A Story From The Dead Life
by D Harrison Schleicher
We had been on the run for a few days when I came to a side road leading off of the highway. The roads had been crowded with abandoned vehicles and wrecks everywhere. Lisa, my wife and Vanessa, our baby girl were exhausted and hungry so we decided to take the side road. The undead hadn’t been much of a problem as long as we kept moving. Hopefully we would be able to find a place to stay the night. I was just as tired as the girls and needed a good nights rest. The car we were using had been over heating for the past twenty miles or so. I would have to try and locate some new wheels for us if we were going to make it much further. Before the radio had gone dead, Lisa had heard a broadcast promising safe haven just on the other side of Rolla, Missouri. We didn’t have far to go but the Honda Civic we had been using for the past two days was shot. Running down zombies had finally taken its toll on the little car.
We hadn’t gone far down the road when the radiator blew and the engine on the small car seized up. We would be walking from here.
“Honey, gather up as much as you think we can carry. Do we have any food left?” I knew the answer to that was no. I had to ask anyway. Lisa had been unresponsive since we had started out this morning and I was trying my best to draw her out.
“We have two bottles of water and five jellybeans,” she said as she shoved what little we had left into our backpacks.
The jellybeans were Vanessa’s. She loved the damn things and never went anywhere without having her pockets jammed full. I call her my baby but in reality she’s twenty-five years old. Vanessa was our special child. When Vanessa was born the doctors told us she would always be “a little slow.” At first we were heartbroken but as time went on Lisa and I realized it didn’t matter. Vanessa was a sweet and loving child and always would be. It didn’t matter that she would never “grow up.” Maybe it was a little selfish for us to feel this way but we would always have our sweet little five year old daughter.
We each took a backpack. Vanessa carried her Dora the Explorer bag and started down the road. Soon it became obvious that we were headed down a road that would eventually lead to a farmhouse. The fields were full of crops that would never be harvested. From the looks of things we would definitely have something to eat tonight. I wondered to myself how long could we survive on a diet of soybeans and corn. We walked for about a half hour when a landing strip for small aircraft came into sight.
“Maybe we can fly out of here. Wouldn’t that be fun Vanessa?”
“My daddy is going to take me for a plane ride. Mommy, do you like flying on airplanes?”
“Your father is teasing you. He can’t fly a plane sweetie.”
“Yes he can. My daddy can do anything.”
“Your mommy’s right honey. I don’t know how to fly a plane. Let’s see if we can catch a free ride though.”
“Ed you need to stop getting her hopes up like that. Vanessa, let’s just wait and see what happens, okay?
Vanessa frowned at her mother and skipped down the road singing over and over, “I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again.”
“Look across that airfield baby,” I said pointing to the group of about twenty zombies crossing the landing strip headed in our direction. “I can see the roof of a house over the next rise. We need to make a run for it.”
We ran to catch up with Vanessa. She was oblivious to the situation. We had been able to shield her from the worst of it so far. When the virus first hit our town we were able to escape before it became necessary to fight our way out. Thankfully we had been able to avoid any direct confrontations. Unfortunately it looked like that was about to change soon. She understood that there were bad people out there trying to hurt mommy and daddy but the true implications of what was happening eluded her. At first she was horrified to see me run down the zombies in our car. After a while though it became a game to her. Each time I hit one now she would squeal with delight and clap her hands. She even kept score, daddy umpteen bad guys zero.
“Honey we need to run. More of the bad guys are coming,” I took Vanessa by the hand and started to run beside her. “There’s a house up ahead. We’re going there.”
“I hope they let us fly in their plane!” she shouted with joy while running beside me.
As we got closer to the house I could see that the zombies were coming at it from all sides. It would be close but if we hurried we could make it. Just then the door opened and a woman came out onto the front porch and pointed a rifle in our direction.
“Hurry, you’ve got sprinters right behind you.” The words were barely out of her mouth when she opened fire.
I chanced a look over my shoulder. I didn’t know they could run like that but one was right behind Vanessa. He reached for her and the top of his head blew off. He went down hard and the creature behind him tripped over his corpse and went down in a flurry of arms and legs. It looked like we were going to make it when Vanessa stopped running and stood at the bottom of the steps leading up to the porch.
“Can I go for a ride in your plane?”
“This door closes in five seconds.”
Lisa grabbed Vanessa by the hand and dragged her up the steps. The lady on the porch continued firing into the approaching undead and I got behind Vanessa and pushed her up. We all made it inside before the zombie horde made it up the steps.
The door slammed shut and she turned to face us. “My name is Marla. Will you help me barricade this door?”
There was a large hutch in the living room beside the door. Lisa and I grabbed it and started dragging it over. I was already past the door and Lisa was right in front of it when it burst open. The hutch blocked the zombies from swarming in but did not prevent them from pulling Lisa and dragging her over the hutch and out the door. I was able to grab Lisa by her legs to try and pull her back but there were too many pulling the other way. As they yanked her through, the door slammed shut. I will never forget the sound of the screams coming from the other side of the door as they ripped my wife to pieces.
“I’m so sorry. I have to get upstairs. My daughters up there,” Marla said quietly as she made her way up the steps.
“Daddy, where did mommy go?”
I collapsed to my knees, sobbing uncontrollably. My wife was gone. My life was over. How could I go on without her? I felt a hand touch the top of my head.
“Don’t worry daddy I’ll get mommy back.”
In my sorrow I didn’t understand what Vanessa was about to do. She went to the hutch, pushed it aside and opened the door.
When I wake up I’m sitting on a toilet in a strange bathroom. I have no idea where the hell I am or how I got here. Lisa and Vanessa are both gone. Why do I have to still be alive? The anguish I feel is unbearable. The two things that matter most in my life are gone. Outside the door I hear the moans coming from the creatures that took them from me. I want to rush out there and kill them all. But here I sit rooted to the spot too terrified to move. Self-preservation is a strong motivator. I hate myself for being the weakling I am. If I wasn’t such a coward I’d rush out there and take out as many of them as I could before they ripped me to pieces.
I hear gunshots coming from outside. Lots of gunshots. They’ll take care of those bastards for me. God I’m hungry. As soon as I’m free from this hell hole I’ll eat until I burst. I hear voices in the house.
“Steve, clear the ground floor. Les, you come with me. We’re going up.”
I sit quietly. They’ll find me soon enough. Then I can finally eat.
I hear another gunshot. A few seconds later the door to the bathroom opens. I slowly turn my head to look at my savior. A low moan starts in my throat and escapes my lips. GOD I’M HUNGRY.
“I’m sorry,” he says. “I didn’t know this bathroom was occupied.”
Before I can rise from the toilet he points his handgun at me and I see a bright red flash. Darkness soon follows.
“Next time, don’t just walk away. Let me know when you’re done clearing a room,” Al said. “Did you shoot that poor zombie while he was taking a shit?”
Dead Life Books One to Three are available on Amazon.