Title: Sudden Blindness
Author: G. L. Didaleusky
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 1
People in Ocala, a small city in Florida, face an epidemic of sudden blindness. The head of Ocala Regional Medical Center's emergency room, David Belmont, and his wife, Sarah, a high school science teacher, seek answers to what is causing the blindness, where did the blindness originate and why did it suddenly afflict people and animals without warning or other symptoms? Their son, a high school senior, is one of the victims. These questions are baffling an experienced investigative medical team from CDC whom arrive later in the day from Atlanta, Georgia. Unbeknownst to David, Sarah and the leader of the CDC's team, Russell Patton, has a mutual amorous secret.
A moonless night accentuated the meandering headlights of a moving vehicle along a winding lakeside road near the city limits of Gainesville, Florida. "Can't believe, how easy it was to break into that home, Carl," Eddy said to his passenger excitedly. "The owners were definitely sound sleepers. They hardly resisted when we tied them up in their bed."
"It's got to be our easiest home invasion yet, Eddy." He pulled out a flask from his pants' pocket and took a sip of whiskey from it. He then handed it to his cohort in crime.
"I figure we should get a few thousand bucks for everything. The jewelry looks expensive."
"Their laptops are high-grade. We should probably get a good price for them too."
"Look out, Eddy," Carl shouted. The road made a sharp turn to the left but their vehicle continued straight ahead. The car shook violently as it sped down a wooded terrain's uneven incline toward a lake.
Eddy, squeezing the steering wheel for dear life, pushed down on the brake pedal as hard as he could. Nothing happened. "Holy shit." The break lining obviously ruptured. His head struck the steering wheel, followed by blood cascading down his forehead.
Carl's body lunged forward as his face slammed into the dashboard. A cracking sound came from his neck.
They flew by sparsely spaced pine trees, coming within inches of them. The car's headlights now lit up the water in front of them. Neither of them saw it, for their unconscious bodies bounced around in the front seat of the car like rag dolls. It took less than a minute for the car to submerge into the deep lake. Unless someone saw the vehicle enter the watery grave, no one would discover these two unhallowed residents.
Something in the back seat emitted a faint, yellow glow as the car sank to the bottom of the lake.
A man who appeared to be in his mid-fifties and moderately overweight sat behind the steering wheel of a tour bus. He said into a microphone, "It's me again, Frank Murphy. I wanted to let you know we're about thirty minutes to our destination, the Gulf of Mexico and Port Hawk."
Some people on the capacity-filled bus exclaimed enthusiastically, "Hallelujah." Others commented with less exuberance. Most of the passengers were couples between fifty and seventy years old.
Frank continued, "The casino ship's shuttle boats will be leaving a little over an hour once we stop. There'll be time to visit several little quaint novelty shops along the boardwalk."
The blacktopped two-lane road started at I-75, south of Gainesville. Frank had been making the ninety-minute casino bus trip for the past ten years. He knew every bump and curve in the road. There were several other bus trips to casino ships on the Gulf and Atlantic side of Florida, and to the Indian casinos. Frank couldn't figure out why residents of Florida hadn't voted for casino gambling at hi jai facilities, dog and horse tracks in Florida. There would be a tremendous increase in tax revenue for the state. The irony in all of this, Frank didn't gamble.
"How often have you been on the casino ship?" asked a passenger sitting behind Frank.
Frank chuckled. "Only once. I got severe sea sickness."
"Was it a rough sea?"
"No. Hardly a ripple. I should've known better, since I get motion sickness on airplanes and even some elevators. I've been like this since I was a kid. I couldn't go on merry-go-rounds or any other rides at carnivals."
"What a shame. Not able to enjoy the rides."
"No big thing. I became extremely efficient at those carnival games. I always walked away with an armful of prizes."
The bus suddenly veered to the right and onto the shoulder of the road, its tires running over the ribbed warning strips causing a whining sound to alert drivers their vehicle left the highway. The low mumbling sound of passengers talking stopped, their attention diverted toward Frank Murphy, who sat erect, his hands tightly grasping onto the steering wheel.
"Is everything all right?" Panic engulfed the passenger's words as he waited anxiously for an answer.
"I can't see." Frank cried out as he applied the brakes. Within seconds, the bus jerked to the right as it headed down a slight embankment toward a row of pine trees. A moment later, the front of the bus crashed into them, killing Frank instantly.