I stand frozen in the middle of the street, my limbs unable to move as people run without ever looking back.
Everyone is screaming. Cars are everywhere, fighting to claim space on the road with people running in front of them like they mean nothing.
It is a tug of war between cars, trucks, and people alike, a fight for survival. In this life, the fear of being run over by a car is far lesser than the fear of something else, something unknown.
One driver in an old Chevie almost runs me over, hooting hysterically for me to move out of the way.
My brain finally manages to communicate orders to the rest of my body and I move to stand on the side of the road. The scowling driver sticks his middle finger out the window at me as he zooms past, before a truck rams into him.
The impact rattles my senses, sending me straight into the action as I attempt a getaway like everyone else, while the Chevie topples over and over on the other side of the road.
But I don't know what I am running from. Be it from the scary driver who karma didn't even spare a fraction of thought before paying him a visit, or something else.
Everyone is running, either to their cars or to seek shelter from the nearby buildings.
The atmosphere reeks of panic, and the raw smell of it forces a cold shiver down my spine.
My feet sink into the ground and bring me to a sudden halt when my eyes brush past somebody that shouldn't be here. The woman is chased by someone else into an alley on the side of a store, screaming bloody murder with her pursuer hot on her heels.
The fast thumping of my heart propels me out of my stillness, pushing me to run towards that person who looks so much like my grandmother, although I know that my grandmother is dead and it cannot possibly be her.
Dashing across the street, sparing a quick apology to the angry drivers who had come to a sudden stop in the middle of the road to avoid running me over, I arrive in time to witness the old lady being tackled to the floor. Her attacker wastes no time before opening her mouth and driving her teeth into the old woman's shoulder.
My eyes widen as the lady yelps in pain, it is her.
Hot anger coursing through my veins overshadows the shock and the disbelief that I feel as I stride over, pick up a piece of a metal rod on the side of the building and ram it into the blonde girl who just bit my grandmother - before using my boot to roughly push her off of Grams.
She literally took a chunk out of her shoulder, like she didn't even have to think about it.
The action sends her flailing to the ground, gaining me a few seconds to help Grams off of the cold and dirty floor, and stumble backward with her arm around my shoulder.
"Are you crazy!" I yell, enraged.
The blonde snarls as she too lifts herself from the ground, the kick seeming to have done no serious damage.
My face scrunches in disgust when she completely ignores me and chews on the piece of flesh from my grandmother's shoulder.
Fresh stains of blood cover her silky pink blouse, a lot more blood than she could've gotten from biting grams only. This bitch hurt other people before this. Has she fucking lost her mind?
"You need to run." Grams manages to say in between gasps of breath.
My mouth parts to say something but grams pushes me aside as the blonde hurls herself towards us and takes grams back down to the ground with her. I try to interfere when grams stops me.
Her face scrunches in a mixture of fear and pain as she barely manages to shout for me not to come any closer. Tears brim my eyes and my mouth parts in shock as the blonde tears through grams' neck with her teeth.
"Run!" Grams manages a whisper with much difficulty as a tear rolls down the side of her face.
Her last word to me before she finally stops struggling and her hand falls to the ground.
I slap my hand over my mouth to muffle my scream. My mind is numb, the only sounds I can register, being that of biting, growling, and chewing, and the soft moans of agony that Grams makes as the blonde digs into her stomach.
Until she finally stops breathing.
The word replays itself over and over as it bounces on the walls inside of my head, and before I can register what is happening, the blonde has turned to me.
I wake up with a gasp, my hands shooting out to block the impact of the girl who attacked Grams. But it never comes. My hands start flying all over my body to feel for any bite wounds before the realization dawns on me that it was only a nightmare.
A terrible nightmare that has left my face wet with tears.
A breath of relief has my shoulders relaxing as I lay back down to stare at the ceiling.
It has been years since I last dreamt about Grams and the first one I have is as gruesome as they come.
I get up to open my window, the cool morning air waking me from my stupor. I have never felt glad to finally be awake from a dream as much as I do right now.
With a sigh, I commence with my morning routine and soon find myself in the kitchen after taking a much-appreciated shower.
My mind keeps drifting back to the nightmare I so desperately want to forget, but one like that cannot be forgotten easily. It lingers until something else happens and draws my thoughts and attention away from it.
I laugh to myself as I slice through a tomato. "Grams couldn't have been more unoriginal."
"Another weird dream?" Kai waltzes through the kitchen and pours himself a glass of juice, then heads over to the living room.
My laughs turn hysterical when I recall the fear I felt earlier from something this uncreative.
"I mean - Zombies?" I manage to say in between gasps of laughter.
My brother ignores me as he shifts through the channels and settles on the news for a little, he probably knows that I am laughing over something stupid.
My laugh subsides before I carry mine and Kai's sandwiches over to the couch. I shake my head and bite my lip to prevent myself from breaking into fits of laughter all over again.
For all I know, Kai might kick me out of the room in irritation.
He grabs his share from the tray and bites into it. "What was it about this time?"
I shake my head, my lips curving upwards before I bite into my own sandwich.
"You don't want to know."
"Trust me, I don't." Kai throws back and I smack the back of his head with my free hand.
"Ow!" He rubs the sore spot and glares at me.
We eat in silence as we watch today's broadcast. I hate the news but I won't say anything. Eighteen years old but it seems puberty isn't done with him yet, he might actually bite my head off if I told him to change the channel.
The evolution of the rabies virus is written in bold at the bottom of the screen.
"Cases of the rabies virus reported across the country over the past month have shown behavioral patterns which are said to be rather disturbing." The anchor reads sternly.
"Veterinarians express concern over the notable change the virus is currently undergoing and how it is attacking the animals more severely. And though the survival rate of animals infected with this virus was pretty low in the past - Veterinarians stress the significant decrease in the chances of survival and an increase in fatalities. Pet owners are advised to take their pets for a medical health checkup to ensure that their pets are not faced with the same fate."
"You know, I saw something similar when I was scrolling through Twitter yesterday. But from what I saw, one dog apparently took a chunk from its owner's arm while he was ruffling it before it died." Kai informs me when they move to the next piece of news, taking the tray back with him to the kitchen sink.
I switch the TV off with a grimace and stand up to collect my keys from the artificial fruit bowl on the table.
"Imagine being infected with rabies."
Kai chuckles. "It is in moments like these when I'm glad I didn't get that dog."
"You wouldn't have gotten it either way," I tell him as I lock the door, my backpack slung lazily over my shoulder.
Our mom hated dogs, she was terrified of them. She was running for the hills each time she sighted one and the thought of having to clean up poop every now and then gave her the chills. So, when she and dad moved to England for job offers that they both received as Doctors, Kai and I sort of kept that uh - tradition. It sort of stuck.
The "NO-DOG" tradition.
The drive to Kai's high school consists of radio broadcasts, another person called in about being bitten by a dog on his jog this morning. It got his calf good and he is still struggling to keep the bleeding under control.
"The little bastard took a chunk out of my calf and I couldn't even kick him because afterward, he just collapsed to the ground and stopped moving." The caller said.
"Weird," Kai murmurs and pushes the door open.
He grabs his backpack from the backseat and slings it over his shoulder. "I have practice today, pick me up at 6?"
"See ya." I holler at my brother who is already walking off towards the school gates.
I reach for the radio and change the channel to something more joyful, but soon find another interview about someone's dog or someone's cat being sick.
Deciding that I have had enough with these awful broadcasts, I find my Aux to connect to my phone and play some music.
The music works wonders in taking my mind off the disturbing news I had heard all morning and when I arrive on Campus, it is like I have forgotten all about it.
The following week passes in a blur, nothing eventful has happened except for the latest news about a virus ravaging the big cities.
Kai is a news person whereas I prefer to be oblivious to it all, nothing good is ever broadcasted in the news. It is always some awful thing about one thing or the other and that is just not for me.