Firstly, I’m not dead.
Yes, I’ve been bitten, But I’m not completely useless yet. My parents would beg to differ, but that’s slightly besides the point.
Secondly, the movies got it all wrong. The virus doesn’t spread as quickly as you think it does. Sure, it doesn’t take months on end but it does take a couple of weeks for your organs to shut down and it isn’t a very pleasant feeling.
It’s been four hours since I’ve been bitten. My mother is hysterical. My father hasn’t said a word yet. My friends are either dead or are long gone from the city. Those of us who have access to the Internet, post depressingly moronic status updates on social forums.
The end is nigh. It’s just a matter of time. And we have only ourselves to blame. Greed has been the cruelest of mistresses and in our quest for knowledge, we went too far. Our greatest gift became our curse and civilization caved in. We should have stopped. Just like the Dwarves of Moria, we delved too deep. They found the Balrog, and we found this.
Now, we’ve been forced to take shelter in numerous malls across the city. Emergency exits are packed with women and children. The men and those of us old enough to protect, stand guard. Those who are bitten, are given a week to say their goodbyes to loved ones. They are then taken away and are never seen again.
It shouldn’t have ended like this. Not for me.
The bitterness is slowly creeping in. We’ve all dreamt of a glorious death, but when it lands on our door step, we are reluctant to move on, leave everything behind.
I’d rather not talk about where I’m from, cause as of right now, it doesn’t really matter. These malls where we’ve made our homes, have been adapted to meet our requirements. Supermarkets now serve as cafeterias, movie halls are adorned with sleeping bags and broken chairs. The bookstore has now turned into a little library. I’ve grown to haunt the place from time to time. There’s this little corner with a table and a small lamp, with a lovely little armchair. It’s the one place I frequent, just to get away from it all. It’s the one place where I don’t need to worry or fret. The one place that is mine and mine alone. On the days it rains, the sound of water pounding against the windows just adds to the experience. I don’t leave till the rain has long stopped, watching the water trickle off the ramparts. To others, it may not sound inviting, but it is my little piece of heaven.
However, all it takes is one of Them to ruin it all. Staring, their eyes hollow with an unrelenting hunger, they watch me as I stroll over to the stairs that lead me to the makeshift watch tower, pull a gun of the rack and plant a bullet between their eyes.
And all the while, we don’t break eye contact.
Not many of us knew how to handle a gun before the outbreak. We were forced to learn and to learn quickly. The Infected grew in numbers and we had to counter it. Whilst scientists across various camps searched for an answer, we began fighting back. Emotion took a backseat and in the process, drove many into the arms of insanity. I watched as a young man, no less than twenty-five put a bullet through the skull of his infected fiance, sink to his knees, laughing all the while, before turning the gun on himself.
The malls aren’t the only places where the last of us have gathered. Schools, colleges, auditoriums are packed with people fighting against their impending doom. And with what we have left, we were limping on.
In retrospect, it doesn’t seem to be too bad. But that’s what the past does, papers over the cracks and leaves you craving for a time when things weren’t so messed up, when in reality they weren’t as glorified as we think of them to be. The past is a cruel illusion, showing us what we can never truly have and therein lies one of life’s cruelest tricks.
But with time running out, and the virus slowly seeping through my bloodstream, the past is all I have left. The present and the future don’t really matter at all. Not anymore.
(To be continued)