“It waS a LoT OF FUN KnOwINg YoU, But NOW I HAVE tO gO, okay? you hAVE to STop DOiNg this. I knOW HE’S MAking you foRGet, And it’S Hard, BuT You Have tO, beFoRE he fINds SomeOnE elsE. yoU Can dO It, OKAy? I L o V E y o u . . . ”
I nearly lost the closest thing I ever had to a significant other, today, and the thought terrifies me so badly that I never want to allow him out of my sight ever again. Admittedly, it was our faults that we got caught off guard, as the elated high we’d been on from finding so much food resulted in him kissing me, and we were so busy making out that we hadn’t noticed the pounding on the door until they had broken in and invaded the room.
Will’s first instinct was to shove me towards the window, and I scrambled frantically towards it before realizing he wasn’t behind me. I’d stopped, stymied by the thought of sacrificing someone else’s — let alone Will’s — life for my own. He, on the other hand, had stubbornly yelled at me to get out, promising that he was right behind me… and so, after a moment’s hesitation, I jumped out the window.
I’d nearly broken my ankle with the landing, but I cared little about myself, instead staring anxiously at the window for Will to come leaping out after me like the bumbling blonde he is. I waited… and waited… and waited…
…and finally he’d emerged, flailing through the air like a dove knocked out of the sky and landing in the bushes with a sound somewhere between a laugh and a grunt, before popping out with a grin and a hand extended to me. He yelled “Run!” and so we ran.
You awoke on a forest floor, greeted by a lingering sense of déjà vu, a disorienting nausea, and the scent of pine aggressively invading your nostrils. You sat up and struggled to remember what happened, with insignificant little details coming back as you do so; your name, your favorite band, and how your family died are among them, but try as you might I hadn’t allowed anything that was concrete enough to inform you of exactly how you landed yourself in this situation, which is just awesome, you think, because that’s exactly how you wanted to spend your morning. I figure that was probably the sarcasm that you all are so fond of employing the use of.
Your hand brushed a cold metal object as you moved to stand up, and you discovered that it was an aluminum baseball bat with metal spikes welded to the end of it. You realize belatedly that this was your weapon, and the epiphany occurred in tandem with a shuffle and a moan off to your left. The source of the sounds was an emaciated man, with mottled gray flesh reminiscent of your father’s disgusting oatmeal, decaying teeth from behind which a terrible snarl is emitted, and a gait that was somewhat like that of an inebriated bovine, all accompanied by a stench so terrible that was a wonder your delicate human palate didn't make you gag.
Admittedly, your first conscious thought was that you wish you had a bottled version of the smell to ward off cheek-pinching grandmothers in the years before you hit puberty. Then, you figured you should probably try to help him, figure out what happened to him and get him to the nearest hospital. These two thoughts occurred within the breadth of merely a couple seconds. Clearly, however, your body had something else in mind, because before you could actively process your actions, you were raising the bat and swinging.
It was only while you were pulverizing the remains of the head of the corpse did you pause and think: I just killed someone.
No, I responded helpfully, it was already dead, just like you.
The onset of the apocalypse was like a cookie cutter exposition taken straight out of a B-horror movie, with an idiot scientist experimenting with something he shouldn’t have and subsequently being infected with a virulent strain of rabies that spread first to everyone else in his facility, and then to the world outside the initial hospital the victims were brought to.
The farthest back I can recall is awakening alone in a forest a fortnight ago. I don’t remember what happened to me before that, or how I wound up there. What little memories I’ve been able to dredge up are insignificant things about myself, like how my family died and what my name is.
Ever since I woke up, I’ve been alone, not even having it in me to trust the few and far in between people that I did occasionally encounter, because even before the dead started walking I had issues trusting others.
I’d finally understood the deep emptiness that Forever Alone Guy experiences… but then I met Will.
You heard a twig snap, and your attention to what’s in front of you momentarily lapsed in favor of perusing the new distraction that had entered the environment. Every muscular fiber in your body tensed in lieu of a startled jump, as your brain told you that you were, in fact, seeing a hooded blond head peeking through the bushes, a single tanned finger rising up to closed lips in the universal gesture for “Shhhhh…”
Your makeshift mace stopped, halfway before reaching the peak of an ascent that would have turned into a killing blow, and your eyes shifted back to the undead woman in front of you. It had stopped growling at your minuscule movements and continued to peer at you in a manner not unlike curiosity, as if it were merely wondering what you were and not contemplating whether or not it should consume you like a black hole does a dying star. You’d never seen one of them behave like this before, with hesitance and indecision, and it befuddled the heck out of you. You didn’t know that it was because the dead had no reason to attack the dead.
The blond boy peering like a creeper from behind the bushes, however, intrigued you. In a way that only idiot teenagers can rationalize, you absurdly decided on a whim not to act — to see what he was going to do. The thing’s rank breath came out in slow, raspy exhales, and its attention didn’t waver as the unknown blond boy slowly stood up. As you watched, he raised a bow you hadn’t noticed before, nocked a sleek black arrow, breathed, and released.
You thought he was beautiful.
I knew he would be the next one.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.