My deep green eyes slowly opened at the sound of birds chirping joyfully in the trees outside the delivery van I was taking shelter in. It was nice to hear them for once and not just the annoying squawks of the crows. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes as I sat up slowly to look out the back of the van at the streets outside. It was as quiet as a mouse. Nothing was out there on the streets but the early morning sun toasting the ground and the occasional piece of stray litter that blew past. Just like yesterday, it was deserted. I was comfortably propped up against the inside of the van in a thick blanket. I pushed it off me and scratched my long brown hair that was like a bird’s nest on my head. I would brush it soon so that the birds outside wouldn’t come and lay their eggs on my head. Yawning a little I slowly pulled on my dark skinny jeans and black ankle boots. I’ve no idea how I could be tired considering I slept like a log last night. Maybe I’m just tired because I haven’t eaten recently since I was running low on food.
Today I had to go look for some in abandoned buildings lining the streets. After running my brush through my hair until I didn’t look like a mess anymore I folded my blanket up neatly and put it on top of my plump pillow. Then I picked up my small bundle of things in my flimsy cloth bag that had a map, a half-full water bottle and a picture of me with my family. My parents both died before this sickness came and wrecked the world. I lived with my brother in an apartment in the city, but a week after things had gotten really bad he made me leave with the bit of food we had as well as anything else I could quickly grab. I missed them, but at least they didn’t get sick and go crazy like a lot of people do because of this illness. I had seen some of them get the disease but hadn’t a clue if they died afterwards. I did see some of the people with it, and they had seemed to gone nuts because of it. They chased citizens, stumbled around like they were drunk and growled and snarled like while animals. They made me think about leaving the city since I didn’t want to get it and end up like them; maybe live somewhere in the countryside until the people in the city got some help and things were cleaned up. But I decided to be brave and stay in the city where I knew there was food, shelter and hopefully some help to come.
When I was younger my dad made me become a girl scout and I’m glad now because I wouldn’t know basic survival skills without it. Also, I’m glad my grandpa taught me how to use a map because I wouldn’t be able to get around the city safely and silently, which was what I was about to do now. I often would walk around the streets alone near my delivery van watching the sick people wander the streets. I never got too close to them in case I would get the disease myself, but I did feel sorry for them because they hadn’t got help yet. I jumped out the back of my truck and pulled down the metal shutter door that kept the blanket, pillow and other bits of stuff I had left safe in the back. Then I rubbed my hands together to get them warm up and wake them up. Looking down the streets I see that it was still quiet, and there are no people around sick or healthy. Oh well, looks like I’m gonna be alone for longer I’d better get some food, I thought to myself and started to jog quietly down the streets to find food with my bag over my shoulder.
It took me about an hour to go and come back with food from an old cafe that might have been stylish in its day. I got some tinned food, three water bottles, and some chocolate. Yippie! Something to be happy about, even if it was just small. When I got back to my van I feasted on the chocolate bar and drank some water. It was surprisingly delicious and the water was refreshing. As I ate I sat looking out at the streets. It was still so lonely and there were still no people about. I needed to find people who weren’t sick soon or I may go crazy with loneliness myself like them. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I just wanted to talk and see other people again. Maybe if I move closer to the highway I would be more likely to be seen by a group of people, or even just the one person. I hope I don’t end up with some dangerous people who might get the disease or some terrorists. A strong group that I could work hard for and survive with until this sickness was cured. Maybe I could learn new things from them, maybe teach them something too, and maybe they would want to be friends after all this is over with me and we could meet in the city or something. I have a name by the way. It’s Annabelle. Annabelle Adams, and when I finished eating I decided to sit quietly in the back of my delivery van shelter and watch the world go by for the rest of the day with my bag plopped next to me. Well, that was what I planned on doing. I honestly didn’t expect anything to happen today since it was like every other day, but up the road, I heard the sound of gunshots. I instantly grabbed my stuff and scampered up the road in time to see a guy run down the street where there was an abandoned tank then turn down an ally with the sick chasing him. What the heck is going on there? I wondered to myself watching them. Was there a group in the city of Atlanta from outside? Maybe I could make contact with them and join them and get out of here! I began to listen for the gunshots again carefully to give me an idea of where they were. The ill people were still lingering around the ally way but when more gunshots came from the front of the building the person firing them had to be on they all started to move over towards it.
“Hey, Dixon! You crazy!” I heard a voice yell and another guy, that had to be this Dixon guy, just laugh like a madman. I held my hand up to my eyes to shield my eyes from the soon looking frantically at the edge of the building’s roof for people. The sick stayed away from me thankfully, maybe because I wasn’t loud. Another gunshot was fired followed by one of them dropping down after the bullet went through its skull killing it. I gasped covering my mouth at the sight of it. The voice of the Dixon guy spoke loudly with a strong southern accent to the other people up there, but I couldn’t get my head around the fact he just killed a sick person! Why would someone do that?!
“What the heck are you doing?!” I yelled up at whoever was there just before he fired another shot but this time he missed but stood up on the edge of the roof with a scoped rifle in his hand.
“Jesus Christ, what the fuck that?” He shouted in shock seeing me then four more faces appeared near him on the edge of the rood. One was a man who looked like he hand Latin origins, another younger man who looked like he was from East Asia somewhere. There was also a blonde woman and a dark-skinned lady as well.
“Whatcha doin’ out in the open little lady?!” The southern American, scratch that, redneck shouted looking down at me through his gun scope.
“Never mind about her, you wastin’ bullets we ain’t even got!” Another voice, the one from before, said and the redneck jumped down from the edge of the roof. I heard the two of them argue again more intensely then the Latin guy got down off the side of the roof to try and go calm them down.
“Are you on your own?” The dark skin lady asked and I nodded. “Well, if you go around the side of this building to that alleyway we can let you it!” she told me and pointed to the alleyway that other guy went down.
“Really?” I asked astonished they were inviting me into their group, this could be a saving grace for me I need!
“Really.” She replied nodding once. I thanked her quickly then ran down the alleyway she pointed down. It had a couple of ill people laying about on the ground but I just focused on getting to the door that was opened by a guy in a sheriff’s uniform who was tall and had short brown hair. My eyes went wide and for some stupid reason, I asked this next question.
“You’re not going to arrest me are you?” I asked holding up my arms as if I were surrendering.
“No, get in here quick,” he said with a slight laugh and I ran in as he closed the door behind me. “Come on.” he beckoned with a hand then lead me up several flights of stairs that eventually lead to the roof. On the roof, I heard the man with the rifle yell a horrid word ‘nigger’ to the other that I assumed was a man of colour and I flinched at it. If this is what this group is like maybe I shouldn’t stay. As we went through a door onto the roof we saw two men, who were probably the men yelling at each other before, start to fight brutally. The guy who let me in the building went in to try tried to stop them but he got hit by the redneck man. He shoved the young black guy onto a large pipe probably used to get water or something around the building making him hit his head on it and me to flinch. What kind of group are they?! I thought to look at the drama unfold with wide eyes. Everyone was yelling, the blonde girl being the loudest, at the bald redneck to stop but he just kept kicking the poor black guy in the ribs again and again. Then he started punching him in the face until he had blood in his mouth. I looked over at the sheriff seeing his lip was bleeding a bit too and he looked beyond mad. The scene just got worst by the second down to the other people in the group not doing anything and just watched the bald man beat the living daylights out of the guy on the ground. I would have done something if I wasn’t so small next to that guy or if I had a weapon that I could use. My eyes went wide like saucers and I nearly screamed when the redneck drew a gun on the beaten man. Everyone stopped and went silent. The guy on the ground went wide-eyed like me as he looked right at his attacker’s gun.
“No no no, please, please!” the blonde girl begged. The redneck glared down at him before he eventually spat on his chest then rubbed it in growling. The black guy flinched before the redneck stood up speaking.
“Alright! We gonna have ourselves a little pow-wow!” the redneck shouted with the gun still in his hand making everyone on edge. “Talk about, who’s in charge!” He added speaking dominantly. “I vote me.” He said as the Asian guy, the coloured woman and the blonde woman dragged the injured guy away from the redneck’s wrath. “Anybody else? Huh?” He asked sarcastically but the rest of his group was too terrified to say anything. “Democracy time y’all!” he said raising his arm. “Show o’ hands.” He said still clutching his gun firmly in his other hand. “Huh? All in favour!” He said and the Latin man raised his hand causing the redneck to grin smugly at him. “All in favour?” He asked tilting his head then the other three people in the group all raised a hand each as they stood around the injured guy layout on the floor. “That means I’m the boss!” the redneck announced proudly of his forced victory. I shaking my head looking down and held it because his violent actions just would not sink in, but he couldn’t see because his back was turned towards me...thankfully. “Anybody else? Hmm?!” He asked once more but we all knew no one was going to say anything against him. But he had forgotten about the sheriff guy.
“Yeah,” the voice of the sheriff said and he hit the redneck with the rifle in the head before he had time to even turn to him. The loud redneck fell to the ground groaning in pain as the sheriff grabbed one of his wrists and handcuffed it to a pipe that the injured guy had hit his head on moments before. The sheriff, who still seemed angry but was somehow keeping calm then grabbed the redneck by his collar with both his hands holding him right in front of him before the redneck spoke with shock in his voice.
“Who the hell are you man?!” He yelled.
“Officer friendly,” the sheriff seethed then let go of him in disgust. “Look here Merle,” he began as he took the redneck as known as Merle’s handgun away to take out the ammo clip. “Things are different now, there are no niggers anymore,” The cop spat the offence word that Merle used in disgust. “No dumb-as-shit inbred white trash fools either.” He added and my eyes went a little wide at an officer of the law swearing. Merle just scowled at him as the sheriff continued. “Only dark meat, and white meat,” he said seriously and I frowned wondering what he meant. “It’s us and the dead. We survive this by pulling together, not apart.” the sheriff said and I agree that what he was saying was right, but I wondered even more about what he meant by ‘the dead’.
“Screw you man,” Merle muttered but the sheriff just sighed glancing away for a second from him before speaking again.
“I can see you make a habit of missing the point,” he said looking back at Merle with a raised eyebrow and tilted head almost scoffing at Merle.
“Yeah, well screw you twice,” Merle replied a bit louder trying to sound tough I’ll bet, but it made him sound childish. The sheriff suddenly pointed his revolver gun at Merle’s head.
“You ought to be nice to a man with a gun,” he warned aggressively pushing Merle’s head with the end of the gun. “Only common sense.” He added.
“You wouldn’t, yer a cop.” Merle threw back. The sheriff moved his gun away but still stared hardly at Merle.
“All I am is a man looking for his wife and son,” he replied showing that he was serious and determined. “Anybody who gets in the way of that is gonna lose.” he threatened then he and Merle glared at each other for a couple of seconds before the sheriff spoke again. “I’ll give you a moment to think about that.” He said sarcastically then began searching Merle’s pockets taking something out that I couldn’t tell what it was but he flicked Merle’s noise taunting him before he stood up. Might have been drugs, it looked like it could be something bad like that.
“What are you gonna do? Arrest me?” Merle chuckled sarcastically telling me that had to be drugs. The sheriff stepped back then tossed a bag over the side of the roof that made Merle yell at him. He fought furiously against the handcuffs before threatening the sheriff if he got loose. The sheriff was just ignoring him and he walked over to the far side of the room muttering something about Merle. Although he was reckless in getting back to his family, I felt like I should probably make friends with this guy. I don’t want to be on his bad side.