Claire Copeland's Point of View
It was a very normal day when it all happened, and no one knows for sure how exactly it all happened either. My mother and I were going on a weekend trip to visit some of our family in Georgia. My father was never too fond of her side of the family, therefore whenever we went to visit, he'd always stay back home in Tennessee. I didn't like leaving him home alone, a couple of hours away with no one there with him. Every bad situation that could possibly happen to him would always run through my mind, but my father was a strong man who could easily kill anyone who tried to harm him so I honestly had no idea why I worried so much about him. He would be okay, just like he was every time we took this trip every so often.
We had been in the car for a couple of hours and all I wanted now was to be at my Aunt Joyce's house already, cuddled up in blankets and sleeping, but we still had an hour left. I let out an annoyed groan and leaned my head against the window, watching all of the cars flash by us as my mom sped down the highway.
"Getting tired of being in this car?" She asked me and glanced over, laughing, "So am i."
"Very tired. I just want to be there already and go to sleep." I yawned slightly and covered my mouth.
I reached over and turned up the radio a bit to listen to music. That would kill my boredom by a little bit. Instead of music being on the radio, however, it was a newscaster, reporting something very odd.
"..We don't really have any real leads of this very odd story at the moment, but it seems as if someone is eating someone else on the side of the street o-"
I didn't even get the chance to hear the rest of the story before my mom reached over and turned the radio off completely, shaking her head.
I sighed and leaned my head back against the seat, closing my eyes. Images of someone tearing into someone's flesh and actually enjoying it flashed through my mind, which only made me open my eyes quickly and shake my head. That would be absolutely horrific to watch.
The next hour past by quickly and before I knew it, we were pulling into the driveway at my aunt's house. I instantly unbuckled my seatbelt and jumped out. My mom popped open the trunk and got out as well. We both grabbed our suitcases and walked up the front porch steps, I knocked lightly on the door. My cousin, Lillian, answered the door with a big smile on her face, her arms wrapping tightly around my neck and pulling me in for a hug. Me and Lilly had always been extremely close.
"I missed you so much," she squealed in my ear and pulled back, pulling me into the house and my mom following behind us.
She shut the door and walked into the living room to talk with her sister, leaving me and Lillian to stand in front of the door.
"I missed you too, how have you been?" I asked her and started walking up the stairs toward her bedroom, I always slept in her room when we came down.
"I've been great," She opened her door to find her baby sister, Grace, playing in her makeup.
I chuckled, but Lilly found it anything but funny.
"Get out!" She yelled, snatching the makeup bag from Grace and she jumped up, stomping her foot.
"You're so mean to me!" She screamed at Lilly before running out of the room and down the hallway to hers.
Dylan walked out of his room a few minutes later and raised his eyebrows at the both of us, "What was that all about?"
"Grace was in Lilly's makeup.. Again." I laughed and he did too, shaking his head.
"That's an everyday thing now.. I don't know why I asked, but Hey, Claire. I haven't seen you in a while." He opened his arms and pouted, "Come give your big cousin a hug."
I rolled my eyes and walked across the hall, wrapping my arms around his torso and hugging him tightly. My aunt and mom came walking up the stairs just as I pulled back and she clapped her hands together.
"Bedtime, kiddos. We're going to take you guys to do something fun tomorrow." Joyce answered with a smile on her face and my mom walked into the guest room to settle in.
I nodded and walked into the bedroom with Lilly and shut the door behind me. I quickly changed into my pajamas since I was used to changing in front of her and crawled into the bed.
"Can I watch tv? It always helps me fall asleep." I turned to her and asked.
She yawned and nodded as she pulled the covers over her head, "just don't turn it up too loud, I'm tired."
Nodding my head, I grabbed the remote and turned the tv on. An emergency broadcasting system was on the first channel I turned to, but my normal instinct decided to ignore it, thinking it was just on that channel. I was way wrong. It was on every channel I turned too, including Cartoon Network. This was absolutely something serious. I sat up in the bed and turned the tv up, the male voice that always spoke on these things began to speak and I listened to it intensely.
"The Emergency Broadcast System has been activated. Please stay in your homes. Do not let anybody enter unless you are sure they are not infected. Turn to your local news station for more information. If the power goes out, turn on the radio. Repeat: The Emergency Broadcast System has been activated. Please stay in your homes. Do not let anybody else-"
I hit mute on the tv and Lilly sat up as well, raising her eyebrows, "Infected? What do they mean infected?"
I shrugged and motioned with my finger for her to hush as I turned the tv back up and switched onto our news station. The words that had just been spoken by the generic male voice were running across the crawler on the bottom of the screen, and the news report itself was ghastly. It was a helicopter video of some city, but we had already missed the name of it. There were fires, gunshots, explosions, screams, and mobs of people ambling towards a bunch of soldiers. The people were getting shot at, but they just kept coming. When the people reached the soldiers, it wasn't clear what was happening, but it was apparently gruesome enough for them to cut the image.
"The government is declaring a state of emergency," explained a tiny brown-haired woman, staring into the camera. I had heard those words in so many movies and it all felt like I was in a dream. "There are reports from every major city across the world. All flights have been cancelled, all borders closed, and the government is urging people to stay in their homes. The Center for Disease Control has made no statement on subject." The woman just kept listing all that was happening, how they had no idea what it was and that it was spreading like wildfire.
My mind wandered back to the radio earlier before we had gotten here.. To the news report my mother had cut off about someone eating someone else. My breath hitched in my throat and I jumped out of Lilly's bed. Dylan was already standing in hallway as if he knew I was about to come running out.
"Did you see that on the news? That's some crazy shit!" He announced, but I ignored him, running into the guest room where my mom was sleeping and shook her violently to get her to wake up.
"Mom, wake up! Something's going on." I felt my heart rate speed up as she sat up, rubbing her eyes.
"What are you talking about?"
Lilly, Dylan, and Aunt Joyce appeared at the doorway. Thank God Grace didn't wake up because this would scare her to death.
"What's going on?" Aunt Joyce asked me, her voice filled with worry.
I grabbed the remote to the tv in the room quickly and switched it on, turning it to the news and turning it up loud enough for all of us to here. It was basically a repeat of what I had just heard in Lilly's room and by the time I had put the tv back on mute, we were all freaked out.
Aunt Joyce began giving us all orders and we obeyed them with no questions asked. She ordered us to go feel the cars up with supplies in case we had to leave in a hurry, but leave supplies inside just in case we got trapped in. Dylan was in charge of getting all the guns my Uncle had kept in the basement out and upstairs for us to use in case something happened. Somehow through all of this, Grace slept, but all of us were far too worried and scared to sleep now.
I couldn't help but let my thoughts go to my dad. Was he safe? I was terrified that one of these things, or a herd of them, had gotten to him. My mom noticed how worried I was getting and wrapped her arms around me, gently stroking my hair.
"Your dad will be okay, sweetheart.. He's a strong man." She whispered into my ear and all I could do was nod in response, letting a few tears roll down my cheeks.
I buried my face into her chest and curdled up next to her on the couch, slowly drifting off to sleep.
I woke up in the middle of the night to the sound of this horrible groaning and moaning coming from outside. It wasn't close to the house, it sounded distant.. But it was still loud enough for me to hear. I rubbed my eyes and got out of my mom's arms, walking over to the window. I pushed one of the blinds down with my fingers and glanced outside. The sound of a dog barking violently at something caused me to jump slightly and narrow my eyes to see what exactly it was barking at like that. The tall, pale figure was limping down the street toward the dog with its arms out slightly in front of it, reaching out toward the dog.
I could make the figure out to be a girl, considering it having this long hair that was too hard to make out a color for, and a very torn, dirty dress on. Her skin was too pale for her to be healthy and blood stains covered her body. I watched as she finally made it to that barking dog, which was absolutely too stupid to run away from this girl that wasn't in the right mental state.. Suddenly, her nails dug into the dog and she ripped the side of the dog open. It yelped out in pain, but it died quickly so it didn't feel anything after. I watched for a second as she pulled some of the dog's organs out and shoved them into her mouth, chewing and swallowing. I couldn't watch anymore and stepped back from the window, tears clouding my eyes.
"What was that?" Lilly whispered and I turned back to face her.
Tears began freely falling down my cheek as I wrapped my arms tightly around her and quietly cried into her shoulder. She gently rubbed my back and hugged me back tightly. I explained to her what I had just seen and her eyes widened in fear.
"D-don't tell anyone what I seen, Lilly.. I don't think they need to know right now." I sniffled and wiped my eyes.
She nodded and gave me another quick hug, "Are you okay? It must have been horrible to watch.."
"I'm fine," I mumbled as I sat back down on the couch and took a deep breath.
"I'll be upstairs if you need me," she nodded toward upstairs before walking back up them to her room.
I ran my fingers through my hair and gently bit down on my bottom lip. I had just witnessed what had been happened in other cities. That was one of those infected people the news had been talking about.. This was anything but a dream I was in.. It was real life.