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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11. Eleven

Jamie pulls the truck to a rolling stop outside a group of presumably abandoned houses. Our supplies raid today has given enough food for the next week or so if we're lucky. We jump out of the truck, and I continue to press Sam's now blood-soaked t-shirt to my neck. I start to make my way to the empty house, but we stop. There it is. It's quiet, but it's the unmistakable groan of something that isn't human.

Unlike usual, I don't roll my eyes. Quite frankly I don't have the energy. We all look at each other and exchange reassuring nods. I grab my knife out of my backpack and stand with my back against the car. The others spread out, but I've been given specific instructions to stay near the car – being bitten twice in one day wouldn't end well.

There's quite a few of them, I'd say around twenty or so. Almost all of them are out of sight, though, and most of them slow ones. One stumbles over to me, but I knife it in the chest before it even has a chance to understand what's going on. The area around me is clear, and I just have to wait for the others. I lower myself down and slouch against the pick-up door, both from exhaustion and boredom. The truck creaks and sways in the breeze.

A hear a whimpering coming from behind a bush. I snap to attention. I relax when I see a dog, limping along leaving a trail of blood wherever it goes.

"Here, boy." I say, beckoning it over. Its back paw was stuck in some sort of trap, obviously in hopes to catch crawlers. It sits down next to me and looks at me with sad eyes filled with such hopelessness. I carefully take the contraption off of its leg, and throw it far out of reach. It yelps in pain a little, but it had to be done.

"It's okay. You're safe now." I murmur. It sits down next to me and we wait for the others to return. I begin to get a little worried; ten minutes has passed, and I look around for any signs of civilisation. The dog whimpers and stands on its feet. I load up the hunting rifle I picked up earlier and position it, ready to strike. I look around warily, my heartbeat in my throat. Even so much as a leaf rustling makes my head snap to the direction of the sound.

I don't want to stray too far from the car, but I certainly need to know if the others are in trouble. I hear another dull grumbling, further afield than the street, around the corner of the set of houses. Do I risk it?

I keep walking – my canine friend hobbling behind me. I hear the grumbling again. I pick up my pace, edging closer to the sound. I hear gunshots, and the reloading of ammo. I run, following the sound.

I find them, all three of them, huddled, back to back, surrounded by crawlers. Dozens of them. Sam notices me, he's reloading his shot gun, and gives me a threatening look, as if to say; 'goddamnit Darcy, do you ever do as you're told?' But he looks away, and shoots the crawler in front of him.

A look of horror washes over his features as he realises he no longer has any spare ammo.

"Jamie, do you have any more ammo?" He gulps.

"No mate, nothing left."

"Brooke?"

"Nothing."

I drop the bloody t-shirt from my shoulder onto the ground. I lift the rifle and shoot down the crawlers, one by one, my position now out of sight of the others. Brooke and Jamie are unaware of where the shots are coming from, but they seem relieved. One down. Another one down. The dog flinches with each shot.

Soon they're all twitching messes of flesh on the ground. I come out from hiding around the corner and make my presence known. They look round at me and let out the breaths they've presumably been holding.

"Darcy, you—you saved us? And you have a rifle? I guess I wasn't paying attention. You're pretty good with that thing." Jamie says, evidently shocked by my aiming skills.

I shrug. "It's nothing, I'm glad to be of assistance."

"Thank you, Darcy," Brooke says embracing me in a hug, but pulls away because I wince in pain as she touches my shoulder. "Oh god, I'm sorry."

"It's okay," I tell her, "we should probably get some shelter, it's going to be dark soon."

"Right, good idea."

Sam leads the way to the house we parked outside of. He pries the door open with his crow bar. It's pretty untouched in the house, no sign of anything relatively apocalyptic here. Sam goes in to check out the kitchen; there's a vague smell of decaying food, so he closes the door and we all sit in a circle in the living room after letting the dog into the dining room with some tinned beef and a bowl of water.

We place our bags down and relax for just a second. We decided on having a feast. Well… if you can call a feast eating two tins of canned pasta and a spoonful of baked beans each between the four of us. Since the sun dipped below the rooftops we settle on only lighting two candles, and we all make our way to the upstairs of the house. It's safer up there.

"Darcy, how's your shoulder?" Brooke says, looking sad to be asking such an avoided question.

I just shrug in return. "I don't know." Sam brushes my hair over my other shoulder to get a better look. He starts wiping it with different wipes and cloths and chemicals from the medical kit. It stung, but I accepted it wasn't going to get better without it. But I knew, deep down, it wasn't going to get better at all.

I began to cry - the subtle, silent crying where you just shake uncontrollably. "I'm going to die, aren't I? I'm going to Turn." I look up at all three of them, they don't know what to say. Brooke is beginning to cry, Sam won't even return my eye contact. Even Jamie looks slightly upset.

"I don't want to Turn," I whimper, rocking back and forth, "I don't want you to see me like that, I don't want you to," I cry harder, balling up my fists and pressing them to my eyes. "I don't want to Turn, I don't want to Turn," I say over and over again between sobs. "What if I turn but I'm still in there? What if I can still see? What if I just have no control over my body? I can't cope with that, I can't do this." I sweep round and grab Sam's pistol from his back pocket.

I place it to my chin.

"No!" Sam cries, but I raise my hand as a warning. He freezes. Brooke can't even face me, she's crying too hard into Jamie's shoulder.

"Darcy, you can't do this." Sam's crying now, too. I've not seen him cry in so long, it makes my heart break just looking at him. "Just go to sleep, and we'll deal with things in the morning."

"I'll have Turned by the morning. You all know that." I shoot him an angry glance.

Sam tells Jamie and Brooke to give him and minute, and they leave quietly. He pulls me into his arms where I start crying even harder.

"Please don't do it, I won't let anything happen to you." Sam could persuade me to do anything he wanted, he was my weakness. "Please don't do it." He repeats and slowly takes the pistol from my hands.

"Promise me one thing." I say, grabbing his face in my hands. "If I Turn… shoot me, I don't want to live like that."

He cries into my hair. "If that's what you really want."

"I love you Sam," I sob, "I always have."

There's a lingering silence filled with the sounds of my helpless whimpers. "I know, Darcy."

"You do?" I say, looking him in the eye.

"I know because I've always loved you too."

I stay in his arms as long as he allows before he thinks it's time for me to rest. He tucks me into the duvet and kisses my forehead, tears still dripping down his cheeks. "Sleep well okay? I'll see you in the morning." Although I know he won't, I nod, and cry, and cry harder.

"Goodnight Sam," I know this is the last time I'll ever see his face. It'll be the last time I see his face as me, as Darcy, as a human. The next time I see his face, I'll have Turned, and he'll be looking at me down the barrel of his shotgun. "I love you."

"I love you more."

I was so exhausted, I fell asleep within minutes. Although all I could see is the hurt and pain on Sam's face when he said goodnight. I tossed in my sleep, until I heard the stepping of footsteps. In my room. And the cocking of a shotgun. And the heavy breathing of a male.

I cracked open an eyelid, ever so slightly. To reveal in the darkness a tall man with muscular build, he stepped closer in the light, and… blonde hair?

Jamie? Why was he pointing a shotgun at my head? I hadn't even Turned yet? He was going to kill me. I look him in the eye and he acknowledges me. It really hits me. He's going to kill me. He's going to kill me. I'm going to die.

"I'm sorry." He whispers.

The deafening sound of a fired bullet reverberates in my ears, I can't move. With a gentle exhale, everything goes black.  

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