Cheating Death

A group of survivors unites what remains of humanity to fight back against a spreading zombie plague.

Owen Mendez

The tiny little television in the small hotel room flickered to life, showing flashes of static before flicking to the news program which was currently on, broadcasting from somewhere in New York. The footage showed a woman standing in a street that was covered in a sheet of ice and snow. She was wearing a heavy brown jacket and a red scarf, clutching the microphone she spoke into as she delivered her report.

"...Thanks, John. This is Elaina Webster reporting live from Buffalo, New York. As you can see behind me here, the infected have struck again. Over the past few weeks, the government has been carefully monitoring a steady increase in the number of infected across the country. Now, it seems, the situation has reached its peak, with infected - some go as far as to term them 'zombies' - flooding the streets and killing people who were simply trying to go about their daily business."

Shouting and gunshots could be heard briefly in the background, before the woman turned around as a man dressed in full military uniform approached her. What he said went unheard by the viewer, but the reporter's face was suddenly deathly pale. She turned back to face the camera and said, "It looks like a group of infected are moving this way. We're going to have to get off the air for now, but always remember: stay safe, and stay away from anyone who may be infected. If you or a loved one has come into contact with the infected, seek help immediately. This is not a joke. Stay safe, and tune in later tonight for -"

The rest of what she might have said wasn't heard. A man hurled from the shadows and dragged her to the ground. A second later, the screen erupted in static and the broadcast ended.

I grabbed my pistol and duffle, straightened the sling holding my rifle to my back, and moved to the door of the hotel room.

"Not a joke," I said to myself. "Really? I thought it was April friggin' Fools' Day." I grimaced, raised my pistol, and opened the door slowly. When the way seemed clear, I stepped out into the hallway and headed for the back exit. When I was out on the street, I immediately went for the nearby hiking path. That was the nice thing about being way out here, in Vermont. You could take a path - or make your own - through the woods, and come out virtually any other place you wanted. I eventually left the tree line and emerged somewhere else in town. I wasn't sure where, but I knew I would need shelter soon. It was getting dark, and I did not want to be outdoors with these things around.

As I walked into town, I was soon overcome by the horrible stench, the smell that seemed to hang over everything these days. The smell of death. I looked around me, and it wasn't difficult to spot them. Shuffling along behind and around me, the undead were everywhere. They were just waiting to pounce. I held my pistol a little closer, and decided to head for the supermarket at the end of the street.

I was about halfway down the road when it happened. One of the things that were following me leapt from the shadows  and tried to grab me. I shot the beast in the head with the old Colt, but immediately regretted it. They had something to track me by now. I should have used the knife.

Should have. Could have. Would have. But I didn't.

I regained my footing, and found that I was being rapidly approached by a large pack of the monsters, exactly as I'd figured. I started firing and moved more quickly down the street. Soon, though, I was cut off by a line of zombies in front of me. I was surrounded. I grabbed my rifle and started shooting, but ultimately it was hopeless. I lowered their numbers quite a bit, but a couple of them still clung to life, attempting to grab and bite at me as I changed magazines.

At this point, I figured it was hopeless. I was sure to end up dead, now. Any second, the bite would come and the infection would take me.

Only, the weird thing didn't.

The End

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