Thursday, January 2, 2014

Chapter 11: Willing to Try

It's been a month since Iliana went missing. Resources were scarce and no one was available that could help me. When I called the police station's number, I never got through. The phone just kept ringing and ringing. I thought they might have been busy given the high crime rate we suffered shortly after the chemical attack, but when I went out to the station in person, I saw that there were boards on the windows, making it look like an abandoned building. I was angry that the police had just up and left. Didn't they know that the citizens needed help?! Wouldn't they have anticipated a crime increase in a time of crisis and chaos? I punched the front door in anger and drove home, fuming. How the fuck was I supposed to find Iliana now?!

In the midst of me continually being frustrated over Iliana's disappearance, I continued to work at the hospital. Gunshot wounds were the most common injuries that I had to operate on. There have been fewer cases now that some time has passed and the looters have stopped. Now that there aren't as many surgeries I have to perform, I've been helping out around the other parts of the hospital because it's become overcrowded from the people who are still there from when the attack initially happened, and more people that have had side effects from the attack.

I make my way up the stairs amidst the hustle and bustle of the hospital to my office, where I hope to get some peace and quiet. I need like five minutes to clear my head so I can be useful again downstairs. When I open the door, I see a small frail woman sitting in one of the chairs in my office. Her hair is ratty and tangled, dull in color, and her clothes are very dirty. So much for getting some down time. 

I slowly close the door and take a deep breath, closing my eyes so I can ground myself before speaking to her. After I pull myself together, I walk over to my desk and sit down. The woman looks at me with her sunken in eyes and sad expression.

"Dr. McClaren?"

"Yes, that's me. How can I help you?"

"I think I'm sick from the attack. I keep throwing up, it's hard to breathe, and I can't get rid of this headache."

I wonder why this woman didn't go into the waiting room in the front of the hospital, which is on the first floor instead of coming all the way up here. I walk over to her and put my stethoscope on her chest and listen to her heart beat. It sounds weak and not necessarily irregular, but she's definitely not in good condition. I put her in a wheelchair and we go over to the elevator.

When we get downstairs, I put her on a stretcher and hook her up to an IV with saline solution. She looks very malnourished and I'm not surprised, considering the horrid quality of the rations we've been getting. I tell the woman to get some sleep and apologize that I don't have a room for her, but that she'll be fine where she is.

"CODE BLUE! Dr. McClaren, can you come here?! Room 117!"

I hear some other hospital staff yelling for help, and when I walk in, I see that this patient is the one who has been dying for about two weeks. He'd been hanging on to life, but had crashed two or three times already in those two weeks. I charged up the defibrillator and gave the man a charge. Nothing. I tried again, and still nothing. Two more times, and the heart monitor was still flat lining.

Sadly, I had to call time of death for him. He had been suffering from side effects of the chemical attack. He was nearby when the attack happened, not close enough to have the chemicals kill him instantly as he was a few blocks away, but he breathed enough in to have respiratory problems and eventually his organs started shutting down, one by one.

After work, I come home to my empty house once again. I feel so useless that I don't have any way to find Iliana. This must be how a police officer feels when they run out of leads. I don't think that I could ever do what they do. I turn the tv on and lay on the couch, trying to relax and get these thoughts of hopelessness out of my head, but usually after work is when I feel the most depressed, seeing all these people come in suffering from things that never would have been so common had the chemical attack not happened. I don't by any means hate my job, I love to help people recover their health, but it saddens me to see that so many people are unwell. It's especially sad when someone dies.

"Ever since officials have found the water treatment facility to be the main location of the chemical attack, they are urging citizens to only use the water to wash their face and hands. Local water has been deemed unsanitary for human consumption. Officials will be importing clean drinking water from overseas countries and sending them with weekly food rations. Please use this water carefully, as you do your food rations, so you don't run out of it before the next shipment comes in. Now, to our weather, Laura, you're up.

Okay, Tom, the skies still remain dry, with temp-"

I shut off the tv after listening to them blabbing on about water. I am glad they will be sending clean drinking water to us. Ugh, maybe I need to go for a run. I'm thinking back to when I used to go for early morning jogs, back before the attack happened. Ever since Iliana disappeared, I haven't been on one. Now that the air is no longer toxic, I suppose I could go on a short jog. Jogging always made me feel better, maybe it would still have that effect. I went into my bedroom and changed into a tank top and some athletic shorts, then opened the front door and started jogging.

The sky was a strange color as usual, it had gone from black to white. Either that or there was some stuff from the military's air filtration facility that was causing the sky to be that color. As I made my way to the park, I found myself slowing down a little and looking at how lackluster it looked, from the dead trees with their brown, dried out leaves, and the dry, brittle grass poking up sadly from the ground. I remember when the park used to be full of random people having picnics, or playing Frisbee, maybe even having a sing along, or a campfire.

"OW! Man, watch where the fuck you're going!"

Someone bumps into me and yells at me, maybe I bumped into them? I look past me, and see a man who I vaguely recognize. He looks pretty upset and is glaring at me.

"Whoa, I am so sorry, I was distracted. Are you all right?"

"Dr. McClaren?"

Hmm... he knows me as his doctor. I look at his brown hair and brown eyes, while trying to picture... I think when I knew him he didn't have the stubble, and he was wearing a hat. I operated on him! Back when he was on the force and he came in with a minor gunshot wound!

"Officer Belcourt?"

"Yeah, except now I'm not an officer anymore. Can you believe the military fucking closed the police station?!"

They closed the police station? I feel bad for getting upset earlier and thinking it was the police force's decision to shut down. I then find myself wondering why the military would close one of the most important departments in town. It's no wonder he's pissed, he got laid off. At least I have my job, even though my life is less than ideal at this moment.

"I found out the other day, I tried to go there to report a missing persons, but no one would answer the phone and so I went there in person... it was all boarded up. I'm so sorry that you lost your job."


All of a sudden, Officer Belcourt's eyes went big and he grabbed my arm briefly, beckoning me to follow him. I was unsure what was happening, but I figured his cop instinct was kicking in and he saw danger somehow nearby.

"What's going on?!"

I tried to catch up to Officer Belcourt, but he ran really fast, probably a side effect of him needing to be in top physical condition for his former job. I hoped I made it into the building before whatever dangerous thing consumed us. Luckily, I made it in just in time as I heard a loud rumbling in the sky, which signaled the start of an electrical storm. The sky was so unpredictable these days. I was glad Officer Belcourt was more aware of it then I was.

"Thank you for that, Officer Belcourt."

"Please, call me Francis. There's not really a need for formalities. I'm happy to help. Those electrical storms are nasty. It's just so hard to predict where the next lightning strike will land, so it's better to be inside till it passes. Anyway, you were saying, you found out the police station had been closed because someone you know is missing?"

"Yes. A few days after the attack, looters came into my house, shot me, and kidnapped my wife, Iliana. I haven't been able to do anything to figure out where she is. I think that they might have-"

My voice catches in my throat and I find it hard to talk when I get to the part where I remember the evidence I found that could only mean one thing. I naturally hung my head and rubbed my neck, trying to relieve the sudden onset tension that had crept up on me. After finding that the tension refused to disappear, I lowered my hands, and then the tension was replaced by extreme anger.

"They fucking raped her! Then they kidnapped her! I was unconscious for the whole damn thing and when I came to, she was just fucking gone! I don't even know what the fuck, like if she's dead or alive, trapped in someone's basement, being sold as a sex slave, I just, I can't-"

Tears start falling down my face uncontrollably. It's the first time I've ever voiced my concerns or what happened that night to another human being. It was difficult and I felt so helpless the entire time I was talking. I felt Francis come over and sit next to me. I felt somewhat stupid for telling him some of my more personal thoughts about the situation, but another part of me was okay with it because he was a police officer, still, in my eyes, so it seemed a little natural as well. I continued my angry rant, curving my fingers into a strangling position.

"If I ever find out who the fuck did this, I could fucking kill him."

I looked at Francis, and his eyes were filled with concern.

"Jesus Christ, Dr. McClaren. I am so sorry."

"Gerard. You can call me Gerard."

We sat there in silence for a few minutes, neither of us knowing what to say. I suppose I made things awkward, but I needed a friend, and Francis seemed like he cared. I didn't know if he could help me, but I was sure he was probably willing to try.


  1. I am kinda mad now. I'm glad Francis could kinda comfort him, but I hope that Gerard can find Iliana soon. I hope they can team up together to find her. Maybe he'll get a hint to check out the bad part of town that she has to reside in... *sighs* hmm, I really want to see what will happen. Great chapter!~

    1. Thank you! Aww... :D I'm sorry you're mad, but glad my writing stirred up emotions in you.
      Francis is definitely going to try everything he can to help Gerard find Iliana, now that he knows this has happened. They were both in need of a friend, Gerard a little more in need than Francis, but Francis was just angry all the time, so now that he has someone to vent to, he'll feel better. Ever since the martial law, they can't really go anywhere but work and home, so for now, they haven't been able to do much exploring, but they'll figure something out eventually.

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  2. I'm so glad that Francis and Gerard bumped into one another (literaly) It's nice to know they are not alone. I hope Francis can help Gerard find his wife, and save her from a life of prostitution. The new world looks great! Perfectly fitting for this story!

    The electrical storms sound so scary that they can strike without warning. What a crazy world they are living in now. I can only imagine....

    1. LOL, yeah they bumped into one another for realsies. Hahahha. They both needed a friend, and now Gerard has the very thing he was looking for... a police officer. XD Francis was just mad all the time, so now that he has a friend he can vent to, he'll feel a little better. Francis was touched by Gerard's story of how Iliana went missing, and of course, his cop instinct is to help him find her. They've got a long journey ahead of them, but they'll figure it out.

      I know, right? The world was just perfect. Haha, in my head, the electrical storms are the equivalent of the sky playing Russian roulette with people's heads, and randomly hitting people with a fatal jolt of electricity. o.O

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. Wtf? Where the hell are the police? I know they came to his home and took his things, but I didn't think they would do it to the whole police force, let alone shut it all down.. T_T I hope he can find at least someone to help him.
    *scrolls back up*

    Oh no.. Dr. lost someone T_T I guess it's bound to happen and he should be used to it, but given the circumstances of what's been going on, I could see him being more bothered by these deaths.. I keep thinking his wife is going to end up there and he'll find her and not be able to save her *screams from my thoughts* Don't come true, don't come true, don't come true... LOLL

    *dies from the Officer and Doctor bumping into one another*
    Aww, he saved him from the storm. I'm so glad they found each other!
    Francis seems like such a great guy, I've loved him since he first appeared. I don't blame Gerard for wanting to get some things off his chest, and I feel like Francis is the best person to listen right now. A cop and a doctor teaming up? Seems hot, and even very necessary. They can really help one another out when it comes down to bad things, I think.
    Great chapter!

    1. Where the hell are the police? The military fired them all. :( They wanted to be in charge of law enforcement because they thought the police were not as good as they are and that they'd get in their way... >:[ Power hungry control freaks they are. <-- *Yoda voice*

      T_T That poor patient. Doctor is more saddened by "what" the patient died of than the fact that he died. The patient only had symptoms tied to the chemical attack, the man would have been perfectly healthy if the world had been normal. You're right, Doctor is used to patients dying on him. LOL, his wife showing up there would suck, but I had no plans to do that... as of now... >:D Hahaha, just kidding... maybe. *runs away*

      LOL. I loved taking pictures of the cop and the doctor together, I couldn't stop drooling. As you probably could have deduced, the last part of the chapter took longer to proof because I kept staring at their beautiful faces and wiping off my keyboard. The only thing that would have been more difficult was if they were both in their uniforms at the same time. *faints for an undetermined period of time*

      *24 hours later, gets up* Yeah, those storms, are just yikes. It's like Heysoos smiting people from the sky... one smack and you're a goner. o.O

      Haha, Francis is a fun character to write, I'm so happy you liked him from the beginning. He's all tough and sexy and angry. *faints, but for only a few seconds this time* LOL, Gerard found exactly what he was looking for... a police officer. Eeee! Gerard thanks you for not thinking less of him because of his outburst. XD Francis' cop instinct is able to come to the surface now, so he'll be happier because he can feel like he's being useful again by helping Gerard. They both need a friend, Gerard needed someone to help him find Iliana, and Francis needed someone to vent to. XD It's just... it's just the start of a beautiful, too hot, relationship. LOL

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

  4. I was hoping these two would find each other and team up.

    Boy, those storms must be really dangerous if they feel the need to run inside quickly like that! What a crazy thing to live with.

    I hope the Francis can help Gerard find his wife (and maybe kick some ass in the process).

    1. Haha yess, it was my plan to eventually have the four main characters lives meet up somehow.

      The storms are... bad. In my mind, it's like just walking around and randomly being hit with a fatal jolt of electricity. Inside is the best place to be until the storm passes.

      Francis and Gerard are both happy they bumped into each other. Gerard found exactly what he was looking for... a police officer. XD Francis will most definitely help Gerard to the best of his ability, and Gerard will be there when Francis needs to vent... :D I like ass kicking... there will most likely be ass kicking in this story. Hahhaa.

      Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  5. I feel bad for him, I have a clarifying question. Why can't Gypsy run? It doesn't look like anyone is watching her. Run home, back to your husband! I just...I'm hoping they find the boy before they find her, she's just so...I don't know.

    1. Yeah, he's definitely not in an ideal situation right now. There are characters I haven't introduced yet, and that's because they're sort of minor, one of which is the person behind this whole sex slave enterprise. The chapter with her before was to just show a day in the life of a hooker who happened to see a little boy get dumped at the orphanage next door. She also has no idea if her husband is dead or alive. When she was taken away that night she had a bag over her head. There are plenty of other dangers in society at the moment, and at least at the brothel, she has a roof over her head and some food. Also, if she just ran away, I wouldn't have a story line for the cop and the doctor. ROFL. It's okay that you don't like her, you don't have to. :)

  6. You're making me want to hug all these people! I'm glad these two have teamed up together. Francis seems like the kind of friend Gerard could use at this point.

    Oh, and I love how you dressed Gerard as a doctor, hehe.

    1. Aww, LOL. I'm glad you are liking all the characters. Francis' personality is good for Gerard because his natural instinct to want to solve things is going to drive him to help Gerard as much as he can.

      Haha, yes, I had to give Gerard his doctor uniform. This new world I downloaded, didn't come with a rabbit hole hospital... wierdly, LOL, so my original plan to have Gerard wear the Level 8 doctor uniform the game gives wasn't going to work. Thankfully I was able to find some other clothes for him that could pass as a doctor uniform.

  7. Yay!! See, this is some hope! :) Now, maybe Francis and Gerard can work together and figure some things out! Awesome! (By the way, it's like 2 a.m. here and I REALLY need to go to bed, but I'm going to read at least one more chapter.) :)

    1. Haha, you found another shred of hope! Gerard and Francis are going to become fast friends, they'll help each other out, most definitely. :)
      LOL, I'm happy you are enjoying this.

  8. It's a good thing that Gerard and Francis found each other. In this world, they need all the allies and friends they can get. Besides, having a trained police officer on side can h=only help in the hunt for Iliana.

    I have one question though. Has the chemical attack affected the entire world? I'm just wondering because of the whole getting supplies from other countries. I assume the attack was localised and so other countries aren't as close to the epicentre so aren't as affected?

    1. Yeah, they were both very grateful to find each other as well, especially in this world where you can't really know who you can trust.

      The way I wrote the chemical attack, it affected all the major cities in the United States. The rest of the world is fine, so the US is getting foreign aid from overseas.

    2. With the US being a superpower and major trade route, I assume that, to a certain extent, the other countries are suffering from an economic meltdown as well?

    3. Asking me loaded questions, bookabet? LOLL. Just kidding, I like your question a lot. It's getting me to think about different aspects of this story. I knew it was going to be complicated and huge when I started it, and that there are some things that might not seem to be covered in grave detail, but I did want to create mystery as far as who actually caused the attacks to happen.

      To answer you, yes, I would think that when a major country like the US has an apocalyptic type situation happen to it, that it would adversely effect the rest of the countries it trades and has dealings with. I started the story a couple nights after the apocalypse happened, like 2 or 3 nights, so things are starting to crumble. At the epicenter, things fall apart faster, the rest of the world isn't feeling the major effects of it yet, as the ripples, so to speak, haven't gotten there. For now, the currency is still somewhat stable, the economy of the US has declined a lot because of looters and businesses not being able to provide goods and services. Some of the other countries who were smart and backed their currency with precious metals like gold, are the ones who are able to bounce back easier.

      I also wanted this story to focus more on the individual characters' lives and how they are being affected by everything, so perhaps further down the road, a character might deal with the economic meltdown of things in more detail. I don't know if you saw the rules for the apocalypse challenge, but there are 18 restrictions that need to be lifted, which are in game things that can't happen because the society is in a state of chaos. I'm trying to cover those things as far as what's breaking down, bit by bit, through the characters' lives. Different characters will deal with different restrictions, some of them will have more restrictions than others, as the story goes on, and as things are lifted. There's a page on this blog called "Law of the Land" up at the top, and it has some detail about the structure of the society in the story. I hope that helps answer your question, XD. Thank you again for asking it! :)

      Also, forgive me as I try to deal with these various fictional political/economical things. I'm not an expert on that stuff by any means, LOL, although this story is helping me learn a little bit more about how complicated the fabric of societies really are. :P

    4. Sorry for the loaded question ... just wanted to keep you on your toes ;)

      Just me asking these questions just goes to prove that I'm really loving this story. It's clearly captured my interest. The story seems really realistic so you've handled it really well :)

    5. LOL, don't worry at all, I enjoyed the question. I did after all, write quite a loaded story. o.O

      I am so happy everything is coming across so well to you. Eee! LOL, I'm excited that it seems realistic, I try my best to make things that way, I think it makes the story so much better. XD
      Thank you so much for all your kind words. <3

  9. It's time for them to team up and find Iliana....that's such a pretty name :) I can only imagine how must feel to know that people are dying at work and your wife is missing and got raped...He must feel super guilty.

    1. Yup, they're going to team up and try to find her, hopefully before things get too bad for Iliana. O_O
      Thank you, :) I like that name, it's like elegant and not so common.
      Gerard had a bad day today, since he couldn't save his patient, and he couldn't save Iliana from being kidnapped. He doesn't feel guilty really because he knows it's not his fault the chemical attack killed the patient, and also not his fault bad people decided to kidnap his wife. But he does feel sad and a little powerless to stop the things that are happening around him.