Authors: Samie Sands
“Oh crap.” A horde. An absolutely massive horde of zombies is slowly heading this way. A larger group than I’ve ever seen in any film. More than I thought could even exist. It seems to go on as far as the eye can see. I didn’t even realise that many people lived in the UK! They’re heading towards me, terribly excited at the sight of a living, breathing human. This is
something I expected to encounter so quickly in my adventure. In fact, I was hoping to avoid immense groups like this altogether.
They make the few that I spotted out of the front of my house seem like a walk in the park. By now all of those zombies must have joined this group too. Do I have time to run back home and go out the other side? Do I want to risk that? No, I think the only option I have is to sprint faster than I’ve ever gone before. I’m so glad I made a point of always keeping active; my fitness level should be able to cope with this, no problem.
* * *
My heart is racing in my ears, each breath is painful and my feet feel red raw, but I force myself to keep on going. There were hundreds, possibly thousands of zombies, and realistically I have no true idea of their abilities. Much as I
to rely on my knowledge based on what I’ve seen, read, and researched, I need to keep smart. If I let myself stop, one of them could be right behind me, and that’s a risk I just can’t take.
I haven’t dared to look. Spinning around to see what’s going on behind me takes up precious seconds, time that could be the difference between life and death. I can barely feel my body anymore, I can hardly breathe. If I don’t stop running soon, I’m going to collapse. I’m mentally trying to prepare to fight, to take on any that may have caught up with me. I’m not going to let any of them eat me. I need to survive.
Luckily, I can still feel a tiny bit of fighting spirit within me, even though I’m totally knackered. I’m the person
prepared for this situation; I’m the one who has been careful and sensible. I deserve to be safe in a refugee camp, more than anyone else does. I deserve to live, I’ve proved myself. I can be a useful asset; the camp
someone like me.
It isn’t long before I fall to my knees, unable to move any more. My body is giving up, even if my mind is still willing me to keep on going. I quickly flick my eyes behind me, and to my relief, nothing is there. Taking in deep gasping breaths, I look around at my surroundings, taking everything in. My eyes are shocked at how far I have managed to run, my brain trying to take in everything I must have passed without even noticing. I must have been running at a lightning pace. I’ve made it. I’ve actually done it.
The airport is right ahead.
“Just keep moving, Ethan, you can do this.” I’m back to giving myself pep talks. Being alone is not suiting me at all. That realisation has hit me much harder since seeing Clare. Now I feel lonelier than ever. No parents, no family, no fiancée. What if everyone I have ever known is infected? What if they never recover? I’ll have to start all over again. I’ll have to resort back to explaining my condition to everyone I meet. I hate that. I hate finally opening up about my OCD just to be faced with mild panic before their eyes glaze over. People who have never been afflicted don’t understand. They assume you should be able to just stop your ticks, that you should just ignore your inner voice. They don’t understand how serious and crippling it can be.
No, I need to stop focusing on the future. I just need to concentrate on what’s happening right now or I won’t have any more days alive to be worried about. Every single sound is making me paranoid. Every shadow is one of them; every breath I take is tainted with their scent.
I’m lightly jogging, trying to keep a steady pace. I want to get to the airport as quickly as possible now. No more messing about. There I can be protected; there’ll be armed forces, or police officers—people with sufficient weapons and the ability to protect me, at least. Then I can relax, then every single move won’t be filled with dread. The government is bound to have a lot of security this time, especially after all of their previous mistakes. They wouldn’t want to drag everyone outside just to get them killed, surely.
As I’m thinking all of this through, I almost miss a vital moaning sound coming from behind me. I swing around at the last second, just to see a man with his disgusting, bloody body shuffling slowly towards me. My lip curls up in revulsion. His cheeks are sunken in, his eyes rolled back into his head; his skin is grey and flaky. He is moaning lustfully, snarling. Having an infected so close to me messes with my mind. My imagination loses control. I feel AM13 filling my veins and blocking off my airways.
Just as he reaches out to claw at me, my senses come flooding back in a rush of trepidation. My reflexes kick in and I bring the crowbar down on his head with an almighty force. It doesn’t kill him, or even knock him out, but blood spurts out in every direction. All I did was push him back a few paces, but that’s enough for me to make my getaway. It’s such a blessing that the infected cannot move fast. It’s the one thing that gives the uninfected the upper edge. It’s the only reason we might beat the disease. If they had the ability to run as fast as we do, I think everyone would have succumbed to it already.
I’ve got to be more careful, it’ll be distraction that gets me killed at this rate. At least my doomsday voice didn’t keep my feet rooted to the spot, in the way I suspected it might. I actually reacted in a life-saving manner—self-preservation kicked in at exactly the right moment. For once I actually beat out my affliction and I can be proud of myself.
I keep up my faster pace, and soon I can see it in the distance—the airport. There are many bodies surrounding it, I can’t tell from here if they’re infected or healthy like me, finally reaching their destination, but I don’t stop going. I’m here. I’m excited that I’ll finally get at least some of the answers I need.
I’m not exactly walking, not exactly running, either. I’m just trying to move at a quiet, cautious pace. I certainly don’t want to attract any more attention to myself. I don’t need any more incidents like the horde until I’ve managed to pull myself together. I’m not myself at the moment, I’m still shaken up. I don’t like feeling this way at all, it doesn’t suit me. I can’t even get control of my body; it’s nervously twitching like crazy.
I’ve never been one to let anxiety get the better of me. Even though we’ve always moved around a lot because of my dad’s job, I never had any trouble making new friends. Lexi was shy and hated it with a passion, but I’ve never struggled with being assertive, and that helped me rise in the popularity stakes quickly. In fact, we haven’t actually lived here for that long, so it’s amazing that I know where the airport is.
I’d only just started college. I was studying a random mix of A-Level subjects that I thought might interest me because I’ve never enjoyed academic subjects. Photography, Film Studies, and Design. They were all right I suppose, but I don’t think I was going to use them when I finally reached real life. I think I was always destined to end up in some tedious, mindless job that I would hate. Not anymore though, now life will never be the same. Now the zombie apocalypse has come along to save me from a life of boredom. At least there’s one positive.
I want to try to recapture that feeling of being the heroine in a film. I was coping a lot better when I had that thought constantly in my mind. I shake my head and put on a determined expression. I imagine the cameras are rolling and I’m acting out a scene. Immediately I feel calmer and stronger. I’m Alyssa, I don’t get scared.
It’ll be great to reach the airport, which I’m getting closer to by the second. I can’t wait to start the next part of the adventure. Even though I never let my expression break, I can’t help but think I never could’ve
prepared for this. Much as I thought I had, seeing it in reality is a completely different ball game. Learning to fight and survive doesn’t prepare you for dealing with a cannibal that is solely focused on eating you. That’s its only mission, and you can’t exactly reason with a zombie. They’re terrifying enemies—worse than I ever thought they could be.
One of the zombies has been heading towards me for a while now. I’ve been keeping watch on her out of the corner of my eye and now the time has come to take her out. I raise the golf club above my head, trying to keep my cool. I keep moving, waiting for the right moment, and swing with as much brute force as I can muster. She falls to the ground with a splat. I force my legs to keep going, I don’t want to stop. I want that moment to be badass, and I think I may have succeeded. I glance back and see her still lying on the ground in a pile of her own filth, scrabbling to get up. I smile to myself; at least I did that right.
I walk up to the terminal, anticipation fizzing through me. I screw my nose up in uncertainty. It seems kind of abandoned here. I didn’t expect that at all. I don’t know
I was thinking would greet me, people guiding us in? Officials waiting outside to let us know the right way to go? Anyway, my perception must be wrong. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself, working myself up before I’m certain of the truth.
Nerves kick up a gear as I walk forwards. My next escapade is about to be decided. I’m about to find out where we’re heading next, what security the refugee camps will have, what life will be like there. I wonder what job I’ll be allocated. I hope I land something exciting. I hope it isn’t a campsite we’re going to be living in. It’s far too cold for that, plus I
don’t like the idea of sleeping in a tent. I’d be much more content inside some sort of building.
I step inside, puzzled by the quiet. What the hell? There’s no one else here.
Oh my goodness.
many people here. The terminal is jam-packed. As soon as I see the sight of families, elderly, children, babies, teenagers, my heart lifts with hope. A lot more people have survived than I ever thought possible. It’s amazing; there really
hope for this dire situation we find ourselves in. Maybe the Lockdown was a much better idea than I thought. Without it, I doubt any of these people would still be alive. I wonder how they all managed to get here, undetected—I didn’t see a
healthy person on my travels.
I push my way through the throngs of the crowd, determined to make it to the front. I need my voice to be heard, now more than ever. I’m so focused on my goal, so happy to have made it this far, the faces of Clare, my parents, my family swimming through my mind, that at first I don’t notice.
As soon as I realise what’s happening, I can almost see the germs flying through the air, the wetness landing on my face. I can feel it, crawling inside my skin, making its way down my throat. My pores are filling up with the mucus, the bacteria. My stomach is swirling, collecting all the evil bugs, getting nauseous, making me sick.
My heart is screaming, beating faster than ever before. My throat is closing rapidly; soon I won’t be able to breathe at all. I lose focus with my eyes. I can no longer see. I can’t concentrate on any sounds, it’s all muffled, overwhelming. If I don’t get out of this crowd soon, I’m going to faint. I can’t let that happen, I’ll be trampled. I’ll never survive the feet of all these people.
I shove, trying to move, but everyone keeps pushing back, the crowd control nowhere to be seen. All their fingers touching me, spreading it, forcing AM13 inside me. I turn, every direction worse than the last. Faces looming over me, words being yelled in my direction, a blackness threatening to take me.
I finally break free, out the back of the crowd; returning to where I started. I need to get away from here. There’s no
I can sit on a plane with these people. There’s far too much illness. At least one person is infected here, I can just sense it. If someone succumbs to the virus up in the air, there is no escape. Everyone will die. I’ll never make it; I’ll never be able to do it. I won’t be able to force my feet up the steps and into the cabin.
As a snap decision, I move towards the door, fresh air calling me forwards. Just as I’m about to leave, a clear voice breaks through my thoughts, causing me to pause for just a second. “Now everyone, we can’t answer any questions at the moment. We need to ensure everyone gets out of here first, so to keep us all safe, just do as you’re told and we will discuss at the other side.”
They don’t have any answers; the government doesn’t know anything yet. What a pointless trip this has been. I continue on, turning my back on them all. I’m finally paying attention to the negative voice again. This time I think it’s right.