“Yes, Mister President, I’m still alive. We made it all the way to Fort Collins before barricading ourselves atop an apartment building. I think we’re safe for now, but then again I thought we were safe a few days ago.”
     “Major General, my hands are tied. I had to use all resources at hand, and this thing still isn’t contained. From the last I’d heard, we’ve lost everything from Fort Collins to Pueblo, and Grand Junction to Fort Morgan. There are no signs of it stopping, or slowing for that matter, with all that has been thrown at it. I had to call it in.”
     Cardiff released a heavy sigh from deep in his lungs. He held the phone at arm’s length and spewed profanities in the other direction. Slowly he put the phone back to his ear.
     “So that’s it then? It’s come down to the final option on the table?”
     “I’m afraid so, Major General. My heart breaks for the state of Colorado, but we here in Washington felt there was no other way.”
     “It has been a pleasure serving under your command, Mister President. I only wish we could have put this outbreak to bed sooner.”
     “Thank you, and I wish that had been the case as well.”
     Cardiff removed the phone from against his ear and ended the call. Placing his head in his hands, he finally let loose with his emotions as the tears flowed through his fingers.
     Alex had been over by the edge looking at the carnage down below. He walked back over to Cardiff after seeing the reaction the phone call had on him.
     “Major General, it’s okay, we’re going to make it out of here somehow. We can’t give up hope now.”
     Cardiff laughed and sobbed at the same time, almost causing himself a bout of hiccups in the process.
     “Alex, I wish that were true. The President has given up on the situation, he’s called in the end all plan.  Most of the state is now overrun, and there really isn’t any other way to get it back. Our only hope now is to contain it before the ragers spread their infection further out to other states. That is, if they haven’t already.”
     “They know we’re here now, though. Even just a helicopter at this point would be able to get all of us off the roof.”
     “That’s not going to happen.”
     “Why not?”
     “Alex, the President has already said it’s over. He saw no other option. We tried our best, but our best wasn’t good enough. All other available troops have been called back out of the state.”
     “Shit. That’s shit! They can’t turn their backs on us now!”
     “They could and they did, Alex. I’m sorry.”
     Alex turned away from the Major General, gazing out at the landscape, the cars down below, and ragers running rampant in the streets.
     Suddenly the door to the rooftop sounded as if a wrecking ball had hit it.  The survivors quickly turned at the noise of the metal door.
     Alex ran towards the door at full speed, not knowing if it was another survivor trying to join them. As he reached the door, he could hear growling, scratching, and screeching from the other side. Definitely not the noises of a survivor.
     “Someone else get over here and help me! We can’t let them get through, we have nowhere else to go up here.”
     “Just open the door, let them through. It won’t matter anymore if we keep fighting back or not. The end is still the same.”
     Alex turned back to Cardiff.
     “Dammit, Major General. Stop talking like that and help me. We will find a way, somehow!”
     Cardiff stayed put, another man rushing over to help Alex. The two were pushing back as hard as they could when a gunshot went off. Alex turned just in time to see the crumpling body of the Major General fall to the gravel of the rooftop. The mist of blood still hanging in the air from the self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
     The distraction caused just enough loss of concentration that the ragers were then able to push the door open and outwards, shoving the two men to the ground. Alex instantly brought himself back to vertical, while the group of ragers went after the other man. A few raced after others on the roof.
     Alex scurried back to the cooling body of the Major General, picking up his pistol. Turning back around just in time, he aimed and shot the closest rager in the head. The next one he missed and hit the former woman’s shoulder. Firing twice more, he finally obliterated her head. As two more quickly approached, Alex pulled back on the trigger, only to be greeted with an empty click.
     Before his hand could drop to the ground with the pistol, the two ragers had torn out his neck, and ripped off one of his hands.
     On the horizon, amidst the glowing colors of the day turning to evening, a mushroom cloud bloomed.