My name is Samuel Wallace. That's what everyone used to call me, that's who I was, that's who I am. At least I assume that's who I must still be. My hair is brown and my eyes are green, I remember these things, I know these things. I can't see them anymore, but I remember and I know. I haven't seen a mirror in weeks because I've been hiding, running, trying to get away from this place. Came all the way from Edinburgh to London to see a friend, I haven't seen him. I haven't seen anyone, but I've seen things, terrible things. I've seen people eating people, this is a fucking nightmare. I haven't seen or spoken to another living person in three weeks, I can't even stand my own voice anymore. I'm the only one left, I think I'm the only one left. Just have to keep reminding myself that I'm not one of them, that my name is Samuel Wallace, that's who I am, that's what they called me and that's what they named me. I have brown hair and green eyes.
If I could guess now, maybe it's about five o'clock. My watch is broken. But it's been broken since I crossed the Scotland border. It fell off and some fat dullard stepped on it. Back then I didn't think anything was wrong. Back then I had the time and mind to stop and yell at him, to ask what the hell was wrong with him, where he was in such a hurry to get to. Back then a crowd was a crowd and a man was a man and a day was a day, but now everything was wrong, everything was backwards. No, now a crowd meant certain death. It's driving me mad. I've been walking and walking, all I see are turned over cars and rabid animals and human corpses all beaten up and mashed into a disgusting pulp of flesh and bone… Three days ago I found a cat, a tabby cat, big and black and brown. It was eating off of a dead bird or rat, or some animal. I tried to coax it over to me, it was the first time I'd seen something alive and in its right mind for so long. It looked at me for a minute before growling and running away.
I haven't seen anything since then. No birds. No insects. No worms or even a bloody little frog, just a vast, dead nothing. But I'm still here, and I remember my name, I know my name and it tells me who I am. It tells me that I'm still alive, still breathing, still moving, still conscious, because I have to be all of these things in order to remember, and I do. I do. And it hasn't rained in a solid week. I never thought that I would miss the rain as much as I do now. But like I said, it's about five o'clock and I have to get inside before those things come outside. Those things that used to be people, men and women and families and lovers. People. I know that if I look up, I'll see the sun, and the sun has never looked so fucking heartless. But it's better than looking up to see the moon, grinning at you like the damn Cheshire cat and warning those dead carcasses that used to be people that you're standing right there. It always knows where you are.
I don't know how far I've gone. If I'm closer to Scotland now, still in London, or if I'm farther away from both. All I can think is that it must've spread, it must've reached Scotland already. Scotland, Edinburgh, my town, my friends, my family, the people I love and was raised by and around. God, I just came to this city to find Andrew, Andrew my friend, a close friend. I remember him. I called him just a few weeks ago. He sounded fine. He seemed fine. He was fine. I wanted to come and see him, just this once, this one time. It had been so long since we'd palled around, gone for a drink, caught up. He told me he was thinking about purposing to some girl…I think that's what he said. I'm sure that's what he said. Annie or Angela…or Megan. Some girl he'd been seeing a long time. Almost a year. Or more than a year. Longer than I had ever been in a relationship with someone, I remember that.
My arm hurts like hell. It hurts like something's torn or bleeding inside of it, but luckily I don't think it's broken. I felt the pain when I first met this massive putrid hoard of animalistic zombies a few weeks ago. I was confused, I tried to ask what was going on, no one would answer, they just ran and shoved past me, screaming like banshees. Just off the train and they bombarded me, knocked me down, I fell against the wall and my arm twisted. They were running from something that I couldn't see. All I saw then was this big pile of whirling limbs and gnashing teeth, but they were all people, what were they running from? How was I supposed to know? It didn't take me long to realize that they were running from each other. People were grabbing people back, ripping them to pieces, clawing at their faces. And the funny thing was…the zombies hadn't even caught up to them yet.
I ran from there, god, I ran like I didn't think I could. I tripped and stumbled my way out of the crowds and out into the suddenly deserted streets, and daylight was just starting to show. Someone grabbed for me and I tried to pull them with me as I rushed away from the crowds, trying to yell to them and scream at them that we had to get out of here before this mob ate us all alive. It was a while before I realized that the half dead creature I was dragging behind me was writhing in a rabid fit as it tried to pull the fingers of my hand into its mouth. I managed to jerk away and run again. I ran until the world around me was a blurry haze of blood and screams and I blacked out. When I woke up, I saw that I was in a ditch…a dark ditch, and there were three bodies down there with me. Two men and a woman, hunched over and broken, probably dead for at least a week.
My arm's hurt ever since then. It hurts the most when I bend my elbow or stretch the arm out. It's something bad, I know, because after these few weeks it hasn't gotten any better. I'm so tired right now, I really haven't been able to sleep. This town is a bitch on your nerves. I'm not really paying any attention to the things around me right now, just the scuff of my shoes against the pavement and the rustled purr of the breath in my chest. But that's before I heard sounds in front of me. I looked up in a hurry, I could feel myself trembling as I saw the figure before me. Part of it was relief. It was broad daylight…broad daylight, the beasts were never out in daylight, it had to be a man. I murmured my lips in some sort of sound as the person stood stone still, perhaps fifteen feet away from me.
The person didn't move. There he stood in tattered, sweat and blood stained apparel, seemingly absorbed with the sight of his own shoes. His hair was growing longer, unkempt and uncut about his face. And when he looked up…my god, I recognized that face. I recognized that face because it was Andrew. He was thin a fatigued and hadn't shaved in at least two weeks, but for fuck's sake, it was him, I was sure.
"An…" I tried, my voice failing me. He was staring at me as though I weren't even there, just a piece of scenery out in this wasteland. "Andrew…"
His teeth were chattering and he averted his eyes downward again. I took a few more steps forward and he wavered like some great leaf with no solidity but its own gravity.
"It's me…" I uttering pitifully, reaching out my hand to him. It was a flood of arbitrary memories that stopped me in my tracks. Andrew and I at age fourteen when my little sister Janey was stuck in the elm tree outside our house, trying to get her down before Mom and Dad got home. Andrew and I at age seventeen, drunk as hell and laughing our asses off on his mother's front lawn at midnight. Andrew and I at age eighteen, sitting on his porch as he swore he wouldn't let his father take another hand to him, that he was getting out. Moving out to London. Andrew and I a month ago…talking on the phone, just like when we were younger, and I told him that I would visit. And I did. And here I was. And here he was, standing there like a gutted carp. I wondered if it had all been too much for him. If he had forgotten me.
And it was then that I went forward, and he looked up at me again, this time with an implacable anger…and his eyes weren't the blue that I knew they should be. I backed away as a feral hiss broke its way through his decayed gums, his voice warped into some new cadence that was so damn ugly I could hardly bear it. He ran screaming at me, arms dangling from his body like uncontrollable hocks of meat and flailing behind him of their own volition. A bellow rang out from the bowels of his disease, a holler of unimaginable animosity and lunacy such the likes of which I had never heard. He became just a big chunk of screeching, toothy, snarling flesh pounding towards me, a great expulsion of mucus and blood and vomit bursting out of his mouth and sullying the ground beneath him. Not Andrew…not anymore.
Of course I ran, I bolted from my place, screaming for all I was worth, uncaring as to whether the other things would hear me or not. He was much faster, and his gritty nails gripped into my shirt and hurled me to the earth with a strength and force beyond what I could've guessed. His lips were wrenched back in the most awkwardly depraved sneer as he leapt at me and tore for my clothing, biting and grinding his teeth in my face and eyes rolled back into his head in a seizure like state. I fought madly against his restraining paws, thrashing and twisting my body with any vigor I could muster. I grappled and crawled away like a newborn kitten in the jaws of a great hellhound, grasping for any surface I could to pull me away from him.
Somehow, I managed to work my way mostly away from him, but he was still clutching my ankles in a desperate fury of untold reason. I struggled one foot for all I was worth and connected it into his jaw, sending another spew of blood and a few teeth out from him. He wailed in complaint, and I scrabbled in a mad dash to my feet, still running, never looking back to see if he had followed. When I at last turned to see where he was, he was doing little more than hurling his mangled cadaver in my direction, feet turned inward and stumbling head over heels as he pulled himself to the living flesh he sensed. The ravenous hunger shown hideously clear in his blood dripping eyes and the vicious intent was all the more palpable.
I no longer even needed to run from him as he collapsed in a fit of growls and heaves hard enough to expel his stomach, still clawing at the pavement until his fingernails were torn completely away and left them nothing but bleeding nubs. It was then that the fear in me was subsiding, only to be replaced by a hundred other sensations that were going of like sirens in my head. I clamped by hands down over my ears as though I could blot it out, fear, sadness, pity, distrust, despair, hatred, disgust, depression, and anger. A fathomless, black anger that seemed to channel in it all of my other emotions. I began a fit of shrieking and yelling and cursing like I had never done before, kicking the twisted scrap metal and screaming my frustration to the point where I could not hear myself. Just a blank blur of rage.
"Damn you, you son of a bitch, god damn you!" I roared, throwing a sizable rock at the corpse before me as hard as I could. It struck him in the head and he howled, covering his head with his bloody, stumped fingers. "You can burn in hell, you rotten mother fucker!" there was nothing beyond or behind my blind fury as I picked up another rock and hurled it at him. This time it missed, but he let out a sharp yelp as it landed all the same. "This is your fault! You brought me here! You bastard, you can burn in hell! Damned if I won't put your ass into the ground myself!" I picked up a large chunk of metal pipe near my foot and reared it up over my head as I went to him, ready to bash his skull to pieces, to rip his body apart, to take everything I felt and put it into this pipe and to put that pipe into his head.
But as I neared him, he cowered away, crying out with another shriek of despair as he coiled into himself, making a deep throated wheezing and sniveling sound, cradling what I now realized to be his broken jaw. I had never once in my life ever been so ill fated to see something as pathetic as he was right now, spitting and whimpering and crawling away like a beaten toddler. And it was in that which I could do nothing…This was what he was reduced to. Right now he knew only one thing: pain, and that he did not want more of it. Everything he felt was reduced to this one small point. He did not remember me, where he was, who he was, why he was here, or even the perpetual lust for human blood…just that he was going to receive pain at this moment, and it was for that that he mourned so greatly. It wasn't his fault…It wasn't his fault that he had become this thing… I was about to thrash him for a transgression that did not bear his name.
I slowly dropped the pipe next to me and backed away, feeling horrendous sobs burst out from my throat as I buried my face into my hands. Never had I felt so infinitely ashamed and alone. This was it. This was my world from now on. I turn and ran, this time not from Andrew, but from myself. I ran until I couldn't feel my legs, and I ran until I was coughing blood and my consciousness threatened to fade from the lack of oxygen. I found my way into the closest building, a convenience store, stumbling into the bathroom in the back and slamming and locking the door behind me. I then crumbled to the ground and vomited until I felt light headed, dizzy and aching, every light and every sound to me like a grain of salt onto the open sores of my existence. It was a long while before I could breathe again, after a series of dry heaves and coughs, and I pushed myself up against the wall, dazed. But I still know who I am. I still remember me. I'm not like Andrew, I'm not like the others.
My name is Samuel Wallace. My name is Samuel Wallace, I have brown hair. Brown hair and…green…or blue…Green or blue, but definitely not brown, eyes. Yes, I know they aren't brown, that's for sure. At least I know that. Blue eyes. No, no, or…green…maybe it was both. Both, yes, I think that's it. Both blue and green, a bluish green. I kept telling myself these things, repeating to myself these things, memorizing these things again and again, until at last I could stay awake no longer. Samuel Wallace…I am Samuel Wallace…
The next morning proved all the more cruel in its arrival. I crept slowly out of the bathroom, ensuring that it was indeed daytime before exiting the store and having another look around. I had to keep moving. I don't know why, in the back of my mind, I truly didn't believe that I would find anyone else alive ever again. But I continued to move all the same, dragging my tired body across this urban desert, my thoughts a blank sheet of nothingness and my feelings raw and numb all at once. The world around me seemed some sick travesty contrived from every hellish nightmare man has faced, a monolithic catastrophe that befell him and wiped him from the earth like he had done to so many other creatures. I could feel every dead body I passed sneer at me in contempt and envy, I could hear every destroyed work of man I came across laugh at and mock me, I could sense that every time I turned my back to it, the eyes of the world shifted again onto me and watched me filter through the crowds of dead and onto a path with no destination.
I've never felt as alone as I do now. I'd give anything that I thought meant anything if I could just hear a dog bark or a bird cry or a cricket chirp. If I could hear anything, anything at all. All I hear now is me. My breath, my steps, my thoughts. It's killing me, just as much as this disease was killing everyone else. Was it biological warfare? A plague? Some kind of test vaccine gone horribly wrong? Or just some kind of mythological ungodly ancient evil? My guess was biological warfare. It seemed to be the most logical option, after all. That must mean that there are still people out there, people like me, like Samuel Wallace, alive and well. But what would that matter? Who would go back to the island of the damned to save just me? Even if there were other survivors…No one would save us. No one would come here. Never again.
But who would do this? The Americans? A terrorist act from the Irish? France? No, none of that made any sense. The U.K. isn't…wasn't on any terms like that with those countries. None of them had a motive. Maybe just a crazy group of religious nut jobs trying to rid the earth of the scourge that was the heretic heathens…I'd heard of things like that. But what did it matter? This is what had happened now, the way things had become. I trudged on, disheartened, walking and walking with no notion of the distance I had covered or that I would cover. I didn't know, I didn't care. This is all so fucked up. It's all so wrong. Where am I going?
It was at that moment that I heard a sound beside me, and I was both overjoyed and terrified. Just beside me, to my left and in the midst of four corpses, there toddled out the very same cat that I had seen just days ago. The time we had spent apart was surely rather unkind to the mongrel cat, however. Its fur was flat and matted with dirt and it no longer possessed its chubby look, now scrawny and shaggy looking. But it was definitely the same cat, because I hadn't seen another living creature since it. And there was a black mark just underneath its chin that I remember clearly, and that mark this cat bore as well. It was coming towards me in a staggering motion, limping like it had been beaten on a little.
I crouched down and held out my hand, sure that it had seen me. It paused for a second, lowering its head and flattening its ears before creeping towards me further. It was obvious that it was injured, and considering that, I found it strange that the animal would approach me at all. It was a mere few inches from my bent knee, head still low in an untrusting manner as I reached out my hand again and stroked my fingers against its soiled pelt. In a flurry of motion that I didn't quite register, the cat snarled and leapt forward, claws embedding into the material of my jeans and teeth sinking into my hand between the thumb and forefinger. It bit down with a voracious vehemence, hissing and chomping away with strength unnatural for your average feline.
I all but tore my hand away, mortified as the cat lunged onto my leg and began trying to tear its way through the material of my pant leg. I thrust my foot out and sent it rolling over the earth, watching as it rolled over twice and caught itself, sitting up with another hiss and staring at me through raw, gleaming crimson eyes. It had the disease, that was clear to me now. It had the disease, and it had bitten me. Immediately I was feeling the effect. I drove my foot into the cat's side as it approached again, screaming out curses and scorning it as though it were some demon. Deciding that my threats were unfavorable, it fled a ways from me, stopping to watch as blood dribbled down its chin.
I reeled back away from it, yelling and grabbing at my hair, spitting and shaking my head in protest as my entire body burned. It was like fire consuming my veins, I could literally feel the blood boiling beneath the surface of my skin, and the scraping sensation against the walls of my stomach. I coughed, and was horrified to find an unstoppable stream of cold blood pouring out from my lips in the process. It was happening. I was becoming like them. No. No! No, I wouldn't succumb to this damnation, NO! I clenched my eyes shut and fought desperately, swallowing another vile gush of blood as it hit my teeth. I wasn't going to become one of them, I wasn't! No no no, my name is Samuel Wallace, my name is Samuel Wallace, I may not remember many things, but my name, my name, I at least remember my name! The people who called me that name, the people who named me that name, all the people that greeted me as Sam and Sammy and Mr. Wallace…
My name is Samuel Wallace! I'm not a zombie! I'm not a beast, I'm not one of these damn apparitions just walking and staggering and tearing people apart, I'm not one of these things! I'm a man, I'm a person! I'm not going to allow this to happen! Not now, not ever! My eyes…my eyes hurt terribly, my vision is getting hazy, it's hot…no, it's cold. It's freezing on the inside, it's scalding on the outside. I fell to the ground onto my knees, choking and hacking, making some terrible sound as I beat my fists against my head. No, this isn't going to happen! It won't end like this! My name is Samuel Wallace, I'm nineteen years old, I have a cat named Jetson, I have brown hair, six cousins, three aunts and two uncles, I'm five foot nine, I'm Scottish and damn proud! I'm not a beast, I'm not a cannibal, I'm not some statistic of a deadly plague!
I can't feel my neck, the weight of my head is pulling me down and another spurt of blood hits my hands below me. I forced myself up, my body and limbs and bones heavier than they've ever been, but I struggled against the weight, locking my arms around my body and staggering along, a trail of blood painting an arrow to my location. I continued to repeat my name, again and again and again as I felt the sick blood flow through me. The funny thing was that…that I still remembered. Five minutes later, my skin was flaking and I felt terribly nauseous, but I was still me…I could still remember my name…my name… Samuel…Wallace! Wallace Wallace. My hair is…my hair is…
It was dark outside now. It was dark now, and those things would be out soon, hunting for me. But where I was now…where I was, I couldn't see any buildings to hide in. I couldn't see anything but some field and a little bit of forest stretching out beyond the horizon. It hurts, I've never known a pain like this. The horror of what I would become gnawing at the back of my mind and the reality of what I was becoming tearing me apart from the inside. It was like the inside of me was melting into a cold fluid that was just dying to break out, by any means possible. Blood was running out of my mouth and down my pant leg from out of my shorts underneath. It scares me that as the light fades, my eyes hurt less and less. It scares me that I'm shivering on the inside and sweat is pouring from my hands and face.
Andrew had damn near bitten and infected me, but I had stopped him. I had gotten away. And for what? To be bitten by a fucking cat because I was too damn stupid to think that it could carry the disease? God, god, I was so stupid. Such an idiot. Another rush of blood, this time out of my nose and into my mouth, staining my shirt. I was so angry. Anger, it was all I could feel, it almost overrode my fears. Irate, enraged, livid as I roared my defiance to the blackening sky, stomping the ground, proclaiming that I refused this fate, that I was not a zombie and that I still had my name. My stomach hurt terribly, I lost my balance and fell, crawling over to the decrepit remains of an old stone wall and huddling against it. I was losing myself.
I couldn't let this irrational anger overtake me, I had to fight back. It was matched, however, by an equally intense hunger that brought tears into my eyes. My chest was burning…every breath a knife to my pained heart and overworked lungs. I can feel every sign that tells me my body is dying, but I won't give it my mind, no, my mind is me, and it can't have me.
…I don't know how long I sat there.
Shivering, choking on my sour blood…
It was pitch black at some point, and I could see great clouds of my breath flourishing out in front of me in the cold. Strange sounds were coming from my chest as I breathed, whirring, hissing sounds that I didn't recognize. I didn't dare speak for fear of what I would hear in my own voice. But still I sat there. I sat there and shivered and choked and clutched at my stomach, which felt like it was receding up into my spinal cord, empty and decaying. And the worst part…the worst part…was that…after a few hours, I realized that they were walking right past me…those zombie beasts…just walking right past me. At first I screamed, trying as hard as I could to pull my body away. They looked at me, studied me with their dead eyes, almost confused…and walked right on…right on to find the next meal…Like I was familiar…
Like I was one of them…
I sat there crying for such a long time…until the light was seeping back into the world and my eyes began burning anew. I buried my face into my hands, deplorable sobs and choking wrenching from my throat. And it was then that the thought hit me…What I had been doing was…pointless…when I thought about it. Since I came into this place, I've been walking. Walking and walking on and on, with no purpose, telling myself that there was no hope. That there was no one else left, no reason to survive. I didn't even know where I had been going. Just stumbling, foot after foot, step after step onward into nowhere. Just like them. Just like the diseased people, no purpose, no reason. Just walking, too stupid to know what they want until it's right there in front of them. I'd become one of them without even knowing it…
But no, no that can't be right! Anyone else would have been gone by now, just like them, but I wasn't like them! I wasn't! Nothing in the world could convince me that I was one of them! My name is-
My name is…