Day 10 after the fatal day: Chris and I start noticing the rumors... They seem to be accurate, before the bombing we heard that if this was to happen, if this chemical warfare shit was true. By day 9 the people that were dead which was nearly everybody I knew would start moving limbs 1 by 1. I don’t know what is happening, I’m scared. Me and my brother both.
Day 18: I’ve never seen anything like this. I’ve heard stories and I’ve seen shows about zombies... But real life?! This can’t be true, "this has to be a nightmare" I say to Chris. "Just stock up all of the food you can find, I’m going to bring any weaponry I can find, we will make it through this I promise” he responds.
Day 19: these things are real ugly, I didn’t know if I could take this emotionally or physically, but at this point we are just looking for survivors. We make our way north of our apartment building with a pistol in each hand. Chris much more calm then me. I thought I would be able to take a practice shot at a stop sign, bad idea. They heard me, Chris grabbed me and started to run before I could do the same. I’ve never felt this feeling before. Adrenaline, a desire to just destroy what comes in my path, we come across a fenced park. It seems like central park, before we can climb the fence. We have to get these things off our asses, Chris turns around and shoots one... Two... He keeps going. I bring myself to pick up my gun and take the slight movement of my finger on the trigger to shoot. I didn’t realize the power this thing had. Before we knew what happened, all 20 were goners. Me and Chris looked at each other and just laughed. Inside central park is a makeshift shack, we sprinted with all the energy we had left, hoping for civilization, but nothing. Just the dead corpse of what was a cute couple, hand in hand, both of which had a gun in the other hand. We search the pockets, find nothing but ammo. Good, looks like we can shoot some more and sleep tonight, but before we do that, Chris and I have to pick up the couple and bring them far away, the stench of the truly deceased is even worse than that of these undead nightmares. But we did it and got back safely. I can’t get this noise out of my head, I can hear the flesh being ripped apart from the couple we have left to be devoured. Chris isn’t fazed though, he’s a strong guy. I don’t know how I could cope without him, I would already be a steak dinner if he wasn’t so resilient.
Day 21: Yesterday in our travels we met what was remaining of a family, two cousins.
Two fellas that look like they have been to hell and back, but hey hasn’t all of NYC? We bring them back to our shack and see if we can travel together. We spend the whole day in it and we didn’t hear a sound. It’s odd being in New York and not a thing to be heard, but hey it’s better than what I have been subject to hearing. The older one, Greg, he’s a tall but skinny guy. He will do whatever is possible to get out of here and have his cousin there with him. The faint brown, dirt stained sweat bleached his skin, and his clothes. His cousin who we find out is also Chris, but prefers to be called by his last name, Sehy, is a quiet kid. Didn’t say much, he let the loss of who and what he had always known get to the best of him. But he was essential to our new group. He came up with plans that even stumped me, he seemed to know the zombies and our surroundings better than all of us. We talk for the rest of the night. We tell them that our father who was in the military was killed in Action trying to stop what caused this. He gave us hope. His actions told us that we can do this. Chris has my father’s favorite person firearm, a pistol. He says it is special but he would never let me see it and I have yet to find out why. But Sehy tells us that a few miles west there is supposedly a safe house, or a safe town, he said it’s safe. And he came out with this proof he thought he had but he wasn’t making complete sense, even to himself. But I’d rather try it out than be stuck here for death. We don’t know what this safe haven is. Or if it is even here, but the journey starts tomorrow.
Day 22: I don’t even want to count the days. Why would I? I am counting how many days it’s been since humanity has taken a turn not just for worse, but for worst. Greg, Sehy, my brother and I embark on what in my eyes, is the end. Not the end of my life, but the end of this eternal feeling shit storm. It can end in a few ways the way I look at it. I can die, I can find this safe haven, of we can get lost in the process. But there is a feeling inside me that is eager to find out which fate has been destined for me. We're walking, each being weighed down by equipment. I am holding all the food and drinks required, Chris has every gun between the 4 of us, Sehy is holding the maps, instructions, and any information. Greg is holding the excess. Each of us are also holding a weapon of choice, Chris is holding the semi auto rifle, I am holding two revolvers, Greg prefers a shotgun and he is only letting his cousin hold a pistol. I can tell by the way Greg looks at Sehy that he is worried, worried that the sorrow and the anguish is going to get to his cousins head. I don’t know if Greg thinks he is going to hurt himself, or even one of us. Better keep an eye on him. "Okay we need to split up to cover the most ground and maybe we can seek out more survivors" says Sehy. I’m worried that they are going to go their own way and leave us, so I come up with a plan that we change the groups of two. I will go with Greg, Chris will go with Sehy. Greg and I gain an alliance while walking. We are going to walk four miles west while the other two are going to be just two blocks down, we will meet after the four miles is over. The two of us are walking when there is a pain and a quiver in our stomachs. We hear the screech of the undead, followed by gunshots only a few seconds later coming from our brother and cousin. Not just a few gunshots, they don’t stop. I thank and pray at the same time that my brother is okay and I become so grateful that they have the guns and ammo. We must be conservative. Greg loads his shotgun and I don’t know why, he is looking at the buildings. Wait, I can’t believe what I am seeing. They are not only leaping from the windows, but also from the roofs of buildings! At the same time I see more start to cover the street in front of us. I take a deep breath and say to Greg that he can take out the ones coming from up top, I will take these bastards on the cracked pavement in front of us. While we take a stand in just our first half mile with three and a half left to go I can’t help but think. Who am I killing, these things were alive once. I can be killing my friends, my peers, adults, and children. I stop my shots for a second just to think maybe they just are sick, I can help them! Greg demands that I do not take another step. And think about what I am doing. I snap back into it and we keep going. I can’t believe my eyes, I can count how many are left. I put my last two clips into my guns, before you know it I’m counting 10 more. 9, I notice Greg is assisting me in my troubles and he takes over from this point. He walks towards them , blowing the brains or what’s left of a brain out of each one, the last one is running and Greg is out of ammo, he waits for perfect timing and SMACK, a perfectly placed blow to the head, before I know it he’s landed 10 more smacks. I tell him it’s enough and he turns to me with this crazy look in his eye and I raise my gun in fear, the look goes away and he thanks me with a nod. We get the rest of the way without any problems except just a few walkers but there was no true trouble. We finish the four miles at the break of dusk. The four of us meet back up. There is blood covering every one of us, we don’t even know whose, or what’s blood it is. We don’t say a word. But all of us make our way into a nearby apartment, take the nicest suite, and all of us clean, eat, and sleep.
3 1/2 miles to go until we get to this supposed salvation- the sun is lost, the rain is pouring from the skies and the creatures are roaming. Before we leave the building Chris and Sehy tell me about how their fight was yesterday, and man it made my day feel like a walk in the park. We decide not to put ourselves through this again and we stick together, today we plan on doing a mile. It may be easier then yesterday because it seems to me that these zombies don’t prefer the rain but if they spot food, they can care less. So we make our way staggering from street to street in search of more people. We got about a half of a mile and killed a handful of these freaks before I saw something beautiful "guys look!" I yelped. The silhouettes of about five more people came into view. I could tell they were people by the way they weren’t sprinting at me and looking at me like a class A meal. We take the rest of the day off, although off schedule, to get acquainted.
For the rest of the night I feel like this event never even happened and it is a surreal feeling. I actually feel happy. I learn more about all 9 of us now, including myself.
To put into description, there’s me:
A 21 year old little brother who only knew my father in between the few breaks of his tours of duty. But my mother took great care of me and I’m thankful for that.
Chris- My 25 year old only brother. He always grew up with the wrong crowd to fit in, but it worked. He maintained his family life and social life. Although he didn’t talk to mom much Chris and I were close, real close. He’s a strong guy inside and out.
Greg- He gets more interesting every day. He has a crude sense of humor but that’s what we need to ease the tension sometimes. I can tell he would do any and everything for his cousin Sehy. But Greg, for such a small skinny kid who’s only 19, he enjoys killing more than any of us
Now Sehy- He just seems like a depressed kid. 17 years old, tiny, with glasses. I am so thankful for what he has brought to the group though. He seems to be taking the loss of family and friends the worst. I feel bad for the little guy.
Our new friends are Mike Spitiri: He is a 29 year old soldier, extremely built and an overall big guy. He really is a teddy bear of a person though. He will put his life on the line for any of us and I’m thankful for that.
Ryan spina- Another soldier, 28 years old, he seems sketchy. I don’t quite understand what it is. Maybe it’s just the stress getting to him. But he is one to keep my eye on. He tells us that he wants to kill everything, “Kill em all, kill it all!” He can’t take this anymore. But maybe he’s just fed up, who isn’t?
Cruz- He is an 18 year old kid but I must say, I have got to give it up to him. He is acting strong. He is putting this all behind him. And he will do what it takes to stay alive. I feel like he is vulnerable though, mentally.
Logan- A 20 year old guy who is not only small physically, but his emotions are small in a way also. He doesn’t want to kill. I find out he is a scientist, he just wants to find out what this infectious killing machine really is. He carries a gun to be safe. We must protect him.
Casey- the first female I’ve seen in a while, well the first that hasn’t tried to eat me alive. She gets along with us all and seems to lighten the mood of the group. I can’t imagine seeing her kill but she has blood stains on her already. So maybe she’s one of the bad-ass girls from the movies. I don’t know but I am certainly glad to have her around. It’s like this whole thing has minimal effect on her. I'm impressed.
With our new group formed I can say I am more than relieved. I can’t wait to see us in action. I would also love it if all 9 make it to this safe haven. I'm comfortable with these new friends. We still must make up for lost time though.
Three miles to go- I feel rejuvenated, I’m ready. As I’m waking up and packing to move as far as we can I hear an argument between every one of them. They are debating on how this even happened to begin with, I listen in. Cruz said maybe the government did this which soldiers mike and Ryan took offence to and firmly denied it. Logan comes out with the opinion that it may just be some rouge virus, after Cruz implies Ryan and mike know details about the origins of it all once again, Ryan draws his gun, lifts it to Cruz’s temple and says "I am telling you, I didn’t... Do... Shit". The argument stops, this just feeds onto my suspicion toward Ryan though. We start walking and can feel a grudge in the air. We walk a while before we see any zombies. Could this be a quiet day? Wait, no. The noise, I hear the howl of a zombie in the distance, one hundred yards ahead. Then one from nearby, maybe fifteen yards. More and more, but they are not getting closer. In fact they are fading away. Sehy says that he thinks it is a trap, waiting for us to fall into it, make us feel safe and when we don’t expect it… Attack, in numbers, numbers like we have never seen before. Ryan Logan and Casey look at him like he is crazy, but their plan is to sprint. If they are running away from us we might as well cover as much ground as possible.
I absolutely cannot believe this, it took us all day but we covered TWO miles with just a few zombies to take care of, they were the fat ones, guess they couldn’t keep up with the rest. Hah. It is starting to get dark out. We decide to stay in a hotel! We find the master suite and claim our beds. I just can’t seem to get it out of my mind that some of us seem to be losing it. Out of the handful of zombies we killed today, Ryan went up to each one and shot it again, mike bashed its brains in with the butt of his rifle. And Casey laughs in its face. What is wrong with these people? Oh well I’ll get over it, we must act like a family. Chris and I take one of the master beds, Casey sleeps on a couch, Cruz, Mike, and Ryan share 2 beds combined, Logan prefers the floor and Greg makes a few pillows to sleep on and tells Sehy to sleep on the floor.
I am up… thinking, I thought I was the last one up but no, I fell asleep to the faint sound of panting or maybe even crying under me and it’s not just one person. It’s Sehy and Logan. I feel so helpless, that is because I am.
1 mile to go- we start walking and it is a thunderous day, lightning too. Not only do I have to worry about these brainless corpses, but lightning too. We gather up and devise a plan to go in groups. Ryan says that so that he can see us all next to each other, to line up against a building. Almost like picking teams in dodgeball as a kid. Every one of us but Mike Spitiri line up, he tells Casey to join him, once she makes her way to him he starts yelling, with the same look Greg had in his eye during our stand two miles ago. He goes on saying "we have to contain this! You guys are just going to slow us down! I have to do this, I’m sorry everybody." He backs up, we are all frozen in shock. Maybe he is going to hurt himself, oh no. But wait, he doesn’t go into his gun pouch, he goes into his army coat pocket, pulls out a grenade. He pulls the pin and says "I’m sorry! We have to contain this". He thrusts his arm back, we are still frozen. All of us except for mike. He runs toward Ryan, tackles him to the ground, and screams “Don’t do this!” Ryan won’t loosen his grip on the grenade. The look leaves Ryan’s eye, the last thing I saw was complete sorrow in his eyes, and Michael did the bravest thing I have ever seen another man do. He takes the grenade, while still mounted on Ryan, and lays on it. The last words I heard of Michael Spitiri were, "You will find it, I prom"… Then that was it. The explosion, well more like an implosion devoured the two of them. Mike took his own life so ours weren’t harmed. The other side of the coin is that he took Ryan with him. I guess Ryan, he... He had enough, maybe it was a dream that set him off. Maybe he heard voices tell him. Too many maybes. All I know is my instinct was right, Ryan was one to be suspicious of, he snapped and two brave souls were taken because of it. We take nearly thirty seconds of standing there, Casey is crying. Cruz and Sehy both puke. The rest of us are standing in sorrow, maybe guilt? But we are interrupted by the sound of thumps, we think it may be thunder but quickly find out that thunder doesn’t get closer to you. Hopefully the zombies are distracted by the two tender bodies enough that we can cross a few blocks and keep pursuing what we want most, salvation. We make it three blocks before we feel it is safe to rest. None of us are the same. Every one of us have lost our motivation, but we MUST keep going.
With less emotion due to what we just saw, we keep going. Walking, jogging, anything. I feel like we walk about a half mile. Every one of us feel like we may be getting closer because the sun is out now and the mood has lightened. But wait, hell has truly made its way to earth, the fainting screech from yesterday is heard again. I see the singular zombie that the bone tingling cry comes from. But that’s not all I see. Not even close. I see 100... Maybe 200, or more. What the hell! Sehy was right, it’s a trap! We take the few seconds we have to get prepared and we lift our guns.
We all look at each other knowing, this is it. This decides who lives and who dies, time feels like it is going in slow motion, there’s so many. I give my brother a hug, he says “don’t start this now”. Then I see that the rest of us, Logan, Casey, Sehy, Greg, and Cruz all walk towards us. A group hug to end all group hugs. I feel like I am saying goodbye to my family for the last time even though these are near strangers. The zombies come from everywhere, and I mean everywhere. Greg takes the first shot. We all charge, but then we all begin to stand still, shoulder to shoulder creating a circle between us to cover each and every corner. The booms and bangs of the footsteps are almost as loud as the booms and bangs of our guns. We need to try to stay in this formation as long as possible. The first side of the circle to be attacked is opposite mine, I look from the corner of my eye to see who it is. Greg pulls out a knife, a real butcher knife from his backpack. He stabs some of these things in the throats, eyes, and mouths. I want to scream… Sehy, he is standing behind Greg cowering. I want to command him to use his pistol but I have no time. Greg pulls out his shotgun and starts to obliterate everything that runs toward him. I turn to Logan, I can tell be doesn’t like what he is doing, but he pulls out the fully automatic rifle he took off of Michael’s corpse earlier without me noticing. He pulls the trigger and his arms fly up and back, recoil. I have faith in him, he takes a deep breath and pulls the trigger again. I hear the ting of each bullet scraping and penetrating these zombies’ skulls. He does a good job, better than I would expect. Before the horde makes it way to my side of the circle I look for Cruz. He is holding a grenade which is also from mike in one hand and a sub machine gun in the other. He got that from Chris' bag. Cruz pulls the pin and tosses it into the impending shoreline of zombies which takes out quite a few but not enough. He pulls out his sub machine gun and he takes it to the house on his first try. He seems to know what he is doing, he knows when to reload, and he knows if he even should reload. He is a skilled dude, I’m more than impressed. Chris nudges me, Casey has a crazed look in her eyes and on her mouth. She’s scared but motivated, with two pistols like myself she takes out a zombie with seven out of ten pulls of the trigger. I’m scared though because she is missing more than I would like to see her miss. I know she can do this. Now it’s time for me to do what I’ve been dreading. I look to my side. Chris and I nod simultaneously and he takes his semi auto rifle and blasts while he can, oh my god. This is a fully coordinated barrage of the undead. I see why Sehy is cowering out. I’m scared to, I pull out my pistols and hit every shot. I’m in the fight part of “flight or fight” adrenaline. Chris and I almost laugh because it is like some sort of sick game, we are taking everything down. Wait, the game is over. Chris needs to reload so I tell him I will cover his ass. NO, the tick of my guy signifies I need to reload also. The undead army gets closer and Chris yells "RUN". I think it’s time to get into the flight mode. I am mortified. We all ran, but in the same directions. I’m with Chris, and I’m trying to fend for myself for a second so I hide behind a billboard pole while trying to reload. I turn back around for Chris... I freeze. I drop both of my guns, there are zero zombies pursuing me, they all turned for my brother. My only brother, the one that has no ammo! Hold on, he throws his bag over his chest, reaches in to pull a gun out and... He doesn’t make it. He is cornered, he kills a few while he can. a singular zombie runs after me, I hesitate to pick my guns up, I couldn’t do it, I look over at Chris with every chance I get, I want to explode!
I saw it, he's been bitten. He kills that fucker, another bite. Kills that one, he manages to eliminate every single one of these things attacking him. While I am still running I hear the thud of that shit-for-brains that was chasing me fall behind me. I run to Chris with all I have left in me. I’m losing it. No, I’m losing him. I punch the ground, kick the curb, and scream in denial. Chris is still alive but he’s gravely injured, he’s been bitten with a multitude. With staggered breaths he hands me a pistol, I take a second to observe it. I double take... It’s a normal pistol, but... It’s engraved. I look at it, engraved in it is a family portrait of all 4 members of my family, probably the only one in existence. I don’t understand. I flip it over. The other side reads a quote "use a great remedy to conquer the great evil". With an etched heart and a dash next to the word “dad”. It hits me... This is my fathers… The one I have been trying to see all my life. I look back at Chris. I can’t see with the tears in my eyes. His color is changing and his breathing is getting more sporadic... He looks at me and he nods. He knows that I know... I look away and point my father’s pistol at my brothers head, I scream the loudest I have ever screamed before so I don’t have to hear the bullet I must to put into my his head... My brother. My last brother, my last family. Why live now... I lift the gun to my head when I hear "NO STOP!"
I turn and see Casey. She finds me just in time to make sure I don’t hurt myself. She asks if this is what Chris would want me to do. I ease my gun when I realize something. I do not hear any guns firing. This must mean everyone else is gone, just like my brother... I can finally see what is happening, the group’s faint, blood doused selves come into my sight. I run to see how everyone is doing when the depression in my stomach strikes again. There are multiple bite marks. Logan is laying down mumbling, holding a knife to a zombie, with a chunk taken right off the side of his face. Greg is laying down comforting Sehy, who has a piece of flesh taken out of the meat of his leg. Casey brings me to Cruz. He is in the worst shape. Almost like how my brother was. We all panic a bit when we hear there are more zombies on the way. Logan screams for us to listen up. With his face dripping red, the color I have become so familiar with. He says Ryan was right and we are disgusted for a moment. Logan says that it wasn’t our some secret government agency but it was the doing of another human. He says that a foreign country had dropped a toxic, clear, odorless gas on our city, maybe the whole country. He tells me something that I thought was impossible, something that warmed my heart a bit. He says that this gas and the effect it has on the deceased, is reversible. He begins to shake and we all know what is happening. He is turning quicker than any I have seen before. Probably because he had the undead blood all over him including in his mouth and eyes. The gas must have gotten to him. The last thing he says is with a smile is. He faintly says with his last bit of lively effort, “behind you”.
I look and there it is. I HAVE to be dreaming. I start to feel a painful stab of guilt for shooting my own family, not knowing I was within a few dozen yards of these mile high walls made of pure steel. They don’t look penetrable even with the strongest of weapons. I killed my brother while being so close to the safe haven, salvation. I then feel joy because I actually made it. I start to run but remember everybody else. I turn back to find Casey trying to pick up Cruz, but she cant. I grab her by the arm and pull her to come with me. I nod to Greg and he throws Sehy over his shoulder, and dashes as fast as he can. Tears are flowing from every one of us. I look at Logan and show my gratitude. I look again at Cruz after tearing Casey off of him. He knows we have to do this. We have to leave him. I shed my last tear for him and see him shed his last for us. He takes down every zombie he can before the horde catches up and they rip Cruz, Logan, even my brother apart. There is one zombie left... Just one. But not one of us have ammo! My brother died with it all. We run, run, and run more. But the fucker is catching up. I scream but I hear a shot fire before I give myself up for the rest of the group. It’s Sehy; he is bruised, bloody, and battered. He took a shot. The first bullet I have ever seen him fire and I am not believing this... He used the pistol he had and he actually saved my life. Just like my brother did. Direct hit, right between the eyes. Before we collapse to our knees and thank the lord at the doors of these gates we need to keep going. Finally Greg, Sehy, Casey, and I make it to these monstrous doors and we push large red button immediately followed by a photo being taken of us. I thank god because somehow Sehy new it. He told us from the first day we met him that this was here! The doors opened up. A whole town was enclosed in these steel walls. Now we drop to our knees and I don’t know if it is from relief or pure exhaustion. Dozens upon dozens of soldiers run to us. Sehy is immediately brought to go receive medical attention and Greg follows. Casey and I are brought in to separate, neighboring houses. Without saying a word I walked into the house I have been assigned. I quickly find the shower. Finally, a warm shower and even better, and a bed. Peace and quiet. This is what I need and before you know it I am out like a light. I wake up the next day and regroup with who I have left. Casey and I leave our new residences to go to the infirmary, it’s there that we find Sehy and Greg laughing. We enter the room and for no particular reason we also begin to laugh. I give Sehy the biggest embrace of a hug I have ever given for saving us. I give Greg a hug for being the most bad ass guy I’ve ever seen. Casey a hug for doing everything she could. Good news, Sehy is going to be okay.
We made it... I look outside and I actually haven’t taken to account that I see hundreds of humans, actual humans. I want to faint because of how much joy I feel when I tell a soldier what Logan died telling me about the foreign toxic gas. He listens and listens well. The same soldier gets back to me the next day and tells me six amazing words "we are working on a cure". All I can muster out of my mouth is a faint “thank you”. But I didn’t only mean it toward the soldier, I meant it to Chris. To Mike, Cruz, Logan. Even to Ryan. I couldn’t have done this without them. This is my remaining family and I thank them for that. I take my father’s pistol out of my pocket and I kiss it while thinking to myself, "we did it. I am alive, and maybe, just maybe, this hope for a cure rumor is true. Soon the population can reunite. Soon”.
We did it.