He sat in the back of the room. He didn't move, he didn't breath. He
was a man at one point. He had a family, wife, two point five kids, a
house with a picket fence. He probably even had a dog; I bet his name
was Buck, or some other typical name. But not now. Now I was watching
him to see if he was going to get back up, to see if I was going to have to
put him down again. I had killed him once. He was one of the infected.
He was one of the undead.
When did it all happen? Two weeks? Six weeks? Six months? Time ran
together these days. It had started as the flu. You get a virus, your
temperature rises, and you start to act a little goofy. People were
hospitalized by the dozen, quarantined from the rest of the population.
But it got out. The first patient died three days after infection. I had
heard it was a woman named Eve. Sort of ironic when you think about it.
She rose back up. She rose back up, and no one knew what to
do. They stood there trying to make their minds comprehend what they
were seeing. By the time Eve was on them it was too late. She had
bitten an intern, and the infection had spread. Over the next day the
hospital was evacuated, but it was too late. Newly infected people were
loose on the street, and the virus was spreading. Within the week, most
of New York City was an army of the walking dead, and living infected.
An army barricade was erected, but it failed just as quickly as it had gone
I looked at the man longer, I lowered my rifle. He's not getting up. I had
killed him with the butt of my rifle coming down on the back of his neck. I
had hoped it was enough. He was living infected. I didn't even know his
I was living in Ann Arbor Michigan when the news broke about New
York State being turned into a battleground. I woke up each morning
reading the news in disbelief. How could we be losing a war with an
enemy who was sick? Each day brought news of how the battle lines
were falling further and further back. New York, Vermont, then Maine.
No one really noticed when New Jersey fell.
Before long the whole of New England was lost. The maps on the
news channels would show it in a deep crimson red as they waxed and
waned about the loss of life. They had been the first to brand the title of
Zombie onto the infected. They paraded experts, and politicians who
looked as if they were on the verge of panicking. Society as we knew it
Who was he? I started to go through his pockets. Most of the undead
had their ID on them; it's hard to pick pocket someone who is trying to
actively eat you. He was still fresh; I would've put his infection at a day
old. He lived in Detroit. Apartment, not a house and not a single picture
of a kid in his wallet. Maybe he was just nobody after all?
Washington DC fell within days. After that there was no more
United States. It was just mass of land being over run. People were
running. Not me though. I stayed in my apartment. I barricaded the
door, and decided I would wait out the initial invasion before venturing
out. I had enough food and water to last a week.
His name was Michael. I thought about the friends he had, calling
him Mike while they probably drank beer together. Twenty-two years
old. He was just starting to get an idea of what it was like to be an adult.
And now he was just a broken bloody mess with a stranger going through
his wallet. I would like to think I did him a favor, bringing him out of his
cannibalistic stupor. I would hope someone would have the compassion
to do the same for me.
I watched them from the balcony of my fifth floor apartment. I
watched as they over ran people. Zombies. The first one showed up the
day after I had nailed pieces of wood over my door. Panic broke out
almost instantly. Zombies hunt in groups, where there is one you'll
probably find twelve. Only one is needed to take down a city. They
have basic instincts. Seeking food seems to be their main goal. They
hunt warm flesh, and our comfortable ninety eight point six degrees
makes them ravenous. A single bite can infect a person, and depending
on the severity of the bite they become either living infected, or living
dead. Ann Arbor fell in two and half hours. I wonder why they don't
attack the living infected.
"Sorry Mike, nothing personal." I said to him as he lay on the
ground. I went through the rest of his pockets to see if I could find
anything useful. Keys, a book of matches, a pack of cigarettes covered
in his own blood, and a flask. I pulled up a chair and shook the flask. It
was heavy, full. I opened it and took in a deep breath of the aromatic
alcohol. Whiskey, a good kind. I took a deep pull off of it. It's been a
while since I've had whiskey.
I ventured out of my apartment three days later. Most of the living
infected had moved there way out of the city, leaving the slower, shuffling
living dead. You could power walk your way past them without a worry in
the world. I needed food, and thought it might be a good idea to get
some medicine if I could find it. Ann Arbor had two close hospitals.
University of Michigan , and St. Joes Mercy. I had to hope that one or
the other wasn't over run.
The streets looked like a chemical bomb had gone off.
Destruction was every where around me. Most of the buildings were
intact. Cars and most store fronts were destroyed. The streets were
littered with trash, and bodies of those were killed before the virus could
take hold. There half eaten corpses sat on the sidewalks, and asphalt
like refuse. I slung my rifle over my back and went to the garage.
A Vespa was turned over in the parking garage. It had probably
belonged to some college student who didn't get away.
The whiskey burned a little, but it felt good. I pulled a pack of my
own cigarettes from my jacket; I let the gun rest in my lap and lit the end.
The burning ember was the only light in the room. "Here's to you, Eve."
I took a long swig off of the flask. "I hope whatever vengeance you're
taking is worth it."
I looked at Mike and poured some of the whiskey on the ground.
Exhaustion over took me. I looked at Mike, he hadn't moved. He was
dead; the blow to his neck had been enough. I put a nearby tarp over
his body. I leaned back in the chair, and closed my eyes. I needed to
rest before making a run back for home.
The moped had a full tank of gas, more than enough to get me to
the market, hospitals, and back. I didn't want to be out after dark, it was
easier to dodge the zombies if I could see them. The zombies took notice
of me quickly, shambling towards me arm outstretched like in the movies.
I buzzed past them. I reached the market first, the front windows were
broken, a car sat awkwardly in one of the cash registers. I could hear no
sounds coming from outside other than the wind and the groans of the
zombies. I went in.
I grabbed one of the shopping baskets, making a list in my head
of what I was going to need. Nothing that wasn't in some sort of shrink
wrap, nothing from the freezer section. Cigarettes and liquor would be
nice to have around.
I heard a noise coming from the street. I ducked behind a magazine rack
and looked out over the top. Some of the zombies had followed me, and
a few of them were left over living infected. "Shit." I eased the rifle off of
my shoulder and pointed it. A carbine bolt action, with a clear sight at
the end. I had picked it up at a surplus auction, and was going to have it
retro-fitted for display at a local show for World War II. I took aim, glad I
didn't get far enough into it to have turned the gun into a paper weight. I
lined up my sight with the first infected, I held my breath as I squeezed a
round into his head.
They turned towards my direction; I ran to the back of the market
slamming a heavy metal door behind me and started quickly piling things
in front of it. I could hear the pounding of their dead hands on the other
side. Their groans of hunger grew louder as they smelled my flesh from
the other side. There was an office behind me, I went into it and started
turning over the desk and rolling it out into in front of the door. How long
would it take before they lost interest?
I heard someone's foot shuffle behind me. I turned and pressed myself
against the wall. I turned my rifle around. I only had four shots in the
magazine. My rucksack with my extra ammo was hanging off of the
moped. I saw the infected head come around the corner, and brought
the rifle down on the back of his neck. I dragged the body into the
office, and closed the door. I hope he isn't going to get back up. I sit
down and watch.
I startle awake. How long had I been out? An hour? Two? All
night? There were no windows in the office to give me a point of
reference. I sat up slowly, a crick beginning in my neck. I popped it and
stood up, stretching my arms towards the ceiling. I let the rifle sit on the
floor next to the chair. It was finally quiet. I looked around, tripping over
a tarp. I needed to find out what time it was. I stepped out of the open
door to the office, yawning. I see a window at the back of the market, sun
light trickles in. I must've slept the night through. I walk back into the
office to get my rifle when I feel a hand pull me to the ground from
behind. I fell back on Mike, who has already taken a mouthful out of my
neck. Damn. I almost made it.