A very bad morning
Robert was lying in bed. It was rare that he got to sleep in, but he had just come back from active duty and had a bit of R&R coming to him. Something brought him to consciousness, a movement in the bed next to him. He opened his eyes and saw his wife, Samantha. Something wasn’t right about her, very far from right. Her mouth was open too wide, and her eyes were grey and dead. She was trying to bite him. Not a playful, sexy bite. No, she was trying to take a chunk out of him. He grabbed her by the throat careful to force her chin up so she couldn’t get her teeth engaged and then lifted her slight frame with his powerful arms and threw her out of the bed. She crashed through the chair she kept at the vanity, reducing the mostly ornamental piece to splinters. His mind ticked through possibilities, what was happening. In a moment he knew what was going on. Hell, there was enough media out there to remove any doubt. Somehow Samantha was clearly a zombie. He decided that he needed to test it though, to define the problem space empirically. She was up and snarling, her arm at an impossible angle as a result of the fall, bone poking through the skin, but no blood just a small trace of a thick, black substance. He jumped out of bed, wearing nothing but his boxers. Samantha was five foot two, while Robert was six foot three. She was slight if toned; he was large and heavily muscled. He kicked the thing that used to be his wife and she went down, not unconscious or even dazed, just knocked off her feet. He dropped to one knee on its chest and grabbed a broken chair leg. He slammed it into Samantha’s chest, breaking through her ribcage like it was nothing. She didn’t stop trying to bite him. Okay, point proved, she was clearly a zombie. He pulled the jagged piece of wood out and drove it through her eye. Then she did stop like he had flipped a switch.
He got up, went to the wall safe and took out his forty-four rhino. A large gun, really too large for this situation. It was better suited to stopping large animals, but he liked it for the intimidation factor. He was calm. Heart rate slightly elevated from physical exertion. He loaded the gun and then set it on the dresser next to him as he got dressed. He decided to wear his fatigues; they seemed like the most practical choice.
If Sam had turned in her sleep why hadn’t he? Also, what about Robert Junior and Kayla, his children? He listened and realised he could hear a rhythmic thumping coming from the kids part of the house. So, probably zombies as well. “Okay. So, how do I deal with this? I have to make sure the children aren’t a threat. Fuck. I’m talking to myself now.” His ability to be rational surprised him. Robert had always known there was something wrong with him. An empty cold place in the core of his being that nothing seemed to touch. He thought about his children having turned, having to cave in their small skulls, pierce their brains, and discovered that he felt nothing. It was just a job that needed doing. Nobody had ever noticed, ever called him on it. He remembered once, when he was a teenager, he’s tortured a fellow student, subtly driven him to the point of quitting school. The kid was a nerd, carried a briefcase to class in grade eight, dressed in suits. Robert had threatened to lock him in his own locker every day. He hadn’t done it, but he was way bigger than the kid, could have done it easily. Never actually said anything overtly cruel to him, and was often friendly to him in public. Every morning “I’m going to lock you in your locker. You won’t be able to get out.” The kid was claustrophobic. Eventually, he had a breakdown, left the school and never came back. When he talked about why he left, he said it was because of Robert. When Robert’s teachers asked him about it, he said he didn’t understand “He’s my friend, I have no idea what he thinks I’ve done.” Robert had no idea what the kid’s name was.
He laced up his boots, kept despite Sam’s objections in the master bedroom, and got his kit together. A full pack, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Enough gear to take him through a week or two on the road. Once he was fully equipped, including his pack and weapons belt, he headed out into the hall. The thumping was coming from Kayla’s room.
He took out his bush knife. Zombies would require a quiet approach, and conserving bullets would be necessary. He opened the door. His daughter had turned as well. The pink room was a shambles, everything not attached to the walls knocked down. Kayla was wearing her footie pyjamas, pink with bunnies on them. Her curly blonde hair was dishevelled, in a way that Samantha didn’t allow after she was up and dressed. Her eyes showed the truth. The iris was a washed-out grey, pupil missing. Her tiny jaw was opening and closing, with some sort of horrible internal rhythm, as if she was trying to chew the air. She came out moving as fast as her dead body would allow, grabbing for her father’s leg, that horrible mouth questing for flesh. Robert swung the large bush knife straight down into her skull. There was a crunch and the knife sunk in several inches. Her little body went limp and fell to the floor.
Robert was pretty sure he should be feeling something, but nothing, just nothing.
Well, only one room left. Just his son. He drew his knife and headed for the door.