Friday, December 21, 2012

Choose Your Own Apocalypse Blogfest

It started with the sniffles.

Whatever this bug is, it was spreading well before today, mutating with each new virus, each bacteria, each batch of antibiotics.

As it mutated, it became more severe, more easily spread, more resistant to any sort of treatment.

"Take Vitamin C," they said.

"Suck on some zinc," they said.

"Practice good hand-washing techniques," they said.

None of it did any good.  Nothing could touch the saligia virus, not once it really got going.

The sniffles turned into burning fevers.  Hemorrhaging from the eyes, nose and ears.  Internal bleeding.  Vomiting.  Open sores on the skin.  Hair loss.  Gangrene.

Nurse, by OCAL at

Some people were lucky.  They only suffered the physical torments.  Then they died.

Others were not so lucky.  The physical ailments were the least of their worries. They suffered intense nightmares, slipping into a state that brought their subconscious minds to the forefront, causing them to act on their dreams and fantasies.  They were increasingly affected by seizures and blackouts.

Sometimes they awoke from these blackouts to find they'd done horrific things. Violent, bloody things.

Germ, by OCAL at
Each new iteration of the saligia virus spread faster.  At first, it was spread by drops of saliva, say when someone sneezed or coughed.  Then it was blood-born.  Ultimately, like strep, it became something that could be picked up on surfaces, and it lived longer and longer on these surfaces.

Then came the holiday season.

Packages.  Shoppers.  Craft events.  Group dinners and celebrations.  Parties.

The turning point was Thanksgiving.  Families spread what they thought were simple colds as they gathered to give their thanks.

The family that sneezes together, dies together.

Black Friday took all of these now tainted folks into the public arena, in what would be an explosion of germ sharing, and the catalyst necessary to trigger this pandemic.

Those who worked in public service of any sort were exposed.  They, in turn, exposed their friends and family, and anyone who came into contact with them. More and more people reported a mystery bug that just wouldn't go away.

That was during the sniffles phase, of course.  After that, it was obvious this was no cold.

Packages and holiday cards were shipped out, exposing the mail carriers, employees of FedEx & UPS, recipients across the globe.  Others had already been exposed by people on international trips.

Saligia had gone global.

Northern Hemisphere Globe, by OCAL,
Each region the virus met changed it that much more, as exposure to that area's viruses and bacteria modified it at the basic level, causing it to metamorphose into a different mutant illness for each place.  The CDC had no way to connect such different symptomologies, therefore missing that it was the same virus on a global scale.

They figured it out today, with their official notice going out:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO) and localized health departments on a global scale, is investigating a widespread illness, exhibiting varied symptoms and morbidity rates.  If you are ill at all, even just a runny nose, please remain in your home to limit exposure.  If you do not have to go out of your home, well or infected, it's best if you don't.  The origins of this illness are unknown at this time. The various illnesses that appear to be tied together at the basic level are now being considered under the umbrella of the saligia virus.  This virus is highly contagious, via saliva, blood and contact of any sort.  There is no known cure or vaccine, though experts are hard at work to find one.  Due to the speed of viral mutation, this is proving to be a challenge.  Do not panic.  Take proper precautions to reduce your exposure.  A global pandemic has been declared.

This is the news that greets us today, as home after home falls victim to one form or another of the saligia virus.  If you have duct tape, seal your windows.  Wear a mask when you must venture out into the open air, especially if you will be going near other people.  The virus is strong enough to float on the wind for a significant period of time, and is able to survive harsh temperatures of both heat and cold. Reports are coming in that different species of animals are beginning to be affected, and with that will come further mutation of the virus, itself.  Nowhere is safe aside from your home.  Water sources may also be infected, as filtration systems don't appear to have any effect on the virus, and exposure would have been achieved in multiple ways.

This just in: Various types of livestock are already infected, and it appears they have been for weeks now, despite being asymptomatic.  Your meat may be infected.  Do not eat meat purchased after November 15th.   Discard it somewhere outside your home.  Eat only canned food, as produce has been exposed to possibly infected water sources.

I'm running out of plastic sheeting and tape here, and we have only five small bottles of water for hydration.  We'll have to chance the water we poured into the tubs before they declared it off limits or else we'll die of dehydration before we can possibly get sick.  Our canned and frozen goods are minimal, but we're eating the frozen produce first now that the power's gone out.

Our neighbors had a gas generator and were able to siphon gas out of their vehicles, but they were attacked this morning, the generator stolen.  We went over to check when we heard a ruckus from next door, but we were too late.  They were dead, all of them slaughtered for a generator.  Their pantry stripped clean.

Gunshots have been sounding from all around us for most of the day.  For now, we've got all windows and doors blocked, but from the sounds outside, it may not be good enough.  Their ranks are swelling.  As they say, nothing draws a crowd like a crowd.

We've only the one gun, and just 15 bullets.

Somewhere out there, fires are burning.  The smoke has begun to infiltrate our home.

Sirens sound, but last time it wasn't even real firefighters, just some guys who had taken over the fire station and were driving around in the ladder truck for kicks. They ran over some people in the road, hooting and hollering the whole time, chucking beer cans at their bodies as they drove over them.

Oh, what's that?

I feel a sniffle coming on.

You can still join until midnight tonight.  How did you foresee the apocalypse?


Spanj said...

Scary stuff! And my husband's been coughing for over a week now!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You went for all out bleak!
Now pass the Kleenex.

Al Diaz said...

Viral apocalypse is the scariest for me. Nice story :)

Unknown said...

writers have to do something on the last day of the world

Unknown said...

As a massive fan of Walking Dead and Stephen King's The Stand, I salute you. :-)

If it is the end, I'm glad to have met you, but I'm sincerely hoping we get to hang out some more in 2013. Merry Christmas! :-D

Sean McLachlan said...

I always knew mass consumerism would destroy civilization!

Anonymous said...

Nice story - great blogfest! I'm in. X

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Scary thing is that it could happen.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Shannon .. great apocalypse bug - sounds just like we've got here and with Chuck's post - it's about right - rain soaked, vomiting virus ... this little old land is well ready for Christmas and the New Year!!!

Hope you and the family have a lovely time without catching any of this - cheers Hilary

Maurice Mitchell said...

That movie Contagion was pretty much the same thing. Terrifying. I wash my hands a lot more now. Great job!

L.G. Keltner said...

This was great, and scary due to the plausibility of something like this happening. Great work!

SueH said...

This is so scarily plausible....! Even more so, as Hilary said, for those of us in the UK as the dreaded Noro-virus is taking hold!
Great story, though! :-)

Andrew Leon said...

That was... horrifying.

And I still don't have any ideas.

David P. King said...

Oh no! I have the sniffles for reals! Dang, I guess this is it, then ...

Awesome read. Thanks for hosting this endfest! :)

Anonymous said...

Now I'm worried. I haven't been able to stop blowing my nose for the past two weeks...

Tracy MacDonald said...

It's the "stuff" oozing from eyes and noses that got me. Great apocalypse.
A2Z Mommy and What’s In Between

Jeremy [Retro] said...

What a world, what a world... a world... a world. -Wicked Witch.
Great end... you snugly host!

Did we make it?
My link is dead, I ask again did we make it? [Visit my post for that to make sense]

Great end of the world post!!
Jeremy [Retro]
Oh No, Let's Go... Crazy

Deb said...

Scared the crap out of me..thanks :)

Tami Von Zalez said...

The scary part is it could happen ...

Visiting from the CYOAB. said...

This is very realistic, with the CDC warning and all. I was hoping for a lighthearted twist at the end. No such luck. Gonna eat more chocolate before my next sneeze.

Thanks for co-hosting. This is a lot of fun, however frightening.


Nancy Thompson said...

That's probably exactly how it will all go down. Scary!

A Beer for the Shower said...

This is awesome. As a guy who's co-authored 2 apocalyptic books, it goes without saying that I loved this. It sounds very plausible.

Oh, and damn our timing with Slim and his book release/party. We would have loved to have taken part in this. Maybe next time? I'm sure they'll announce the next end of the world in a few weeks or so, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Scary way to go out. Although, I think us writers would survive... Or we'd last longer than others since we're stuck in our own little worlds. ;)

Rob Z Tobor said...

Ooooooo very scary for a man with a cough I will need to pretend I am fine and point at others and say it was him I am just hunky dory.

Well done and Merry Christmas, that can be as scary as the end of the world.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Angeline, yikes, so has my son!

Alex, I debated, but this is what came out when I sat down to write it last night.

Al, me, too! It seems like an awful way to go.

Leslie, indeed! You can't just sit and wait. Bless you. ;-p

E.J., it's looking like we'll have plenty of time! Captain Trips, yikes! Is that what it was? Hmmm, I need to read it again, which is no skin off my nose. Merry Christmas!

Sean, that, too! Isn't that what zombies are based on, in part? Mindless consumption.

Shah, thanks, so glad you joined us!

L. Diane, don't I know it! Think how the Black Plague would have gone if there were easier travel.

Hilary, we're in drought here in Colorado, so the complete opposite. Wouldn't that ending just be ironic for such a water-starved land?

Maurice, ever since I had swine flu, courtesy of who knows where, as the big outbreak hadn't occurred at that time, and my kids weren't in school, I'm way better about washing my hands or sanitizing if I touch anything. And I try not to touch my face, which is easier said than done, apparently.

Christine Rains said...

Eek! My nose was running earlier today. And I can't remember the last two hours. Oh no.

Hehehe! Excellent post!

Shannon Lawrence said...

L.G., thanks! Looking at attempts to use bacterial and viral warfare in the past has made me paranoid.

Sue, I hope you and yours stay well!

Andrew, darn it! You have until midnight. Is there a House tie-in?

David, oh no, it's too late! Hopefully it really IS just a cold...

Milo, nothing cures a cold like pure panic and adrenaline, right?

Tracy, that's always the sign there's something terribly wrong, isn't it?

Jeremy, haha, I can hear her voice. There's no one like the Wicked Witch.

Deb, mission accomplished! ;-p

Tami, it is scary, isn't it? Mutating bugs are no fun at all. My grandpa died from MRSA, so it's definitely no joke.

Robyn, aw, sorry to let you down. I did ponder a fun apocalypse, but this was the one I was in the mood for last night. Just know that it was written with a twisted sort of glee.

Nancy, yikes! It would be fun to delve into it further. I liked your positive, light-hearted approach.

ABftS, oh yeah, we'll have another big one on the way in no time. Then we're on!

Patricia, it's true, being stuck in our dungeons writing, all alone, is definitely a good way to save ourselves.

Rob, indeed! Definitely, fob it off on someone else so you don't get attacked by end worlders.

Andrew Leon said...

I was trying to think of one, but nothing's come to mind so far.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Christine, try the zinc anyway! You never know.

Guilie Castillo said...

Loved it! Very dramatic, screenplay-worthy. I like your version of the apocalypse :)

Stephanie said...

This is horrible. Captivating, but horrible. Gives me the shivers (or is that a sniffle coming on?).

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks for co-hosting this, Shannon. A virus would be horrible and, the way things are going, quite possible!

Merry Christmas!

Mary Montague Sikes

Chuck said...

This is the way I think I would hate the most. I immediately thought of the film Contagion, which I saw most of again the other night. Knowing that I have a couple hours at least in the airports tomorrow...this is a scary proposition.

Shannon, thanks for coming up with this great idea. It was lots of fun and the stories are quite varied. Kudos kiddoe!

Merry Christmas!

Nate Wilson said...

Saligia. Nice touch.

I've had a cough for six weeks. But it's probably nothing. Completely unrelated.

Tammy Theriault said...

so glad the world didn't end!! scary

DiscConnected said...


After the bird flu scares bombed in the ratings, we are finally done in by a virus!

And since everyone in America gets a flu shot (because the government tells them to), their bodies are not strong enough to fight it off.

Well done!


Cynthia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cynthia said...

Thanks for sharing your story. Maybe there is still hope for the narrator, perhaps some magical antibiotics will be made for the cure?

baygirl32 said...

Thanks for the great blogfest! Now pass the tissues while I finish properaly washing my hands

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Scary stuff. All that more so because a few years back, I was involved with state and local emergency management, reps from CDC, and amateur radio emergency service in developing preparatory plans for a possible pandemic. One of our EMA directors was so sure a pandemic was inevitable, he used his Homeland Security funds to purchase hundreds of body bags...

With that pleasant thought, I'll wish you a very Merry Christmas. And all the best in 2013.

Anonymous said...

Eeek. Scary piece. I wish I had known about this fest. I would've joined.

JJ said...

I have suffered the fate of someone who does not believe in time. I think it is nothing more than a creation of man to measure stress. Now, I find myself late for the Apocalypse. Thus, I can only wish you a very Happy 2013.

Sherry Ellis said...

Is this what I had at my pad? That explains it. LOL!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Andrew, next time!

Guilie, thank you!

Stephanie, ack, no sniffles!

Monti, it's that real possibility that freaks me out.

Chuck, I haven't watched Contagion since it came out. Wonder if it's on Netflix? Could have watched it yesterday, but I was busy watching 2012, ha! Safe, bug-free travels to you for the holidays. Thanks for hosting this with me! It was great fun.

Nate, so you recognize saligia? Also, quarantine!!

Tammy, me, too!

Larry, true indeed. I've had two flu shots and had the flu once. That once was while I was on the flu shot. Boo, I say!

Cynthia, unfortunately, in the Lonely Hollow universe, no antibiotics were able to touch it, and a vaccine was not introduced until it was too late.

Baygirl, good idea!

Susan, oh, now THAT is scary!!

Medeia, aw, I'm sorry! I thought it up too late to get the word out much.

JJ, ruh roh, it is never good to be late to the apocalypse.

Sherry, nasty bug, eh? But you've survived!

klahanie said...

Well then, I bet my life savings that the world would end on December 21. Those Mayans has a lot of answering to do.....

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

What a shame! All that totally unnecessary illness and death, when all they really needed to do was spray a little Windex on it.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Jemi Fraser said...

Well done! I don't want to be sniffling now!!!

Mina Lobo said...

Dude, that was pretty chilling. ::shivers:: Wait, no; I didn't shiver! No, no, I'm not sick AT ALL! ::sniffles::
Some Dark Romantic

Torggil said...

frightening scenario to say the least.

Gossip_Grl said...

Great Post and OMgosh how scary and thinking that something like this could actually happens sends shivers.
I am thankful nothing happened, and that I can again laugh and say that I have survived yet another apocalypse.
I also want to wish you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Safe New Year!

Anonymous said...

Wow, that was scary.

Hope you had a nice Christmas and Happy New Year!

Shannon Lawrence said...

Klahanie, eek! What was the one where all the people were supposed to just up and disappear from wherever they were?

Stephen, ha! Are you Greek? Windex fixes everything!

Jemi, no sniffling!

Mina, ACK! Sneeze in the other direction!

Torggil, it definitely scares me to consider the possibility.

Gossip_Grl, thank you for all of the above! I'm glad to have made it through the apocalypse.

Susanne, thank you! I hope your holidays were wonderful.