Zero Day Part 4

Zero Day Part 4

Read Time:3 Minute, 26 Second

Zero Day

Part 4

“It’s a boy!” Dr. Jones announces as she holds the newborn up. A young door guard comes running around a corner with an armful of towels and a first aid kit. He drops to his knees at Dr. Jones’ side and unloads upon the metal floor.

“That’s all I could get,” the young guard says, panting. Dr. Jones wraps the infant in a towel just as a klaxon sounds. A spinning red light bursts to life over the doorway and the large metal door begins to slide shut.

Frank bursts through the open doorway and immediately doubles over, resting his hands on his knees as he gasps for breath.

“I haven’t – run like that – since middle school,” Frank gasps.

“Where is Sean?” Samantha asks, clutching the infant closer to her chest. She manages to remain calm at first, but as the seconds tick by and Sean does not burst in she begins to panic and yells; “Where is my husband?”

Frank straightens and moves to the closing doorway. He clasps one hand over the side of the door and leans on it as he peeks outside. Sean is holding his leg and struggling to stay upright. A sudden adrenaline rush fills Frank and he prepares to run out the door to get the other man, but the door is already half closed; with his girth, he’d never be able to get to Sean and back and still have enough space to squeeze inside.

Frank turns and pushes his back against the door frame. He stretches his arms, pushing against the closing door with all his might. 

“Where is Sean?!” Samantha yells again. She tries to rise to her feet, still holding the newborn, but Dr. Jones presses a hand on her shoulder to keep her seated.

“He’s outside,” Frank growls between gritted teeth. His efforts to slow the door seem to be having no effect.

“Wait!” Sean yells as his leg gives out. He stumbles, corrects himself, and tries to run. “I’m right here!”

Frank notices Sean’s gaze isn’t settled on him and turns to find the door guard standing idly by. He gives up his futile efforts to impede the door and storms up to the guard.

“What the hell are you doing?” Frank yells at the man. “Stop the door! There is a man right outside!”

“I- I can’t do that,” the guard stammers. Frank recognizes him as one of the young men selected from the academy for the habitat program; fresh out of high-school. The program only started recruiting a few months ago; the young man probably hasn’t completed training yet.

“Sean!” Samantha cries as a body thumps into the metal door. Frank turns to find Sean trying to squeeze through the remaining gap of the doorway, but he pulls back before the hunk of metal can crush him.

“Sean,” Frank mutters as Sean’s shoulders slump and he gives up trying to enter. The man stands outside the door, peering through the closing gap at Samantha. Sean’s eyes begin to water and he smiles.

“My boy,” he says.

Frank’s focus shifts from Sean to the city beyond, finding the giant ball of light in the sky just as the streaking missiles strike. A blinding flash fills the sky for a brief second before the door closes with a heavy metallic thunk. Several gears begin to whir as heavy metal bars lower across the doorway, sealing the exit.

Several seconds pass in complete silence, then Samantha screams. Dr. Jones wraps her arms around the crying mother and cradles her head into her shoulder.

Frank rounds upon the guard and grabs him by the collar.

“Open the fucking door, now!” Frank demands. “We can still save him!”

“I can’t do that!” The young guard yells, terrified. “Only the curator has the codes to the door!”

“So where the hell is the curator?” Frank demands. “Go get him!”

The young man raises his hand and points at the closed door.

“That was him,” the guard says.

To Be Continued

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