bright butterfly land in the grass at Tommy’s house.
He turned to head back to his mother when he noticed a black butterfly near the middle of the front yard. Jimmy ran straight up to the black butterfly and stopped. He bent over, putting his hands on his knees, and leaned in to get a closer look at the pitch-black butterfly. Jimmy quickly realized it wasn’t a butterfly and that it must be some sort of strange bug he hadn't seen before.
The floating black mass mesmerized Jimmy. He searched it with his eyes, trying to find its legs, when he noticed something start to extend out of the little mass. It looked like a string of some sort was growing from it. Jimmy brought up his right hand and slowly moved his index finger towards the extended black string, which had now started to spin.
Jimmy’s eyes widened as the hovering black thingy started to pulse when his finger moved closer to it. The growing appendage now spun like a small tornado. “Cool!” Jimmy said, his index finger now an inch away from it. Little sparks that looked like static electricity began swirling inside the black mass.
“Momma! Come look at this!” Jimmy shouted. As he shouted his finger came so close to touching the black hovering formation. Jimmy was about to pull his finger away when one of the little sparks jumped from the black mass.
“What?” Karen shouted as she turned her head towards the front yard. Suddenly a bright flash of light filled everything and a loud horn sounded, shaking the Earth under her feet. The light and sound were so intense that Karen dropped to her knees. Once she was able to stand again, she ran to the front yard.
The little black mass was now a dark, shadowy figure. The shadow moved across the front yard and hid in the shade of the big oak tree next door as Karen came running around the corner.
“Jimmy!” Karen screamed at the sight of her son’s smoldering clothes, laying in a pile on the lawn.
Wednesday, October 28th
Eight miles to the west, Brian Phillips sat confined in his room. Outside, the morning sun broke through the clouds as a dark, shadowy figure made its way across the landscape, up the drive and into the east wing entrance of Concord Labs. It had begun.
Harry Stoneham, a federal security guard, sat reading the paper in front of the security monitors for Concord Labs, known to the local community as the Lumpton Treatment Center. Harry started his shift the same way every day, eating his breakfast and reading the paper before making his rounds. He was reading the headline story about a young boy from Brooksdale, the next town over, who had gone missing from his front yard when something on the security monitor caught his eye. It appeared as if someone had entered through the secured door of the east wing, but the security system had not detected a breach of the secure door and the motion sensor had not activated. It must have been my imagination, Harry thought and went back to reading the paper.
Harry picked up his jelly donut and cursed as white powder fell onto his black tie. He picked up a napkin and was trying to clean his tie when once more something caught his eye on the monitor for the security camera, now at the far end of the east wing corridor. Again, it appeared as if someone walked past the security camera.
Harry reached out and pushed the left button below the monitor. He watched something dark zoom backwards as the recording rewound. He gently tapped the button to the right which caused the film to move forward. He waited a second and then watched something dark move across the screen. He leaned in close and rewound the film again, stopping it to see a dark, shadowy figure on the screen. Harry felt goosebumps form on his arms. He could not see anyone in the hallway, but it clearly looked like a shadow of a human form. He rewound the recording a third time and thought he could see something else. He moved the film at the slowest speed and watched as dust particles floated through the air in front of the camera.
I need another cup of coffee, he thought and dismissed the dark, shadowy figure as dust particles too close to the camera lens, giving the illusion of a human form. After all, what else could it be?
The dark, ominous shadow moved down the hall and passed through the airtight security door. It moved like a snake, slithering along the walls and ceilings, staying in the shadows as much as it could. It made its way past the nurses’ station and towards the contamination suit closet. Once inside the closet, it worked its way around each one of the suits until it found the one it was searching for and stopped. Slowly the center of the shadow started to spin and swirl. The insides churned like a hurricane and, with each revolution, it started to spin faster and faster. Within seconds there was a defined eye in the middle of the swirling, and tiny sparks began to appear inside the form. It reeled even more rapidly, building energy. The previously dark center of the shadowy form now glowed brightly from the thousands of tiny sparks. Slowly the eye of the spinning storm started to protrude from the center, and a small vortex stretched out from the center, growing towards the contamination suit. Suddenly a tiny energy bolt shot from the center and hit the elbow of the contamination suit, creating a tiny tear in the suit’s material.
Nurse Robin stood at the med cart filling the daily medications for her morning rounds when the phone rang at the east wing nurses’ station. The nurse at the desk, answered the phone. “Robin, your son’s school is on the phone,” Barbara said, turning in her seat.
“What did he do now?” Robin muttered to herself as she took the phone from the nurse.
“Hello?” Robin answered.
“Hi, Mrs. Dupree. This is Nurse Swanson over at Blake Middle School,” the voice on the phone said.
“Is everything alright?” Robin asked.
“Well, Sean got sick in class, and it feels like he’s running a fever.”
“Alright, I’ll be there as soon as I can. Thank you.”
“No problem. See you in a little while.”
“Barbara, after I finish my rounds I have to go pick up my son at school. He just got sick in class,” Robin said handing Barbara back the phone.
“I can tell you I don’t miss those days. My two girls were always sick,” Barbara said, as she hung up the receiver.
Robin finished filling the daily medications and then went to the orange fridge labeled “Test Subjects,” grabbed some fruit and pudding and put them on a tray. She then walked over to the closet behind the nurses’ station. Robin opened the door and took out her contamination suit. She gave the suit a quick once over, donned it, picked up the tray of food and then started her rounds.
Before starting at Concord Labs, Robin had spent seven years working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a Registered Nurse. She was part of the CDC’s Global Rapid Response Team and traveled the world, working with patients with infectious diseases. She was the bedside face of the CDC and responded to all sorts of outbreaks from malaria to Ebola.
The job was exciting, but it was also consuming. Robin’s marriage failed a few years back and she had grown tired of always being away from her son, so she decided to resign from the CDC. On her last day, though, men in military uniforms approached Robin, asking if she would be interested in a full-time position that required no travel. They explained she would continue her work with highly contagious patients and receive a sizable pay increase. Delighted to continue working in her field, she quickly accepted the job. A week later, she reported to Concord Labs, which was hidden inside the Lumpton Treatment Center.
Concord Labs worked with the world’s most deadly germs and, viruses—influenza virus, Ebola virus, the hantavirus—and the microorganisms that cause the Bubonic plague, pneumonia, meningitis, and cellulitic infections.
After decades of war, the American people were tired of sending their young off to fight and die. The military needed a new way to fight the ever growing number of terrorists around the world.
Two years ago, Concord Labs obtained a military contract to design a super “battlefield bug.” The military wanted something it could drop on an intended target that would kill the bad guys, but would not spread. The military could not see creating something it could not control; therefore, the ultimate goal was to have this new super bug die off quickly after killing its intended target, in order to limit its ability to spread. Concord Labs promised the military this was something it could achieve.
With the backing of the military, Concord Labs built a drug treatment center known publicly as the Lumpton Treatment Center. A few months later, the treatment center’s doors opened and it actually treated patients. But, it had a secluded wing on the east side where Concord Labs experimented on patients, drug addicts who had no family or loved ones to interfere with the research. Located just a little over an hour north of New York City, Concord Labs had plenty of test subjects to work with who met these criteria.
After months of failures and setbacks, Concord Labs finally had the breakthrough it was looking for. Scientists successfully extracted and combined the DNA of several viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms. When they injected the battlefield bug into lab rats, it attacked and killed the host rat within forty-eight hours. The infected rats seemed to suffer and die from an everyday cold and to show no signs or symptoms of the plague or other viruses used to develop the battlefield bug. The mortality rate was one hundred percent of the infected host rats and less than ten percent of the non-injected rats. Concord Labs had found a way to kill an intended target and to make it look like just an everyday cold, with minimal collateral damage.
Now in the testing stage of the project, the lab needed human test subjects to complete its three-phase experiment. This is where the pseudo-treatment center came into play.
The goal of the first phase was to test the super bug on human test subjects. Each test subject was infected and showed signs of a simple cold. Scientists monitored for any mutations to the virus, and the test subject became sick and died two days after being infected.
With the first phase complete, Concord Labs quickly moved into the second phase of testing. It infected twenty-five test subjects and placed each one of them in a room with a non-infected test subject. The second phase yielded the same exact rates as the first phase: every infected test subject died and approximately ten percent of the non-infected test subjects became infected and died as well.
Concord Labs was very satisfied with the test results as the human study produced the same results as the study on the rats; however there was one anomaly. One of the infected test subjects never showed signs of infection while the non-infected test subject became infected. The non-infected test subject died of respiratory complications, drowning in a yellowish-green froth originating in his lungs, and black sores covered the exterior of his body. This was exactly what both Concord Labs and the military were trying to avoid. To have terrorists die from a cold was one thing, but to have them die from something that looked like the plague was another. The lab separated Brian, the test subject, in order to determine why he did not die, before it moved onto phase three of the tests.
Brian Phillips sat on the bed in his new room in the east wing watching the news. It had been several weeks since he came to the Lumpton Treatment Center. Today’s top news story was about a small boy who went missing from his front yard, followed by stories of robberies, rapes, and murders. The world seems to be going mad, he thought as each story seemed to worsen.
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Edmund Kelly (Ed) grew up in Massachusetts, just south of Boston. He just published his first novel Addiction & Pestilence which is the first book in his Slaying Dragons: A Journey Through Hell series. Slaying Dragons is a term used to describe in this instance, someone who has overcome their battle with addiction to drugs and/or alcohol as well as defeating evil or the Devil.