Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I’m here to introduce you to a new feature here on BL. Starting today and running through whenever it’s finished I’ll be posting parts of the story I wrote for our Zed Show a ways back. So without further adieu, let’s get to it shall we?
Jessica stands in front of the doorway. Her minuscule 5 foot 6 inch frame slightly bent under the weight of the chainsaw mounted to her backpack. Fluorescent lights flicker down the distance of the corridor behind us. She’s finishing her cigarette. The glowing red embers illuminating the flaming red hair across her brow every time she takes a drag. Beyond the doorway we can hear the groans and howling of what will soon be our last night together. She doesn’t mind so much, to her this is more of a game than survival.
She takes the last drag and leans in a little closer to me. I can smell her sweat and the dried blood on her chainsaw. The spilled gasoline and gunpowder. That nickle smell of a spent round. And it’s here — standing between right now and forever, between our lives and our future — when she asks me if I trust her. I tell her, “It’s naive to think you’ll live forever.”
How we got here — in front of this doorway, in front of the end — is sort of a long story.
After the oil spill in the gulf, after it was carried into the gulf-stream and made it to the other side of the world, after the planet got hit with record hurricanes and monsoons. After the water burned and smoke billowed so thick it blocked out the sun. After the clean-up efforts.
After all that came the disease.
Initial reports stated it was some mutated form of cancer caused by prolonged exposure to hazardous conditions. No one really knew though. No one ever had time to figure it out. It moved too fast.
Patient zero was found in the Caribbean and before we knew it, our neighbors had it. Soon after that we were raiding Walmarts and Sport’s Authorities, boarding up the windows and doors and killing the generator. We were rationing our stock of food and ammunition. Sitting on the floor in what used to be our kitchen. Kissing that photograph we took of her that day by the ocean where she’s standing in the sand on a sunny day, smiling and perfect. We were putting a 9mm in our mouths and taking the safety off, edging that trigger down as the screams and moans of the undead echoed in the streets. It’s so naive to think you’ll live forever.
That’s where she found me. Her plaid mini-skirt and white button up shirt caked in blood and vomit. Oil and sludge and shit clung to her knee-high, steel-toed boots. Her shotgun clacked and aimed at my temple. A little redundant I thought.
“Are you doing that because you’re turning or are you just a pussy?”
My finger let go of the trigger, sweat dripped down my forehead and into my eyes. For a second she looked the way an anime superhero looks, sharp and crisp while everything behind her is moving at 100 miles an hour. I look down and focus on the gun in my hand.
Her voice barrels out, “Hey, Cobain — you know, if you don’t have the zombie aids, I could really use a hand out there.”
I nod and stumble to my feet. It’s been a while since I’ve eaten. It’s amazing you can still have an appetite when you’re covered in shit.
“This whole place is fucked” I stammer. The crust on my dried lips breaks when I speak. It’s been so long since I’ve spoken a word that my voice seems almost foreign to me. “Military came through and swept the entire area.”
“Military.” she says with a huff and putting the shotgun in the pack on her back. Her eyes narrow as she looks over the burning surroundings. “You know they’re the reason we’re in this, right? They hauled up some dead shit from the ocean floor, covered in oil. Wanted to study it.” She focuses as something catches her eye. “I mean some old, dead-ass, shit, like, prehistoric shit. Like it’d been living deep down there for a while.” She draws a small Beretta from her waist, aims, poised at something behind a dresser. “Hauled it up and the fumes started infecting people, turning them into… well. We all know what they turned into.” She squeezes the trigger catching one clean in the head.
“I heard it was cancer.”
“You know any cancer that can to that?”
“I guess not.” I say, as I pack some cans of food and the small cache of ammo into my backpack.
“That the only one you got?” She says, eyeing up my gun.
“Yeah, the rest are jammed and covered in sludge.”
“Come on then, I got a car running.”
We wander out into the streets and by the time we get to the car it’s almost day break.
“I’m Jess.” she says as we step out from the curb and toward a still running Mercedes M-Class.
“Paul” I say, staring at the sparkling new SUV. “Nice ride, where’d you find it?”
“Oh, you know, girls just want to have fun and all.”
I shrug as she hits the keyfob with a chirp to unlock the doors.
Here’s the good thing about daybreak: you can see them coming, they’re easier to spot from a distance. At the same time the bad thing about daybreak is that they can see you coming. I guess this is how life goes: you never expect that at any moment you’re going to have to kill your friends and neighbors. That the annoying, busybody two houses down is now poised behind a bush, lips dripping with blood and oil, ready to take your fucking head off and eat it like a turkey leg.