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Toxic Vendetta: Origins
Long Island, New York
“Welcome to Long Island,” the arrival sign read. It was right above the highway I was driving on, and I've seen it enough to know that I was heading back home. After all, I couldn’t avoid my hometown forever.
I pulled my car up to a military gate, where two armed guards stood on either side. They wore desert camouflage and were each equipped with an M4A1 and a handgun. One of them, whose dog tag I could read out as Sanderson, signaled for me to roll down my window.
“Where are you heading sir?” He asked. “ This area is in quarantine. Only authorized personnel are allowed in.” He gave me a firm stare, which I could spot behind his sunglasses.
“Long Island, Mr...Sanderson.” I said. “I’m coming from Brooklyn. Here’s my credentials.” I handed him my science badge, proving that I was really a professional scientist. He studied the badge for a minute, and I could almost sense his knees lock. Following the events that took place half a year ago, mine would buckle also.
He began to speak. “I’m sorry Mr. Dave Greenfield, I still cannot let you in. No one gets in or out. Not even professionals like yourself”
“It’s an emergency,” I retorted, hoping I wouldn’t have to force my way through.
“I’m going to have to ask you to turn around and head back.”
I stepped out of my car, and immediately, he snapped his assault rifle to my chest. “I’m not going anywhere,” I said. I quickly whipped the gun from out of his hands and delivered a knockout blow to his head with the back, breaking his glasses. The other guard initiated automatic fire, but I leaped to the side of my car for cover. He ceased shooting, and his footsteps crunched on the gravel as he approached. Knowing he was close enough, I dived over the hood, tackling him head on into the ground. Finally, I punched him once, and he was unconscious. I wiped the dust off of my hands, headed back into my car, and drove through the gate.
I’d been staying in Brooklyn for the past two weeks, attempting to put some distance between myself and the Infection. It started here, in Long Island, just six months ago, when a scientist named John Solars decided to test humans with his original virus called Infection Seven, which would supposedly turn the test subjects into zombies. He kidnapped his patients, and tested the shots on them, but no one believed the virus would work.
The next thing we knew, it worked. The Infection spread, and Mutants were running rampant on the streets, biting others and turning them contagious. Solars supposedly fled out of the state, and law enforcement is hunting him down to make him develop an antidote.
Currently, the police have evacuated about half of the population out of Long Island and set up a quarantine, but there are still many survivors left. I was one of the evacuees, but I’m returning back for one reason: to create a cure. I’m a scientist myself, an experienced one at that. I've known Solars since the beginning of our careers, and I’m sure I can counteract his disease. I just needed to get to my apartment…
As I opened the door to my apartment, I realized how much I've missed being home. Two weeks were long enough for me being away.
I approached my desk, where I kept my experiment supplies. My name was engraved into the wood, a present from a family member, this year, for my twenty-seventh birthday. It read: Dave Greenfield. I threw my suitcase on top of the desk, which covered the imprint. While I shuffled through the inside, pulling out acidic liquids and test tubes, my brain finally completed the equation needed for a cure.
By combining a sample of Infection Seven with dry ice, liquid nitrogen, and a few other chemicals, I could formulate a compound which would freeze Infection Seven out of its captives. Seems reasonable.
I snatched the liquid nitrogen out of the suitcase and grabbed the dry ice container off of the shelf next to me. All of the toxic chemicals near me were spread across the desk, in an array of different colors. “Okay,” I said to myself, “here we go.”
Plop! The dry ice cube fell into the liquid nitrogen, sinking to the bottom and boiling. Perfect.
Reaching for the disease sample, my arm knocked it off the desk and it broke on the ground. I thought I’d heard sparks from an electrical cord. Let’s hope I was wrong. And of course, I wasn’t wrong. Sparks leaped out of the socket, eventually forming a fire. It moved across the room, which then climbed onto the desk and came in contact with the substances. Boom! The explosion shot me across the room, Stunned, I touched my face, which was burning from all the spilled chemicals. I felt it all around, the boiling of my blood. I suddenly heard myself scream from the violent pain, and that’s when I blacked out.
It was pitch black. I heard this voice… this creaky, familiar voice whispering to me. “Get up Dave. You’re not dead.” I was still seeing nothing. Feeling nothing. The voice continued. “Get up Dave. You’re still breathing.You’re experiment failed, but you gained from it. You’re almost like me now. Powerful. Refreshed. Alive.”
I managed to quietly force out some words. “...What? Who are you?”
And then, the mysterious voice unleashed a monstrous yell. “GET UP!” My eyes sprung open, and I was able to see who was talking. It wasn't my conscience. It was John Solars.
He stood about three feet away, and behind him I witnessed the interior of my apartment. Destroyed. My earlier memories of what happened flooded back into my mind.
I stared at his face, which wasn't what it looked like before. He had multiple scars stretching across the bridge of his nose, his eyes were pure black, his teeth had turned to somewhat of fangs. His clothes were tattered, his arms bloody. He brought his hands up, and I could clearly see his nails were much more than average fingernails. “Hello, friend.” He said, a smirk itching across his face.
“I thought you were out of state, John,” I told him. “What happened to you? You look like one of them.”
“Yes,” he began to speak. “yes I do look like them. And do you know why Dave? Because sometimes, a scientist needs to test his own product.” He curled his monster-like fingers and let out a grim laugh. “I came back. And let’s just say I dealt with my pursuers in a mo...complex way. But this is the new me! And you, Dave, have the opportunity to be like me now.” He handed me a small mirror that was in his back pocket. Confused at what he was saying, I looked directly into it. I understood.
My flesh and clothes were messed up like his, but not completely. My eyes were bloodshot red, but not fully black. “No, no, no, no,” I said repeatedly. I launched upward and tackled him back into the broken desk, holding his shirt. “WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?” I yelled directly at him.
“ME?” He began laughing so hard, I thought his lungs would explode. “I didn’t do anything! You… AHAHA… you tried to create a… CURE! HA!” John stumbled out of my grasp and was acting clumsily, slamming into a shelf. “You did it to yourself Dave! You now have Infection Seven in your bloodstream, and have the abilities of one of the Mutants! Although, yours are not fully developed like mine are, since you were exposed to such little of the virus. I could give you more. Make you more powerful. Aren’t you happy?” He was out of breath from laughing, leaning against the shelf. Smiling at me. Waiting for a response.
I began to speak. “You need help, John. The disease has made you insane.” The smile dropped from his face. He crept back towards me. A chill sprinted down my spine.
“No Dave, not insane. MAD. It’s two entirely different things. With my newly acquired powers, I will lead this Mutant army. We will conquer the whole world, once the virus spreads more! Such fun. See, if you would help me, you could be my, hmm... I don’t know, bodyguard? Eliminate anyone who gets in my way? Deal?”
“No deal. I’m not helping you in anything. You need medical treatment.”
He let of a sigh before turning around to head towards the door, or what’s left of it anyway.
“Well then, Dave, I better be off. There are plenty of people to turn into Mutants. See you around.”
I couldn’t let him get away. I lunged for his arm, and grabbed hold. He whipped around and instantly drove his claws into my stomach. I looked down, only to see blood escaping from my body. He then kicked me backwards, and I immediately felt myself gliding through the air, crashing through the wall, then falling down ten feet to the alleyway that was next to my apartment. I collided with the ground, and the pavement crushed under me. How was I still alive?
He stood in the broken part of the wall, looking down at me. “You shouldn’t have done that, Dave. Have fun with your new friends.” He turned back and left.
I slowly stood up, and could see that the wound on my stomach had somehow healed. As I looked around, a horde of Mutants crawled through the alleyway, making their way towards me, creating screeching sounds.
I stumbled back down onto my hands and knees, feeling Infection Seven travel through my bloodstream. I felt something, like multiple nerves colliding and giving me...power. With every ounce of strength, I climbed back onto my feet. I felt anger, rage, something I couldn't control. My mind was blurred, but I could think a bit.
I had to stop these Mutants. I had to stop John. I didn't know how, but I knew one thing for sure:
Dave Greenfield died trying to develop a cure today. My name is...TOXIC VENDETTA.