End of Z World | Northern Lights (an End of Z World novella)

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When the world is nothing more than a post-apocalyptic, zombie-infested wasteland one must do whatever it takes to ensure one's survival, lest the human race perish.

Horror / Adventure
5.0 1 review
Age Rating:


The mighty roar of the AMG powered engine shattered the silence of the otherwise quiet countryside as Sofia did her very best to merge the sole of her Doc Marten boot and the supple, comfortable rubber of the accelerator pedal into one single entity.

Though she was a little over ten miles out of Bremerhaven she checked the rearview mirror at regular intervals. She did not expect her father to send anyone after her, in fact her suspicion was that he had not even noticed her disappearance, nor would he care if he had.

The autobahn stretched out before her. Mile upon mile upon mile of rolling tarmac, littered with the remnants of vehicles abandoned during the first days of the outbreak, not to mention the undead.

Most appeared immobile, either trapped within their vehicles or squashed beyond all hope of making a meal of anyone unless an individual was unfortunate enough to fall to the ground with an outstretched limb within reach of a set of rotting, zombified teeth.

Despite the immobility of most there were still a significant number of the undead creatures on their feet, although Sofia did count at least three with either one or both feet missing. They were, of course, attracted by the engine’s ferocious growl, and she was in no way attempting to be quiet; she could ill afford to be, at least until she had put a significant distance between Bremerhaven and herself.

Sofia did not have a particular destination in mind. She was heading east more for the fact that the vehicle was pointing east.

Travel was not as quick as she might have liked given the state of the roads but as the Sun began to set behind her, Sofia had covered a good twenty miles or so when she pulled into what at first glance appeared to be an abandoned farm and industrial yard, set some way back from the autobahn itself.

With the headlights dipped and as light a foot as was humanly possible she explored the area as best she could without leaving the confines of the vehicle. There was an array of shotguns and rifles, even a grenade launcher, in the boot, but Sofia intended to ensure it was safe to leave the vehicle before doing so.

There were no guarantees, of course, but a girl could hope.

Thankfully the area appeared to be devoid of life, both living and dead, and it was some twenty-five minutes later that she pulled the Mercedes into a barn of corrugated metal and turned off the engine.

Making her way around to the rear of the vehicle, Sofia remained vigilant. The last thing she had any intention of doing was being caught unawares. Soon though she was spread across the back seat using a picnic rug for a blanket and with a shotgun in an upright position, its butt resting upon the carpet whilst the barrel leant against the material lining at the rear of the driver’s seat.

It was her first night spent outside the sanctity of Bremerhaven’s walls, in fact it was the first night she had spent outside the city since the initial outbreak. As a result she slept fitfully though this was more than likely due to the fact she was sleeping upon the back seat, albeit a comfortable one, of a luxury vehicle and most definitely not because she was no longer in the city for though it was a safe place, secure behind high, guarded walls, it was hardly the kind of place she thought of as a sanctuary.

If anything, it had served as nothing more than her prison for the several months prior with her father, the self-appointed leader of Bremerhaven, the European City-State, as her jailer.


Sofia awoke before dawn and using the camping stove she had in the boot, set about cooking herself a breakfast of eggs and baked beans, to be washed down with a few sips from a bottle of mineral water. It was a far cry from being the hearty breakfast she so craved but it was better than nothing and she had witnessed first hand the effects malnourishment had upon the human body, and that was most definitely not a pretty sight.

Soon, with a semi-full belly, she was back out on the road. Sofia had not realised just how close to potential civilisation she had spent the night. She found out soon enough though for within ten minutes of setting off by the light of the early morning she found herself driving through the small town of Basdahl. She did not need to stop, so she did not do so. The Mercedes’ tank was all but full, she had enough food to last the better part of a fortnight and she was rather well stocked in the weaponry department.

Her primary worry, really, was the fact that very soon she was going to have to navigate Hamburg. The bridges there were the only crossings she knew of that would hopefully still be open, permitting her to cross the near-mile expanse of water that was the River Elbe.

When Sofia had left Bremerhaven behind she had not really thought about what she was expecting to find out in the world; it had simply been a case of needing to get away that she might find aid, somewhere, in putting a stop to her father and his nefarious plans.

Now though, when she was out in the big wide world, she found herself contemplating many things that she had not considered. How was she going to cross the Elbe if the bridges were inaccessible? Where should she go afterwards? Should she continue in a roughly eastern direction towards Poland and Eastern Europe beyond or would she be better served turning north and heading for Scandinavia? She had a few friends in Denmark and assuming those she knew were still alive, fighting to survive, then perhaps that was the better option. With no way to get in touch with those friends though, she was most definitely driving blind.

Hamburg was her first obstacle though and it was only a matter of three hours later that she was driving slowly, picking her way carefully along the A7 with an industrial park to her left whilst to her right, thousands of shipping crates were stacked upon the docks.

Three lanes soon gave way to two, a fact that did not make navigating the road any easier but she pushed on, drawing her breath sharply as she entered one of the tunnels that ran beneath the river itself.

She managed to make some two hundred yards progress before the road became impassable and she sighed, deeply.

“Looks like I’m making a run for it,” she muttered, though of course there was no one around to hear her do so.

Leaving the vehicle behind was not something she relished at all but there was little choice. Turning around was not an option.

As quickly as she could, Sofia went to the boot and loaded her food into a rucksack, along with the camping stove. She placed as much ammunition and as many of her guns into a holdall as she could manage and as an afterthought, grabbed the tyre iron from its slot within the spare wheel beneath the boot’s moveable carpet.

“Well, Sofia,” she said, as beneath the combined weight of her food and weapons she set off on foot into the darkness of the tunnel beneath the Elbe. “This is probably going to prove to be the stupidest thing you’ve ever done in your life!”

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