Athena was tired. She had been up patrolling the skies for much of the previous day and was now resting on her favorite perch – a metal strut close to the elephant enclosure. Below, the other animals were gathered, eating from a box of fruit that Walter had found somewhere.
Bob wasn’t quite sure what to do with his freedom. It had taken a day and a night for him to realize his handlers weren’t coming back. He’d always wondered if he could just reach through the bars, grab the key from the hook with his special paw, put the key in the lock and turn it. It was easy. Everything seemed easier now for some reason. In fact, over the last few days he’d even been able to understand what the handlers were discussing. He knew that something was very, very wrong.
It was Thug’s turn for guard duty at Auto Technology Solutions. Second shift had just started, and he’d agreed to cover for Lucky, who was making a run to the homeless shelter.
The afternoon sun cast a warm glow over the city, as dirty and messed up as it was. Thug didn’t even look at the buildings. He was too busy appreciating the sky over his head; a beautiful sight he had rarely seen while behind bars. Ten whole years had gone by, and the entire city had changed.
Lance was one of the last people to leave the Blue Sky Hotel. In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, most of the guests and staff had departed. Lance could understand the panic but he had every confidence in the authorities to get the situation under control. It soon became evident that might take some time; and by then the airport was closed.
Sergiy Vovk had been stuck in the building for a day and a night. After a fruitless search for an old friend, he’d been forced to seek refuge when he encountered the largest group of Crazies seen yet. Most of the apartments in the building had been locked but one had already been broken into and it was here he spent the night (after blocking the door with a couch and a freezer). From his vantage point at the kitchen window, he had a good view of Jackson Avenue and he hadn’t seen a Crazy for half an hour. Time to go.
Professor Malcolm Biederman had been monitoring the news all week. First the reporters talked about the avian flu: how San Lazaro had been unusually badly affected; how various vaccines were failing to contain the spread. Then it was all about how the airports were shutting down and the military was taking control of the city.
Lucky stood in front of the fifth blockade he’d seen that day: high metal barriers designed to prevent people leaving San Lazaro. But now even the military who had placed them there had withdrawn. People had gone underground. There were rumors of rioting and widespread violence. Food, fuel and medicine were already becoming scarce.
Long day. Thirteen clients at the salon. Some good tips but Mrs. Romero doesn’t like her highlights. Mrs. Romero is never happy with anything. Denise still can’t decide on her wedding dress – Brian told her he’s sick of hearing about it. I am too, to be honest. Hot dog for lunch, lots of mustard. I need to eat more salad. Bus gets stuck in traffic on the way home. Boring. But at least my phone update from Shui-Guo comes through – version six or something. Doesn’t look all that different to version five. Back home, I’m too tired to skate, even though it’s a nice evening out.