The smell of burning fuel and flesh fill the air. The taste of metal fills my mouth as I feel mortality slipping through my fingertips. I am wounded and thankful for it not being from one of those things.
“I need to patch this up”, I think to myself as I look down at my bloody t-shirt.
I open my pack and dig out my little first aid kit that I found in an abandoned van. The blood will attract them so I need to hurry. Huddled behind two garbage bins I take my shirt off and reveal my wound. It isn’t as bad as I first thought and just some super glue and a bandage should do the trick.
After my makeshift stitch job I put on a “cleaner” shirt and get to my feet. Picking up my bag and making sure that I have a full clip for my 9mm and check the roads. There is a small general store across the street that I used to shop at and I know there maybe a slight chance of something to eat.
There is no one on any of the cross streets, so I emerge from my hiding place and slowly make my way across the street. The front door is all boarded up, must of been the owner’s last defense. I make my way to the back of the store.
The outside metal screen door is open and only holding on by its bottom hinge. The inside door was closed so I cautiously tried the knob, it was unlocked, and swung it open very fast. I have learned that opening doors slowly allows them to creak and bringing attention to myself, always a bad idea. Flashlight and gun up, I make my way through the back of the store.
There is a walk in cooler that used to be stocked with the daily fresh fruit and vegetable deliveries from the local farmers. Now there is only a couple of empty boxes and a pile of rotten fruit in the corner. There seems to be a horrible smell in the building and as I walk further towards, the front of the store, it is getting worse. My hand tightens around the grip of the gun as I push through the set of swinging doors.
The smell of rotting flesh hits my senses like a wave upon the sand.
There is a body, a boy named Eric, on the floor in front of the milk cooler. As I get closer I see that that he was shot in the chest five times and in the head once. Flies were still swarming around his corpse and the maggots have already moved into his head. His face was twisted in a way that wasn’t normal and I realize that he must of turned into one of those things and was killed because of it.
“Poor kid” I thought to myself, “he was one of the good ones.”
Moving past Eric’s rotting corpse I search the store for anything. I find a couple cans of sardines, some BC powder packets, and a two liter of Fresca. I guess in these end days people still don’t like the taste of it. I laugh to myself with the thought. At least it was enough of a meal to keep me moving for the next twelve hours.
I leave the store but not before saying goodbye to Eric. He was such a good kid, always smiling and helpful. I notice that he isn’t wearing his red vans like he did everyday, someone must of taken them off of him when he died.
I didn’t shut the back door when I left, there’s no point. Coming around the building I check down the street again, nothing. For the first time I realize that there was absolutely nothing, no people screaming, no guns being fired, or even a bird singing. Just a vast emptiness that fill my ears. I can’t stand the sound of my own heartbeat. I reach in my pocket and pull out one of the earbuds attached to my I-Pod and place it in my ear to break the silence.
The street was littered with trash and bodies of the dead. Most of them were wrapped in sheets and piled up on the side of the road but the recent deaths they were out in the open.
“No one to wrap them up, I guess.”
The thought saddens me a little but I can’t think too much about what took place here, in this god forsaken city, but to keep moving towards the river. I know that it is only about three more miles down the road but I can not stop at all if I want to make it there before dark.
They came out in hordes at night.
The sun begins to set and I make it to my destination. The docks at the edge of town were ablaze with the golden yellows and oranges from the setting sun. Reminds me of Fall, with the trees changing its leaves to get ready for the winter. There are several small boats still at the dock and in the bay were some military ships that never made it to sea. My mind begins to wander of the last time I was here with my family, the night the world fell apart.
It was only six months ago that I got the call from headquarters to pack up my family and get to the docks. There was something happening to the people of this town and they needed all hands on deck. I told my husband, Christian, to pack up some clothes and supplies. Our daughter, Lucy, was playing in her room when I went in to get her ready to go. She looked up at me with those gorgeous green eyes and asked me what was going on. The only thing I told her was that we were going on a trip on a boat and we needed to go right then and there.
We drove to the docks and there were hundreds of people trying to get through to the ships. The guards were taking them in four lines one by one. I was carrying little Lucy, who just turned four that month, and Christian had the bags. Making sure I made it clear to the passing people that I was military we still had to push our way through the crowd.
As we reached the gate I held up my badge and we were pushed to the front of the line but not before one of the guards took Christian and Lucy’s temperature.
“What are you doing that for?” I asked the guard.
“To make sure they are not infected,” the guard gruffed
“Infected with what?” Christian asked.
The guard kept silent and moved on to Lucy.
“They are clear let them in.” he said as he put orange wristbands on them.
They were allowed into the first gated area and I was next to be cleared.
“Infected with what?” I asked again but before the guard could tell me anything a shot rang out at the back of the crowd. Everyone ducked and then the screaming began.
The people began to surge forwards to the gate and I got pushed out of the way by some guy in a hunting jacket. Lucy was screaming for me but I could not get to her. Christian managed to get to a corner of the fence so I can see her and try to calm her down.
“Just stay right here” I told them, “you have the wristbands proving you are not infected.”
“Mommy, I’m scared” Lucy said through her tears.
“I know baby. I know but daddy is going to take you on the boat and mommy will be with you soon.”
Her little fingers were gripping onto the fence as hard as she could.
There was something making its way through the crowd and that is when the shooting began. I had my family run along the fence towards the closest ship and the guards let them pass because of the wristbands they were wearing. At the end of the dock was the last place I saw them.
Christian had tears in his eyes and the only thing he said to me was “ I love you and we will be together again.” I told him that I loved him and to take care of her with his life and he just nodded. Lucy reached through the fence with her hand and I gave it a kiss.
“Don’t go mommy”
“I have to baby but I will be with you soon.”
Tears streaming down all of our faces. I managed to tell her that I loved her and that I will find her again. The guards were shooting people down at the gate causing them to run down the dock towards me. I knew I had to get out of the area.
“Baby I love you and I will miss you everyday we are apart.”
I kissed her hand again and gave Christian a little nod. He turned around with Lucy in his arms and ran towards the ship. I can still hear her screaming for me when they were loaded up. Then her voice faded.
I had nothing with me except for my badge and 9mm but that didn’t matter. There was something in the crowd that is terrifying everyone and made the military open fire, so I didn’t stick around to find out what that was.
Now standing at the docks, I make my way through the gates and into the loading area where my family were taken away from me all those months ago.