PROLOGUE: THE BOMBS
The evening of September 26th started out—and should've ended—as any other night in New York City.
The stale fall air had been blowing through the city, in between the buildings and alleys all day.
The streets were packed with cars, the sidewalks were packed with people, and there was a consistent flow of movement buzzing in the air.
It was late: some people were on their way back to their apartments after the long fall day; others were staying out late, inhabiting the bars and clubs of the city.
Everything was right; everything was normal.
But then, the planes flew by.
There were about thirty of them: black, sleek, and triangular, moving through the night like geese migrated south for the winter.
They covered the sky like clouds, seeming to span the entire city.
No one in New York City knew what would happen next, nor did the people of the many other cities who were witnessing the same spectacle. The entire city stopped to admire the planes.
People on the sidewalks stopped to look up; cars and taxis hit their brakes. There was no sound.
The planes spread out a bit, each one hovering over a couple skyscrapers.
By now, everyone's eyes were focused up at the majestic planes, wondering what was going on, and what would happen next.
Then, to everyone's horror, the planes began to drop something: several small, grey boxes.
Bombs. Not your regular bombs, like the ones you'd see in a history museum. No, these were different types of bombs. Ones that didn't blow up when they hit the ground, but rather...
dispersed something. Each "bomb" was nothing but a charcoal-grey box, but when that box hit the ground, a thick crimson vapor burst from within it.
The onlookers who, just seconds ago, stared in awe at the majestic planes, now gazed in horror as each bomb released the vapor.
Screams pierced the air, louder than the planes now menacingly hanging over the buildings.
No one knew what was in that vapor, but for some reason, they knew it was dangerous and possibly deadly. The streets were now in complete pandemonium.
People ran, everywhere: the sidewalks, the insides of buildings, and even the middle of the street. Bodies started to litter the ground.
Small children, animals, women, all trampled by the desperate crowd.
Smoke rises, everyone knew that. So what other place would people run than to the subways? Everyone had this idea in their mind, thinking they were creative for coming up with it.
People forced themselves down the stairs, pushing, shoving, doing whatever they could to reach safety.
The trains stopped at their usual stations, filled to the brim with men and women, all of whom had no idea what was going on or what all the fuss was about.
But they soon found out once the crimson fog began leaking through the openings and cracks of the subway.
As the vapor spread, people began to breathe it in. The thick red plumes choked out those who inhaled it, leaving them helplessly coughing on the crowded streets.
Something was in that gas; anyone who breathed even a particle of it also began to cough and sputter. Everyone was affected: men, women, children.
As the entirety of New York City lay rasping on the asphalt, the black planes idled above, looking down at the suffering of the city below.
What were they doing? And why? What was that gas they'd dropped on the streets. These questions swirled around in nearly everyone's head.
By now, the only sounds to be heard were the sounds of people coughing. Several people lay dead, having choked to death on the gas. But even death provided no freedom from their suffering.
Those who didn't choke to death on the gas watched as the strangers who walked the streets with them began to shake, violently.
It was as if an icy chill had been sent through their bodies—one that wouldn't go away. Their eyes opened again, but they weren't full of life anymore.
All the color had been drained from the irises, making them only a pale representation of the color they'd once been.
Their skin became a sickly pale color; black veins creeped up every inch of it.
Those who were still alive watched as the gas did the same to them, and begun shaking uncontrollably until they'd completely turned into something else. Something that wasn't human.
It was at this moment that the black-as-night planes began to leave. They'd done their job, whatever it might've been.
In little time, New York City had been turned into a haven for those infected by the gas.
Some of the Infected began to disperse, sprinting in all directions, heading for other towns with more people that they could infect. The others stayed by, stalking the streets as if on patrol.
What happened in New York was only the beginning.