Thursday, October 17, 2013 One More Reason

"Don't do this...please...I don't know what I'll do..."
"It's the only way I can be sure you're safe. We've seen what happens. I know how they act now. Don't leave, stay quiet, and no matter what always-"
"STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT!" She banged into his chest as she cried, "...You're! ..saying! good bye..."

He pushed her back by grabbing her wrists. With enough force he got her safely inside, and closed the door behind her, remaining on the outside.  All she could see out of the small window panel on the door after it was quickly covered by blood were their shadows coming down on him from the alleyway.

After that, only one constant reassurance allowed her some glimmer of comfort: not seeing her fiance turn up as a one of them.

Alice woke up. It was a beautiful sunny day. She put her plush robe on and walked out onto the balcony. The breeze felt nice. She had no problem appreciating the smaller things, mostly because she had to. It had been 3 weeks since she’s seen another living person. The kettle whistled and she went back inside. She returned to her deluxe oceanfront suite balcony at the Cape May Inn with a nice cup of earl grey tea. 

Alice was on the second floor, watching the waves come in, trying to ignore the persistently inconsistent swamp of zombies between her and the ocean. It was one solid block packed with roaming zombies, too hot to go far, and every so often catching Alice’s scent in the ocean’s salty winds kept them lingering. Alice tried to look past them, over the boardwalk arcade, through the sandy beach with spotted trapped ghouls in the sun cooked sand.

The past few days she made a show out of it, watching the undead soak into the bed of sand and then not being able to get out before it dried. Some would give up and sit down, some would never stop trying to break free, and some fried in the heat, becoming a mound of carcass, the way death was originally intended to be. But Alice could not go on like this forever.

She knew there were other people out there, but she was too scared to go looking for them. The last time Alice was out there she lost her fiancé, before that she lost contact with her parents, brother, and best friends over in Britain. She had lost everybody in her world to this plague. Alone and imprisoned, she made her final attempt at keeping her sanity.

As far as she knew, there were no zombies in the hotel. With his dying breath her fiancé barricaded the doors from the outside as they gnawed him to pieces. Out of twenty six people, Alice was the only survivor to make the trip. Between each death along the road she was not too damaged, for her dear beloved was right by her side the entire time. They never let each other out of their sights and always kept their guard up. Every time the camp was attacked or they were overrun, Wilfred kept Alice safe. Even in the end, he was her saving grace; and now he was gone.

Alice sipped her tea and heard a feint scream inland. She instinctively jumped up, ran inside, out of her hotel room, and to the roof. She looked into the woods, where the continual screams were coming from. Something was moving in the ground behind the church along the old road. It was a fenced lawn on a hill, with rows of age-old tombstones. Alice could hear the screams. And there was no mistaking; they were the screams of living people.

Samuel ran through the cemetery with a shotgun he had picked up along the way, and Rebecca and Quinn by his side. Everything was different for Samuel now, after Corey. He would not lose control of the group again. Chambers followed up behind them with his ax out. From across the way, the church doors blasted open and Atticus ran out with Marcus, Tyrell, and Jill.

Although Marcus had trouble taking care of the dog, a promise he reluctant made with Corey, Jackson didn’t need his late master anymore to go out and scout the road ahead for the group. He was comfortable with Samuel, who was always a familiar face. Once in a while, Samuel’s family used to dog-sit for Corey, so Samuel, and also his son Warren became close with Jackson back before the outbreak.          

Alice heard the dog bark at the cemetery. That one bark compelled her to leave her hotel sanctuary; a safe place she thought she would never walk away from. She snuck out the kitchen door in the back alleyway and ran quietly away from the horde in front of the hotel. Alice was terrified, but she kept thinking about how scared that dog must be. She ran down the old marketplace, so tight and close together that there is no room for cars to drive through. Luckily for her there were no zombies in her way, until she came to the street before the ridge.

Jackson ran back to Marcus who struggled to grab and pet the dog. Jackson awkwardly dodged Marcus' attempts at affection and ran to Samuel who was turning down the street. He put the scattered few zombies down with his shotgun, from right to left and came upon Alice standing still in the street, last on the line. There was no blood on her, no bites, no scrapes, she was…alive.