The disease comes suddenly, without warning, and without mercy. It is an airborne germ that enters the human system through the respiratory tract. Through the capillaries of the lungs it enters the bloodstream, immediately attacking the brain. Its presence in the human body is marked by bleeding through the capillaries in the face; the capillaries rupture, causing bleeding through the nose, eyes, and ears. In the brain, the germ attacks and destroys the cortex; in the process, the victim becomes ridden with dementia and hysteria before slipping into a deep coma. Over a period of three days, the germ exponentially replicates in the brain, gaining the power and prominence to stimulate the brain stem. The victims come out of their comas, though now they are only shells of what they once were: personality, emotions, and thoughts are absent. All that is left is what appears to be a human being, though it is a mindless body, an organism of primal instincts and impulses, driven by an insatiable hunger and a thirst for survival, clinically insane. They are murderous fiends who only come out at night. They are not the “living dead”; rather, they are, simply, sick humans—sick beyond deliverance.
This second installment of the "Dwellers of the Night Trilogy" follows the story of "The Man" and Mark and their inauguration into a survivor's community on the eastern side of the city. The story progresses through the next several months and into spring, diving into the lives of the characters involved. The Man fears the community is not as secure as everyone else seems to believe, and he makes plans to travel northwest to Alaska.
The man smokes, watching the dark-walkers pound against the glass. Their jaws are filled with yellow teeth, speckled with dried blood. Their eyes are empty and yet full of venom. Their movements are quick and surreal, and they move together, like a flock of birds in flight. Their actions are rhythmic; they smash the glass with their broken fists in an unbroken rhyme. They are naked. The genitals of the men hang loose and swollen, and the breasts of the women are worn down and the nipples bruised purple, sharp as diamonds in the cold. Several stagger around in the snow, dragging limbs long overtaken by frostbite, watching with caution those who are not so weak: for if they do not dine on the man, they shall dine on those not strong enough to fight back. It is Nietzsches dream come true in a way he never could have imagined. The man lets the smoke fill the cab. He lifts the cigarette to his lips, but a pang in his ankle tremors his fingers, and the cigarette spirals onto the leather seat, rolls onto the floor, and smolders out of reach. The man curses and leans back. A woman climbs on top of the hood. Her misshapen breasts swing before him like cauliflower on a string as she sends feeble arms into the window, and her spread legs reveal a bushy vagina crawling with translucent lice. Her eyes were at one time a beautiful blue, and the overgrown hair, matted down with sweat and long absent of shampoo, falls before her eyes. In a flash of moonlight he sees an iron cross necklace dangling from her neck, the jewel that rests in the center of the crucifix obscured by dried blood. He imagines that this is Kira reaching for him, scrambling for him, thirsting for him, crazed and inhumane. A tear, the first in what seems like ages, traces a jagged line down his rose-blotched cheek. The darkness is clouding, and he closes his eyes, looks away from the woman. He hears her knuckles crackling against the plate glass...