"Mitch? Owen?" Ryan's voice called out from the pharmaceutical section where I'd left her. "You guys alright?"
"All good here." I shouted in response after several moments of standing there, breathing heavily in my disbelief. We were alive, all of us. We'd made it - this time, at least. "We're all alive..."
No. I could not let myself go back to that hole, that pit of sorrow. I had to be strong for these people. They were who mattered. My wife - she was dead. Or, undead. It was time to put her behind me.
I walked back to the pharmacy, nodded to Ryan, and picked up the new knife, which had fallen on the floor. It had several scratches on the grip and blade, but was otherwise unscathed. I placed it back in its sheath and strapped it to my belt.
"What is it with you and that knife, anyway?" Ryan asked, grinning.
"It..." How to sum it up? "It means a lot to me, okay?"
"Okay. I was just wondering. No need to get defensive."
"I'm sorry," I answered. "I didn't mean to -"
"It's fine. It's my fault, anyway. I didn't realize I was touching a raw subject."
Not sure what to say now, I just grimaced and nodded.
The door was old and stiff, and the knob stuck as I tried to wrench it open to get to my family on the other side. "Owen...Owen, hurry! Owen!" My wife's screams filled the air, constantly echoing as I finally made the decision to force my way in. I drew my pistol and fired two rounds into the doorknob, then immediately cannoned into the next room. But I wasn't fast enough. There she lay, in the middle of the office cubicle, in a pool of her own blood, having some kind of seizure. Her chest was heaving, and a gargling noise rose from deep in her throat.
In the next second, her eyes snapped open. There was a strange focus to them, like she was on the most important mission of her life. Her eyes - normally a vivid shade of green already - were now almost glowing with an emerald color. She gazed at me intently for a moment, then lunged up from the floor and tried to latch onto my leg. I kicked my leg forward before leaping back in an attempt to shake her off, but she simply jumped on top of me and wouldn't let go. I smacked her with the pistol that was still in my hand, and finally managed to get her off. Scrambling to my feet, I hurried from the room, slamming the door behind me, as useless as it was with a hole through the knob.
With her dying screams still echoing through my head, I ran until I couldn't run anymore. I was alive. But her, she was...what was she? Dead? No. But certainly not alive, not in the traditional sense. I was alive, and she wasn't, which was as plain and terrible a curse as any other man had ever suffered from.