Authors: J.G. Hicks Jr
Pathogen: The Beginning
Published by J.G. Hicks, Jr.
Copyright 2014, 2015 J.G. Hicks, Jr.
All rights reserved. No part of the book may be reproduced in any form, except for the inclusion of quotations in review, without permission in writing from the author. You may contact the author at
This is a work of fiction. While some locations describe actual locations, this is intended only to lend an authentic theme. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is with their permission or purely coincidental.
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I want to thank you for purchasing this eBook, this is my first and I sincerely hope you enjoy it. I have had many ideas running in and out of my head for years and until recently I’ve not had the intestinal fortitude to actually take the risk to type some of those ideas down and take the leap of publishing. I thank my beautiful wife and family for all their love and support for me. I am by no means the easiest person to live with, yet they stick by me.
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Scarlett R. Algee:
On The Safe Side
His eyes open quickly. His heart beating fast in his chest, and he can feel the familiar sensation of the ‘‘fight or flight’’ instinct coursing through him. He’s lying on his right side; he takes note of his body position, and begins running scenarios through his head, flashes of images of what defensive or offensive actions he can take from it.
He notices the smell of his wife’s shampooed hair and the faint lingering scent of her perfume on her pillow next to his. He’s lying in his bed at home, he feels safer. Still, like most times this occurs, he’s not able to completely relax and shake the feeling that something may be wrong. He retrieves his Glock 17 pistol from nearby, quietly ensuring a round is chambered, then tests the light attached to the pistol and begins his search.
After double-checking to make sure windows and doors are secure, he checks the status of the alarm system. He is calmed by seeing the home is secure, and then heads back to the bedroom he shares with his wife. He secures the firearm, and then uses the restroom to relieve his nearly bursting bladder. After washing his hands, he splashes some water on his face and short-cropped hair to cool him from the elevation of body temperature from being in a hyper-alert status.
Quietly, making his way back into the bedroom, trying to be stealthier while passing his wife’s side of the bed, he lies down for the rest of the night – more like early morning as he notices the clock: 3:36am. Once he’s taken a couple of sips from the bottle of water on his nightstand, he lies down, turning a few times before finally finding a position of comfort to begin his drift back into sleep.
“Everything okay?” his wife, Arzu, asks quietly. Looking toward the sound of his wife’s voice, he sees the outline of her thick long dark-brown hair, and a hint of her slender face. He’s not able to see her almond eyes but knows they’re locked onto him “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. I thought I was using my Ninja stealth,” he answers. “You know, Jim, I hear it when the kids roll over in bed upstairs,” his wife replies, with a gentle rub to his arm. “Anyway, yes, everything is fine. Good night, babe.”
Jim’s not an unattractive man; he has some leftover muscle from a few years of weightlifting, and tries to exercise regularly. He’s on the short side, measuring five feet and eight inches, an inch taller than his wife. His blue eyes, mixed with his wife’s almond-brown, combined to give their children's eyes their hazel color.
A few hours later, with the sun beginning to rise, Jim and Arzu struggle to get their seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter ready for school. Their son, Berk, with his light-brown hair sticking up in the back from a serious case of bedhead, becomes deaf and his hazel eyes are blind to all but whatever cartoon is on TV and he has to be constantly reminded to take a bite of his breakfast.
Kayra, their daughter, is not much of a morning person; the only thing she’s agreeable with this time of the day is allowing her mom or dad to brush her long, straight dark-brown hair. Her beautiful hazel eyes are normally in a scowl most mornings. Instead of putting on the clothes she herself picked out the night before, she regularly declines numerous proposed substitutes before finally agreeing to one, sometimes the original.
Jim takes the children to school when he’s not working offshore for the twenty-eight day on and off rotation. Today, he has a telephone interview scheduled between 8:00am and 9:00am for a contract job in northern Africa, so Arzu is dropping them off this morning.
After giving Berk and Kayra hugs and kisses goodbye, he walks towards the doorway that leads back to the house from the attached garage as he watches their Nissan Pathfinder back out of the garage and then head to school not far from their neighborhood in Katy, a suburb of Houston, Texas. Moving to Katy meant the cost of housing was a bit more, but the school system and class sizes for their children were worth it. Jim has two other children; well, they are actually young men now. Jim’s previous marriage ended twelve years ago, and from it he gained two sons, Chris and Jeremy. The two older sons live in Houston, about twelve miles away in an apartment they share. Both boys work for the same construction company, mainly building homes.
Jim left to work in Iraq as a contractor right after the US invasion of 2003. With his background as a police officer and paramedic, he soon found a position as a security team medic. Most of his time was spent escorting convoys of U.S. Department of Defense supplies to various bases and outposts throughout the country. Since then, Jim has worked in the oil and gas industry as an offshore or remote land-based paramedic.
Pulling up his résumé on his laptop and retrieving his notepad with the questions he plans to ask about the position, he then pours a cup of black coffee. A few moments pass and his cell phone rings. The caller ID shows that the number is from the state of Virginia, where the interviewer is to be calling from. Jim answers the phone, and the interview process begins. During the interview, Arzu returns home and listens to Jim’s answers and his questions about the position. After about thirty minutes, Jim thanks the caller and tells him he looks forward to hearing more in the near future.
Arzu looks at her husband and asks,
So, what exactly is this job, Jim?”
Well, it’s in Libya and for a security team leader position,” Jim answers. “The team is made up of local nationals, and is assigned to provide security for a company restoring electricity,” Jim finishes detailing the job. “No. No. No way! You know how I feel about that kind of work,” Arzu says with both anger and worry in her voice.
“I know, honey, but I don’t know if the company that's buying out the company I’m working at now is going to keep me or use their own people. I have to keep our options open,” Jim replies. “I understand keeping our options open, but you have a family with young children. You can’t take the risks like you did before,” Arzu says.
Okay, if I can keep my position or find anything else that’s worth it, I won’t do that type of work anymore,” Jim says.
“Good. Maybe the new company will keep you, and we won’t have to worry about it, Arzu answers.” A couple rings from the doorbell and knocking at the front door ends the current conversation.
“I’ll get it, hon,” Jim says, as he stands up from the sofa and walks to the door.
A postal delivery service woman stands at the door, hands him a small box, and asks, “Jim Matthews?” “Yes, ma’am,” he replies as he takes the box, and signs for it.
After the usual parting wishes for each to have a good day, Jim closes and re-locks the door.
Walking back into the living room, Arzu eyes the box and gives a sigh. “What did you order now?”
Jim looks at Arzu innocently and replies,
I got a good deal on an auction website on some 7.62mm ammunition.” Arzu asks,
seriously, how many bullets do you need, sweetheart?”
I don’t know, but I know I haven’t reached the maximum yet,” Jim replies with a grin.
“I don’t know why you have to have so many guns and bullets, and all that other stuff.” Jim gives his wife nearly the same speech he’s done before,
“I don’t have too much. It’s like a hobby. Plus, you never know if they may be needed. You’ve seen what happens when a disaster happens like Katrina. I remember when Andrew hit, too. It seems like whenever a really bad hurricane hits, or an earthquake, people turn into a bunch of animals. That’s why I have those freeze-dried meals, water purification chemicals, and filters. A storm doesn’t have to cause damage to our area, but could still knock out power for days or weeks. That’s why I’ve got the generator in the garage too,” Jim explains. “It’s not like I want something bad to happen. I just want to be as ready as I can if it does. You know it’s better to be on the safe side.”
I love you, but I think you’re a little paranoid,” Arzu says
“Maybe I am a little, but being a little paranoid isn’t a bad thing if something happens, and we need these things,” Jim says.
After picking up the kids from school, helping them with their homework, and finally getting them fed and asleep, Jim and Arzu head to their bedroom for the night. Jim, not normally being able to fall asleep easily, flips through the TV channels for something to watch.
Just about to give up and watch a channel that plays old TV series, he stops the channel on an obvious news broadcast. The caption below the reporter gives her name and reads, "
Broadcasting Live From Moscow
”. It’s daytime there, and in the background he sees riot police, some on foot, and others in large armored vehicles with spraying water cannons.
Judging by the skyline in the background, the riot is on the outskirts of the city. The reporter doesn’t know the reason for the riot, because she just arrived on the scene, but there had been no indication from any sources that something like this would occur.
The reporter on location and the anchorwoman in the studio go back and forth with likely causes. No cause is obvious; no signs protesting this, or demanding that, are being carried by the crowd. All they seem to be doing is attacking each other by hitting, clawing, kicking, and biting. As he takes more notice of the crowd, it becomes apparent to Jim that some of the rioters are only partially clothed, or only wearing nightgowns or robes. Some are wearing nothing at all. Most are soaked from the water cannons, but none seem to give it a thought, even though it’s November in Moscow, Russia.
The reporter’s voice then begins to break into his conscious mind again, and he hears her say something about reports of some of the victims being taken to local hospitals, and that they were attacked for no known reason by a family member, some by strangers. Many victims were saying the attackers were frothing and drooling at the mouth.
“What the fuck?!” Jim yells.
What’s wrong?” Arzu asks.
Look at this crazy shit going on in Russia!” Jim replies. Arzu turns further over from her left side towards her back, raising her head slightly to better see the TV. “What, a riot?” Arzu asks. “I don’t know. I guess, but look at the people when the camera zooms in. Some are partially naked, and they’re all soaking wet from being sprayed with water cannons from the police. They don’t seem to give a shit.” Jim says.
So what, maybe--oh my God, they’re chewing on each other!” Arzu says, as she sits fully upright in the bed.
A second later, the signal from Russia goes black. The anchorwoman appears on the screen holding her right finger to the same ear, listening to her producer.
It appears we’ve lost our feed from our correspondent in Russia. We’ll continue to attempt to reconnect, but in the meantime, let me try to recap what we’ve heard and seen so far.” The anchorwoman repeats what the reporter close to the scene in Moscow reported, and also recaps the video that was seen.