My head was foggy and stuffed full of thoughts about Robby and there was a war raging inside of me; a war between my head and my heart. Obviously I wanted to be with Robby, I wanted to know where whatever we had going on right now was going to lead us, but then there was the fact that we were in the middle of a fucking zombie apocalypse: relationships only clouded your judgment and altered your chances of survival. I cannot say I was taking this from past experience though; I had never been in a relationship. I had had only one crush in all of my life and she ended up as a zombie...
I shook my head and started to head back over the road when I saw someone running at full speed out of the corner of my eye. For one heart-stopping moment I thought they were running because the barricade that kept us safe had been tampered with or someone was hurt, but as I got a closer look I saw that it wasn’t because of this. I almost didn’t recognise the man with the little girl clinging desperately on his shoulders. Black straggly hair hung past a face that needed a good shave and eyes that looked perpetually angry.
It was Cancer. I don’t know why I was so surprised that I almost hadn’t recognised him; we hadn’t talked in all the time we had been in Riverton.
I nearly didn’t ask him why he was running, I nearly ignored him, but something made me call his name.
He didn’t stop. ‘I ain’t got time for this shit Joe!’ He ran straight past me.
I was dumbfounded for several seconds before anger took over. Fuck him. I was only trying to help, maybe rekindle a friendship, but if he wasn’t interested then neither was I.
Harley greeted me with a stupid joke as soon as I walked through the door but when he saw how pissed off I was he grew serious. ‘Are you okay Joe?’
‘Do I look okay?’
‘No, you look furious. What I meant to ask was: can I help you Joe?’
‘You can help by leaving me alone, thanks.’ I took the stairs two at a time and shut the bedroom door behind me.
Why was I so angry? Why now? Cancer and I hadn’t spoken in months and I was fine with it then, so what was pushing me at this moment? I pinched the bridge of my nose, shut my eyes and counted to ten very slowly, focussing on my breathing.
‘Having problems calming down?’
I looked in the mirror and saw Harley’s reflection casually leaning against the door frame. Funny, I hadn’t heard the door actually open.
‘I thought I told you to leave me alone,’ I sat down on the edge of the bed, already feeling calmer. Harley came to sit beside me and heaved a sigh. There was a pause before he started to tell me what he had obviously been delaying for god knows how long.
‘I’m worried about you Joe.’
The thought was so surprising that I actually laughed out loud. ‘You’re worried about me?’
His expression was dead serious as he nodded. ‘You’ve changed man; you’re not the same person you were before.’
‘How would you know what I was like before?’ I asked defensively. ‘You haven’t known me that long.’
‘No, true, but it was easy to see what type of a person you are, especially when you’re standing next to someone like Cancer.’ He once, humourlessly before growing sombre again. ‘Don’t let this world get to you Joe, you’re better than that.’ He stood up and left, leaving me completely and utterly clueless.
'What the fuck are you talking about?’ I muttered to thin air, puzzled as anything. I hadn’t changed that much, had I? Even if I had, what was wrong with that? You needed to change to fit in this new sorry excuse for a society.
I stood up and faced the mirror once again. It was a full length mirror, one that I had propped against the wall because we couldn’t get it attached to anything. I started to really look at myself, trying to notice some changes physically. I still had the same ginger hair that stuck up in tufts and the same pale, almost translucent skin. Nothing had changed about that, but if I looked closer, I noticed something different. My arms weren’t so scrawny as they had been; muscles were beginning to show. I lifted up my shirt and the same went for my torso. I wasn’t exactly beefed up, but I was beginning to grow a little.
However, I also looked really tired. Purple shadows lined my eyes which didn’t appear to be the vibrant colour they once had been; they now looked older. I looked like I had suffered a lot; I looked like I had lost too many people close to me.
I turned away in disgust, not wanting to see anymore.
Fuck this world, fuck everything that had happened.
Fuck it all.