Someone was screaming. That was what woke me up.. It sounded
so far off. Had I imagined it?
The second thing that to register in my brain was the pain. The
sharp, stinging pain. I opened my eyes but saw only darkness. The
muffled screams filtered through whatever dark space I was
enclosed in. Where was I? A crack of light shone through an
unknown gap and I pushed my hand out towards it. Doors flung wide
open and graceful as ever, I fell out of the storage closet flat
onto my face. More pain, and i looked down to see my hands an
knees covered in tiny bits if broken glass. A smashed window
above my head had provided both the light and the source of my
new pain. How long had I been in that closet? I stood, careful
not to implant anymore glass into my skin. I took two steps
forward before a throbbing in my head brought me to my knees. A
few moments later, I tried again only to be scolded with a burst
of pain from right behind my eyes. The darkness closed in on me
and I blacked out.
There was that cry again. I raised my head to look for the
source of the sound. The hospital room I was in was completely
destroyed. There was blood everywhere. Blood, and limbs and oh
no. Was that a... My thought did not get a chance to complete
itself before i doubled over and wretched. Nothing came up but
stomach acid. When was the last time i ate? I had arrived at the
hospital this morning. The hues of light coming through the
window said that it was sunset. Groggy and disoriented I pulled
myself up using a nearby bedside table as a brace and tried to
have a better look at my surroundings. What had happened here? It
looked like WWIII had erupted around me and I didn't know it.
Closet doors had been ripped off of their hinges, chairs
destroyed and there was blood everywhere. I briefly recalled
being shoved very roughly into a corner by a male nurse who was
yelling at be to get back. My head slammed into the wall and I
must have blacked out. Stumbling towards the door, i heard it
again. That wailing was starting to creep me out. Where was that
Stepping out into the hall I tried to remember what had
happened. I had come to the hospital to visit Lana. We'd been
talking for around half an hour before the sirens started going
off. I went outside I see what was going on and a nurse at the
desk told me that they were evacuating the building. Evacuating
the building? What? Why did no one come in to tell Lana? She was
a patient! Everything happened so fast. Startled people were
coming out of rooms and heading in all directions. A staff member
stood on a chair and tried to do the whole 'please proceed to the
exits in and orderly fashion' thing. It wasn't working. No one
listened to him. Doctors and nurses ran by wheeling high
priority patients off to helicopters or who knows where. Everyone
was making a mad dash for the exits, but they were closed! Why
were they closed? Hospital staff urged people back indoors, away
from all points obvious of exit. Why were they doing that? The
resulting madness was pure chaos. People going in both directions
with terror fueled urgency scrambled all over each other. That's
when i heard it for the first time. That horrible, unearthly
howling screech that heralded the arrival of the undead. The
panic grew tenfold. In the mad scramble to save their lives, no
one cared about anyone but themselves. I saw an old man crushed
to death by the weight of the crowd trampling him. Enter Mr Nice
Guy nurse who grabs me and a couple other people and shoves us
into a small room. How I ended up in the closet, I had no idea. I
figured the human remains splattered around the room was what was
left of what used to be my companions...
I had to get out of here. I ran down the hall and followed an
EXIT sign to the stairwell. Pushing open the door, I headed down
the stairs. I got one flight down before I remembered why I had
come to the hospital in the first place. Lana. She had fallen
down a flight of stairs and had torn the tendon in her right foot
and broken her ankle. What had happened to her? I couldn't leave
without even looking for her. I ran back up the stairs and back
down the hall way. Frantically trying to remember which room she
was in, I rushed up and down the hallways looking for her. With
every doorway i looked into, I was greeted by more destruction.
Something told me to stop. I was not well. There was a red spot
on my jeans over my left calf that was continuously getting
bigger, and my head was threatening another black out. Out of
breath and in pain, I leaned against a random door. The reality
if my situation hit me. I was alone. In a destroyed hospital,
injured, and with no way to fend for myself in case whatever
those horrible things were returned. It looked like they were mad
people. Mad, severely injured, half rotted people. Zombies? You
had to be kidding me. The Zombie Apocalypse was finally here was
it? Hey, at least i was in a hospital right? the best place to
be injured. I heard it again. That yell. There was someone else
here! There was someone nearby. He/she might have a gun.
Something to defend ourselves if those things came back.
Listening for the yell again, I combed the floor but could
find no one. Wherever that person was, it wasn't on this level.
Back onto the stairs, I went up a floor. An evacuation plan near
the door labels this as Level 3. The Maternity floor. There was a
headless corpse lying right in front of the door. It had a metal
stick jutting out of it's back. Yanking it out, I kicked the body
aside with the toe of my boot and grabbing my makeshift spear in
my hands, i continued my search. I didn't get very far before I
arrived at the source of the yells I had been hearing. Pressing
my ear up against a door, I heard heavy, labored breathing and a
small sob. There was someone in there.
"Hello? Is there anyone in there"
"Please! Someone help me!" replied the voice. It was a woman. I
tried the door, but it was locked.
"I'm going to get something I open the door! I'll be back!"
What on earth was I meant to open the door with? I was no lock
picker... Noticing a fire extinguisher, I decided that brute
force would have to work instead. Dropping my mop, I grabbed the
red cylinder and braced myself. I brought it down on the doorknob
with all the strength I had and was rewarded for my efforts by a
satisfying crack as it knob came free of it's fixture. I pushed
against the door, but it didn't budge. I slammed my shoulder into
it, but it refused to move. There was something blocking I on the
other side. Looking around, I spotted and abandoned hospital bed
in the hall. That should do the trick. I put the fire
extinguisher down and used the bed as a battering ram. The door
gave tiniest bit. There was something behind it. I tried again,
and again, and finally, with a very bruised shoulder to show for
it, the door opened and I stumbled into the room.
Bright blue and decorated with little fire trucks and
camouflaged army tanks, it was obviously meant to be a boys room.
In the center of the room, on a hospital bed lay a very
disheveled, very heavily pregnant young woman. She out have been
in her early twenties, but pale and almost lifeless, she looked
like a ghost. She gasped when she saw me and reached out a
shaking hand. Walking over to her side, I looked down at her at
her and took it.
Taken aback by her desperate look, I didn't know what to say. She
clung onto my hand fiercely.
"My baby. Please, save me baby!"
"What!? I don't understand..."
She motioned over to a wheeled tray that had various medical
instruments splayed across it's top.
"There should be a scalpel on there. Please.." She gasped
"Please, save my baby"
I shook my head, still not understanding. "What do you want me to
do?" Judging by her swollen belly, her baby was still in there.
"He's stuck" she moaned. "He's stuck and no matter now hard I
push he's not coming out." She looked me in the eye with tears
streaming down we face. "Take that scalpel over there, and get
him out." The implication of what she was asking me to do hit me
like a ton of bricks.
"What!? No! You'll die if I do that. I'm not about to kill you.
Come on, push harder. I'm sure you can make it"
"Look at me! I'm dead as is anyway!"
The sheets and mattress underneath her spread legs had been
soaked through with blood and other bodily fluids. It was
dripping onto the floor and making and awful mess.
"I've lost too much blood already. I'm a goner. He's alive.
He's still in there! I feel him struggling now and then, but he's
stuck. Please..." Her words cut off as she threw back her head
and screamed through why I assume was another contraction. Her
dying body was desperately trying to save the poor souls stuck
inside it. My heart clenched. I have always been a child person.
I love working with and being around young ones. My motherly
instinct for a child not even my own kicked in. With a grim
determination, I walked the two steps over to the gunny and
picked up the scalpel.
"I'm sorry." I whispered as I held the metal blade over her
taut belly. "I really am."
"Do it! Get him out!"
Steeling myself, I pressed the blade across her abdomen and
made a long and low cut. She jerked in response to the pain and I
dropped the scalpel. The baby inside her kicked in response to
this intrusion of it's space, I picked up the scalpel, and cut
again, this time through the thick, muscly layer of her womb. A
mixture of amniotic fluid an blood poured out drenching anything
that was previously dry on her mattress. Through a thin, clear
membrane, I saw a leg. The poor woman was without a doubt in
excruciating pain but she said nothing. She made no sound as I
placed my hand into her open womb and closed my fist around the
leg of her yet unborn child. The baby kicked at me and I put the
scalpel down to be able to use both hands. I got both legs of the
baby out into the air put my hands on it's hips and pulled, The
rest of it's body came free with a pop as he was officially
"You have a son." I smiled awkwardly.
"I know." came the weak reply.
Placing him on his mother's chest, I shook my hands to free some
of the blood and fecal matter that this poor baby decided to let
go of on his way out.
"There you go. One baby boy all yours."
"Not bad for a first timer." muttered the woman. "Are you sure
you aren't a midwife?"
I wondered at this woman's unexplainable ability to be humorous
in the face of her impending death. Nuzzling his slick head she
brought her arms up to cradle her baby.
"By the way, you're wrong. He's yours." She said.
"What?" I wasn't sure I had heard her correctly.
"You'll take care of him for me won't you?" Holding him up to
me, she continued. "You'll take care of my baby?." I took the
child from her as her arms began to shake.
"You cant be serious. You don't even know me. You know nothing
about me and you're giving me your baby? I."
"What's your name?" She cut me off.
"Kaylee. Kaylee Lewis."
"Well Kaylee, I know you'll take care of him because you're
holding him right." She motioned to the babe I held cradled in my
arms, the crook of my elbow underneath his head and the the rest
of him close to me.
"That doesn't mean anything! Lots of people know how to hold
babies. Doesn't meant that they're going to be good parents!" She
closed her eyes.
"Hey! Hey what's your name!"
"Miriam! You can't die. You can't die and leave your child with
me. Hold on. I'll find somewhere safe to put the baby, and I'll
get a needle and something to stitch you up with and I'll fix
you! I'll stitch you up and you'll be fine. You'll get we'll
enough to take care of your baby!" The rationally part of my
brain told me that this was all for nothing. The woman was dead
long before I came in the room. All I'd done was deliver her
baby, and now she was giving him to me.
"Oh, so you know how to sow as well do you?" Another feeble
smile and she began to chuckle. That chuckle turned into a cough,
and she started coughing up blood...
"Well i did take needlework in primary school. And a first aid
course. We'll have you fixed in no time." If I couldn't save her,
I would humor her.
"I see it. Call it a mother's instinct if you will. You'll take
care of him. You won't let him die. You'll protect him from
whatever out there, and when he grows up, you'll tell him about
me. Won't you Kaylee? You'll tell my little Lachlan that his
mommy loved him very much...." At that her eyes sort of glazed
over and her face took on a blank look.
"Hey." I shook her. "Hey, wake up!" Her dull, lifeless eyes
stated back at me, tears threatening to fall out of their edges.
There was a muffled squeak and I looked down as the bloody
bundle in my arms began to squirm. She had named him Lachlan...He
gave a choked cry and then began to cry. My heart broke looking
at the infant in my arms. I was all he had, an. I wasn't even his
mother. I loved children, yes, but I had no idea now to take care
of a newborn...I was a 16 year old, all on my own with a newborn
baby. A newborn that would need feeding every two hours and
changing twice as often. Who's head was so soft that a feather
could break it. Who's little extremities could not stand the cold
that was the approaching winter...I began to cry. I cried for
him, I cried for me, I cried for his poor mother lying there,
bled out to death.. My soft sobs joined his harsh, high pitched
wailing as we stood there in front if his dead mother. I was
soaked in blood. Her's and his. He was covered in that icky white
stuff that all newborns are covered in. Some uncalled memory came
forth and reminded me that it is supposed to protect his skin in
The baby stopped crying and looked up at me, milky eyes
wide open. He can't see me I thought. He can't see me but he
knows I'm there because he can feel me. He whimpered and snuggled
in closer to my breast, his tiny mouth opening and closing. That
snapped me out of my self pitying musings. He was hungry. Lachlan
was hungry. He needed food, and I was the only one who could give
it to him. I was on the maternity floor so newborn formula
shouldn't be hard to find right? I should... I began to back away
from the dead woman but then remembered that Lachlan was still
attached to his mother.
Bending down gingerly, I picked the fallen scalpel up off
the floor and using the bed as a cutting board, dragged it across
the umbilical cord. I figured I should clip his end off in case
he bled out. Walking over to the gunny, I found what I was
looking for and clipped his cord off with one hand. Reaching
underneath, I pulled out a towel and brushing aside all the
equipment, I later it across the top. Spreading it out, I lay him
down on the soft towel and looked at him. His pink faced
scrunched up and he began to cry again. Turning the tap on in a
nearby sink, I rolled him over and began to wipe him. A couple
minutes later, when he was relatively clean looking, I picked him
up and placed him in the sink.
One hand supporting his impossibly weak neck and head, I
began to wash his little body. He must have liked the feeling of
warm water because he stopped crying and let me finish my task.
Discarding the now bloody first towel, I wrapped him in a new one
and lay him on the gunny. After wiggling a little, his large
mournful eyes closed and he appeared to fall asleep. I sighed and
took a step back, wiping the years from my face. Okay, so I had
just given him a bath. At least I did THAT right. Trying to clear
my thoughts, I shook my head. Another jolt of pain. This one not
as bad as the last one, but still painful enough to make me gasp.
I reached a hand out to steady my head. Okay, so definitely not a
good idea. No head shaking.
Something glinted in the fading light. It was a mirror.
walking over to where it was on the wall, I looked at myself. My
hair was all over the place. Dried blood crusted the right side
of my forehead running in a line down to my chin. I had cuts and
bruises all over my face and there was an bump the size if an egg
on my forehead. For the first time, i felt the glass in my palms.
Looking down there were some obvious bits sticking out. My jeans
had protected my knees, but the blood stain on my left calf had
gotten bigger. My shirt was covered in blood and various other
bodily fluids from Lachlan and his young mother. I had to clean
Locating a pair of tweezers from a draw of medical equipment, I
say at the edge of the dead woman's feet and began picking glass
out if my palms. Win oh with every piece of glee that come out of
my skin, I as left a tense mess by the end of it. I looked over
my shoulder at the dead woman, her eyes still string vacantly at
me. Poor woman. Where was the baby's...where was Lachlan's
father? Her family must be worried sick about her. Above her
head, her name was written in whiteboard markets on her hospital
identification board. Miriam Holdax. Aged 23. Diabetic. Allergic
to amoxicillin... I reached over and closed her eyelids. It felt
awkward. I felt as though I should say a prayer or her or
something. But what would I say? I wasn't a very religious
person. She came here expecting to have her baby and go home. I
pictured her walking in, with some unknown male at her side,
registering herself at the front desk, maternity bag bouncing in
her hip as she walked... Maternity bag! Where was it?! She MUST
have had one.
I jumped off the bed and was reminded by my head that I
needed to take things slowly. I pulled aside a curtain room
divider, and there it was. Sitting on a plush sofa in all it's
glory: Miriam Holdax's maternity bag. I opens it to find a
precious few items. Some newborn nappies: definitely needed
those. Two newborn baby outfits, a dummy, an empty baby bottle,
and a change of clothes. Miriam had packed a pair of shorts with
underwear and a t-shirt and bra for herself. Right next to the
bag, unopened, was a forward facing baby carrier. She clearly
hadn't planned on being here long. I was sore all over and in
need of a shower. Who knew being in a closet for the better part
of the day could make someone so dirty. Picking up a nappy and
the baby clothes, i made my way over to Lachlan lying on his
makeshift bed and began to dress him. As expected, the baby began
to cry furiously at being awakened and only stopped when I went
back for his dummy and placed it in his mouth. Sure he wouldn't
roll over and to his death, i picked up Miriam's change of
clothes and had a shower in her maternity room en suite.
Freshly clean, i unpacked the the baby carrier, and after
strapping it to me. I picked up the maternity bag and placed
everything back in. There were four nappies left. Four. That
wouldn't last a single day. I had to leave. The lack of formula
said that Miriam had planned on breastfeeding her child. Her
heavy, milk filled breasts lay flat against her stiffening body
and I certainly didn't have any. I had to go look for some. I
placed the now dressed Lachlan Holdax in and rested his once
again sleeping head against my chest.
"Goodbye Miriam. I'll look after him the best I can. I
promise." With that, I left the gruesome scene and stepped out
into the hallway.