I woke up to people talking in the other room. Knowing that the pack would want to know what happened I rolled out of bed. Confusion set in as I sat on the edge of the bed, I knew what happened, I remembered nearly every detail with an odd clarity; what I didn’t remember was what it felt like to be starved. Whenever it happened in jail, I knew I was about to lose control. There was an edge about me that I could have snapped at any moment; I remembered that part, but what I didn’t remember was how I knew I was at that point. I don’t remember my stomach growling, feeling weak, or any of the telltale signs of being hungry. In fact, if anything I felt more in control than sitting on the bed.
I shook my head and stood up, a wave of energy flooded through my system and I walked out to meet my pack.
Standing in the doorway of the dining room, I noticed they all sat at the table, with scraps of food sitting on their plates untouched. It’s like they were about to have a snack, but something stopped them. I then noticed they were all turned towards the T.V. in the living room. I yawned intentionally to let them know I was coming in to the room, but no one recognized the sound. “Hey Guys…” I said.
“SHHHHH…we’re trying to listen to the T.V.” Emanuel said.
I walk into the living room and turn volume of the T.V. up.
“For those of you just joining us, the regularly scheduled show has been cancelled for this breaking news announcement. We have been informed by a trusted source that the entire state is going into a lock down. A state-of-emergency has been declared for every county in the state. While a state-of-emergency has never been issued to an entire state, the source states that we won’t be the first of the U.S. to go into this type of lock down. The source also said that troops will be pulled out of every war zone we currently have, and brought back home. Our assumption to that statement is because of the lock down our entire state is having; and if we are just one of the first states for this to happen to, we can expect a lot of soldiers will be needed to cover the area.” the anchorman said.
I walked back into the dining room and said, “Listen guys…I think I know what this is about” and began to explain what happened in jail. I told them everything from going there for questioning to the old man, to Mike and Trav. When they asked me how I got out of jail, I told them that Mike and Trav had sent his lawyer out to get me released.
Emanuel sat back and said, “I wonder…say Jacob…did these Mike and Trav guys look kind of biker gangish?”
“Yeah they did, why?” I replied.
“And now you say they will be watching you, because they know you’re a zombie, but to them you’re in control….right?” he said questioningly.
“Yep…what are you getting at Eman” I stopped with realization sinking in. “Holy shit, you don’t think they are part of that group that burned down PETA’s building on West Main Street do you?” I said.
“I think….well in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I know that they are part of the same group.” he said quietly.
“How do you know that?” Jasmine said raising her right eyebrow.
“Because I used to be part of that group…until I got the virus. They found out and kicked me out.” he said. “They have a lot of money for such a small group; we’re talking hundreds of millions of dollars with only maybe 100 people in the group nationwide. They call themselves the ‘Control Group’, and for good reason. They try and take down anything that gets unruly. They are a militia against anything that stands against them, or that stands against anyone they put their trust in. For example, that PETA building had an ad out that showed the government slaughtering hundreds of animals during their trial period of the growth hormone. The CG are pro-government so much, that they took down that office to show their feelings. They’re bad news for us….especially since Mike and Trav have seen firsthand what happens when we lose control.”
“I’ve been thinking about us losing control, and I think it’s the opposite of how it sounds. Do any of you right now feel like you’re in control? I mean really in control, the only time I came to think that I felt fully in control was when I was starving. I think the only time we are 100% in control is when we’re in desperation, and when we’re starved we will eat anything that has meat. What I’m trying to get at here is that while we don’t feel the need to eat everything in sight when our stomachs are full, I think it’s a false sense of security. I really think that the virus has the full control over our body, and our humanity is losing its grasp. The only time we have full control, is when our humanity is at risk, and it’s holding on with everything it has. My fear is that if once we snap past that point, our humanity is gone.” I said.
Susan spoke up, “I never got a kill, but Emanuel did when he was crazed and look at him. He’s fine!”
“That’s true, but let’s ask Emanuel if he’s fine….or Jasmine even, she seems to know more about this virus thing.” I said.
Jasmine cleared her throat, “Emanuel and I have both been past our breaking point. While I believe it to be true that we can control ourselves better now than we could prior to our craze, I don’t believe that we were unscathed. I know, speaking for myself, that I must feed every day, versus your and Susan’s every few days. I know I must also lock my door while I’m sleeping with a lock that requires a key on my side, and if it’s not locked I don’t have control of myself while sleeping. I made that mistake once, but never again. I think our humanity isn’t gone, but it’s in scraps. My HOPE is that it can be repaired to normal but so far it’s getting worse by the day.”
Emanuel just nodded solemnly. Jasmine spoke up again, “Emanuel and I have been talking, and we’ve both decided it would be better if we left you two. We can’t be seen with the both of you if we break again, or if we forget to lock ourselves up each night. If they followed us back to you guys….” she started crying.
Emanuel looked up and said, “The CG will be hunting all of us that show signs of being crazed, and Jasmine and I always have a sure sign. Our eyes turn colors when around certain people, while yours don’t. We noticed it on each other, when we were out last. People noticed it too, and soon it will be public knowledge soon enough.”
Jasmine continued, “And if they are hunting us, we can’t give away anything that could put you guys at harm’s way. Now the bad part, is that they may have already found out about me, and if they know about me, they know where I live. We have some money pooled together, and me and Emanuel want the two of you to take it and find somewhere to stay.”
I started to protest when Susan stood up, “They’re right Jacob, this isn’t about self-preservation, it’s about keeping as much of the pack together as possible. We’re a family, but as everyone knows, sacrifices are going to happen.”
Emanuel and Jasmine put their heads down on the table and cried silently. I turned away from the group and walked into the kitchen to think everything over. A few minutes later, Jasmine came in and put her head on my shoulder.
“This is all just going so fast. Just a few days ago we were all eating dinner together, now we have to separate and not know if we’ll ever see each other.” I said quietly.
“I know, we will buy you guys a PO Box wherever you go and we can write. We can’t risk using the internet, they can track everything on there.” she said.
“So this is it…the pack is breaking up.” I said.
“No. Let’s think of it as the pack is spreading it’s wings.” she said.
“I can already feel the strain, and we haven’t left yet…” I said. “Where should we go?”
“As far away as possible, you’ll need to make friends with a mortician, find a way to get money once this runs out, and find a place that you can get out of quickly.” she said handing me an envelope full of money.
“Susan already knew this day was coming, and has her bags packed. She rode over with Emanuel, so you’ll be driving your car.” she said.
We walked back into the dining room, and Susan had already gotten our duffel bags ready.
“I’ve packed you guys some food, but make sure you keep it cold.” Jasmine said.
We both just nodded and headed out the door. Susan started crying, but I kept walking on to the car. When I got in the car, I started it up and waited for Susan as she gave her last goodbyes. She finally got in the car, wiping away her tears she says “I’m going to miss them.”
“I will too, but we’re on our own.” I said, and backed out of the driveway.