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First pages

2:18pm - Hampden Park Station - England

David Lebowski put pressure on the brakes whilst slowly and steadily bringing the train to a halt at the station in the small village of Polegate. He only had one more station to stop at before he would be at his final destination and he was so pleased to know the end was in sight. The strain of keeping it together for the past few stations had been a nightmare, his drained body worked in overdrive to keep him and the train on track and on time, all he really wanted to do was sleep.

His morning had been fairly normal in the grand scheme of things, he had met his wife Melissa for a brunch at their favourite café near the station before he had given her a kiss and left for work. He was on the afternoon shift and always met her for a brunch on her break from work in the big city on a Tuesday. As he walked the five minute walk to the station an eerie mist had swirled in from the River Thames. He hadn’t really thought much of it seen as there was quite often a fog that would roll in over London but it was never normally quite as thick as this.

He had signed in at work, dusted off his uniform as the mist had left a greyish tinge to his clothing, then he went ahead and done his pre-travel checks. Soon enough the train was full of passengers and was ready to leave the London Victoria station and head on its journey to the seaside town of Eastbourne. David pulled out of the station and accelerated the train down the tracks, not really noticing the eerie mist travelling alongside the train and overhead in the skies above.

It had all been going well until he pulled into the station at Gatwick Airport, then the fever hit him and the violent shakes, his throat burned red raw, it was so sore and his eyes stung and watered. He carried on until Haywards Heath where his stomach began to churn and acid rose in his throat making it burn even more. He called through to Head Office to get a replacement driver only to be told most drivers were off sick today, a strange bug going around.

Maybe it was just the brunch I had? Maybe it wasn’t cooked fully? Or maybe I have caught the bug too? He said to himself as he pulled out of the station, he had assured his bosses he would be ok to get the passengers to Eastbourne but he would not be able to drive the train back to London in his state.

Soon enough the passengers alighted to and from Polegate station and David pulled away, his hands shaking feverishly with sweat. “Just one more station David and we’re done…”

He felt water dripping from his eyes and put his hands up to rub it away, only it wasn’t water from his tear ducts it was fresh crimson red blood flowing steadily down his cheeks. Panic fully set in as he now realised he was sicker than he first thought. His hands swam in front of his vision, stained a tainted red, as was the fast swaying scenery outside of the cab.

“What speed…is the train…going?” he said to himself desperately trying to see but his eyes failed him, not seeing what he wanted to see, only a red fine haze before he then began wheezing and coughing, gurgling up blood that dribbled down his chin and over the control panel. His eyes were so full of blood he couldn’t see how fast the train was going, he would wipe at the blood but more would appear in its place. He flailed his hands out to try and find the brakes but he hit the accelerator, causing the train to pick up more speed, too much for this set of tracks but David no longer cared as he passed out, throwing up all of his stomach contents which now merged with the blood over the controls. He no longer cared and couldn’t hear the panicked screams of all the worried passengers as the train hurtled full pelt down the tracks, swaying and wobbling like some drunken idiot trying to walk straight. He no longer cared and couldn’t see the randomly placed car, a silver Nissan Micra sitting on the tracks, vomit and blood covering the dashboard as the driver too had succumbed to the sickness, passing out and steering their metal death machine onto the line. Alarms rang out in the cab as Head Office tried to alert him to the danger on the tracks but also that his speed was too fast for this part of the line but there was no response.

With no one to pull the brakes the train pelted into the car with such force it sliced the car near enough in half and throwing it and its bloodied owner down the side of the train and into fences along the tracks. The sound of crunching metal was sickening as the train tipped to the side from the debris of metal that screamed under the great wheels and steered it nose first into Hampden Park station. Rubble and parts of the building crashed down over the train nearly crushing the cab completely. Acrid mechanical smoke blossomed out into the air from the now unmoving train. The people on board were screaming, crying and collapsing from shock and the mysterious illness that had claimed the driver’s life moments before.

2.45pm - The Light Side Of The Tracks

Pippa Dawling sat rapping her fingers in irritation over the steering wheel of her Black Vauxhall Zafira ‘mummy wagon’ as she sat in the huge tailback of traffic that had become the bane of her working and married life. Since having kids with Ned, getting married and buying their first home together in the small but busy village of Hampden Park she had become accustomed to the blight that was Hampden Park train station. Apparently it was meant to be the busiest train station in the United Kingdom and maybe even Europe with around fourteen trains an hour off peak and around twenty in peak times, although Pippa had never actually really bothered to count them, to her it could have been a hundred an hour with how long the gates actually remained in the ‘down’ position.

She had been sitting in the same spot in the traffic jam since she had joined the queue after leaving work at 2pm. She knew she should have left work earlier but she felt obliged to help out her boss set out the new window display in her pokey fashion boutique in Stonecross. Her boss Anita had just come back after having a hernia operation and Pippa couldn’t stand the thought of her boss come ‘friend’ busting her gut, ‘literally’ to get the new stock out.

Pippa had contemplated turning the car around and going the other way via the hospital to get to her son’s school the other side of the line gates but that way too was normally chocka full of school run mummies. Nothing had really signified why there was so much traffic, nothing other than a really loud rumble of thunder around 20 minutes ago which had even made the ground shake but seen as the other side of the line was shrouded in darkness a crash of thunder wasn’t really a big surprise.

She huffed to herself annoyed, if this traffic didn’t move not only would she be late for picking Daniel up from school but her washing that she had carefully hung out on the line that morning would be saturated with rain water and she would be forced to wash it all again. Sighing she then thought, Maybe there’s an electrical storm, maybe it’s affected the gates and their stuck down? It wouldn’t be the first time the gates had gone down and got stuck, it was a highly regular occurrence since the rail company got rid of the man in the box and left the controls to sensors more than a year or so before hand.

As she sat there annoyed that she hadn’t even moved her car an inch towards the station she noticed two police cars rushing down the empty lane that was meant for the traffic coming the other way, they were escorting what looked like a Public Health Organisation truck. She bit her lip, she had watched enough cop and horror T.V shows and films to know that the Public Health Organisation was initially the U.K’s version of the American ‘CDC’. Which were the first port of call for when diseases or illnesses reared their ugly heads. The Centre’s for disease control and prevention where only called out when the police couldn’t control or contain something.

A feeling of unease swept through her as she grabbed her handbag from the back seat and took out her phone. Yes it was illegal for mobiles to be used in the car but it wasn’t like she was actually moving anywhere. She dialled her daughter Alicia’s number but got no answer, so she quickly sent a text telling her to leave college ‘ASAP’ and go and get her little brother Daniel from school. She knew very well that Alicia was going to be pissed at her for getting her to leave a lesson early and also her friends but something told her deep inside that something wasn’t right here. Especially not if the Public Health Organisation were involved. She wanted Daniel picked up from school safe and to be at home waiting for her, even if it was with Alicia.

Bleep…‘K’, Was the reply Pippa got and although it was blunt and made Pippa fully aware a full blown row was probably going to happen when they got home, it made her feel better… Better than Daniel would be taken care of.

Next up she dialled her husband Ned’s number and sighed thinking of her teenage daughter. Neither of them had been getting on for quite some time, mostly down to raging hormones, boys, drinking and amongst other things. All of this was strangling their once loving relationship. The rows were colossal between them some lasting day’s even weeks, one time the neighbours had phoned the police thinking she was beating two craps out of her own daughter but they didn’t know what a force Alicia was to be reckoned with. She breathed in deeply and tried to brace her mind for the almighty argument that would most likely face her when she got home. After a few rings Ned answered, “Hey Hun what’s up?”

“I’m stuck in traffic at the gates, don’t think I’m going make it to the school on time”.

“Well get Alicia to pick up Daniel, I’m sure she won’t mind”, he half laughed knowing full well their stroppy seventeen year old daughter was going to mind a lot.

“She is”, Pippa bit her lip, “The Public Health Organisation are going to Hampden Park station”.

“The PHO?” He asked, “You sure you’ve not been watching too many crime scene shows?”

“No Ned this is serious, I’ve been stuck here since 2! The police and a Public Health van just rushed past. I think something bad has happened”.

“You’re just over thinking it, I’m sure it’s nothing. Their probably just stuck down”. As he spoke she could hear a muffled noise in the background.

“Where are you Ned?” She asked with a hint of accusation.

“Just coming back in from a call out. Lot of sick people out there today. Think it’s something to do with the strange weather”.

“Is ‘She’ with you?” She asked.

“Of course she is with me Pippa we work together, she is my team mate, my partner”.

Pippa felt like hissing down the phone at him but held her tongue, “You know I don’t like it, you two working together”.

“There is nothing going on Pippa…” He paused as if quieting his tone, “How many times do I have to tell you. Jill isn’t like that, she’s…”

“Into women, I know you told me before”, Pippa replied bluntly.

“Then why are you still brining this up?”

“I don’t trust her, I think she wants you… No I know she wants you, I can see it in her eyes”.

“Pip, you taken your pills today? You know what the doctor said about coming off them?”

“It’s not the F-ing pills Ned. I’m not crazy”, she scolded him, then remembered her window was slightly open and the couple in the car next to her looked over.

“I was just asking hun, but, have you?”

“YES”, she snapped.

“Good, ok, that’s good…Er hang on Pip”, His voice broke up as she could hear the radio sounding in the background, “Pip we got a call out, a stabbing at a gym over you’re side of the line. Look Pip my boss has just mentioned a train crash at Hampden Park, multiple casualties he’s already there with his paramedic crew, so you might be a while, maybe turn around and go the other way home. I gotta go”.

“Be careful Ned!”

“Always”.

The phone went dead and a chill ran up Pippa’s spine, Train Crash, Multiple casualties and the Public Health! Her mind raced with all the things that could have gone wrong, that still might go wrong, she had a good imagination like that.

Knock, Knock!

She jumped out of her skin and looked up at a tall and slender police officer who wore a face dust mask, his dark hair had been swept out of his face by the new issue flat caps so as not to discriminate against man and woman.

She wound down the window and spoke sweetly, “Sorry officer I just wanted to make other arrangements for my kids pick up, been stuck here a while you know”.

“Pardon?”

She shook her phone at him and his face softened.

“Don’t worry miss, you were stationary this time so I’ll let it slide”, he was young maybe twenty two or so but she noticed he sounded wheezy.

“Why the mask officer?”

“What? Oh this? I’m asthmatic and the mist the other side of the line was playing havoc with my chest”.

“Mist? What mist?”

“Dunno really, it just came in thick and heavy this afternoon, over the downs”.

Pippa noticed how he had another paper mask attached to his belt, “Officer would you mind me borrowing your other mask? I’m asthmatic too”, she leant into the glove box and pulled out Daniels spare inhaler to show him accidently knocking her pill packet to the floor that she had hidden in the car to stop Ned from seeing she hadn’t been taking them. The police officer glanced down at them.

“My allergies are really bad this time of year, helps to keep an emergency supply in the car right?” She said smiling sweetly and feeling her palms clam up with sweat at the lie. If he wanted to look closely at the pills he could and there was nothing she could legally do to stop him and if he contacted her doctor or the mental health then they would lock her away for sure. Or maybe not, she wasn’t actually doing anything illegal, just letting Ned and herself down.

He nodded and handed her the mask, “Sure keep it”.

She took it and placed it over her nose and mouth and thanked him, “What’s going on down there anyway?” She sounded muffled and odd, not like her normal voice.

The officer looked saddened, “Train crash, apparently hit a car and veered right into the station”.

“Are people hurt?”

He nodded again, “Yeah most of the passengers, a few are dead and so is the driver”.

“Oh my god”, she whispered, “Um officer?”

He just looked at her.

“Sorry for all the questions but why did the Public Health Organisation drive past?”

He looked a little rattled by her question, “I dunno miss, I can’t really disclose information yet, no one really knows what’s going on”.

“Is someone sick?”

“Look my advice is go home and leave us to work. We will take care of anyone who is poorly”.

“I can’t, my home is the other side of the line”.

He sighed, “Then stay here and stay safe until it has freed up for you to turn around”, he then left her moving onto the next car.

Pippa sat back in the seat, there was something officer friendly wasn’t telling her. She knew something was up, someone or some people must be really ill for the Public Health to show up, maybe the driver crashed because of a suspected illness? Maybe it was spreading and that’s really why the officer was wearing the dust mask? Maybe some idiot had come back from holiday abroad and brought back a hideous disease with them? Maybe some kid who hadn’t had their vaccinations was now infecting others? Maybe rats, mice or other vermin had wondered around giving everyone an illness. Maybe, Maybe, Maybe???

Her mind raced out of control and she needed some air, she could feel the anxiety attack coming. She stepped out of the car and took five deep breathes, each time counting in her mind to 10, slowing down her heart rate and washing the panic away. Finally she felt a little more settled.

Knowing she couldn’t just sit here and wait, especially seen as her home was the other side of the line anyway she decided to walk down and have a nosey, just to put her worrying mind at ease. Once she saw it was just a normal freak accident and not a pandemic she would feel better, she just knew it. Turning back to her car she grabbed her handbag and phone then locked it. Through the window she spied the pill packet, she bit her lip under the mask, I don’t need them, I’m sane, I’m better now, I’m not crazy plus they make me feel so tired and miserable when I do take them. Turning on her heel she left them behind making her way down the line of all the heavy congested traffic and approached the station where a sight like nothing she had seen before greeted her eyes.

2.45pm - Public Health Organisation Quarantine Zone Hampden Park

Doctor Rosetta Lawson brushed some of her thick curly brown and caramel highlighted hair out of her face. The way her mask was sitting over her nose and mouth was pulling on her hair causing it to flop annoyingly into her eyes. She was helping Doctor Finch Davidson set up the quarantine and the large mobile medical truck to examine patients if and when they were allowed out of the train crash.

Finch was a nice guy, just simply that, no other real traits to make him stand out other than ‘Nice’. He spoke politely, was clean and tidy in his appearance, ate only organic and went to the gym five nights a week, that’s if he wasn’t busy doing overtime, which he always put his name down for… ‘Nice and workaholic’ definitely came to mind with him. Rosetta was his polar opposite in many ways, she considered herself clean and tidy in her appearance but her ex-fiancé of three years might say otherwise about their once shared apartment, although now she had her own it didn’t really matter and she didn’t particularly care. Messy minds are clever minds, she always told herself when the mess became too much for her to look at.

She loved fast food takeaways too, never went to the gym but was blessed with somewhat a fast metabolism but she knew one day weight gain would come, it had to her grandmother, mother and sister. She also enjoyed her work but didn’t care much for overtime, not unless it was a clear emergency, then she opted to be on call and on the scene. She was head of her unit due to her outstanding microbiology degrees, experience in the field with the Ebola crisis and that she could speak English, Spanish, German and French. The English and Spanish came second nature to her being that her father was British and her mother a Spanish woman with the full dark hair, tanned olive skin and love for Paella. French she had learnt from her roommate at Uni when she helped her with her studies but it came in handy when there were tourists that needed speaking to in a crisis. The German, well that had just been an extra lesson she had attended at school to give her another exam paper to do, languages just wasn’t that hard for her to learn.

Rosetta had joined the Health Protection Team, a unit in the Public Health sector made specifically to help in times of uncertainty with illnesses and diseases five years ago right after finishing University. She had been headhunted by Doctor Elias Kirkman, the regional director for the South East and she had accepted as the pay wasn’t to be sniffed at. She knew right away she would be on frontline duty at outbreaks but she was heavily intrigued by all the germs, microorganisms and diseases that were around and hoped to help find cures and make the human race well again after they had appeared. She herself had helped in hiring Doctor Finch due to his exceptional grades at Uni and how his mind worked just like hers.

Today was different though compared to all the other incidents they had been called out to, something in the air just didn’t sit right, she could feel it in her bones. Maybe it was due to the heavy mist that was descending upon them from over the Downs but she also knew that it wasn’t really mist or fog… It was ash, volcanic ash spread by the winds all the way from Germany where a volcanic lake had erupted a couple of days ago. There was lots of speculation as to what caused the eruption as scientists had claimed that there had been no readings of an eruption going to occur. A lot of people died from the eruption too, with no warning the town of Andernach didn’t evacuate and with it only being around five miles away from Laacher See which was the volcanic lake, the lava, poisonous gases and falling debris from the skies killed many. Since the eruption Germany had fallen quiet, obviously in mourning but also most probably trying to fix the problems the eruption had caused on their own. The Germans she had found out whilst working on a case out there once weren’t ones to sniffle and grovel for help, they would deal with it in their own way.

Rosetta looked up at the ash clouds that hung heavily overhead and pulled her mask tighter to her face. She knew that volcanic ash or scientifically known as Tephra held many irritants to humans, such as pulverised rocks and minerals, small traces of volcanic glass which measures something almost microscopic at roughly 2mm and some traces of gases from the eruption. The fact that the ash had made it this far had told scientists that the eruption column had been huge and that the climate conditions for it to travel with had been perfect. The only thing that puzzled Rosetta though was how the ash hadn’t come over her side of the line yet, the side of the line she and her small team were stationed at was clear, a small warm stream of sunlight pouring in like a gift from the gods. It was like the weather and pressure had made a small pocket where the ash couldn’t penetrate yet. Considering most of the country was affected already and the ash was coming at Hampden Park from all directions via Dover, Rye, Hastings, Bexhill and Eastbourne itself, as well as Brighton and Newhaven way. Not to mention it was travelling steadily up past London over towards Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, and Manchester.

Finch came over to Rosetta, “The police and fire crews have secured the station, we can start examining the patients now”.

“Good”, she said her mouth going dry, “Let’s bring them in two at a time, Children first, they shouldn’t have to wait”.

Finch nodded and wondered off to collect the first two patients as Rosetta gloved up, masked up, put on her gown and got all her examining instruments ready.

2pm - 2.45pm - Sussex Downs College

Alicia Dawling stood in the doorway of the entrance foyer to the college, watching intently as the skies darkened overhead and simultaneously lit up a crafty cigarette before slowly taking a long drag from it and breathing out the smoke to drift up slowly to the already smoking looking atmosphere.

Her best friends Tabitha and Ellen both stood either side of her, they all had an extra free study period today due to the fact that most of the college tutors had called in sick and only a handful had actually shown up to teach. It was awfully annoying for the three teenagers as they had wanted to go into town for some window shopping but the college had expected them to stay on campus even though there was nothing to do.

“So Alicia do you think they will catch you smoking on campus?” Ellen the dopy one out of the three of them giggled to herself.

Alicia rolled her heavily makeup’d eyes and took another drag from the unhealthy stick, “There’s no one even here to catch me at it Ellen and I doubt they will check all the CCTV footage just to give me a shouting at”.

“Why not just smoke it outside Alicia?” Tabitha the snobby and clever one of the group sniffed. She had always let Alicia know she didn’t agree with her habits and to be honest Alicia had no idea why Tabitha hung with her and Ellen as she wasn’t on their wavelength with things. Tabitha’s parent’s owned a high end jewellery shop in the town centre and they had money and by money, they meant M.O.N.E.Y! Tabitha had been to an all-girls private school since the age of five and it had been a culture shock when she arrived at college early last September to find boys and girls mixed together. Due to her snobby ways and pure expanse of money with her Gucci handbags and designer clothes most girls gave her a wide birth. She had only befriended them on the off chance one day when Alicia and Ellen were out in town shopping together and Tabitha had been mugged by some idiot who saw her as an easy target and her expensive bag an easy way to make a quick quid. They had spotted her sobbing on the pavement, her arm cut and bruised from the scuffle. Ellen had been clever enough that day to phone for the police whilst Alicia sat with her, tending to her wound with some know how her dad had taught her and spoke to her calmly to settle her nerves. Since then Tabitha hadn’t left them alone, although she never spoke of that day to anyone, even them.

“Excuse me?” Alicia said making the words come out in puffs of dancing smoke, “Do you wanna go stand outside in that storm or whatever it is?”

“It’s an ash cloud from Germany”, Tabitha sighed. “Really do you two never watch the news?”

“No”, Ellen shrugged and Alicia once again rolled her eyes, finishing her cigarette, stubbing it out on the wall and launching it out onto the grass field.

“Great you’re a litter bug too now huh Alicia?” Tabitha snapped but Alicia just ignored her friends comment and lifted up her faux silk scarf which had been more for fashion than warmth but today it was all for the warmth and wrapped it around her mouth and chin. She shivered and headed back in to sit on a chair that was by the unmanned reception desk. “Why’s it so goddamn cold?” It was meant to be the middle of July but it was more like November.

“The ash cloud is preventing the sun’s heat from getting to Earth properly, causing a few degree’s slant in temperature”, Tabitha told her, her tone clearly saying ‘You should have known that’.

Tabitha was doing biology, chemistry and physics as A-levels and was destined to be a great scientist, whereas Alicia and Ellen both were doing media studies and photography. In Tabitha’s eyes they were destined for the junk pile of unemployed idiots.

“Yeah see that’s why I don’t want to go outside, I don’t want to freeze to death”, Alicia giggled just to wind Tabitha up.

“No but your quite happily clog up your lungs and die through diseases instead?” Tabitha’s tongue was sharp today.

“At least I’ll die young and beautiful”, she sniggered.

“Or old and haggard looking due to the loss of elasticity in the skin”.

Alicia and Ellen ignored their friend’s remark and instead Ellen said, “Aww well at least Glenn could mourn over your dead beautiful body”.

Alicia stiffened at his name, “Please don’t mention him!”

“Why?” Ellen said confused, “I thought you two were an item again?”

“And where did you hear that bit of rubbish?” Alicia snapped.

“From Glenn’s sister Tina”.

“Well she’s lying, I would never in a million years go back with that lying, cheating, scumbag”. Alicia scowled, just the mention of her cheating ex-boyfriends name boiled her blood.

“Well she’s been telling everyone that you forgave him and have been seeing him behind your parents back?” Ellen froze as she said it, knowing prying like this might get a snarky comeback from Alicia or even a few days of moodiness and not talking.

Alicia burned with hatred inside, yes her parents hated him and had told her not to see him again but in all truth she hadn’t. Normally she would do anything to get under her parents skin but not with this, he needed to be shown she was no pushover. “He is dead to me”, was all she replied with showing the distaste for him in her spiky tone. Ellen reeled back and nodded, her ever so playful friend now knowing she needed to keep her wagging tongue in check.

Alicia thought back to the day her and Glenn had met, she and Ellen had managed to sneak into a nightclub with false I.D’s both telling each other’s parent’s they were staying round each other’s houses but in truth they were going to pull an all-night-er and hope their parents didn’t clock on to the blatant lie. Glenn had been there with a few mates but their eyes had met over the blaring dance floor and he soon chipped them off to make his moves. He had them all, the dance moves, money to buy her and Ellen drinks, the chat and of course he was handsome and he knew it. Dark hair, dark eyes, a dark aura too which pulled her in even more she liked the danger and the thrill of it. He was loaded too, well at least his parents were, both top lawyers in their profession and due to this they spoilt him and his older sister Tina rotten, new cars, designer clothes and flash holidays that Alicia could only dream of. At first Ellen had laughed how he was the male counterpart to Tabitha but Tabitha was a clever snob whereas Glenn was a rich silver spoon in mouth kinda guy with no real brains but good looks. He had got her into smoking which her parents had argued with her about till no end and although they would confiscate her cigarettes he would just buy her more. He was so bad but he made it look good which made her want more, he had got her to sneak out of lessons for a quick fumble in the toilets, the excitement and fear of being caught made it all the more alluring to her. He left her breathless and utterly hopeless. Until he cheated, with Amber Reynolds…Then he left her fuming.

“So you two are definitely not an item then?” Tabitha questioned narrowing her clever hawk like eyes.

“No”.

“Good, cause he’s a loser”, she said bluntly which made Alicia smile inside.

Alicia leaned her head back onto the wall of the foyer staring into space and letting her mind wonder onto what he would be doing now. Would he be with her? Where they at it like rabbits right now laughing at her behind her back?

Ellen snapped her out of her thought process, “It’s snowing guys!”

Alicia snapped her head out to look and sure enough there were bits of white and grey lumps falling from the sky but… “Ellen I don’t think that’s…snow.”

But Ellen wasn’t listening sticking her tongue out to catch the snowflakes on her tongue then pulling a face, “That snow tastes funny”.

“It’s ash dip face”, Tabitha laughed which wasn’t a well-known sound, “Ellen you really need to get your brain examined, I swear you’re getting worse”.

Ellen shrugged looking down, “I really like snow”.

Tabitha sighed, “Whatever, it’s nearly 2pm, I’ve got class now and so have you two”. Without so much as a goodbye Tabitha walked out into the falling ash heading towards the other building where her class was being held. Alicia and Ellen turned back inside to walk round the corner to the back of the building to Media studies.

Once seated in their chairs in class Alicia noted how now a lot of their fellow students too had gone home or had simply not come in, their teacher Mr Goodyear explained that the sickness bug seemed to be spreading round the college and that students had been sent home, “I will quickly explain your homework for this week then leave you to go home…Ellen? You feeling ok?”

Alicia turned to look at her friend who now looked rather pasty, her eyes were bloodshot and sore and her breathing was short, shallow and wheezy, “Ellen you don’t look so good”.

“I’m fine, think I just have a cold coming”.

“Really? But you looked fine like ten minutes ago?” Alicia asked.

“Oh I don’t know”, Ellen snapped angrily which wasn’t like her normal, dopey and happy self.

As Mr Goodyear went on to explain the homework which took a good 20 minutes to dictate Ellen got worse, her hands began to shake uncontrollably and her writing became unreadable just mere scribbles. Then Alicia heard the droplets hitting the paper beside her, sounding like a thick heavy rain.

“Ellen you’re bleeding! Sir she’s bleeding!” Alicia cried out catching their teacher’s attention.

He came over to examine her, she was bleeding from her eyes, nose and mouth which made her choke and cough. “Ellen can you hear me? Do you have your phone we need to call your parents? Ellen”.

Without warning she collapsed and threw up all over the table in front of her, Alicia just managing to move out the way before the spray hit her work book.

“Alicia call an ambulance”, Mr Goodyear commanded reaching over to Ellen as she gasped and gargled chocking on her own vomit.

Alicia lifted out her phone from her bag and began to dial 999 but before she could finish dialling the 3 digits Mr Goodyear suddenly let out a scream of pain. Ellen had her teeth embedded in his hand which he was trying to check her tongue with, his blood and her own were mixing together with all the vomit on the table.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Mercedes Prunty goes by the moto of, Mother, Wife, Author, Blogger, that is her life story. She is an author of four books to date but plans on writing many more. Her main genre's are Fantasy and Zombie Horror. She currently resides with her husand, two kids and two bunny rabbits in East Sussex UK.

Q. Where did the idea for this book come from?
A.
A dream! It all happened to me in a dream, an ash cloud descended on me and my family and I felt truly terrified because I was trying to reach my children but a train crash was preventing it. When I awoke I was still reeling from it and knew I had to write it into my next book.
Q. Where can readers find out more about you?
A.
My Facebook Author Page - Mercedes Prunty Author. My Twitter page - @MercedesPrunty. And on my blog - www.mercedespruntyauthor.wordpress.com
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
The cover came about a few weeks after my dream when a fog cloud descended over my town and I snapped the picture on my camera. I knew I had to use it as it is a location from the book and just seemed to suit the feel of the ash falling on where families would sit and be together.

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