We had grown up on stories of zombie apocalypses. We had watched the movies, played the games - you know the ones, where you kill zombies by the dozen - and let me tell you something, they are not as easy to kill in real life. Our parents were scientists and conspiracy nuts so we had even been told theories on how it could happen. We had grown up listening to this stuff, but when it finally happened we were still caught totally unprepared.
My twin sister Sam and I were walking home from school one sunny October day when we noticed a commotion down the street at the end of the block in the intersection. At first it looked liked a typical bumper bashing, it was a busy corner so not all that unusual to see. . A red 4 door truck was slewed across the road and a large man in a blue work shirt, blue jeans and work boots was milling about waving his arms and looking agitated.
My sister and I are both certified for first aid so being the good little citizens we were, we hurried over to see if we could help. That was our first mistake, - general rule of thumb, when you see zombies run the other way! But right then we didn’t know there were zombies on the loose so I guess that excuses us.
We made it to the accident scene and saw someone trapped under the truck. HIs torso was being crushed by the right back tire, his legs under the truck his arms and head were sticking out on the tar. Then we made our second mistake, we stepped closer to see the damage and try figure out how to help.free the victim. We ignored the man waving his arms and frantically yelling at us to run away. I thought he was nuts, we had to help, it was the right thing to do.Sam and I each grabbed an arm and pulled. What came out from under the car was no longer human. Its face was bared in a snarl that showed far too many teeth and the damn thing tried to bite us!
“WTF” I yelled and jumped back before it could sink its teeth into my arm.
My sister wasn’t so lucky, the thing took a bite of her left calf, his teeth sinking right through her jeans before she could get away. She screamed and fell backwards on her butt I grabbed her and half dragged half carried her to the curb. Before I could blink the man in the plaid shirt pulled out a gun and shot the thing under the car in the center of his forehead, It finally lay still. Then to my horror he turned the gun on us. Where we sitting on the curb. There was murder and rage in his eyes.
He pointed the gun straight at Sam’s head, “She got bit, she must die.” he screamed. Sam yelped and covered her head with her arms.
I jumped up off the curb and stood in front of my sister, “Are you crazy dude? She’s just bit I will take her to the hospital and they will fix her up.” I put my hands out in front of me and shielded my sister from this madman.
He hesitated and In as firm a voice as I could muster I said “No way are you shooting my sister, you will have to shoot me first”
“You don’t get it son, she’s been bit shes gonna turn. It’s a mercy killing.” At that moment I wasn’t sure what he meant but I was not gonna let anyone shoot Sam, no matter what.
“No Mr. You will not do this, I will fix her.” Just then sirens from the police split the air with their insistent wail and the man suddenly looked scared.
“On your own head be it,” he growled and tucked the gun back in his pants. He sprinted to his truck and spun off with a squeal of tires and a wet thump as he rode over what was left of the thing under the car.
I was not too fond of the police either as I had gotten into some trouble with them earlier in the year, so I knew we had to get away before the police arrived and Sam wasn’t looking too good either. She was pale and shaky with eyes as big as saucers and blood was blackening the leg of her jeans.. As always my sister was my primary concern. We were twins and a part of me could feel her pain. I tore the sleeve off my shirt and bound it around the bite on her leg then helped her up.
I knew I had to get her to a hospital soon the bite was bad and from my first aid training I knew that a human bite is more dangerous than an animal’s. All sorts of bacteria find a home in a human’s’ mouth and I wasn’t completely certain that what had bitten her was even human at all.
She needed a tetanus shot asap at the very least. Luckily the hospital was only a few blocks away. I put my arm around her shoulder and she leaned on me as we slowly walked to the nearest hospital. It seemed twice the normal distance and when we got near there I realised there would be no help from them. The doors were closed and guarded by soldiers in uniform. A huge yellow quarantine notice covered the sliding glass doors and even from a distance I could read the big red writing Quarantined due to infectious outbreak. No admittance by order of the CDC the sign screamed in huge angry red letters. They even had soldiers in full riot gear blocking the entrance, no one was getting in or out that was for sure.
“Shit!” I exclaimed.
Sam looked up from where she was leaning on my shoulder and echoed my sentiment. “Shit.” she said. “Now what do we do? It hurts real bad Micah.”
I led her over to a bus stop bench that was nearby and we sat down. We were far enough away that the soldiers didn’t seem threatened by us. I took a deep breath and thought for a minute.
What about Doc Haley?” I mused out loud.
Sam looked at me like I was crazy “But he’s a vet not a people doctor.”she protested.
“I know, but he should be able to give you a tetanus shot and some kind of antibiotics at least..”
She looked over at the hospital with its warning signs and soldiers and eventually shrugged, “Ok, let’s go see if the doc can help.”
Fortunately we live in a small town so everything is pretty close together in the business part of town. I put my arm around Sam again and we hobbled the few blocks to Doc Haley’s place. People peered out at us from doors and windows, everyone seemed to be hiding so the streets were quiet. This was a good thing as I was in no position to fight anyone and neither was Sam.
Eventually after a trip that should have take five minutes but took us nearly twenty, we turned the last corner and saw the Doc’s house / office / clinic. I sensed immediately that something wasn’t right.. There were no cars outside, and I could hear a cacophony of animal noises from inside barking, meowing, tweeting It sounded like a zoo in there.
“Oh shit, I thought, now what? I made Sam sit down on the pavement in the shade of a large oak tree and moved cautiously towards the house which was three buildings down from the corner.
I walked carefully up the four front steps and saw at once that the door was ajar, not a good sign. I pushed it open my senses on full alert. Inside the office was empty not even Sally the usual receptionist was at the counter. The reception room was deserted and the animal noises coming from the back treatment rooms was even louder, almost deafening in fact. I called out “Doc Haley? Is anyone there?” there was no answer so I walked over to the door that seperated the reception from the treatment rooms and reluctantly opened it. I felt like a trespasser, and the big No Admittance sign on the door didn’t help. But I pushed the door open anyway and a zombie lunged at me from behind the door.
It was wild eyed, wild haired and covered in blood. It tried to grab me and gnashed its teeth at me trying desperately to bite me. Without thought my survival instinct and training kicked in before it could get a grip on me. I shoved it away with all my strength and it stumbled to the floor. I stabbed it through the eye with my swiss army knife that I carried everywhere with me. It heaved once in a death spasm and lay still. I pushed myself off the body and half sat half lay against the nearest wall shaking, trying to catch my breath and make sense of a world gone mad.
It was only when I had calmed down a bit that I got a good look at the body and realised it was Doc Haley himself that I had killed. But then again, what had tried to eat me may have worn Doc Haley’s body but it sure as hell wasn’t the kindly old man I knew as Doc Haley. What I had killed had been a ravening monster plain and simple.
After a few minutes I realised Sam would be getting worried about me so I got up and started looking around for a tetanus injection for her. The problem was, deep inside I was pretty sure it wouldn’t help anyway. My sister had been gnawed at by one of these things and it puzzled me that she hadn’t turned into a monster yet but whatever the case the wound itself needed treatment and I was determined to get bandages at the very least for her.
I walked through the treatment room to the cages at the back where the animals were kept until the Doc could see them. They had quietened down a bit since I had killed the Doc, I think he had scared them. There was a motley collection of cats, bunnies and one large, beautiful alsatian dog. As I passed his cage I swear he looked right into my eyes and seemed to say let me out. So I did. Then I let all the other animals out and watched as they scattered out into the street, it would have been funny if it wasn’t like the end of the world or something.
The dog though, he didn’t run, he stayed by my side as I searched for medicines, bandages anything we would possibly find useful. Within a few minutes I was done, my knapsack was heavy and bulging with supplies. I did not consider it stealing as such since the Doc wouldn’t need the stuff anymore and I was pretty damn sure we would. When I had taken all I could I hurried out the house, down the stairs and back down the sidewalk to Sam. Even from a distance I could see she was relieved to see me. The dog - his name tag on his collar said Max - stayed beside me and when we got to Sam all she said was “Cool dog, What’s his name?”
“His name tag says Max,” I replied. She reached out and petted him which he seemed to enjoy and he licked her hand and wagged his bushy black tail.
“He was in one of the cages and when I let the other animals out he insisted on staying by my side” I explained.
She nodded and said, “He could be useful to us,”
She stood up and we started walking back to our house, on the way I told her what had happened at the vet’s place but I didn’t say anything about my thoughts on why she wasn’t turning into a zombie monster. That was something to be puzzled over once we were safe. The dog trotted along beside us like he’s known us all his life and we were very relieved when we managed to reach home and safety without further incident. I was exhausted, this had turned into a very strange day indeed.
We let ourselves into our house, locked the doors and windows and collapsed into our familiar lounge chairs. On the up side, our parents had prepared for an apocalypse like this seemed to be and we were well stocked with food, water and the house was very secure, iron bars on all the windows and heavy security gates on the front and back doors. Nothing was getting in here that we didn’t allow in. The down side was, we didn’t know where our parents were or if they were alright. I threw together a meal and some juice in the kitchen with a bowl of water and a tinned meal for the dog.
Sam tried calling our folks but with no success, there seemed to be no cellphone or even landline connections active at the moment, eventually while I heated the food she sent them an email. We knew that if they could access email they would so we prayed they would eventually get the message that we were ok and reply that they were too.
Five days later we had still not heard from our parents and the world had basically imploded. We had satellite tv and radio and none of the news was good. People were dying and turning zombie all over the world from America to Zimbabwe. We stayed tuned to everything we could and were feeling pretty disheartened and helpless in the face of this disaster. We were safe and secure in our house but eventually our food would run out and then we would be forced to enter this strange terrifying new world. That day came sooner than we anticipated.