Running had been something that Trigger had always been good at, from a young age he ran. His mother would usually have to send his father after him if she had any hope of catching him. So, running had always been a part of who he was. Everywhere he went he ran. If he needed to go to the grocery store for his parents for a quick grab and go of a gallon of milk, he ran. To meet up with friends, he ran. Running was something that he believed was engraved in him - it would be the thing people would remember him by should he ever do something great.
Every now and then he had been told by older people to ‘slow down’ or ‘watch where you’re going, brat!’. Those words had never phased him, not even once. He kept running, never slowing down. Now who would have thought that all that running would pay off? He sure as hell didn’t think it would have.
Currently Trigger was running as fast as his legs would carry him. Sure, he was quick and could hurdle over any obstacles thrown at him, but with a sprained ankle it was proving to be quite the challenge. Did he dare glance back over his shoulder? Should he chance his only escape just to see if those things were still following him? The thought danced through his mind for a few seconds, but there was no more time to weigh the pros and cons. He needed to gauge the distance between him and those things, then he would be able to calculate how much more willpower he had to force himself to run.
With a deep breath, he quickly turned his head over his right shoulder, his eyes widening slightly as he realized just how many of those things there were. Now, he definitely played those cliché zombie video games, and oftentimes found himself bored of them, but sometimes for fun he would think about what he would do in a situation like that.
Trigger remembered when he would constantly strategize in his room, “I would definitely find resources, that would be my main go-to. Next would be finding the least obvious way to move about.” Trigger had to laugh at the memory because now here he was in the exact same situation as the protagonist of a video game and was doing the opposite of what he said he would.
The longer he looked over his shoulder, the more his steps faltered. With a curse under his breath he turned back around. They were fast, almost as fast as he was, but the head start he had gotten had given him the advantage and boy was he grateful for that.
Spotting what seemed to be an old laundromat, he bolted for it.
How did any of this happen? Well let’s take it back to the very beginning. It’s pretty much the same as all those video games, shows, and anything else that was in relation to zombies. Someone does something stupid and causes an outbreak of a deadly disease that turns people into their worst nightmares.
---------------April 17th 2019, seven hours before chaos -------------
“Shit,” a strained voice escaped Trigger, his feet thudding against the pavement as he gripped the strap of his duffle bag, “Mom’s gonna kill me.” That was the only thought going through his head at that point. The street ball game had gone over by an hour-and-a-half and when he had finally reached his phone, his eyes frantically scanned the five missed calls and twelve texts.
At that point he had told the others he had to dip; and dip he did. Here he was running like a mad man with his duffle bag thrown over his shoulder. He had bumped into a few pedestrians on the street and had to apologize, but never once stopped running.
His shoes were starting to soak through since the weather had decided it wanted to do a switch-up, so now he was avoiding puddles, what little hair he had was damp, and the kicker was he had forgotten his jacket in the back of his jeep.
If he got sick, his mother would probably try to send him to his father's office for some sort of checkup, but his father wasn't a primary care doctor, he was an Orthopedic Surgeon, so unless she planned on breaking one of his bones, then his father would be of little use.
The vibration coming from the device in his hand had nearly startled him. Ignoring that would be a death sentence, so he picked it up. He was only about five minutes away now, so he wouldn’t need to hear his mother’s voice for long.
“Mom, hey. Sorr-“ he was cut off before he could even come up with an apology.
Eliza DeArch was a woman to be reckoned with. She had given birth to three kids but could still tear you a new asshole if you messed with her children, her, or her husband.
“Trigger Samson DeArch.” The tone of voice was icy, he swore he felt the chill through the phone as she pronounced his name, each syllable hitting harder the more she spoke. “I believe I told you to be home after you got off work. Did I not? Or did you decide to do whatever you wanted instead? If you are not home in the next ten minutes, then you can kiss those car keys goodbye and start packing your bags to go sort yourself out with your grandmother.”
As much as Trigger loved his grandmother, flying to Louisiana definitely didn’t seem like a fun time.
“Ma, I literally forgot. I’m three minutes away.” His breath was choppy as he ran, he hoped that the sound of his voice would be enough to convince his mother that he had honestly forgotten that he was supposed to watch the twins so she could go out with his father.
“Make it one.” With that the line went dead. He knew that was a threat, so he pushed.
Just as he stepped on the porch of their “quaint” home, his father pulled into the driveway. Trigger had to bite his tongue to keep from saying something that would most likely have him in a choke hold on the floor.
“Dad.” Was all that escaped as he entered the code to access the house, the grunt from his father not going unnoticed. Trigger rolled his hazel eyes as he stepped inside, dropping the duffle bag by the door and kicking off his wet Nike Air Max, motion 2’s.
“Home!” he called out into the living room as he pulled the soaked shirt over his head and tossed it onto the duffle bag. He would grab it on his way up the stairs later, but for now he had to make nice with his mother.
Before he could even begin to take a step towards the kitchen, he was bombarded by two set of arms. Elizabeth and Elaine. Five years old and bundles of energy. Trigger was having a hard time processing what they were saying.
“We made pasta art! It was so fun, and the teacher said mine was the best!” Elizabeth mentioned loudly as she unwrapped her arms around her brother’s waist. One minute older than Elaine and she swore she could take on the world. “Mine was used as an example!”
“Really? That’s pretty neat.” Trigger nodded as he ruffled her hair, only to earn a grunt. “What about you Laney? Make any cool pasta art?” The way Trigger talked to them was the opposite of how he spoke around friends.
Elaine shook her head wildly, those frizzy curls flying every which way. “My teacher read us a story about a rabbit.” This was the calmer twin, the more level-headed one. She took after Trigger, and Elizabeth took after their mother. None of their father was in either of them.
“Well, that’s stupid! Pasta art is more fun!” Elizabeth stuck her tongue out as she stormed off towards the kitchen. Both of them always competed for his attention, but Trigger would make time for both.
Behind him the door opened, and in came his father. The scent of perfume that was not his mother’s hit his nose. God, was his father that stupid?! Or did he just decide that blatantly cheating on his wife was a good quality trait.
“Chanel 5? Really?” Trigger stated in a hushed voice, his eyes narrowing as he turned around to face his father, nudging Elaine gently as a sign to head into the kitchen. “You forget you taking Ma out? Or did your dick speak for you before you left your office?”
Trigger cursed his sense of smell; his heightened senses were another issue he had to deal with on top of this. ‘Deep breaths’ he reminded himself, now would definitely not be a time to lash out or accidently cause another issue.
“Trig. We will not do this now. Nor will we do it in the future.” William DeArch stated as he kicked off his work shoes, setting the beaten briefcase down and attempting to loosen the tie around his neck with his non-dominant left hand. “Now go and help your mother with your sisters - seeing as how you are late. I don’t wish to punish you.”
“Whatever, but you might want to change shirts. That lipstick isn’t a color Ma has.”
With that last statement, he walked towards the kitchen, slapping the top of the doorway to make his presence known to his mother. Apparently, she hadn’t heard him, her attention was focused on the Television that rested on the kitchen counter.
“We are coming to you live from the Medical Testing Facilities of Westwood. Dr. Ramirez is here with us as we discuss what his findings could mean for the future of medicine.” Said the voice of Natalia Waters, the most annoying reporter on their local news. This was going to be a groundbreaking discovery if this vaccine actually cured cancer like they said it would.
Pulling a chair out from the kitchen table, Trigger took a seat to actually; and probably for the first time, pay attention to the news. Even though he wanted to, it was hard to listen to what Natalia was saying - Her voice sounded like a baby bird shrilling for food.
“Dr. Ramirez, can you please give us a little insight to what is going on exactly?” Natalia held the mike to the older man, who seemed as if he was on his deathbed. The white thinning hair pulled back in a straggly ponytail gave it away.
“Today we are testing one of the many vaccines we have created to help in the curing of cancer. I am sure many people have heard that these vaccines exist, but we have all never seen this actual ‘cure’,” he took the microphone from Natalia, turning to face the camera as if he was giving an award-winning speech, “ but here we have the cure! An actual cure that we will show in real time.”
Natalia snatched the mic back from Dr. Ramirez, smoothing out her platinum blonde hair as she turned to face the camera. “And there you have it folks, Dr. Ramirez claiming to have the cure, should we go inside the labs to see? Or will he keep us guessing?”
Trigger lost interest after the fake excitement, stood up and walked over to his mother. The twins were also at the table, attempting to work on schoolwork, work he would end up helping them with later.
“Ma.” He gently touched her shoulder, Eliza jolting from the touch and clutching her chest.
“Jesus Trigger, can you at least warn me before you sneak up?” Her attention was drawn from the television and to her son, who she quickly realized was missing a shirt and his socks. “You’re going to catch a cold.” She was still mad at him, that much could be sensed a mile away. “Go upstairs and get cleaned up. Dinner is almost ready.”
Deciding he should keep on her good side, he bent down and planted a kiss on her cheek. It was the small smile that let him know that she was slowly warming up again.
As he exited the kitchen and treaded up the stairs, he could hear the thudding of his father in the master bedroom to the left. Trigger often kept out of his father’s way and to himself, but the low hum of his voice had made him curious. He paused at the top of the stairs, straining his ears to listen.
“Ramirez is a fool, if he continues to let people believe that a cure is found, then people will start demanding it in volumes we have not acquired.” William was speaking as low as he could, knowing that one member of the household would be able to pick up what he was saying.
Ramirez? Wasn’t that the crazy doctor on the tv? Trigger slowly inched towards the closed bedroom door, avoiding the wooden floorboard that would give him away.
A sigh from William was heard just as Trigger placed his ear to the door, his face turning into a grimace as he smelled that perfume once more. The anger spiked again, and he felt himself balling his fist. ‘Relax. Breathe.’ Therapy sessions always kicked in at a good time.
“Subject 051 and subject 052 did not pass the administered drug test. Yet, we are green lighting this project? If you want to be responsible for the fall…” William paused his talking, Trigger heard the footsteps approaching the door and quickly jumped back, but it was too late.
There his father was standing with the door pulled open, anger clear on his face. Now both Trigger and his father were about the same height, but standing at around 6’4, his father still had a clear inch or two on him.
“Mom says dinner's almost ready,” was the first thing that flew out of his mouth.
“Give me a few minutes.” William shut the door, Trigger’s body relaxing as his shoulders dropped. ‘That was a close call.’ He thought as he turned around on his heels to make his way towards his room.
Every time he stepped into his room; he was reminded that he would be moving out in a few days. Boxes were randomly placed around the room, the closet already emptied, and things strewn about here and there for last minute packing.
Removing his phone from his pocket, he glanced at the cracked screen of the old iPhone 5s. Trigger had never been into tech, if his phone worked and proved to be reliable, then there was no point in numerous upgrades. Setting the white device onto the old wooden nightstand, he proceeded in moving around the room to find a shirt.
He lifted an old basketball jersey to his nose and sniffed. It smelled fine, and he didn’t feel like sifting through boxes to find a cleaner one. While he was changing shirts, the sound of his father leaving the bedroom reached his ears. Should he go down and make nice with his parents? Or should he stay upstairs until they leave? Decisions, decisions.
Staying upstairs had won over and Trigger collapsed onto his bed, blindly reaching for the old headphones, moving the phone from his dresser to under his pillow.
It was time to shut out the world.