Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Infected: A Very Merry Xmas Special

two years prior to infection

Snow is falling down in lush and thick snowflakes, covering the grounds of New-York City within hours. It was a beautiful sight to see from the penthouse suite of the Ritz-Carleton. Charles Olsen was standing behind the glass pane, admiring the white cityscape below him while he enjoyed a glass of MacCutcheon - his favourite whisky.

His wife, Sarabeth, was just putting on her final pieces of jewellery and then they would be off to their annual Christmas fundraiser. Charles had alot to accomplish tonight and he thought maybe his wife was taking her time on purpose.

"Are you almost done, Beth? He's waiting for us." Charles says as he raises his glass and finishes the remaining whisky. He's impatient at closing the deal. He would finally be able to expand the business, a dream of his since he first took over Olsen Pharmaceuticals from his ailing father.

Sarabeth walks out of the bathroom and Charles turns around to admire her beauty.

"Too bad you're inside doesn't match your outside." He says and walks towards the door.

"Ever so charming, Charles." Sarabeth lets out and follows her husband out of the hotel suite.


Charles shifts uncomfortably in his seat while his wife pours herself another glass of champagne. They are in their limo, on their way to Carnegie Hall. Mr. Olsen's cellphone rings and it breaks the tense silence.

"Hello. Oh, hi Charlotte. Yes, we're on our way there now." Charles rolls his eyes and answers with a series of yesses. "I'm sure Grams can take care of it. I'm really busy right now, Charlotte. Yes. Have a good night, sweetie."

He shuts off his cellphone and slips it back in his pocket. He feels his wife's cold stare on him and looks at her.

"Can't take five minutes to talk to her?" Sarabeth says as she chugs the remnants of her champagne cup.

"I don't see you picking up your phone to call her back." Charles answers back flatly just as the limo comes to a stop and the chauffeur announces their destination.

"Now put a smile on. We have a deal to close." Charles says as he steps out of the limo and into the cold Christmas night.


Carnegie Hall is adorned with blinking, vivid Christmas lights and brought to life with tall, massive Christmas trees. There is festive music playing smoothly in the background and the guests are chattering away while enjoying tiny, tasteful hors-d'oeuvres.

Sarabeth is discussing the current crisis in Darfour when her husband suddenly pulls her away for a private meeting. They walk hand-in-hand, smiling to each other as if madly in love. They make their way out of the hall and into a side hallway that leads to a private chamber in the west wing.

Evergreen garlands hang criss-crossed above them and discrete red lighting sets a very festive tone. A man dressed as Santa Claus greets them at the door and lets them in. Although he looks harmless, Charles can only guess what kind of weapons are concealed under the jolly red suit.

Sarabeth and Charles walk inside the room like old lovers. It's astonishing how well they can play the part. A man dressed in black sits at the desk in the middle of the room, two croonies on either side of him. He gestures for Charles and his wife to take a seat. They smile and sit down across from the man.

"I'm glad you accepted my invitation. Have you finally accepted the offer?" The man says sharply, a certain whimsy in his voice.

"We will be breaking hundreds of federal laws along the way. You are certain nothing will happen to us?" Charles says and he is convincing in his plight for both he and his wife's safety.

"You will be working for the US government, Mr. Olsen. I assure you immunity in return for your research."

Charles goes to speak but Sarabeth cuts him off and she genuinely sounds concerned. "Will this be used in war, Mr. Secretary of Defense? This weapon could be extremely dangerous."

"Call me Robert, I insist. Now don't be silly, we have no intention on actually using the chemical agent. We simply want to possess the technology."

At first Charles can't tell if the Secretary of Defense is angry or just taken aback by his wife's untimely rude comment. Charles excuses her on basis of a glass of champagne too much and asks her politely to leave and let the grown men discuss the important issues. Sarabeth scoffs and turns to leave. She doesn't forget to wink flirticiously at Mr. Secretary of Defense.

"Now what were we talking about, Mr. Olsen?"

"We were just about to seal the deal. I formulate this weapon of mass destruction and you pay me billions of dollars." Charles says, and accepts the cigar that is handed to him by one of Robert Scott's goons.

"You'll make millions of Americans proud, Mr. Olsen, I hope you know that. If you can do this...master the dead...we will be unstoppable," says Secretary of Defense Robert Scott; a certain brightness in his eyes as he delivers the last line.

Charles had always distrusted politicians and men like Robert Scott, but this deal was too good to fork over. If he realised his objectives, the United States of America would hold the power to reanimate the dead.


Charles joins his wife, who is chatting away with Margaret Jones, and politely asks her to dance. Sarabeth accepts gracefully and gives her hand to her husband. He leads her to the dancefloor and as they get swallowed in by the crowd and the sounds of Christmas music, Sarabeth whispers in her husband's ear:

"Once this is over, I want a divorce"

"Well...Merry Christmas to you, too" Charles answers back, a smile forming across his face.

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