Authors: Samie Sands
My hands are trembling; my mouth dry, the knot in my stomach is so tight it threatens to encase my whole body. I’ve been sitting, frozen in a state of shock for God knows how long. I’m gripping onto the knife so hard its blade is cutting through the top layer of my skin, causing a thin trickle of blood to trail down my fingers.
What the fuck just happened?
My little sister lies dead at my feet, murdered by the kitchen knife in my hands. Killed by me. I can’t even begin to get my head around what I’ve done, she is—
only eight years old. And such a petite, pretty thing. Blonde hair, bright turquoise eyes, chubby cheeks, a sweet smile, the whole works. I glance down at her frail, lifeless body. Bile rises up into my throat as my pulse races at an uncontrollable pace.
What a stupid bitch.
How could she have been so God damn incredibly thick? I told her over and over again that if she went outside, she would die. That there was no other outcome. She’d sit there all meek, tears dripping from the corners of her eyes, listening to my instructions, nodding shyly, appearing to soak up my every word.
But no, she just had to go and do it, didn’t she? She had to find out for herself. Well, she’s learnt her lesson the hard way now. When I caught her, out in the garden, just standing there, I knew. I knew right then in that moment that we were over. That she was as dead as our parents. She turned around and dared to look me in the eyes, with an expression so defiant it actually took me back for a second. Then she stormed past me into the house, refusing to talk to me for days, however much I screamed and yelled. She knew I was frightened, she knew I was worried about losing her, and she just left me to stew. Even crying only resulted in silence, and I
cry. She’s always known how to rile me up, that girl, but I’ve always loved her nonetheless. She’s my sister, which only makes me more pissed off with the bad turn this took.
She eventually stumbled out of her room, pale, almost grey, and barely breathing. My blood ran cold as I automatically gripped onto the knife next to me, just waiting. Her eyes flicked up at me, the familiar colourless irises filled my heart with an overwhelming sadness, which I immediately forced myself to replace with a burning rage. How
she let this happen to her? I spent all that effort trying to look after her, teaching her the best way to survive and for what? For her to take both our lives into her own hands? For her to allow her stupid decisions to affect my life as well as her own?
When this new version of my sister lunged for me, I sprang into action almost instantly. It didn’t matter to me what or who she’d been, I’ve seen enough zombie films and read enough books to know that her past had gone, her personality was no more. That all she wanted to do now was to eat every scrap of flesh off my bones. Sentiment has no place in the apocalypse, everyone knows that.
I can still see the knife piercing her flesh. The blood…so much blood everywhere. I really had to force the blade to make it go into her brain deep enough to stop her. It isn’t as easy as I’d assumed it would be. When an aggressive cannibal is close to scraping its teeth against your arm and you’re pushing the weapon with all your might, just trying to break through the barrier, there’s a second when you think you have no chance of making it. I was lucky really; I managed to keep my cool to get the job done. That’s the first rule of survival, don’t lose your head. Well, that and always be prepared.
Suddenly, a blood curdling scream shakes me out of my comatose state. That noise, it’s burning my ears. I need to get it to stop. My chest is vibrating with the volume of it.
It’s only when the knife clangs loudly to the floor that I realise the sound is coming from within me. All the pent up frustration and rage I’ve been feeling over the past few weeks have finally burst out of my chest. I aid these emotions by grabbing and throwing things, smashing whatever I can get my hands on. After forcing myself to be quiet for so long, it’s nice to no longer care, to just yell and cause chaos. To not be cautious, to not be frightened.
When I eventually break off, panting, I let the past events fill my mind, just for a second, just to fuel my feelings further. Everyone ignored the warnings about AM13, everyone carried on as if life was normal, no one seemed to care that all their lives were at risk. Except me. I knew better. I’ve been expecting something like this for as long as I could remember, which is why I insisted on joining the Girl Guides when I was a child, to learn survivalist skills, and why I was so desperate to study martial arts.
Now the time for all that education to come in handy has arrived, just as I predicted.
As soon as I heard the first report on AM13, I started to spend my free time researching, trying to find out everything I could about it. I wanted as much knowledge as possible to go alongside my preparation. I wanted to be one of the few people who actually had the ability to survive what was starting to look more and more like the end of the world. I knew it was the right thing to do, and it seems now like I was one of the few smart ones.
I tried to impart my knowledge and wisdom on my friends and family, but was met with disdain and laughter. Everyone seemed convinced that it was just a media scare, even when the plans for the Lockdown were announced. Of course it was much more complicated than that, the government had never gone to these extremes over health issues before, why couldn’t anyone else see that? Anyway, look who’s laughing now. I can’t imagine a single one of those people have survived this far. I bet I’m the only person left in this whole damn town. Well, fuck the lot of them, I’m not going to give anyone stupid enough to get themselves killed a second thought. No, now is the time to focus on me. It’ll actually be nice to just be responsible for my own survival for a change.
I’m pacing up and down the unfamiliar room, rubbing my hands together manically while I allow myself to get more and more stressed out. How the hell do they think they’re going to pull this one off? I woke up from a restless sleep—I just couldn’t relax properly in the strange environment—and flicked on the television. I didn’t expect to see anything different, it’s been rolling reports for such a long time, but this time I found myself presented with the brand new plan.
It seems they intend to fly all the remaining survivors from the UK to a ‘secure destination’ abroad. No details, no indication of where or how. Just the instructions to get ourselves to the nearest airport as soon as possible. Have they even thought this through at all, or is it just another knee jerk reaction like the Lockdown was? How do they expect us all to get to the airport unharmed? Or maybe they’re unconcerned with a few more casualties. I don’t understand
this is happening, why they aren’t trying to rid the streets of infection. Has the entire country just gone to pot and they literally don’t know what else to do? Maybe things are much worse than I think they are. I wonder how many people are actually left. Imagine if it’s just a handful—that would be absolutely insane. It seems the early predictions of 35% of the population being affected by AM13 were way off.
Another point which I seriously hope they’ve considered is the selection process. I hope they have a plan in place to ensure only healthy people get onto the plane, or things will escalate wildly. From my personal understanding, pretty much every single country has been hit by the virus, so if they really have found a safe haven somewhere, they’ll need to be
strict to keep it secure. There’s so much to think about, and if it’s been hastily organised, there’s just so much that could go wrong.
What will happen to this country? A big part of me is desperate to stay as far away from any plane as possible. I’ve never flown before, and a voice in the back of my brain is telling me that climbing into a confined space with a group of strangers spells certain death. The entire time I’m up in the air will be pure torture. Maybe I should just stay here while they sort everything out. If I make this house secure, I’ll be okay, won’t I? There’s food, water, electricity…although I suppose it won’t be long until all of that is shut off. I don’t know how long I’ll last long living in darkness. Oh God, this is such a hard decision.
I keep pacing, flicking between decisions, unsure of which idea is the right one to follow. I wish I had someone here, someone with a much clearer head, someone more used to making hard decisions than I am. I’m no good alone.
Then a thought stops me in my tracks. What if they decide to bomb the place? It’s a sure fire way of killing off all the infected, a good way of preventing the virus from wiping out humanity. Maybe when they want us to move, they mean that to be permanent. My eyebrows shoot up in shock, my chest starts thumping. I’m not ready for this, any of it. Yesterday was all false bravado. I did what I had to do to survive. But this? This change is a whole different ball game. This is too much.
They can’t do that, can they? They can’t just get rid of an entire island without a second thought, can they? This is our home, our lives. I know it’s currently in a bad way, but we could rebuild, go back normal. Or at least, similar to the way things were before.
The Internet. I need to get online to find out more. If I can log on, I might be able to find others still alive, see if anyone I know has survived. If I can find out what others are doing, I’ll be able to make a more informed decision. A computer. There must be one around here; everyone has a one, it’s impossible to survive without one in this day and age. In fact, I probably saw one yesterday during my search.
* * *
I tap my feet anxiously waiting for the laptop screen to load up. Why does this always seem to take forever? Especially now. Can’t it sense that I need it to work quicker? Can’t it feel the impatience seeping out through my fingertips that are poised over the keyboard?
After what feels like a lifetime, it finally finishes loading and is ready for me to actually do something. I click onto the Internet icon, nervously anticipating what I might find on the mysterious World Wide Web. I don’t know why I didn’t do this before. The Lockdown would have been so much more bearable with social networking, but for some reason, it never even crossed my mind to try it.
The screen stays blank. It hasn’t connected at all. I pull at the Ethernet cable, which is plugged into the router. I can’t see any immediate reason why it wouldn’t connect, it all seems fine to me. Could it have somehow been shut off already? My heart sinks—that’s terrible news. I didn’t realise exactly
much I actually had riding on finding someone, until the possibility crashes down around me.
I delicately shut the laptop, stunned. I’m alone. I’m completely and utterly by myself. The only choice I have available to me is to go to the airport. I look around the room of the house I was planning to call home for the time being, mentally saying goodbye to the place. I’ll always regret it if I stay here, taking the cowardly way out. I’ve already faced this awful outside world; I know I
do it. I can take supplies with me this time, I’ll be more prepared. I just need to push this hollow, sorrowful feeling aside and get on with it. Power through. Who knows, it might be the best decision I ever make.
“God damn zombies. Why won’t you just piss off?” I’m leant out of my bedroom window, screaming at a bunch of undead idiots, and a small part of me is wondering why they won’t just do as I ask them and leave me alone. It’s so annoying. I’ve decided now that I want to move on, I don’t want to sit in this house with the corpse of my little sister for another minute. I can’t stand it; I want to be as far away from her as possible. I’m sure I could even help with the ‘clean up’ operation that the government has so obviously failed at. I have the right skills and knowledge, I’m sure that’s something I’d be great at.
Well, one at a time. This massive horde is a little out of my skill range at the moment!
I just need to get out there. I’m ready. I’m even wearing the perfect outfit for the apocalypse—I look a little like Lara Croft, only with black skinny jeans instead of hot pants. As I put these clothes on, I imagined I was in a film. I think that’s the best way for me to survive, actually—pretending to be an actress. I’m a huge fan of horror films, and I’ve always pictured myself in them, so now I can actually live out that fantasy. Mum always used to call me her little dreamer, so maybe I should take that to heart and live in my own little world. It’ll sure as hell be better than the real one.
I suddenly realise that I need to pull my long auburn hair into a ponytail. I don’t normally style my hair this way because it makes my rosy cheeks more obvious, but women are so often grabbed by their hair in zombie films—that’s the sort of knowledge that will help me survive. I scan my memory for more tidbits like this, more tips. I knew reading and watching movies wasn’t a waste of time.
If I wrap duct tape around my arms, it’ll prevent a bite from piercing through and hitting my skin. It isn’t foolproof, but it’s a great start. I rush downstairs and scrabble through the kitchen cupboards until I find a roll. I sit down at the dining table to start wrapping, and I find my eyes drawn towards the radio.
The radio that my dad spent the entire Lockdown with. I got annoyed with him, especially when the news became simple repeats. Why couldn’t he just have it on in the background and spend some time with us? He was a workaholic before all of this, so I don’t think he knew
to just sit and talk with his family. Then, as if from nowhere, he happened upon the completely irrational decision to go out on a food run because the deliveries from the armed forced had stopped coming. Of course, my mother insisted on going with him, she wasn’t going to let him go out there by himself! It seemed she placed protecting him over her own children—a decision I will
be able to get my head around.
I can’t work out what my dad’s plan was, either. It had only been five days since our last food parcel, why couldn’t he have just waited? It wasn’t as if we were completely starving or anything. And why did they
have to go? I screamed and yelled at them, told them they were making an idiotic decision, that they didn’t have what it takes to survive. They didn’t know anything about fighting off a zombie, not like me. To be honest, I said a lot of things to them that I now regret.
Of course, they never came back. I knew they wouldn’t. I bet they didn’t even make it to the end of the street before getting infected. They left me in charge of their eight-year-old child while they went out on a fool’s errand and got themselves killed.
Well, I’m glad.
I’m not bitter—not anymore. Anyone who’s stupid enough to go out there without the ability to defend themselves doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve gotten past the stage of being desperate, sad, and even angry. I’ve just accepted it. They weren’t thinking of me when they died, so I’m not going to waste any more time thinking of them. I’m keeping stoic—at least I have no one left to love. Caring puts you in danger, the ones that live to the end of the film are the ones who have already lost everything and only have themselves to worry about. I already fit that role perfectly.
Now all I need to do is move, but I can’t do it while there’s a huge crowd gathered outside. I knew that noisy outbreak earlier was a mistake. I’m not going to end up dead myself. If I stay calm and focused, finding the perfect moment to go won’t be too difficult. As I wait, I idly switch the radio on, pleased by the familiar sound filling the room. Actually, I can see how easy it was for Dad to get obsessed by listening to it, without it everything is far too tense and quiet.