Our Days Are Numbered

Four friends embarked on a memorable trip in the countryside to celebrate the summer; however, while they were isolated from the world, they were unknowing of the mortifying reality that waited for them when they returned from paradise. They were young, free, and having fun, if there was one thing they weren’t, it was prepared. Especially for the hell-inflicting disaster of the zombie apocalypse. Darcy, Brooke, Sam and Jamie have one task, and one task only, and that is to survive.

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8. Eight

PRESENT DAY

It's been three weeks since our world fell apart, and any glimpse of normality had withered in the burning sun, and rotted like the bloody corpses that now scattered the streets.

The old Darcy is long gone; she perished with the happiness in the sunshine, only to be replaced by this completely different person. I had learned to be strong – terrified – but still strong. We had all scraped through these three weeks until now, so we could survive until next week, and the next. We are survivors, and we are determined to prove we are not alone.

I pick up a can of tinned food, and place it in the depths of my bag along with any other salvageable and non-perishable foods. We're on our second supplies raid, we couldn't wait any longer, otherwise we'd starve. I look over at Sam who gives me a look of elation as he finds a tin of Spam in a cupboard , he holds it up in his hand and looks proud of himself. I smile back at him, any glimmer of happiness these days is a blessing, even if it's only from finding some tinned Spam.

Life has been tough, and it only gets harder from here on out. All I want is enough time to sit and have a breather and not have to think about low food supplies, lack of ammo, or whether or not the windows are boarded up tight enough to keep everything that is outside from getting in.

Since the camping trip, none of us have seen our parents. None of us took any kind of communication device with us, so we were completely isolated with no contact from our parents. Stupid really, look where we are now. 

Looking back, I realise how naïve I was; I should have known something was wrong when that German Shepard bit me as soon as the sun went down. Hell, that's a regular occurrence nowadays. It also means they've spread, as far as the country. The... Zombies. Had I not put up that ring of fiery stakes, we probably would be dead right now. My insane idea wasn't such an insane one after all.

They're slowly plaguing towns one by one. God knows how far they've got by now, they could be all the way to Scotland, maybe even overseas. It could be airborne, in which case, we're screwed.

My bag can't carry any more weight, so I stand and keep watch while Brooke, Jamie and Sam all try and grab as much food as they can. Once their bags are as brimming as mine, we check one last time for Crawlers, (this is what we call them, we don't like using the Z word, somehow to me it seems too childish and ridiculous, and that's what they do, crawl along while their heads loll back, desperately searching for human flesh.)

"We're all clear," I say, and we move out of the abandoned house, clutching my bag of goodies in one hand and my free hand hesitantly hovering over the gun in my front pocket. We cautiously make our way back to the pick-up, careful not to make any sudden movements or noises.

I get into the driver's seat and I breathe a heavy sigh of relief. We live to see another day. I start the engine and begin our journey to God knows where. I'm intent on keeping everybody quiet, and I've limited Sam to putting a CD on at minimal volume, I really didn't want to attract Crawlers. It's only when I glance down I notice the fuel gauge.

"Fuck," I groan irritably, punching the steering wheel. "We're going to run out of fuel soon." My mind begins flicking over possibilities – if we didn't get fuel soon, we'd be summoned to continuing on foot, and that was no safer than practically advertising our whereabouts.

"I think we need to come up with a plan." Jamie says hesitantly from the back seat. I want to debate that what we're doing and how we're surviving is fine, but I know he's right. I also know that he's not just talking about the fuel; he's talking about everything in general. We can't keep living in fear that every night is our last. We need some sort of closure and safety. But how can we find that in this hell-bent world?

"How about we split up?" Brooke says, and we all look at each other with worried looks on our faces. But I think we all know it's the only option if we want a shot at actually surviving. The next thing I know, the pick-up shudders and splutters. We're rolling to a stop before I even get the chance to mumble some obscenities. We're dead. I know it, for sure. There's no way we're going to survive unless we get this heap of shit back in motion.

We're in the middle of the road, completely exposed. We're on the outskirts of the neighbouring city, and the track is surrounded by woodland. At least we have shelter for tonight under the canopies of trees.

Sam hops out and lifts up the bonnet. Billowing smoke wisps into the atmosphere, I roll my eyes, brilliant. Jamie and Sam inspect the damage done, while Brooke and I stay in the car, our lack of mechanical knowledge is tangible.

"Darcy, what are we going to do?" She sounds worried and hopeless. She asks as if I have answers, which I don't, she's just begging for some reassurance that we're not going to die. I can't even give her that.

"I don't know," I sigh, "I really don't know." Sam and Jamie get back into the car after shutting the bonnet. I look at Sam with hopeful eyes.

"As far as I can tell, it needs new parts. It definitely needs a new fan belt." Jamie says quietly. I groan audibly and rest my head on the steering wheel. We really don't need this now.

"Why don't we just stay in here and wait until another car comes past?" Brooke adds. I really admired her optimism.

"And what if no cars come? What then? Or what if the Crawlers find us first? What do we do then? Just sit here and wait for the windows to cave in, and watch as we get ripped apart one by one? Of course we can't stay here. We need to get out the tent and rest in the woods, just for tonight. It's getting dark, we need shelter." I say, slightly frustrated she would even suggest the ridiculous idea.

We set up the tent, far beneath the undergrowth, far away from the car. Chances are, if somebody came across the car, they'd know we're close, so we venture as far as we dare. We set up camp, but with no fire. That would be a death wish.

All three of them are sound asleep. It is my turn to keep watch for a few hours. Even though they are still with me, I feel lonelier than the last mammoth. My breath creates steam trails in the sheer cold, and I wrap my jumper tighter around me. I snap to attention. I swear I hear a twig snapping. I turn off the torch that we'd placed under a plastic cup to create a makeshift lamp.

It's there. The unmistakable low rumbling groan of a Crawler. I grab Sam's pistol from next to where he was sleeping as mine was the other side of the tent. I'm praying with my heart and soul that none of them snore of cough or breathe louder than a whisper. I'm holding my breath. Maybe if we stay quiet it will continue on its travels.

The sound of snapping twigs is getting louder. I'm certain the Crawler can hear the sound of my frantically beating heart and the adrenaline coursing through my veins. I swallow hard. The crunching stops. Maybe it's gone. I was wrong. I freeze. A putrid, decaying hand runs down the fabric of the tent. My heart is in my throat. We're not alone.

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