I can hear it pound against my window, like miniature boxers jabbing away at an opponent who refuses to hit back, but doesn’t go down either.
I’ve always liked the rain. Reminds me of a time where things weren’t so complicated. a time when things weren’t so bleak.
It’s been 5 days since 4 AM disappeared. I’ve searched the perimeter, asked the other patrol officers and got nothing in return. To make matters worse, I’m starting to lose control of my fingers, my temperature is through the roof and I’ve been treating myself with medication that’s way past it’s expiration date. I figured I’d have two more days at best, before I turned myself in.
The attacks have gotten more frequent. They’re evolving somehow. They’ve gotten quicker, sharper and a lot quieter. Two days ago, half a dozen of them attacked the West Wing in the dead of the night. It took us two hours to bring them down and by the end of it, the West Wing lay in ruins, and fourteen of our own lay face down in the concrete. It rained that night as well, as I hauled the bodies off the floor and cast them away into the sewers for the rats to feed on. The one thing I’ve learned over the past few months was that there was no such thing as a beautiful death. In this world, make yourself useful. Else, turn yourself into a fast food outlet for rats.
The Commander arranged for a meeting after the attack. He assembled all of us into a room and asked us to board up the West Wing as much as we could. We’d already lost the East and the South, which left us with the main entrance. Scouts had been dispatched to search for newer pastures but none had returned and we knew better than to go looking for them.
The Commander knew. He knew that no matter what we did, we were all fighting a battle we could not possibly hope to win. As he gave out his final instructions, tears streamed down his face, with each name he called out. He knows, I thought.
He knows he’s sending us to our death.
I thought I was dreaming.
I woke up, screaming as was the norm these days and suddenly felt two hands gently caress my face. I reached out for my gun again, but stopped as I stared at the silhouette of the person standing in front of me.
And sure enough there she was, in that ragged white shirt coupled with that oversized leather jacket, smiling down at me as the tears rolled down her face.
“Where were you?”, I spluttered.
“I’m so sorry,” she choked and before I could say anything she swooped down and kissed me.
There are moments in life where everything freezes. I will never know how long that moment lasted but it was perfection. She pulled away, seemingly embarrassed about what she’d done. I pulled her back into my arms again, knocking over a table in the process, this time responding in kind. I didn’t care about the pain surging through my body. I didn’t care about how terribly the world had gone to shit. All I wanted at that moment in time, was sitting on top of me and I had no intention of letting go anytime soon.
The next morning, I awoke to find her lying on my chest, smiling sheepishly at me. I prodded at her nose, and kissed her again. At that moment, it finally hit me. I’d found something to live for, but now it was too late. Time had dealt it’s most cruelest of cards and I was the one going home with absolutely nothing.
I kept my thoughts to myself as we lounged on the armchair, with a blanket draped around us, watching the rain pour down, I still hadn’t asked her where she’d gone so I decided to bring it up.She brushed it away, so I decided not to pursue it. Instead, I nuzzled my head into her hair and fell asleep.
At half past three, 4 AM shook me awake. “You’re out of medicine”, she said. I got to my feet shakily but she pushed me down again.
“You’re staying exactly where you are, mister. Let me go get it for you.”
“The last time I let you go, you disappeared for a week. I’m not willing to take that chance again.”
“Relax, I’ll be back soon.” She kissed me on the cheek and darted out the door.
“You still haven’t told me your name!”, I shouted after her.
“Neither have you!”, she screamed back, as I crashed back into the chair, chuckling to myself.
Ten minutes later, my pager beeped. There had been attack on the ground level and the commander was requesting backup. Fighting the searing pain, I picked up my gun and made my way down.
It was carnage. They’d snuck up on the unsuspecting guard, torn him to pieces and made their way through the entrance. They were in the midst of attacking a group of elderly women when we intervened.
I uncocked the gun, loaded it with two bullets and let fire at the one who was closest to me. It snarled in pain and dashed towards me, blood and guts dripping down it’s mouth. I unloaded the gun onto it’s face until there was only pulp and proceeded to help the squadron that was under siege right outside the entrance.
The Commander was cutting through the incoming forces with a butcher’s knife, hacking away the heads and limbs of the undead. Three thirteen year old boys were peppering Them with submachine guns as They fell by the hordes. One of them went straight for my throat and had it not been for the Commander’s swift thinking, my head would’ve been rolling on the bloodstained floor.
It seemed like an eternity before we started to push them back. We had already lost six to the carnage, leaving only four of us, including myself standing. We would’ve been slaughtered if it hadn’t been for the Commander. He of all people knew how hopeless the scenario was. He yelled at us to retreat and take cover as he ran straight at the horde, unhooking a grenade. We ducked for cover as the Commander threw himself at the horde who started to tear him apart before the grenade exploded, taking down the entire horde along with himself. Limbs, organs flew into the air and landed with a soft thud onto the floor as we picked ourselves up, our ears still ringing from the explosion.
Suddenly, the cry of an old lady pierced the silence.
We immediately rallied to see two of Them close in on an old lady. Prying the sub machine gun from cold dead hands of the thirteen year old boy, I ran towards them, unloading the entire cartridge on the one closest to her. I reached down to pick up another when the second one turned to me.
My gun dropped to the floor as I stood in silence, staring at the creature that stood in front of me, long black hair flowing down to it’s midriff, with a periwinkle blue scarf draped around it’s shoulders, that now revealed the infected bite mark. The creature stared at me quizzically as I stood, stunned in silence.