This is not just another zombie apocalypse story...I hope. I'm aiming for something more realistic than shuffling, decomposing grossness or "I Am Legend"-style, superhuman weirdness.
This story is told from the perspective of Ayva, a young woman surviving in the post-apocalyptic world. As the story progresses, she will make some friends and some enemies in her quest to discover how the world as she knew it came to an end.
In a way, I'm glad. Once you get past the maddening isolation, the crushing depression, and the loss of everyone you ever knew or loved, the post-apocalyptic world is kind of beautiful. Everything people built is slowly but surely crumbling away. Decrepit domiciles and rusted out cars are all that remain to mark society's existence. I live here, in the skeleton of my hometown. It's your typical Small Town, U.S.A. kind of place. We have one grocery store, some mom 'n pop shops, and a small public school where football and bigotry are just good ol' American values. At least, that's how it used to be.
I suppose you'll want to know how I've been surviving. Well, food isn't exactly scarce. Most of the livestock on the local farms went feral shortly after the farmers stopped taking care of them. Wild hogs, their population unchecked, have stormed the area, and the deer population, also unchecked, has exploded. Before everything went to hell, hunting was a big thing around here. Thanks to that, there are plenty of guns and ammo for me to scavenge. No one ever taught me to shoot a gun. The beauty of necessity is that I learned on my own. I only forgot about the recoil once...twice....doesn't matter. I took up residence at my grandparents' house. It's a little place with some acreage outside of town. Out here, there are fewer Virals to worry about.
Oh, right, Virals -- that's what I call the infected ones. You'll need to know about them, too. In the winter of 2016, there was some kind of a virus outbreak. It was bad. People lost their fucking minds. It usually started with hallucinations, then paranoia, then violent outbursts, and within a month or two, they were slaughtering each other in the streets. Big cities went down quick. Small towns like mine were the last to go, but eventually they fell like the rest. It seemed to go continent by continent. North America first, then Europe and Latin America, then Asia, Australia, and finally, Africa. I guess no one who could’ve figured out what was happening lived long enough to tell.
Any Virals that didn't kill themselves or get killed in the outbreak seem to live in a rather delicate state of confusion. Once the population was down enough that they had to actively seek out victims, their virus-fueled rampage was curbed. Now, they only get pissy if you surprise them. Usually they travel alone, since they don't play well with others, but I've seen small groups of 4 or 5 on rare occasion. They're not very pretty. Most are just this side of emaciated. I guess when you’re completely batshit, certain tasks, like hunting, might be a struggle. That's probably why some turn to cannibalism, which doesn't really help the insanity thing. Their faces are gaunt and their bones are prominent, but their strength is not to be underestimated. I nearly lost my head once when one tried to take a meat cleaver to my neck while she had me pinned to the ground...