It had been about an hour since Lewis arrived in the morgue. It had been a busy day, and there had been a bus crash that sent several down there before him. Normally, a body was processed and stored within an hour but in his case he was still lying on the gurney, covered by a sheet. He was still in his stained clothes, and the only thing different from when he came in was the ID bracelet on his wrist and the medical chart resting on his chest. His body had started to cool, and on an invisible level, his decomposition had begun. Cells died from lack of oxygen and the trauma his body had experienced. The synapses in his brain stopped firing, and his memories and motor functions were forever lost. The man Lewis had been was no more.
The bus crash had put the hospital in crisis mode, with doctors and nurses called from floor to floor to assist wherever necessary. Over forty people were injured, ranging from sprains to mortal wounds. This is why nobody took notice of the gurney in the corner, or the several others around that were parked in a tidy row. The morgue was the quietest room in the hospital, and rarely visited. Even medical professionals dread seeing the dead. Reminders of our human mortality makes everyone uncomfortable, even those who stare death in the face every day. There was nothing left to be done for the patients sent here, and little energy was spent until the bodies were examined for evidence or documentation.
Because of the crash, time flew. St. Joseph shifted into high gear as a whole, and like a well-practiced dance, everyone worked as a team to help those with the greatest need first. With the exception of a single assistant, the morgue was unattended.
And that is why nobody saw the body on the gurney start to move.
Several miles away, the mess that had once been a lab rat named Mark Jimson crawled along a dried up creek bed. His mind was now a blank, but before that he had been so angry. The car had spun out of control, and the pain had been bad. His mind had been wandering and the fever had become more intense. What he would never know is that he had already been drying on his little road trip. What he had mistaken for the flu was a raging case of NVD-11 or Cool Cat as they called it.
When the car had stopped, he glared over the wheel at the sun that was burning his eyes. He was so angry, all he could do was grasp the wheel in fury. Somewhere deep in his head something sparked, and he had reached for the cooler and assured himself it was okay. After that, things flickered in and out with gaps between. Growling, hurting, a vision of some man standing over him asking if he was okay. Biting his own tongue and the spurt of hot blood in his mouth, and pulling himself up from the ground. Somewhere in there, he stopped flickering in and out and left for good, taken over by the fever and the shock. He died standing on his feet, and almost immediately his brain began to fire anew. His body moved on autopilot, obeying simple commands that it had received since birth. He was angry, furious, hungry. At one point an arm had come into view and he had bitten it, sucking the blood hungrily as it ran into hit mouth. Attack and eat, kill and shovel it into his mouth. Those were the only things that mattered. Any reasoning or emotions no longer existed. Fear, sadness, nothing existed except the desire to eat and the desire to attack.
Several hours later he was still crawling, dragging his useless leg behind him. He moved nonstop, but the damage had been done to his hands. Great hunks of meat were missing, and the bones were beginning to chip away. The water slowly began to grow deeper in the creek bed, and soon he was up to his elbows in water. He made a snarling sound and slogged forward. Occasionally, he would stop and attack the water, overcome by the desire to kill. If he had looked up, he would have seen the sparkling lights of a subdivision coming up. Soon, his little creek would take him right into a line of houses.