Three months had passed since the world turned had suddenly collapsed into rotting flesh and death. Relying on your ultra instinct was key to survival. Survival meant staying alive enough until you'd reach outside the city to the safe haven that had been broad casted. That safe haven where you could live your life like normal until they'd find a cure for the disease that was eating away at the flesh--literally. The dead walk amongst us, feeding on the living like a starving animal. Once bitten there is no turning back...
Three months, forty-five days, seven hours, five minutes and twenty-five seconds since I had last seen them. My parents, my little sister, my friends… my crush. Time had passed by so slowly yet so fast. Everything I knew about the world… gone in a matter of seconds. And all because of some virus, some flesh eating pandemic causing the chaos that struck the entire world.
I was one of the last ones to survive the bombing in the city. A requirement of the government in an attempt to contain the spread. It was unaffected and it only caused the scale to tip on the death toll. Something so cruel and uncalled for. Then again I shouldn't have expected less… they didn't care about us. They had been the major cause of it all…
I couldn't remember much of the city life I had before. But I could remember why I was there and the moment I woke up on a hospital bed. I could remember the sirens and the screams of those around. The cracking sound of the cemented walls and the snapping sound of the glass windows. And then… there was a rush of the explosion… Dust and ash filled the air making it unbearable to breathe. And yet I had somehow survived it all…
Before I knew it, I was alone in what had seemed to me a wasteland. No life, just the remainders of squandered bodies and God only knew what else. It was the very end of the world… and yet there I was…
Now, I was on my own. Fighting those who didn't breathe but still walked over the earth with their rotting away flesh and bloody eyes. A horror movie turned into reality. And I was the protagonist. Fighting off the dead so that I may live. A typical story of survival… but I wasn't having it…
There were times when I wanted to give up. Times when I thought about my end too much. Times when I tried my best to put myself in danger on purpose so I wouldn't have to keep remembering what I'd lost…
And then there were the times I had enjoyed my solitude. When my eyes would stare out into the horizon to watch the sunset end another bad day. To watch the sunrise provide me with a new one. Everyday was valuable to a point… but not for me. I just didn't care anymore. And in a sense I had just kept myself from going insane by making sure the deceased would remain deceased.
As the days went by, my solitude got the better of me… I then wondered if there was truly any point to this. To remain alive. There was nothing or anyone that tied me to here. To this place. And thus I had chosen to end my life. A gunshot to my head so that I'd remain dead and not walk amongst the other undead.
I held my gun up to my head, pressing the end of it hard against my temple. I stared out at the horizon once more, soaking in every inch of the beautiful view. And as my finger began to pull on the trigger, I felt a moment of happiness… But it was just for a moment before I pulled the--
The sound of a hoard had caught my attention. My eyes shifted down from the rooftop I was on and stared at the hoard that ran. My eyes shifted to the very beginning of what they chased. I then noticed a female running. Yet she wasn't dead, no she was most definitely alive. Trying to save her life. I quickly aimed my gun towards the back of the horde and shot one round. I luckily caught their attention, but it wasn't for all of them. I shot another round and quickly began to make my way off of the rooftop. I grabbed my gear and the rest of my weapons. Charging my gun with my next round of ammo, I contemplated if this was another insane idea of mine or was it the best idea I've had yet. I would know soon enough.
I quickly made my way towards the hoard and acted as the bait. Keeping their attention to me, I swiftly continued to headshot those that I could while leading them away from the girl. And as soon as I was far away enough from her, I pulled out the makeshift bomb I had made and tossed it behind me towards the large crowd of the undead. It didn't take long for it to explode. And luckily I watched some of their body chunks fly while I made sure to take out the remaining ones. Once cleared, I headed back towards where I had left the girl. Yet… there wasn't a sight of her. I whistled out. Maybe she'd been hiding? "I hope you're alright! Do you need help?" I called out between buildings in hope that she'd respond… Or at least left safely.
[center I'd liked to think I could forget the day the world came to an end, but it's not that easy. I could very vividly remember sitting on my parents' couch, watching my little brother open his birthday present. I waited patiently as he tore open the wrapping paper, screeching as loud as a seven-year-old could because he'd finally received that silly action figure he'd always pined after when we went to the store.]
[center He'd been so excited, he'd almost forgotten to give me mine. It was so strange sometimes, sharing a birthday with him. I had been so pissed on my sixteenth birthday. If only he'd held on a little longer, I could've had my Sweet Sixteen as we'd planned. Instead, I'd been stuck in the hospital, waiting for a "stupid" sibling that I had only come to love deeply. I protected that young boy with everything I had when it came to him growing up. Bullies? Never a problem. I was intimidating enough just by being older.]
[center My mother had cleared her throat and mentioned that he had something to give me. He'd grown even more excited, scrambling to get up the stairs to his room. He came back down just as fast, skidding to a stop in front of me. He handed me the small box, getting upset when I shook it to hear the contents as if that would help me figure out what resided inside.]
[center It was a charm bracelet, with two girls and two boys, each with one of our names on them. He swore up and down that it was his idea, though my mother told me later on that night that she'd been the one to suggest it. He had picked it out. I allowed him to keep his little "secret" up until the day he took his last breath.]
[center The day our house got broken into by one of them.]
[center This was the thing I was thinking about as I ran down the road, my feet thudding as they hit the ground, breathing labored as panic began to set in. The charm bracelet jingled ever so slightly with each step, definitely not helping with the memories that refused to leave my mind.]
[center I wish I could say I was surprised, but I wasn't. Even when I tried to be careful, I somehow managed to find myself in a very compromising position. I wasn't even sure how I really ended up running away from the horde. One moment there was nothing. The next, they were everywhere. It was a wonder to me how that worked at times.]
[center I was so tempted to stop, to just let them have me, but I wasn't really ready to give my life over to them. Not yet, at least. So, despite the stitch in my side, I continued to run, trying to think of what to do next. The best thing to do would probably find a way onto the roofs, but with no visible ladders, unless I really wanted to take the time to look, the idea was almost impossible. There was no telling what buildings were open, if I could even get to the roof from inside, or who or what would be inside. That just wasn't a chance I was willing to take.]
[center It wasn't until a shot rang out that I finally slowed, turning just in time to see the figure on the roof. I immediately felt more panicked. I had no idea if he was firing at me or the undead, but I wasn't about to stick around and find out. The only thing I was grateful for was that the sound had caught some of their attention, which was a bit of a relief, but that didn't stop all of them.]
[center Unsure of what else to do, I finally ducked into an alley, hiding behind a dumpster and pressing myself against the wall, placing a hand to my mouth to keep from making any noise, especially when the explosion occurred. Whoever this person was, they had to be out of their mind. Surely they had a death wish.]
[center Slowly but surely, everything had begun to grow quiet again. For a moment, I was sure the person had gone and blown themselves up along with the undead. It wasn't until he whistled that my stomach found its way into my throat. Even at his words, I was hesitant to come out of my hiding place. The undead were predictable. I knew what to expect from them. People on the other hand couldn't be trusted. There was no telling what sick, twisted things were running through their minds. I'd seen that with the last group I'd been with. It's why I'd left.]
[center Pulling out my pistol, I slowly stood, making my way out from between the buildings. I quickly aimed my gun at him, keeping some distance between the two of us. [b "Just stay right there,"] I said, quickly glancing around to make sure we didn't have any more company. Whatever he'd used had worked like a charm. I'll admit, I was a bit impressed. [b "If you plan on hurting me, I suggest you walk away now because I won't hesitate to put you down like a dog, do you understand me?"] Harsh, sure, but I wasn't about to let my guard down. Not with a stranger.]
Maybe I really was insane for trying to help a stranger. But honestly it had been so long that I'd seen someone with a heartbeat that I couldn't help myself. But clearly I had suicidal issues for helping someone I didn't know. Someone who's possibly kill m-- Well that wasn't such a bad idea given his actions from earlier. But surely he should've at least thought the consequences thoroughly.
I immediately put my hands up and had stood still in place as she had requested. Her words came off bold and harsh. To be honest I was happy about it. Yet there was a hint of fear in her voice. No surprise there given the fact that she also didn't know me and couldn't rely on the fact that I could possibly be a good guy just because I saved her… I mean what idiot would do such a thing? Right… this idiot right here--myself.
"I mean,you'd be doing me a favor." I said with a smirk. "I'm afraid I can't walk away though, since you told me to stand right here. But besides that point, how the fuck did you end up getting so many of them after you?" Not that it mattered anymore since I'd taken care of it. But surely my careless explosion had probably alerted more of them to come out from their hiding and would eventually lead up to us. I had to keep that in mind since we were still wasting time in the middle of the streets.
"Another flock should end up coming by soon enough. I have a safe place nearby. I also have food and shelter, some supplies. If you'd like to take them I could take you to it and you can be on your way. You can shoot me after or you know, once you get all the shit you need." I shrugged my shoulders. I then put my hands down and put my gun away safely in the holster. "As for my intentions with you, I don't really have one." And with that I began to make my way towards my place.
[center I was silent for a moment, listening to the silence that had settled around us. I wasn't really sure I wanted to be talking to him, only because I still didn't trust his intentions, no matter what he said. However, I couldn't deny that it [i was] a little nice to actually talk to someone that wasn't a piece of jewelry.]
[center I finally shrugged, slowly lowering the gun. I was at least hoping I'd made it pretty clear that he shouldn't try anything. I had an itchy trigger finger sometimes. [b "Not really sure. I was just walking when I stumbled across one. Then they kind of came out of no where."] I sighed. [b "Thank you, by the way...you didn't have to help me."] I'd have been lying had I said I I appreciate it more than I'd admit.]
[center I knew he wasn't wrong about more showing up. That explosion had been extremely loud. I was a little surprised we hadn't been surrounded yet. I was hesitant, though, when he offered for me to come with him. All I could think about were the people I'd been holed up with at the corner store just last month. Things had seemed okay at first. We hadn't known that we'd been stuck inside with a really sick individual. I flinched as images tore through my mind. I was grateful to have escaped.]
[center Some of the others hadn't been so lucky.]
[center I put the gun in it's holster, deciding to follow him. It would be nice to have a place to relax for a while. As it stood, I didn't plan on shooting him, favor or not. I just wanted to get out of the open. I felt too vulnerable.]
I turned my head to look at her. "You don't have to thank me. I'd do it for mostly anyone. To be honest I haven't seen anyone in years. Well, I'm exaggerating, but I really haven't seen anything with a heart beat since all of this shit hit the fan." And possibly longer than that. But I couldn’t remember much while I was in the hospital. It was all a big haze. He only wondered what happened before then, before the accident…
“If you’re looking somewhere to stay for the night, you can stay at my camp. It’s not much but I’m sure you can find a couple of useful things. Besides, I wouldn’t mind having a bit of company for once. It’s better than talking to myself or the shadows on the walls.” I chuckled.
As we approached the small, abandoned, two story apartment building, I turned to look at the young woman and pointed up to the second floor. “That’s where I stay.” I continued to walk towards the entrance and unlocked the door. It was the first time I ever felt a bit excited to see someone. Usually I had never felt excited to see anyone. Contrary, I had always hated having people around. Large crowds had always frightened me. But somehow between the solitude, silence and walking corpses I had longed the feel of someone around me. Someone to talk to besides the memories of people I had in my head. I didn’t have to keep replaying old conversations with those I cared about. And maybe I could’ve just taken advantage of this moment to have a full conversation with her before she’d leave forever.
After she’d leave, though, what would I do with myself then?
I pushed open the doors to my small apartment. I carefully made my way through the entrance of it, leading the girl with me, attempting to not set off any of the traps that I had built within. Once inside and secured, I turned to face her and shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t have hot water or electricity, but at least I still have indoor plumbing, so you can use the shower if you wish. The city luckily didn’t cut off the water supply, so it’s been easier for me to survive around here.” I walked over to the shelves filled with food and supplies beside my bed.
“Anything that’s on this shelf is free for you to use or take. The bathroom is down that hall there and the second door on the right. I know this all seems weird and whatever but… as I said, I don’t mind helping someone out. Besides, where I’m probably going to end up going, none of this will be useful for me.”
[center I raised an eyebrow as he spoke. I found it hard to believe that he would do this for just anyone. If that was the case then it was a miracle he wasn't dead yet. Did he just not know what kind of people existed in the world now? I really didn't want to ask him for fear of offending him and losing my place to settle down for the time being.]
[center I let out a small laugh at his comment. [b "I...thank you. Makes you feel any better, I understand how you feel. Talking to yourself can get old."] [i Rather quickly,] I thought to myself. I could very vividly remember the sleepless nights I'd spent staring up at the ceiling, coming up with full conversations with myself just so I wouldn't go crazy. The human mind was such a strange thing sometimes.]
[center Once we approached the building, I could help but feel a little uncomfortable. While the second floor wasn't an awful place to stay, there were so many situations I could think of that would lead to that being a good place to die. Doing my best to push my worries away, I followed him inside, just praying that the night was quiet and I could leave in the morning.]
[center As carefully as I could, I followed behind him, making note of the traps he had to set up. I was impressed. No wonder he had survived so well there. There was no way that anyone without knowledge of the traps was going to get through, much less one of the undead.]
[center At the mention of a shower, I almost cried. It'd been so long since I'd been able to actually wash up and not worry too much about the water. How long that would last, I wasn't sure, but I intended to take advantage of it. [b "A shower sounds heavenly if you don't mind,"] I said, looking around. At his next words, I frowned. [b "Care to elaborate?"] I asked a moment later. Was he planning on leaving sometime soon? I had other ideas, but I felt better with clarification than assumptions.]
It was getting old. The whole situation that was happening around us. When I was younger, I was terrified of not knowing what the future held for me. But now I was only wondering if I’d even have a future to look forward to. By the looks of it, there was a very slim chance of me ever getting my old life back or anything similar to it. From now on I knew I had to make the best of it. Which luckily I would start with this girl… which… shit… I forgot to ask her name.
“Well… you see… I’m not a very talkative person, nor very sociable. So once you’re gone, whenever that is, I will probably stay here until I’m dead. Or one of [i those] creatures outside. Then again I could just shoot myself in the head and make sure I don’t walk amongst them.” I laughed at the thought. And yet my laughter wasn’t even real… maybe I was already losing my Goddamn mind. I took a seat on the bed and looked over at the nearly boarded up window. “I’m not really waiting for anyone to come back. And I don’t think I should leave. I know that there are bad people out there, and if I just hide away instead, I can survive for a little while longer. But then I think to myself; why should I stick around? It’s not even about self pity, it’s more of a… not sure what to do.”
Not that I was planning on living much longer. If she hadn’t come around, I would’ve been the monster’s food. It wouldn’t have been a pretty sight, but it no longer would’ve been my problem to solve. PLus I wouldn’t have to be worried about getting my ass bitten. Or have my head chewed off. Not like I hadn’t almost been eaten, but still. It wasn’t thrilling to me. “Anyways, you can go shower. I will wait here for you. There should be a fresh towel in there. I might have some clothes around that might fit if you want. By the way, my name is Osiris.” I extended my hand out to her with a kind smile.
[center I bit my lip as he laughed, feeling very uncomfortable at how much I related to his words. I couldn't remember how many times I'd sat up at night, gun in hand, wondering if I should just pull the trigger and stop trying to live in the world that we did. There were days I questioned if it was even worth the struggle that I put up with every day. At least if I blew my brains out, there wasn't a possibility I would turn into one of the monsters outside.]
[center I looked away from him for a moment, thinking about what he was saying. [b "That's fair,"] I said, the words sounding strange to me. I still wasn't used to talking to anyone. [b "This is a nice little place, I won't lie, but if you plan to stay, I recommend you be careful. There [i are] bad people out there, some who wouldn't hesitate to march in here and take whatever they want."] I turned my attention back to him. [b "I can't really say what they would do to you if they found you here."] I gave a small shrug. [b "Maybe they would be doing you a favor, though. I don't know."]]
[center I had to finally tell myself to shut up. I didn't know this man. I had no idea if I was going to make him angry or if my words would upset him. The last thing I wanted was to be stuck in a place with an off-the-rails stranger.]
[center When he gave his name and extended his hand, I hesitated. I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to get buddy-buddy with someone again, but I really didn't want to get kicked out any time soon. After a moment, I took his hand, returning the smile with a small one of my own. [b "My name's Charlotte,"] I said, taking another moment before pulling my hand away from him. [b "Thank you for the shower,"] I said before turning away from him, making my way to where he said the shower would be.]
[center He definitely hadn't been wrong about not having hot water, but I quickly became okay with that fact. Just having water to wash myself with was heavenly, and while I didn't intend to use too much, I still enjoyed every moment of it.]
[center As I washed up, I got the weird feeling of how normal it felt. For just a moment, I was able to pretend that the world outside wasn't a messed-up place. That there weren't undead monsters roaming the streets, ready to take a bite out of anyone that they could. Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes tightly. It was so easy to pretend that everything I knew was gone that it hurt.]
[center Turning off the water, I stepped out and dried off, taking a moment to consider his offer about the clothes. Clean clothes [i would] feel nice, and after a moment and weighing everything in my mind, I finally decided that I would at least take a shirt. I didn't think any pants of his would fit well enough, but I could manipulate a shirt without issue.]
[center Once I was dressed, I made my way back out to him, leaning against the wall. [b "If you don't care, I probably won't stay. I don't like to sit in one place for a long time."] I wasn't sure what I would find walking around all the time, but I felt like there had to be a safe place [i somewhere,] and a part of me thought that if I walked far enough, I might be able to find it. Maybe it was dumb, but it was a small thing that kept me going.]
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