Pandora 2: Death is not an Option

Pandora 2: Death is not an Option by Richard McCrohan Read Free Book Online

Book: Pandora 2: Death is not an Option by Richard McCrohan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard McCrohan
Zombies seemed to be roaming everywhere.
    “I used to enjoy a lot of things,” responded Max. “Before Pandora came and then the Pandora 2 Mutation, this was a really great life. When I finally packed it in and retired here with my wife, Roberta, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. We swam every day in the pool, met new friends, and went out to dinner almost every night. Took up golf. Man, I thought I had it made.” Max looked down and smiled longingly in his drink. “Then Pandora came. I remember when that comet hit Mars, and everyone got really scared. Bobi and I went up to the roof with the Rosens and the Biermans to watch the dazzling sunsets. You remember that, Steve? I saw you and Luke up there too. You had those two blondes you two were seeing back then. Those sunsets were gorgeous, and I recall thinking that this is going to be the best time of our life.”
    Max rubbed his nose and blinked a few times. He sighed heavily and then continued, “
people started getting sick. Bobi did too. It hit quite a few people in this building. But then everyone got better and we thought, ‘What the hell, a passing flu. Nothing to worry about.’ Ha, nothing to worry about my ass. Next thing you know, I’m in Good Samaritan Medical Center holding my Bobi as she dies in my arms in their goddamn waiting room.” Tears were in Max’s eyes now. “I’m sitting there, crying and yelling for a doctor, when the emergency room doors open and this big orderly comes barrelling out with two zombies attached to him like leeches. He’s swearing and yelling, all the while trying to grab these two ghouls off his back. I didn’t know what they were then. I just thought they were some kind of crazed drug addicts. I didn’t even know when a nurse came staggering out with her whole throat ripped open. She collapsed in the doorway, holding both doors open, and we could see the havoc going on inside. People fighting, running back and forth, biting each other. It still didn’t sink in. Not even…not even when my wife woke up.” Max shook his head and looked away. He took a gulp of scotch and sat back with his hand over his mouth, silently looking out the window.
    Everyone sat there quietly. Luke was fidgeting with his watch. Eventually, he looked at Max and then at Steve. He cleared his throat and then took a small sip of the Dalmore. “When the Pandora 2 Mutation started to hit, I was invited by a friend and customer to his boat. It was docked in the marina, and he was going to take an overnight to Miami. He and his wife had just recovered from the first Pandora, and he wanted to celebrate their newfound good health. I was sick of sitting in the bar of my restaurants every night, staring at empty tables and watching my business head into the dumper. It seemed like half of the population had the sickness and the other half stayed home, afraid they’d catch it. So I called Jackie. She was the blonde you saw me with,” Luke added, looking at Max, “and the next day we went aboard Ralph’s boat. Two days of fun and merry mischief.
    “When Jackie and I arrived there, Ralph and his wife looked ill. He apologized profusely and suggested that we just anchor in the waters off the marina and party. Maybe if they started to feel better, we’d head down to Miami.
    “It was okay at first. Ralph and his wife Dee are nothing if not game partiers. But as the day went on and turned into night, they got sicker and sicker. Dee threw up over the rail, and she and her pale-looking husband retired to bed early. Jackie and I sat topside and finished the wine. Feeling increasingly uncomfortable, we decided to go to sleep and leave early in the morning. It was clear that they were in no shape to do anything. On the way to the cabin, I could hear somebody getting sick in the head.
    “Middle of the night, Jackie wakes up. She hears banging around on deck. I’m a little hung over and just want to sleep, so she goes topside herself to see what all

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