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Just as my arms are about halfway through, there’s movement from inside the store. I almost slam backwards from shock but instead I slide down as far as I can go. One leg outside, one leg inside. My torso inside and outside. Great. If they find your body like this, I’m sure it’ll give them a good laugh. Look at this one! Bound at the wrists and couldn’t even slip through the doorway! What. A. Crack up.
I continue trying to slide further and further out, but slowly enough to not arouse suspicion or to alert them by noise. I’m breathing hard from the concentration and also the panic that begins rising in my throat in the form of an unswallowable lump. My ear pricks as I can hear voices nearing.
“Okay, Benjie. I get it. It was a risk, and we all knew that. We all chose that, didn’t we? I’m sure if we give her time, try to explain ourselves, she might decide that we’re the best option out there” I hear a woman’s voice. It’s slightly croaky, like one who hasn’t slept in a while, or just woke up. Violet. I begin to haul ass now, as I will not be caught, shimmying between shattered glass doors, with my wrists bound.
“I understand that. I truly do. But think! What happens if we gets one look of us, realises that I was the one who shoved her into broken glass and almost got choked out by her, then decides that she either going to cut us in our sleep or run off in the middle of the night with our supplies? She could have It, you know. Just because Karina gave her a brief touchy-feely check-up, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the Signs. She’s unreliable,” the male says, a gentle desperation in his voice.
“We don’t know that at all. She could be very reliable, and useful to us” Violet retorts back, her tone having a finalised sternness to it.
I’m nearly through completely. Just past my knee on my left leg is still inside. My leg muscles are aching, and shaking slightly from the exertion of pausing every two seconds to listen, then starting back up again to push through. I am just about to lift my foot out through the doors when I hear someone call my name, shocked at first, then angry.
I catch Violet and Benjie staring at me staring at them. Mouths agape. Violet is running towards me while pointing and shouting at Benjie. Benjie nods, then races off back in the direction they were walking in. I fling myself outside and land sharply on my knee. I let out a violent hiss of pain, but take no spare second to inspect. Yanking my other foot out of the store, I pull myself up fully to start running like hell. The running footsteps behind me are closing in, but I’m picking up speed now. Rain hits my face hard and within seconds, I’m completely drenched from head to toe. I sputter for breath as rain hits my eyes and almost floods my mouth, which I forget to realise is hanging open and taking in large, gasping mouthfuls of air and rain.
The forest is still see-able through the foggy mist brought on by the rain, but the path that leads to my camp has disappeared. Dark shops line the desecrated streets; the dirty piles of trash on the ground are flooded through, and broken windows and doors are being drenched in the downpour. I run past them, now limping awkwardly from my knee. I have trouble breathing with the heavy winds blasting into my face, I use it to turn away and gasp for air while looking behind me. Violet kicks the glass door down with her boot and grasps her gun tighter. She’s yelling for something, possibly me, but I can’t hear or see it very well. Another lightning strike flashes in the sky and I’m sure I’m going to get electrocuted in a few seconds. Thunder claps down mere seconds later and the vibrations bounce around through my chest.
I’m shivering uncontrollably. To control the chattering, I bite down hard on my lip. I’m nowhere close to the Forest, and even if I did make it, I’d still be in this downpour. I am creating distance between Violet and myself, until I hear a gun shot go off. I drop my head down, thinking it’s aiming at me. Hesitant to look back, I force myself through the fear to. I realise in a split second what those moving dirty piles of garbage on the street curb are.
They begin shifting. Slowly, at first, but then as my breath hitches in my throat, I see the absent eyed creatures pulling themselves along the ground. Some climb to their feet, shaky and unstable, but once they lock eyes with me, something clicks inside of them. It’s eating time. I can tell by the way they lick their lips and their tongue lashes out, like it’s trying to reach for me itself. By the time it clicks in my head to run, nearly eleven have pulled themselves up and are walking around in different directions. Some walk towards something towards the Grocer, some walk off into the distance, and some are heading straight for me. I move quicker than before, regardless of an injured knee or not. I have no chance heading into the Forest, so I make sharp turn towards one of the nearest shops.
The door isn’t locked (Go figure, no one had time in the apocalypse to lock their doors) and I budge it open desperately as They growl and breath at me, slowly advancing on me. If it’s not Humans, it’s Them. Always being hunted, always running.
I manage to slam the door shut in time as one of Them reaches the door. Its claws scratch and tear at the heavy glassed door, leaving bloody marks right where my face should be. Shoving my body against the door, holding it shut until I can find something to push against it, the musty smell of mold and mildew suffocate me. Water has broken in through the roof, leaving puddles that are flooding the storefront. It’s completely trashed. Clothes are bunched up on the ground, soggy and moulding over. A table had been flipped over, with gun shot markings all over it and bloody streaks. Blackened blood splatters the walls, and I make a mental note not to touch anything. Some of the mannequins arms have been ripped off, or standing there with only a leg. Every single one of them has a crudely blood strip across their mouths, and one word written in dried blood on its chest.
My stomach does leaps and bounds inside of my body, and I struggle not to take deep breaths. My imagination starts whirling at what had happened in this room, and if there are still any bodies left from the carnage that it caused. When the Outbreak first started causing widespread pandemonium, I stood far off in the background as I saw everyone pillaging and looting from the stores. People died for fighting over the last Wii, or stabbed because they had something that someone else had, in their own words, ‘Dibbed’. I watched on, knowing that the thing that began killing us off in large quantities was not Them, but us. Paranoia was the biggest issue that arose, besides the whole ‘Being-Eaten’. I could imagine that the problem that finalised their situation in this little shopfront was either a last stand from an oncoming swarm, or the level of paranoia finally breaking.
The snarls from the other side of the door bring me back to reality. I’m not safe yet, gotta keep moving! I command myself, like a Soldier moving from one task to another.
Scanning the room, my eyes stop at nearby clothes rack that had fallen over. It is still outside, attacking the glass by scratching at it. The tiredness draws me in like a warm and long awaited hug; the exhaustion from all this running and pushing and fighting makes my head start to swim and this insatiable pull to just let it in. To succumb to whatever it wants to do with me, and to give up the fight. I press my back harder into the door, releasing my hands from pressing against it and instead, press them against my face.
I should have known it was a trap. The same thought replays in my head over and over; taunting me and making me feel like an incompetent idiot. Who decides that a store that hasn’t seen life in a day and a half must be safe? Who thinks that it’s going to be a simple in and out mission that would take less than ten minutes, at most? I want to head butt the wall out of frustration, but telling from the splatter on the wall, it’s not just blood.
I’ve only caught my breath slightly when I start to feel the budging of the door behind my back. My eyes widen as I look behind me and see another One join in pushing and scratching at the door. I can barely see through the large mess at my eye level from the smeared blood and dirt, but I can see that They won’t give up as long as they still see me, and I am starting to falter in holding it shut any longer. Glancing at the fallen rack beside me once more, my mouth and brow tighten into a concentrated look. On three…I can do this. I pep myself as I count quickly to three and propel myself off the door and straight towards the rack.
I hear Them push harder and the door almost flies off the hinges, but is only being held by the flimsy locking mechanism. Within a few seconds, that door will fly off and I’ll be in a stickier situation than I am right now. I wrap my hands around the bar and try pulling it towards the door, but I miscalculated how heavy it is, or how tiny I must be. A grunt of frustration and desperation lunges from my gut. I change tactics by jumping over it to the other side. If I can’t pull it, I’ll push it towards the door. They make busy work on the door; parts of the door handle are falling off, dust scattering into the air and dancing around. I grunt again loudly, channelling everything inside of me to push. I feel it start to skitter along, then start gliding. The sole of my boots are bending at an angle, and my leather jacket is taut from stretching. As the door is one last shaky tap away from blowing open, my last bit of energy causes the rack to dive in front of it. A loud knocking of fists on the glass causes me to look up and see that They haven’t been able to push through.
A smile of relief plasters itself all over my face, and I relax against the rack for a moment. If there was one thing that I wanted most in the world right now, though I selfishly cringe at, is a warm bath. My hands are now caked with grime of all types, blood, and what other substances have been splayed around. I’m sure I stink worse than I have ever before, but have since gotten used to it. I take the moment with gratitude.
A simple moment of silence, except for the noise of Them who are growling and gnashing at the door, but I have since started to zone them out and play it like an irritating background noise. Sinking into the quietness, the thick blanket of exhaustion cocoons me all over my body. Adrenalin is beginning to wear off, and that smacks me into focus. They are still out there, it’s still raining, and I haven’t checked this place out yet for more of Them.
I am just about to wipe my face from sheer tiredness, but catch myself with a hint of disgust as I instead find a discarded t-shirt on the ground to wipe my hands with. This shop must have been not doing so well, I note, by the ‘90% off everything in store!” that hang in strategically thought out places. One hangs above the check out counter, where the cash register has been smashed open and some coins still sit in small compartments, unnoticed. Though one may think that money or currency would instantly lose value in an environment like this, you’d be surprised.
After a year, with no sign of any type of Government or civilisation forming, those who are still alive have to pick up the pieces. I did not associate with them, but I watched from afar. Large groups who had taken large quantities of supplies had set up a small station at the side of a once very popular road, with a sign saying – ‘Supplies Inside. Be ready to pay, or be killed” – those who came with cash could buy much-needed items that the group was willing to give up.
To me, it was the dumbest idea. What could they possibly buy with large amounts of money? A car? A TV? I laughed at them, watching them like they were farm animals doing something cutely human-like, until one day I saw them shoot someone point blank in the head because they did not have the cash they wanted. Since I’m here, I grab the rest of the coins in the tin and shove them into my pocket. You never know when they’ll come handy, I wonder to myself as I continue walking throughout the store.
The foreboding sense of panic and rush tug at me. I’m still not safe, and my gut knows it. My boots brush past pants, jeans torn in half, a shirt that is covered in copious amounts of blood, and some clothe hangers. Wooden clothe hangers. I smirk to myself as I bend down to pick one up. A wooden hanger would splinter pretty well…
I pull off the metal tip, inspect it in the air in front of me for water damage, and when I know there isn’t, I walk over to one of the counters, and smash it against the edge. After a few tries, it finally breaks. The splintered edge is pointed, sharp, and ready for any danger. I pocket the smaller side that broke off, and now look towards the back door. If there is any way I’m getting out of here, alive, it isn’t through the front door.
They are still going at it, as they watch me through a different part of the glass now. The large mess of blood had gotten wider while I scavenged, the blood too thick for them to see through. I give Them a little salute, and walk past the counters towards the door.
The door slams shut when two alarming gunshots go off into the air. I forget how long it’s been since I got in here, running away from Violet and whomever she sent to come with her, but in that whole time I didn’t hear any gunshots. I stand still, listening quietly, in the lonely corridor. My face is contorted in pain and concentration. Three more gunshots. They’re closer than last time.
It goes awfully silent for what seems like hours, but realistically is only a few minutes long. I stand there motionless and gripping the makeshift wood weapon in my hand so tightly my knuckles have turned a pale-reddish. I’m motion to move when a shotgun blast smashes glass nearby. I don’t hesitate this time. Deeper into the store I hide, passing the Staff Room, which is also a messy aftermath of struggle. Chairs thrown across the room, blood marks in the form of handprints, splatters, and drag marks. The table is missing one of its legs, and I know that someone was desperate enough, like myself, to make a weapon out of whatever was nearby. Maybe that explains all that blood in there…
I continue down the corridor. While it’s a short one, it’s still high on my danger list of things to avoid if possible. That, and small climbing shafts, with little rickety ladders. Bonus points if it has a lid or Manhole cover to lift up.
Another shotgun blast goes off. I’m unable to tell where it is now, whether it’s getting closer or further, which makes me start panicking. It’s times like these where I’m glad to have not eaten, for fear of vomiting from the nerves and stress of the situation. Nothing screams, ‘Let’s release everything in your body!’ like a life-or-death situation. I quicken my pace as I reach the door at the end. It’s open, which I am thankful for, and stare into the abyss. It’s pitch black, and I fumble around for a light switch, which has no hope of turning on. It’s a force of habit, really. I wait a moment to let my eyes adjust as much as possible, trying to squint then widen to perhaps hurry the process.
What sends me rocketing into the room is the sounds of a chorus of gunfire, screams, hostile yelling, then more gunfire. I slam the door, stroking around the handle for a lock of some sort, but it’s one that requires a key. My ultimate hatred in the past year has been the lack of keys, or functioning ones. Never do They have keys on them, and never do those keys match the doors where they died. I push a box nearby in front of the door, and hope that it’s heavy enough to stay in place. I know it wouldn’t stop the door from being opened, but I’m hoping at least the person who comes in will trip over it and allow me some time to jump over them. I guess that the room that I’m in is the storage, for there are boxes and boxes all over. Some opened, but mostly closed. I guess someone came in, thinking it was food or something useful, and only found box after box of folded clothes to sell and decided that it would be pointless to grab any of them.
The rain patters on the roof above me, and I listen to it while furtively staring at the door. Moments pass, and I decide that standing is using more energy than necessary. I squat in front of the boxed door, anticipating something or someone to blow it apart, one shotgun shell at a time, and then turn to me to end it. I don’t know when this train of thought began, or when the paranoia began to keep me up most nights that I’d wake up in a fitful stir, aiming my gun around me in the air and still having one eye closed. Perhaps it’s when I awoke to find a gun pointed at my head, or when I noticed my gun missing one night and found one of my friends solemnly placing it on his chest, then closing his eyes while crying.
This paranoia, this fear that eats at me every day, is all that keeps me alive at this point. It’s the drive, it’s the force behind me trying to find things to eat and survive, or find shelter for the night to avoid being woken up to the sound of my leg being ripped off by Them. Some nights, this paranoia is so much that sometimes I think I’m becoming one of Them. That’s how it started, I think to myself faster and faster, that’s what separated Them in the end. Their own mind.
I tut with my tongue at myself and wipe part of my clean sleeve across my eyes. They sting from tiredness, and I tear my mind away from the desire of pushing all these clothes into a little pile for me to sleep on. It honestly would have been the best bed I’ve had in a while. My thighs start to burn from squatting, but I push past it. I feel the ache, acknowledge it, roll it around in my mind, and then push past it until it turns to a slight numb feeling. My feet have gone intensely cold. The sun has practically disappeared, and the room is in such darkness that fear constricts my throat. My eyes have adjusted, but only to see odd shapes and figures in the darkness. It’s enough, for now, but soon I set in my mind that I’ll have to go and look for a light of some sort.
Looking up at the door, I picture what it might look like if this happens to be where I make my last stand. How disappointing that would be. If it were another survivor, most likely at this point it’d be that woman named Violet who seems so eager to have a talk, then she’d be standing above me. I’d be bleeding from putting up as much fight as I could, because I know that there’s no way I’d just happily sit there, twiddling my thumbs, while waiting to get shot between the eyes. She might smile, or she might frown at the utter disappointment of her kill. It might be a quick shot, and then wait for me to reanimate, then shoot me again or do it quickly by the blade. They might shoot me then leave, letting me turn into one of Them and to wander with the hunger for flesh. I wonder if I’d be scared, or if I’d look them straight in the eye and say something one of those heroic badass characters would say. Something like, “I dare you” or, “I’ll see you in hell”. I wonder if it’d hurt for long, or if I’d know it happened to me. It could be a painle –
A growl behind me cuts my ramblings short. Caught in mid-thought, a hand violently grab at my back, the nails creating a sound on the leather that I once dreaded, but realised that it meant that I just narrowly avoided being infected from a scratch. I yell out as the hand drags me backwards, pulling my balance off and causing me to fall. My legs fly out from underneath me, and my entire weight goes onto it. I land on a body. Cracking bones mix with sounds of snarling and snapping teeth. It squirms from underneath me, gasping and snarling as it reaches for anything. Panic rises in my chest, feeling like lead weights are planting me to the ground. One of the hands reaches and grabs my braided hair savagely, yanking it. I scream hard, and then bite down on my lip from anger as I push myself forward. My hair is yanked so hard I can feel some of the follicles rip out of my skin, strand by strand. I land on my hands, hair covering my entire face and blocking my field of vision. My hand shoves the hair away and I quickly make out the figure to be one of Them. How long has that been in here with me!?
I scream to myself in my head, trying to explain to myself how I managed not to hear it, and how it didn’t manage to sink a chomp into me. It rolls onto its stomach and begins ripping at the ground towards me at a pace I have not seen Them do before. I scramble to my feet, but it grabs my pant leg and drags me back down, this time forward and my knee lands squarely on the middle of its back. An unnatural snap and pop comes from what I presume to be its spine. I land on my hands again; the wounds from the glass haven’t bothered healing and won’t get a chance to now after I carelessly beat them against the floor.
With a broken spine, it drags itself closer to me, but without being able to lift its head. I’m almost compelled to laugh at how surprisingly quick this kill will be. It did all the work for me by simply grabbing and pulling me on top of it. One pop to the back of the head, and it’s over. Crawling to gain some distance, I’m able to scramble to my feet again and gain some height for my stake. I tighten my grip around the splintered wood, and wait until It comes close enough to bring it down with a force. I raise it above my head, ready to pounce, but pause to look behind me and see another desecrated, rotten corpse moving towards me slowly.
Half its face is falling off, with bits of flesh dangling by a strand of greyish-green skin. The jaw hangs wide open, exposing broken black teeth and a tongue tasting the air. Tasting for me. The foul stench of rot hits me and it sends a wave of nausea through my body. I don’t even have enough time to gawk at it before the one in front of me is almost grabbing at my feet.
I bring down the stake – hard - into its skull. It crushes underneath the force, but doesn’t kill It immediately. My skin crawls in anticipation of jaws closing in on behind me. I don’t want to do it, but I don’t have enough time to stab up and press my boot against Its head to pull out the Stake, so instead I place my hand on the skull and twist the stake left-to-right, budging it out of its place. A short jab into the skull marks it a Kill Shot, and this time It goes limp. My weapon is blunted, and cracks have splintered all up the sides of it. Using it like a bat is an option, but requires a tireless amount of strength and aim. I leave the stake. I don’t want to cause myself more injury by splintering or a cracking piece to hit me.
I crawl away from the imminent noise behind me of hissing breath escaping from a small hole. Using the box, I stagger to my feet. My knee feels like there is glass rolling around in it, spiking pain tingles my leg, and I let out raggedy breaths of pain. I see It now. There is one, slowly walking over. It appears blind as it sniffs the air around it. Where eyes should be, are only crusty slits. A previous victim in a last attempt to avoid dying, as Its jaws had ripped out their throat, had gouged out its eyes. I place the back of my wrist over my mouth to avoid breathing so loudly and raggedly, watching it closely as it tilted its head around to listen, then sniff. It’s sniffing for me, for my flesh. I think in shock to myself.
The bones in its stiffened neck creak and crack as it turns its head around. Its eyes are dead and glazed over. In search of another weapon, I momentarily turn my back to it to find anything.
When I return my view back to It, it’s looking right at me. Breathing halts and pulses race. A second passes as both of us make a split decision. I run over to my left, narrowly colliding with a box, as It lunges forward and slams into the door behind me. The door!
I’ve simply switched places with the blind one, who is sniffing the air again and holding its hands up to its chest, like a sniffing killing hamster. The door is my only way out of this Storage, and it’s guarded by a blind flesh-eater. Blind. A blind one…that’s useful.
I let out whisper of a whistle, which causes It to let out a blood curdling howl and lunge at me again. I hesitate one second too late, getting clipped on the arm as I dove past it and slamming my shoulder and hands into the wall to brace for impact. If pain had a face, it’d be me right now, screaming and letting out gasps of air.
Adrenalin wills me to push past it as I rush towards the box and the door, noticing out of my peripheral that It has fallen over from the lunge and is starting to hoist itself back up to its feet. I shove the box with a strength I wasn’t ready for, and almost land on my hands and knees again. I throw myself upwards towards the handle and slam myself against the door in anticipation. As I place both my hands on the handle, a slam of something dropping echoes on the other side of the door. Oh no…please no…
I turn the handle and feel it hit something solid. I slam myself again the door again, using my shoulder, but it slams into the solid object. “No, no, no!” I yell out without thinking. The only door, and it’s blocked. Spinning around, I manage to move out of the way just as It lunges for me again, slamming its body against the door. Bits of flesh and muscle are mashed against the surface.
Backing away slowly, hands out and ready to grab It if it lunges at me, I desperately search the room again for anything. Clothes and more clothes. Nothing sharp, or what I can use as a weapon. I contemplate reaching for the wooden stake again, but if it comes apart while I’m swinging, I’ve just closed the gap between myself and It. If I tried, and was too slow, the one in front of me would just jump onto my back and take a bite out of my side. As I’m weighing my options, ducking when it lunges again and snarls at me, I see movement from the corner of the room, behind a wall of boxes. No…it can’t be…How in the he-!
Another one of Them walks out, its stringy guts hanging out of its eviscerated stomach. I want to throw up; I wish I had something in my gut just so I can throw up at the sight in front of me. The clothes are tattered and slashed, as if someone had tried swinging a knife in all directions at it. Both are walking straight towards me, hands and claws at the ready to tear through muscle and skin. My hands are anxiously grabbing at the air by my side, and I’m bouncing in preparation to dive to the side if they lunge at me.
A plan…a plan! I need a plan! My mind bellows at me like scolding a child. Both of them are still approaching me, but I know that I can handle one if the other is occupied…or trapped.
I start moving box by box to a certain corner, narrowly avoiding Them as they lunge and weave towards me. It makes it easier that one of them is blind, and the other is getting its guts caught on everything. Though the smell in the room is beyond anything I’ve had the misfortune of smelling, and I’m sure that I’m standing in the equivalent of a gaseous sewer, I take deep breaths to calm myself as I calculate each manoeuvre, trying to veer away from them but staying close enough so that I can lunge past them towards the boxes that I need. Once I’ve got a couple of boxes in a circle. I take action.
Knowing that the eviscerated one is slower - that is the one that I target. I pick up a piece of trash from nearby and throw it closer to the Blind one. It looks over, sniffing the air to investigate, but the other one continues towards me, led by sight of fresh meat. I want to pump my fists from achievement, but I realise that this plan could be a complete waste of time and that I just sealed my own death in cursive writing.
It takes one step and everything is aligned. I charge full speed at It, bracing for impact as I slam my shoulder into the messy composition of guts, blood, and rot. We both fly into the circle of boxes, and I feel the cracking bones and sticky guts underneath my hands as I push myself up quickly. I’m hoping that will keep it on its back, like a struggling turtle, while I focus my attentions on the other one, who has finally turned towards me after hearing the commotion. I charge towards it, ducking further down to aim for its knees, sending it toppling over. Its head hits with a cracking thud onto the ground, and I crawl up towards its head.
Well, it’s already cracked. That’s half my job done! I positively acknowledge as I grip the gnashing biting head between my shaking hands. I fuel all my hatred, all my anger and frustration into my hands. All the fear ripples and sends me into a state of seeing red. I grip its head tighter, pinning it to the ground to avoid the grinding teeth. Once the blood inside me begins to boil, and I feel it causing my body to shake fiercely. Smashing the head over and over into the ground, the blood splatters around in large sprays. Arms are scratching at my back, pulling at my hair, and narrowly missing my face. But all I can see is red, and the repeated violent action.
It finally stops moving, the head is almost pulp and unrecognisable as anything anymore. Just a meaty mess. I am heaving. I don’t know if I’m vomiting, or taking large breaths, but it hurts and I feel like I can’t stop. Something grabs my leg and starts dragging me backwards. My panicked yell bounces off the walls as I look back and see the one I left on the boxes growl louder and louder, spit and blood shooting out of its mouth as it does, Its hands grabbing and pulling me closer to it. I try to fight against it, kicking my leg out and turning to grab the floor or dig with my nails as I slide backwards. My boots connect with its face a few times, sending it recoiling back and coming back with a force hungrier than before. The nails dig into my leg and I scream harder, terror seeping through my pores. I shake my leg as if it’s on fire and finally manage to turn over onto my back.
It’s a poor decision on my behalf. It tries pulling my meaty leg towards its’ mouth, biting the air and licking it with its protruding tongue. I kick and yell wildly, a desperation eating at every fibre of my body. My throat feels rubbed raw and strained. I kick It again, connecting with its mouth and sending rotten teeth plummeting to the ground like grotesque shooting stars in the pitch darkness. Relentless, it digs deeper into my leg, straining and aching to bite. I kick wildly again, looking around for a weapon, anything that I can use. I decide to aim for its’ head for one last boot to the face, hoping it will send it backwards or far enough away that I can begin to crawl away and gain distance.
I am breathing so heavily that I fear my lungs will give out from being forced too wide, and my concern about the smell of rot has clearly evaporated as I gulp air in through my mouth. I concentrate on its movements, grabbing and tearing at my black jeans covered in guts, blood, and brain matter. An opening arises and my boot comes slamming hard against its face that it breaks its jaw, practically ripping it from the head. It unnaturally dangles by a few meaty threads, and I feel like I may just never eat again. It disorients It enough that I think I might have a chance of crawling away, but It only crawls over me.
The bones jab and dig into my skin, making me squirm and cry out as I shove one hand against the bony ribcage and the other against the dangling jaw. I frantically close my mouth as bits of jaw and blood drip around me and on me. I want to scream for help, I want to alert everything and anyone around me to my aid. Tears are welling up in my eyes as fear darkens everything around me and threatens to consume everything in its wake. My arms are starting to give out from holding a dead corpse above me, which is thrashing at my face and drooling a soupy substance all over me. I try to yell, but fear of infection through shared bodily fluids with the undead prevents me, so I instead turn my head sideways and scream. This only invokes It to start biting towards my face, closer and closer as I begin weaning.
No! No, no, no! I shout at myself in my head. I will not go through all of this just to die in a storage room with two corpses and one nearly corpse and boxes upon boxes of clothes. I will not have suffered, bled, cried, and starved, only to have it end here. I try to push It off with a violent and forceful thrust, but my strength has weakened so detrimentally that it only appears as a small shove. I can feel it. It’s there, but I don’t want to acknowledge it. It starts in my gut and works upwards. Through my stomach, then my chest, and it threatens the very air I breathe. As I’m fighting, but slowly weakening to a savage and hunger-fuelled monster, it finally reaches my throat and I let out one last shriek. I’m going to die. This is the end of me. My struggle ends here.
I continue fighting, but It gets closer and closer until it is nearly licking my face. Tears are streaming down the sides of my face, trickling into my ears and falling into my hair. It is beginning to crush me into the ground underneath its weight, causing my breathing to become harder and harder as it grabs at anything it can. It doesn’t gnash anymore as its jaw dangles scarily close to me, the blood oozing from its mouth coats me. I am scared. I’m so scared it burns like a fire that engulfs me from the inside out. The shaking becomes so violent that Its jaw dangles around and bobs in front of my face. I can’t anymore…I can’t. Please, Father, forgive me for all the things that I have done…I only did what I thought I needed to…A sob tears through my throat.
My eyes are practically sown shut so tight they shake from the tension. The dread is ripping my insides apart. A scream is about to leap out of my mouth when a gunshot cracks through the air and an enormous weight drop on top of me. All the air escapes my lungs and my eyelids shoot open. A flashlight scans over me and I catch two figures standing in the doorway. The light shines right into my eyes and I squint.
Is this Death? Did I die but my mind jumped the dying part and now I’m seeing the light of Heaven? I let out a groan of pain, struggling to breathe with the carcass on top of me. One of the figures walks into the room, illuminated by a light behind her, which has begun popping up. One light, then two.
Violet walks into the room, a gun in her hand raised in the air, aimed towards me. It hits me like a tidal wave, a flood that overwhelms me. My eyes jump to the corpse on my chest, and I see a hole in its head.
Violet takes a step closer to me, still raising her gun. Her clothes are noticeably dirtier, marked with blood splatters and a smeared t-shirt. Her eyebrow rises up at me like she is asking a question and awaiting my answer.
“Well, I was not expecting to find you getting freaky with one of those Biters…” Violet says, a smirk creeping up on her face.