Human Touch | Chapter 3 - Final Chapter

Read Chapter 1 here: http://storiesbyizzy.blogspot.ae/2013/07/human-touch-chapter-1.html
Read Chapter 2 here: http://storiesbyizzy.blogspot.ae/2013/08/human-touch-chapter-2.html

"Press your index finger here."
A long, orderly line of people queued behind three different desks. The administrator at each desk gave the same commandments.
"Now write your name on this list please."
Officers and security surrounded the blast bunker. They could be seen from every angle, quietly monitoring the crowds.
"Wait over there for further instruction."
The person in front of the desk would have a tiny blood sample drawn from their index finger. The machine on each desk would indicate whether the blood contained the virus. If it did, the women behind the desks would direct those people to the back of the blast bunker. If not, they were sent home. This particular man was being sent to the back. However, he already knew that.
He stood for some time among a few other's, they hadn't a clue what they were in for.
An officer approached them, covered in protective gear.
"A bus is here, ready to take you to your next destination."
"And where might that be?" The man asked, but he already knew the answer.
The officer pretended not to have heard him, and called to several other people in protective gear to escort this group to the bus. They went as instructed and boarded the vehicle. A couple of bold women spoke up to repeat the question, "where are we going?"
"To another shelter," the officer answered. Lies.
The bus was in good condition. The man noted the reinforced glass separating the driver from the passengers. He assumed the windows were made of the same material.
He watched as people tried to wave to their family members and loved ones before boarding the bus. They had been given no warning and had no chance to give proper goodbyes. He could almost punch the officers for acting so inconsiderately. Clearly, fear had clouded their moral compass.
As he looked around for a seat he studied the faces of these poor victims and thought of the cruel ending that the government had planned for them, as well as hundreds of others.
A middle-aged woman sat next to her young daughter - who couldn't be more than 10 years of age. The little girl was clinging to her mother's clothing with wide eyes, afraid and unsure. Behind them, a young man sat staring angrily out of the window, his eyebrows furrowed together, shadowing his eyes.
Near the back of the bus, there was a spare seat, and the man settled into it just before the bus door closed and the driver began the engine. As the bus jolted forward, he removed his sunglasses, revealing deep brown eyes.

"I can't do this!"
"You don't have a choice."
"So I should just murder thousands of my own people?"
"More would die if you didn't."
"Couldn't you just send them to some uninhabited island where they couldn't touch anyone?"
"Look... you know as well as me that we can't do that. We have to destroy the virus. This is the only way. Anyway, if it all goes well, no one will know. And the world will be saved. You'll be regarded as one of the greatest leaders of all time."
The President was hunched over in his chair, guilt was overwhelming him. Innocent people would be trusting him to help them and instead he was murdering them. Hundreds had been sent to the designated hospitals. They would die instantly and without pain.
Sebastian was a logical thinker. He did not allow emotion to dictate his decisions and he lacked respect for those who did. Here was the President, and his feelings were making him weak. However, he knew what had to be done and as long as Sebastian was there to make sure everything ran smoothly, then the virus would be eradicated.
The President had grown weary of arguing. There was no going back now. He loved his country but he also knew his people well. Word would get out and spread like wildfire. He would try to explain he had no choice. He would face the wrath bravely because there was no other way. He was doing the right thing... wasn't he?
The bus was taking a route that he had not been on before but he knew where it was headed. It was an empty road, and not worn enough to have been travelled on very often. He decided that this was the time.
He closed his brown eyes and took in a deep breath. He exhaled slowly, relishing in this last moment of relaxation. Then Samuel stood up. Heads turned.
"You know why you're on this bus," he addressed the rest of the passengers. "You've all been infected." Now, he had everybody's attention.
"The government is trying to destroy the virus. They're going to destroy us along with it."
A little girl started whimpering.
"You don't know what you're saying."
"There are children here!"
"Sit down!"
The other passengers were reluctant to accept what Samuel was telling them. They shouted over him.
"Stop!" The woman with the daughter silenced the outcry. Even Samuel was taken aback by her authoritative tone of voice.
"Let him speak. He knows more than any of us."
"I'm not lying to you," Samuel began. "But I need your help if any of us wants to live. We need to head South. The Southern States were evacuated during the war and abandoned. We can hide there. I've already communicated with other people who should be on their way there now."
His spoke confidently and clearly - like a leader. The others were afraid but they believed what he was saying.
He looked over their heads at the driver, protected by a wall of glass. He had headphones on, and was ignorant of the uprising occurring in his bus.
Martha rested in the shade of an unfinished building. She was afraid of herself and what she had done. She was a murderer. Martha looked down at her child and pushed the thoughts out of her mind. Andrea depended on her to stay strong. At least she was far from human contact here. She had been near to collapsing after running as fast as she could from the scene when she came across the wrecked construction site. Clearly, the workers had not returned to the area - neither had anyone else from what it looked like.
Suddenly, Andrea began to cry. Martha desperately tried to silence her but it was no use.
Rummaging could be heard a few metres away. She tried to stand up and move but her legs were tired and felt as heavy as lead. A figure emerged from the shadows.
"Don't touch me!" Martha cried out, afraid for the stranger's life.
A face come into sight. A young face. Male. A teenage boy. He was smiling.
Martha was confused by his presence.
"You have the virus," he said it as if relieved.
"I'm Jack," he stretched out his hand to shake hers.
"What are you doing?!" She reeled back in astonishment.
"No, no, don't worry, I have the virus too. You can't hurt me."
"Martha..." Gingerly, she reached out a shaking hand and greeted him. "And this is Andrea."
She had stopped crying and was observing Jack with a serious expression on her face.
A police siren could be heard wailing in the distance.
"We need to get out of here!" Jack began to run towards the exit. He paused and looked back. Martha struggled to her feet before collapsing back down to the ground.
"I can't run anymore."
He jogged back to her and held out his hand to help her up.
"I have a car," he smiled, mischievously, took hold of Andrea and guided them to the car.
Tinted windows, leather seats, matte black exterior... this was a nice car. The communication system, cameras, and tracking devices had been torn out, leaving a rather blank dashboard. Martha noticed the lack of keys... this was a stolen car.
Jack jerked the car into reverse before a violent spin set them in the right direction. A smooth change of gears, and the car bounced forwards. They gained speed quickly and Jack skilfully manoeuvred between the thin roads. The sound of the police siren began to fade until it couldn't be heard over the roar of the car's engine.
Martha clutched the side of the seat as the surroundings blurred together.
"Where are we going?!" She screamed and held tight to Andrea as the car rose into the air after a collision with a bump in the road. Jack swerved off the paved alleyways onto the smoother concrete of the main road.
The town grew smaller in the rear-view mirrors and buildings were replaced by bushes and shrubbery as the car sped down the highway. Jack smiled, his eyes fixed on the road, and responded to her question.
Broken glass scattered the floor of the bus. The driver's fear of the virus meant he had responded quickly to all of Samuel's commands. The man now sat on the side of an empty road, hoping another bus would come this way shortly.
Meanwhile his bus was far away and heading towards where the main border control building for Florida once stood. Now, the state had been demolished by countless bombings and fires. It was too far from renovation so the government had focused on other areas of the country - making it the perfect place to hide and meet with the rest of the runaways.
The journey would take at least 12 hours. As long as they kept driving at this rate, they would make it before midnight. Then they could rest in the bus and wait for the others to arrive.
Samuel's thoughts wandered. He considered Martha and prayed that she was on her way too. Perhaps they would be together again.
As he tried to stop worrying about her, he turned around in the driver's seat and looked at people behind him. They were depending on him to keep them safe but their expressions were sad. He knew they would be thinking of their homes and families - of loved ones they could never embrace again. It was time to lighten the atmosphere. Samuel fiddled with the draws and compartments by the drivers seat. Sure enough, there was a CD. Elvis. He never went out of fashion. Slotting it into the CD player, Samuel pushed several more buttons and Elvis Presley's smooth voice erupted from the speakers. The rest of the bus applauded and immediately the mood was uplifted; a couple of woman began to sing along. Soon, the whole bus was helping Elvis and filled the bus with off-beat clapping and rather croaky notes, but it put a smile of everyone's face.
The hours went by quickly. Someone had found a deck of cards in one of the compartments in the bus and strangers had turned into friendly faces. They were met at the border by a couple of other buses and Samuel greeted fellow companions - including several men who had gone on the mission with him more than a year ago.
More buses arrived as the night grew old. Samuel franticly searched each one for Martha. As the first rays of sunlight peeked over the horizon, he began to give up hope. All of the men he had informed were here. Unless they had told others, this was the last of the buses. A wave of grief swept over him as he came to the conclusion that Martha was gone.
In the distance, a cloud of dust rose and the roar of an engine could be heard. This wasn't a bus engine. Samuel motioned for the others to hide and everyone ran to the buses. Was this the authorities? How had they discovered their destination so quickly?
The matte black car sped towards the direction of the buses. Samuel braced himself for an unpleasant encounter. Tinted windows shielded the people inside from prying eyes. The car parked close to the buses. The door swung open, and a rather harmless looking and unarmed teenage boy stepped out of the driver's seat. Seeing that he wasn't a member of the government or officer, people flooded off the armada of buses and came to greet him. They crowded the car as the second door swung open. Samuel made his way through the flow of people the greet the newcomers. The cry of a baby could be heard among the murmurs of the crowd. He reached the car and stood frozen as the woman with the baby turned around. Martha and Samuel gazed into each other's eyes longingly. Samuel rushed towards her and wrapped his arms around her. Tears were streaming from Martha's face as she introduced Andrea to her father. Samuel was overwhelmed by the reunion and he looked down at his child lovingly.
The reunion was bitter-sweet. The next few years would be a fight for survival. They would have to avoid contact with the authorities and find refuge and food in these demolished cities. For now, though, his people were safe, and Samuel found himself savouring the moment as he marvelled at the beauty of his daughter - so much like her mother.

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