Authors: Albert Peterson
The Hibernia Strain
By Albert Peterson
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the author, Albert Peterson.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
Acknowledgments: Thanks to Jenny for putting up with my constant writing, and everyone whose influence and support helped bring this story to life. Also to you the reader, for without you all this would be pointless.
Light manages to burrow its way through my eyelash
es and burns into my retinas. Grimacing I squeeze both eyelids tightly shut again. Trying a second time, I squint my right eye only. It takes a few seconds to become accustomed to the brightness of the sterile white environment.
Its daylight and I
’m in a room, that despite never been in before is instantly recognisable as a hospital bedroom. They always look the same. A shitty bed, a shitty little TV in the corner and a shitty little sink by the door.
My body aches all over. It hurts to even move
my neck to look around. I’m just lying here staring up at the ceiling.
er been in an accident but don’t know what happened after I was taken from my car, who took me from it or how I got here?
Where exactly is here anyhow?
It’s a hospital for certain but which one?
I have so many questions but
there’s nobody around to provide any answers.
I attempt to sit up. S
cowling with the pain I manage to park myself in something of an upright position. My body is bruised and battered with several lacerations, all of which have been treated and bandaged.
keeps squeaking as I move about. It must be noisier than I realised because after a few moments the door opens and in walks a rather striking looking young man, garbed in a soldier’s uniform and carrying an assault rifle.
’s roughly six-foot tall, sporting a tight crew cut and has several gashes on his face. He’s pretty strong looking, and in my weakened state I’m hoping he’s an ally.
I say nothing and wait for him to make the first move. A greeting of a quick upward nod of the he
ad and a, “Finally awake I see,” is enough to reassure me that I’m in friendly company.
“Ya I guess I am,” I reply, “h
ow long exactly was I out?”
’s see we crashed on Sunday night and it’s now ten o’clock Wednesday morning,” he responds.
’m pretty shocked by this. I was knocked out for two and a half days!
“Sorry about that by the way,”
“For what?” I question.
“For slamming into the side of your car.”
I raise my hand
with a gesture to tell him to forget about it and this sends a ripple of pain darting through my side. I groan and cough which only adds to the hurt.
“Pretty sore huh?”
More like a pretty stupid question.
I decide to hold off on showing my displeasure and instead nod to signify that yes it is sore, very motherfucking sore.
around in one of the pockets of his combat trousers, and pulling out a packet of tablets offers me one with a glass of water from the sink.
I look at it with a degree of uncertainty.
“Morphine,” he clarifies.
I willingly take it from him and down it
, before lying back in the bed to wait for the effects to dull my pain.
“You should eat something to help build up your strength and then rest up. You
’re not ready to move about just yet.”
He gestures to a plate of food beside my bed. I
’m hungry but don’t have any desire to eat right now. I close my eyes and sigh out loud in agreement.
’ll be just outside in the hall if you need me,” he says leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
Between the pain and the drugs I
’m not up for much thinking about anything, so I keep my eyes shut and make an effort to sleep.
Over the next few of hours I find myself drifting in and out of
a nightmarish slumber. Amongst the nightmares of demons chasing me and killing those around me, I have one that strikes a chord with reality from when I was six.
That horrible time when I was only a mere child and the life changing events that befell me. It
’s not my first time to have chilling dreams surrounding that time but now they seem more vivid and potent. Playing like a movie of my own personal tragic story over and over again.
---It’s the middle of a cold November night when I stir from my sleep. I can see my misty breath momentarily before it dissipates into the shadows. The lights are still turned on in the landing outside my room. I dare not move out of my bed for fear of getting into trouble, but I really need to use the bathroom.
I had gone to bed early without using it, as my father was in a foul temper and had begun one of his alcohol binges, and now I was bursting
to go. The fear of peeing my bed sheets is enough to make me creep deftly from their warm embrace.
I tiptoe on the cold wooden floor, slowl
y and as gingerly as possible, making sure to avoid all the squeaky areas which I had memorised by heart.
I open my bedroom door and peek out into the hallway. The upstairs and downstairs lights are both on. He must have forgotten to turn them off on his way to bed.
I imp out into the hall, as silent as the night air that surrounds me and edge my way down the corridor towards the bathroom, which resides at the halls end, past my father’s bedroom. Some children are lucky enough that this night time excursion would be more like a game and not the serious sport I have to undergo.
As I reach his room, I realise the door is wide open and the bed is empty. I
’m relieved slightly. He must have fallen asleep on the couch again.
I make it to the toilet
, and tinkle against the side of porcelain bowl to mute the noise of the water splashing. It’s not exactly pristine white, you can tell its lacking a woman’s touch when it comes to the cleaning. The whole bathroom has a grotty feel to it to tell the truth.
Once done, I skulk back
to my room as quietly as I left. But tonight for no particular reason, I feel the need to investigate the night time world that belongs only to my alcoholic father. I just want a quick look. I’m unable to describe why I want to; I just know that I do.
So instead of sensibility re-entering my room, I get on my innocent hands and knees and crawl to the top of the stairs. I direct my
left ear downstairs but hear nothing. It’s not too late to turn around but I insist on moving forward, stair by stair.
The allure of spying drives me onwards until I
’m able to peer into the living room. There’s still no noise or movement. Neither is there any of the usual sobbing that goes hand in hand with bottles of beer and whiskey. There’s none of the violent snoring that generally befouls the air every night either.
With all my six years worth of courage, I progress
the entire way to the living room entrance where I’m greeted by a sight that no child should ever have to witness.
lying in front of the fireplace is my dead father. His face swollen and skin drained of colour. A bottle of rum spilled at his side. He finally drank himself to death.
I stand there motionless
, unsure what to do. What else does a six year old do when they find themselves parentless? I get down on my knees and stare at his lifeless remains and cry. Suddenly, the booze stinking corpse jumps to life and grabs at me. ---
The hospital beds springs squeak loudly as I lurch forward. The sweats have gotten me bad. The bed linen is drenched.
Stupid fucking nightmares
’t help but produce a few tears in reflection to what I’ve just dreamt. All of it of course is true, except for the corpse attacking me. That was just the nightmare doing what nightmares do best; twisting your fears and reality together into a terrifying head fuck.
My father was a good man really
, but losing my mother while giving birth to me never sat right with him, and as a result we never really bonded. He looked after me of course and provided for me but I always felt growing up that he resented me for my mother’s death.
How lonely he
must have been to actually die from drink. Or maybe it was just a broken heart. Then again what about my broken heart? What about my sense of loss? I never even got to know my mother. How selfish he was. I was just a child.
’s enough reminiscing for now. It’s not good for me to be getting all worked up in my condition. The morphine has helped and the pain has definitely subsided. There’s no point in piling on unnecessary mental anguish.
I decide to try and get up. There
’s no way I’m going back to sleep just to be tormented again. I ease myself up into a sitting position, swing my legs over the side of the bed and push myself up until I’m standing. I feel a bit lightheaded, but otherwise not too bad.
’s only now I’m standing that I notice all the bloodstains on the sheets. There are an awful lot of them. No wonder I’m lightheaded, there’s more blood on my bed than in my veins by the looks of things.
I stand for a moment beside the window to
check what view I have. It’s still bright out but is later in the evening, about six o’clock I guess. This room is on the fourth
floor, which appears to be the top level of the building. At least no creatures will be scaling the walls to come in this window.
it’s possible I could be spotted from the ground, I remove myself from sight so as not to run the risk of letting anyone know that we’re here.
I turn my attention to the food that
’s still there from earlier. I’m ravenous with hunger by now. My stomach is in knots and the thought of food is making me salivate. I gobble down the lot too fast and give myself the reflux feeling in my oesophagus that I usually get when I scoff my food.
I wait for the feeling to pass and then take the bar of chocolate
from Emma’s place out of my hoody. It obviously melted from my body heat and solidified again, as the edges are all congealed to the wrapper. This ensures I eat it with less haste. The sweetness is so satisfying. Even during an apocalypse I can always rely on chocolate to cheer me up. The banana I took must have fallen out during the crash because the other hoody pocket is empty.
With my appetite appeased I slowly advance to the door, taking my time until I regain my true steadiness. I pull the door towards me to find
the soldier from earlier sitting in a chair to my left, his gun on his lap.
him is another soldier, a woman lying prone on the ground facing down the hallway with a heavy duty machine gun positioned in front of her. I recognise it from many hours spent playing Call of Duty, as being the M2 Browning .50cal. It’s a very powerful heavy machine gun. She has the sights ready and waiting for any movement in the far reaches of the hallway.
My room appears to be the last room in the row. Across from me is another empty room and to the right is
the end of the hall equipped with a maintenance elevator. The door of which is being kept open by a fire extinguisher canister. This all means there’s only one point of entry and that’s from the direction the soldiers are facing. It would appear they have us bunkered in good and securely.
I clear my throat to announce my presence. The soldier in the chair swings around and faces me. The other one maintains her position. She’s not allowing herself to be distracted, not even for a moment. This funnily enough makes me feel good as she obviously has her game face on.
“Well hey there man. Good to s
ee ya up and about. How ya feeling?”
I clutch my side which I deem to be my worst injured area and reply that I
’m feeling a little better.
“Good to hear man, good to hear. I guess my handiwork isn
’t too bad then.”
towards my side he continues, “You were cut open pretty bad and lost a lot of blood. We didn’t think you’d make it to be honest, but I sutured you up and hey presto here you are.”
’m very grateful.”
His cool and matter of
fact way of speaking gives me a feeling that I can trust him, albeit a tad annoying.
He holds out his hand and introduces himself
“The names Walker, Lieutenant Flynn Walker and this here is Corporal
I shake his hand and introduce myself to them both.
With the pleasantries out of the way, Flynn goes into great detail explaining our current situation, as well as the events leading up to our crash and how they came to be in that area. I also learn a lot from our conversation regarding the infection and its source.
It turns out that the army was dispatched all over the country to try and subdue the spread of the infection
; like the president had said in his speech. But Flynn informed me that Ireland only has roughly seven to eight thousand soldiers in its army. So when you take away the soldiers who are abroad on active peacekeeping duties those numbers are even lower. There simply wasn’t enough manpower to successfully secure all the different towns and villages. The forces were spread too thin and therefore easily compromised.