Kacee leaned her hand against a lone tree and peered into the vast world beyond her. She had been travelling for nearly three months now, alone. She slung her back pack from her shoulders and began rooting around to find the last remaining bottle of water she knew was buried in there among the last of her snacks and various other travel companions. These where her only companions, a watch that had stopped working about fifty miles ago at about 2.53 am, a small pocket knife that had help up nicely, some scraps of clothes, a photo, a toy, a battered tent and a lighter which had yet to let her down.
She opened up the water bottle and began to slowly sipping counting for exactly fifteen seconds. That would have to be it for now, as parched as she was she couldn't afford to take anymore. She crouched to one knee and grabbed a handful of fruit she had picked, devouring them. She had thought by now she may have ran into someone else, anyone. She was sure she would have stumbled across some run down town or at least an abandoned shop where she could rob some stock. But nothing, she was exhausted and every muscle in her body ached and burned. She hadn't slept properly in what felt like for ever. Each night she would set up some semblance of a camp but each night without fail as soon as she shut her eyes she would see every thing she was trying to escape flash before her eyes. And that would be it, another interrupted night of horrors.
A year and A half earlier
It had be nearly a year and half since it all began. One day she had been a content twenty year old looking forward to having the twenty first blow out to end all blow outs. She had planned it meticulously for months, she had a theme, she had invitations ready to go, she had it all. Then her dad got sick. Really sick. There was an outbreak, some virus that was being spread like wild fire. The doctors had said it began in the brain and slowly started to shut down normal function, triggering weird mood swings beyond the norm.
She remember sitting in the hospital waiting room with her mother and sister, staring dumbly at the doctor as she tried to explain it. But she knew that she barely knew what she was talking about, they had never seen anything like it before. She could vividly remember the hospital, gleaming and white with that clean bleach smell she hated now. The hospital was frantically busy, she remember just seeing bodies moving so fast it was nearly a blur. Everyone was made wear mouth masks and gloves, everything was being sanitized. The normal waiting room had been sectioned off with sick patients being put into some kind of make shift tent while visitors had to be ushered into a large storage room to speak with doctors and sip on tasteless coffee. Every second seemed to bring more and more ill patients. The arrived on gurneys, wheelchairs or simply carried in some desperate person's arms.
She always remembered getting that first glimpse of the truth. She was at home trying to research this thing on the internet. Trying to find some way to save her father, when she stumbled onto a video. It was in some hospital in France, a shaky camera watched as a man lay on a bed. His chest heaved heavily and his wheezing could be heard clearly but other than that he appeared lifeless. His face was ashen and eyes shut, the camera zoomed closer and moved back out again. The machine the man was hooked up to in the corner beeped gradually getting slower and slower until it dead lined. People in the room could be heard sobbing. The camera stayed on the man a moment longer and that was when it happened. Suddenly, the lifeless man had flung himself up in the bed. KaaCee had been so shocked she had stumbled back and had to pull back the video with trembling finger to see the final seconds she had missed. The man had lunged forward toward the camera and the film ended. The final moment captured on her screen, his eyes were blood shot beyond anything she had seen. The entire iris was black and his mouth, thick white foam had sprayed from his mouth as he had reached for the camera lense. That image had been etched in her brain. She had never seen anything like it and it haunted her, the way he had suddenly woken but as a totally different person. But it had been more than that, there was a strange pure hatred that pulsated from the being, it was irrational or animalistic.
But that was then. There was no shock anymore but she could still remember that first time.The first time she had seen one. The video had gone viral pretty fast showing up all over the internet but soon it got pulled and any video released after it got pulled. Eventually, people would learn the governments had been deleting the videos as fast as they could, trying as they called it to 'shield the public from this horror'. That was lies. Governments the world over knew what was happening and knew they were part to blame and just wanted to avoid mass hysteria so they could deal with it how they wanted, so they could try control the outbreak. Of course they couldn't.
And then came the devastating blow that shook the ground beneath Kacee's feet and turned her world upside down. The phone had rang in her home, she was the only one there. Her sister and mother were in the hospital but she had to work so could never stay over night regardless of how much she begged her boss at the bar. She knew from that first ring what was happening. From there it was as though she were having an out of body experience, hazily throwing on shoes and a coat and grabbing her car keys. She couldn't remember stopping at a red light or what was playing on the radio all she remembered was the rain slamming on the windscreen as she raced to the hospital. She had not so much parked her car as abandoned it. She had ran through the rain as fast as she could, feeling frantic. She had brushed passed others crying, doctors, nurses and junior doctors scrambling to deal with the influx. She knew the hospital layout like the back of her hand and the journey to her father's room was one she was all too familiar with. As she turned the last corner she saw her mother and sister collapsed in each other balling their eyes out. Her mother saw her but was unable to speak, she simply reached a hand to her but Kacee ignored her. She had never been great at that, the hugging and the emotion. She ran straight to her father's door and pushed passed the nurse asking her to wait just one moment. As her eyes met her father's bed she was stopped dead in her tracks. He lay there lifeless. His skin was grey and he looked so frail, she had never known him as frail. She knew him as confident and healthy and charismatic. She felt the tears sting her eyes, the lump grow in her throat. Then she saw the nurses begin to restrain her father's wrists to the bed, she stood shocked and then began to lunge for them. She screamed and hit out telling them to stop, begging them. She couldn't have known yet, it didn't hit her straight away, she was naive.
She reached for the restraint trying to free him and being pulled back, she was frantic. Then she saw it and she understood but refused to believe. Her father's eyes opened but this was no longer her father. His once green eyes, just like her own, were black and blood shot, the foam had already began to form a white coating at the corners of his mouth. Her body went limp in the arms of the male nurse who pulled her back. Her father's body began to jerk and spasm and a low growling escaped from his lips. Her mother had raced to the door during the commotion and Kacee saw her from the corner of her eye willing her to leave but unable to speak. She knew now and she did not want her mother or her baby sister to see. Her father jerked again, more violently this time. His arms pulled against the restraints, veins extruding from the effort, his body convulsed, his head moved as he twisted his body trying to reach them, to attack them. The doctors dragged Kacee from the room as she looked on in shock and despair.
There was a lot of confusion following that, a lot of questions. The police came, an army truck arrived but no one answered any questions. What they did do was worse. Shortly after the incident her mother and sister had begun to cough, just here and there between sobs. A doctor and a few army guys had pulled them behind a curtain and began, without speaking, prodding them with needles taking blood samples. They had done the same to Kacee. They had requested that all three not move. Well it wasn't so much a request as an order. And they had, they were all in extreme shock and the chaos was easy to go with than the effort it would have taken to fight, there was no energy to fight. They hadn't even really spoken to each other. Her sister had not stopped crying and he mother had sat staring into space a million miles away. As for Kacee she had felt as though she had been hit with a ton of bricks.
The sun shone directly into Kacee's eyes and she was snapped back to reality, back from her memories. She finished another handful of fruit and packed her things back into the bag. She threw it back on and began to make her way down the hill she was currently standing on. She lost her footing and began to slide a little, reaching out and stopping herself before she had the chance to plant her face into a head of dried out autumn leaves.
She patted herself down and adjusted her bag again before moving on. She had no real clue where she was going, she just knew she was looking for someone, anyone. She continued to pick her way avoiding dips in the ground and scattered branches. She had managed to twist her ankle at the start of her journey and she didn't need that hassle and pain again. She walked along carefully but stopped abruptly when she heard a faint crack in the distance. Instinctively she ducked down and continued to listen. She could hear leaves and twigs crackling and the sound was only coming closer. Her heart fluttered for a moment as she imagined a person coming towards her, finding her and helping her. She pushed it quickly from her mind, she had come along way since her car had broken down about two weeks into her trek and she had not set eyes on a single soul after that initial getaway so that chances of this being a wild animal were far more likely than anything else. The noise continued and Kacee moved herself as quietly as she could back against a mount of dirt. She reached into her sock and pulled out the blade she kept there. It was a good six inches with a black handle painted with a golden Phoenix design and she always kept it strapped around her calf. It wasn't her's, needless to say, in her life before she had no use for such a thing but after her car broke down she had found it and decided it may be the best option to take it.
She gripped the blade tightly, until now she had only used it to cut branches for fire wood but it was nice to hold it and feel some protection.
"Fuck!" a voice called.
It caused Kacee to jump, this was real, she pinched herself, definitely real. She had just heard an actual voice, a male voice. She was not imagining this, there was no way. She held her breath and waited, unsure what to do. It felt like an eternity since she had actually spoken or interacted normally with anyone she wasn't sure what to expect.
"Shit dude!" Another voice, a different voice.
Oh my god, she thought, this was it. People, real live people and she didn't have a clue what to do. She didn't even know what these guys would be like. But she had to, she had to see, she had to risk it. She stood up briskly, rustling the fallen leaves as she did.
"What the fuck was that man?" One of the voices said.
Kacee kicked herself for being so noisy but continued to stay back from their view. She listened as they got closer, heard them stomping along the ground. This was it she had to do it, she moved out form hiding and towards the two men.
When the trio first locked eyes they stood in absolute silence, taking in other in and all seemed to be as shocked as each other.
"The fuck?" One of the guys broke the silence.
Without knowing why and unable to control this Kacee broke character and collapsed in floods of tears. She was over whelmed, she was happy and my god she was tired.
The two guys looked at each other and then ran over the the girl. One of them threw her arm over his shoulder and heaved her up to her feet. The other picked up the knife she had let fall, examining it as he followed the other two over to a knoll they now sat on.
"She OK?" The one with her knife asked, placing the weapon beside her on the ground.
The other guy just shrugged.
Kacee sniffled a few times before wiping her nose with the back of her sleeve and telling herself to sort herself out. She looked up through glassy eyes, "Sorry it's just... I-I haven't seen anyone in so...So long." She gasped back the tears threatening to flow again.
"That's cool... So you're out here all alone? Jeez... Well, I'm Mike and that's Ben." The guy next to her pointed to his friend.
"So when you say you haven't seen anyone... I mean anyone?"
"Yeah..." she sniffed. "For, I dunno maybe three months..."
"Shit..." Mike exhaled shaking his head. "That's a long ass time...."
Kacee just nodded in agreement.
"And do you have a name?" Ben asked.
"Oh yeah, sorry I'm Kacee."
"So Kacee I mean... Do you have food or water or any crap?" Ben knelt down next to her, genuine concern in his face.
"I had some supplies but they're running thin now..."
"Well then today is your lucky day, we got some stuff back at camp and I would strongly suggest to come with us and get yourself some." Mike said, his arm still holding the girl.
She looked at the two guys, under normal circumstances she would undoubtedly question the motives of these guys but these, again, were not normal circumstances. She nodded and picked herself up ready to follow the two.
"You good to walk?" Ben asked, keeping a watchful eye on her shaky legs.
"I'm good." She replied and began to follow the men to their camp.
After an hour walk consisting of mainly silence the trio arrived to a wooded are. They continued walking to a clearing, there was a large plastic sheet tied by rope on each corner to six trees. Beneath the sheet were two beaten up tents and in front of them sat a ring of rocks with the remnants of a fire in the centre. There were bottles and left over packaging strewn along the ground also.
Ben made a large gesture pointing to the makeshift camp, "Welcome to our humble home!"
Kacee looked around, it wasn't much and it certainly wasn't pristine but it looked safe and comfortable. Alot more comfortable than the attempts she had made of making her own camps.
Mike grabbed a hoodie and wrapped it into a ball, "Here sit down." He put the rolled up jumper on the ground and beckoned for Kacee to sit on it.
She moved over and sat down, it felt so refreshing to sit on something soft, she let her legs stretch out and enjoy the minimal comfort.
Ben went into a tent and rummaged around for a bit before emerging with a can of beans, he took out a pocket knife and began popping off the lid, "OK cold or-?"
"Perfect!" Despite herself Kacee practically flung herself at the canned food, Ben handed her a spoon and she began to stuff her face with no care to grace.
The two men glanced at each other, sharing a smirk at the girl's utter desperation, "Shit" Mike said, "When was the last time you had any real food?"
"Um..." she began to say through mouthfuls, "Awhile.... I've been eating fruit mostly..." She swallowed a large spoonful before continuing, "I wanted to hunt but I mean animals are rare enough and I get kinda weird about killing things.... Plus I mean... There's no way to know if they're safe to eat or..." She gulped down another mouthful, "Infected or something..." He voice trailed off at the end and she stared into the nearly empty tin.
"Yeah we can understand that... We've had desperate times when you know you just wanna eat some meat but I suppose for the best part we go for the tinned." Ben said opening a can for himself.
"Where did you get this stuff?" She had started scraping the tomato juice from the can with her finger and licking it.
"We got a few spots we like to hit up.... But we keep moving.... Keep searching." Mike said tucking into his own can.
"Water?" Ben asked.
Kacee nodded feverishly and took a large beaker from Ben, gulping it down.
"So what's your story?" Mike asked, he had put down his can and had begun building wood to create a fire.
"Well... when this all kicked off my dad got ill... Turned out he had it." She stopped and watched Mike begin to strike two stones together in an attempt to spark a flame. She reached for her bag and rooted for her lighter, "You want this?"
He looked up at her and smiled, "Nice one!" He reached out and took the lighter, "Thanks!"
She smiled before continuing, "Well my dad got really sick and then... It got way worse..."
A Year and Three months earlier
It was three months since her father had died and Kacee's world was upside down. After the blood tests at the hospital she was told her mother and sister could not go home. They were sick. They had spent too much time in that damn hospital. There had been tears and protests but ultimately Kacee was forced out of the building and sent home. But not before they injected her with something, she didn't know what. Everything was vague, everything was strange. She would go by the hospital sometimes and they would let her see her mother and her sister, she was allowed to look at them through a large glass window as though they were in prison and she had visitation rights. They did not look good and they were stuck in a room with at least another thirty ill people. It was disgusting and it pissed Kacee off. They would chit chat, her mother would assure her everything was going to be ok. But Kacee knew it wasn't, she watched the news, she went online.
There was alot of buzz about this weird disease and slowly facts were beginning to filter out with all the crap. Finally, news anchors were reporting on the strange phenomenon of what happened after the heart stopped beating. Some supposed experts claimed it was because the disease embedded in the brain that it caused some strange reaction in the body, it took over all functions and the momentary death was not a real thing it was simply a symptom.
It was happening every where, all over the world people were losing loved ones and being huddled into hospitals if they even sneezed. Animals were culled, believed to be the root but they weren't, the animals were never sick, there was no strand in their blood of the infection. And then she stumbled onto an online video where some undercover reporter for some blog had snuck into her hospital, the hospital where her father had died, the hospital that held her mother and her little sister. The hospital that shoved them all in a room together like animals.
The reporter had managed to act as if they were an intern doctor, they attended meetings and briefings. They heard the truth, the real honest truth. The hospital received a briefing concerning the outbreak, they classified her father as patient X. The first case in this country, but not the last. They planned to monitor and watch the remaining patients and take tests and house them together.
They were the test subjects but it didn't work out how they planned. As the corpses began to pile up they didn't have time to restrain them all like they had with my father. They thought they knew how long the illness lasted until the side effect kicked in but they were wrong and unprepared. One of the patients started to change just as the restraints were being put on and over powered the staff. It started to attack them and they were powerless, just as all the staff rushed to this another person started to change and got into the action. And another and another.
Then the reports of those who couldn't make it to the hospital, the homeless, the addicts and just the unlucky, the people who thought they had the flu. A parent or a child would stay home sick and turn and attack the family. And if any of them survived they were infected and by then it was too late. The idea of giving others the injection Kacee received, the one believed to be an immunity, it got lost in the madness. It wasn't being handed out to anyone as the chaos overtook. It was being reserved for the rich, the politicians, certain celebrities, anyone who could afford to buy it.
Kacee had stayed in her home for the first few weeks. She kept herself locked away in her bedroom watching TV reports. She didn't know what to do or where to go. There was one day when she heard thumps on her door, she peeked out and saw people and she honestly didn't know what to do. It was a guilt she held with her. There was a woman maybe thirty and a young teenage boy. They were so desperate, they were hammering the door and begging to get inside. And Kacee could see what was happening outside, she could see the people running in disarray, she could see some being grabbed and attacked. She could see those monsters chasing people, latching onto them and tearing them apart, ripping out their insides.
And for a brief moment she put her hand to the handle of the door and was about to swing it open and save these people. But then she saw it, their hollow eyes, gaunt skin. Those people were ill, they were infected and they would turn. And just like that Kacee stepped back from the door, still able to see their faces, the woman had started crying and screaming at her to 'Open the damn door'. Kacee had kept walking backwards, she mouthed I'm sorry. And then she watched as one of those beasts came up from behind and started ripping open the woman's neck. But she didn't die instantly, they never seemed to. Kacee had to see her eyes as she realized what was happening, see the panic. She had to hear that woman's wail pierce her ears. Kacee had covered her ears and shut her eyes as tightly as possible and just sank to the floor, rocking over and back.
She couldn't take this anymore, she couldn't take another nightmare, another body lost. After what seemed like an eternity Kacee got back up and moved into the kitchen. She began grabbing as much as she could and started filling up an old duffel bag with food and drinks. She emptied every cupboard and then she moved into a room she had not been to since this mess began. He parent's room, as soon as she walked in she felt the tears well up but she fought them back. This was not the time to break down, she needed to take action. She walked to her father's dresser and began to root around, she knew what she was looking for. She reached to the back of the sock drawer and felt her fingers touch the object. She pulled out the penknife and opened it, examining the main blade. She then closed it and shoved it into her pocket. She ran over to her mother's locker and grabbed a photo frame that held a picture of the family, her family, smiling. She remembered the day so well, they had gone for a picnic on the beach. Her mother was holding a huge home make cheesecake, Kacee's favourite and her dad held one of those plastic flask mugs out in the air. Her sister, Ashley, was huddled up into her mother's hip. She looked so small there, she was probably only fifteen but she smiled a beaming smile to the camera. Kacee sat next to her father, she was nineteen, her father's arm was draped over her and she was mid laugh. He had made one of his goof ball puns at the time the photo was taken, it was because of the cheesecake, he had said something like' Your mother is so cheesey!' Just something dumb like that but she loved it when he did that and she wished she had appreciated it even more. They had asked an old couple to take the photo and they had spent that day laughing and joking so much. She had loved it. She wanted it back.
She popped the picture from the frame and pushed it into the pocket of her combats. She shook away the memories, it was an act she had found herself practising often. She then grabbed one of her father's coats and left the room, kissing the door gently as she shut it. She began to move back down the hall to her own room but stopped at Ashley's. The door was open, she poked her head in and found this hurt even more if that was at all possible. The room was bright blue, her sister's favourite colour, Ashley used to tease Kacee about having so much pink being as she was actually the tomboy of the family and Ashley was the girly girl. There were ballet trophies on the shelves, shoes scattered the floor and her wardrobe was open with some clothes strewn across the bed. Here cuddly toys covered the bed, even though Ashley was nearly seventeen she loved those toys. She had a name for them all, the walls were covered with posters of the latest boy bands that she loved. Kacee used to sit her little sister down and play her rock music and try to explain the importance of certain songs but Ashley refused to care and always preferred to listen to the latest teen sensations. Kacee shook her head at the memories, sitting by her old CD player and trying to coach her sister into what she believed she should be listening to. The two girls always got along, they were always close. Until Ashley was sixteen they were like best friends. But then things changed a little, Ashley wasn't her baby sister anymore. She didn't want to sit in and eat ice cream and watch TV, she wanted to go out and meet boys and hang out with her friends. Kacee had been fairly popular but she never gave into the popularity, she preferred staying in and just hanging out but Ashley was different. That would get them into rows with slamming doors and every other teenage cliché thrown in.
She really regretted it, she regretted her little sister growing up so fast and she regretted losing that bond. When their father got sick they became a little closer and just before he died the two of them had had one of their old style nights. Ashley had sat with Kacee on the couch, she had brought over the ice cream and the two had flicked through the music channels, cringing at old bands they once liked, teasing each other over bands they liked now. And laughing, more than anything it had been laughter and happiness and something she would never know again. She reached onto the bed and grabbed a floppy rabbit toy she knew was Ashley's favourite, she held the toy close and pulled the door close.
She continued on to her bed room, the walls were wallpapered with a pink and black design. It irritated Kacee now, it looked too cheerful and she hated seeing it. She marched in and pulled another bag from under her bed. She flung open her closet and started grabbing clothes and shoving them into the bag. Then she spotted her old baseball bat, she had gotten a notion when she was about twelve that she was going to start the town's first and only female baseball team. It never happened, she took the bat and placed it next to the bag. She began to shove things from her shelves searching for anything worth taking. She moved to the en suite and grabbed pain killers, toiletries and anything else she thought she may need. Then she went back into her room, she looked at the locker and saw something that made her sit down on the edge of her bed. She reached forward and pulled the unsent invitations from the locker. Black and hot pink just like her bedroom, 'You are cordially invited to the 21st birthday party of Kacee Locke..' she began to read. She had spent months planning, she had worked so hard and saved so much money to organise this huge party. She had picked out her dress, the venue, her cake. She had been so excited but none of that mattered anymore. None of it. Getting into college didn't matter, getting into second year didn't matter, her final year didn't matter, her damn birthday didn't matter. Her eyes stung with tears again, but this time of anger. She began to tear up the invitations, they had consumed her life for the weeks before her dad became sick, she had gone to college, gone to work, college, work and had barely seen her family. She hadn't eaten with them, she had worked late nights at the bar and had early mornings in college. She had given them none of her time and for what? Some crappy party? Was it worth it? She threw the shredded pieces to the floor and picked up the bag and baseball bat without a second glance at the room.
She grabbed her car keys from the hook by the front door and made her way to the attached garage. She began to pack the car with her food supplies, clothes and memories. She had to be ready to go, it was getting too insane out there. She lifted the baseball bat in her hands and decided to check and see what was happening outside. The glass was smeared with blood from the woman and the teenage boy but she looked beyond it, tried not to focus on it. Cars were left empty and alone on the street. Some people where running from their houses, some made it to a vehicles and many didn't. They got caught before they had the chance. A few people tried to fight them off using anything they could find, she watched one man slam a shovel into the head of one of the monsters, the zombies, and it crumpled to the ground.
People ran all over the street, chasing everywhere and no where. But those things could run too, some of them were slow but some of them could run, fast. The ones that could run would give out a blood curdling scream as they chased, it was other worldly like what she imagined a banshee would sound like if it existed. There was one woman kicking frantically as one of the zombies dug it's claws into her ankles. It's legs had been removed but it was still alive, or what ever version of alive these things were.
Kacee continued to peer out when suddenly one of the zombies turned it's head in her direction, she gasped and ducked, positive it had locked eyes with her. She hunkered by the door, her breath was heavy . She had managed to stay relatively safe in side for along time but she knew it wouldn't last. People had been breaking into other's houses to try get safety, and that had led to zombies getting in from what Kacee could see. The news reports begged people to stay indoors, it was the safest place. But you cannot tell panicked people what to do, when the internet and phone lines go down people will not listen to what some news reporter is saying anymore.
Finally, she decided to check and see what was happening outside, she rose slowly wanting to go unnoticed. She moved to the small windows that rested in the top half of the door and had to stifle a scream that wanted to escape her mouth. It was there, staring at her through the window, clawing at the door. It's eyes were black and it's bloody fingers clawed at the window. It was smelling the dead woman's blood or was it smelling her. Then she heard one of the screams and a runner came chasing to the door scrambling next to the other one. Kacee was frozen, her knuckles where white from clenching the bat. The zombies raised the attention of others and more began to run or stumble toward her house. Her family home. She turned to run from the room when she was startled by the sound of glass smashing in the living room. It was open plan and she could see the arm coming through, it was pierced with glass shards but that didn't stop it. It clawed and grabbed, it's blood splattered face pressed into the glass and again it raised the signal for others. Kacee turned and ran as fast as she could towards the garage as the window smashed again. She could hear a thud as one dropped into the room, she could hear it bang around as it fumbled in the room. But she didn't stop to check things out. She slammed the door to the garage shut behind her and began to push the lawnmower and random boxes up against it, a barrier, anything. She felt disgusted that they had violated her home but she couldn't deal with emotions right now. She opened the garage door and shoved the keys into the ignition, in her rear view mirror she could see this had raised attention, runners began chasing towards her, the crawler gave it's attention to her and started to drag itself away from the woman it had managed to drag down. She pressed her foot on to the accelerator and put the car into reverse. She swung out of the garage and sped as fast as possible down the street bouncing over the crawler as she did.
She continued to speed, thanking her self for filling the tank just before she had barricaded herself indoors. She violently took a corner and kept driving, she had no clue where she was going. She checked her mirrors, some of them were chasing her car, they were relentless but she was too fast. She dodged people and zombies as she drove faster than she ever had, she didn't want to slow down and she didn't want any interaction with anyone or anything, she just wanted to go. She hit the motorway, it was fairly empty. There were some cars left abandoned but nothing she couldn't get her little car through. Out the windows she could see people being attacked on the side of the road. In front of her she spotted a zombie bent over a man's body, it was pulling out entrails and had it's head buried in the man's neck. Kacee pushed her foot down and sped up towards them, the zombie looked up for a brief moment but she got it. She slammed into the beast, reversed and slammed back over it. She screamed as she rammed over it one more time before re focusing her attention on the road and taking off on her journey again.
"And I kept driving... then I saw these two kids... Like maybe eight or nine. They were huddled up by this car I was stifling petrol from. They were terrified and I just couldn't leave them. So I took them into the car, they said their parents had stopped to help some people and been attacked, they were so scared. So I took them into my car and let them take some biscuits and juice I had and we made out way to try find some place safe to try get like an hour sleep. When I woke up the younger boy was still sleeping in the passenger seat and he started coughing in his sleep. I asked his sister did it happen often. She said he had been really ill lately and then I knew and it cut me up. What the hell was I supposed to do? I asked her was she ever sick and she said she had a cold, both of them. So we kept driving and I got us to a hospital. I spotted a doctor on the street, smoking and asked him to help, god I begged him. He kept saying no, there was no way and to just get the hell away. I told him I had the injection and they just needed it too. He was confused I had gotten it but kept refusing to help. He told me to be thankful I got it but said it won't stop me from being killed, and when he said it he pointed right at the kids. It made me so mad, like he just didn't care. I jumped out of the car and grabbed him by his stupid coat and started screaming at him. I was yelling so much I nearly missed hearing the little girl's screams. Her brother was tearing her skin, literally tearing her skin off. The doctor flipped out and started running but the boy saw and got out of the car, hopped onto my seat and out the door and started chasing the man down. He had that scream, the same as the adult runners, it was disturbing. But the girl was like still alive in the back. She was spluttering and god it was so disgusting."
Ben and Mike leaned in, listening intently to her recount the tale, the tale she had been trying to block out. But now she had started the words wouldn't stop coming. It was as if she was back there.
"I didn't know what to do, she was bleeding but she was still alive. I willed her just to die, just to end it. I remember her head flopped toward me and her little blue eyes locked onto mine before they glazed over. And then the convulsions, the growling, the foam... Her eyes were black, she couldn't really lift her head because of the damage to her neck. But she was hissing and growling, trying to move but she was in the back seat, I had put the seatbelt on her myself, there was no where she could go. Real slowly I went back to the open door, I could hear that doctor screaming ahead. The boy had him. I reached in and I managed to get the bat, the girl's breathing was heavy and laboured, she tried shriek but she couldn't really manage anything. I pulled open the back door as quick as I could and I... I... I just, I had too. It wasn't her anyway, not anymore. I had to end it, so I hit her just like I saw that guy with the shovel do it. Right into her head. It was so disgusting... I used the bat to push her out of the car onto the street where the doctor had been." She looked at Mike and nodded at the lighter, "That's where I got that... And these..." She reached into the bag and threw out a beat up pack of cigarettes, just one had been used.
Ben's eyes lit up as he grabbed the pack, he smelt them first before taking a cigarette from the pack. He smoothed it out and lit it, inhaling deeply, "Oh my god, it's been so long..." He breathed out a puff of smoke.
Kacee watched the swirl of smoke rise into the air and disappear.
"So then what? All the real shit went down and you ended up here?" Mike asked, waving away a cloud of smoke Ben had just blown out.
"Pretty much, my car ran out of petrol in the middle of nowhere and I had to pick what I could carry and move as carefully as possible. Pretty much straight away the mighty powers that be" she said it sarcastically, rolling her eyes to heaven, "they did their thing and yeah all I could do was walk."
"Shit..."Mike exhaled. "That really sucks, I'm really sorry for you and all the shit you had to go through."
"Come on now" Kacee said, "Everyone's had it, not just me. Who ever is left all have their own shit. I mean what about you two?"
Mike and Ben exchanged a glance, Ben tapped off some ash and leaned onto the ground, "Well... I was in college. In my final year and to be honest I was pretty oblivious to the stuff that you experienced so early. I was too busy getting drunk or stoned or laid... Anyway, so there I was one night, hammered with this one girl. And I was too drunk to notice she had this real bad cold, or so I thought. So the next day I was trying to get her out of my room but she was complaining she was too sick to move. I left her to sleep, played some X Box and when I went back in they girl was lifeless. I freaked out cos I was like, 'I'm going to be in so much shit...' But then like you said the fit started and suddenly she was one of them. But, that bitch, she went for me not realizing I was a pro at zombie games. Man I grabbed this football boot I had with really long sharp studs and I slammed it straight into her face. And I didn't stop until her damn face was smashed in. The I flipped out, I threw on the internet and saw people all over the world talking about this shit. I knew it straight away, it was the zombie apocalypse. I grabbed some shit, didn't even think about it, I grabbed some shit got into my van and got the fuck outta dodge."
"What about your family?" Kacee asked.
This caught Ben off guard, he shrugged his shoulders, "I tried get home... I couldn't. Traffic and madness... I called home and some guy answered the phone I asked where the fuck are my parents? He just said, kid I'm sorry... They're not here and if they're not here, they're probably dead. That was it, he hung up on me then. And the sickest part... I believed him." Ben grabbed another cigarette and lit it up.
A silence fell over the group, the only sound was the cigarette crackling as it burned with each inhale.
Mike killed the silence with his own recount, "I was working in this shitty little shop I hated. It was a petrol station... Teach me for dropping out of uni... Anyway, the boss was an ass so I was there alone all the time. It was meant to be my day off and he called me saying he was sick so I went into work. The news was on and talking about all the shit, I actually thought it was a hoax at first. I mean you never know right? Then I got a call from my brother, he was in tears. He told me that they had gotten into the house, these zombies and they had got our parents... He said he was locked in the toilet and didn't know what to do... He was only ten... I told him to stay there, I'd be there as fast as I could but I was an hour away at least. He said he was going to open the door and see if they were gone, I begged him not to...I heard his screams..." He stopped and composed himself wiping his eyes roughly, "I could hear these grunts and like the sound of..." Mike shook his head. "Anyway, there was nothing I could do then, where I was was pretty much in the middle of no where. There were no houses close by, it was just off a main road. So I was ready to pack up some shit and move on when this guy", he pointed at Ben who gave an exaggerated smile in return, "pulled up in his van. He started filling his tank with petrol and I asked of he wanted to ransack the shop. So we did and we set off..."
"And did you guys get the injection?" She asked, eyeing the two. These guys were nice but she couldn't risk it.
"Well... There was an ambulance abandoned on the road and we took what we could. There was a box that said antidote so yeah we made sure we took that shit just on the off chance it was worth something... Like you we kept driving, our van isn't far from here. It broke down, the engine blew. So we took all our shit and hid out here. No where else to go after they dropped those bombs..." Mike shook his head, "Assholes..."