Alright, alright, SLOW DOWN, people. Christ on a crutch. Too much chatter here.
So. In the interest of increasing the victim pool, I'm tossing out a brief introduction paragraph.
Between Sixth and Eighth avenue, running a three-block trench from West 40th to West 53rd, there are eight-hundred and seventy-six thousand people contained in an area measuring 800,000 square feet. Police cars line the area, stationed like military check-points, ready to respond. Order on the fringes of a cacophony of massive speakers blasting music in time with a live celebrity's lip-synching, plastic horns, flashes of digital cameras and sloshing of clear plastic cups. Food papers and plastic cups litter the ground here and there as winter wind stirs it from city corner to corner.
Searchlights blaze skyward, projecting columns of light like God's puppet strings, dancing across the night sky as if searching for an air raid this country's never seen. Massive, luminous advertisements of athletes, cars, sports teams, networks, underwear models and mega-corporations loom overhead, a panoramic slideshow of pop-cultural mnemonic memory cues. The effect is numbng, and, combined with the glow of the massive HD screen's pre-edited broadcast of the pseudo-live show going on below, serves to cast a blue glow upon everything... amber lights of the post modern era shifting weakly, smoothly, to the blue of the plasmascreen era.
An ambulance hisses over the blacktop, sparing the siren to avoid panic, its white polish gleaming a slot-arcade of lights as it turns into the street. Twin streams of fog roll from the nostrils of a horse as a half-dozen mounted officers round the corner of a steel pedestrian barricade, past a knot of as they move to rejoin the ocean of revelers like mercury drawn to its mass. A young man in a goose-down vest, his crew-cut hair beginning to recede as he approaches his thirties, laughs with his girlfriend, a pretty brunette dressed in a faux-fur ruffed winter coat, her cheek emblazoned with a faintly-smeared blue and white '20*08', her cheeks and nose faintly flushed, like his, from late December chill and Jack Daniels. The young man's Timberland shoes cross the pebbled, blaze-yellow of a traffic lane, a thick-browed officer checks their wristbands. They're waved through by the officer's leather-gloved hand, holding his radio's mouthpiece as he delivers a status report with broad Brooklyn vowels.
The crowd surges, cheers louder... an NBC camera and a New Japan camera glide smoothly by on self-lifted, remote-powered blimps, beaming digital pictures over secured wifi. The crowd gimmicks for them, postures with celebratory gestures and ecstatic, inebriated cries. The stage on the massive screen shows a pop star... certainly a very famous one, her identity, however, not immediately clear... wearing what appears to be designer underwear and snow boots. The stage, heated by domed burners, is a balmy seventy degrees; the stage seems to actually steam, viewed in the right light.
People typically glad to step gently on one's prostrate face to reach their destinations lock arms, cheer, sing together, pass drinks around and tell jokes with poor delivery. A woman with gaudy gold-sequined coat dances in an awkward waltz with a cigar-smoking, toboggan-sporting transportation worker. A half-dozen college-age boys pass a stained white pizza box back and forth; their New Year's resolution having been, evidently, to participate in recycling efforts, they use the cardboard to pass Dixie-cups of Jello-shooters back and forth. A young woman in a black trenchcoat with green hair accepts one, gives a college-boy a kiss on the cheek with her black-painted lips. A bagpipe plays somewhere, but is more an undercurrent of noise to the digital-produced synth-pop over the massive speakers. And the famous, massive globe of lights twinkles giddily over it all, the master of ceremonies emblazoned 2007, eager to fall to its knees for a final rest, to relinquish the burden of so much incomprehensible madness among humanity to another year.
It's just a number... New York, 2008. California, 1849. Hawaii, 1941. Sarajevo, 1914. Berlin, 1989. New York, 2001. London, 2002.
New York, 2008. One point on the crust of the earth. One frayed twist in the braid of centuries. Just a speck, a moment, a blink in the expanding reach of the big fucking bang.
The ball is falling... the lights on it are like a madman's EEG, a frenzy of white flickers and flashes. The crowd screams, some of them... many haven't noticed the countdown yet. "TEN--"
Faces turn upward, watching the ritual transpire; the traditional fall of the year, the rise of a new. "NINE--" Wishes, promises, taxes and illnesses. "EIGHT--" for some, new careers, new families, new dreams, new hopes. "SEVEN--" New griefs, new trials. Jobs lost, loved ones ill, hearts broken. "SIX--"
The crowd surges, screams of anticipation. Squawking over the police radios, hard to make out over the noise.
"FIVE--" Everyone now, chanting with the mob-mentality that this must be done, this is what it's all for.
"FOUR--" Strange cries in the South Plaza, riotous activity. Police are being disp--
"THREE--" --patched to investigate a potential--
"TWO--" --outbreak of vio--
"ONE--" --lence, SWAT notified, begin lock down--
The funny thing about zero, is: it lasts forever. There can only be two, or three, or five million for so long; they're just ideas, really. Just quantifications. But the purest idea is zero.
Numbers are elusive, really. When you drop a milliliter of sodium into a controlled unit of H2O, the result is violent; we can point at the first molecule to meet the water as a point of origin, but when it explodes, does it really matter anymore where it started? It can't be undone, not repackaged one reaction at a time. The nova of heat and steam can't be put back in its box.
There was blood and noise, screams of panic. Every animal-core of every mind snapped to the shadowy fear of a terrorist act. Who knows? Perhaps, ultimately, there was some devious plan to release the infection at this event. This, however, is doubtful; something of its nature would have, must have, appeared before.
The speculation among survivors wandered this path, blaming outside agents, foreign governments, blaming domestic poisons or scientific irresponsibility. But the cause is nothing; what matters is the aftermath, as with all such acts. The agenda of the killer is pointless; the result matters.
The infection was virulent in ways unprecedented in nature. It was wildfire in a sea of dry stalks, leaping from person to person, surging back on itself, swallowing thousands in a fluid arm of corruption in just minutes. Bloodstained faces, broken bodies littered the pavement, an army of mad, bloodthirsty beings left in the wake of the domino-fall of bodies. Fires broke out, shots were fired. Riot police barricaded the area, cordoned off whole blocks... but the epicenter was too large. The CDC held out for two days before operations "failed". After that, it was anarchy. The biggest army God had ever seen, and it was an army of the dead.
Ok, tired, just an idea, something to think about and set the mood. Please start forwarding character ideas.