This is the first book in a series of novellas set in a world ravaged by a deadly plague.
Jeremy has choices. Choices that may affect whether he lives or whether he dies. The most deadly virus ever to strike humanity is steering the world towards anarchy and people are dying in the streets. The Peeling will literally melt your flesh.
And pretty soon The Peeling will affect the people Jeremy cares about. The world is ending, one poor soul at a time.
The Never Stop News Studio seemed cramped and small with all the bodies currently occupying it. The typical skeleton crew of six or seven had swelled to at least four times that amount in the last few hours as people crammed in front of the station’s news desk while its two young reporters prepared to go live with the evening’s story. The overcrowding had made Jeremy’s job a lot more difficult.
Jeremy was a security guard for Never Stop News, responsible for keeping out anyone not invited to be there. With the news studio and its roaming reporters providing live content twenty-four hours a day there was always a risk that some anarchic member of the public with a grudge and a message would try to sneak in front of the cameras to interrupt the feed. With current events, and the public being as frightened as they were, the risk of a security breach had skyrocketed. People wanted answers, and when people wanted answers they came after the Government first and the journalists a close second. With so many people filling up the claustrophobic studio, it was extremely difficult for Jeremy to keep his eye on everybody. It was even harder to keep his mind on them with what was happening in the world.
There was just one more hour to go before Jeremy was relieved by the night guard – just one more hour. But he couldn’t deny that he dreaded staying even one minute longer. Bad things were happening, starting almost a full week ago, and the situation didn’t seem to be getting any better. He didn’t want to be here anymore; didn’t want to hear another bloody thing about The Peeling.
The studio was silent and the lights went down as the countdown till live began. The network was currently running a pre-recorded football report on its dedicated satellite channel and on its website, but it would turn back to the two co-anchors in less than seven-seconds.
“Okay, guys,” one of the production assistants said. “You’re on in three…two…”
Sarah Lane, one of the anchors, cleared her throat and said, “Good evening, guys. My name is Sarah Lane and I’m here to give you all the latest news. Things are still pretty bad in the UK right now, but rest assured me and Tom will be bringing you all of the facts for the next few hours. So get yourself a nice hot cuppa and snuggle up on that sofa as Never Stop News will be looking after you tonight.”
Jeremy still struggled to accept such a casual approach to the news. Sarah and Tom were only mid-twenties and were allowed to dress and talk as such. Never Stop News’s whole premise was to provide the day’s events with a laid-back and youthful approach. Their slogan was: All the news. None of the old. Jeremy found it even more surprising that such an approach had been successful.
Never Stop’s hip approach to the news had gained them a younger audience unattainable to the traditional networks. It had even started to eat into the more mature demographics as well. It seemed that people were tired of the stuffiness of days gone by and were happy to get the news from a bunch of bubbly youngsters. As a consequence, the Never Stop News Corporation was one of the fastest growing media companies in the world. Jeremy imagined that the lovely Sarah Lane had at least a small part in that success. Her shapely legs and curved figure, always on display beneath the glass news desk, were a constant feature of trashy celeb magazines.
The equally attractive, and immaculately-groomed, Tom Connors, took the lead from Sarah and got started with the programme. “I’m Tom Connors and, as we’ve been reporting all week, the current crisis in the UK and – we’ve now been told – many other parts of the world, has escalated to devastating levels. It has been reported that upwards of four-million people have been affected so far and that number has continued to rise hour-by hour. With no end to the situation in sight, there is a fear that the current number of casualties is just a small percentage of what will turn out to be the final number.”