I had just returned to my hometown after being overseas for a few years. I was stationed in the Middle East as a Marine and I was now off-duty. So I was able to get settled back home and I could catch up with everyone in the area.
The first place I went to was the old pharmacy where one of my friends used to work. It had been a while since I last saw him and I was wondering if he even still worked there.
After passing much of the area, I noticed that most of the town didn't look at all how I left it. It used to be very poverty stricken so most of the buildings and roads looked decayed. But now I could see that they had either remodeled or replaced the buildings, and the roads had been paved over. Crime used to be a major problem in the past but now I wondered if they had cleaned the place up, since the town looked so much better.
Once I got to the pharmacy, I went up to the front counter and looked across to see if I could find my old friend, Roger. I noticed he was over towards the back of the building, handling some medicine on the shelves. For some reason, he had a very excited demeanor and I wondered what the deal was. He hadn't noticed me yet so I tried to get his attention.
He turned and noticed me, still wearing that same bright look of his, and then he approached the counter.
"Hey John, you're back. So does that mean you're off-duty for a while?"
The conversation went on for a few minutes as we talked about how our lives were going. Then I hinted that I was going to go do some errands but I had to ask him a question first. He had been smiling the entire time, even before he saw me, so he had my curiosity piqued.
"Hey, so why are you so happy all of a sudden?"
"Happy? What do you mean?"
"You've been glowing the entire time."
"Oh, I guess it's just the fact that I got those vaccines recently."
That was a very strange response and I had expected entirely different answers. I figured that he would say he got a new girlfriend, or a promotion, or something like that. Not the fact that he enjoyed getting shots of fluid jabbed into his arm.
"Must be some really good vaccines then," I said with an awkward laugh.
"Hey before you leave, have you gotten your vaccines taken care of?" he pointed in the direction across from us.
I noticed that there was the sign that read: "Get Your Vaccines Here", and there were a few other employees working behind the counter. Oddly enough, they were all smiling as they worked. They weren't talking to each other or laughing at anything, so I couldn't understand why they looked like that. It was very unnerving and I wanted to leave pretty quickly.
"Yeah, I got all that taken care of a long time ago," I responded. "Well I guess I'll be heading on my way."
We said our pleasantries and I left to go do my errands. But everywhere I went everyone was acting the same way as Roger and those pharmacy employees. No matter what they were doing or where they were, they always had that over-the-top cheerful look about them.
So after running a few errands I decided to return home and try to relax a little. I hadn't completed all of my tasks yet but the day's disturbing events had made me question if I should even bother.
I spent the rest of the day reading and watching TV before heading to bed later that night. I probably slept for good several hours before being woken up by my phone ringing on the side of my bed.
I rolled over onto my side and hazily looked at the clock. It was two in the morning and I hadn't expected to get any calls so late, if at all. I reached over and answered it.
"Oh thank God this number actually works and you're home this time. Hey, I know it's really late, but there's something you need to know about the vaccines in that town."
"What are you talking about? Who is this?"
"My name's Jessie. We met just before you left for the military. I don't know if you remember me, but that's not important right now."
He was right, I didn't remember him very well at all and that only made this phone call even more unusual.
"You need to get out of that town as quickly as possible. I've kept an eye on the residents and I know what they're going to do. They've already done it to the rest of the folks living there."
"Yeah, I know it sounds crazy but you must have seen them after your return, right? The way they were always smiling at you, the way they acted."
That's when it struck me hard and I could feel my stomach drop.
"You mean how bubbly they were?"
"Yeah, that's right. So you know what I'm talking about? Look man, I've got to go before they find me too, but trust me when I say, you've got to get out of there soon."
He hung up the phone after saying that and I just sat there on my bed. I wasn't sure how to take everything in and I questioned whether it was all true or not. It even occurred to me that maybe I had just hallucinated the majority of the past day, due to what happened overseas, but everything felt too real for that to be the case. Then I remembered the way Roger responded after asking him why he was so happy and that only solidified my worries. That's when I decided to get ready to leave and stay out of town, at least temporarily.
But those plans were suddenly interrupted by the sounds of loud banging from outside. It sounded as if it was coming from all around the house downstairs. The walls, windows, and doors were being pushed against and there was no sign of it stopping.
I rushed over to my bedroom window and looked outside, down at my front yard. There, surrounding my house, was a large crowd of people pushing forcefully towards my home. They looked like the town's residents and they all had the same demeanor. That smiling eeriness I first saw when I walked into the pharmacy.
That's when I knew I needed to get the hell out of there, without a moment's hesitation. I rushed downstairs, grabbed my car keys and a knife from the kitchen, and went to the garage. I got into my car and I took a moment to prepare myself for what I would have to face.
I opened my garage and dozens of them poured in, trying desperately to reach for the driver door. Their attempts were only met with disappointment as I backed out into the driveway and turned the wheel.
Several of them pushed their way towards my car as I started to turn towards the street. I could see their faces as they knocked and pushed against the window but it was no use. They couldn't get to me in time and I was able to turn into the street. I floored it and drove as quickly as I could, out of town.
After that, I called the police and I stayed away from that place.
I later found out that the town had to be closed off and evacuated. All of the citizens were hostile and so the police had to use force to get things under control. Some of the citizens died in the incident, but those who survived had to be taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Apparently, all of them had some strange drug flowing through their system. Nobody knew exactly what it was, what it was called, or even where it came from. But I think that’s what Roger was talking about, in regards to the vaccines.
Anyways, I haven’t returned to that area since and I’m always very careful when I go to get any vaccines.
Written by Gabemcceldry