Day 9 (Austin)

We staggered along a dusty trail, the five of us survivors, Taylor, Will, Jack, Vincent and I.

“So,” I said to Taylor, “Tell me how your life has been after you left Houston and before all this shit happened.”

“Well,” said Taylor, “I had been working at a dead-end job washing dishes at a diner, and at night, I had been street racing for some extra cash.”

“Haha, I remember we wanted to do that as kids, guess you were living the dream, huh?”

“Fuck that, I hate doing dishes” Taylor laughed.

We had a short laugh, then faded into silence. We continued walking toward San Antonio, toward safety.

“I guess we’ll be there in a couple of days,” I said. “San Antonio, I mean”

“More like four to five at the progress we’re making.” said Jack, who glanced back at Will with a sour look, who smacked him in the back of the head.

“Taylor, tell us how you survived on your own during the plague of the 22nd century.” I said.

“Well,” started Taylor, “I heard about it on the news at first as Mad Cow Disease, but something seemed off, like this was a cover up or something. They mentioned that the biggest breakout was in Texas, near Houston, because of the heat and the number of “cows”. We were advised to stay indoors unless necessary but because it was just a cover up, no jobs were shut down, no stores or restaurants closed like they ought to have been.”

“Ah, the Zombie Survival Guide said that it would be covered up by Mad Cow Disease. Max Brooks knew what he was talking about.” I said

“So I was at work, my day job, washing dishes when my boss came in, looking a bit pale and sweaty. I asked ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and he replied ‘I don’t know. Just feel nauseated, probably the Mad Cow Disease the government is ranting on about.’ I said ‘Do you need to go home?’ ‘No, I’ll be okay’ and he walked off, and I continued to do my work, wondering if I could sneak out if he went home.”

“Wait, did he get bitten?” I interrupted.

“Lemme finish the story,” Taylor said. “I heard screaming coming from the front of the restaurant so I assumed something was up, but I didn’t want to go check it out, you know, we’ve all seen horror movies, so I stopped my washing and just held a large knife in my right hand. That’s when he staggered in, his sleeves torn off, and I saw a large chunk of flesh missing from his forearm. He made a sort of gurgling moan and threw up on the ground and continued to stagger toward me. I didn’t know what was going on, the fact that he was the living dead escaped me at the time.”

“I stood there in shock for a couple of seconds and said, ‘Sir, are you okay?’ But he just kept walking and when he reached me, he grabbed me and tried to bite my neck, so I swung the knife I had in my hand into his throat and he spat up blood on my leg and died. It was kinda ironic that the first person I killed was my boss, considering he was an ass and I hated him.”

I laughed, hard. “The first zombie I killed was my old lady neighbor who walked into my room while I was asleep and I smashed in her skull with my guitar amp. But killing  your boss was just funny.” I laughed again.

Voices up ahead told us we weren’t alone. I drew out my shotgun and the rest did similar with their own firearms, and we walked slowly toward the sound. A lone man was shooting into a group of three zombies about 10 yards away with a police-grade shotgun. One zombie’s head exploded into a hundred pieces and another’s arm was missing.

Jack stood up, preparing to help, but I held him down and whispered “If he’s doomed we don’t need to endanger ourselves saving someone who might already be bitten.”

“Oh,” replied Jack.

We watched in silence for a couple of minutes, and he killed another, but at a cost: he was bitten by the last before slaying it.

We waited to see if he’d point the shotgun at himself, being infected, but instead he just stood there, tending to his wound.

I stood up, and exhaled sharply, I really didn’t want to do this. The man saw me and kind of half-smiled and said “Those fuckers really bite hard don’t they?” I didn’t reply and continued walking toward him, my shotgun at my side. “Wow, this hurts, any of you guys got a-” he never finished his sentence before my shotgun blast took his face and top half of his brain off.

Another rush of guilt like the one from the morning before hit me.

No sympathy for the dead, the undead, or any form of it. I thought.

I retched up and vomited on the body, overwhelmed by the sadness of it all. Will patted my back and said “It’s okay, none of us think you’re any less of a person for doing that. You did what needed to be done to save more lives, that’s that.”

“Thanks.” I said. “Let’s go.”

We walked in silence, too burdened by the death to talk, until we reached a large town, there we killed the many undead there and found us a place to sleep in a panic room of a large house, with a hidden door and thick walls.

“I’ll take all the watches tonight” I muttered, and no one replied, but I know they heard me because they all took their bedding out of their bag and laid down for the night.

I sat at the entrance to the hidden door and took a cigarette pack out of the messenger bag at my feet along with a black Zippo lighter. I smoked and thought of the man I had killed today, still disturbed by the face he had made when his lifeless body hit the cold ground.

I finished the cigarette and lit another, the last in the pack, which always seemed the best one, the most flavorful and most stress relieving. I never dozed off, but I lost track of time and reality in my thoughts, wondering if we’d ever make it to San Antonio alive.

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One Response to “Day 9 (Austin)”

  1. […] of Ultra Violence up, click here to read that. Also, Austin finally did Day 9 of Z-Day, click here to read […]

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