Turning


Abrar Fahyaz


 

INVESTIGATION REPORT : 02.04.2023, Sector E. 

Outbreak 

[The following are the contents of the several pages found within the notepad of Zarif Rezwan  (DECEASED), faculty member of Genetics Department, DU, in the Ammunition Storage Building 06 in the Eastern Sector, on 01/04/2023 at 0240 hrs. The contents of the pages have been kept largely unaltered with the sole exceptions being the comments by our investigator] 

 

For as long as I’m stuck here, I’ve literally got nothing to do. It got real boring real quick and so here I am scribbling away in this notepad. Funny thing is, I thought writing something would alleviate my boredom, yet when I took out my pen and tried to unleash the inner writer within me, I realised that my mind had gone completely blank. Just like that, poof! All the things I was thinking about writing simply vanished. But I guess that was to be expected. I mean, who can possibly just spontaneously start writing about…stuff? This was probably a stupid idea anyway because I’m still bored out of mind. 

Well, I guess I should start with how I got here, that seems like a good topic to write on. It was around 1am, we were on a routine patrol. My assigned partner for this shift was a third year student whose name escapes my consciousness right now. The patrol was thus far a very normal one, nothing out of the ordinary. No sightings, no suspicious noises — nothing. It was so uneventful that we spent most of our time criticising the US’ decision to invade China.

Anyway, we were passing by the eastern wall which was near Shahbag, behind the ammunition building, when we heard that blood-curdling sound. The moan was distinct and both of us immediately knew what it was. The sound seemed to be coming from the building. Terrified by the idea of another outbreak within the safe zone, we ran in to investigate. My first thought was that there must be others, this can’t possibly be an isolated incident. Runners don’t appear out of thin air, they need a transmission vector. Tahmeed saw it first (Ah yes! That’s what his name was — Tahmeed). I was quite far away from him at that time as we had decided to split up to search more effectively.

But when I heard the poor guy scream, I realised things had hit the fan. It took me approximately 3 minutes to reach Tahmeed and as soon as I saw him, I felt a chill go down my spine. He was standing in the hallway next to the disemboweled corpse of a runner, his axe lodged into the thing’s head. He was facing away from me and so I couldn’t quite see his face… Not that I needed to see his face, his bleeding left arm told me everything I needed to know. 

I stood there, dumbfounded, not knowing whether I should do the deed before he turns or not. His body began spasming uncontrollably, which signalled I didn’t have much time left to decide. He let out an unholy scream which echoed throughout the building. I assume the pathogen had reached his brain by then. He fell to the ground as the spasms grew evermore erratic. Then, about 30 seconds in, it all stopped. The spasms, the muffled cries — all subsided. The transformation was complete.

He jumped up and began to make his way towards me. His eyes were now pitch black, deep black veins were visible on his face. His hands twitched continuously but that didn’t slow him down at all. “The Thing” gave off a screech as it made its final leap to take out its prey. It lunged at me but I had my axe ready to greet it. I put all my strength into the swing and connected it right below the forehead. A single slash and it was all over. The hit sent its prefrontal cortex flying out. Poor guy, even though I can’t really say that I’ll miss him; we weren’t really that close, but we can’t afford to lose valuable people this stupidly — the nation’s manpower is already thinned out as it is. We simply can’t keep on losing people and that too in such ungodly ways. 

Now, here I am, stuck here until the men in uniform arrive. They usually don’t take more than 20 minutes but god knows what’s gotten into them today. I’ve been waiting in this miniature hell for the last hour! Since I had nothing better to do, I did a perimeter sweep and found 2 other runners; they weren’t together so it wasn’t really that hard to put them down. But this confirmed my fear; there has been an outbreak here. Couldn’t find the transmission vector but by examining the ghouls, I became certain that the infection had spread via spores. This meant that there was an advanced-stage zombie somewhere in this very building. Stellar! So, like any rational person, I decided to hide. I am sitting in the control room of the weapons cache as I write this.

I’ve been studying the Mortem fungi for years now. Long before the plague, back in 2021 when scientists had only just discovered the human strain of the “zombie-ant” fungi. I was extremely fascinated by it. I entered this field of science mainly for that reason and studying it became my life. Shortly before the pandemic, it started mutating. It was uncovered that the fungi Ophiocordyceps unilateralis had formed a symbiotic relation with the H1N1 influenza virus; the symbiotic organism was later named Mortem, which I must say was the most idiotic thing anyone ever did. Good luck calming down the masses when you tell them there was an outbreak of a disease literally named “Death”!

Anyway, the pathogen attacked the nervous system and hijacked the cerebellum. From there, it grew outgrowths to release spores while the host remained its source of nutrition. Higher brain functions and individuality were lost irreversibly once the infection reached the frontal cortex. Mortem spread through spores like most…I just lost my train of thought mid-sentence, damn! Well, what I was getting at was that it attacked the amygdala and hypothalamus. The infection in the amygdala meant that the host was always hyper aggressive, like rabies, and that with the hypothalamus meant that the host was in a perpetual state of insatiable hunger.

The infected hypothalamus also over-stimulated the adrenal gland, which in turn led to the excess production of adrenaline, giving the host superhuman strength. Finally, it reached its ultimate form. Cytopathic reanimation. The dead cells literally came back to life. We still haven’t been able to crack that part yet. But what we do know is that this leads to the infected developing lumbrical hypertrophy. So, now we had a disease which was airborne, water borne, and blood borne, which was turning those who were infected into hyper aggressive, bloodthirsty creatures with superhuman strength, who also didn’t die unless you chopped off their heads. I guess God decided a flood wouldn’t suffice this time, only the most sinister abomination from the deepest layer of hell would do. I mea—

 

[The writing style has abruptly become very distressed] 

I just started having an incredibly painful headache. I feel like my mind is being stuffed with cotton. I can’t think straight. I am starting to think I got infected. Maybe one of those morons scratched me or something, I don’t know. Or maybe I inhaeld some of those spores?! But thats impossible! I didn’t open my mask for a single moment. God, what have I gotten myself into?! It must be the spores. I see no injuries on my skin. But how is that possible! What in the world am I going to do now? And where is the damn military?! They should have been here an hour ago. I am going to die here. Is this going to be my last writing? I can let it go like this! I ned to write something for my friends and family. I cant go out like this. I must this. I must fight this until the army comes. Theyll know what to do. Theyll help me. Theyll get me all fixed up . ill be all better. I will go back home and I will be okay. It all okay will be. Nothing is problem. 

 

[Writing has become erratic] 

I feel sad. No I feel angry. i dont know why. I feels like this was all tahmeed’s fault. He got me into this. I feel so angry. So so angry. I want to kill him. I need to find him. I will gaet up and will find him. I will kill him . But wasnt he dead? I cant remember . If he’s dead I will kill him again. I need to let of this rage. I want to revenge. He is fault that I am dying. I won’t let tihs go unanswered. and the 

army!!!! Why ar they so late?!! I can hear them now. they are too late I am dead now . I cant be helped i will kill tem when they come here. They has made me very very angry. 

 

[Writing shows a trend of becoming increasingly obscure] 

I tried to get up but my legs won’t move. I lifted my pants and saw my feet not move. My entir body form below my chest has become completely Numb. I feel hungry. Very hungry the numbness is becoming more. My left arm is numb. I feel hungry. Hungrier. I am strugling to write I must write I MUST. As long as I can. I may delay it. I am starving. I want to getup and look around. Ineed food. I need it. My left hand is moving on it s own. I cant help it. Icant stop it. Its mocing more now. I feel starvinger. And I cant move. But my left had is move. Yet i cant move. I am hungyr.my hand have black lines,,, 

 

[Writing has deteriorated to the point that it appears almost unintelligible]

I cant see everything is blur I think I am blnd this bad 

A l l fault o f tamjed 

I am hungry l am starving need meat I nead flesh 

I am move now 

My legs work 

I AM NOVE I NEED FLESH 

I A M H UN GRT 

 

[Writing beyond this point is indiscernible. The remainder of the page is filled with scribbles which could not be identified to hold any meaning] 

[END OF REPORT] 

 

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