For Joe, time was one of the most precious things that life could give you.
It was important to never let it go, to cherish each moment and to appreciate your own time on the planet. In the apocalypse, Joe’s love for time had intensified. He savoured each second that he was still alive and kept a note of the days that passed. He was sure that if he let them slip by, his sanity would soon follow, leaving him just a shell of his former self.
It was his sixteenth birthday today and he wished more than ever that his parents were alive to see it. Would they be proud of him? Would they be grateful that their one child was still alive and fighting?
The main reason that Joe had volunteered to go on a supply run was to prove he was capable. There was another reason though. The fact that he was now sixteen marked a milestone in his life. He had lived to see his sixteenth birthday and that was the best present he could ever receive. It also marked a new person. He was going to try harder than ever to not be afraid anymore and whilst he clung desperately to his humanity, he wanted to be fit for this new world. This demonic, crazy world. He wanted to be fit for an apocalypse.
He hadn’t gone further than one hundred yards before he was spotted. It was one lone zombie at first and it began stumbling towards him, its eerie groans alerting the others of Joe’s whereabouts.
‘Darn,’ he muttered to himself, quickly ducking in the opposite direction. One the outskirts of town there were multiple factories and wired fences that provided him with some form of protection. He lifted up the curled edge of a fence and crawled under it. Casting a glance back, he saw dozens of zombies heading his way. He could easily outrun them though; they were ridiculously slow.
The fear began creeping along Joe’s spine and he swallowed, trying his best to force it down.
The shopping centre was about a fifteen minute walk from here, but he could easily cut off ten minutes of his journey if he passed through the woods. He began weighing up his options when a clattering behind him caught his attention. The zombies had started rattling against the fence, hissing and moaning. They just kept walking into it, as though they were confused why they couldn’t pass through.
Joe ducked down into an alleyway and sprinted to the end, straight up a fire escape and pressed his back against the wall. The biggest wave of déjà vu passed over him and his stomach rolled with nausea. This was exactly like the situation him and AJ were in, not too long ago.
Forget it Joe, I know memories are important to you but you gotta let this go. Focus on getting out of this alive and then you can worry your life away.
He exhaled slowly and began seriously surveying the situation he was in. A quick peek over the metal railing told him there were about four zombies milling about aimlessly; he had lost the horde from earlier. If he could jump to the next fire escape, all he would need to do was climb down the ladder at lightening pace (he’d miss the last few rungs) and bolt around the corner and run for about two minutes. Then he’d be at the forest.
His heart doubled its pace and his palms were sweaty. You can do this, he told himself. It was now or never.
He climbed over the metal railing, careful not to make a noise. It was just a short jump to the next one, but he had to do it right. It he landed awkwardly it could prove fatal.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
He leaped like his heart depended on it.