The Diary of a Survivor

For 'The Walking Dead: A Zombie Inspired Writing Competition'
One of the most precious relics of the Juvenile Virus, or the more popularised ‘ZA’ after the famous account, is the diary of Natasha Crill. There is much we can learn about everyday life before the virus but the most interesting entries feature the virus itself in what is argued to be the most honest piece of literature of the time.
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7. Day 79

Day 79

Dad and I went on a supply run today.  We figured the streets would only get cluttered with Walkers so we thought we’d better go sooner rather than later.  We had this huge debate about it.  Dad stepped up.  He didn’t want any of us to go with him but that was stupid.  If something happened to him and he never came home?  How were we supposed to deal with that?  We survive better in a group, I told him, we can watch each other’s backs.

Mum had volunteered herself to go with him, stating our lives were more precious.  What a load of crap.  Josh was having none of it.  He said she’d be much better at home, having more skills than any of us in the medical region, having looked after us all our lives.  Josh and I’d been to A&E more times than I care to mention.

This is of course, where Josh stepped up.  No, no, no.  There wasn’t much argument here.  It was three against one.  There was no way we were letting his tiny eleven-year-old ass out of our sight.

So it fell to me.  Good.  It made the most sense.  I’d grown up wrestling with Alex and Jack, I could take care of myself. 

Armed with a kitchen knife in my belt and a baseball bat, we left the house.  At first we tiptoed hand-in-hand, darting through the streets like we were playing Dead Rising.  But we soon realised this was real life and we had a thousand things to worry about.  Like getting separated, or getting tired, or being cornered.

Dad knocked a few Walkers to the ground but mostly we just dodged them until we got to the supermarket.  We sprinted down the aisles, throwing everything we could into the rucksacks we’d brought, not thinking about what would last or what we could cook.  We were mainly concentrating on not bumping into any Walkers who were endlessly food shopping. 

By the time we skidded to a halt at the entrance, there was a wall of them.  Knocking them over was no good.  They just kept getting up. 

The difference between the recently turned and those undead from the beginning was horrifying.  Their skin took little time to turn grey and then it started coming off.  There were rips and tears revealing cartilage and bone.  In some places skin was clinging onto bone like Clingfilm.  Clothes were burned, torn, stained with guts or missing altogether, sometimes fusing themselves with their skin.  Their hair was all greasy and stuck together in clumps of blood and gore.  A few of them had no hair left but for a few strands over their eyes they didn’t push away.  For some reason that unnerved me more than the chomping jaws of bloodstained teeth and the zeal in which their bloodstained hands clawed for us.

Dad whispered to go to the left-hand side, as though they could understand our plan and launch a counterattack.

I nodded and gripped the bat tighter.  Then we threw ourselves at them.  Now I’m home and safe, what on earth were we doing?  I smashed a Walker in the face and the crunch and spatter of it all made me gag.  I had to force myself to concentrate to stop the accompanying attack of dizziness.  I found myself in survival mode as I pushed and shoved and cracked and hacked my way through the line of Walkers.  Out the other side, it was easy enough to race home.

The stench of them is something I won’t describe.  And that’s because I can’t.  All you should know is I threw up half way home, almost collapsing onto my hands and knees.  It was lucky Dad was there to pull me up.

My legs buckled as we returned.  Mum and Josh’s questions and concerns blurring as I shut my eyes and blocked the world out.

I awoke to a terrible dread churning my stomach that won’t leave, even now, hours and hours afterwards.  If I needed anything to remind me the world as I knew it had gone, killing a person would do it.

A Walker.  Not a person.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much I tell myself, I still can’t get that picture out of my head.  I had ended a life.  What gave me the right to do such a thing?  No, they were dead.  Long dead.  Self-defence, it was self-defence.  No court would convict us, it was the ZA.  But did that make it right?  What if that had been me?  I guess if I were a Walker I’d want to be put down.  I was being kind.  Wasn’t I?  I wasn’t a killer.

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