How are we going to get out of this? We have an army of undead all around and god knows where we are! I know that there is little to no chance of us surviving, even if we make it through this challenge, there will just be another waiting for us. And while the enemy grows with each fallen survivor our numbers only grow smaller, and our resources dwindle more and more. What’s the point in fighting, if there’s no hope of victory?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Lindsey's Story - Christmas Special

Endings & Beginnings

My name is Lindsey Taylor, and this is my story. It all started in the bank, I always hated formal settings. I was in my element laughing with friends, or just sitting with my family. But waiting in line at a bank? Trying to seem professional? Not my style. And the people here seemed so different than people outside. Is that weird? The customer service people were friendly enough, but wore that all-to-familiar expression of fake interest and stress. The customers didn’t acknowledge each other’s existence. There was a tense atmosphere, judging anyone that held the line up or took too long at the counter. “Stress” and “Tense” are sort of the key words for this story.

Finally I got to the counter, and the bored man behind the glass called someone down from upstairs to help me, we went up to his office on the second floor. There were a few small offices up here, but only a few were for customers, we passed one and I saw a woman sitting back in her chair with her feet on the desk. Judging from the combat boots and leather jacket I doubted she was the banker. We made eye contact. I jumped forward slightly, almost bumping into the man I was following, something about her stare unsettled me. Not like she was judging me, more like she already had a long time ago. And she was unimpressed. She was, in a word, intense. I don’t like being judged, or studied, or even talked about, I guess that’s why professional settings like this make me uncomfortable. Too many opportunities to mess up and embarrass myself. We sat and got to business on the boring bank stuff. He was nice and did most of the talking, so that made me calm down a bit. But I was still sitting like a rock in my chair. Not making any movement as if it would show what a bundle of nerves and neuroses I was.

A man burst into the room, sweating profusely through his suit, making us both jump. He told us what we’d heard on the radio: that people were, changing. That anyone who’d had the recent flu vaccine would eventually become a zombie. I’d seen a few people getting sick, even some I knew, but hadn’t really taken note of it. Nor did I see it as the start of the apocalypse. Zombies. Crazy right? I wouldn’t have believed him except for how panicked he looked, and by the noises that were coming from outside. Screams crashes, cars honking. In a word: chaos. I panicked, I reached for my phone to call my parents, but they weren’t answering, neither was anyone else I called. I needed to get out of here, I needed to find them. The man who had filled us in had long left, and the banker that was helping me was also calling the people he cared about. With the same result. I got up to leave, but was stopped by the woman I’d seen before. She rushed into the room and closed the door, I tried to push past her but she pushed me against the wall with her hand over my mouth.

Everything moved so quickly. There were dead on the lower floors, trapping us up here. Eventually the sounds of chaos outside quietened, but we could still hear the groans of the dead, as well as the occasional scream or crash. The woman remained calm through it all. She said her name was Jacobs, now that I had met her she didn’t make me feel so uncomfortable, she had an air of confidence when she spoke that made me admire her, and trust her. After two days of rationing we had eaten all the food on this floor, we had been lucky that we had access to that much. Jacobs spent all of her time staring out the window, assessing, figuring out what we should do next. But the banker, Ian, was getting impatient, and hungry.

On the third day he made a break for the stairs. He ran past us and pulled open the door, alerting the two zombies that were waiting near the stairs. I ran to pull him back but he pushed me away and I fell against the wall. He only made it halfway down when he saw that the dead had grown in number, and after a few days of hunting and feasting they were a horrifying sight. He scrambled back up, falling in the process. He had almost made it back when one of the dead caught his leg. But I had caught his hand. I was struggling to pull him back, but they were too strong, others had reached him and bit into his leg, causing him to scream out. “Please!” he pleaded, “don’t let go!”
“I won’t!” I yelled back, but I was starting to be pulled into the stairwell, and the dead had started to notice me too.
Suddenly a broken chair leg came crashing down on Ian’s arm, he yelped and let go, and I fell back into the room as the door swung closed. Jacobs. “What the hell is wrong with you?” I yelled, climbing to my feet
“Me? What’s wrong with you?” She replied angrily, “you were about to risk your life, and mine, for a man who was already infected! Are you really so stupid?”
“No, I guess I’m just human,” I retorted venomously. I moved away, not wanting to hear the sounds that were coming from the ground floor. The respect and trust I had found in her was broken and replaced with betrayal and fear. If she truly cared so little for others how could I ever trust her again?

Another day went by, and things were starting to get desperate, no food, no real protection from the dead pounding at the door, and no comfort. I had stayed away from Jacobs, only vaguely aware of her constant post at the window. But as midday came on our fourth day here she came and sat down next to me. “I won’t say I’m sorry,” she began, but her tone wasn’t harsh, or even commanding like it was before, “you have to understand that everything has changed now. We can’t be the same people we were before”
“So what, we can’t be human, we can’t care about other people?” I asked, part of what I said was genuine, but another part just wanted to hurt her
“No, but we have to be prepared to sacrifice our ethics, to break our moral code if we have any hope of surviving,” she turned to me and I saw in her eyes all of the emotion that I hadn’t before, “that guy will not be the last person that we will lose, but we have to be ready to let them go. Even people we care about”
“I find it hard to believe you care about anybody
“I care about you.”

I stared at her, lost for words, I didn’t understand. She swallowed and got up, her eyes hardening again after a moment of weakness. “I have a way to escape,” she said, her commanding tone returning. And despite my previous concerns I felt a bit of trust in her. And something else too, although I wouldn’t admit it until later. “But I need your help.” Just before sunset we were ready. I threw a desk chair through a window on the east side. Immediately after she threw one through a window on the west side, followed by another, then I joined her and together we threw heavier objects. A desk, the fridge, a table. After a few minutes we could see that it was working, the dead were flocking to the commotion on the west side, and had completely forgotten about the east side. Using curtains tied into rope we made it to the ground, and quietly we walked away.

There was a small convenience store nearby where we stocked up, using make-shift bags made out of our jackets. Plastic bags wouldn’t help with stealth. We couldn’t be professional entirely though, after two days of starving we could help but dig in to a few tempting bags of chips, and some bread, and some chocolate. And god knows what else. But this made us sloppy, and as Jacobs checked out what was behind the counter I went to the toilet, and walked straight into one of the dead. In panic I fell back, knocking over a stand and screaming in the process. The dead was on top of me in moments, and I used every last bit of strength I had to stop it. This was it, it had to be, I didn’t have the strength to push it off, at least without letting it bite me first. And deep down I knew that Jacobs had left the store, left me behind. She had all but told me she would. It was weird but in those moments, when the horrifying corpse was attacking me, all I could think about were the past four days.

I heard a gunshot, and the dead corpse was thrown to the side, and I was intact. It was Jacobs, and although the hand holding the gun was straight and stable, her face was a wreck. I climbed up and ran to her, and she dropped the gun and grabbed me, holding me close. I pulled back, “I thought you were going to leave me,” I almost cried
“I-I,” she stuttered, I’d never heard her voice even waiver before, “I couldn’t,” she looked at the gun before putting it on a shelf, “I found it behind the counter, and then I heard you, and-and I”

I couldn’t control myself, I kissed her. And it was… fantastic. It might have been spurred on from the adrenaline but I knew I’d wanted to for a long time. After some indescribably long moments she pulled away slightly and smiled, “we need to get you some boots Lindsey”
I laughed, “was that a lesbian joke, Jacobs?”
She laughed back, “no, I just don’t think those heels have served you very well. And call me Allison.”

The next few days were surprisingly peaceful, and almost… pleasant. Nothing seemed to phase us as long as we were together. I was seeing new sides of her every day, she was so much more than the scary woman I had seen in the bank. And from the way she looked at me I could tell that I was so much more than the insecure girl I thought I was. I had found through her that I could be strong. And even happy, despite the state of things. At first Allison had brought me trust, then fear, and now strength. But above all, love.

We were picked up after a week by two huge trucks, their trailers full of survivors. They had survived this long, but they weren’t very organised, nor did they have any plan or leadership. Allison soon found herself their leader. Two weeks later there were five trucks, and several smaller vehicles. And I had found myself on a scouting team. Allison hadn’t liked that, but she respected the person I had grown into, and while she was my leader, and my girlfriend, I wouldn’t be a burden anymore. On anyone. The outbreak might have been the end of the world, but for me it was just the beginning, for my new identity, my new life. And for me and Allison.

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