I thought it would be just like any other Monday in March. I woke up, slightly hung over from last night’s usual routine. It used to consist of drinking a twelve pack by myself while watching a couple movies and talking on ***(social networking site) in my shit hole, no-bedroom apartment in downtown Madison, Wisconsin.
Even walking to the bathroom to see how bad the bags under my eyes were, I felt a little bit off. I could hear more commotion outside than usual. I didn’t think anything of it. Seeing the newly short brown hair I had cut myself last night made me laugh a bit, up until I noticed that the clock on the wall in the mirror read twelve-fifteen.
“FUCK! I’m late already!” I yelled in my head before skipping the hygiene bit and running to put yesterday’s clothes on. A dirty and stained tight-fitting grey shirt, my smiley face boxers, a pair of khaki shorts held up with one of those generic woven black belts that any scrawny or fat bastard can use. After putting on my new ***(shoes) I slapped my ear-buds in to my ***(media player) I was on my way out “Unbelievable… They’re going to fire you this time.” I mentally bashed myself about my nursing assistant job just before I locked the door behind me.
Just before I sprinted down the dingy hallway I reminded myself “At least I don’t have to deal with my usual teach after work.” Having a couple days left to go until we had our final for paramedic school. I knew our teacher had food poisoning... I gave it to her. I wasn’t about to be failed for a “lack of handwashing ability.”
Shit-colored carpet and chipped paint lined my vision for less than twenty seconds before I stopped in my tracks. In the small window of the door at the end of the hall that led to the stairwell there was blood smeared from top to bottom. I inspected it from my current distance for only a moment before pausing my ***. “What the…” was all my mind could ask before I heard the scream.
Letting my body decide based on that, thankfully instinctual, flight or fight mode I sprinted back to the door of my apartment. I remember fumbling with the keys. I looked back towards the hallway to see if there was anything to give me a clue as to what caused it. Then, just as my key entered the deadbolt lock, there he was.
A shaggy haired, male around twenty-two, just like me. Staring at me, I could see his eyes were paler than usual and there was just something about his posturing that was off. Not to mention the fact he was covered from mouth to palms with blood. It was like he was waiting for me to blink until he made his assault. Sadly he wasn’t alone. Which I didn’t know until two more blood-soaked residents of my building emerged from the same room.
Just as I let my eyes close for that momentary re-hydrating lapse of vision and turned the key all three of them let out what I can only describe as the mixture between a lions roar and what I’d imagine a banshee being shived in the ass sounds like. I hardly managed to slam the door shut and clip the lock shut before they were pounding on it with the zealous of a Prebeterian pro-life mob trying to get at an abortionist.
After throwing the dresser that was in the “closet” (an indentation in the wall) in front of the door I retrieved my cell phone from my pocket and began to dial 9-1-1. This was while I was dashing the whole fifteen feet from the door to my entertainment center where the retractable baton I purchased via internet hung.
“I’M ARMED! IF YOU DON’T LEAVE I’M GONNA MAKE YOUR MOTHER WISH YOU WERE NEVER BORN!” I yelled loud enough that I initially didn’t realize I hadn’t hit the ‘send’ button on the phone. Quickly pressing it and extending the baton with one quick flick of my wrist, I was dismayed to hear a busy signal. “Really? That’s- That’s not how that works.” I thought aloud.
As I pressed redial the splintering of my door showed that the trio, of what we now refer to as “zeds”, were beginning to make headway. Another busy signal sent my adrenaline to heights you know you’d die from falling from. “This isn’t happening… This isn’t happening…” I thought... But it was. “But wait.” Was all I thought.
Looking for a different way out of this I went to the single window of the apartment only to see what most people think of when they hear the word ‘anarchy.’ The four-stall parking lot in front of the place was tattered with bodies. The dumpster that occupied one of the parking spots had been flipped completely over into the road, and the intersection at the corner where I lived at had a multiplicity of cars jammed together that were all either covered in blood, smoking, or already on fire.
I shoved the window to the side to open it before stomping the screen out. As a bloody hand burst through a newly formed hole in the door I actually smiled. In light of the fact of all the chaos that was surrounding me I thought aloud to myself once more. “Glad I picked the one with the shitty view.” Those were the last words I ever said in that apartment.
Looking at the landscape of this new hell-on-earth that, within the last twenty minutes I’d found, being a loner who never cared much for anyone may have helped me. At this point I’ve already realized that nothing will ever be the same. It’s a veritable doomsday for at least the next couple of days. Not sure where I can go from here though… I’ve got a baton, no one I -really- need to call, and a strong sense of ‘what the fuck?’
I climbed out onto the small offshoot of angled brick, wood, and shingles that worked as an aesthetically pleasing awning to the front door of the shithole. Closing the window behind me, I could see those blood thirsty zeds were definitely more than half way through the door. “Where can I go? It’s just going to be a mini buffet on my ass as soon as I hop down off of here.” It wasn’t that my thoughts wandered so much. It was more that I couldn’t understand the possibility of this ACTUALLY happening.
I wasn’t panicked anymore. Just stuck like a goddamn fish in a barrel. Looking around quickly I noticed, due to plumes of smoke coming from the tail pipe, a shitty little ***(car) running two driveways up and across the street. I also saw the umpteen zeds that stood between me and that car. I wasn’t ready to give up. Then again they had kept me from leaving on foot the first time. But, I wasn’t about to allow a replay of that shit.
Only three feeders. A zed that is either a wanderer or a lurker that is POTENTIALLY so caught up in eating so much that it won’t notice you, in the parking lot. Six wanderers, a zed that has been negatively effected by the whatever-the-fuck-caused-this that they can move but they’re slow, in the street.
Of course… At least four lurkers. The kind of zed we fear the most. They can move incredibly fast. They’re stronger than most body-builders. The kind of person who apparently had their health in mind before they became a zed so much so that they, in death, unlocked more potential than world-class athletes. Their bodies, as I see it, have combined with the… Mutation to a point they’ve become incredibly good at what they do. Which is kill and eat us.
“Alright, so…” I plotted in my own head. I looked back to see one of the zeds impale himself on a splinter of wood in my door while trying to get in. “That should buy me a little-” Another one of those bastards threw himself completely through the half-hole that was created by the weight of the first chump. “Un-fucking-fair.” I kept thinking.
“No time like the now.” I revved myself up before jumping the eight feet down. Upon landing I made a heavy collapsing noise, but managed to be unscathed. It was then or never though. Just as I always told everyone “Never hesitate, or it could mean life or death.” I usually meant crossing a busy intersection but in this case I was talking about crossing the first road of many that would lead me to be who I am today.
I could hear sirens in the distance, but the noise that concerned me currently was the zed growl that lingered directly behind me. Without looking I turned what in a different world would have been called second degree murder into something I would learn to do time and time again. After her head ruptured like a water balloon against the baton, my feet took control of me. I started to run.
The white railing prevented me from a straight run because I knew that I needed both hands at all times. Rail jumping is a hazard. Only when you absolutely have to. Running down the ramp, I felt as if my body had hardly ever reacted so harshly to a situation. I was now a sprinter worthy of eight gold metals in a single race/***Usain Bolt. “No, no, no, NO!” I thought as they spotted me.
The lurkers were the first to see me. Thankfully the burning cars that remained held two of the bastards back at least for a little bit. Although the other two that happened to be no more than ten feet from the car didn‘t exactly parade the idea of hope. “Man up.” I said aloud, moving one of the wanderers out of the way with the bottom of the new ***(shoe brand).
The two near-car lurkers bolted in my direction. Pulling back the baton I swung horizontally across their faces; they were about the same height so the single swing made the skulls of what could have been the end to a very short day nothing but the second time I would kill something that was already dead.
The nausea that followed the stench of opening the heads of the undead within close quarters was so immense I almost stopped. My body refused to let me give up though. While getting to the car I could hear the ever-closer steps of the other two lurkers; who had apparently attended a high-jump seminar in college.
I got to the car, my lungs felt like I was inhaling concrete, and attempted to open it. “Who the fuck locks their doors in a situation like this?! Goddamn idiots. I hope he was one of the two I just put down.” I thought I was angry. I didn’t fully understand what I was hoping or wanting out of the situation. My train of thought was derailed by another scream from one of the houses. Which mentally jogged me back into my immediate problem.
Smashing the window with the baton, unlocking the door, and beginning the drive was what I imagine hell would really look like. I backed up over two of the wanderers in just enough time to have the other two lurkers pounding on the back window. “Shit, shit, shit!” I drove quick enough to lose them from the broken rear-view mirror only to have to cut through packs of whatever kind of zeds were in the way. Up one block, I went against the stupid one-way sign which ended up being a mistake.
The road-ways in the immediate area were clogged with attempted survivors, zeds, and destruction. The apartment on the far off corner looked like a firebomb had hit it and caused a structure fire you’d only find in a riot so badass that even the police would puss out and jet. I could hear guns and sirens all over the place. Plumes of smoke were coming from houses and even larger clouds could be seen in the distance.
Before I could make it to the first light I found myself gasping as a tow-truck collided with a semi. As the semi turned over I was already slamming my foot on the breaks “FUCK!” I think I yelled but couldn’t hear it over the shearing of massive amounts of metal directly in my path. Cranking the wheel to u-turn, I headed back the way I came.
Yet another mistake on my part. While in an adrenalin-fueled, narrow-minded, self-preservation attempt I failed to realize that the lurkers I hadn’t gone medieval on were still chasing me. I managed to swerve back around one of the grave cars, as I call them; the kind of car that has blood all over the windows from the inside but is shut. That maneuver stalled one while the other had apparently predicted what I was going to do as it managed to jump on the hood.
I jerked the wheel back and forth, trying to get the bastard loose but he just wouldn’t lose balance. Even while he was causing large spidering of the windshield from pounding it with bare fists he wouldn’t get the fuck off. Catching a glimpse of an over-turned car in front of me I was forced to slam on the breaks again. That managed to sling the relentless bastard into it hard enough to leave his legs in view while the top half left behind the car.
I was only stopped for a second but that happened to be enough time for the one still giving chase to run straight into the back of the vehicle. I didn’t need to look back. The loud thud that echoed through the cab was sufficient. Speeding up again I thought “Sons of bitches don’t even give ya a chance to catch your breath!”
Weaving in and out of the wreckage with one hand I pulled out my cell phone. Glancing down to the touch screen I unlocked it to see the icon for ‘no signal.’ In that moment my panic became anger. I couldn’t think for a moment. The frustration forced more adrenalin through me.
Checking the radio stations all I got was static. Aside from three channels that still had emergency broadcast messages talking about “safe houses” that weren’t safe anymore. Given how long their list was, next to the list of places that were what they were calling “still safe”, they had three remaining. “The Capitol,” “St. Mary’s” on the west side, and “Farm N Fleet” on the east side.
Immediately my thought process changed back to finding my family. I hadn’t thought of it before but it wasn’t like we were close after all the money I borrowed. Or all the times I gave them hope about me having a future. “Get to the house.” Was my first thought. “That place would never hold up in something like this. ...Shit” The next. “Whatever, fuck it. I have to check. If they’re not there, I’ll go to the safe house they should be at.” I was glad that even though the oil needed to be changed that the owner of this fantastically outdated piece of shit had obviously dumped some money into it. I only thought this since the mangled beast of a vehicle managed to get up to fifty in about five seconds.
The drive refused to become any less difficult. I was driving on side-walks part of the time to get past the complete cluster-fucks of accidents you only see on the evening edition of the news. Had to cut through yards and through parks. I wasn’t even to the damn highway yet. I got on the cause-way that led to the highway, having outrun all the zeds that knew I was still counted as food in their book.
I could see that this was going to be one hell of a bumpy ride. Grave cars were everywhere, as well as abandoned vehicles and an amount of blood that can only be thought of as a new decorating trend. I took a deep breath as I clasped the seatbelt. “Here goes everything.” I said to myself just before slamming my foot on the accelerator.
Even the first bump in this ride was more than intense. I had to force the cars wheels on the passenger side up onto the side-wall of the narrow gap. I managed to break off the driver’s side mirror off getting past it. As well as shattering the drivers side window. Then yet another metal-death maze while traveling at a slower-than-I-ever-want-to-go-in-a-zed-infested-area pace of about ten miles per hour. I could feel some of the bodies give way with the full weight of the machine on top of them.
Then it got worse than I thought it could. Just as I came to a complete blockage of the causeway a lurker caught sight of me. Giving that hideous mind-wrenching shriek, I looked over just in time to see it jump on top of the car to my left. “Aw damn it.” I could hear even the voice in my head was tossing it’s hands up as I actually realized the driver’s side window no longer existed.
I attempted to hurl myself over the shifter, without realizing the seatbelt was still attached. “REALLY?! THERE’S SAFTEY FOR YA!” My head screamed. I managed to undo the seatbelt just as the zeds hand was entering the window. “NO!” I yelled as I grabbed, then jabbed, the end of the baton into it’s forehead. I managed to move it back long enough that I had just enough time to kick the door open and into it, sending it back a few feet.
I side-stepped from the car and brought the baton over my head and down as if swinging a hammer on a long nail. Instead, it was a baton onto the head of a zed trying to bite my face off. Guess I should have tried carpentry. I made yet another kill-shot take place, never taking my eyes off the target. Splat, gush, then collapse was the zeds reaction.
“Can’t wait here.” I reminded myself. After slamming the baton into the concrete top-down to retract it I took off running. Jumping over the wreck that was forcing me to find a new car, I spit on the corpse next to it while thinking “asshole.” I never was a very mild-mannered person. I was headed towards the highway. I kept looking for a new ride but I could see feeders everywhere. “Gluttonous cunts. Guess it‘s cheaper than the dollar menu.” I thought.
After making it down about three-fourths of the causeway I saw the perfect mode of transportation. “I’ve never been so happy to know racists exist. Or existed I guess I should say.” I was talking to myself as I laid eyes on a bright red, raised, twenty four inch rimmed, confederate flag-sporting truck.
Approaching it without caution, more mistakes you make during your first rodeo, I opened the driver door without hesitation. I had to jump back quickly to avoid the wanderer’s, that was laying stomach-down across the seat, hand grabbing for my shirt. One good thing that came from this one was that I found myself going into a bloodlust whenever I was around a zed. He thought it was a good thing... It wasn’t.
Grabbing the female zed by her hair I dragged her out into the street and began stomping on her head. “I’M!” One stomp. “NOT!” Two stomp. “FUCKING!” Three stomp. “DYING!” Four stomp. “BY!” Five stomp. “THE!” Six stomp. “LIKES!” Seven stomp. “OF!” Eight stomp. “YOU!” Nine stomp. “BITCH!” Ten stomp. I kept stomping until I was out of breath. It ended with one of those temporary headaches you get from too much adrenalin and yelling. Her head was now just a puddle of mush that was dripping from my shoe.
Hopping into the truck I was overjoyed to see the keys still in the ignition and that there was a revolver on the floor of the passenger side. “Guess she got caught off-guard.” I checked the chambers. They were all still loaded. Closing the revolver, I started the truck and began my journey to McFarland. “Hope it hasn’t gotten too far… But given the cell towers being down already this coulda started last night… Fuck.”
I only needed to make it three exits down ninety and ninety-four. “Damnit.” I said as I got up the on-ramp. Pausing for a second, I saw that this would be easier than the previous cluster-fuck, but still not as easy as something considered a medium or novice difficulty venture. Grabbing a cigarette from the pack that was in my shorts I lit it, took a drag and exhaled. “Thank you big tobacco.” I thought as I pressed down on the trucks accelerator fully.
Tearing down the right shoulder of the highway, I saw plenty of signs of life, but not the kind I was ready to care about. “Fuck ’em. They’re on their own right now.” I said out loud as I took another drag of the cigarette that hung from the side of my lips. Pressing play on the CD player of the truck country music started blaring from the surround sound. I pressed stop just as quickly. “Of course.”
I had to slow down as I saw someone. I say someone because I couldn’t make out what gender, height, or weight they were and they were waving their hands to get my attention. All while being in front of a flipped car in my straight-away. “Goddamnit.” I said as I came to a stop. Rolling down the window I yelled out from about thirty feet away. “GET OUTTA THE WAY!” They started running towards the car. I quickly grabbed the pistol I had placed on the seat next to me and pointed it from the window and shouted “STOP!”
I could see now it was a young woman. “Wait! Please! I’ll die out here!” She pleaded. “Why is that my problem?!” I yelled back. I couldn’t see her that well but I could feel the dismay that radiated from her person as she slumped. “Fucking unbelievable.” I thought. Right as I went to yell “Fuck off!” I saw what can only be described as a hoard of lurkers sprinting down the on-ramp to her left.
In that moment I had an entire argument with myself.
“Fuck that. I’ve gotta get home.”
“You know you care, you attempting-to-be-jaded asshole.”
“Fuck y-… I hate you for pointing that out.”
I jumped from the vehicle “GET IN! NOW!” I emptied the six rounds towards the hoard as she sprinted the twenty remaining feet to the passenger side and got in. I got in, tossed the pistol between us, and slammed my foot down so hard it hurt. We sped balls-out toward the ten of them. “What’re you- NO!” She screamed right before the truck turned into an explosion of gore. Blood splattered the entire windshield while she continued to shriek and put her arms up as if the blood was going to get in.
“SHUT UP GODDAMNIT!” I yelled. Which led to her giving me a look that told me she didn’t understand why I wasn’t scared. Which then turned almost instantly into a look that showed she wanted to punch me in the head. We got partially caught up on the bodies, which caused her to scream again. “Really? I never shoulda picked her up.” I thought to myself.
I never stopped pushing through the fresh kills. Instead, while keeping the throttle down, I turned on the wipers, with fluid, to find there was one left. “Fuck.” I said out loud as we began skidding in all the end-trails and flesh of the bodies that were now under us. It was like being stuck in the mud.
The one remaining started pounding on her window; more screaming from her. “Oh for fucks sake.” I said as I picked up the baton from the seat and got out. I could still hear her screaming and crying from outside as the zed tried to get in. I sighed while extending the baton and walking around the front of the truck. “Hey!” I yelled.
Snapping it’s gaze to me, I felt a smirk cross my face. The thought did cross my mind “You’re already this smug and casual about killing? If this ends, you need to get checked out… Professionally.” As the zed charged me I jumped up and drop-kicked it in the chest. “Are you trying to show off or just be an idiot?!” The little voice in the back of my head asked.
After quickly getting to my feet I rushed the zed as it tried to get up. I placed a kick to the abdomen of it that was hard enough to get the previous owner of my new vehicles brains off my foot. As it hit the ground again, and rolled, I raised the baton and followed it down the on-ramp. As I got to it this time I simply raised the baton and brought it down with a definite strike to the head. “That wasn’t half bad. Almost cinematic.” I chuckled to myself mentally.
Running back to the truck I got in and only a moment after I tossed the baton next to the pistol, I was assaulted by a tight hug and kisses being planted on my cheek. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” She said between kisses. “Hey- Just- Fuckin-” I tried to say. I got frustrated and tossed her back onto her part of the seat. “HEY!” I yelled loud enough that she froze and just stared at me.
“Look…” I sighed, feeling almost bad for a moment. “Buckle up. This is gonna get even crazier yet.” She was confused how I was so calm in the situation. I could see it in her bright blue eyes. “You’re welcome but I gotta go check on my family. You can come with me just… Chill out. Alright?” She almost immediately understood why I was acting the way I was. Reading into the fact that I was so worried I was able to function on only a single level in that moment. Kill or be killed.
I shifted the truck into neutral and allowed us to roll slowly backward from the blood-slick. After a few moments, I was able to get traction again and pull around the pile of now-dead zeds and onto the new route. “I’m Kegan. You’re lucky I found you when I did so do me a favor. Check the glove compartment for anymore rounds for this.” I held up the revolver when I spoke.
“I’m Chelsea.” She said while she fumbled around in the glove compartment. “That happens to be my favorite name, actually.” I spoke softly, while hoping she didn’t look up to see the group of survivors raiding a gas station. Smiling, she looked at me and acted a little sassy. “Liar.” I snorted half a laugh at her accusation and replied simply. “No, really. It’s a beautiful name.” While smiling at me she blushed.
“HOLD ON!” I said, seeing my side of the avenue blocked. Both our eyes widened a bit as I twisted the wheel to the left, over the median into what would usually be oncoming traffic. Letting out little yelp she silenced it with both her hands. Throwing the wheel back the other way, we were back on the road. “Any bullets?” I asked, trying to drown out my own fear.
“Yeah, seems whoever owned this truck wanted to keep someone away. We’ve got…” She said as she counted. “Forty eight.” I sighed with relief. “Good. It’s about time something went right today.” I could feel her smile from the passenger side. “Reload it.” I said while I slid the gun across the seat to her. “Alrighty.” Her voice was reassuring.
Having made it down Broadway to Stoughton road, also known as “fifty one,” we turned right to see something unbelievable. There was what looked like a blockade of policemen. “This could be a really good thing.” I said, full well knowing that either we’d have protection, or more guns. I didn’t care which by this point.
Stopping in front of the barricades just past the belt-line underpass, which was the highway I was forced off of, I found myself finding the scene a bit eerie. No one in sight. Upon further inspection I could see blood on the sides of the police vehicles. “Mother fucker.” I thought. “Hey… Grab the gun.” I told Chelsea, while picking up the baton myself. “We gotta see what’s going on here.” My voice was not exactly reassuring.
Getting out of the truck we both moved quietly and carefully. I got a bit distracted as Chelsea managed to get ahead of me in her haste to figure out what was going on. “Damn she’s good looking.” I thought. Just as my eyes were traveling over her one hundred and twenty pound frame I heard the only thing I hoped we hadn’t; zeds.
“Stop!” I whispered loudly. Freezing in place she looked back at me confused. “It sounds like zeds. Hear the sound of eating?” I asked. Turning her head for a better angle of hearing, she turned back to me and nodded warily. The look on her face was complete disgust and mine matched. “Stay here while I get whatever guns these idiots before they got owned.” I said, still whispering. “No! I want to go with you.” Her voice matched my pitch.
“No.” My eyes spoke more than my words did. “If I can manage to get what we need and am being chased, that’s where you come in. Got it?” I said commandingly. The look on her face was a mixture of “oh come on” and “you’re right.” I began my slow tip-toe towards what might be valuable supplies. “Just- be sure to shoot them in the head. I don’t want to take the chance that we’re in the reality of a zombie outbreak, alright?” I said as I passed her. While she nodded I flicked my wrist to extend the baton.
After the metal on metal contact, the sound of eating stopped. “Fuck.” I whispered loud enough that she could hear. “They know we’re here.” I stopped a second and decided to check out my odds. Slowly lowering myself to the ground I looked under the four parked squad cars. “One… Two… Three… Four.” I counted in my head. “Awesome.” I said in a whisper. “Four of them. Be ready to shoot, but do NOT shoot unless I tell you to.” I whispered harshly.
As I stood I looked back to her to make sure she knew exactly what I meant. Giving me a slow nod, I decided to approach this differently. “HEY FUCKERS! FRESH MEAT!” I could feel Chelsea’s panic behind me. “Don’t you dare shoot unless I tell you!” I said as I began walking towards the blockade. Four wanderers stood and stared at me. “Oh fucking awesome.” I said, relieved. I looked back to Chelsea and began to speak “They’re the- TURN AROUND AND SHOOT!” I yelled.
There was a lurker that had been somewhere in the wreckage. It was sprinting at her as quickly as I was. Three rounds were fired before I reminded her “AIM FOR THE HEAD!” It was less than ten feet from her when my sprint got me next to her. “Don’t bother.” I said as calmly as one can while attempting to bludgeon a zombie. I brought my right hand around in a swiping motion. The baton, already extended, swept with just the right timing that I managed to deflect and kill it in a single motion.
“Never let me stay back again.” She had something more than fear in her voice. “Alright. Come with me.” I said simply. “These are the slow kind.” I added. “Don’t bother wasting ammo on them, I’ve got em’ but be sure to keep up, alright?” I asked. A solemn nod let me know she knew exactly what I meant.
Dashing to the right of the right-most squad car I readied the baton on my shoulder. The four wanderers were moving towards us the whole time, though they split two and two on either side. Slamming the baton down on the first one I encountered so hard that it was stuck, I was forced to kick the corpse of a corpse off of the weapon. Then continuing my fury I walked to the next one and kicked him in the chest.
“You’re dead! Stay the fuck there!” I angrily yelled at the zed as I brought the baton against his skull. “To your left! Over the cars!” She yelled. “I told you to chill out and be quiet! We don’t need anymore of those fast bastards knowing where we are!” I said, slightly mad at her for raising her voice, regardless of if I just had. Hopping over the front of one car I did a quick left then right combination with the baton. Which ended up with having even more blood on me.
“Check the cops for their guns. We need another one” I spoke in whispers again. After finally locating which parts of the torn apart officers were their belts, we found eight guns, all the same model. “Just take the clip. The button to release it is-” She interrupted me. “I know, the left side, push downward on the lever.” I was taken slightly aback. “Yeah. Pocket them, we’ll figure that shit out on the ride there.”
Running back to the car I could hear more lurkers, having heard the confrontation, coming our way. “Fuck this, we need to go.” I said as I tossed my magazines onto the middle of the joined seat. “Take your shirt off and…” I stopped myself before she could give me the look I knew she would. “Here…” I took my shirt off. “Empty all the clips into that and refill them as full as possible. They probably wasted at least a couple rounds each on trying to defend themselves. And don‘t forget to-” She interrupted again. “Chamber a round and add another to the clip.”
Before she started emptying the clips onto my shirt I gave her a line we’d be hearing anytime we were in a car. “Hang on!” She dropped the clip she was about to begin work on into her lap and held on for the ride as we crashed through the back of two of the squads. Far too white-knuckled, I braced for impact. “FUCK!” I yelled, having felt my left shoulder be dislocated on impact. “What?! What’s wrong?!” She was more than slightly frantic.
“I need you need you to relocate my shoulder when we get to a safe place. That hit was too much.” I spoke with immense pain as my left arm became useless. Coming up on the intersection I stopped. “Alright. Just pull it as hard as you can. It should relocate itself via ligament tension.” I was talking out my ass but plenty of shows and movies told me I was right.
As she readied to pull on my shoulder she became more serious than I saw her previously. “Ready?” She asked sweetly. “Just do it.” I said while I kneeled on the seat to give her my left side. “One… Two…” She yanked on the arm and the pop back in was audible to both of us. “FUCK!” I howled. “… Good job.” I said through a grimace almost immediately after.
“You’re welcome.” Her voice was slightly smug. I moaned, through closed lips, in pain as I brought my left arm back up to the wheel before putting it back into “d.” Taking a deep breath we continued past Terminal Drive and onward towards McFarland, only what I remember to be a small distance was keeping me from my family anymore. Speeding through a valley of no cars was a breeze up until the down-hill slope and the right turn I had to make. Chelsea had already started emptying clips.
+“Three and a half twelve round clips.” Her voice was confident. “Good. How good a shot are you?” I asked. “Not very, my dad had lots of guns but wouldn’t ever let me shoot them, just clean them.” She was angry. “It’s okay. That revolver will be yours and the glock mine, alright?” I could see from my peripheral vision that she was nodding.
“Hang on, we’re about to take this right.” I said as we just managed to miss a feeder. “This is crazy!” She said as she witnessed the same thing. “Yeah well…. There’s not much we can do anymore, is there?” I asked in a voice that simply showed my hopelessness towards the entire situation. “I hope they’re alright!” I drifted off as I went around the familiar “s” turn to my mom’s house.
As we went up the hill, the amount of bodies was not just visible, but able to be smelled. “Fuck.” I said out loud. “Hey! There’s still a chance that they managed to pull off what you did!” Chelsea said, trying to make me feel better. “Or they’re completely fucked, just like the rest.” I was being jaded and cynical like always. “Stop that! What if they’re alive?” She asked.
“Then I guess I would have to move onto the next part of the plan, which is finding a place to either hole up or keep driving until we’re far enough away.” I said as the house came in view. “That’s it.” I pointed to the white house with red shutters as we grew closer. “Get a clip in the glock and round in the revolver then give me mine.” I said with a tone I think I was enough of an asshole to use before. It was serious enough to be depressing.
After handing me the glock she started pushing bullets into the chambers of the revolver. “This is either gonna be great or you’re going to have to put up with one very angry young man.” I said as we rolled up to a house that had blood all over the inside of the windows. The house that used to be my house. “Mother fuckers…” I trailed off as I pulled the truck around the cal-du-sac.
“Do NOT shoot anyone inside the house unless your life is in danger.” I instructed her as if a test that involved college admission was on the line. “If you do, I’ll kill you.” Her eyes filled with acknowledgment and a bit of fright. “Just stay behind me and make sure we stay the fuck alive.” I couldn’t be more livid with the current situation. This couldn’t possibly be my reality.
As I opened the door I could already smell the familiar stink of what I had encountered that day. “Please no…” Went through my head as I looked back to Chelsea. I could see on her face she already knew what was going on in my head. She seemed ready for what would happen, at least that’s what I thought while walking up the slight stair-case into the “front room.” I could hear zeds feasting on flesh.
“Not here. Anywhere but here.” I said quietly. Only a few tears escaped the barrier of anger and willingness to kill again. “I can hear them. Back in my brothers room.” We slowly made our way past the door into the hallway. “Stay here. Just like with the barricade. If I’m running, shoot the sons of bitches following me in the head.” I said in a regular tone. “Just…” It was obvious hopelessness had enveloped me.
“Hey, no no no.” She said as she hugged me. “It’ll be okay. What if someone was here after it happened and one of those things got them?” Her voice was as sincere as insincere could try. I just shook my head and pushed her away with one hand. “I’ve gotta see.” I trailed off as I made my way down the hall.
Looking into the computer room on the right there was nothing aside from what was there the last time I had been there, two years ago. Shifting my head left I looked into what was once my old room. “Makes me wish I still lived here…” I said, death being the foremost thought on my mind. Continuing down the hallway I didn’t bother checking the bathroom.
I knew where the sound was coming from when I reached the end of the hall. Hunter’s bedroom on the left and the room my mom and Rick slept in on the right. As I reached the door I held the gun up, expecting to see exactly what I saw. My pseudo-step-brother and my mother feeding on Rick. I felt the tears as they began to steam down my face. “I’m so, so sorry…” I spoke softly enough for just the zeds that used to be my family to hear.
I held back a whimper for the last time I would in my lifetime. “I love you.” I could hardly talk with the lump in my throat and the tears that were thicker than a waterfall poured down my cheeks. “I’m sorry.” I said again as I raised the gun up. One round to his head and just as she started towards me, the second round dropped her.
+“This isn’t…” I said as I slumped to the ground. “This wasn’t the way it should have turned out…It could’ve...” I said to myself. Chelsea’s eyes welled with tears, seeing me was enough to know what had happened. “No, it’s okay.” She began to move towards me. “NO! IT’S NOT FUCKING OKAY!” With wide eyes she stopped in her tracks. “DID YOU HAVE TO SHOOT YOUR MOM?! DID YOU HAVE TO KILL YOUR LITTLE BROTHER?!” I screamed loud enough that the zeds on the street could hear.
I continued to sob as she stopped in her tracks. “I have no idea what that would feel like.” She choked on tears of her own at my emotion. “But we have to keep going. They’re gone and nothing can change that-” She couldn’t even finish her sentence. “Fuck that. FUCK YOU!” I screamed. “IF I HADN’T BEEN MAKING SURE YOU WERE ALIVE I MIGHT HAVE BEEN HERE IN TIME GODDAMNIT!” I swore through a cracked voice, tears, and a broken will.
Immediately, she got mad right back at me. “YEAH?! I DO OWE YOU MY LIFE BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN YOU HAVE TO ACT LIKE I CAUSED THIS! NEITHER OF US KNOW THAT! SO DON’T FUCKING BLAME ME WHILE YOU SHOW YOURSELF TO A PRIVATE PITY PARTY!” Her voice was more intense than I’d imagined it could be. It was as if I lit a fire in her.
My mind stopped for a moment. “You’re right.” I said, broken. “I’m… Sorry.” I could hardly feel my body. I was becoming completely cut off from my own emotions. “I didn’t mean to yell… I just-” The shattering of a window from Hunter’s room cut me off as it was bashed in by a zed attempting to get at us. “RIGHT NOW?! I CAN’T EVEN GET A-” I was cut short yet again by another window breaking. “We have to go. Right now!” I said to her, showing what little humanity I had left at the time.
Getting to my feet with what emotional strength I still had, I looked directly at her. “Get behind me and let’s get to the truck.” My voice was still an audio clip in a song; a nothingness that only made calculated decisions rather than thought. “COME ON!” I yelled as I sprinted from the end of the hallway, down the stairs and to the outdoors.
Stomping the chest of a wanderer that was outside the door; I pulled the trigger again. Not bothering to watch the kill I hopped in the truck just as Chelsea did; She was quicker than I thought. “Where is your family?” I asked quickly, knowing we had to at least attempt to find them. “They…” She spoke as I put the shifter to drive and tore off down the street.
Repeating her opening statement “They… died a long time ago.” As she trailed off her head turned toward the window, away from me. “I’m sorry Chelsea.” I said. Without even thinking my hand rested on her thigh. “I really am.” I spoke quietly as the rain started. “I didn’t mean to be insensitive.” I said, realizing just what exactly this girl and I had experienced together.
“I‘m-” I attempted to say but she interrupted. “Don’t. I’ve been okay with it for a while.” Eyes cast to the floor, I could feel her become disheartened. As I was turning the truck back down the road that led up to fifty-one I saw the zeds in the mirror and didn‘t care. The high-pitched screams of the zed behind us were unheard; our minds were on memories past.
It was only about three o’clock as we drove away, but the feeling in the car was not just a sense of lost hope but something that would live up to the idea of being the last people on Earth. “What’re we going to do now?” Her voice was shaky while we pulled past the same cop car barricade and onto the highway. I took us away from Madison, headed east.
“We have to find shelter sooner than later.” My voice matched her tone. “Otherwise we’re going to have to keep moving all night and we can’t be sure gas stations are still in service.” No words broke the silence that lasted a meager hour as I slowly maneuvered us around gravecars, unwilling wanderers, and even more wreckage. “This shit is everywhere.” I thought to myself, not wanting to disrupt her.
After the hour I asked “Have you thought of any place that would be safe right now?” The look in her eyes mixed with the slight scoff that turned into laugh told me she hadn’t. “I’ve got an idea. How about we head out way into the country and just sleep in the truck tonight. When we wake up tomorrow we can plan out what the hell we’re going to do.”
“That sounds alright.” Her voice was soft. Though she didn’t avert her gaze from the window and I could tell she wasn‘t sure of the idea. I turned off onto the grassy area just after the dump and drove for a couple hours out into the fields. Having not seen a zed since I turned off, I figured the highest ridge within ten minutes would do for a place to sleep.
Watching the sunset, the tears began to flow yet again. As I looked over to her, I could see her eyes were bloodshot from crying and tears streamed down her face as well. “I’ve been thinking about them since we left your house.” Her voice cracked as she spoke. “That’s not my house anymore. It never will be again.” I was very definitive in my response.
“You can’t be so hard on yourself about it.” She was pleading, for me to forgive myself with her eyes as she spoke. “Then what the hell else am I supposed to do?” I felt more tears glide down my face. “You have to accept what we have now.” I could almost feel as if her body was responding to a nurturing instinct as she spoke. “To what WE have now?!” I was angry.
“The only thing I can do now-” I tried to say before she interrupted me. “Is not let this feeling overwhelm us and use what we have now. To be sure us surviving isn’t something that doesn’t matter.” Her tone changed then. “Kiss me.” I hadn’t the slightest idea of how to act as she took the initiative by leaning in and kissing me. With the way she spoke it was as if she knew she was literally the only thing I had left in the world.
As our lips collided I felt a spark of energy. All the bad that had happened within the last day was gone in that moment. I ran my hands through her long red hair. We opened our eyes at the same time after that kiss. “Let me be what you need.” Her voice inflected gratitude, desire, and a hint of pity. “I don’t know if I ca-” Her lips parted on mine, interrupting me again.
My hands began to run down the slender frame that held someone that I did not yet know would mean so much to me. Passionate kisses traded back and forth as we held each other. Both of us let tears of hate, sadness, and joy flow down each others faces as we made this bond. Holding my face in her hands she pulled back for a moment. “Don’t ever forget how you saved me.” Her eyes lingered, staring, into mine. I was almost scared until she said “...because I won‘t.” A voice I’d never heard before speaking the most important words I’d ever heard in my lifetime.
“Never.” I said, knowing that I had changed completely at that moment. I just wasn’t sure how drastically they would change me, yet. A grin crossed her face as she leaned forward and kissed me again. My hands wandered to the back of her shirt. I slowly pulled it up to her neck. We paused for a moment, opening our eyes between kisses and looked at each other. We knew this was the only thing either of us had left. The passion to live.
Pulling the bright pink shirt over her head I planted another kiss on her lips as I set the shirt on the dashboard. Smiling as our lips continued to press against one another’s I couldn’t help but let everything else fade away. I felt her petite hands wrap around the bottom of my shirt, gently pulling it up and over my face. While I was caught in a limbo of almost-shirtlessness and blindness she giggled a bit before removing the shirt completely and setting it on the floor.
While she nibbled ever so gently at my neck I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed with feeling, which I can only imagine she felt too. “In a new world… New things happen.” I mentally reasoned with myself. I unclasped her purple with pink polka dots bra at the back and set it on top of her shirt, on the dash board.
Letting our lips meet once again, I couldn’t help but feel as if all the bad in the world had gone and I was renewed. It was as if she knew exactly how I felt and wanted me to know what she was thinking. Yet again holding my face in her hands, she moved her head back slightly to focus in on me.
“When I’m with you, at least ri
ght now, I feel safe. Thank you. You saved my life, more than once. You have managed to keep us alive this whole time…” She trailed off as a tear began to slide down her face. I wiped it away as a small smile appeared on my face. “You’re welcome. I’m glad I made the right choice.” My smile grew larger after I said those words.
Putting my lips to hers again I felt her slowly undoing my belt. “Don’t. Fight. It.” she said in segments between kisses. “I won’t.” I managed to get out just as she slid the belt away from my waist. Another moment in which we smiled against kisses. I slowly unbuttoned each button of the button-down jeans she was wearing.
It was as if every time we kissed fireworks were going off. After undoing the button and unzipping the zipper of my shorts, she removed them to reveal my smiley face boxers. A smile crossed her face as she said “I guess even your underwear knows that there are things to be happy about.” I smiled. I had to let everything else go. She wasn’t a toy. I simply did her bidding. I shimmied down the tight pants on her legs.
As I slowly set appreciative “mmmm”-inducing kisses from the bottom of her newly exposed ankle all the way up to the top-side of her thigh she wiggled beneath me. “Like I said…” Her voice was joyous and giving. “Let me be what you need.” Our eyes were already locked as she said this.
“This isn’t what I need.” My voice was reassuring. “This is what I want.” The words almost seemed to echo in the interior moments before she grabbed me by the shoulder and pulled me down on top of her. The kisses she gave became almost violent with passion. Biting my lip, pressing her lips to mine so hard it hurt, and dragging her nails down my bare back.
As if our love-making had become a fight, we acted like animals. Our hands wandered adventurously around each others bodies. Gentle nibbling at each others necks, chests, and lips we began to melt together. The amount of heavy breathing we mutually induced on each other started to fog the windows.
I slid her bright green lace panties from her petite yet perfect lower curvature before she slid the smiley face boxers down mine. Pulling my head gently to position my ear next to her mouth she whispered. “Make me feel alive.” Then pushing me to be able to lock eyes with her, I knew what to do. As I entered her a slight shutter of delight came from her quivering lips.
After the hour, that felt like a blissful eternity, of making love we just held each other. No words needed to be said at this point. Even with all the times I’d had sex, or thought I was making love, before that I never REALLY knew what making love really was.
After she fell asleep I couldn’t help but just hold her and think about what tomorrow held. While in mid thought I faded into the lightest sleep I ever had, knowing I had to be ready for anything at any given moment. After all, this could be happening all over the world.
I remember the mundane “falling” nightmare I had that evening. Which I guess should be called a “nice dream” given the situation. I only recall it because right before I hit the ground I got to wake back up to the imminent nightmare that was now reality. A dull thudding on the glass by our feet at the driver side door threw my newly learned reactions to take hold.
I snatched the gun from the dash, wrapped a my arm tightly around Chelsea. As I sat us up, she awoke quickly as well, not completely sure what was happening until she laid eyes on the wanderer that was attempting to get in the truck. “Oh thank god for that.” I said too soon. As I looked past the wanderer, I noticed a pack of lurkers. I realized in this moment if there’s a zed anywhere, you can count that there are more than one.
“Fuck!” She exclaimed as I shifted her off of me and into the right side of the car. After starting the truck I threw the wheel to the left to turn around and followed the tracks I had made from last night. As I drove naked, she started putting her clothes back on. “Stop dressing and start shooting. In this traction, we won’t be able to get away as easily as before.”
Nodding just once, which I saw from my peripheral, she grabbed the glock I had put towards her. After rolling down her window she started shooting while we drove down the country side. All remaining ten shots were sent from the barrel of the gun and three of the seven were put down. Now we just had to deal with the remaining four.
As she grabbed another clip from the glove box, I kept the truck moving over the landscape. “Fuck fuck fuck.” I said to myself, though I know she heard the distress in my voice. “I’ll try to get us on flat land so you can shoot easier.” I said. “That part doesn’t matter, I’m not a good shot.” She said, implying we needed to switch seats. “Fine.” I said a bit aggravated by the situation. I then reminded myself that not everyone had the ability in high school to own a gun and shoot it in the country for fun.
“Take the wheel and on three you’ll go over me, alright?” I asked if she understood. Only one nod was needed as her hand met the wheel I was fighting with. “Hold it tight. One… Two… Three!” I said as she dropped the gun on the dash, hopped on my lap in the middle of the one large seat. As she scooted over I grabbed the gun and leaned out the window.
“Ten shots…” I mentally reminded myself. Bang! I let a shot off which managed to hit one of them in the knee, making that one tumble to the ground. I shot two more times, unable to hit anything. “Hold the wheel tighter and gimme a good shot!” I yelled. Obviously she got mad as she threw the wheel to the right, making us head straight for them.
“What the fuck?!” I yelled. “Either kill them or we die.” She challenged me as if she knew exactly what I needed. I didn’t say a word as I shifted my aim from the end of the truck to the front. I took another shot. BANG! I hit one in the head before aiming for another. “Make them count.” I said mentally before letting four shots out. One chest shot, two head shots, and one arm shot. “Fuck it. Stop.”
Still slightly angry with me, she slammed on the brakes. Grabbing the baton from the floor I got out of the truck. “What bitch?!” I yelled at the lurker speeding towards me. “You think you’ve got some?!” My anger had also set in for having my nice morning interrupted. “FUCK YOU!” I screamed as I raised the baton, side-stepped and swung the baton to the zeds chest. As it hit the ground I reiterated. “FUCK YOU!” I said as I emptied the remaining bullets into its head letting the anger take hold of me.
“Shit… I shouldn’t have given that many shots.” I said as the anger subsided and I closed the door to the truck. “Yeah? You also shouldn’t have pissed me off.” She said sharply. “What the fuck?” I asked as I turned to her. “Don’t tell me how to drive.” Her voice was quiet as she continued to follow the tracks I made the night before.