Not Your Typical Love Story

Get it? Get it? I made a Taylor Swift song dark and zombified... It's about a girl named Josie, telling the story of The Rising to the neighborhood children ("We were both young when I first saw you"). She was a teenager, coming home from her nemesis Marissa's Sweet Sixteen party that was Victorian themed, and she can still see it from her house ("see the lights, see the party, the ball gowns"). Her crush and best friend, Andrew, comes running while she is changing out of the ball gown and is standing there in the white dress she wore underneath the petticoats and taking down her hair ("go pick out a white dress"). His prince clothes are kind of torn, the lights at the party are out, and he, Andrew, says "Hey, Josie, we have to run! Meet me at The Secret Garden Cafe out in the back in ten minutes! I'll be waiting!" ("See you make your way through the crowd and say hello", "I'll be waiting, all that's left to do is run")...

Ish. Not a direct correlation, of course. Read up!


2. The Story

                I sighed, looking out into the evening distance. All dressed up in the best gown I could find for cheap, my hair done nice, and I get kicked out of Marissa's Sweet Sixteen. Oh, well. Looking out at the party on the balcony is fine. I went inside to start getting out of this heavy-sleeved dress; it definitely doesn't fit this hundred-degree weather.

                "Josie! Hello, Josie!" calls a voice from outside. "Josie, come quick!" I take off the hoop skirt and the dress itself and run to the balcony in the silk white under dress I'd been wearing underneath the whole time. Hoops skirts and petticoats itch, you know?

                "Andrew," I say, blushing at the sight of him. His prince attire for Marissa's Sweet Sixteen definitely didn't match me anymore, but my first and only love standing down there looking up at me on the balcony still made me feel like a princess. I let loose some more of the bobby pins in my hair.

                "How very Romeo Montague of you," I laughed, but he didn't laugh back. "What's going on? Aren't you supposed to be at her party?" I asked. I looked over to Marissa's house, not too far from mine. Just a second ago, the lights were on and everyone was dancing. Now it was pitch black and silent.

                "No time! Just meet me behind mom's café in ten!" Andrew said, running out. We've been best friends since we were kids, and I've never seen him act so weird. I went downstairs and kicked my shoes on, going after him. He was out of sight, but I know the exact way to The Secret Garden Café, his mom's little joint in town.

                "Josie? Where are you going?" my dad asked from inside. I stopped and turned around; my dad was the main authority of the house.

                "Andrew called me out to the café, to be there in ten minutes. I've got to head out." I replied. He sighed, putting his index finger and thumb on the bridge of his nose.

                "Jo-Jo, stay away from Andrew. He's trouble." he said calmly, going inside to read the paper once more. Tears welled up in my eyes, but I blinked them back. My dad had always liked Andrew; what was going on?

                "Jo-Jo, stay here… Please don't go." Suddenly, the lights began to dim, one by one, coming towards me. I backed away, staying where it was light. I was right to do it, too; Dad's voice started to become grumbly and sickly.

                "Jo-Jo, come closer." he grumbled, his skin going gray. What hair he had left fell out. "Jo-Jo…" On that last "Jo", the skin of his cheeks began to tear, and half of his facial skin tore off. I screamed and started to back out of the doorway. Half of his face was rotting and gray, the other half almost completely skeletal. He staggered towards me, as if every step was a challenge.

                I ran out the door as fast as I could, watching as all the lights in the houses slowly dimmed to black behind me.

                "Jo-sie… Don't go… Stay away from your Romeo…" called my dad from the house in an eerie tone. I sprinted as fast as I could in ballet flats, turning a right and going into town. I ran behind the café and panted, completely out of breath.

                "Josie! Thank goodness you're safe!" Andrew said, completely unharmed.

                "Andrew, what's happening? Dad just… just mutated right in front of me! Into some kind of zombie! The lights went dark and half of his face just… fell off!"

                "It's the Rising. They warned us of an apocalypse but since nobody listened… Basically, stay outdoors. The lights dim in a room and you're killed from the cold." says Andrew quietly.

                "Oh… stay with me." I said, clutching his arm. Although now wasn't the time to think of romance, I couldn't help it. Andrew has always been my first crush and having him protecting me like my prince was so chivalrous and romantic. He'd always believed me, throughout rumors and fights. When society gives me a scarlet letter, he's the white out.

                "Close your eyes." Andrew said suddenly.  "It helps with the fear factor to not feel like you're here. I'll tell you if anything comes up."

                "Oh, okay." I blinked my eyes shut, grabbing onto his arm a little tighter. I could feel my feet sinking into the garden area out back where the outdoor tables were. I wondered where Andrew's parents were, and if my mom was okay.

                I felt something start to seep alongside me and soak into my white dress. I opened my eyes and saw the red liquid getting thicker and thicker, dying the bottom of my skirt and rising higher through the fabric.

                "Um… Andrew?" I asked.

                "Not now, Josie. We have to keep quiet, because we're dead if they knew." Andrew answered, not even looking to see what was wrong. He was intent on staring at the building. I tugged more at his sleeve.

                "Andrew! Look!" I hissed. He sighed and looked to see the blood rising up my skirt. His eyes widened.

                "Dude, my mom keeps feminine care products inside but we can't get in there." Andrew said, inching a little away from me. I blushed angrily, tugging him back.

                "It's not mine, you idiot!" I seethed. He saw the blood trail, and I watched as the blood started to turn from the maroon color to a brighter red that was almost orange.

                "The vermillion hue!" Andrew whispered to himself. I didn't even question his conspiracy knowledge anymore. "That means…"

                "…we're close by." said the sickly sweet voice of Marissa Hoffstader. I turned around quickly to see her, deteriorated, blood staining what was a perfect pink dress. I shrieked, and Andrew covered my mouth.

                Her blonde hair, put in such a fancy updo earlier, was falling out. Her skin was greener than my dad's was. The skin of one of her hands was completely gone, and her glove had been torn through to reveal bone-only fingers. Behind her were ten more girls, living dead who looked worse and worse. Blood dripped from Marissa's torn-apart hands, and from other parts of the girls that had been ripped off. One of the girls had only one eye, and that empty socket bled the most. I screamed from inside Andrew's hand cupping my mouth.

                Andrew picked me up like a princess and made a run for it. I clung to my prince for dear life and looked around behind me. It seemed like the younger they were when they died, the longer they had to chase after us. Andrew didn't seem to be losing stamina, either; I noticed when I looked up into my prince's eyes. He saw me and flashed the cheekiest grin with a wink.

                "Where do we go, m'lady?" he asked. I blushed, trying to think over what that could mean in boy language and how to answer the question.

                "The house across from mine had an old-style tornado shelter, with preserves and candles. But there are no electric lights in it to fade out. Will that work?" I suggested, still blushing like a maniac.

                "Perfect!" Andrew exclaimed, squeezing me closer to him and running faster towards my neighborhood. We got to the back of Mr. and Mr. Johnson's house and I pointed out the wooden doors to the shelter. We opened them and jumped inside; breaking and entering wasn't really a problem anymore, considering there were people intent to kill us coming after us.

                I lit a candle and Andrew bolted the doors shut. I lit a few more, and we inspected what we had and how long we could live in there.

                "Hmm… There's a bucket which I'm guessing is for bathroom use, a baseball bat, dozens of cases of water, hundreds of cans of preserved fruits and veggies and soups… We could live forever here." Andrew said, taking off the already-unbuttoned coat of his prince costume and hanging it up. Blood soaked part of his undershirt from when he'd been carrying me to run. It was the same old maroon color again, and I felt relieved.

                "Hey, no sweat. At least we're alone." Andrew said. "Nothing can kill us now."

                "Andrew… I have to tell you something." I said quietly. If we're going to die, I might as well get this off my chest. Andrew looked up at me, noticed how red I am, and the smile wiped off his face.

                "What's up, Jo-Jo?" he asked, stepping a little closer to me. "Is something wrong? Did you get hurt?"

                "Andrew… Andrew, you're everything to me. When I'm in trouble you're there. We watch movies together like The Princess Bride, and we mimic the characters and the funny scenes afterwards. You tell me the truth, and I do the same. We know everything about each other, and I love you. I needed to tell you in case we die tonight; I needed to let you know." I said as quickly as I could. It was like ripping off a bandage.

                "Josie… You're saying I didn’t have to hide this the whole time, either?" Andrew asked, slipping his hand into mine. I instantly looked up at him, but it didn't last long; holding hands became a long embrace. We both sank to our knees, and tears started flowing from my eyes. He never let me go, but he pulled back and looked at my face.

                "I feel the exact same way." Andrew said, and I pulled in for a kiss. It all seemed so surreal, this love story of ours. Everything was happening so fast. As we started going somewhat farther than a simple little kiss, a bang on the top of the tornado door shocked us apart.

                The skirt of my dress was practically glowing with vermillion, and Andrew grabbed me into another hug again. We watched the door, and I buried my head into his shoulder when it blasted apart. Marissa landed inside, and one of her arms fell out of the socket when she hit the floor of the shelter. I inched closer to the baseball bat, watching Marissa and ten of the girls come toward us. We had no way of fighting back except for that bat, but letting go of Andrew was not an option. Marissa threw me out of the hug, but our hands were still connected.

                "Please don't go!" I begged Andrew. He held my hand tighter than before.

                "One of you has to go… If we take Andrew, then Josefina will be safe." said Marissa, staring at me with those glazed-over eyes. I shuddered.

                "Andrew!" I cried, as our fingers started to slip. Now Angelina Grayson was pulling at Andrew, and Marissa at me.

                "One of you must be sacrificed. Pick." Marissa said. It was getting more and more difficult to stay hand in hand.

                "I'll do it." Andrew said. I gasped, squeezing his hand.

                "Andrew, we'll make it out of this mess!" I bawled. "Don't listen to Marissa! Stay with me! Please, don't go!"

                Andrew, sighed, sitting in silence as they tore us apart.

                "I'm getting tired of waiting!" shrieked Jennifer Carignan as she began to bite at his wrists, and he winced. Angelina gnawed at mine, too.

                "Hey… Josie?" Andrew said quietly. I looked up into his eyes as they filled with tears. My faith in Andrew keeping his promise to never leave was beginning to fade.


                "… as you wish." Andrew said, quoting Wesley and letting go of my hand. They swarmed Andrew and I screamed.

                "No!" I cried, grabbing the bat from the corner. There were a few dead spiders on the handle, but I didn't care. I swung at the heads of what were formerly my classmates. I hit Jennifer first.

                "This is for taking my love!" I screamed, knocking her head off with a thwack. Blood spattered onto my arms and front, but I didn't care. I swung at Angelina, Karen, Willow, Bonnie, Iris, Quinn, Hayley, and Caroline, killing them all. I was almost completely covered in vermillion.

                I pulled at Marissa's shirt, wondering why my first move wasn't to kill all of them.

                "And this is for making me completely alone!" I screeched, bashing the bat into her face. At last, the vermillion disappeared from sight and became the normal reddish-maroon. I turned to see if Andrew was okay.

                The light from his eyes had completely disappeared.

                "Oh, my dear sweet Westley… What have I done?" I said, quietly, bursting into tears. That was the moment when the light of my eyes had disappeared, too.

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