It is human nature to try and make sense of things. To try and put order to things. We claim The will of God or karma. Science maps things out, gives us scientific law. Something happened because someone hates someone, or wants power, or is greedy. All these to make sense of the world. We, as humans, need order, need a reason as to why something happened. But a virus doesn't have a reason. It doesn't hate. It doesn't want power. It's not greedy. It may follow scientific laws, but those laws can't predict when a virus will strike.

The Reaper virus was just one virus among many. A cough on a subway. Another H1N1 bug. Bird flu. That's what people thought. But in the first week, thousands were infected. In two weeks, entire cities were grinding to a halt. Rail lines were closed. Airports and seaports were closed. Roads sealed to all but the most essential road traffic. What was left of the government was moved to Honolulu.

Canada closed its border with America, mobilizing its army and reserves and moved them to stave off "tourists." Within three days, the Canadian U.S. Border, once the longest undefended border on the planet, was crawling with armed troops and was monitored 24/7.

Mexico also sealed its border. On the Mexican/American border, the Mexican troops shared an ironic smile with each other as many American citizens now became "wetbacks" by trying to enter Mexico by swimming the Rio Grande.

But a virus does not recognize a political border, a line on a map. Cases began spreading. Soon, from southern Mexico to northern Canada was declared "a sealed quarantine zone" by the United Nations and sealed off, but it didn't matter. A receptionist as the U.S. embassy in Dublin, a tourist in Paris, a business man in Beijing and a couple on their honeymoon in London. The Reaper had spread its wings and flown.

Some people, the type of person other called "Paranoid Preppers," were ready. Like the Allen family, who sealed themselves in the bunker they had built under their home and stocked with enough food and water for years. Or Henry West, who worked on a farm and fled there with his sixteen year old grandson Derek to hide out in the hurricane reinforced farm house with Henry's impressive collection of guns and to live off the land. Or the thousands of people who locked themselves inside their apartment buildings—some of these survivors would come to consider themselves Kings and Queens, ruling over their subjects with fear and guns, not caring about how the food was supplied.

Others, like fourteen year old James Regan, did not have the luxury of a bunker or a farm or an apartment building. Some people were tourists in another country, trying desperately to survive.


Chapter One—James Regan

New York was eerily quiet. Many people had locked themselves in their homes, hoping to ride out whatever the hell was happening. Only police cars roamed the streets, and they grew fewer every couple of days as more officers fell to the Reaper virus. The only place with any movement was JFK airport and some of the roads leading to it, where it took the police several days to restore order.

The military and border police tried to keep the disorganized tourists and US citizens separate, the best way to note take who was from where and going where. They didn't say it was no good. Any plane leaving US airspace would be shot down. Those planes that were taking off were making their way to LAX and the new, supposed safe zone on the west coast, with a few select individuals continuing onto Honolulu. The military and the police had lined up buses outside the airport in order to transport "uninflected persons by road to outlying airports," though that news still filtering out to the public. They would find out soon enough. Deep within the JFK's holding cells, an illegal immigrant finally gave into the virus. Moments after he died, an agent rushed in to check on him and received a bite to the neck, and so a chain reaction began.

Outside, sitting on the kerb, sat a very bored fourteen year old James Reagan. From Ireland, he had come to New York on holiday with his family. Just their luck that the Reaper virus had hit. Now they couldn't get home. James scanned the crowd milling around outside the main terminal. The crowd was huge, and much quieter than anyone would believe. Maybe because many believed they were getting to safety.

His two younger brothers were sitting in the shade of a taxi, playing snap with a dark skinned boy with dreadlocks. A line of national guardsmen and cops with dogs were randomly escorting people out of the crowd to ambulances. Rumor had it that these people "had the illness." They sure looked sick. They were pale and sweating, with a slight grey tint to their skin. Across the road, a group of bikers were arguing among themselves. James had walked past them a few times while his parents had argued whether or not they should go back to the hotel.

The bikers weren't one group. They belonged to two different motor cycle clubs that had an ongoing feud. James didn't care. He didn't care as a line of buses made their way through the crowd, or that half the troops rushed inside the terminal after getting am urgent call. He was busy examining the bikes. Motorcycles were James' obsession. He loved riding quad bikes and dirt bikes back home, but he dreamed of riding the bikes across the road. Massive Harley-Davidsons. James was lost in a daydream when gunshots rang out behind him. He jumped to his feet as people began to run. Inside the airport, the national guardsmen were fire indiscriminately into a slouching crowd. The two biker gangs took it as a sign that their own feud had escalated. The leader of the "minority" MC took out a Glock and shot the nearest member of the "majority" MC.

An electric current of panic swept through the crowd. As if on cue, the remaining National Guardsmen began herding people onto buses. They ignored the feuding bikers and the ambulances they had been so diligently guarding moments before. James pushed his way through the crowd and grabbed his brother's hands.

"Come on, you two," he said, as he dragged them to where his parents were frantically looking around. A look of relief crossed their faces when James and his brothers joined them.

"Alright, you have your passports? Your visas?" his mom asked as they joined the jostling cue for the nearest bus. The shooting suddenly intensified around them as the guardsmen realized that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to ignore the ambulances and the majority MC began to win the fight. What happened next was a blur to James. His grip on his little brothers was lost when someone in motor cycle leathers fell against him, pushing him to the ground and pinning him there. He was momentarily stunned when he hit the asphalt. He must have hit his head, because next thing he knew, he had a pain in his head and blood was dripping into his left eye. The ground around him was littered with bullet casings. He was still trapped under whoever had fallen against him, and he frantically fought to get loose. In the distance, he heard his name been screamed, but he was too preoccupied trying to free his trapped legs.

When he finally got free, James Regan found himself in the middle of a panicked mob. People trying desperately to get aboard the buses, which had their doors closed. His mother was frantically screaming his name from one, while his father was trying to fight his way out in order to get to him. It didn't matter. The buses began to move through the crowd, running over people if necessary. The people who had been placed in the ambulances were now shambling through the crowd. Their skin was a mottled grey, their eyes glazed and lifeless. A few were collected around bodies, ripping them apart. The soldiers were firing rapidly, aiming for the heads of the infected.

James looked around, terrified, until he felt a tug on the collar of his soccer jersey. He tried to turn, but someone wrapped their arms around him. Or tried to. James instinctually kicked backwards, hitting the person's leg, making them stumble. James lunged forward at the same time they fell back, causing his jersey to rip. He whipped around to see who had attacked him. It was the biker who had fallen on him. He was young, early twenties. He wore a simple cut with a bottom rocker that read 'Prospect.' He also had the collar of James' Jersey clenched between his teeth. When he opened his mouth to moan, the cloth fell away, revealing a single bullet wound in his neck. His skin was beginning to turn a mottled grey, and he lunged for James. James reacted, still slightly in a daze from his fall and grabbed the creature around his neck, and squeezed.

Afterwards, he sat down hard and shook his head, his ears ringing in the sudden silence. He looked around. Everyone was gone, or else so far away they wouldn't hear him if he called out. Only bodies remained, most with bullet wounds in the head, the remainder were mauled beyond recognition. James pulled off the tattered remains of his jersey and drew his knees up to his chest. He wanted to sob, but his head jerked up when he heard approaching footsteps. He looked up and saw and injured soldier limping towards him. He had a nasty bite wound on his thigh. He looked James over and sighed. He searched the body of the biker, fishing some keys out of the dead man's pocket before crumpling to the ground in a heap.

"We need to get you out of here kid," the soldier whimpered. "You know anything about motorbikes?"

"Mount on the kickstand side, less chance of tipping the bike over," James whispered.

The soldier grinned painfully.

"Your right, now listen carefully."

Twenty minutes later and James had gotten his wish and was riding a Harley-Davidson, weaving it in and out of the stalled traffic on the Van Wyk Expressway on his way to Queens. James looked ridiculously small on the bike and if he took a fall from the bike at high speed it would probably it would kill him, but it would be a more merciful death than been eaten alive, or dying from starvation or dehydration in a strange city. The shops were almost empty, and with the way the power grid was going, there wouldn't be pressure in the hydrants much longer. James just needed to follow the soldier's advice and get the hell out of New York. But first, a stop at the soldiers apartment to get some fresh clothes- the leather cut he had taken from the dead Prospect was chaffing.

Authors Note: OK, this is a rewrite of an earlier story. Please tell me what you think?