I want to thank all the writers and creative folks who wrote for the prompts. And yes, you still have to do that. However to make clearer the flow and direction of this anthology I am adding this post.
Here are some of the characters you may come come in contact with, or be assigned to you.
52 yrs old CEO of a top-five hundred company. The All Powerful is an insanely expensive toy. Modern luxurious and huge. You can run your business from afar while the rest of the country burns with fever and chokes in blood. You’re sure you’re safe but your dreams are getting strange. Precognitive dreams are symptom of Red Lungs. You go in denial. How long before that option ends?
- 21 yrs old, trophy 2nd wife You are as smart as you’re opportunistic. As sexy as you can be devious. For now, you’re treated well and your rich husband is still besotted with you. While many are dying you’re aboard a super-yacht, on an open-ended getaway from death sickness and danger. But you never feel truly safe and when on the evening of the fifth day, you join a loud masquerade party; you realize that the virus is aboard. Most everyone is infected. And someone doesn’t want anyone to get out alive.
48yrs old CFO, charming, but as selfish as the day is long.
You hate Winters with a passion, why? Is it because of his success? His money? But it’s not something anyone would know. You can hide your emotion like a gifted sociopath, Winters himself doesn’t know. This getaway cruise is your chance to do away with him and take over the business. Enough of the other stockholder will vote for you once winters are gone. It’s a done deal. Too bad with this new pandemic the man has gone into full Howard Hugs mode. But today there’s a major stockholder meeting and everyone will be there in person. You grab an asthma inhaler loaded with the virus. A few sprays in the right places and you’ll be done. Just make sure to stay out of the range, don’t touch anything and get out as fast as reasonably possible. Then you can celebrate with the best looking call girls and purest drugs while waiting for the man to get sick and keel over.
But what gets in your way before you walk as much five feet from your fancy cabin? And how long do you have to live now? Will you even make it off your floor?
47yrs old Captain
You’re the captain of the ship. But you’ve got a secret. Your family was made destitute by Winters’ business dealings. Your father committed suicide. Now it’s finally your time to get some revenge. Dr. Mahir called confirming what you already suspected. The virus is on board. You have kept healthy and ensure that your handpicked crew stayed the same. You don’t think twice as you navigate the ship out into the ocean. Now you’ve set and locked the course for the autopilot and are ready to leave. You and your accomplices walk out the bridge and lock it behind. Before you can make it to your lifeboat you run into Dr. Mahir. The man-made it out, but he’s infected, and he attacks you. You’re contaminated. Your accomplices run and you are left behind. More sick people pour into the corridor. What will happen to you?
Cabin Steward – 24yrs old
Tall, muscular and smart.
The head of the security detail for one of the world’s richest men. This is crazy cruise is nothing new for you, who are as tough and well-trained as a mercenary in your field can be.
But three days ago, you bumped into that janitor, Murray? A little twink if you ever saw one, even cute if you rolled that way. And the kid grabbed onto you to keep his balance. Now your throat is a bit scratchy…and you’re feeling run down.
But four self-styled gangstas from SlrFlare entourage needs to be put back into place. Wild is wild, and this cruise is turning into a bacchanal that would put Mardi Gras to shame, but beating up on other guests is not allowed and you got a job to do.
Who knows, maybe later tonight the wife one of the world’s richest men will sneak some love to you in a quiet corner, away from prying eyes.
But first, you have to do your job on this ship where privilege, entitlements, stars, and starlets run with the rest of the passengers in a never-ending party. Who will you pass the sickness to?
42yrs old nurse
You are at the ship’s entrance. As people board you take their temperature and do a quick inspection. They already passed the first health check down at the dock. But the security is tight. You have already turned away a famous star with her entourage. It took security a good ten minutes before they would leave. Now finally everyone is onboard.
You walk down one of the corridors on the ship. You hear a wet cough that startles you. It reminds you of the hospital where you helped the first patients of this vile new virus. But when you turn you’re alone.
Unsettled you walk on to the sickbay to review the day with the onboard doctors and five other nurses.
33yrs old nurse
You are excited about this cruise. Open-ended, great pay and away from one of the country’s worst-hit states by Red Lungs. The only problems you expect to face are hangovers, indigestions, and overdoses. All treatable thank God. This morning you helped your new friend and head nurse Djana Louette processes the passengers aboard the ship. Now it’s late afternoon and the ship is leaving the dock and the party is already beginning. As you walk down the corridor you see a bloody red handprint on the wall. Unsettling at best, you’re disgusted. You hear a cough. Wet, deep. Impossible. You follow the sound and come face to face with a man you know, should NOT be aboard. He clobbers you over the head. When you wake up in the bilge. Where no one can hear you scream. Will you make it out alive? How long are in that bilge? How do you get out? Or who gets you out? And are they infected?
You’re a damn good doctor, but too old to risk your life in a hospital during this pandemic. Much better to be aboard this ship with your family. Knowing that your wife and son will also be safe.
So far you’ve had to deal with Overdoes, drunks, overeaters, sexual assaults. Some brawlers that needed stitches and other bizarre incidents that you don’t even what to think about. But the man who just showed up is coughing a wet bloody cough. He’s drunk, but no so much that he doesn’t understand what’s got him.
You quarantine him. And contact the captain of the ship. She tells you she’ll call for the navy to remove him. You thank God that you work for a rich man. But hours later the man is getting worse, the captain is not taking your calls.
Seven days in the cruise and everything has gone to hell. Yesterday you insisted security let you in the music venues. But the stricken man took you to a monitor room and you saw the hell that remained behind. No one could have survived.
Today the sickened people are streaming to sickbay and you can’t find Dr. Mahir and four of the six nurses. Alvar Vezzio the head of Winters’ security is one of sick. You convince him to take you to the boss. The captain won’t take your call.
You arrive at his penthouse only to talk into a camera. He refuses to let anyone in. Defeated you leave and plan to get away on a lifeboat.
Famouse vitner he gets his sickness from Thyla, the young stow-away and passes it on to multiple people on the ship with his wine bottles.
26yrs old, Trendy vlogger/influencer. Whose online videos are seen by millions. She has kept company with the richest in the Arabian peninsula, sailed on the boats of English royalty, throw parties for dictators. And if you’re lucky you’ll soon debut in a new dramedy! As haughty and nasty as you’re beautiful blogging and vlogging from the cruise since it sailed. And DAMN, it is wild and delicious depraved if you get invited to the right rooms.
But for the past couple of days you’ve been feeling a bit…sick, your nose is clogging up and you have had to sneak and cover a few coughs…No way in hell you are sick. No way in hell you’re getting off this boat until the cruise is over.
You’re five days into the cruise, who will you infect before your bloody and messy end in one of the ship’s dining hall? Your rival bloggers, a room full of fans ready for fun and makeovers, or dance floor?
36Yrs old You work for Mitch Winters’ CFO. You’re of the several employees brought aboard as necessary to keep the business running. You stayed away from the mad parties and the drugs flowing throughout the ship.
You’re paid well, but work exhausting hours to impress your boss and to keep them from questioning the need of keeping you. After all, you did manage to bribe the way in for your elderly mom and dad. In the chaos and revelry, no one noticed…Until this morning when dad started coughing at the breakfast service. One of the security personnel across the room noticed. You all left the table before he could check in on you.
But hours later, she’s found you and brought one of the ship’s nurses, she’s knocking on the door of your cabin. And your dad is flush with fever and stuffing his face in a bloody pillow to muffle the sound of his coughing. and your mother is pale with fear.
What are you going to do?
You thought this would be a pretty good job, especially after having experienced life on some of the supersized tourist cruise ships.
And at first, it was better. You don’t see Filipinos and others from poor countries being treated like serfs. But the class system is still there.
You thought things were under control when you got aboard, the nurses and doctors cleared the guest for Red Lungs before they came aboard. Not at one, but at two checkpoints one at the dock the other at the ship’s entrance.
You thought things would be wild but safe.
Damn, were you wrong.
By the first night, the parties were blowing out of control. The second day the parties went private as well as public. The third day, you heard of others having heard of wet nasty coughing. But things still looked okay to you, and sure you’ve seen some blood here and there. But the parties were wild. The fifth day you can’t deny it Red Lungs is here. By the morning of the sixth day, almost everyone knew of the blood baths at the two music venues.
And now here you are. Seven days into the trip and you’re trying to make it to a lifeboat.
And along the way, you wind up rescuing three children and their babysitter.But are you all going to make it out alive?
27 yrs old, developer. You are grief-stricken and furious. Your sister worked in one of Mitch Winters’ large warehouses with hundreds of other employees, paid a token wage and without any protection. She caught the virus and took it home to the rest of the family. They now are all dead. But rich men need servants, the entitled need the worse off to reflect their power back at them.
You found out through a friend who works on the ship. A couple of days before departure you’ve gone to their place, you didn’t mean to kill them. But it happened. You made it on the ship, with Red Lungs contaminants.
You’re two days in the cruise and realize that one of the cabin stewards suspects you. The phillipino who’s got to work on your floor and is scared of you. You’ve cornered her in one of the supply rooms, for some reason you know you won’t get out alive.
25 yrs old cabin steward
You are a young Cabin Steward, you never had a job like this before and are excited. This beats a job on a regular cruise ship, the pay is better and there are only five-hundred or so revelers. Cause that’s what they are. Within hours of leaving the dock, everyone said: “Let’s party”. Keeping up has become impossible.The ship is louder than a Mardi Gras, crazier than Burning Man and setting records for surreal debauchery. Some of it even made it online. Like that autoerotic asphyxiation body, you found in cabin nine. You hope your parents will never see the videos and wondering how you can get out of this gig.
But now, four days in you’re starting to hear wet disturbing coughs. You see blood splatter and you and your co-workers have been comparing notes.
The guests, 95% of them are too addled by alcohol, drugs or parties to care. Some of them are in denial. But you’re sure it’s time for you to head to the lifeboats, will you make it there? On a ship where anything goes some guests are taking too many liberties.
You are a country singer legend whose magnificent voice and talent has also allowed you to cross-genre into opera and pop.
You’re a week into the trip of a lifetime on a cruise on the most modern, fanciest yacht that has ever graced the ocean. Custom built for one of the richest men in the world. The good times are never-ending as he brought along his entourage and contracted the best chefs and the best entertainment. It’s a 24 hrs party event every day. Music and alcohol flow. Drugs are passed and no one can keep their hands of each other.
And you’ve heard the rumors of secret parties in a secret room you don’t even want to know about!
But you could swear that you saw one the waiters cough, And was that just the tiniest drop of blood you saw on his hand, Or was it syrup?
Now that you think of it…you saw fewer people about today. And this isn’t the first cough you heard, is it?
Your event will start in five more hours. Are you feeling well? You don’t know it, but just five days ago that amazing bottle of wine from Dale Morton’s Wilder Grapes winery you drank was tampered with, or maybe just touched by sick hands…So will you make it through your concert? What if everyone is sick. Will they lock the hall and keep you all in it?
23yrs old Rap mega-star came aboard with a massive entourage.
As far as you’re concerned everyone else is a has-been. You’re still fuming after butting head with the security chief, Alvar Vazzio, last night when he had to put in their places four of your best friend. Little did anyone know that he carries the Red Lungs. But guess what you already got it when you met up for wild and sexy tussle with Famous vlogger Lea Lovely the day before. And things are getting weird. The days and nights are wild bacchanals. But there are rumors that tonight’s night concert by Diva and country legend Sweet Dew Sweetums was apocalyptic with everyone locked in the room amidst screams and hollers. But was it for a wilder party? Or, what? You’re giving a concert in one of the Yacht other auditoriums in four more hours, it’ll be packed, again.You blink, get a minute of clarity and feel fear, something is wrong. Are you hearing suppressed coughs? Is it the weed, the meth or something else? You blink again and that moment is gone. Better get some sleep, four more hours and it’s showtime.You get a second of prescience, maybe the virus touches all its victims with a touch of the surreal and supernatural. And you wonder what will happen tonight, will you come face to face with the infected? Will they lock you in to keep the virus from getting out of the arena?
47 yrs old magician
22yrs old She stows away in a large food cart, helped by Murray. She Gets Murray and Dale sick
37yrs old. Spur of the moment decision, he’s told he’ll be laid off, he can’t pay the rent. He was loading the ship and decides to hide and stay. He’s sick and passes it on to Thyla Manors
Here is timeline of this adventure.
You're excited, you got an invite to the exclusive cruise/escape trip of a lifetime. While everything around you burns. You'll be Elbow bumping with the rich, the famous and the world shaker. But are you going to make it to the ship?
It's the best, you walk down the pier, you have to clear the first health station check up. Then once you pass them a second health station will take you temperature again along with your health records.
You don't feel sick, no reasons why you can't make it aboard.
Your nose feels irritated, wet. It's almost like you're getting a cold. Was one of the waiters sick? Couldn't be the passengers!
Must be the humidity, or an allergy. The parties are starting to spread from the designated venues to the rooms and corridors of the ship. Let's move on.
There is a tiny, small undercurrent of tension all around you. You have yet to see Winters. The host hasn't made so much as a token appearance. You notice a lot of the passengers are massaging their throats. You are sure you heard coughing that wasn't present on the first and second day of the ship. Eyes are rimmed red but is it the free flowing alcohol, the drugs and partying around the clock...or is it something worse? (Dear reader, it's something worse)
The sound of stiffled coughs is almost constant now. you almost don't hear it over the din of the bachanal. But you can sure hear it when you retreat to quieter corridors. From behind closed rooms and behind masks and costume. You overhear passengers babbling about weird dreams and nightmares, one of the symptoms of Red Lungs is prescient dreams.
You want to hide in your cabin but can't help yourself. As you walk throughout the ship you realize most everyone is sick to a degree or another. Temperature are high as mass of feverish people congregate to party on and dull their fear with drugs and frenetic action. You don't know it yet. But by tonight the denial won't be an option any more.
Reality blew open. You heard and keep hearing the screams. You know that concert venues had been locked shut with the revelers to compartmentalize the outbreak. Madness. It's already out, and been for a while.
Is anyone coming to the rescue? The internet connection disappeared days ago. The messages from the captain are reassuring and unreal. Where are the people in charge?
The captain is nowhere to be found, the helipad was destroyed.
Too many bodies. Too many madmen
You find your way to Winter's seclude floor...
All around the ship there's nothing but water. The ocean stretches to the horizon in every direction. Will anyone find you?
And the ship.