My family used to be over-dramatic. Even though our surname (the Baxters,) is supposed to mean “One who makes bread” in our house means “What? You want ME to make the bread? I made it yesterday! Why can’t he do it? He’s been doing nothing all day! OMG! I FUCKING HATE YOU!” You think I’m over exaggerating, don’t you? On my fifth birthday, my mother once threatened to get a divorce with my dad because he won’t get off his fat ass and mow the lawn. Over-dramatic, right?
Because of this, I have developed a strategy. Apologise, stand down, and let them have their way. As it turns out, it’s almost as hard to fight someone who always lets you win as it is to fight someone who never lets you win. The reason I say almost is because recent events have lead me to believe that sometimes, the opposite is true. Ever since I was forced to smash my father’s head in with a bass guitar, throw my mother out of my bedroom window and drown my sister in dirty sink water; I couldn’t but help think that it would have been a whole lot easier if these zombiefied versions of my family had just let me kill them.
When I say they were zombies, I suppose that’s not entirely true. They didn’t want flesh and/or brains exactly, they just wanted to kill. They seemed to get a kick out of seeing the jet of blood that occurs when a throat is ripped open by savage hands. People all over the world just randomly started attacking friends and family. If you happened to of got bitten, you also became mad. But you, just like every other person on this doomed rock, already knew that so let’s move on to the actual story.
It was the 3rd of June 2013. It was raining and the football field was getting ridiculously muddy. I was doing my best not to notice the annoying, repetitive drips trickling from hair to nose to chin to ground by focusing on the weight of the cold, metal baseball bat in my hand. I had been standing for half an hour, cold and wet, but at the same time, strangely full of adrenaline. When we were 12, we watched “Zombie land” and, to be honest, became kind of obsessed. We made each other promise that, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we would meet here and team up. Together, nothing could stop us. Of course, it’s been years since then and we barely talk anymore. I had just start to wonder if she would ever turn up when I heard wet footsteps behind me.
I turned excitedly. She was there, smiling her cute, cheesy smile. Her curly hair was darker than usual due to the rain, but still noticeably blonde. Her shining face glowed through the gloom of the muddy field, creating the most perfect oxymoron. It was like seeing a happy 5 year old; dressed in red polka-dots; skipping carelessly through a post apocalyptic wasteland. She carried with her a fire-axe.
“I was starting to doubt you’d come” I teased.
“We promised each other that we would be here.” She chuckled. “You should know by now that I never go back on a promise.” She walked slowly towards me, “Nice to know that it’s a mutual trait.” She glanced alternately and shyly at the ground and at me. I felt a rush of passion escape my body. I put my hands on the sides of her face and I kissed her lovingly.
Ramona and I had been friends, virtually, since birth; and hours on end of watching American sitcoms had taught me one thing. Exiting the friend-zone was impossible and should never be attempted. I still believed this up until the moment I felt her kiss me back. After a good 7 seconds of kissing, we stopped and I stepped away. Her eyes were still closed; she was smiling even more now.
“14 years we’ve known each other.” She said between giggles. “What kept you so long?” Never listen to sitcoms.
We walk inside the nearby pub and made a plan:
1) Get supplies.
2) Steal a car
3) Go to Glasgow. (The only place in Britain that the virus hadn’t spread; and it HAD to be Scotland)
4) Help rebuild civilisation.
Ramona had also insisted, in the interest of staying focused, that we make it a rule that we leave any further romance for Glasgow. I agreed… reluctantly.
After a quick raid of the local corner shop, I hotwired a nearby land rover (don’t ask how I knew how to do that,) and we set off. The strange, empty quiet of the motorway made me realise how quickly our lives had changed; how quickly this world has changed. It was only a day ago that I would have laughed at the thought of this occurring. But now I'm in a stolen four-by-four; driving to Scotland; with a girl I had loved forever; hoping to start a new life. I remember telling her this and swearing that, if we ever make it there, I’d turn this into a film. This is close enough, right?
Just before we had left, I noticed an emergency broadcast on the television saying:
ANYONE TRAVELLING FROM WORCESTERSHIRE, FOR THE GOOD OF HUMANITY, MUST RETREIVE AN EXPERIMENTAL ANTIDOTE FROM ST PETERS HOSPITAL IN EVESHAM.
We decided to get the antidote.
It took us a while to find the hospital as we couldn’t exactly ask for directions but when we did we were surprised at what we saw. Every window was either smashed or stained inside and out with blood. Several flames from the hoods of crashed cars licked the air with dry smoke turning the leaves gray. As we approached the hospital, the raw stench of roasted flesh was stalking the halls. The hospital’s size and lack of sound created an eerie atmosphere as if a horror movie had seeped out the screen and into my vision. We went off in different directions to cover more ground quicker.
Every room I came across was either spotless or trashed. I saw heads, arms, feet and legs but no bodies to claim them. Broken chairs and tables lay broken upon the floor. In one draw I found a note book. At a glance it appeared to be an incomplete novel. I began to think about how many things will now never end: Novels, philosophies, movies. How many people will never say “I love you” to the one person they romantically loved who now mindlessly kills people. I put the novel away hoping to at least finish this one soul’s story.
I found a woman; no older than 18. The slit throat made my hatred of zombies rise. I them noticed the ripped underwear on the floor, her black eye and the white liquid on her dress and in her mouth. I thought this couldn’t have been done by a zombie… no. whoever did this was most defiantly a zombie.
I had just laid the woman down and gently closed her abused eyes when I heard the worse scream I could have ever hoped to hear: Ramona’s. I raced down corridors and jumped stairs only to find her sitting against a door; clutching her arm; breathing heavily; a body on the floor and a head not far away. In one hand she held a bloody axe and in the other; a small bottle of clear liquid. She saw me standing and her eyes open in fear and despair. She threw me the bottle at me and ran inside the room behind her before I caught it. I put my hands against the glass pain on the door as did she. Tears were streaming down her face even more than the rain when I kissed her. I heard a click from the door and I noticed the marks on her bicep. Deep, bloody tooth marks. She didn’t have long.
I showed her the bottle and she nodded. I offered it to her and she shook her head and hit the door with her fists. I knew her since birth so I knew her only two traits: Selflessness and stubbornness. She wouldn’t come. She couldn’t. Just as the words formed my lips, she spoke them before I could, as if reading my mind:
“I love you”. I felt a spark of hope. But before I could say it back to her she repeated herself like a compulsion.
“I love you. I love you! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU!” She was gone. I could only just block out her zombie’s screams of essential anger to whisper,
“I love you to. I always have, and will do forever, Ramona”. I closed my eyes and let a tear fall. Her eyes were still flowing despite them being ice cold. Before I left, I picked up her axe; shut my eyes and hurled it through the glass. Her raged voice ceased.
I left the hospital and walk back to the car. I sat in it for a long while doing nothing and feeling nothing. After a while I removed the notebook I acquired from the desk draw and began to read. It was a love story; set in Glasgow. Two lovers; born and befriended; confess their love in the rain before running away together. It stops there. Writers block. I noticed that the author hadn’t named the heroin. He just called her “girl”. I guessed he hadn’t thought of a good enough name before he died. I idea crept into my mind and a smile crept on to my face. I searched through the car until I found a pen. I spent the next half hour changing every “girl” to her name. I may have caused her life to end but now she will live forever.