Pain. Fear. Confusion. I sobbed at Erica’s pale face and her wrapped up, cut arm. I can’t do this. I have no idea what’s going on and no idea what to do.
Erica points to a supply closet up ahead, her teeth biting down hard on her lip, making it bleed.
My left arm now supporting Erica’s body, I stagger to the supply closet, frightened and watching out for anything charging towards us. Once I get there, I prop Erica up on the floor and search for some sort of bandage. My cardigan is now soaked with blood and Erica is losing a lot of it. I have no choice. I have to go out there.
“Erica, listen! I need to go and find a bandage! You’ll be safe, trust me.” She replies with a nod. She must feel really weak not to argue against the idea.
I rush out the door, making sure I close it tight. Everything is messed up. Everything. And it’s not just because of the ‘things’ but because of the amount of people stealing. I need to find a bandage. But where? All I know, is that there is a drug store round the corner from the shopping mall. That’s the nearest place for a bandage. Without a thought, I sprint. However, no matter how close I get to one of the ‘things’, it doesn’t attack me. Am I missing something? Course I am.
Arriving at the drug store fills me with relief. There aren’t many of the murderous creatures there. In fact, there aren’t any at all. But people have guns. And they don’t look like they’re afraid to shoot for products. I scavenge for a pack of bandages and when I get desperate, I even start to beg people to look with me. Eventually, I find them, grabbing three. Exiting the store and passing the corner shops to the shopping mall, I snatch a bottle of vodka from the corner shop that I used to buy candy from every week, when I was in middle school. It’ll have to do.
Approaching the shopping mall’s supply closet, I’m shocked at how I didn’t get injured or bitten. Not once. Nothing even tried to get me. Nothing.
“You survived?” Erica whispers, gritting her teeth.
“Yeah! What? You didn’t believe in me.” And then I see her grin.
“Did you get it?” Erica asks, her eyes almost closed.
“Yeah…this might hurt…” I unwrap the cardigan, tossing it to the side. I look at her arm, sickly. As long as it doesn’t go black and she can still feel her arm, then everything should be okay. I ignore her whine and screaming.
“Erica, this is going to hurt a lot. Okay, one, two, three-” I count down. And after I say three, I pour the vodka over her arm. Screaming, I hold down Erica’s mouth. We can’t let anything know we’re in here.
“It’s okay! If it hurts, it’s a good sign that you’ll be okay!” I assure her, stroking her hair. “You’ll be okay!” I repeat again and again until her scream quietens down. Then I wrap the bandage around her cut arm, tucking the end of it into the first layer. I open the door to take a peek outside to check if anything can get to us. It sees me. I make eye contact with one of the creatures. I shut the door quickly. Because of me, it knows we’re here. I hear it fists bang at the door, its croaky voice, groaning. My breaths become quick. It speeds up. Quicker and quicker. Then nothing. Black.
“Jane?” A voice calls my name. It isn’t Erica. It’s too deep. My eyes open, a blurred vision of a creamy ceiling is all can see. Then a face. But not Erica’s face. A boy’s face. His skin pale and hair dark, his eyes dark brown and friendly.
“Erica?” I manage to murmur.
“Your friend’s okay! She’s resting.” I hear the boy’s voice again. I clumsily sit up straight, observing the supply closet we’re in. I didn’t realise how big it was for a supply closet. However, this time, it isn’t just me and Erica.
“We were trying to hide. We saw the supply closet and thought that it would be empty. Then we found you and your friend.” Another man says, his arm around a little girl with mousy brown pigtails.
After I regain the colour to my face and the dizziness in my head has gone, I ask, “Who are you?” That is all that pops into my head.
“Oh, sorry. I’m Charlie.” The boy with dark hair says, half smiling but half nervous. “Your friend, Erica, told us you fainted or something…”
“She was pretty worried and when we came, she fell asleep.” He pauses, “Sorry, I’m Phil. This is my daughter, Delilah.” The man explains, looking down at his child. Her face is stained with tears, fear dancing in her eyes.
“What are they?” I finally ask. This time, I need an answer.
“You mean the-? I don’t know.” Charlie answers, “Could be the zombie apocalypse.” He grins.
“Why aren’t you afraid?” I question, my voice filled with fury.
“…I am afraid. No, I’m petrified but I’m just glad I’m not on my own. I found Phil and Delilah running and I found Zola on the ground.” He looks back to a girl I hadn’t noticed before. Her skin is dark but splattered in blood and what would be long pretty braids is now a tangled bun of bloody braids, some sticking out as if someone might have pulled on it. Her eyes are looking down at her lap, as she sits and fiddles with her thumbs, shakily.
“Is she okay?” I ask, staring at her.
“She’s shocked…but who wouldn’t be?”
“Erica didn’t seem so shocked. It’s like she knew exactly what was going to happen.” I remember, biting my lip. And no one says a thing after that. Everything still and quiet apart from Delilah’s crying. If it wasn’t for the catastrophe outside, this would be a very awkward moment.
“There are more people out there that we need to save!” Charlie finally breaks through the silence.
“We can’t stay here.” Zola say, softly. So soft and quiet that it’s almost silent.
“I saw a building up ahead. As far as I could see, it was pretty empty.” Phil suggests.
“What building?” Curiously, I ask.
“That yoga place! With the crazy lady…you know?”
“I don’t but we need to wake up Erica. I’m not leaving her here.”
Waking up Erica brought pain to my chest and throat. She looked dead and sickly and it was far from what she normally looked like.
“Jane?” She murmurs.
“Erica! Look, we need to keep moving. It may hurt but we can’t stay here forever.” I explain as simply as possible.
“Is my arm okay?” She asks, as I lift her into a straight back seating position.
“It’s not black…can you still feel it?” I ask, a shaky tone in my voice.
“Yeah. Help me up.” She commands, her good arm wrapped, tightly, around my shoulder. I drag her up, gently and look at the others.
“We need to go! We need to be quick or one of those…things…will get us.” Phil informs, opening the door slightly. “It’s clear! Hurry!” He pushes Delilah and Charlie out the door, supporting Erica with an arm around her neck. Phil was right. It is pretty clear. Almost too clear. The only movement in the area are of bags, packets of food, bottles, bins rolling around and a breeze of leaves. Where is everyone?
“How long did I pass out for?” I ask, puzzled.
“I don’t know. We stayed in the closet for about three hours and you must have been there for longer so I’m not totally sure. Five hours, maybe?” Charlie guesses, twisting his head back at me. “Who cares? I’d rather it be empty than filled with whatever those things were.”
“Hmmm.” I hum.
“There it is!” Phil gasps, his finger pointing to the building he spoke about. We ran. We ran as fast as we could to the doors, opening it with all our strength.
“Guys?” I hear Zola’s voice. Not so soft, this time.
“Wha-” I turn around. There they are. Standing still, some lying on the floor, some dragging themselves out buildings and shops.
“Shhh!” Charlie hushes, putting his finger to his lips. Delilah’s starts to whimper, tears rolling down her cheeks fast. Bursting out into a loud cry, she leaps into the building, screaming for us to get in. Then they start to run for us. Every single one we can see. Whatever they are, I can see them even closer now. Gross, unreal and monstrous.
We barge into the building, tumbling onto one another, Erica’s scream piecing through my eyes. Phil slams the doors shut with his foot, veins showing in his neck, his face flushed with red.
“Get something to stop it!” He yells. I get up, along with Charlie and we search for something. A sofa. There’s only one and it’s small. Not enough to stop them from coming in but enough to give us time.
“MOVE!” Charlie shouts, above the noise. And we push the sofa until it reaches the glass doors and blocks them from entering.
“Who has entered my class?” A voice is heard at the dark back of the room.
“Erin?!” Delilah shouts with relief.
“Erin?” Phil copies.
“Who’s Erin?” Zola mutters, her eyes confused, looking at me. I shrug.
“She goes to our church!” Phil explains. “Erin, we need to escape!” He says, with panic. The sofa begins to move forwards as the doors open slightly.
“Guys, they’re getting in.” Charlie warns us.
“Erin, come on! Is there a back door?” Phil asks, his arms and hands shaking with anxiety.
“There is one over there.” Her hand gestures to her right. I can see her now. She is crossed legged, her hands on her knees, her palms facing upwards. She’s meditating.
“Let’s go!” Phil tells her but she shakes her head.
“God is the creator and he knows what he is doing. There is a reason for this. I shall not escape it. You should not escape it.” Erin’s voice is soft, clear and gentle. Absolutely no panic in her tone like the rest of us.
“I WANNA STAY WITH ERIN!” Delilah screams, running behind Erin.
“You’ll die!” Phil points out to Erin.
“I am dying anyway with Tuberculosis and I shall then be free in heaven.” Erin replies, opening her eyes. The sofa moves again.
“Phil, we have to go!” Charlie exclaims.
“I’m staying here.” Delilah refuses, stomping her feet.
“WE HAVE TO GO!” Charlie yelps again, this time loudly and harshly. We scramble for the doors and even Erica tries her hardest not to yell with pain. Phil leaps in and carries Delilah and we escape out the back doors, just in time for the creatures to break in. I don’t hear a scream from Erin. Not even a small cry. Was she not scared? Did they even get her?
Then we realise, we didn’t escape out doors that lead to the outside. We just entered another room. With more people in. Fortunately, for us, they are not infected or bitten. They’re safe. We’re safe.