Thursday, February 27, 2014

A God's Eye View of the Apocalypse by R.J. Spears

A God’s Eye View of the Apocalypse

by R.J. Spears

“How are those alpha joints?” Yuri Pierzynskiy, the commander of the mission, asked for the twentieth time that day.

“The ones that still function are holding their own,” Mike Wexler, the flight engineer responded, trying to keep a calm, even tone. “But they’re not going to last.”

“How much longer?” Pierzynskiy asked.

“Who knows?” Wexler replied. “Not long would be my best guess.”

The two men exchanged grim looks, but soldiered on as they were trained to do. They were experienced problem solvers and that’s what they did. Even in the face of overwhelming and very long odds.

Neither one of them asked the real question. What would happen when they did fail? They already knew the answer. Once the joints went, they’d lose stabilization. Then it would only be a matter of time before things went downhill. Fast.

Every major system had either failed or was at the precipice of failing. More than once, they thought it was over, but the space station held. They typically had supply runs from the Russian space shuttle at least every other month, but with the outbreak on Earth, no shuttles had been in the air for months. Down on Earth, they had bigger fish to fry.

The international space station was designed to last for twenty or thirty years. The fact it was still in space in 2030 was a major miracle in the face of diminished funding and lack of enthusiasm for anything to do with the space program

No one on Terra Firma knew what was happen when the virus first hit. The dead coming back to life and attacking and killing the living -- who had any experience with that? It was the thing of low-budget horror movies, not any reality that actual people experienced.

It started out in South America and spread south and north. Somehow it jumped to Europe and then worked its way to Asia and down to Africa.

The crew had been watching the virus spread for the past nine months. At 250 miles above the Earth, no one had a better view. If you could depict the view in any sort of positive light. They watched as cities went dark. They saw the bombings as the military tried to stop the spread of the zombie virus. The bombings started in Latin America with massive drops of firebombs. These bombings presented brilliant and intense blossoms of orange and white visible even from space. It was the most macabre fireworks show ever witnessed.

Matching those explosions to the lives lost was something they tried never to do. Even contemplating the loss of life on Earth sent such a psychic and emotional shockwave through them. It was too terrible to contemplate. When the bombings went from conventional warheads, albeit very large ones, to nuclear, they knew things were going badly for the people of the surface. They watched the plumes of the mushroom clouds over Africa and knew things were lost, but didn’t admit it.

Initially, they called down to RKA headquarters in Moscow asking for supplies -- just in case, but got rebuffed. They turned their attention to the video feeds from below and watched in horror as cities were overrun with the undead. It was unimaginable. The dead were actually tearing the living apart and eating them. The experts thought it started out in a small village just off the Amazon River deep in Brazil. Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were the first two large metropolitan areas to fall. The virus and the undead spread like a wildfire.

As the dominoes started to topple around the world, Pierzynskiy called for retrieval, but by then it was too late. There were no resources available. They’d have to wait it out.

An immense cracking noise sounded and a shudder shook the station. Small pieces of debris and dust filled the already tepid air.

“What was that?” Pierzynskiy asked, looking a bit panicked.

“Let me call to Vetokov,” Wexler said and picked up a com-mic. “Oleg, come in. Oleg!”

A staticky voice came across the speaker, “It’s starting to shake apart. I can’t hold it.” He spoke something in Russian that was hard to understand. An explosion sounded and the transmission ended.

Pierzynskiy looked up to one of the video monitors and saw one of the main trusses that held the solar arrays in place snap in two. The array whipped around and came toward the video camera displayed on the monitor. The image went black and another more forceful shudder went through the main module. The station listed suddenly and started to spin.

“This is it,” Pierzynskiy said. His expression fixed in resignation.

Wexler startled to chuckle despite the situation.

“What do you have to laugh about?” Pierzynskiy asked.

It took Wexler a moment to stifle his outburst, then he spoke while holding the microphone to his mouth. “Houston, we have a problem.”

Wexler broke up again and then both men started laughing, tears streaming down their cheeks. It took nearly thirty seconds to get the laughter under control. A moment later and their module impacted with the toppling array, the force of the impact knocking both men forcefully against the wall.

Pierzynskiy had an angle on one of the video monitors and watched as the truss on the second array collapsed in on itself. He switched his attention to a portal window and saw the planet below starting to get closer.

The effects of the zombie apocalypse reached into space, and like an undead hand, swatted them out of the heavens.

R.J.  Spears lives in Columbus, Ohio and writes mystery/crime and horror fiction. His stories have appeared across the web at Shotgun Honey, Out of the Gutter, the HorrorZine, and Flashes in the Dark along with several other sites.

The first two novels in his "Books of the Dead" series, Sanctuary From the Dead and Lord of the Dead are published by J. Ellington Ashton Press.

The first two books in his "Forget the Zombie" series, Forget the Alamo and Forget Texas, are also available on Amazon. You can learn more about his writing at:

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