Eat Me, Drink Me: Vol. 1

After an epidemic spreads wildly throughout the world, Rosalie Sinclair finds herself in a world of dust, decay, and the undead. When she joins a small group on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, Rosalie believes she and her younger brothers, whom she swore to protect, would be safe. However, in the world where the dead walk and the living are devoured, no one is ever safe. Together, she and the group must fight for their lives amongst a growing sea of reanimated corpses, and no one knows whether they'll live another day, or die the moment they challenge the Walkers. Rosalie finds herself enveloped in a damaged world, and irreparable bonds that could be broken by a single bite.

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1. The Thirst is Taking Over

Chaos washes you away like the waves of the sea during a raging storm. If you're not careful enough, you'll be swept away—distanced from everything you ever knew, but when you're lost in an ocean of frenzied humans and snarling, flesh-eating reanimated corpses; it was nearly impossible to keep from being swept away. That wasn't going to stop me from trying. Amidst the screaming—the pushing and shoving—the fear; I remained surefooted with the hands of my brothers embraced tightly within mine.

When the televisions turned to static, and the emergency broadcasts stopped; chaos erupted. An epidemic, the news anchors were calling it, but that's not what it was—it was so much more than that. They didn't have all the information, but they were still reluctant to say what it truly was… the end. That's what it was—it was the end. The end of everything we knew… the end of everything we loved… the end of everyone we loved… the end of the world. At the time, I don't think anybody understood that, or what it meant. Some stayed and hid away; some packed what they could and fled; but their thought was universal—they believed there was hope still to be had. They thought it was only happening here—that there was some escape to it, but there wasn't. There was never a way to avoid it, but nobody said that, so how could that have been true? In some way, I think, they led us to believe that there was hope. In some way, I think, they were a huge factor in the death toll. They never told us that the world had ended, but, the world had ended.

Now, we were trying to escape the end of the world. The majority of the population that was living in my neighborhood was now flooding the streets, attempting to get out and reach safety. The vision of safety was likely universal—Atlanta. When the emergency broadcasts were still on our televisions, a shaky-voiced woman told us that a refuge in Atlanta was being created—somewhere the survivors could flee to, and remain survivors.

I was charging through the bodies of the living, and the dead, trying to reach my father's pickup truck. I was at the lead of the train my family had created. I had told my brothers to link hands and walk together as a chain, and to try their damnedest to remain unbroken. Some distance back, my father was barking orders at us. "Stay together! Get to the truck! Be careful! Push through them, they're dead anyway!"

Hearing my father insist that the people I grew to know as friends rather than just neighbors were dead anyway, was disheartening.

If they were dead; we were dead.

Despite my desire to allow fear to overtake my senses, I continued pushing through. My mission was to get my brothers to safety, and to keep them alive. Nothing was going to stop me from achieving that goal. Eager to finally reach the truck, I tugged on my youngest brother's hand, causing our grips to break, and my family to slip away. I stopped in my tracks and swung around, seeing their brunette-haired heads lost in the abyss. I threw myself forward, bulldozing through anything and everything. I threw a woman out of my way to see one of the undead corpses lunging at Ethan—that special little boy who I adored more than anything in this world. Instincts now controlling my body, I tackled it to the ground, and ordered my brothers to keep going.

The corpse had the upper-hand now. With my back pinned to the ground, and my hands desperately pushing it back by the sternum, I looked up to this ravenous creature to see the face of someone I once knew. Before the world had ended, her name was Eliza Caberry, an elementary school teacher in Chatham. She lived at the end of my street in a subtle olive green, modest, two-bedroom house with her husband and twin daughters. They were probably dead.

I almost wanted to stop fighting her—to let her rip the flesh from my bone, but I couldn't. Even though the chaos was so loud—so deafening—I could still hear Ethan screaming my name. Knowing that my precious and innocent baby brother was afraid, and crying for me; gave me the strength to shove Eliza into the pavement, and drive the small knife I had in-hand through her skull. Eliza Caberry: teacher, wife, mother, neighbor, and friend became the first corpse I had ever killed. That was something I vowed I would never forget.

I forced myself onto my feet, and waded through the sea of bodies back to my brothers. When I reached them, I took ahold of Ethan's hand for the second time, and continued to drag our chain across the street. Finally, we reached the truck, and we all piled inside. With Ethan curled up in my lap, I embraced him tightly within my arms and pulled him against my body. My father started the truck's engine and peeled down the street; completely disregarding the fact that he had crushed several bodies—alive, dead, and reanimated—underneath the vehicle.

I turned in the seat to look back at the neighborhood I had lived in throughout the entirety of my life. I said my silent goodbyes to it, knowing that this was the last time I was ever going to see it—ever going to be in it.

Before long, we were lost in the mountains. My father whipped around every bend so quickly that our bodies squished together with the movement. Just when I thought that my father wasn't capable of driving any faster, I felt the truck's velocity increase even further. I turned my head, and looked at his profile; to his tensed jaw; his sweat-dampened face. "You need to slow down," I told him, bracing myself on the dashboard when he soared around another turn. "Dad, slow down!"

"Goddammit, Rosalie!" he shouted at me in frustration, "just shut your goddamn mouth."

Obediently, I pressed my lips together, but I couldn't remain silent very long. When a sharp turn came along, and the truck tipped slightly to the left; I turned towards him again. "It would be pointless to have left the neighborhood if we were just going to die because of your psychotic driving! Slow the hell down, Dad!"

The warning came too late. By combination of the driving, the mountain, and my father's anger; the truck had gone off the mountain. It smashed roughly into the rocky mountainside, and began tumbling downwards. Our bodies were suspended in time and air alike, but not for very long before the five of us were pin-balling around in the compartment. Each impact was followed with unbearable pain. It would be a miracle to make it through this without any broken bones. When the truck finally reached the ground, it was upside-down, crunched together like a can of soda that had been stomped on.

After several painstakingly long minutes, my eyes fluttered open. Every inch of my body throbbed with unendurable pain, but the pain in my torso was searing—excruciating. I turned my eyes down to see a thick piece of metal from the frame of the truck was pierced into my side. I was the only one who had put a seatbelt on, therefore leaving me suspended upside-down with the truck. I reached a weak and quivering hand to the buckle, and unlocked it. Consequently, I slammed into the roof of the truck. I lifted my head to see Ethan curled up near the broken windshield, covered in blood. Ignoring all of the pain in my body, I quickly crawled over to him and pulled him into my arms. I shook him gently with panic in my bones. "Ethan," I called out quietly to him, "Ethan, baby, wake up."

A moment later, he slowly opened his eyes and looked up to me. "Are we in heaven?"

"No, baby, we're still alive."

I looked to passenger's side window to see that it was broken. I kept Ethan pressed tightly to my body as I crawled out of the truck. I set him down in the grass, told him to stay put, and went back inside for my other two brothers. Everett, who was older than Ethan, was sprawled out near the steering wheel. The extent of the blood on his body was coming from the deep gash near his hairline.

I crawled over to him, and pressed my hand to his arm. Immediately afterwards, he jerked back into consciousness. He looked up to me with wide, shocked eyes, and asked if everybody was okay. Even though I wasn't entirely positive, I told him we were. He was the next I pulled out of the truck, and into the grass. My next mission was to find Evan, who was the eldest of my brothers, but younger than me. I hadn't seen him in the truck, and could only assume that he had been ejected during the fall.

I stood up, preparing myself to search for him, but saw him ambling over to us. He was pale and bruised, but looked to have sustained the least amount of damage during the fall. He came to my side, and looked to our brothers huddled in the grass. "Where's Dad?"

"I haven't gone looking yet," I told him. "My first priority was you three."

"Find him," Evan told me, almost ordered. "I'll get them on their feet."

I looked back to Everett and Ethan reluctantly, but moved around the truck, anyway. It didn't take long to find my father. He had been ejected during the crash, and the roof of the truck had landed on top of him, but I only found his lower half pinned underneath the vehicle. There was a trail of crimson blood in the grass. I followed it, and a short distance away, I found the upper-half of my father's torso crawling away, leaving a trail of bloody, severed organs behind. When I approached him, he paused and turned onto his back. I looked down to him, feeling nauseous. His eyes were clouded over; a crystal shade of blue. His arm was reaching up for me, snapping his jaw hungrily. I looked down to the hunk of metal stuck into my side. I took a deep breath, wrapped my hands around it, and ripped it free from my body. A waterfall of blood began pouring out of the wound, but I knelt down, watching the growling and unhuman mess that my father had become—that my father, honestly, had always been, and drove the piece of vehicle frame into his head. I stood back up, covered my wound with my palm, and returned to my brothers. The fours of us walked away from crash in silence, still searching for safety.

After the end came the beginning.

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