Scifi Shorts – An Early Look at Manhattan’s Worst Hour


Here’s an extract from the short story I’m working on between books.  See if you can spot the Control easter egg:

The plague was good and done with the island by the time she showed up. Four million dead in a week of chaos and horror from Inwood Hill down to the Battery and she appears without so much as a scratch.

It was a bacterial disease that spread on contact. Without people to feed on it lay dormant in the ground, but when things were right for it, it couldn’t be stopped. A team of nearly two hundred health workers, pathologists and medical professionals of every kind that mattered learned the hard way just how persistent HY229 really was.

They entered Manhattan two weeks after the island’s last gasp with the express intention of classifying and containing the outbreak. They were all dead within two days.

After that the US military, with the Commander in Chief’s blessing, cut Manhattan off from the rest of the world. What data they did manage to gather made it quite clear that HY229 was more than happy to sit in the ground and wait for someone to come along and find it, long enough to make the island a no-go until they found a cure, and they weren’t going to find a cure any time soon.

The question was, why now?

Atmospheric conditions? Pollution? Population density? The theories paraded past as people scrambled to understand what had happened, but none of them really mattered a damn. All that mattered was Manhattan; that it was a place no more, a memorial at best.

She wasn’t anyone, by all accounts; a student at Columbia U, a lit major with an unremarkable record. No friends or family, all alone on the island with no way off. They weren’t going to let her leave and no one was going over to see her, so when she appeared she just sat on the shore of the Hudson and looked.


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