It’s funny how quickly a person’s priorities can change, but then again I guess that’s just the nature of human beings. We are insincere and selfish creatures that often don’t even tell the truth to ourselves, it is only in brief moments when what we truly feel can shine through the layers of morality and self-righteousness that we cover our true selves in. I had built up my resolve, I had the conviction to follow through with what I felt was the best choice for everyone, hell I even thought that I wanted to die, but here I was writhing in pain on the side of the street struggling to live for some reason.
I guess that’s just nature’s final cruel joke, even when you’ve resolved yourself and made peace with no longer living in the world no one ever truly wants to die. The desire to survive and live on is always there, and in those last moments when you thought that you were ready for death the desire to live sneaks right into the forefront of your mind.
I really don’t even understand it myself, I should have every reason to want my life to end especially given the immense pain that I was currently in. I mean realistically there wasn’t much hope for my future, the pain spreading through the entire left side of my body and the blood I’ve been coughing and vomiting up are pretty sure signs that my life will be ending soon anyway. Hell what I was going through now was probably the beginning of the whole human-to-zombie transition thing that happens when a person gets infected by whatever the fuck it is that makes zombies walk around eating people when they should normally be dead and still. Even still here I was trying to fight through the pain and move off the road and into someplace where I could hide.
I only vaguely remembered that I had sent J.J. away to meet up with the others without me, that was back when the pain was still strong but tolerable. A part of me wondered what it was that I said that convinced him to leave me and drive off, a more pessimistic part of me wondered if my friends were even still alive right now, and most of me wondered why the town had spaced all these fucking buildings so far apart.
Maybe I could crawl faster without the bat… Huh, which matters more right now: a weapon or a small increase in speed? I doubt the bat would help me if I can’t even work up the strength to stand… Letting the bat I had been clutching in my right hand go and roll away I began to grab at the concrete and just drag myself across the sidewalk as quickly as I could. My goal was the convenience store that was just a few yards ahead, but in my current condition and with the growing presence of zombies around me that distance seemed impossibly far away. I was actually grateful that there were a few other non-moving dead bodies around to distract them from my half dead form inching closer to what I hoped could be shelter, better the dead body of a fat guy coming out of a car get eaten than me after all.
I was actually beginning to get used to the crippling pain spreading through my left side, though I still had to fight off the urge to just pass out, and had almost made it to the automatic door of my soon to be temporary shelter when those doors opened and a zombie shambled out. For a moment I just stared, a zombie wearing what looked like a tattered set of knight’s plate armor right out of a movie or game had just walked out of a Buy-‘N-Shop like it was normal, it was so unexpected that for that moment the danger of my situation was disregarded and I just stared. There was even a lapse in my pain as my mind tried to process what I was seeing in that moment. There should be a sword right? I mean there’s a shield so there should be a sword too, right? I wonder where that sword is now…
“Uhhhhhgggggggggnnnnnnn” The groan that came out from the zombies rotting and torn face was enough to snap me back into the moment. With a grunt and a heave I forced myself into a roll in a desperate attempt at escaping the monster in front of me. Glancing up from my new position on my side in the middle of the road I found my new knight zombie friend looking at me. Oh Shit… It was all I had time to think before the zombie began to lumber slowly towards me.
I had seen how fast these zombies could shamble when they were chasing someone while I was still in a car safely driving past any danger, and while the zombies weren’t sprinters and a jogger could probably out pace them on flat ground they were still a far cry from being the clumsy and slow moving corpses they were depicted as in some movies. This particular zombie wasn’t that fast, which might have something to do with the armor it was wearing, but given my own current lack of speed that really didn’t mean much.
Well fuck… This is not how I wanted to go out, eaten alive… Shutting my eyes tight and hoping for it to at least end quickly I suddenly felt myself clench my good hand as the fiery pain in my left side throbbed. No… My eyes opened to find the knight zombie closing in on me, it was only a few feet away from me now. No! No, fuck this! Like hell am I going to die! These fucking things killed my family and now they want to eat me!? Well fuck that! I killed one of them and I can kill this fucker too! I struggled as I fought through my pain and tried to push myself off the ground. You think I’m going to die!? You think you’ll kill me!? You think you’ll eat me!? Fuck that! I’m not dying here, not for you! My left side suddenly went completely numb and I collapsed as my left arm gave out. No! Fuck, no! Why now!?
“Uhhhgggnnn” Looking up I glared at the zombie that was groaning as it bent down to reach me. In the end I couldn’t even fight back… Pathetic Alex, real pathetic… Fuck it, if I’m going to die anyway then I’m going to take this thing with me… As I made my resolve and clenched my right hand into a fist ready to beat the monster to death as it ate me I heard a loud popping noise. The zombie fell over onto its side and as it looked up and began to crawl in my direction a series of those same popping noises went off until it stopped moving. My whole body shivered with relief and the sudden sensation was so strong it made me dizzy, looking up I saw my savior. It was someone in a hoodie with the hood up, baggy pants, and who was holding a pistol that was still focused on the knight zombie.
Holy… I’m alive…? I am, I’m alive! As the relief flooded me from that fact the pain returned banishing the numb feeling and causing me to gasp from the pain. As the pain grew it began to spread into my chest and my vision began to cloud, unable to fight off the urge any longer I felt myself begin to lose consciousness. My last sight was of my savior crouching down and reaching out to me, I saw a face that looked familiar but I couldn’t quite place, then everything went black…
Checking on the corpse I couldn’t really tell if it was actually dead or not, glancing at the boy laying in the street next to it I decided that it didn’t matter. Pointing the gun at the corpses head and bracing my arm just like father taught me, I pulled the trigger until there was nothing left in the clip. I sighed as I reloaded the gun, as I took a fresh clip from my pocket and stowing the used one away for reuse latter I found myself looking back at the boy I had followed here.
Looking around I saw that a few of the zombie things had looked up and were now staring at me, it was probably the sound of my gun going off repeatedly that attracted their attention. With a quick glance around I saw that I would need to move quickly if I wanted to get out of this place without wasting any more ammo. Putting my gun back into its holster hanging off my shoulder I reached down and hefted Alex into an awkward hold as I began to backtrack to my truck.
It took some effort to haul Alex into the passenger seat and I had to move out of the way of an overly quick zombie as I jogged over to the driver’s side, but as I turned the keys in the ignition and throw my baby into drive leaving that place behind I let out a soft laugh. Who knew all it would take was the zombie apocalypse to get Alex to take a drive alone with me… Wait, I wonder if this counts as kidnapping? I shivered at that idle thought, there were a few lines that I had promised myself I wouldn’t cross when I started to seriously watch Alex so I wouldn’t end up like one of those crazy stalkers that end up on late night specials. In that list kidnapping was right up there at the top alongside creating a secret shrine dedicated to him in my room, I had always said that if I had crossed one of those bottom lines then I would know that I was completely losing it. Casting off the thought and the discomfort that came with it I ended up glancing at Alex where he was passed out in the seat next to me. Yeah, it’s not kidnapping, just helping out the guy I like... You could even say that rescuing him like this was the act of a hero! Wait, if I’m the hero does that make Alex the damsel in distress? The thought of Alex in a pink princess dress shouting “save me” caused me to giggle for a good two minutes of the drive.
As the fit of giggles subsided I settled into silence as I drove out of town, Father had called and said that they were getting reinforced by the army later today and I should head to the county seat and his precinct as soon as I could. I might have delayed that slightly with how I ended up following Alex’s car into town, but now I was back on track. Besides what Father doesn’t know won’t hurt him…
Just as I was wondering if I should try to nudge Alex awake, it probably wasn’t good for him to be unconscious too long if he was injured somewhere I couldn’t see, the chorus of some punk rock song I vaguely recognized blared out breaking the silence and nearly shocking me off the road.
“Ugh… Wha? Where?” Alex shifted in the seat as I focused on keeping my baby on the road and not killing us both. “That ringtone…” I saw him pull a phone out off his back pocket before I decided it was probably best that I focus on driving and not crashing into anything, even so I ended up listening to half of a phone conversation as I drove.
“Hey Connor… No, I’m ok… Yeah, I don’t think I’ll make it there. You all should go on without me… No… No… Th- they’re gone… I’m fine… Really… Stop, I said I was fine so I am… No, I’ll be alright… Yeah, I’m actually with someone right now… So, J.J. told you about that too, huh? It’s fine I’m dealing with it… Well actually…” Alex ended up nudging my shoulder as he trailed off, glancing away from the road for a second I found myself looking into those deep chocolate brown eyes of his. For a moment I almost lost myself before I noticed that his eyes seemed different from they used to be, the whites of his eyes had become a more yellow color and the irises looked duller somehow almost as if there was no life behind them. “You’re… Samantha, right? Hey, where are we headed?”
Just hearing him call my name gave me that familiar tingle down my spine, but that feeling was overshadowed by what I had seen in his eyes. I had seen eyes like that before, Father had those same sort eyes whenever he was put on a particularly nasty case. It was a look I could recognize immediately and I also knew that it meant that Alex had seen something so horrible it was haunting him, and unlike father I doubted a glass of scotch would help his eyes regain their normal luster. “To the county police station, we should be there in about twenty minutes…” I couldn’t take looking into his eyes anymore, not when I knew what they must have seen to become like that, It didn’t take a rocket scientist to piece together why Alex walked out of his house alone given what’s happening, so instead I turned my gaze back onto the road.
“So we are actually headed to the same place, I’ll be there in about twenty minutes… Sure because if it was an actual race I would win like always… Yeah, yeah, see you there buddy.” As Alex stopped talking I tried to think of something to talk about to fill the silence, nothing came to mind though.
I just didn’t know what to say, I mean what was I supposed to say to a guy who had lost his family and was left behind by his friends. As I drove the image of Alex crawling on the ground in clear pain surfaced in my mind, it was a sight that I had never wanted to see and had scared me like nothing else has. It was a unique sort of fear, seeing your loved one so helpless and in so much danger, it was a feeling that I never wanted to experience again. If I had been just a few seconds slower… I shivered as I thought about what could have happened. But I was able to make it in time… I saved him, so everything’s fine and there’s no use in thinking like that…