Joe: SlippingMature

Word Count: 1,273

The shelving unit that Cancer threw at me flew past my head. I ducked, automatically.

When he screamed at me to get out I was only all too happy to. He was explosive and I started back to the car. I was scared, helpless and frustrated. There wasn’t anything I could do without making things worse and so in the end I settled for doing nothing. I’d listen if he wanted to talk but I wouldn’t try to console him.

Things were going to be a hell of a lot worse now. Without Rayn, without the glue, we would crumble. I was already contemplating leaving, going out on my own. It was a cruel, selfish thought but I honestly didn’t know what else I could do. What were we going to do now? Drive around aimlessly for the rest of our life? Me living in fear and Cancer pumping his veins full of drugs to try and escape the pain of losing his friend?

Almost as a last thought, I stuffed another weapon into my bag and hoisted it out. I wasn’t staying.

It was too much to look after a grown man who was mourning. Especially a grown man as violent and temperamental as Cancer. I’d rather take my chances out in the open.

I started off cautious but then cautious became too tiring and so I just went where my feet took me, not really caring if I was spotted. The world had gone to shit, everything was depressing and too many people were dying. Our chances of survival were getting slimmer by the second, everyday minute another person died and became one of those creatures, the population was diminishing and extinction of the human race was in full swing.

I thwacked at branches that got in my way, listening only to the sound the leaves made as I trampled over them. The crisp crunch as they broke beneath my feet soothed me slightly, reminded me of better days. The sun was just beginning to rise, blessing everything it touched with an amber glow. For a little while I allowed myself to get lost in the Earth’s natural beauty and the silence it brought. There was no destruction, there were no deaths and everything was right again.

I stopped and smiled at the sky, feeling the air on my skin and the life pouring through me. I was alive, I was still breathing and I should appreciate every second of that.

A sudden thought passed through my mind: Everything would be okay. Things would turn around, this would all get fixed up and humans would carry on fighting and surviving. I’d miss my parents, Cancer would miss Rayn but the world would be spinning right again.

This was until the snarl reached my hearing.

The exhilaration disappeared as quickly as it had come on and I was left crushed once more. Feeling an almighty surge of anger, I pulled the knife out of my boot and prepared for attack.

These must have been stragglers; there were two of them and they looked like they had been rotting for years. They had the same usual appearance as every other creat- zombie (I had to get used to saying that word, it sounded ludicrous but that’s what they were) right down to the bite wound that made them that way. One of them had multiple bite wounds littered over its decaying body; the other had a large chunk of its throat missing.

They were both starving for my flesh though and so I didn’t spend too long studying their appearances. I figured this would be good target practice.

The first one was piss easy to dispatch, it was slow and it stumbled. I lodged the knife straight in its eye socket, ignoring the blood as it flew at me. The second one was quicker though and went straight for me. Its eyes were wide and manic as it caught my scent.

The knife was still stuck in the other zombie’s head and so I had to use the gun. I didn’t have my silencer though; it was in my bag and I had absolutely no time to get it. I’d have to risk the sound; it was either that or me. I pulled the trigger and watched as it fell with a thud to the ground.

There was something strangely satisfying in killing the zombies. It felt almost like I was helping the world out, like I was helping it to get better one death at a time.

Placing one foot on the first zombies head, I pulled my knife out and wiped it on the grass.

I carried on walking, deeper into the woods and shooting any zombie that found me. I was becoming reckless and stupid though; the sound was bound to draw other zombies in. I don’t know what I was feeling though, the emotion was hard to describe. Maybe I was snapping a little inside; maybe my mind was telling me that I had had enough. Everything was going to catch up sooner rather than later and this was my breaking point.

I had killed six, maybe seven zombies and was feeling rather proud of myself when I heard a gargled cough. I whirled round immediately; gun poised and found myself staring into the eyes of a human. He was slumped on the ground, his head lolling and he was wearing army gear.

Was this…one of the soldiers that followed us from that crazy camp?

He looked up at me and tried to grasp for his gun. I kicked it out of his reach and pointed my own weapon straight at him.

‘What are you doing here?’

He grunted in reply and I realized then he had been bitten and was dying.

‘Why did you follow us?’ I tried again.

‘The cure,’ he muttered.

‘He wasn’t the cure, he isn’t the cure and because of you we lost a friend!’

‘It was never meant to happen this way. I didn’t want,’ he coughed. ‘I didn’t want this.’

I refused to feel sympathy for him. ‘But you did it anyway.’

‘I was following orders. I just wanted to be back home.’

Judging from his accent, I figured he was from England.

‘Is it bad there?’ I asked suddenly, side tracked. ‘Is England infected?’

He turned sombre eyes onto me. ‘It was in the first stages when we left. I don’t know how much worse it’s gotten.’

Oh God. Nowhere was safe.

‘Please,’ he said. ‘I don’t want this.’ He shook his head, or tried to anyway.

I knew immediately what he was going on about. He didn’t want to turn, he wanted an easy exit. Maybe if I was Cancer I would have let him suffer for what he did to Rayn but I hadn’t completely lost my humanity – yet. I didn’t know if I could bring myself to shoot someone though.

He stared at my gun. ‘Please.’

I brought it upwards.

‘Are you sure you want this? There might be a cure.’ I was contradicting my previous words but I needed to know he was certain.

‘Yes. Do it. Please. Put me out of my misery. I don’t want to be one of them.’

I bit my lip. How could I shoot a living person? Even if they were doomed?

His head slumped and he fell to his side, coughing profusely. Torrents of blood gushed up and his body was convulsing. The infection was spreading quickly and if I didn’t do something, he’d just be another zombie.

‘Sorry,’ I said pathetically as I shot him in the head.

The End

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