“NOLAN! LOCK YOURSELF IN THE BATHROOM!” I shouted out to my 8 year old brother, but he froze in place in shock and fear. I heard him scream as our mother bit a chunk of flesh off his left arm. “NOLAN!!!!” I swung my bat as hard as I could on her head, hearing a loud crack. I had to forcefully swallow the vomit that creeped up and burned my throat when my mother’s head busted open, the bat bounced off and I had to strike her again and again and again when she tried to attack Nolan once more. She slumped hard on the floor dead...really dead as in not coming back to eat us.
I dropped my bat and ran towards my little brother who was on the floor crying and bleeding. I could barely see his face from the hot tears that kept pouring out of my own eyes. I took off my tank top, not caring that he saw me in a sports bra, ripping it to securely tie it around his wounded arm. “Y...you’re going to be alright Nolan,” I tried to be brave for him and myself. I needed to give him reassurance and myself hope. If he dies, I don’t know what I will do. I need to find my grandfather and great grandmother. I helped him up to sit on the sofa, then ran to the fridge and shakenly opened a bottle of water for him and opened another to clean his wound. I ran back to him and helped him drink the water. I then ran to check if the front door of our apartment was securely locked. It was. I then ran back to him, grabbing the blanket from the sofa and wrapped it around him. I then ran to the bathroom and found the first aid kit underneath the basin. I approached Nolan and kneeled in front of him, opening the first aid kit. Carefully I unwrapped the tank top as he cried. “It’s ok Nolan,” I whispered sweetly. “I have to clean it so that it doesn’t get infected.” His wet teared face slowly nodded as he tried to be brave for what is to come. I took the bottle water and poured it over his wound to clean up as much as I could to get a better view. It was such a nasty bite. Here comes that vomit again wanting to make a visit. I could do this! I could do this!
Once again I swallowed hard, then opened the bottle of alcohol. Before I poured it, I looked at my terrified little brother’s face. “Hold your breath and close your eyes baby.” Once he did, I poured the alcohol, but he yelled like a banshee.
“IT HURTS ABBIE!” He wailed out as he pulled his arm away from me and scooted as far back as he could into the sofa. “Please don’t. It hurts.”
My heart sank even more, if that’s even possible. I weakly smiled at him. “The worst part is over Nolan. All I have to do is put this ointment,” I showed him the tube. “You remember this ointment right? It’s the same one mom….” my voice trailed off as I slowly turned my head to look at her lifeless body with a split head on the floor. Blood spread out like an area rug. How could I be so stupid?! I angrily got up and went to her bedroom. I yanked the quilt off of her bed and went back to the livingroom to cover up her body. Nolan kept his eyes on our mother’s blood stained quilt. I cleared my throat and kneeled before Nolan again. “She used this ointment on your knee when you scraped it, remember?” He slowly nodded. “It didn’t hurt right?” He slowly shook his head. “I will use the Q-Tip to gently put the ointment on, then a nice clean bandage.” Nolan slowly scooted closer to me and presented his arm. I bit my lower lip as I carefully put the ointment on this nasty bite wound. After I was sure that I covered it entirely, I unrolled a large clean gauze and wrapped it around before taping it closed. I then gave him one Ibupheran for his pain.
“Why did mommy bite me Abbie?” He asked in his little shaken voice.
“I don’t know baby,” I sat down, placing him on my lap and smoothing out his sweaty hair. He has a fever. Dammit!
“Are we going to grandpa’s house?”
“Of course we are. He and our great grandma are waiting for us.”
I could hear screaming outside and our neighbors banging on doors and walls. I could hear furniture scraping the floors and muffled gurgling sounds. Something I didn’t notice until now. I grabbed the remote control to the TV and turned it on looking for cartoons to keep Nolan entertained and not focused on what is happening. Unfortunately, every channel was the same. The news was talking about how infected people were attacking and eating other people. They were named Eaters. They were showing clips of people running away while others were being ripped apart and consumed. I covered Nolan’s eyes as I myself felt another wave of vomit creeping up my throat. Those that survived the attack were reported to have turned into an Eater. Some turned faster than others. Some turned in seconds, others in minutes and a few within an hour or two. I don’t understand how or why. All I know is that the virus was highly infectious. I turned off the TV and just held Nolan in my arms as he silently whimpered. We both were.
We stood like that for a couple of minutes when I noticed Nolan had fallen asleep. I slowly moved so that he could lie comfortably on the sofa, placing a pillow underneath his head. I felt his forehead. He was burning up. I hope the Ibupheron kicks in soon. Our mother arrived from her work at the hospital just two hours before she turned. She had been bitten on the shoulder while in the emergency room and addressed the wound herself when she arrived home. She was informing me about what was happening as she frantically told us to pack what we needed the most, but not too much. I could hardly believe what she was saying nor could I understand what she was saying because she was talking so quickly. It sounded like something out of a horror movie. Mom suddenly had to sit down. Her breathing became rapid and she started shaking. I felt her forehead and she was burning up. I suggested that she lie down and rest before we leave. That was the last time I saw my mother alive. I guess she didn’t get the infection on time. But I got to Nolan’s infection on time. I did, I did. He won’t turn.
I went into my room, found my phone and quickly sent text messages to my grandfather and friends in hopes that they were ok. I looked out my bedroom window from the 3rd floor apartment we live in and all I could see was total chaos outside. Cars were on fire or flipped over on its side. Eaters were jumping on people, biting them as they struggled to free themselves. Why is this happening? What is going on? How did it get started?
My mom moved us to Itaewon Korea when she and my father divorced after she caught him cheating with his secretary. Yeah I know, so cliche. Nolan was only two years old at the time. She chose Itaewon because it’s very diverse and to be honest, I fell in love with this place. My mother’s dad is Korean and her mother is African American. Unfortunately, her mother passed away from cancer when my mom was 13 years old. My grandfather and his mother raised my mom in California and made sure she was fluent in the Korean language as well as very educated. My grandfather is a doctor and my mother followed his steps. My mom caught my dad’s attention and they married after one year of dating. My grandfather and great grandmother moved back to Jeju Island, Korea after he and my mother had a falling out because he disapproved of my father. Seems like Hal-abeoji (grandfather) was right. Our dad didn’t bother keeping in touch with us once he and his mistress were married shortly after the divorce.
I took the nunchucks from my dresser, examining it like it was the first time. I’m actually a pro with this weapon. My mom put me in TaeKwonDo when I was 4 years old back in California and I continued my training here. Now 12 years later, I became a two time blackbelt not only in self defense, but in weaponry as well. Nunchucks are my specialty and by far my favorite weapon to use. My heart jumped when I finally heard my phone chime in a text message after almost two hours. I nervously opened the message, almost dropping my phone.
Abbie! R U OK?
Yeah. WTF is going on?
Abbie, stay inside! Don’t let anyone in your apartment
I won’t!..Mai...My mom is dead
Oh Abbie, was she infected?!
I’m so sorry Abs
She bit Nolan’s arm
Abbie, get away from him!
He’s infected Abs. He’s going to turn
We don’t know that for sure. I got the infection on time
It doesn’t matter Abbie...Does he have a fever?
Shit! Please no, he can’t turn. I disinfected his wound on time. Please no, please.
Yes, he has a fever but I gave him Ibuprofen
Abbie listen to me….You have to kill him
WHAT?! R U FUCKING CRAZY? I CAN’T KILL HIM!
I tossed my phone on my bed angry that Mai Ling would suggest such a horrible thing. I opened my drawer and took out a shirt to wear. Has Mai Ling lost her mind? He’s fine...right? I slowly walked out of my room, nunchucks in hand and headed towards the living room. My heart dropped when Nolan wasn’t on the sofa where I left him. My body began to shake and I could hear my heart thumping hard in my ears. My breathing picked up pace and I felt like I was suffocating. I stood frozen in place hoping deep down inside that Mai Ling was wrong. “Nolan?” My voice cracked as I called out for him. My heart dropped to the pit of my stomach when he appeared from the kitchen doorway looking just like our mom did not too long ago. I felt fresh hot tears run down my face as I was faced with the reality that my baby brother has turned into an infected. All my attempts to save him were for nothing. That thing replaced my beautiful loving brother. Nolan is no longer Nolan, but an Eater.
Nolan suddenly charged towards me with a monstrous growl, little hands out to tear me apart. He suddenly fell to the floor with his head split open, blood oozing out of his head, decorating the floor. My hands, my body were shaking as if I was outside in zero degree weather wearing nothing but a bathing suit. I numbly fall to my knees, my eyes wide open in horror as I look at the nunchucks dripping with Nolan’s blood. I didn’t even realize that I had struck him. I heard a loud wailing cry that matched the chaos outside and probably the rest of the world. I also realized that it was coming from me.
I woke up sweating and crying. It’s the same nightmare I have had every night for the past 2 years since I lost my mother and little brother to the virus outbreak. I’m now 18 years old. We found out early during the outbreak that it was caused by a venom bite of an escaped python snake deep in the Amazon jungle that scientists had experimented on. A group of explorers were on the expedition when one of them came into contact with the infected python. He turned within two hours, but he was brought back evading customs, entering the United States for further experimentation. In other words, he was dissected. One of the doctors stole a tube of the infected blood and flew back to Korea for testing on a rat. A rat that bit the doctor and somehow, shit hit the fan from there. I read somewhere that half of the United States is infected. A big wall like the one that separates Mexico has been built from North Dakota straight down the middle of Texas to keep the Eaters away. Unfortunately, those who live on the West Coast, like my father, are either infected or trying to survive. Either way, my situation is none better. We also found out that we must aim for the head to officially kill an Eater. Something I did out of instinct when I killed my mother and little brother. The 3rd floor survivors, including me, were lucky to get out. But, it wasn’t easy.