The Man in the Jewellery Shop
Do you know what the worst thing about the zombie apocalypse was?
Well, there was actually two things.
Surprisingly, the first wasn't scrounging food out of dead people's pockets. It wasn't getting a maximum of three hours of sleep a night. It wasn't even being in an alien country, with no idea if your mother, father or sister were alive, a whole world away. Though, that did suck, to put it in American.
The worst thing about the zombie apocalypse was definitely no YouTube. In the first few days my hands were literally shaking from withdrawal of my favourite bloggers and gamers. Thankfully, fuck-knows-how-much-later, it subsided to a dull ache.
YouTube would have been so useful back then! I could have looked up a zombie survival guide. I could have posted videos updating my location and status. But my phone was dead in my pocket and I was fairly sure there's no internet around there anyway.
The second worst thing, was no fully functioning bathrooms.
I needed a shower. A nice, hot shower. I needed one, I'm telling you. And a real toilet would have been nice, not a ditch in the ground or an empty bin. I know, I couldn't be picky, but if you had been in my situation, you would have been complaining, too.
No YouTube. No fully-functioning bathrooms. First world problems, right there.
I was in a city at the time. It was huge, and desolate. The silence was deafening. Where were the zombies? Why hadn't they attacked me? I had watched enough zombie films to know that shit hits the fan right around then, when all is quiet. And I didn't know where I was. Seriously, I didn't even know what state I was in, let alone what city. The school trip was in Washington DC. How far could I have travelled? If I knew the time I could estimate, but I hadn't the foggiest idea how long I'd been like that, wandering alone across America.
I had seen about ten people the entire time since the apocalypse started. I traded with a couple I found about a month ago, some water for a raincoat. Since then I has seen no-one, only my reflection in puddles when it rained.
My feet went to turn down an alley. I stopped, sensing some kind of danger. My hand went to Ludwig. Ludwig was my screwdriver I had stolen from the hotel maintenance office in DC. He was my chief weapon, and my way of keeping sane. I constantly chatted to him.
The alley was narrow, I could place both my hands on either wall. There looked to be a street at the end, and numerous back doors and fire escapes along the way. It looked dangerous, if something clattered out one of those doors I had no room to run away. I'd be dead. But, it did look promising. I set of at a quiet sprint, which was easy, given my clothing.
I was wearing my school uniform. Since I had been in my room in my pyjamas when I heard the first screams, it had given me time to dress. I layered on the clothing, wearing an undershirt, two blouses, my tie (don't judge, it was school pride) and my jumper. I left my blazer behind. My skirt was thick enough, and I wore two pairs of tights as well as my posh shoes Mum had bought just for the trip. The first set of tights was more holes than tights, and my jumper and skirt were tattered and ripped at the bottom, but it still kept me warm.
Thankfully, the alley wasn't half grassed over or covered in moss, the way they are at home. It was smooth and easy to run over, and I made it to the end safely.
There was a street here. it looked to have been a busy shopping street, once upon a time. There were pulled shop shutters and weather-beaten posters hanging on the walls. There was another side alley, but this one had a door flung wide open. It was a jewellery shop, called Eosé, I knew that much. Jewellery shops had to be secure, right? So maybe it would be safe enough to hunker down in for the night.
I stepped inside, gripping Ludwig so right my knuckles turned as white as snow. Inside, in the darkness I could still see glass cases of jewellery, and the stench of death was heavy in the air. I looked for the source, eventually coming to an open door I didn't see. I found it.
What I saw next would be burned into my mind for as long as I lived. There was a zombie slumped against a radiator. I noticed he was cuffed to it. Did he do that to himself? What happened to him? He had dark skin and hair, he was wearing a blue shirt and jeans, and he only had one arm. He looked up, and he noticed me.
He began to pull on the handcuff, gargling and snarling, those soulless eyes locking with mine, and there wasn't a piece of humanity left in them. How long had he been like this? Was it punishment by a group, or suicide? I backed up to the wall, never losing sight of him.
"God. Oh, god..." I murmured. I was feeling sick to my stomach, as the mans stump of arm was reaching out to try and get me. It was thin and pale, suggesting he had been there longer than I expected. Who could be heartless enough I leave someone like that, alone and trapped in an undead hell. Was anyone with him when he died? Were they crying, or laughing?
I knew what I could do, of course. I could end it, be humane unlike whoever left him. I hadn't much time to decide. Ludwig was in my hand, and his groans were getting louder. I began to creep slowly towards the man.
Every step I took made him louder and more agitated, so I had to pick up the pace until I was face to face with him. A quick stab to the eye would be all it took. I tried to psyche myself up. "C'mon Sorcha, it's only a zombie," I had killed zombies before, but it was nothing like this, a defenceless one armed one. His stump was reaching up to me, trying to claw me. I took a deep breath.
"Mister, I am so fucking sorry," I whispered. I could feel the sob choking me. I was crying for a zombie. "Man up, woman!" I thought to myself. I raised Ludwig up to the height of his eyes. It was as if he looked at the screwdriver, and I could swear I saw a hint of humanity return to those dead brown eyes.