I woke up, breathing heavily and winded. I knew it wasn’t just a dream. It never seems to be nowadays. Groans permeated the room, heavy thumps and gratings emanating from the staircase. I jumped up, already dressed for travelling. Muddy-green long-sleeved T-shirt, deep black jeans, blue-black trainers, and an ashy grey travelling backpack. Dark colours to blend into the current darkness of the world. I shoved my arms through my backpacks straps, and picked up my baseball bat as the pounding started on my door. My ears and mind were on over drive as I dragged two pillows, a duvet, and all my dirty laundry to the window. I heard creaking and groaning from the door, and the source beyond. I shoved them out into the balmy night as a loud crack resonated from my only defence. I whirled, as hands; dirty, rotten, and moulded, grasped the air, reaching, clawing, and trying to grab the hunk of flesh standing all of three metres away. I turned, sat on the window ledge, and was about to jump when my head started to swim. ‘Not now!’ I thought in desperation, as my stomach churned, mouth dry. I retched, as I smelt the decomposing corpses behind me. “RUN!!!” I screamed, as hands groped my hair, shirt, and nails dug into my skin and pulled me back from freedom… from life.
Chapter One-The First Symptom-Cannibalism
I wasn’t aware that the world was slowly dying around me. I was tucked away, scarily oblivious to the world, in a ranch in the deserted plains of Arizona. The first indication of trouble were the sheep. They wouldn’t eat, and they would shy away from anyone they saw. We also saw hordes of bodies of the horizon, shambling one way, and then the other. Standing out in the middle of a sandstorm, snarling as they were picked up and carried away, being flung against the ground, shattering like so many glass figures on the floor. The horses were the next sign. One of my favourites, Romeo, was bitten by something on the rear leg, so we put up the defences for wolves, coyotes, etc. Romeo died soon after, and his mate, Juliet, was none the wiser. We just marked his death as infection. We left the body out overnight, to dry for market tomorrow, but we didn’t have the chance. The next morning Romeo was stumbling around the grounds, biting any horses who came near. They all dropped like flies, and we had no choice but to shoot Romeo. As the other horses stared picking themselves up, we had to waste 15 shells of our shotgun ammo on dispatching them. A week later the same thing happened to the sheep. All of our livestock was gone. My father and I had no choice but to hit the road, all of our worldly possessions left at home, and only a couple changes of clothes, and the most precious of mementos came with us.