"Phew. Well. That was a blast… without there having to actually be one!"

The blonde skipped out of the laundromat with power in one hand, and money in the other.

That was ridiculously easy, she thought as she smoothly sauntered away, opening up the man's wallet and counting how much cash he had stashed in. Did he even realize he was getting swindled?

Elyza Lex was a young 20-year old in her sophomore year of college, hailing from Australia and hanging around the United States (L.A., specifically) as part of a study abroad program. She studied computer science, was the Australian ambassador to the Women in Stem organization at the American university she was attending, and volunteered at Kids Can Code afterschool programs for elementary schools near the university.

But with all this scholarship money that goes into my education, hardly anything's left for some fun, Elyza thinks to herself as she now starts to leaf through the credit, debit, and gift cards. A girl's gotta have a part-time job!

So when Elyza was not out magnanimously pushing the STEM agenda and being an exemplar model to unsuspecting young women and children, she earned her dishonest living through using personal information procured from hacked e-mail accounts, carefully reading finger movements and translating them to passwords or PIN numbers, pick-pocketing squished people at concerts or crowded metros, recording the patterns at slot machines, gambling for pots of gold at the casinos, and being a general salesperson by facilitating access to and generating more traffic to the deep web's underworld drug trade.

Woot, yeah, STEM for the win, alright! she thought as she quietly chuckled to herself.

Oh, yes, and most recently added to the list: armed robbery.

"Not too bad for my first time," Elyza mused to herself, eyeing her gun and putting the safety lock back on. "I think it was a mutually pleasant experience for myself and the poor half-wit that decided to do his laundry at this time of night."

11:30 pm.

To be honest, she almost talked herself out of doing it.

But she had gone through the motions–surfed the deep web, found illegal handguns for sale, met with the dealer to pick up her purchase, practiced her aim and proper technique at shooting ranges, staked out places to rob, and finally plopped herself in location, poised and ready to assault.

I couldn't just not go through with it after all that time-intensive preparation, Elyza told herself as she neared a dimly lit tunnel and found a magazine and newspaper rack near the mouth of the tunnel. Oh, right, I think I left my other magazine at the laundromat.

She pocketed the wallet, keeping one card out, swiftly picked up a magazine and started to sift through it, looking for items to shop for now that she had won her hard-earned money.

Frankly, she had let fate decide what should happen – if no one walked it, then she would take it as a sign that she should just ditch the gun and go back to her more indirect methods of extortion; if someone did walk in, then she would take it as a sign that it was time to level up her robbery game.

And when the attractive, poshly dressed young man stepped in…

"Well, the fates hath spoken," Elyza said to herself, looking at the man's driver's license on. "So you see, I really had no final say in the matter; hope you don't take it personally…let's see uh… Brian!"

She laughed to herself again, and the sounds of her mirth echoed throughout the tunnel.


Elyza stopped.

That one didn't sound like me, she thought to herself as she strained her ears trying to locate the noise again. Uh, who dares to interrupt me in the middle of my evil laugh? Gosh, I was already beginning to imagine the closing credits with my laughter as background…


She saw a dark silhouette slowly tottering its way towards her.

She narrowed her eyes to try and get a clearer view of the figure.


She blinked, and clasped her arms behind her to conceal the gun.

"Hey, uh…you alright there, mate?" she questioned in confusion.


"No answer, even though I'm right in your face? Shall I say—rude much?" she spat out with some attitude. "Whatever. I'm not dealing with this. You need me to call someone for you?"


"I know you must be smashed out of your mind, my friend, but a more eloquent verbal response would be preferable," she said with playful sarcasm and a roll of her eyes.


Now that the man has shortened the distance between them, she notices that there's something odd about him—he doesn't have the demeanor of your regular, run-of-the-mill drunkard. His head is bent at a strange angle, his arms hang loosely as he walks, his eyes are blank glints, his jaw hangs open, and his clothing is tattered and covered in dark splotches of…

She whizzes the gun forward.

"Freeze," she says firmly. "Don't come any closer."

The man keeps walking towards her.

"I may not carry a mace, cross, whistle, or pepper spray, but I do have a pistol," Elyza elaborates. "Kinda trumps the other options, don't ya think?


She starts walking backwards as the man continue to walk, as if not hearing her.

"Listen, so, uh, you're a quirky one, and I don't know what your angle is here—rape, assault, prank, come on—but I have every right to shoot you in self-defense," Elyza explains carefully. "And my aim far from strays."

Elyza gulps when the man, now less than 15 feet away from her, appears to trudge with more purpose, as if her spiel only encouraged him. And in the dim lighting, the girl finally notices the red tint to the splotches on the man's battered clothing, and the drool falling from his jaw.

"Mother—shit. What the fuck is wrong with you…!?" Elyza manages to get out right before the man inadvertently launches at her in her moment of shock.

Elyza screams and dodges his attack, but he grabs her leg as he collapses on the ground, tripping the blonde along with him.

"Grrhgg… argh…"

Oh, God, fuck, fuck, fuck, she thinks as she panics. What is it? Rabies? Drugs? What is he on?

She looks at her gun. She's never really shot a gun outside of the controlled environment of a shooting range. She had always worn earplugs and goggles, as well as gloves and helmets for added protection. The only other time she threatened someone with shooting them was back at the laundromat not even 20 minutes ago, and even then she was semi-bluffing, a part of her hoping the guy would just hand over the money so she wouldn't have to hurt him.

The man growls at her and start biting her shoes.

"What in hell—!? BUGGER OFF, YOU FREAK!" Elyza shrieks, smacking him with her magazine to no avail.

She kicks him in the face and then crawls away backwards as quickly as she can. "Do you want money, is that it? Ok, fine, here"—she pulls out the wallet and throws it at him, hitting him in the shoulder—"have the stupid dough, it wasn't even mine to begin with so whatever! Oh, hell, is this what this is? Divine retribution of some sort? Fuck, karma is a bitter bitch!"

The deranged man jumps at her again while she's still down and she struggles to wrangle him off of her.

She grunts, and screams, and punches, and cries for help—all is moot, though, because it's probably midnight by now and she was walking by herself in a dimly lit tunnel with no signs of other people therein.

"Fuck, is this how I'm going to die!? Eaten by some stranger? Not even in the good way, SHIT, FUCKING, LET GO!"

She makes a choice.

And she shoots.


His chest, his arm, his legs, his stomach.

Multiple times, so many times and she never even kept count.

He is immobilized.

She hastily gets up, hair in disarray, body shaking, shooting arm trembling, gasping and panting.

She surveys herself and notices she is covered in blood—how much is his or hers, she doesn't know.

She swallows away the nausea as she stares at the body, then promptly turns to walk away.

Elyza knows she's not a good person—she's a liar, cheater, and a thief, but she never thought she would be a murderer. Even when she purchased the gun, she mainly wanted it with her as a reinforcement, an intimidation weapon, just for show. She never truly thought she would have to use it. She would shoot a few rounds, sure, but never at the victim, just around the vicinity, to scare them into giving up their goods.

Her night of glory ended in gore, and she can't fathom how you can go from success to shit in such short period of time.

"… Ngh…rrguuh…"

The noise was curious.

Elyza is conscious of her heart's two loud beats: once in relief— he's alive! —once in fear— he's… alive?

She gulps, and turns around slowly, finding herself staring into the dull, blank eyes of the man she just killed, who is standing upright and walking towards her again as she remains still in disbelief.

"… What are you? How are you… how is this… This is not real, is it?" she whispers, asking questions that she knows won't be answered.

She lifts up her gun again, aims, and shoots.

But nothing happens.

The pistol is exhausted of ammo.

She stares at the gun in shock, then back at the man, then at the gun, and finally the ground.

"Is my death inevitable? Is this what I deserve…? Oh, God, I just, I don't know…" Elyza feels herself frozen still, the shock of what was currently taking place still sinking into her.

She can feel tears rolling down her numb cheeks, and realizes that she really doesn't want to die right now.

Her resolve steels.

"Fine," she says with a false smile and a quavering voice. "If I'm going to die right now, I may as well go down trying to take you out. Don't worry, I'll try to get us in a cool wrestling pose for when they outline our corpses. That'll be a pain to draw, I bet."

She walks around him, hoping she can get past him to run in the opposite direction, but the tunnel is too narrow to make an escape.

Screw it all to hell, I'll just go for it!

She takes off right past the creature, but it lunges at her, and she engages the attack.

As she fights him on the ground, punching, kicking, screaming, scratching, and beating him to a pulp, with the creature delivering the same in return, she sees bright white lights at the end of the tunnel.

"Ha ha, God, you're still gonna let me into heaven after all this!?" she laughs maniacally as the white lights draw closer and grow brighter.

She separates herself from the creature and sways herself to a standing position, lifting her arms. "Come and take me, Lord!"

And she is promptly hit by a car.

Well, more like, is flung over it, landing sideways.


Two armed men in military attire descend from the vehicle, scurrying over to where she's huddled into a ball.

"The target is secured," one of them says. "The creature was found attacking a civilian at Third Street Tunnel."

Finally! Took you long enough, authorities, she thought in annoyance as she groaned in pain.

She feels the barrel of a gun at her head.

"Ready to fire at a moment's notice," the other replies. "The creature remains still."

Awww, these dumbasses, she thinks angrily, grunting in pain as she tries to move.

"It's stirring, we're taking off the safety locks," the other one announces.

"Stop… stop it, dun… shoot," she slurs out, feeling a concussion coming on.

"It's… speaking?"

"That's impossible. It said in our briefing that they cannot communicate orally. They only groan and growl," one of the military men says.

"I was groaning… in pain… Jesus Christ," she huffs out, trying to stand up.

The two men look at one another in alarm.

"We apologize. That was our mistake… you were attacking the civilian on the ground, you were covered in blood, we thought you were the creature…"

"Then you stood up and charged right at our vehicle," the other explained. "That appeared to us to be aggressive behavior expected of The Infected."

"In my defense… I thought I was running towards the pearly gates," Elyza muttered out, now standing up with some stability.



"So, uh, The Infected?" Elyza slowly drawls out, trying to calm a headache. "I don't know what you're talking about, but I think you're looking for… him."


One of the military guys runs, places the barrel of his gun to its head, and shoots.

The creature immediately stills.

"That's usually all it takes to knock them down for good," the military guy that stayed beside her explained.

Elyza clucks her tongue and raises an eyebrow as she shakes her head. "20 bullets and none of them struck him in the head. Unbelievable."

But at the same time, this is my luck we're talking about, so of fucking course, Elyza thinks, rolling her eyes.

The military man that is returning from killing the creature on the points to Elyza pistol. "Is that your firearm?"

Elyza's eyes widen.


"Is it registered under your name?"


"Are you certified to have a firearm with you?"

"That's, uh…"

The three of them stare at one another.




Elyza spins on her heel and hauls ass out of that tunnel.

She's shot with a tranquilizer.


She's goes down, paralyzed

The men approach her. "We apologize, Miss…"—they take the wallet and pull out her ID cards— "These are not yours."

They stare at her, unimpressed.

Elyza stares back at them sheepishly from her position on the ground.

"Well, Miss, it seems you have a lot more to answer to us than just questions about your encounter with The Infected," the one military man says.

The other military man heads over to the body of the Walker. "Let's take her to one of the safe zones, drop her in the questioning room. We will leave the infected corpse in the vehicle and then drive it to the command center."

"10/4," the military man near Elyza says.

As the military men roll her into the back of the vehicle alongside the infected corpse (because there was no space at the front of the vehicle to accommodate her own limp, paralyzed body), she stares into the lifeless (finally!) eyes of the corpse as she thinks to herself: Just another day in the life of Elyza Lex.