Thursday, November 14, 2013

Child of the Apocalypse, Part One

The zombie apocalypse had happened roughly one-hundred and eighty three days ago… I know because every sunset, without fail, I cut a notch the science book I carry with me. While I’ve been knocked out a few times, I’ve never missed a sunrise, nor a sunset; the daylight seems to make them more lethargic.

Looking around the apartment, including the barricade against the front door, I glance in the mirror and pull my hair back into a tight but messy ponytail, before grabbing a stick of roses and cream deodorant.
If only my brother could see me now, using some woman’s deodorant…
I stop that thought cold, choosing not to think about my little brother, or my parents. If all was right in the world, which it definitely wasn’t, they were able to get evacuated without getting bitten or spit upon. The evacuation station had only been a few blocks from our home in Canyon Lake, with helicopters taking groups of eight at a time out to Camp Bullis.
That of course wasn’t the only extraction point, but it would have been the one my family would have used.
I, on the other hand, went to St. Charles School for Exceptional Children here in San Antonio, an endless urban sprawl of blacktop and concrete now populated by over a million hungry dead, with a few living people thrown in the mix just to make things interesting.
I was one of the people around to make things interesting,
“Okay Brandon,” I say to my reflection, staring over the ace bandage wrapped over my neck and cheek from the nasty scratch I’d suffered three days ago, my black bangs dangling in my eyes, “Just two blocks, that’s all you have to make today. Two blocks.”
Two blocks away was another set of apartments that, thanks to my binoculars, seemed rather deserted. A few meandering zombies wandered the littered streets between here and there, but no sign of a hungry mob anywhere. Moving to the window, I lean out it again and look around, enjoying the cool breeze that Fall had brought along.
I see several zombies hunched over near each other, huddled together as if seeking warmth. I knew better than to believe that.
The first time I came upon a Pod, I thought they were survivors like me. And like the dumb kid I am, I approached them.
“Hey,” I’d said, triggering the first zombie, nearly screaming in horror as it peeled away from the other five it had intermingled with, sharing brackish fluids through tubes jutting out of their limbs.
I’d run far that day, crossing five city blocks and gathering a full mob behind me before I’d been able to duck into a liquor store, pulling down the barred gates to offer me a form of protection. I’d checked behind the counter for any kind of gun and, upon finding none, had grabbed a few bottles of Everclear to add to my pack.
One of those bottles had already been used cleaning the infection threatening to take over my neck and face.
I sigh… only twelve and I have to deal with the end of the world. I haven’t even kissed a girl and I’ve had to split open a man’s skull… something about that is seriously messed up. Leaning in the window sill, I allow myself a few moments to muse on the girl I’d been looking forward to asking out for the first dance of the school year.
Christina Tam. A pretty, petite Asian girl that always beat me in the math tests (and loved to brag about it), the two of us had formed a loose friendship based around our competitive spirits. The original group of survivors I’d been with had also counted her amongst their number.
Unfortunately we all decided to follow Chris Black, a football player with more brawn than brain, who’d proclaimed we could muscle our way to the front of the school and into the parking lot, where we could get in our cars and drive away.
Where to was never discussed, not even by Christina. She’d just gripped her golf club like her life depended on it. Moments after Chris had opened the locked lunch room doors, her life did depend on that nine-iron, which sadly proved to be too feeble when wielded by a ninety pound Chinese girl. The former math teacher, a two hundred pound bull of a man and head coach of the baseball team, had made short work of her.
My spear made from a pool stick and a butcher’s knife had proven to be an effective tool, allowing me to hamstring zombies on the go while keeping a good deal of reach between us. I’d tried to help Christina, but the math teacher had bitten directly into her face, tearing away her nose in a spray of red gore.
I ended her life quickly, after slicing through the teacher’s calves. The zombies all occupied eating my comrades; I was given the opportunity to move onward into the school properly, leaving Chris and his followers to their own grisly demise.
Did I feel guilty?
When the dead started to rise, the government tried to keep it under control, declaring that the nation should carry on as usual. After a week of live battles being waged in Los Angeles and New York all over the news, the blockades broke and the dead spewed forth from the doomed cities into the rest of the United States, right around the same time that undead risings started in the ghettos of every major city.
I’d said to Dad then, “We need to get out of here!”
He’d replied that we were safe, and that we should carry on as normal.
My father, I’ve come to realize, was not a wise man. Is not. Oh hell, I have no clue…
Mom had sided with me, begging Dad to have us go to one of the “safe” zones, where the military had full control over everything. He’d refused, citing how his forefathers had held this land and how he’d be damned if some blight upon the earth was going to take it from him!
Like I said, not the brightest bulb…
So do I feel guilty leaving my classmates to their untimely deaths? Of course not. As my advanced biology book (and personal journal) attested, this was a time when social Darwinism took over, weeding out those unfit to survive from those capable of pushing onward. Yeah, I missed Christina, and I think I did her a favor by running my blade over her throat and ending her misery sooner rather than later.
But feel guilty? Hell, who has time for that?
  I have Armageddon to deal with, hordes of walking dead infected with freaky parasites to sneak around and fight, all just to reach the safety of a supposed safe zone where my family might be.

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