Living Dead

When you wake up to start a day at work, only to find you’re in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.

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1. Commute

November 13th, 2020. It's 7am, time to wake up, get out of bed and do the usual morning routine, all to get ready for just another standard day at work. Little did I know this standard day was going to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.

Pretty much every morning starts with a coffee and a cigarette. I stepped outside on to the balcony of my flat and proceeded to light up. Seemed rather quiet this morning, but it was rather early on a Saturday morning, so naturally you expect it to be quiet. As I pulled my phone out of my pocket to have a look on social media I notice my phone network was down. I tried calling my friends but wasn't getting through. As I don't really use my mobile that often, it wasn't really a big shock to me so the phone just went back in my pocket.

I finished my cigarette and coffee and headed back in, threw my jacket on, put all the essentials in my pocket and began the walk to work. I work in the local supermarket so luckily I only have a ten minute walk. Like most people I always have my headphones in, the music blaring and normally walk with my head down, being completely oblivious to the world around me.

As I got to the end of my street to cross the road there was still no people to be seen, or any traffic around which, by now, is a bit unusual but being a bit of a social reject I like the quiet, so it kind of made me happy there was no traffic or people. It just meant a smoother walk to work.

On the other side of the road there is a long footpath which hasn't got much lighting and is surrounded by trees so it's kind of hard to see much at night, or in my case, in the early hours of the morning. But as I started heading down it I did happen to spot, what I could only assume, was a homeless man sleeping underneath a tree. He was making random jerking movements as he laid on the floor but as there are a few 'tramps' around my town naturally I just assumed he was a drunken tramp and proceeded on my way.

Having strolled nearly three quarters of the way there and still not seen any cars or people I was getting the feeling I was in an apocalypse. Being a big zombie fan I have always played out a few scenarios in my head of how great (or un-great) it would be to actually be part of an apocalypse.

There is a street at the back of the car park, of the place I work at, which I had just approached, that looks like the perfect set of a horror film so every time I'm down this road my mind goes in to major overkill with plotting a zombie fest.

As I got to the back of the car park I headed over to the smoking shelter, where all employees have to go for a cigarette, to have a cheeky cig before I start my shift. It was then I happened to notice something wasn't quite right as the car park was rather empty. Being a Saturday, it's never this quiet on the weekends, so something had to be wrong. Being in the town centre, where there is currently a lot of roadworks going on, our shop does seem to get a ridiculous amount of power cuts so maybe that's what was going on today.

As I finish my cigarette, I notice it is still a bit early so I took a seat on the floor for a bit. I got my phone out to see if it had any signal yet but it didn't. Having been sitting there for ten minutes it was time for one last smoke before I went in. I stood up and noticed some movement out the corner of my eye. As I looked over I noticed somebody kind of stumbling very slowly down the alley. It seemed a bit coinsidental seeing two drunks on the same morning, but seeing as it was the weekend, naturally I didn't think anything of it. I spark up my cigarette and carry on watching this drunk women attempt to make it down the path. Now normally I just laugh at this sort of thing but something seemed very off with this person. As she got to the gate that led on to the car park she lost her balance and fell into the bushes. At this point I did snigger slightly but continued to watch. That was it for now, show was over she had, what I assumed, probably fallen asleep in the bush.

Who doesn't love a bit of a story to tell your mates when you get in to work, and I certainly couldn't wait to tell someone about this. As I put my cig out it was time to get this work day started. Time to find out why we were so quiet. I headed down to the store but as I got closer I noticed all the lights were still on, so obviously it wasn't a power outage. I couldn't wait to get inside and find out what was going on. So I sped up slightly but as I got nearer the entrance I slowed right down. Having had a little scope around there was still nobody, staff or customers, in sight. Now considering this is in the middle of the town centre, as well as next to a busy train line, surely there must be someone around. It was at this point I took my headphones out and turned my music off.

Dead silence filled the air. It was the weirdest feeling. No cars, planes, trains or even any birds that normally are quite noisy this time in morning. I proceeded to the front doors, thinking if something's wrong they would be locked, but I was wrong. As the automatic doors slid open. I walked forward, the music in the shop was still playing but there was still nobody to be seen or heard. Now seeing as the shop opens at 6am and the time was coming up to 9am there would normally be all the checkout lanes open and plenty of people around the shop. Well this was certainly not the case today. I headed to the back of the shop to the staff doors to see if there was anyone out the back. Walking up the corridor I come to the first room, the managers office. Slowly opening the door I bent my head round it, nobody was in. Next room, the administration office, again I opened the door slowly, bent my head round, but again no one to be seen. Having checked all the rooms I was starting to think the whole shop had been abandoned, but I wasn't leaving till I had checked. I got to the end of the corridor and proceeded up the stairs to where the staff cafeteria and toilets are. As I approached the top of the stairs I could here someone moving. I quickly ran up the stairs and swung open the door to the top corridor only to be met with silence once again. Did I just hear a person? Or was it just something else like the wind? Either way I was determined to find out. I headed over to the men's toilets. There was two doors in the toilets. I held open th first one and started to open the second, which had a squeaky hinge. As I proceeded to push the door there was a rather loud creek which echoed round the toilets and down the corridor. Suddenly there was the sound of shuffling at the end of the corridor to which I quickly came out the toilets and went to investigate. Who or what ever was there had gone. There was definitely someone or something up here and I needed to find out who. I headed down the corridor to the staff cafeteria. Opened the door, but there was no one there. I stepped in to the cafeteria and walked over to the kitchen. I opened the door to the kitchen area and stepped in. As I shut the door behind me I knocked a spoon off the table which let out a loud clanging sound. I quickly dropped to the floor and put my hands on it to stop it rattling. Suddenly there was more shuffling coming from outside the canteen so I jumped up, swung the kitchen door open, ran out the canteen and into the corridor, but no one was there. Just left of the canteen door was a room which all the power switches and other essential switches are kept. So I figure that must be where they are hiding. I head over and open the door, just as I ease it open someone comes running over and slams it shut. "Who's in there?" I asked, but no one answered. I bang the door with my fist and asked again. I heard a voice say, "Johnny, is that you?", "Yeah who's that?" I asked as a feel of relief came over me for I had a feeling I knew who it was. The door suddenly opened and someone appeared in front of me. "Quick get in" they shouted, as they grabbed my arm and pulled me in. It was my boss Gary.

"What the fuck's going on?" I asked. "I'm not completely sure I only know a few details, but what I do know is there are dead people walking around out there that eat people". I quickly stepped in "You mean zombies?". To which he said "I suppose that's what you could call them, we refer to them as z's. I witnessed them biting some of the other staff members and they then turned into them." "Other staff members?" I asked, "What do you mean? Is there anyone left anywhere?" Gary then showed me to the back of the room where, in a moment of relief, were some other colleagues and a handful of other people. "Holy shit, Johnny?" I heard as I looked over to see one of my closest friends, Lee, who also worked here. He jumped up, ran over to me and wrapped his arms around me. "How the fuck did you make it here?" He laughingly said. "Fuck that, how did you guys get up here?" To which Lee went on to explain, "It all kicked off at this morning about 7am. It seemed like there was a fight or a riot outside the front of the store, so a load of us went to investigate. By the time I got out there, only a few staff members were left standing. But they weren't normal. They were twitching and making husky, groaning noises. Then they started coming at us. Phones were down and no emergency services were around so we gathered everybody we could and headed up here where we knew we could hide and barricade those big doors. Gary has a team downstairs now clearing the shop so we can get it all sealed off and try and come up with a plan." "I ain't fucking staying here I need to see if my family are ok." I shouted as I quickly stood up. Lee stood up next to me, put his arm round my shoulder and said "So do I, but we can't just go wandering around out there. We will stay here for a bit, make sure these guys are safe then I'll come with you and we'll head to your parents house, then to mine.". "Cheers buddy." I said as a single tear rolled down my cheek.

All these secaniaros that I had played over in my head, and the countless hours of gaming. Yet here I was, literally stuck in the middle of a zombie outbreak and had no clue what to do next. All I knew was my family were out there. With no way of knowing if they were safe or any way of contacting them. Regardless of what the plan was with these guys, my next mission was to get to my family's house... somehow.

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