Dancing With the Dead

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic
Meet Jake, Sarah, Marque, Anne, and Aaron. Watch through Jake's eyes as he goes through one of the many problems of the new era, and feel the grief that comes with survival.

Submitted: November 22, 2011

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Submitted: November 22, 2011

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Dancing with the Dead

In the slightly distant future, in approximately 2029, Earth as we know it, became a wasteland. Seas dried, building crumbled, and bodies littered the dust enveloped ground. Whole cities lay in ruins from nuclear bombs that were set loose upon them, and the forests remain nothing but ash due to forest fires created by immense heat. There were few left to complain about it though; as most of the human race lay motionless upon the grimy soil that was once known as Earth, although somewhere, in small cabin in the middle of the woods lays a small group of people; surviving, despite the ghastly odds.

It was deadly silent. It was like life came to a standstill. Everything hung in permanent suspension. You had to be this quiet in order to survive out here. All you need to do is cough and suddenly they’re about you, their horrendous moans forever clinging to the hushed air. I know I said there was no sound, but that’s because after three years of their consistent moans, they kind of become like the background sound track of a horror film. The difference is though, is that we’re living the horror. The undead were everywhere. I can’t see them, but I can hear them. I can hear their distant shuffling on the forest floor, and their moans. Their moans were all the same tone. It sounded like metal grinding upon metal. Like nails upon a chalk board. If you don’t learn to ignore them, then you will go insane. I remember a buddy of mine, Shaun, had gone so mad because of their constant moan that one day, he shot himself in the head. Sadly, that day was today.

We were in the woods burying poor old Shaun. He was wrapped in a multicolored wool blanket. The blanket was striped, but the blood seeped through, making the colors sort of blend to one dark, putrid color. It was a large and dark spot, right where his head was. I say was, because all that remains of his head is his lower jaw.

We had just finished digging the hole, and Marque and Aaron pushed him in. Anne sat on a tree stump with her head in her hands, soft sobs emanating from her hands and gentle shutters racked her limbs. Her long blond hair draped around her face and hands, completely concealing her from us. Far away, watching from a distance was Sarah. Her dark hair was pulled back in a loose bun, and her soft features melded into a grave expression. Her eyes were slightly swollen from crying, and her cheeks were rosy.

Marque was only seventeen, but he was probably the most depressed of us. His black hair used to be short, but now hangs down to his shoulders and is shaggy. He has a slight stubble which makes him look a lot older than he is, and his chocolate brown eyes that look like they should be dancing with pleasure constantly have a depth of sadness clinging to him. No one knows why he is as he is; he doesn’t talk much. He remained crouched by the makeshift grave and stared at the blanket forlornly. I doubt it was because it was his favorite blanket.

All of us loved Shaun; he was like a father figure. He was 46, and the oldest of us. Everyone looked up to him; he always kept us in place. He had short dark brown hair with a tinge of grey, and soft blue eyes that always looked understanding; or maybe it was the wrinkles that embedded them. He had a genuine smile that could light up rainy days. Even when he didn’t smile, there were these wrinkles from grinning so much that begged him to smile again. Everyone cherished good old Shaun, and no one would have expected this. He was the strongest of us; the boulder of the group, and now he was gone.

Aaron was twenty-seven. He had light brown hair, almost blond, that dropped just bellow his ears. His hair was oddly straight, and his long bangs usually covered his stormy grey eyes. Aaron was the least like among us, he was rude and vulgar; more so these days. His nose was long a straight, and his mouth was bent in a permanent frown. He was tall -the tallest of us- and had a lean build. He looked like a chiseled movie star, and acted like one too. More than once Aaron took off in a fit of anger, and soon after we could hear distant shots. It worried the hell out of us that he would alert the undead, but they never came. Eventually, in an hour or two, Aaron would return with a moose or a rabbit.

Anne was fifteen. She had golden hair that reached her hips, but curled to half the length. She also had green eyes the color of moss, and they were slightly slanted, like she was of Asian inheritance. She had a petit nose that ended just above her soft small pink lips. She was the youngest and most flamboyant of us. She seemed very happy, but once you look past her flashy exterior, she was miserable. Her entire family was gone, as the rest of us. Now, she lost someone who she had considered family. She was still sitting on the stump bawling, louder by now.

Sarah was 23 and had long beautiful dark brown hair that reached her elbows. It was thick, full of volume, and was almost perfectly straight. She had long, thin arched eyebrows, and just bellow them was her keen green eyes. Her eyes were the most interesting aspect of her. They were forest green mixed with yellow and had two small black dots in them, a few millimeters outside of her pupils. She had an average sized nose and full, red lips. She was as stunning as an angel. Every feature screamed exquisite. Like her high cheek bones, or her slender arms, or her perfectly portioned curves. Maybe it was just me, because I haven’t noticed the other guys staring at her as I do. I can’t help it; I’ve loved her for nearly two years now. She has never realized, or maybe she has and just refuses to acknowledge it.

And then there’s me. My name is Jake, and I am now the leader of this group. If not me, then Aaron, and no one wants that, and Marque isn’t mentally stable enough to keep the posse together, and is too young. I’m 24 (turned last week!) and am the normal one of the group. I have medium brown hair that hangs to my shoulders, although I usually pull it back in a pony tail, but today it hung loose in small waves. I have dark brown eyes -nearly black- and a long nose with a bump in the middle like I broke it before (Although I don’t ever recall breaking my nose). I have thin lips and a pointy chin. I’m kind of tall, and lanky. I do have muscle, mind you, but for some fucked up reason, it refuses to show; forever making me look like a girl.

This is our small group, and against all odds, we survived the most devastating apocalypse known to man. We may not look like much, but we sure can handle ourselves.

So we sat there, for nearly an hour, when all hell broke loose. Anne screamed. In a sudden movement, she was clinging to Marque with her eyes clenched shut and a scream emitting from her small mouth. It wasn’t a regular scream; it was bloods curling ‘I’m dying’ scream. I swear to fuck; I’ve never heard a screech so loud. My ears were still ringing moments afterward, and it took longer than necessary to begin to wonder why she screamed. No, I was too busy thinking of how pissed I am that she just did that at poor old Shaun’s funeral. It was only when the smell of decay rose to my nostrils did I realize she may have interrupted our grieving for good reason.

Swiveling around, I saw them there. Fifteen feet ahead of me rested seven undead. Their atrocious moans no longer a background beat, but a face to face problem. All I could think was; I’m screwed when one of them turned to me. Its’ eyes were empty sockets, and they stared at me like large black orbs. It began to shuffle towards me, feet crushing autumn leaves strewn upon the ground. Suddenly, its’ moan became more rapid, more eager.

Fear seeped into my bones, and I went rigid. Never before had I stared into the eyes of the undead, and boy did I regret it now. It was so decomposed that I could no longer tell if it was male or female. A few hairs remain on its’ burnt looking head, and tatters of clothing remain on its’ body, exposing its’ protruding ribs. Half of its face was completely missing, and one leg was dragging in the colorful leaves, painting them brown.

Terror encased me, and I was still standing in my exact spot. The rancid thing was getting closer, probably about six feet away now. I don’t understand why I haven’t moved yet, but still, I remain there. It was only when Sarah shrieked that I decided to pull out my revolver from my brown belt and shoot the damned thing right in the head without a second thought. I whipped around to Sarah, and saw another undead nearly upon her. I saw her gun that lay several feet away, lying next to a tree where she set it earlier to mourn. I jumped forward, ignoring the moans of the other undead, and shoved the zombie square in the chest, knocking it away from Sarah. It easily lost its balance and fell the ground with a loud kathunk. Before it had a chance to get back up, as we all knew it would, I aimed at its’ head and let one loose on it. I turned to Sarah to find her staring at me with gratitude and fear. I knew the fear was from the situation she was in a moment ago, and my heart warmed at the look of appreciation.

I then twisted back to the group, only to find them all in similar situations. I hurried to their aid as Sarah reached for her pistol. Marque and Anne had no gun, but Aaron -of course- was doing perfectly fine. He was blowing their brains out with a pissed sneer on his face. He missed a couple times, but he killed two of them. Marque stood in front of Anne in a stance of defense, and stared at them defiantly, although I could see the fright behind his masquerade. I threw my second pistol at him, and he caught it midflight. He shakily shot them, and with luck he hit one of them right in the middle of the forehead, or maybe he has some hidden skill that we don’t know about.

I shot the last two, and quickly gathered the group. We hurried back to our cabin, and about halfway there I realized we forgot to burry Shaun. The hole was still unfilled. The prospect slightly saddened me, that he didn’t get to give him a proper burial, but I continued to the cabin.

We soon arrived at the cabin, and I took comfort in its’ familiar wooden exterior. It was dark brown and was surrounded by a thin green picket fence. I hasten to the front door, and it wings open with ease. We had to make sure to get rid of any squeaks the door made in fear that the undead would hear it. I walked in to the kitchen, and the distinct smell of home ascends to my nose. My muscles relax and begin to unwind. We were safe. That was, for now. Our guns were acutely loud, and it wouldn’t be long before more of the undead arrived. I breathed a sigh of frustration and turned to the others.

“We can’t stay here; there’ll be more of ‘em.” I say to the small group of people in front of me. Anne was wiping her eyes and Sarah looked at me with an odd intensity that made my insides tingle. Aaron stared at me in disbelief, as did Marque. I prepared myself for the fight that would ensue.

“We-we can’t leave” Aaron said with incredulity. “Our entire lives are here, and where will we go?” He turned to Marque for encouragement.

“He’s right, Jake, we got nowhere to go.” Marque said, not looking at Aaron who looked triumphant. Aaron looked at me with indulgence.

“I understand, but we can’t stay here, within twenty-four hours there could be hundreds of ‘em here, you heard the gunshots, they’ll be heard by anything within a hundred miles radius. We don’t stand a chance” I replied, trying to reason. I could see a bit of consideration in Marques eyes, but Aarons just got angry.

“You still haven’t answered my question, where will we go?” Aaron said, menace leaking into his tone. “Let’s take a vote!” He declared, turning his chin up and began to speak with exaggerated authority; “Those who wish to leave say ‘NAY’”

“NAY” Marque, Sarah, and I said, I mocking his tone. That earned a tiny giggle from Sarah despite the grave situation.

“Those of you whom wish to remain, say ‘AYE’” Aaron continued, completely unperturbed about the odds being against him. It was basically settled, the majority of us already voted to leave.

“Aye” I heard faintly, after Aaron’s noisy ‘aye’. I turned to Anne in disbelief. She had a crazed expression on her face. Her bloodshot eyes were wide and glazed, and her lips in an upturned sneer. Her hair had bits and pieces of leaves and twigs in them, and hung in messy clumps. When had she changed? She surely wasn’t like this earlier… At least, I think.

Marque turned to her with incredulity, and then noticed the look of insanity upon her face. “WH-what are you doing? We can’t stay; you heard Jake, they’ll be here soon.” He said; panic making his southern accent apparent, making the ‘you’ sound more like ‘yew’.

Anne just stared at him blankly. In his fright, he grabbed her by the shoulders and tried to reason her. He leaped back suddenly, terror in his eyes.

I jumped forward; “What’s wrong?” I said, trying to remain calm. It was then that I noticed the blood on his hands. And then I started to panic. For a minute, I thought it was his, until I turned around to see a darkened spot on Anne’s blouse. “Anne,” I began attentively, “What happened, sweetie?” I asked gently.

She stared at me incredulously. “Nothing, I’m perfectly fine!” She said, defense etching into her voice. Then she suddenly knelt down, a yell ripping out of her mouth. I rushed over, and help her to her knees. She then threw up all over the floor. I rubbed her back, and watched her sadly. First Shaun, now Anne? What’s going on? I pulled her hair back, and she looked at me. Her eyes were beginning to get the glaze over them that the undead got. I’ve never seen it act so fast. She then turned back to the floor and puked again.

I turned to Marque. “I’m sorry.” I said, and then asked him to get me a bucket. I could feel Anne’s heat from where I was; the fever was already burning her inside out. I twisted to Sarah; “Can you start packing up the stuff? We’re leaving at dawn.” She nodded and solemnly walked away, a single tear falling down her cheek.

Marque soon returned with the bucket, and inside I found a wet cloth and a small pillow. I gave a nod of thanks to him and he ambled off solemnly with swollen eyes. I could distantly hear the shuffling of Sarah packing and the sobs that occurred every few moments from Marques room as I gingerly lifted Anne’s heated head and set it down on the small dark blue pillow, and set the pot next to her. Her breathing was rapid and shallow, and her eyes fluttered occasionally; she had fallen in a light sleep. Sitting at the table was Aaron, face in hands. His shoulders shook slightly, which I found odd. I had never seen him cry before. He didn’t even cry when Shaun died. Maybe Anne meant something to him after all.

I pressed the wet cloth against Anne’s forehead, the cool wetness of it always soothing. Her shoulders relaxed, and her face went slack. I was happy until I realized she had also gone ice cold. I frantically checked for a pulse, pressing my index and middle finger against her cool skin.

“Aaron!” I shouted anxiously, turning to him. He stood up hesitantly, wiping his eyes with his white sleeve. He looked down at Anne and reached for his revolver at his side. He trained his gun on Anne’s head and waited. I slowly stood up and backed up a few steps, pulling out my own gun. We stood there in complete silence for six minutes before it happened. It started with her finger twitching, then her leg, then her arm and eventually she opened her eyes. Her mossy green eyes were glazed over and they were empty. Void of any emotion, any thought; and then they turned to us. The moment her eyes locked on me, they became savage. Fury and hunger resided in them now, and I couldn’t help but feel an immense sadness dawn on me. She just had time to open her mouth and let out a short snarl before a gunshot was let loose. It caught her right in between the eyes; causing her to momentarily go cross-eyed.

I heard a gasp and whipped around. In the doorway was Sarah and Marque; Sarah had her hands pressed to her mouth, and Marque had a look of pure torture in his eyes and he stood stiff as a board. I looked at them apologetically and then headed for my room. Aaron remained behind me, staring at Anne with an odd look upon his face. It was not he whom had shot Anne, it was me, and now I need a moment of rest. I know now isn’t the time, but I need it. I may have been around a lot of death, and I know I should be used to it by now, but it’s never easy killing your friends.

I walked in to my room and sat upon my cot. It was covered with a black wool blanket and had one flat pillow at the top. My room wasn’t very decorative; all it had was a beige dresser, and a picture frame. I walked over and picked it up, and brought it back to my bed. I jumped on the bed and as I lay down I stare at the photo. It was a picture of Jansen; my son. He had short blond curly hair and my dark brown eyes. Besides the eyes, he looked nearly identical to his mother, Charlene. She had passed away in 2025 whilst giving birth to Jansen. And Jansen… He didn’t make it through the apocalypse. He was with his nanny and I was at work… Four years he had turned on that day, and I was too much of an asshole to be there for it. A single tear fell down my cheek and I set the photo down. It was of Jansen riding his mini bike when he was three, a big ol’ goofy grin on his face, showing his pearly white baby teeth and his dimples. I curled up on top of the blankets and dozed off, last thoughts upon Jansen.

~ * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ~

I woke with a start. It was acutely silent, and it disturbed me. I quietly trot to my window, and look in between the blinds. It’s still night out so I reach in my drawer and pulled out my NVGs I snagged of an undead soldier.

I look out the window with my NVGs surveying the area; nothing. I look one more time and something caught my attention. There was movement in the underbrush’s and I’m not so sure it was a squirrel. I watch it for a few moments before my assumptions were proved correct. One of the undead cam lumbering out, moans unable reach me yet. It was about fifty feet away, but it won’t be long before he’s knocking on our door, the back door that is, because it’s in the field behind out cabin. I rushed to the door, nearly flicking the light on, but I decided that’s dangerous. I stalked to Sarah’s room which was next to mine, and quietly knocked on her door.

“Sarah” I whispered. She opened the door a few moments after, and looked at me annoyed.

“What?” She asked, bemused, sleepiness slinging to her voice. It must have been about three am.

“We need to leave, now.” I whispered urgently. “There are others about fifty feet away, and heading towards us. I guess they’ll be here within the hour.”

“Dear god…” She mumbled, and whispered; “I’ll be right back” and then she vanished into the darkness. I only worried a moment before she returned duffle bag in hand. “I already packed everything; we just need to grab some guns and go. I’ll go start loading them in the truck, you wake the others.” She said before running –silently- down the stairs.

Before waking the others and went to my room and grabbed my gun, picture frame and packed some clothes in a bag, along with other necessities. I then headed to rouse the others, only to find Aaron at my door, bag in hand and gun in the other. Simply nodding at him I walked past to Marques room, rapping on the door quickly. I heard Aaron stride down the stairs and go outside before Marque finally answered.

“What?” He growled and I noticed his hair stuck up in all places, bed head style. He rubbed the palm of his hand against his eyes as I began to explain the situation.

His eyes were wide by the time I finished and he rushed to grab his bag and come to the basement with me. The basement was where we kept all of our weaponry.

I flicked on the light and it wavered and sputtered to life. The florescent lights gave a creepy glow to the basement, making it all the more eerie. I slowly went down the creaky steps, not trusting them in the least. When we finally made it down and we made our way through the odd rubble to the wall of which all the guns were. Several guns were displayed on the wall and ammunition lay on the paint chipped whit wooden table in front of them.

I grabbed the dusty duffle bag under the table and began loading the guns into it. I grabbed a stakeout, AK74, AK47, Spectre and double pistols. I grabbed loads of ammunition and bundled them in the bag as well. I carried the heavy load outside and put it in the back seat of the truck. It was a fairly large truck that sat six, and had a large box. The box was filled with four duffle bags and still had plenty of room left.

I walked over to Sarah; “Do we have food, flashlights and tents?” I asked hushed.

“Yes, and I went and checked to see if the…thing was still there. He is and is now about fifteen feet away. We need to leave, like now.” She said somberly.

I nodded gravely, tossed my bag in the box and jumped in the truck. I was driving, Marque sat passenger, Aaron and Sarah sat in the back, duffle bag of guns separating them (much to my pleasure).

Just as we left the sun began to raise, light rays peaking over the mountain tops. The forest around use looked dazzling, all the different colors shimmering, light dancing off them.

‘Good bye, home sweet home.’ I whispered as we departed the beautiful forest and entered a deserted highway.

“What?” Marque asked, looking at me questioningly.

“Nothing.” I mutter and focus on the road as Marque shrugs and goes back to looking out the window. The truck was silent as everyone was thinking, and again my mind drifted to Jansen as I drove into once again a new life.


© Copyright 2017 kiaramaz. All rights reserved.

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