My entrance attracted the attention of the room, and all heads were directed at my figure, giving me a somewhat uneasy feeling.
“What are those things anyways?” Steven asked, referring to the zombies.
Steven was the sort of kid that was normal and just sort of blended into the background. I didn’t really know much about him up to this point except that he must be pretty good at escaping the clutches of zombies.
“They’re zombies, and no doubt they’re coming this way!” I heard someone say.
Michael Laney emerged from a corner of the room. The polar opposite of Steven, Michael was the kid that stuck out like a broken traffic light. He wasn’t really a popular kid due to his nerdy ways and constant video game conversation.
“I thought this would be my own hideout, no, the more people here, the easier they’ll find us, okay?” he continued, pacing around. “Oh man… oh I KNEW this was happening. And everyone decided to follow my lead at the last second.”
“Sorry for trying to live,” Carson said plainly.
“I don’t need any more people to look after,” Michael shot back, glaring at the jock.
“Maybe you haven’t seen those zombie things tearing people apart out there. I could show you,” Carson threatened Michael.
It was obvious that the infection already caused him to be on edge. The room sat in an uncomfortable stillness for a moment with the two individuals locking their eyes in rage-filled stares.
“Let’s all just take a step back and settle down,” Harry said, taking a step back. Everyone gave him mixed expressions, and he slowly took a step forward and said nothing more. “Just trying to lessen the pressure,” he muttered.
Geoff, who had been pacing the room, shook his head. “There has to be some sort of logical reasoning with what happened. Zombies are science fiction, and I hardly believe that would just suddenly appear here,” he said, taking us back to the original topic.
As usual Geoff tried to explain everything with a plausible theory. He was probably the smartest kid in the school. He had won the spelling bee, science fair, and never got anything below an A-.
I chipped into the conversation. “I got pinned down by one of those creatures while I was making a run for the gym. It looked like Chase Davids, but mutated. He was really sick this morning. Mr. Groffe sent him to the nurse’s officer, but he never came back.”
Harry seemed alarmed by the revelation of my assault, but I gave him a quick nod so he knew I was okay.
“So Chase had some sort of…disease?” Burt asked. He was the ‘tough guy’ of our group as I later found out through his endurance, leadership, and physical strength. He was a hulking figure, at least 6 foot tall, with large arms and legs: the build of an all-star athlete.
“Nothing could have caused that,” Geoff said, “I’ve studied tons of diseases. None of them lead to mutation and cannibalism.”
“Maybe this is something new,” Rachel said. “Something that hasn’t ever been seen before, or recorded.”
I wasn’t too surprised to see Rachel in our group. She was a gymnast, incredibly athletic and fast. It was no wonder Harry had loved her. I wish they had gotten to be with each other longer.
Rachel’s comment caused a blanket of silence to wrap around our group. Finally, Steven took it off.
“Think about it. If this is something new…it could spread. Maybe it already has.”
He was right, I thought. This disease caused people to become creatures that spread the disease by injecting it into a human’s system. If this disease can spread so easily, it could possibly destroy this world. And there’s the possibility that this infection has already taken this world by storm, and we haven’t heard of it. I shuddered at these thoughts, due to the possibility they could all be true.
“What if we’re all that’s left? What if the whole school is just fucked?” Hannah muttered, shaking her head.
“It is all fucked. They’re all over the fucking place,” Michael spat, gesturing wildly to his surroundings.
“I can’t believe this,” Rachel sighed.
I took a seat beside Maria, Geoff’s sister. She was about as tall as me with curly brown hair and soft features. She seemed stoic, without any emotion. Suddenly, she started crying. I could think of nothing else to do but to put my arm around her.
“Something like this doesn’t come out of the blue though,” Burt said, still on the topic of the source of the disease. “This must have been some sort of freak accident. This couldn’t have come from nowhere. Maybe a science experiment gone wrong.”
“Yeah, around those lines,” Steven agreed.
We all looked keenly at Geoff, whose face was locked in a stern expression. “There was some classified info leaked onto some independent, secret sites about possible scientific tests on modifying the human physique.”
“Woah, wait, how would a kid like Chase get chosen for this sort of thing?” Harry asked incredulously. “It’s not like the lottery. ‘Hey, step right up and buy a ticket! If ya win, get your body fucked up!’”
“It was a random selection, with promised medical care and payment for servicing,” Geoff explained, though he too seemed unconvinced. “That’s the best I can think of. I doubt it was anything serious. Surely not harmful enough to be the cause of this.”
“Government conspiracy, I’m telling you!” Michael said, shaking his fist. “They’re after our money, now our lives!”
Trent broke up the conversation. “This whole thing is confusing… we all get that.”
“We need to think of something more important,” Maria added quietly, understanding Trent’s thought.
“Maybe there are more survivors,” Hannah spoke, standing up. “Maybe Tinna’s still out there. I saw her save us!”
I looked over at Hannah, and she looked back at me. I had to say something… I couldn’t lie about something like this.
“She’s gone, Hannah. She left me in the cafeteria to fend for myself and ran off to the band room.”
“She wouldn’t do that!” Hannah immediately retorted, standing up.
“But she did!” I replied, anger building up.
Carson, in what I presumed was a protective action, instantly stood to face me. “I’d appreciate it if you didn’t talk like that to her.”
“There’s our own white knight,” I countered, directing a menacing gaze at Carson, who returned with his own.
“I think you need to shut the fuck up,” he said simply, keeping his eyes on me.
I couldn’t stop myself from hating him at the moment. I just plunged right into something I instantly regretted. “Going to take me out back and beat me up because I saw you smoking pot?” I cooed mockingly, the anger still present. “Erase all my work so I can get in trouble for a project you ruined? You feel like airing out our dirty laundry here, right now?”
“Tyler,” I heard Trent say behind me.
“I was surrounded by four of those things out there.” Once again, my sanity took a dive. “They were closing in on me, ready to kill me. I was about to die… I SHOULD HAVE DIED!”
“Tyler!” Trent shouted, attempting to calm me down. I looked over at him and saw the concern in his eyes. My rage wilted, and I slowly walked off into a separate side of the room.
“Well… you heard Tyler. Some of them might have made a run for the band room,” Burt said.
“But should we risk looking for survivors, or stay here and make a plan to get out?” Steven questioned.
Harry walked into the middle of our group. “I’m the least popular, right. I’ll go take a look.”
Trent ran over to him. “Don’t, Harry!” he said, shaking him while he said this.
“Someone’s gotta do something, we can’t just stay put!” Harry snapped.
Carson spoke up. “Let’s think about this. Alright? What do we know about these creeps?”
Everyone looked at me expectantly. I was the one that was pursued by them, literally inches below their claws.
“They’re fast,” I started. “It’s not some stupid zombie movie. These things can move. They’re not unintelligent, and I’d venture to say they’re just as smart as us, if not more so.”
“This is impossible,” Geoff said breathlessly, shaking his head.
“They can outrun us, and they will. So if we do decide to head out, we go together,” I declared. “We need to look after our own.” There was a murmur of agreement from the group.
“I say we go look.” Burt said defiantly. He was a pretty big guy and could move a group to make a decision pretty easily.
“Let’s please rethink this,” Rachel spoke up. “We just ran from those things, and we’re running right back at them? Who’s that going to help?”
“They started in the cafeteria, they’ll certainly be setting up shop there” Steven agreed with her. “If we attempt anything in that area, they’ll run us down, simple as that.”
“I agree with her too,” Harry said with trepidation. Even in a zombie assault, he was nervous around Rachel. “Why don’t we just sit for a second. Catch our breath.” Rachel gazed at him as though seeing him for the first time.
The conversation died soon after that statement. No one was in the mood to speak about anything other than business. It was pure silence. Not even the monsters could be heard from the cafeteria. I believed they had already entered the band room at that point, but I wasn’t prepared to bring that topic up again.