Of all the things in the world to be envious of, I envy memories. Memories of love, laughter, and happiness. Memories which I do not possess. My memory is riddled only with the vivid details of my desperate struggle to survive. I was young when it begun, which made the likelihood of my survival very unlikely. If it hadn’t been for my grandfather I would not be here today. Although today, a ghastly reflection of every day that I have experienced for the past few years, is not necessarily a gift. While many are thankful to be alive, I cannot help but wonder what it is I am living for. To simply exist? To face horrors beyond imagination every day and to see every person I grow close to violently murdered? Every day I recall my grandfather’s scream, the scream which I heard behind me as I ran. I did nothing to stop them from killing him. The man who had raised me from the age of five. The man who had taught me to fend for myself. Under such severe circumstances the innately selfish side of humans rules dominant. I ran to save myself. And every day I have saved myself, despite the repercussions my actions might have had on others. And for what reason? Is it simply my primal instincts which dictate that I must push forward? Or am I in pursuit of one day having a blissful memory to call my own? So far such memories are reduced to stories that I hear. Stories have become rare, however, as the days wear on. I haven’t come across someone healthy in eight days.
I’ve fought precariously through vast amounts of them. Those whom of which will remain unlabelled as I don’t exactly know what they are. They just came without warning and welcome. Swarming like bees, leaving nothing but destruction as they continue their path of doom. These things resemble us humans; in fact I’ve seen some who look like people I’ve known. There was this one instance that occurred when I was freshly independent. I was fishing through my local abandoned supermarket for stock when one of these things attempted to slaughter me. It looked like my friend who worked there, although it wasn’t because my friend would never do such a thing. Like the countless other times, I ran. I ran and screamed and cried. I ran until their growls became distant and my legs became weary. I’ve grown accustom to all of this physical exertion. To all of this adrenaline and this fatigue. I’ve set up routes to take and have made traps to slow these intruders down. Despite all of these assets I’ve implemented in my surroundings, I always end up needing to move. For what reason though? For all I know, I could be the only one alive. I could be the only one running.
Starving. My malnourished skin hardly concealing my ribs as they rose and fell, each breath was becoming a laborious task. My heart beat slow, as if tired from its constant exertion. None the less however, each pump of blood it produced shook my abdomen in its entirety: my body appeared as if shuddering. I knew this day that I needed to rest, although I hadn’t a place within which I felt safe and secure enough to sleep. To leave myself in such a vulnerable state was a mistake I had made too many times. Small naps throughout the day and night was what I had managed to survive on. This day, however, I knew that I had no choice. I needed shelter, and most predominately I needed food. I needed to nourish and hydrate my body, after which time I needed to sleep. It was this day that I found a spot that could only be described as a manifestation of my grandfather’s embrace. I had entered a small Asian market, one which I had discovered the day before after walking a mile down an abandoned highway. No sign of the living, nor the infected. I camped out in an alley across from the market throughout the night, not wanting to be confined within the market in the dark, when anything could have been lurking. When the sun rose, I felt relief but also the terror of realizing my next move. Although drained from lack of food and sleep, I opened my switchblade and trudged across the road, making my way to the market. Inside, there had only been one infected. Its legs had been torn off, likely by one if its very same kind. The organs which would have normally resided in its abdomen lay flat on the floor, trailing behind the torso which began towards me as soon as I walked in. It lurched forward, clasping the linoleum of the floor with its hands and pulling in its decrepit body. A path of slime – a mix of internal juices and blood – could be seen throughout the room, as if the being had spent its days moving around in search of a victim. Much of it was dried and blackened from bacteria. I had dealt with many of them, but this one in particular had had a look which pierced through me and left a lump in my throat. Its mouth was open, bearing its teeth as if it had been stricken with rabies. Its eyes were fixed on me as if nothing else in the world existed. I raised my switchblade……
…I couldn’t. For some reason, my mind was telling me to kill this monstrosity, but my body wouldn’t move. I stood there frozen as this pathetic infected slithered its way in my direction. What a poor little fuck. I imagined what its life was like prior to his death, how he died and what his last thought was before his lower half was completely annihilated. If anything, I’m glad he’s dead. I’m glad he doesn’t have to consciously suffer from his injuries and recognize his loss. So I left him in his haphazard state, as he continued to fixate his eyes on me. His hand reached out in need, in want, in lust of my warm blood and nourishment like how my body is screaming at me for the same necessity. I closed the door and proceeded onto finding some supplies. Everything was destroyed in this market. Plants and vases were ruined, Buddha statues were smashed and blood was smeared all over the walls. Although this environment suggested a lot of traumatic experiences, there wasn’t a soul to back up that suggestion. There wasn’t any movement, any noise, just silence. Pure and utter silence.