Prompt: It’s the first day of the zombie apocalypse, write a diary entry.
I cried today.
I remember ages ago, I was perhaps 10 or so. My grandmother passed, and I can recall so distinctly holding my mother’s hand. I was in a tux, ill-fitting because it was my older cousin’s. Having to roll up the sleeves and pants to do anything. Gently, while my mother was so distraught, she blew her nose before wiping her eyes, I rubbed my tiny thumb on the back of her hand. Murmured a few kind words, on behalf of my father, who was stone-faced only because he knew his first words spoken would crack his facade, to a grandmother I spent every summer with. I spilled drinks that day yet no tears.
I remember being 15. Hormonal as one can imagine a teenager can be, spending way too much time alone in my room with the door locked. I lost my dog to a driver that was more focused on the bag of chips that slid between his seat and cup holder than the road. He couldn’t resist chasing the post truck, ignorant of any other cars behind it. I sometimes regret not fixing the gate sooner so he couldn’t sneak out through it. I split no tears though, as I held him, pulling his body away from the street as the driver offers no help, already 3 streets away. I just stared as my mother screamed in horror as the blood slipped from his head through my fingers, a whimper escaping his mouth before he stilled.
To be 21 now, in the broom closet of a University I never liked, studying a major I never wanted, I can say I’m a grown man that’s cried enough in one day to make up for my lifetime. I separated from my roommate near immediately after it happened.
His family was visiting when it happened. They lived less than a half-hour away, and in our WOW session, him and I were ignorant. They barged into our room, screaming of strange creatures. They called them walkers, from watching too much TV. While he tried to call them down, I explained to everyone in the game what was happening. A few thought it was a prank. When someone linked a newscast, the servers emptied quite quickly though.
The zombies were quickly approaching campus, a major city like ours a prime target. Spores, they said, some new type of biological warfare we had the privilege of being the test subjects for. His younger sister was worried about their elder brother. He was in Iraq- he still is in Iraq as far as I know. I wouldn’t like to be him, with what he’d come home to.
The first zombie we ran into, was no walker. It ran faster than the best sprinter on the school’s track team, right into his mother’s neck. His father tried to stop it with the baseball bat they brought along, yet the thing was ravenous and unstoppable. While his father shoved a bat into the thing’s throat, we ended up tipping a vending machine onto them both at his father’s command. His sister cried behind a potted plant as we wrestled the bat from the dead man’s grip. There wasn’t time to reassure her as more growls sounded from the noise.
By the time we had gotten our gear together to leave, someone had already pulled a fire alarm so the halls were pretty quiet. Obviously, a fire wasn’t the emergency in place here and all it did – as we saw from our wonderful window view – was line up a buffet for the creatures. We decided to try and get to the roof, and hope for a chopper.
Lucy. Her name was Lucy, he told me as I cradled her in my arms. The poor thing was tuckered out as her brother tried to barricade a dorm’s door. We found another poor soul, the guy couldn’t handle the pressure. While we had a pistol, Lucy couldn’t stop staring at the body even after we put the blanket over it. It is quite a lot to go through for the child. Lose both your parents in one day. View suicide and murder close up. Watch your brother rave and rant about how the government is letting us suffer. Heavy stuff.
It was in the dead of night when the groans arrived at the door. She was asleep, as was I when her brother – who insisted on taking the first watch – woke us up. Seemed that waiting for the next day to escape wasn’t an option. Him and I had to think an escape plan. If I had to guess, they could smell the B.O. of two sweaty guys that hadn’t showered for 2 and 3 days respectively.
We decided the best course of action was to hide the girl as we tried to defend her. We coaxed her into the bathroom, placing her in the tub and slipping the bed’s mattress over it. She could move it herself to escape if necessary but I doubt that a zombie would be smart enough to do so, nor be able to bite through it easy. We stood at the ready with a pistol and bat. He opened the door, and immediately was pounced by a horde. In hindsight, one could’ve assumed that would happen, but in adrenaline madness, we didn’t. I screamed for Lucy to come out as I shot the 3 zombies. I heard her scream as well, but all I was grateful for was each and every time my father when hunting with me.
I covered her eyes as I led her out. She assumed what happened to her brother after I gave her a bloody bat and it was just us. It was unfortunate, just me and the suburban family with no idea what to do with our lives, yet alone how to survive in an apocalypse. No survival handbook or movie could’ve predicted this yet they all did at one point or another. We were idiots.
I cried today, as we rushed from a horde into a broom closet. I cried with Lucy as I found toilet paper in the closet. I’m still crying with her as I write this with an old sharpie on a piece of T.P. with a crying little girl hugging onto me that I have no way of protecting, except one.
I still have one bullet.
If you find the girl’s body still intact, if you can, give her a proper burial.
If you find mine intact, I won’t be incredibly angry for you spitting on it.