Survival, A Zombie NovelMature

Noah is an average person trying to survive the zombie apocalypse by heading north.

I spent a large part of my teen life and most of college fantasizing about the zombie apocalypse. I loved zombies. I loved to read books and watch movies about them. I analyzed what characters did that I thought would be successful in a real zombie apocalypse. Changed what I thought wouldn't and made it more effective. Spent hours looking at how to zombie proof one's home and many more playing zombie themed video games. It was all good and fun while it lasted. It gave me something to do in my spare time.  I had a zombie survival plan in place. What I would do, who I would take with, and where I would go. I assumed it was the perfect plan for the big end. That no one else’s plan would be as successful as mine. It was not enough.

     The games, books, and movies only prepare you for so much. What they do not do is teach you how to cope when a loved one is infected with the zombie virus. How you have to watch the horror they feel once they realize they have been bitten. Experience hope for them, that maybe they are immune to the virus. And eventually, having to leave them behind...or kill them to prevent the virus from further annihilating the human species. Those nights and days spent alone, running for your life, sustaining yourself in an environment in which you used to be the dominant creature, but no longer.

God, we were so cocky. Thinking we could mess with DNA, create super antibiotics designed to heal and prevent previously incurable ailments. I'm not sure if it was this that did us in, in the end. The news at the time was overflowing with a whirlwind of tales of recalled meat, bad medicines and stories of the new super antibiotics. No one I've met knows what really caused it. All we have is theories. Maybe it was a combination of bad products or a super virus. Maybe, for those of you that still believe, it is god’s punishment for how humans have behaved. But these theories won't get us anywhere for now. Now, all we have is survival. You really can't hope for much more than that during a Zombie Apocalypse.

The Beginning
      At first everyone was getting sick. People rushed to the hospital to get diagnosed. Reports of symptoms similar to the flu: high fever, cough. The body rejecting normal food. But it didn't stop there. Eventually people's bodies gave up fighting the virus. Finally, the first person died from the virus. Only to rise again. No one knew what to do. It went against the medical staff's training to kill something that should have been a miracle. But when the patient came after them, they were forced to defend themselves. Not everyone was able escape unscathed. The patient had bitten many before settling down to devour an intern. It was pandemonium from there and all hell broke loss. Or at least that's what the news claimed while it was still running.
      Soon the medical centers became places to be avoided. The government issued quarantines and cautioned the public to not leave their homes. But even with those small cautions, the virus spread. Families had no choice but to kill parents, children, siblings. The only other choices were suicide or be eaten.

      The world as we knew it changed. No place was really safe anymore. This is my story.

Chapter one
      The sun glared through the window, a bright and early wake up is the best way to go. It gives you more time to travel, and to find shelter and provisions. It's also easier to see the zombies in the day time. You can hear their moans and pinpoint their locations. You never want to travel in the dark if you can help it. Too many things that create paranoia can be mistaken for the walking dead. You can avoid accidentally stumbling over a crippled zombie and being bitten by traveling during the day.

I started this morning off like I started most other mornings: turn my radio on and listen for any broadcasts. I kept the radio noise level low, because, even though I was camped out in an attic, one can never guarantee something didn’t sneak into the house while you were sleeping.
I set the radio to shuffle through channels while I got dressed and packed up my things. I pulled some new clothes from out of my hiking pack, and put on a layer of long johns and extra layers of shirts under outside clothing. It wasn't that cold this fall morning, but the layers would help to prevent a bite breaking skin if I ran into any trouble. Next were the socks, boots, and jacket. Now that I was dressed it was time to roll up my sleeping bag and put it, and my old clothes, into my pack.  The entire time the radio had been shuffling through static noise. No one was broadcasting this morning. I felt a moment of panic. Was I the last human left? Had the zombie horde finally become so destructive that only a sole human has been able to stay alive? I quickly squashed these fears. I could not be the only one. Not me, a college student, who spent most of her time indoors or hanging out with friends. There had to be many more people who had more survival skills than just me. It would be presumptuous of me to assume such a thing.

      With that, I shut the radio off and stored it in a pocket. I grabbed my pack and put it on. Patted my jacket’s specially sewn pockets to assure myself that the gun and ammo were still there, and, finally, grabbed my trusty axe.

      I moved forward and started to move the old furniture I had blocking the attic door. Once everything was cleared, I put my ear to the door and listened for any noises. I held my breath. One too many times I have had to beat back an intruding zombie to leave a house. I hoped today would not be one of those days. I waited for a few more seconds. Was that shuffling? Please god, not today, I thought. I heard a small muffled noise. I couldn’t take the waiting anymore. I flung open the door and braced myself to slice anything that came rushing at me. Nothing. Nothing was on the stairs. What had I heard then? I looked around and slowly crept down the stairway. Something moved in one of the bedrooms on the second floor. I debated trying to leave without discovering what was in the bedroom. I decided I would rather confront whatever it was face to face, rather than have something try to chew on my back as I was leaving. I took a breath, and crept forward. I did not see anything at eye level in the bedroom. What was in there?

      “Meow?”

      “Holy shit!” I uttered, startled as a little cat walked out of the bedroom, sat in the doorway, and stared at me. “What are you doing here you little rascal?” I whispered at it. “Shouldn’t you be out chasing mice or something?” The cat didn’t respond. Of course it didn’t, it was a cat. I shook my head to myself at how easily spooked I had gotten. The cat moved forward and wound itself through my legs purring. I bent down and petted it. “You’re a cute little thing, aren’t you? Too small to make a zombie snack, huh?”

      Truthfully, the zombie virus was not interested in animals. It seemed content to take over only the human species. It wasn’t unusual to see packs of half-wild dogs roaming streets, eating zombies. That was the plus side of the old house pets: they seemed pretty content to munch on their former owners. This little cat seemed pretty happy to be petted and not the least bit interested in eating me at all. I patted it on the head and decided it was time for me to go. I was only wasting time by staying in this house any longer. As I made my way toward the front door, I kept alert for any zombies. I had already raided the house of any goods it held, and now only needed to make my way to the front door. This house had been way out in the suburbs, lucky for me. I did not have to worry much after I killed the re-animated owners that came after me on my way here. Nothing harassed me as I reached the front door. A peek out of the windows showed there was nothing out there. I unlocked and opened the door and made my way out. The little cat ran past me only to pause in the yard to start eating some grass.

      I did not have any real idea on where to go from here. About a week ago someone had broadcasted about a small camp of survivors in the north. I haven’t heard anything since, and a week of silence in a zombie apocalypse meant the camp had probably succumbed to the virus. Still, going north meant a cold winter, and winter means frozen zombies. This, in turn, means less trouble for me. I just now noticed the house had a garage, and made my way back inside the house in order to enter it. Lucky for me there was some car keys on a key rack right outside the garage entry. I opened the door and squealed to myself in glee. A nice black SUV greeted me. Even luckier for me it looked like it was already stocked with gas cans, food, and water. The family must have been planning on heading out to one of the old survivor camps before they caught the virus. Well, their misfortune was my survival.
      “Meow?”

      I turned and looked at the cat that had followed me in. “What? You can’t come with. I can’t feed you. It’s the freaking zombie apocalypse for god’s sake. Just because you’re an adorable Siamese and have the biggest blue eyes in the world, does not mean you can come with.”

      “Meow?”

      “Ugh! Fine! You can come.” In reality, it would be nice to have some living thing traveling with me. Being surrounded by the undead every day really takes its toll on a person. I ran back inside and grabbed the cat food I had seen in the pantry earlier and brought it out to the car, then I picked up the cat and put her in. It was finally time to really leave my little safe haven.

     The car started with ease and I backed it out of the garage. I decided I would head down any road as long as it took me north. Since the house was in such a secluded area, I was going to need to drive through some trees. I hate trees. Zombies seem to have an affinity for coming out of them whenever I pass by.

     I reached for the car radio and turned it on hoping there would be a cd in. Elvis Presley graced the car with his voice. Not a bad cd to drive to through a secluded area. Heartbreak Hotel played in the background, and the cat was curled up on the dash board. Maybe today would be a good day, even with all the trees. I had a nice traveling companion, a car, provisions, and fuel. It was way more than I was normally acquainted with.

     The woods seemed still for the most part, I knew that this could not last. I drove the SUV for a few miles before I ran into any trouble. There was a car stalled in the middle of the roadway. There would be no way I could get around it on this small road. I grabbed my axe and idled the car. I got out, and made my way to the stalled car, keeping an eye out on the surrounding woods. As I got closer, I noticed a figure in the driver’s seat. It stayed still until I got a foot away from the vehicle, then the loud moans started as it spotted me. Zombies used their moans to call to other undead to alert them about fresh, uninfected meat, or, in this case, me.  I knew I did not have much time to kill it before other zombies in the area appeared. I opened the car door and swung my axe at the zombie’s head, which was more difficult than one would think. I had to angle the axe just right so I could actually impale the head with force and not hit the car door on the back swing. I missed and got his cheek. The zombie kept moaning, straining against the seatbelt to get to me, chunks of rotted flesh falling from its arms. I gagged from the smell and pulled my axe out of his face. The one thing about zombies I will never become accustomed to is their smell, the plus side of it however, is that it sometimes served as a warning when you were near an old zombie.

      I readjusted my stance and swung again, this time striking true. The zombie fell back in its seat, now truly dead. I reached in and undid the buckle, pulled the zombie out of the car, and started it. The only place for it to go was the side of the road, so I left it there.

      I stepped out just in time to be charged by another zombie from the other side of the road. I dodged and ran the opposite direction. This was a fresh zombie. She had speed and her clothes weren’t bloodied at all. New zombies are one of the more difficult zombies to handle. They seem to hold some semblance of basic intelligence and speed. The undead girl turned in her tracks and looked at me, rushing after a moment’s pause. I swung my axe and managed to hit her forehead. She dropped to the ground. I pulled my axe out, wiped it on the grass, and ran back to the car. It was time to get out of here before any more zombies arrived.

     I eventually made it out from the woods and onto a highway that was littered with cars and the occasional undead. It was not always the best idea to take a highway because of the danger of meeting a mob of walkers, but I had decided the danger was worth the miles of travel I would get in. Lulabell, I had decided to call the cat, was curled up comfortably in the back seat sleeping, and with no real reasons to stop, it made the most sense to continue on until I reached a town just before dusk.

    The drive gave me time to reflect on how I ended up here, on my own. I used to belong to a happy family of five: me, my little twin sisters, mom and dad. We had a pretty quiet life aside from the occasional sibling rivalries and squabbling of my parents. Once I graduated from high school I went on to a small college in Iowa, leaving my family behind.
     The weeks that led up to huge outbreak of the zombie virus found me completely unaware. At the time I had just finished a major test and had come down with a horrible cold. There was nothing that week that would get me out of bed it seemed. I was well stocked with an arsenal of cold medicine, soup, and ginger ale, and was using the time to catch up on my television shows. My programs were eventually interrupted more and more with news that a large mass of people were becoming sick. It did not seem so unusual at first. I originally thought they were making much ado about nothing, similar to H1N1, but then the reporters  started to cover a report of a dead patient coming back to life and attacking doctors.
     I finally became interested. I called my parents and asked if everyone was ok. They said that everyone was fine, but the town had suffered a large number of sicknesses and everyone who was not ill was to report to the town high school. My family decided that this was the best course of action for them and were leaving the next day. I cautioned them to be careful and to keep me updated on their whereabouts. After "I love you"s, and "be careful"s, I hung up and went to sleep.
     Soon I received an email that classes were canceled with no mention of a restart date. I became an avid watcher of the news which was starting to become infrequent. Too many people had caught the virus, and others had chosen to spend their time with loved ones. Those brave enough to stay reported on the sad state of the world: All developed countries were become overrun with the infected, underdeveloped countries were suffering less severe numbers.
     Three weeks. That's all it took for the end of the civilized world as we know it. The only channel left on t.v. displayed a list of cities and states that had little or no survivors. My family's city was listed. No one answered when I called their cell phones. I assumed the worst happened to them, it would be the only reason they would not answer my calls. I spent the next few days crying and packing my things. I didn't know if I would make some heroic, and possibly fatal, attempt to save them, but I knew I had to do something. I could no longer stay in my little apartment by myself. My power had gone out and the water stopped running a few days earlier. It was time. I put my pack on and went out to the hallway. I had no idea what to expect. None of this seemed real to me, I had just fully recovered, how could the world have gone to shambles this easily and in so short a time?

     Leaving my apartment had been surprisingly quiet. The news at the time had led me to believe that everything was destroyed and in shambles. Not so, in my little corner of the world. I made it to the glass security doors and peered outside. Desolate. A plastic bag was blown slowly across the street by the wind. No one was in sight. I lived just on the outskirts of the campus. Maybe due to the fact that the majority of people who lived in these buildings were students, it was mostly empty. I assumed they would have gone home at the first sign of trouble. I did not know then what I knew now. I did not know anything at that time of my life. This had been such a new experience to me, something I had never expected to happen in real life. But there I was, peering out of the safety of my apartment building, watching the empty street. I could imagine the echoes of footsteps gone by: students greeting friends or running to get to back to the main campus for classes. It was a foreign experience to me, this quiet.

     I took a breath, pushed the door open, and stepped out. My car was parked just a block away from here. I briskly walked in the direction of it. A scream sounded in the distance. It was not a scream I was normally used to. It seemed filled with rage. I was starting to become even more spooked and picked up my pace to a jog. The scream sounded once again, closer, a second responding to it. I was terrified and started running.

     “Almost there, almost there” I thought to myself. 

     I almost made it. Two rotting, smelly things ran at me. I screamed and kept running. Not daring to look behind me, for fear it would slow me down. Time slowed, I looked to the sides for something, anything to defend myself. There! By the dumpster across the street, was a wood plank. By the time I made it there I was sobbing. I grabbed the plank and blindly turned and swung it, hitting flesh. The first strike was the worst. I realized that what I hit was a person, or some semblance of one. The one I struck fell and the next one came at me, biting the air. I forgot about everything as I focused in on protecting myself. I’d deal with the consequences of attacking someone later; self-defense was all that mattered then. As this second one got closer, I widened my stance, braced myself, and swung the plank at its head. I was a lot better at hitting peoples head’s than I would have imagined; it was a skill that I soon found would come in handy. The creature’s head gave in with a sickening crunch and fell to the ground. I was once again alone. At the time I felt guilty. I had just killed two people, granted it was self-defense, but I had not known then that if I did not kill them, they would have killed me. I held the plank to myself as I made my way to the car once again and got in. I set it on my passenger seat and rested my forehead on the steering wheel and cried. I felt so lost and alone. Another scream interrupted my self-pitying. I could not face another one of those again. I left the parking lot and made my way out of town in the direction of my family. I was going to do the stupid thing and go after my family. I knew if I didn’t the guilt of not going would haunt me.

     It took two days for me to get back to my home town. I was not happy about what greeted me. The town was in shambles. This was what the TV had been displaying in it's final days. I eased the car through the streets that were littered with trash, blood spatters, and undead. It was hard to imagine how quickly this had happened. I could not get over how, just a few weeks ago, I was going to classes, visiting friends, and walking outside without any real worries. But now, none of that would be possible. Not here, maybe not even in the future.

  Discontinuing that train of thought, I focused on my surroundings. I did not want to attract the attention of the wandering zombie because I wasn't quite sure how they worked. I assumed that they reacted to smell, and sound. I based this guess on how the first ones had attacked me when they hadn't actually seen me. The screams must have been their primitive form of communicating.

     For now, I was safe in my car, and it was becoming more apparent to me that the undead were indeed more dependent on their smell than hearing because they did not seem to react to the noise of the vehicle driving down the road. I guessed the smells of the car must drown out my own scent.

     As i made my way through, i noticed the state of the town was not boding well for my family. The town had quite an infestation of zombies and it was becoming a bit difficult to maneuver the car without brushing something. I badly wanted to speed all the way home but did not want to draw more attention to myself than I had to.

     By the time I made it to the house I was surrounded by undead. I needed a way to safely get out of the car and into the house, but there wasn't an easy path there.

     I gave a frustrated sigh. All the way here, and wasn't even going to be able to make it into the house. I hoped, if I waited long enough, there would be a break in the flow for me to get through. All I needed to do was wait for the yard to clear, then make my way to the front door and let myself in.

     I pulled out my house keys in preparation. A few minutes of waiting and then there! A walker had just passed my car, leaving me with enough room to get to the door. I leaped out of the car, ran to the house, and let myself in, slamming the door shut behind me. Once in, I rested against the back of the door and slid to the ground. Getting in had been the easy part. Actually searching what was once my family's home would be difficult, especially if I found anyone in an undead condition.

     I had fallen to the floor with my eyes shut, thankful I had made it in without any trouble. I opened my eyes. The house was mildly lit from the windows, and everything seemed to be in order. The virus must have taken over too many before someone could actually attempt to loot. I was happy that this was the case. Coming home to a torn apart mess would have been devastating. But this cleanliness allowed me to pretend, at least for awhile that everything was okay, even though I knew it wasn't. I took a few deep breaths to bolster myself for the investigation. I stood up, and made my way down the hall.

     The kitchen was tidy, family portraits dotting the wall in the dining room, the table set up with dishes the only untidy thing. My family must not have had time to clean this before they needed to get to the school.

     I sat down in my father's chair and held the silverware he must have used in my hands. Memories of all the times my family had sat down to dinner here flashed through my head and I thrust the silverware away from me before the pain became unbearable. Their last meal must have been fairly simple, they all had only bowls for dishes.

     I was distracting myself. Stalling from facing potential disappointment or horror. I gathered the dishes up and set them in the sink, sure my mother would be thankful upon return, once this was all over with.

     I wandered into the living room. Two laptops were sitting on the coffee table. They were my little sisters'. I was surprised that they would have left them behind. They were addicted to technology.

     Through the living room, down a hallway and into my parents room. Discarded clothes littered the floor, the closet door flung open wide. The master bathroom was empty, and the counter cleared of my mother's cosmetics.

     Back out, and down another hallway to my sibling's room. Mess everywhere. Clothes, magazines, homework, and dishes littered the floor, but no siblings in sight. My old room, now the guest bedroom, tidy, but also empty.

     No one was home. I was slightly thankful for this fact, but sad at the same time. How nice it would have been to have come home to my family barricaded and safe. I didn't want to stay here much longer.

     I grabbed a family portrait off of the dining room wall, pulled the picture out of the frame and put it in my pocket. From there, I entered the garage. I hoped my dad had left his chopping axe in the garage.

     Back through the kitchen, out the side door, and into the garage. The axe was still there, in the corner. I grabbed it and headed back to the front door. Peaking out, I noticed that there was a zombie standing next to my Chevy, looking in. I knew I had to get this over with quick and made a decision to charge the zombie before any more could wander this way.

     I ran at the zombie while it was still trying to figure out what was blocking it's way. I swung my axe, but the zombie managed to get out one of it's horrible screams before I chopped off it's head, and it rolled to the ground and under my car.

     I got into the car as fast as humanly possible and started out of there. Zombies were running in from all directions, I wouldn't be able to make it to the high school, not with this many undead.

     I did not have to worry. There, coming from the left, were my family. Running at varying speeds, with varying progress of decay. This was a giant nightmare all combined into one place for my viewing pleasure. I floored it and got out of town, not caring if I took out a zombie or two on the way. The things I saw that day will haunt me for the rest of my life.

     I shook my head, bringing myself back to the present. It was time for me to stop reminiscing and find somewhere for Lulabell and I to rest for the night. The lazy bones had perched herself on top of the dashboard and was basking in the sun. I saw an exit for a town, and I took it when I came to it.

     It was an empty drive to the town, no zombies in sight as I explored the area for a place to sleep. It must have been a nice community. It had large, fenced in homes, with spacious yards. The residence who once lived here had cared for their homes and yards well.

    It took me about ten minutes to find a house I liked. It was a two story, painted white with yellow trim. The windows where high, as well as the fence. I parked in the driveway and got out. Lulabell leaped out behind me and made towards the grass by the fence. I just needed to grab my pack and I was set.

    After that getting into the home was easy. The fence wasn't locked and neither was the front door. I opened the door, letting the cat run in, in front of me. The interior of the house was intact and nicely decorated. However, it was up to date with the zombie apocalypse and had lovely wooden planks criss-crossing the windows. Nice, pointy, zombie killing objects were lying near all points of entry, showing that someone had tried to be prepared.

     I continued to explore the house, looking around corners cautiously before entering anywhere, and had made my way through most of the bottom of the house when I heard a voice call up from above.

     "Look! Mom! A cat!" a girl stated from above me.

     I called out, "Hello?" Rustle noises sounded, accompanied by a woman's "Hush!"

     I tried again, making my way towards the stairs, "Hello? I'm not infected." I started up, “You can check me for bites, I won't judge you. That's my cat, Lulabell, Lula for short, that you just met. I'm Noah. Please don't be alarmed. You're the first live people I've encountered in months. I was hoping..." I had made it to the second floor at this point when a woman in her forties appeared in a doorway, with her gun pointed at me.

     "Strip." She stated in a strong, but tired voice. Normally I'm opposed to getting naked in front of strangers but desperate times and all that.

     I set my pack down and studied the woman as I pulled off layers of clothing. She was a woman who looked like she had been through hell, but that was probably the standard fashion for these times. Her frown lines were deeper than smile ones, and her short sandy blond hair was sticking up in random places. It looked like awhile since she had had a decent meal.

     "That's enough," she said when I had stripped down to undergarments. "Lift your arms up and out, and turn in a circle." I did as she said, figuring it's best not to argue with an armed woman. She would find no bites, I wasn't worried about that. I was more worried she'd accidentally shoot me from the way her hands were shaking. I finished my turn.

     "Thank you. You can never be too safe during these times."

     "I understand," I replied, "I'd do the same thing if I was in your situation.

     "Mom?" A voice called out from the room behind the woman.

     "It's alright, Ginny, there's no bites." She called out.

     A girl of about fourteen came into the doorway, holding Lulabell. Both women stared at me.

     "Um...would it be alright if I got dressed again?" I asked them.

      “ I'm sorry, of course you can. Ginny, back into the room dear, and we'll let...Noah? Was that your name?....get dressed in private." She turned to me, "Please come in after dressing, It’s been such a long time since we’ve seen another uninfected human, and I'm sure we're all dieing to extract information from each other." With that, she entered the room and shut the door behind her.

   I used this time to gather myself as I dressed. I wasn’t sure if I still knew how to interact with people. You don’t forget something like that, right? How had these two stayed alive in one place? There are so many dangers in staying alone in a house like this without real fortifications, but they were obviously still alive, so something must be working for them. I wondered if they had just decided to stay in this house and if they were the only ones. Had they lost anyone? Three months alone. Three months of raw survival and living on the basics without running water. I don’t know how they did it.

   I finished dressing and went in, steeling myself for the exchange, hoping I wouldn’t embarrass myself. 

   “Hey,” I said in greeting. The woman was sitting at a desk, and the girl on a queen bed. Lulabell had received a dish of water and was drinking from it at the foot of the bed. “Do you have another bowl? Lula hasn’t had a chance to eat yet.”

   “Of course!” the woman replied, standing and going over to a box on the edge of the room. She pulled a shallow bowl out and set it on the floor next to the water dish.

   I set my pack down in the room and grabbed some of the cat food out. I put some in the bowl and Lulabell started eating from it.

“She’s an adorable cat. Have you kept her this entire time?” The girl, Ginny, asked me.

“I actually found her earlier today actually. She is a very adorable cat.” I smiled at the girl.

“Where did you come from?”

“I’ve been all over actually. I’m actually planning on heading north for the winter. Have you two been here the entire…infection?”

“This is our home. My name’s Sharise, by the way,” she said while busying herself tidying the room. “Yes, we’ve been here the entire infection. It’s been a struggle. We didn’t want to leave the house. My husband…when he was still alive…boarded up our windows and showed us how to defend ourselves. He used to be in the military. It came in handy when the virus started infecting everyone.  Unfortunately, he went out to find food one day and never came back.” She sat on the bed as well. “Now it’s just my daughter and I. I thought we were the last ones out here. The last thing we heard from anybody was the from a survivor’s camp in Wisconsin. But soon they stopped broadcasting from their location and we only receive silence on the radio. Sorry, I’m rambling. Would you like some food? We’re down to beans, but its food.”

“Thank you,” I replied. “Beans would be lovely. I have a can of corn and peas if you wouldn’t mind eating that as well? Maybe a can of fruit for dessert?”

“Yes! That would be lovely. We ran out of fruit last month. It will be a treat.” She grabbed out a portable grill and some pans, and I set the food next to the grill. As she opened the cans and started to cook she asked me, “So, why are you heading north?”

I thought about my response for a while. North seemed safer to me. Most people had been heading to military centers in the south; there would be a lesser population of zombies. With winter coming, it meant that the zombies would be slower and easier to avoid or kill.

“North seems the safest place to be with winter coming on. People migrated down to the south at the beginning of the virus. Zombies are also slower in cold climates. So I figure any place where zombies don’t have an advantage, is a place I want to be. Why did you two choose to stay here?”

Sharise stirred the pot and replied, “My husband thought it would be best for us. When the virus started to spread and they were calling people to gather in safe places, he decided that the people in charge were making stupid decisions. Gathering people in enclosed places creates a breeding ground for viruses. His guess was that the government was really just trying to corral people into easier spots to terminate them. David wanted none of that and went out to buy supplies for our home. He’s the reason why we’ve survived for how long we have. God bless his soul.” She poured the beans and vegetables into a bowl and continued, “At the time I was terrified and wanted to go to a place that every media was saying were safe, but now I’m happy I stayed behind. Our food may be running out, but we haven’t been bitten or infected so far and I’m thankful for that.”  She handed bowls of food to Ginny and I. It wasn’t much, but its food, and I’m sure it’s more than some survivors have.

We ate in silence, each of us in our own world. I was glad to be in company and had to remind myself to actually use manners and eat properly. It was a nice reminder of how things used to be. The women were friendly and good company so far. I was glad that I had the luck to pick this house out of so many others.

 Lulabell climbed into my lap as I finished up and I petted her as I asked, “Would you two mind if I spent the night here? I plan to leave early in the morning and, if not, I’m sure one of the other houses would be fine to stay in.”

“Don’t be silly, you’re welcome to spend the night here. You can sleep in Ginny’s room, and she can spend the night with me. You don’t mind, right Ginny?”

“Not at all.” She smiled. “It’s a small bed, but it’s comfortable and zombie free.

“I’ve slept in worse places. By the way, I was wondering how you guys have managed to stay here for so long. Have you had many zombie visitors?”

                Ginny replied to this one, “We’ve had a nice stockpile of food, my dad created stashes in nearby houses in case this one ever became overrun with zombies. We’ve picked those off slowly and surely, handing out food to the poor souls that came through in the beginning. Soon, they stopped coming and our stockpiles dwindled or were raided by others. We’re pretty much down to rice and beans. Water isn’t a problem so far, we have a nice stream running out back and plenty of water filters to make it drinkable. We haven’t exactly figured out what we want to do yet when the food is gone. Mom’s been talking about taking the jeep out and scavenging for more. As for the walkers, only a few have stumbled by, and even fewer have tried to get in. We mostly stay on the top floor and it helps to keep our scent located in a central area. It’s just the two of us, so noise hasn’t been a problem, and we shut the windows shades if we have any lights on at night. We’ve never had a zombie be able to get inside the house, which is just pure luck I’m sure. I was surprised you were able to get in. I must have forgotten to lock the door the last time I went out to grab some wood.”

            “Yeah, locking the door is always a good idea. Zombies may not be able to turn handles, but not all people may have as good intentions as I do.

     I’m glad you two have been able to stay alive for so long. It’s a harsh world now and it needs all the survivors it can get.

Well, it's getting late. Would you two mind if I went to sleep? It’s been a long day.”

            “Thank you. Good night.” I grabbed my stuff and left the room, Lula following behind.

     Ginny’s bed was small, I noticed once I entered the room, a twin, but it was a bed. I set my stuff on the floor and hoped in, burrowing under the blanket. Lula jumped onto the bed and climbed under the bedding as well. I petted her and wondered how these two women would survive after I left. Ginny had claimed that some of their food stashes had been raided, which means that there were other people that had come through town. I didn’t know if they’d be able to find much more food if that was the case. People are greedy when it comes to survival and they probably took anything edible, and some things that weren’t.

However, they weren’t my family to worry over and they seemed pretty capable of caring for themselves so far. It was my last conscious thought before I drifted off into the dreamless sleep of the tired.

            Knock. Knock. Knock. I woke with a start reaching for my axe.

            “Hello? We were wondering if you would like some breakfast?” Ginny’s voice called from the other side of the door. 

"ah yes. Give me a moment to dress." I heard footsteps walk away from the door, and I pulled my clothes for the day on. Then I grabbed my things and headed over to the main room.

“Good morning, dear" Sharise greeted me. "For breakfast we have plain rice, would you like a bowl?"

I nodded and she handed me a steaming, warm bowl of rice, and then served herself and Ginny. "We have some powdered or evaporated milk if you'd like?"

"Oh no, I'm good for now." I dug into the rice with fervor. You never know when something will be your last meal.

After we finished eating and Ginny had left to wash the dishes in the stream outside, armed of course, shares approached me with a question.

"Noah," she started, "I was talking with Ginny last night. We took stock of our food and weapons. We have exactly 4 bags of basmati rice, 6 of various beans, 3 cans of powdered milk, and 6 or 7 cans of evaporated milk. As for the stove, we have a box of twenty-six burners. For weapons, we have three guns and 100 rounds of ammo, other than that we have some stakes and knives mounted on sticks. It's enough to get us through another month or two, but eventually we will run out of food. If it's not too much trouble, we would like to come with. If you agree, we'd share our food and weapons with you, and do our share of the work to survive. I was also thinking longer term, and, once we settle down, I have some seeds out back that I was going to start a vegetable garden with in the summer. What with it being the end of the world and all, we won't be getting much of a chance to have fresh food other than what we provide for ourselves. As further incentive, my family owns a cabin up in the woods in Minnesota. It's secluded and fenced in, and would be the best place for us to end up, i think. It even has a fireplace that we could use to keep is warm during the winter. Of course; this is if you agree to let us come with. Please think about it."

I nodded, a bit overcome by this sudden onset of information.  This would be a chance for me to live somewhere relatively safe, or as safe as one can be in these times. And I would be with people instead of on my own, I'd have someone to take care of me if I became sick and couldn't care for myself.

The door downstairs opened and shut and I heard Ginny wiping her feet on the mat. "it's getting chilly out!" She called up. Lula ran up the stairs and greeted us in the main room.

I decided. "Alright. Let's travel together. What kind of human being would i be if I left you behind? Also, that cabin of yours sounds delightful and easy to defend."

Sharise smiled and clapped her hands in joy. "thank you so much!" she called down to Ginny, "Ginny! Pack your things! We're going north with Noah!"

The End

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