Apology in advance. Never played L4D1, took my own spin on everything, using only original characters, I'm not familiar with the area I'm writing in either, so it's all made up except for cities. I did enjoy writing this chapter though, albeit it took me a long time. This is the first in many non-plot related stories for many different video games. Enjoy.
The Green Flu struck many years ago, in the early ages of the 2000s, but by destroying the city where it started, making it uninhabitable and killing anyone who could possibly be a carrier for the disease they got rid of it. People didn't talk about it, the land that used to make up a good portion of Georgia had been turned into a dump as was most of Northern Florida. They had been lucky enough that sickness had gone around so close to the coast, in an area they were able to cut off completely.
These days, Florida was nearly inaccessible and a lot of the southern state had been converted into a jailing system, for those criminals who were never getting out. If you were sentenced to life in prison anywhere in the United States there was a good chance you were going to be sentenced to the jail there so mockingly named Green Flu Detention Centre.
Life aside from that was normal, for lack of a better term. The illness had wiped out a lot of the southern population but it didn't stop the northerners from making up for that loss. After 20 years no one was mourned, survivors, though few, weren't seen as the great heroes they should have been and the Green Flu was nothing but a joke. Didn't it usually take more than twenty years for something serious like the green flu to become a joke, sure it wasn't Holocaust bad in numbers or ideology, but people were turned into zombies, and people who weren't but may possible carry the illness were mercilessly killed by the government, but no one thought this was bad. Everyone who died had a family somewhere maybe they had already died, but an unjustified death is the worst kind of death. No one ever thought to find a cure, no one ever tried to help even the carriers who could have had the illness treated in them. No one cared and everyone was quickly forgotten.
The states surrounding Georgia, after a few years, were even trying to milk the events that had happened all those years ago, creating museums and some even bold enough to set up tours into the wasteland that was Georgian soil. No one could blame people for avoiding such contact with the area, deep down, people were still afraid of it, but on the outside you'd never be able to tell.
Anyway, this is not where the story starts, not on one of these tours where a person gets sick, no this story starts on the other side of the country, no...not even in this country. Our story here starts in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, yeah, Canada. Canada was never struck by the Green Flu, but unlike their American counterparts they couldn't help but let the caring about these people who had died linger on quite a bit longer then everyone else. It was what we're known for right? What's a dead soldier to the Americans? What's a dead citizen? Sure the number of Canadian losses during the Green Flu pandemic were few but still something to grieve.
Anyway, don't worry this story isn't going to linger on Canadian soil for much longer because it starts with a high school trip.
"Everyone's here right?" the teacher asked from the front of the long bus which contained a large group of giddy teenagers. This was the 3rd annual Grade 12 history trip to Tennessee, which now had the largest Green Flu museum on the continent in Knoxville which was one of the largest cities close to Georgia. The museum has built a large tower, and from the top it was amazing how clear you could see the landfill that was now the state of Georgia, or at least, that was what I had been told by my older brother who had gone on this trip two years ago. Though he had also said that in the past year or so they have upgraded the technology on the telescopes so you could, from a certain spot, even see the guard towers of GFDC, which I couldn't help but doubt completely.
The students let out a very resounding yes before the teacher just sat down and signalled for the driver to start on out. They would be stopping for the night in Washington and were going to to staying there for the night and then would be doing some stuff about the history of that city when they were there the next day and would then leave for Knoxville the next morning. I had to admit, I was not looking forward to the 10 hour ride no matter how you looked at it. I glanced over at Heather again she seemed like she was already ready to call it a night, though I couldn't blame her, it was 6 in the morning and no one wanted to be up. I sighed shaking my head as she wrapped herself in a pillow and got as comfortable as she could in the cramped space, partially leaning against me as she did so, not that I minded I was going to be writing, reading and day dreaming the whole way there. Or at least, I had hoped that was all I was going to be doing.
"Nick." The voice was one I knew, you see, normally I wasn't one for eavesdropping but, this one boy right now was my exclusion of that rule. Aaron, I had never liked him ever since I had started school with him in kindergarten and he had dumped juice in my hair. When he got a reaction out of it, from me, as well as everyone else, made it something almost religious doing it at least once a week. Let's just say I never did anything with my hair for three years, in other words, until he out grew bringing juice to school. But that didn't stop him from bothering me in other ways of course. All of which equally annoying and rude. "...Jamie..." of course I had only been able to hear my name in what he was saying to his lackey, Nick. But knowing that they were sitting behind me and were well aware that I was sitting in from of them did not vote well for me.
I shook my head putting my head phones in my ears, hoping they would just leave me alone if I didn't pay them any mind, but for some reason I knew my inward pleas would be ignored completely. I took out the book I had been reading for the past while and cracked it open to where I had my bookmark which was a laminated picture a friend had drawn for me of one of the characters from the stories I write, the character who I wished I could be like, and still do. Out-going, popular, funny, a real crowd pleaser, not to mention he could get anybody he wanted, meanwhile I've been stuck single for all my 17, almost 18 years. I wouldn't say it's my fault, sure I'm the exact opposite of my character; I can barely get a word out even when I'm around people I know, I often think of myself as very awkward, I'd rather sit at home and read a good book then socialize; but I've just never met anyone who I have felt a deep connection with, someone I would want to be with, if that person came along then maybe I would change my mind, but I wasn't expecting much.
Heather was fast asleep still by the time they were crossing the border, but they didn't even wake her up or anything, they didn't even check identification or go through luggage, someone could have easily been smuggling stuff across the boarder on this bus and no one would have been at all the wiser. For all I knew maybe someone was, I had to admit I didn't really trust all the people I was on this bus with, aside from of course, Aaron. But that was of course a completely unrelated part of this story so it shall be ignored. After passing the border I decided now would be the best time to try and get a little sleep. I turned my music down and switched to my actual headphones, not wanting to hurt my ears by wearing the buds to sleep, a trivial matter now that I think about it. I leaned my black hair sticking to the cold window the bus as it continued to drive, catching the briefest of glimpses at Aaron and Nick who actually seemed far to absorbed in their video games to pay any attention to what I was doing, which I was very grateful for.
I woke up, surprisingly, when we arrived at our hotel in Washington, everyone grabbed their bags and headed out grabbing their luggage from the compartment underneath the large vehicle. We were given keys to our rooms and told to head off, I was not all that upset by the choice for my roommates, two guys Dalton and Markus, who were really good friends, and really good people who would accept a freeloader like myself into their room. In the room they opted to share a bed and let me have my own, which at the time I thought strange, but later found out otherwise, but again, that will wait.
The next day dragged on and then it was again night time in their last night in their hotel before back on the bus for another 8 hours. I wasn't stupid I knew if we had gone another route we would have ended up their in twelve hours instead of dragging it on for a total of 18 hours driving on a stupid bus. But I just assumed it was for out educations that we were forced to stop in such an important city, though I was pretty sure no one was really paying attention to anything the teacher had been saying at any of the places we had visited.
Back on the bus I took out my notebook for the first time on the whole trip. Heather looked over at me and smiled, "Is that still empty? I'm shocked you haven't written anything down yet." she said with a laugh, and I rolled my eyes, having expected exactly that from her.
"Yeah, well I've decided I'm going to use this one as more of a Journal then a story book. Maybe I can turn this whole experience into a story." I replied with a shrug turning the cover over and taking out my trusty pen. Heather laughed and I cocked an eyebrow glancing at her from the corner of my eyes.
"You mean, you'll rewrite it but with that character of yours in place of you? And he'll be paired up with the maiden and beat up the bully?" She questioned, I just scowled at her, she loved to make fun of me about my stories and how I use them to make my life seem better, or get away from the real life and live the life of my characters instead of my own life. I just sighed, refusing to reply to her questioning, she just laughed, "Well I'm going back to bed, good night." she said pulling her blanket up and curling herself up against his arm and falling asleep.
'Trip? I wouldn't use that word. I would use the term 'mobile school' aren't trips supposed to be fun? I guess I shouldn't have expected more then I am getting though.' I started my pen moving across the page so naturally in my small sharp writing, 'The two flying monkeys haven't tried anything yet but I know it's just a matter of time. Knowing them they're going to wait till we're at the museum and try to pull some zombie stunt on me. It's pathetic really.
'I spent the night in a room with Dalton and Markus, why would two guys choose to sleep with one another in the same bed when one of them could have slept on the couch or floor. Well I guess anything is better then sharing a bed with me. And as usually I wonder what I'd be like if I were popular and actually, oh I don't know, had friends? I guess that two doesn't matter though.
'These bus rides are going to go on forever. The ride back is going to be shorter, I know, 12 hours, with no stupid breaks, we're going to be driving right through. This should all be an experience and it will be nice to finally have my writing revolve around me instead of my characters, not that I would ever tell anyone that. This may make me feel like my life is a little more important then I make it out to be...or not, probably not, but I guess this is the only way to find out. I wonder how much spending a week in Tennessee will get out of me writing wise. Based on what I've got so far? seven pages, maybe up to fourteen if I'm lucky. Should at least make me seem busy though, and maybe people will leave me alone.
'Maybe I can write down some of the stuff I learn. But not about the boring stuff I learned in D.C, stuff about the Green Flu, and what happened to the survivors and all that. I find it so fascinating, but so many people just joke about it. It's a disgrace to all of those who lost their lives to the illness.
'Anyways I will continue to write and share what happens as well, things happen. As for right now, I think I'm going to try and sleep through this bus ride.' I signed it with my signature plus a little doodle of my character sticking a knife through my head with an arrow pointing at me saying 'bored out of my skull' I chuckled slightly as I closed the book and shoved it into my back pack and leaning against the window to fall back asleep, my iPod playing piano and orchestral music softly in my ears.
The next time I woke up it was dark out and everyone else seemed to be asleep. I looked around at all these classmates I was sharing a bus with, here and there I saw the tell tale sign of a video games glow against someones face but most people were curled up against one another or the window and fast asleep, not that I could blame them. For the first time on this bus everything was quiet.
Heather was still asleep, but I swear that girl could sleep for all eternity without waking up. She didn't even stir as I bent over to get my book and reading light out of my bag. I cracked open the book again and started reading deciding it couldn't be more then another hour before we got their if it was already this dark outside.
As I had thought within the hour the teacher stood up from his seat as the bus stopped. And whistled, waking up a few of the students. I nudged Heather and she lazily drew her head up, her eyes barely open as she looked at the teacher who was telling us that we were here and that we had to get off the bus with out stuff and head to our assigned rooms. I was quite thankful that we had the same roommates as the last time, because that pretty much ensured that I was going to be getting my own bed again.
This place was not much different then the last hotel we had been in. I sat down on the end of the bed closest to the wall and looked from the other bed to the TV to the computer sitting on the desk. I had been a bit upset that we weren't allowed on the internet here but it didn't really matter, I was sure people were going to use it and get in trouble anyways, and I wasn't going to be one of those people. Dalton was asleep once he hit the bed when he and Markus entered the room. But to my surprise Markus turned to me and, get this, actually tried to have a conversation with me.
"You didn't talk to us at all in Washington, is something up?" He said sitting down next to Dalton on their bed.
"No, I just don't talk often." I replied with a shrug pulling some clothes out of my bag to sleep in. I turned back to him slinging the clothing over my shoulder. "I'm not that great with conversation's anyway." I said with a sigh looking to the ground then back to the boy sitting on the bed. "I'll be right back I'll get changed in the washroom." I said before walking out of the room to the bathroom on the floor, I didn't know what kind of cheap hotel didn't have bathrooms for each room, but at least it was clean. Something I grew to really appreciate later on.
Both the stalls were occupied as I entered and I couldn't help but frown. Deciding that it would be strange if I went back into the room still wearing these clothes I opted to change in one of the shower stalls instead. Closing the curtain I tentatively started pulling off my clothes, not liking the flimsy curtain standing between me and anyone who could be out there. I heard toilets flush and the door opening and closing a few times but I didn't freeze completely until a shadow fell on the curtain. I tried to ignore it letting the clothes I had been wearing drop to the floor before bending down to pick up the others. When a hand reached under and I jumped back to protect myself when their real goal was my clothing. I let out a yell.
"What are you doing!" I shouted, my arms shooting up and clutching my body trying to cover myself up as the curtain was wrenched open. Aaron was sneering at me looking way to amused by this, my face flushed a bright red colour as my eyes also landed on the phone he had in his hands, clearly taking pictures or a video or something. My eyes widened, I couldn't believe he would do something like that.
At the moment one of the things that was bothering me the most was my personal underwear preference, I had never liked the bagginess of boxers so I had worn briefs my entire life, liking the more form fitting fabric a lot more. Aaron and Nick just seemed to laugh and laugh. "I swear I've never seen such a girly looking guy." Nick shouted as he laughed clutching my clothing to his chest. I flinched pushing up against the wall and sliding to the floor in an attempt to hide my scrawny little body from their eyes even more. Though, it seemed it was futile. Aaron bent down and grabbed my knee pulling it to the side and opening me up to the camera again.
"Come on Jamie smile for the camera." I felt tears start to form in my eyes, my throat clenching up at Aaron's words.
"Why the hell are you doing this?" my voice was nothing though and I honestly thought that nothing had come out of my mouth and those words had only been in my mind at the lack of a reaction from the two older boys. It seemed as though some seemed to hear my plea as the door opened and Markus walked in.
"Jamie, are you still in he-" he stopped mid sentence as he saw Aaron and Nick harassing me. It was embarrassing but I didn't care at least he would get these guys off of him. I noticed how he seemed to go red in the face before approaching the two older boys. Aaron stood up and shoved his phone in his pocket, and I tuned out all their words just sighing in relief, leaning my head back and sighing glad that that was done, deciding that I would be changing in the room from now on, nothing could be more embarrassing and awkward then this was.
I was brought back to what was going on around me as my clothes were thrown back at me and I looked up to see that Aaron and Nick were gone and Markus was looking down at me, bright red in the face but no hint of any evil intention on his features. "You were taking a while, I decided to check on you. You can change in the room, Dalton and I don't mind. But, you should get dressed now." The fact that he was avoiding looking at my almost nude body as I stood up was some sort of grace. I nodded and closed the curtain this time finding the shadow lingering right outside to be rather comforting. Still the fact that Aaron would do something so disgustingly rude dumbfounded me.
I got dressed and Markus and I walked back to the room. As I closed the door behind me Markus began to speak, began to question, something I really didn't want him to do, because I really, really, didn't want to talk about it. "What's going on between you and Aaron, why would he do something like that?" the words were sincere and I knew I couldn't not say anything.
"I've always been his target, he's been picking on me since Kindergarten." I said, hoping that would suffice as an explanation. Apparently, not quite.
"Sexually harassing you?" Markus questioned seeming even more serious this time, as though this was genuinely making him upset.
"No...that's a first...He won't do it again. I'm sure he's had enough of it from just that." I said with a shrug walking past Markus and sitting down on my bed, "I'm going to try and sleep if you don't mind." I said cutting off the conversation. Markus just nodded before getting into bed with Dalton who seemed to have sprawled himself out in his comfort. I leaned against the backboard before pulling out my notebook deciding I should write something.
'So far this is an 'adventure', sexually harassed for the first time in my life. This is new. I've always hated Aaron, but this is a new low, for him, for anybody. But it seems like I've got a new hero, Markus, he really is a good guy. Dalton is too. Maybe there's a friendship with these two? I don't know, but a kid can dream right?'
I laughed as I read the small paragraph over doodling a drawing of an overly masculine-faced angel with a slender body that didn't seem to match before signing the page in the bottom corner. I closed the book again and rested the top of it to my lip before putting it back in my bag along with my pen. Now was as good a time as ever to get some more sleep right? I sure needed it right now. I pulled the blankets up over my head, curling up against the wall as I tended to do before I let myself fall asleep, at least I knew I was safe from sexual harassment in the room. Maybe trying to make new friends would do me some good. So far being distant towards everybody hadn't made my life much better so maybe it would be a turn for the better, it's not like I could get much lower then knowing that the one person in the world I truly despise has pictures of me in my underwear that he could do pretty much anything with. I had been hoping that I wouldn't think about that, but when had I ever been the lucky one.
Lets just say, sleep did not come to me that night as a happened to spend most of it in an anxious train of thought thinking of all the things I would have to worry about from here on out because of what I was stupid enough to let happen in the bathroom.
I didn't mention before, but this story at the moment has two different parts. And to continue on from here with my own perspective would make absolutely no sense at all. So instead we will switch locations and take a look at the one most important aspect of this story. At Green Flue Detention Centre nearly a month ago.
"Luke." The dark brown haired man heard his name called opening his eyes and looking to his side at the man who he very reluctantly called a friend, but in a hell hole like this one a person needed someone to call a friend. Said 'Luke' cocked an eyebrow as he waited for his friend to elaborate. "Lets get the fuck outta here." He said scratching at the back of his neck where his dragon tattoo peaked out from the collar of his uniform.
"How the hell are we supposed to do that?" Luke said unable to help but glare at the younger man, Max, who in turn didn't seem to notice the sharp look or tone from his fellow prisoner. He pushed up the sleeves on his green jumpsuit and sat down next to him. Luke continued to give him a very sharp look that went unnoticed.
"Well , I've been thinking about this for a while, they don't have much security at the border and we just have to cause enough of a scene that they won't pay attention to us when we leave, they won't follow us out into the dump, it's to much work, and they think we'll just die anyway-" He started to explain.
"Because we will die. There's no way we're getting all the way across one state on foot, without food or water and surviving." Luke said glaring at the younger man who was silent for a while he was about to say something when Luke interrupted, "I am not eating garbage and drinking my own piss either, you idiot." He said with a sigh. Another pause.
"Well I was planning on stashing water in our clothes, we only really need the water to survive for the walk." he said with a shrug.
"You do realize it's a week long walk without and breaks. It would take nearly half a month to get there." Luke said rolling his eyes at his friend's stupidity.
"Lucas. We are in the equivalent of death row. We're never getting out of here. We're going to be in here till the day we die. Why not risk it to get out?" Max said putting a hand on Luke's shoulder. "Face it already, we have nothing else left to live for." From a person who had been here for nearly three years less then Luke had that was quite the punch in the gut. He was silent as he let the blond's words sink in, no matter how much he didn't want to believe what he said he was right. He had ensured that himself and that was the reason he was here, and he knew that. He let out a sigh.
"Fine, I'm in. Just tell me a good plan and we'll get out." Luke said, his head hanging in defeat feeling terrible about this, finally accepting the fact that he had nothing, that he was nothing.
Not long after this the two found themselves out, much to Lucas' shock. Max's plan had worked without a flaw. They had enough water hidden in their jumpsuits to last nearly 2 weeks for both of them. "I told you it would work!" Max shouted happily putting his hands behind his head as he walked through the disgusting smelling land. They were probably four hours away from GFD and as Max had thought, no one followed them out, even if they had been seen. Luke, though, couldn't help but be a little paranoid by how well everything was working out so far.
"Don't go acting like you've won just yet, there's a long ass walk ahead of us before we're going to get anywhere completely safe." Luke said keeping his eyes in front of him as he kept up a fast but relaxed pace. He found it eerie being out where there was absolutely no life around them what so ever. He wondered if this was what it was like in this exact same area twenty some odd years ago when all those sick zombified people wandered around this area. The thought sent chills up his spine though. "Are we just going to walk?" Luke asked wondering if Max had any way in mind to kill the time a little faster then this, because Lucas was pretty sure he would go insane if he just walked the whole time.
"Uh, yeah?" Max said confused with Luke's question, he sort of figured that was all they were going to do, did they have enough time to do anything else. "I guess if you're bored you can rummage through all the garbage to find something edible when we get hungry." he said with a shrug and a laugh, though Luke had no idea how he found this at all amusing when it was still very likely they could die out here.
"I don't know how you can laugh at all of this." Luke said shaking his head.
"Because we are free men, we don't need to have cares, we can laugh at what we want. We were never supposed to get out, we were supposed to rot in that awful place, but we won't." Max said looking up at the bright sky happily. Luke looked up as well, a solemn look on his face as he took a deep breath taking in Max's words. "We can start anew, we can start new lives for ourselves, we can let go of the past. Man...it's great to be alive." He said Luke smiled lightly at the younger man's speech. He couldn't rain on his parade, they could talk more about the flaws in this outlook when they got out of Georgia alive.
They only stopped during the nights to take naps wherever they could find a little bit of shelter. They would sleep for a few hours drink some water then head back out. The days started to fade into one another. They encountered no other living things, and Luke still couldn't get used to the overall eerie feeling that came along with this place.
After four days there still seemed to be no end of this landfill in sight and both of the two convicts had started to get a little bit paranoid. They would snap at each other for no reason and would go at least twelve hours without talking to one another. Only exchanging words when routes should be changed. They stuck to a relatively northern path the whole time sure that eventually they would reach a place where they could find people and society.
On the sixth day, with still nothing in sight, something unexpected happened. They had been sitting and resting to take a drink. Max had been complaining of hunger for a while now. Though Luke was fine, he remembered the period of starvation he had put himself through for the week prior and the week into his sentence, and that helped him a lot. Max saw a rat scurry out from underneath a heap of trash and he jumped on the unsuspecting rodent before snapping it's little neck and picking up the dead body by the tail. "I'm going to eat it." he said.
"If you can start a fire and cook it you go ahead. But if you die because it was bad it's not my fault, I will not mourn over the loss." Luke said shaking his head.
Max did manage to start a fire and he kept it on long enough to cook the morsel and eat it before he put it out again still aware that they didn't want to bring unneeded attention to themselves. "Good thing you didn't want any, there was barely enough for me." Max said with a laugh and Luke just rolled his eyes before standing up.
"We should start heading out again." He said starting to walk north as they had been. Max followed with a brief 'yeah, yeah'.
Finally after ten days of walking the two saw their salvation: a fence, with building scraping the sky on the other side. They both lit up as they let out satisfied yells of success and victory. They found a path of fence that had been gnawed through by animals. Luke noticed that Max didn't seem nearly as great as he had been, in fact he had been getting slowly worse since day 7. But when he got himself caught on the fence and tried nothing but forcing his way through, Luke finally started to notice.
Max looked pale, almost green, and even his eyes looked darker and more lifeless. "Hey, was that rat you ate really that bad, come on we're free." He said with a smile trying to help Max up. When the other was released Luke noticed blood trailing from a wound where the fence stuck him, it looked deep and painful. "Hey, are you alright?" he asked.
"Hmm? What? Why?" Max said looking at the wound. "Oh...don't worry...I'm, fine." His sentence was broken up strange and Luke was even more worried then before. "Go...Let's go..." Max said with a smile. Then he fell, he just fell like a rag doll to Luke's feet. He moaned as he grabbed Luke's pant leg and when he lifted his head his face was smeared in blood from the contact with the cement, his eyes looked like they were rolled back into his head, his pupils gone and the reds more prominent on the almost yellow whites. Max's grip tightened and he sunk his teeth into Luke's leg. Luke screamed, despite himself, kicking Max in the head with his free leg. He heard a satisfying crack as Max's jaw cracked and his jaw went slack enough for Luke to get out of his grip. Max stood up.
A drooping posture, no acknowledgement of pain, nothing; it was right then and there that Lucas figured it out, Max had Green Flu.
Luke's mouth fell open as he continued to back up, but Max continued to advance on him. "No...No fucking way." Luke picked up a piece of scrap metal from a spot where the fence had recently been replaced. The rusted metal cut into his hand with his tight grip but he didn't care right now. This was horrible, he had a lingering feeling that this was his end even if he killed Max here. He swung the piece of metal like a bat, nailing Max in the temple, there was a crack and a splat as blood shot out of the crack in his skull when bone pierced flesh. Luke watched as the body hit the ground dropping the metal bar as well. "Oh god..." he stated before turning and just running.
The next day I found almost hilariously ironic, though I didn't notice the irony until Heather spoke to me. I was half asleep on the bus. In total, I must have gotten an hour of sleep the night before, no where near enough for a normal human being to run on. "Geez you look like a zombie." she stated ruffling my bed head, as though it really needed that. I half attempted to brush the messy black hair back down into place to no prevail.
"Really? Is that supposed to be some sort of irony, seeing as where we are going and all?" I asked in a very slurred tongue the lack of sleep starting to affect my speech as well as my motor skills. Heather laughed as though she only just got it.
"Hey you can't just fall asleep. We're almost there." she said with a laugh.
"Then make my brain work, ask me a question." I said attempting to push myself up into a more upright position and looking at her as she thought up something to ask.
"Alright, here's one. The definition of 'irony.'" She said with a smile. I snorted, she could have asked me something that actually required thought, but no, she asked about irony, as though I had used it improperly in my last statement.
"The use of something other than its literal intention. That is irony." she looked at me stunned and I just blinked. Before she could get her next question out though I sighed and interrupted, "Yes I do have that memorized and please don't bother asking why." though the reason behind my memorizing that one definition was simple, because of the constant improper use of the word in our every day life. In this case it was of course the something was the use of the word 'zombie' despite zombie meaning re-animated, undead, etc. when I was simply tired behind normal recognition.
"You're no fun." Heather huffed turning to the other side and crossing her arms and I couldn't help but chuckle slightly.
"I know. I do try, you realize." I said with a smile unable to help myself, finding her disgruntled appearance very amusing. I sighed, closing my eyes, finding it hard to keep them open at the moment with sleep feeling so close right now.
"I hate you." She said defiantly. I just laughed and shook my head.
"No you don't." I practically slurred out a large smile on my features. She slapped my chest and I flinched forward as she did so opening my eyes and smiling at her. She looked away but eventually she was smiling to, laughing lightly to herself.
The rest of the ride was quiet and I got to rest my eyes enough that I didn't feel as horrible when we all moved off of the bus. I put a hand over my eyes to shield them from the glaring sun for a moment. Heather threw her arms around me and asked if I was looking forward to learning about the zombie apocalypse. I just rolled my eyes in answer and she laughed. We all stood outside the building as our teacher and our guide got us permission to go inside. I was actually very curious to learn about the Green Flu. I had my notebook on hand and was ready to take notes to further my own knowledge and voice my own opinions.
We all moved inside to building and headed up an elevator. When the door opened we were led into a room that was very spacious with navy blue walls with a deep brown hard wood floor and trim. It seemed very elegant. The walls were littered with pictures but the guide led us down a hall to another room that had the same hardwood floors but a deep green coloured wall, but more obvious were the statues the littered the sides of the room. The guide told us to look around at these models of the zombies that were around. Common infected and Special infected. I set right to work busying myself with the special infected. I took out my note book and started to write.
I first sketched a picture of a zombie that looked like a hick girl without a bottom jaw. Her eyes were glowing and so was the stuff hanging from her altogether repulsive looking mouth. The model was very detailed and I was slightly grossed out. 'Spitter.' I wrote beside the sketch writing down a brief description as well.
Moving around the room I got a sketch and brief description of each of the special infected in my book: Hunter, Jockey, Smoker, Boomer, Charger, Tank and lastly the Witch, which I had to admit probably scared me the most out of all of them. The statue was of an almost grey skinned girl with long nearly white hair lying there her head cupped in her hands long fingers each tapered to a point and looked stained a very dark red, darker then dried blood but I knew the chances were that was what it was. Her face was contorted so it looked like she was forever wailing in misery. Her eyes were open slightly and the artist had done very well to make them not just seem completely lifeless but they almost seemed to glow. I shuddered before I realized most of the group was gone.
I closed my book and put it back in my bag before heading back into the navy blue room. The guide showed up pictures which illustrated what it was like during the apocalypse, aerial pictures which showed the actual zombies and even a picture of a survivor being devoured by a group of common infected. It made me shudder, it was absolutely horrifying.
The guide took us to another room which actually contained a section of wall from one of the safe houses. It was covered in writing. There were plenty of names written with dates and quotes. People had written out the names of their loved ones who had died, it was horrible to think about. People had written out notes to other people who they hoped would pass through the safe house as well. It was sad to think that probably none of these people survived. There was even one letter that spoke of a man bringing his twin two year old daughters to an Evac. station and asking the mother to follow them there. A lot of notes saying 'CEDA isn't coming!' it was horrible.
To my surprise Aaron and Nick didn't bother me at all during the trip, they actually seemed fascinated by what they were learning, which was something I had never seen before from the two of them. No pranks were pulled and I got to right out all I wanted to without being attacked at all by the two of them.
Lastly we all headed up to the roof to look through the binoculars at the remains of Georgia. That and there was a restaurant on the roof for tourist. So this was really our lunch break, but I didn't plan on eating I was going to absorb as much of our surroundings as I could. Once we got on the roof I approached one of the machines. I put my eyes to it and looked out, my brother had been right, you could see the buildings of GFDC on the horizon, it was another very eerie feeling. I looked out at the destruction, there were not cities out there anymore. It was completely flat land with small heaps of trash here and there and no sign of life.
At least, I hadn't expected to see any life when I looked around. I tilted the machine down looking closer to the border. Zooming out as much as the machine allowed so everything wasn't so close. Movement caught my eye and I focused in on two men quickly approaching the gate. From their uniforms, or what was left of them, I could tell they were from GFDC, my mouth opened in shock but I couldn't look away from the two of them. One of them looked sick. The two of them found a way underneath the fence and I watched as the one of them turned into a zombie, bit his friend and in turn had his head smashed to bits. I didn't believe it, the other man ran away and I just kept a focus on the lifeless body. Had that been real? I knew it was, I knew right off the bat that it had been real but I never knew what to do about it. My mind didn't seem to want to believe that it had happened so I let my mind have it's way.
I stepped away from it and went and sat with Heather, but I refused to eat. She looked concerned but knew better then to ask about it which I was more then grateful for. I didn't think I could talk about it even if she asked at the moment.
We spent the rest of our time freely looking through the building. I personally headed into the library like room where they kept books written on what had happened and read and read as much as I could and rewrote quite a bit of it into my notebook. One little bit that I found very interesting was, 'Animals do not show signs of Green Flu but it is possible for them to carry the virus on them. Being in contact with an animal that is infected with Green Flu can result in catching the virus.' Another one I noted was, 'Out of every 100 people 10 people can be 'carriers' which mean they can carry the flu but not show signs of it, these people are hazards to others being easily able to transmit the disease to people who are susceptible. Out of these 10 carriers 1 would would be completely immune to the virus and, not only would not show signs, would not transmit it to other people because their bodies can ward off and kill the virus.'
We all headed back to the bus after a couple hours and headed back to the hotel. We were free to wander the city, but had a strict curfew but I decided I would stay in my room and catch up on some sleep. Before I went to sleep I decided to write one last bit in my notebook for the day.
'I don't know what I saw today. I'd like to think it was a figment of my imagination or a play put on by the museum to fool us kids. But I don't know, it seemed pretty real. What would people from GFDC being doing here though? Why would that guy be walking around with a zombie? Why? Just why? I'm so confused, but maybe I'm just over thinking all of this and it's really nothing. I'm sure it's nothing. I'll just have to wait for what tomorrow brings I guess. Hopefully things are a lot better then I think they are and I was just hallucinating due to lack of sleep. Hopefully.' I signed the bottom before putting the book away.
Markus and Dalton weren't back in the room yet but I didn't bother myself with it, it meant I didn't have to answer any questions. I got changed into something more comfortable before curling up in bed deciding I was going to get the sleep I didn't get the night before. I let out a sigh as I drifted off knowing my nightmares would be plagued with zombies tonight, something I was definitely not looking forward to, at least now I can revel in the fact that it had just been a dream and at the time, I didn't actually have to deal with any other worldly horrors.
When I woke up in the morning my head hurt like hell and I was shivering and sweating everywhere. I hated dreams with a passion, they always seemed to show either things in a perfect light, a way they would never be; or they would be terrifying beyond belief this one, was of course the latter. All this stuff I had taken the time to learn about was already starting to haunt me.
I sat up and rubbed my head, everything seemed normal enough. Maybe I had just dreamt the whole thing, everything had seemed surreal enough that that was definitely a possibility. I shook my head and looked around, Dalton and Markus were fast asleep on their bed and I decided now was a prime time to go get myself ready for the day. According to the clock it was just past five in the morning so I wouldn't have to worry about any rude interruptions this time around.
I stepped into the bathroom and low and behold it was soundless, not a soul in sight. I smiled contently as I approached one of the shower stalls. I put my clothes into a basket beside the stall and stepped in turning on the water and letting it warm a little before stepping into the stream. It was so calming and my thoughts drifted to stories that ran through my head. My eyes closed and I was far away from this world, suddenly living as though I was my character; picking up, in my mind, where I had last left off his story.
I don't know how long I was in there before I realized that I need to wash myself. I did so reluctantly knowing that getting it done was one step closer to having to leave the safe haven of the bathroom. I didn't have to think about anything that could be going on outside while I was in here, everything, for once, was completely good in the world and it was something I liked to soak in as much as I could. But this time to myself came to an end way to quickly. I sighed as I turned off the water and grabbed my towel rubbing my hair with it quickly before wrapping it around my lower body. I stepped out of the shower stall to look around the still empty room. I walked over to the mirror and started working on my hair a ritual which generally took about half an hour.
I decided after my hair was done I was dry enough to get dress so I stepped into a stall to put on my clothing. My hair was perfect which was one thing I could be happy about that day, though it wasn't going to stay perfect for that much longer, but I had no idea what was going to happen next at the time. I had absolutely no way of knowing what would happen next, but I sort of wish now that I had had some sort of forewarning as to what was going to happen when I went back into the room.
In total my trip to the bathroom to get myself ready took about an hour and a half and when I walked into the room I could hear movement, but aside from that not much. There was a small hallway that led to the rest of the room an d as I took my first few steps into the room I heard a tearing sound, it was a wet sound and something I had never heard before in my life, but one soon after, I got very accustomed to. I stopped for a moment before I heard the sobbing then finally a scream. It pierced the air and a shiver shot through my spin. I reluctantly took a few more steps into the room. The sight I saw there was the first of many I would see afterwards and I couldn't help but be completely mortified. It's one thing when it happens to people you have never seen before in your life, completely different when it is someone you had gone to school with for five years now.
Dalton looked just like the guy I had seen the day before from the binoculars. His skin was a deathly sort of pale and his eyes looked like they were rolled back in his head but the most gruesome part was the blood that covered his fingers and mouth. He looked at me and I just backed up against a wall. Markus was pinned beneath him sobbing, blood pouring from what looked like a bite wound in his shoulder. "Why, why, why..." he chanted. "I...I love you Dalton...Why?" He was going on and he didn't even seem to notice that I was in the room, his eyes were fixed onto Dalton. The larger male looked back to him, seeming to growl at him before sinking his teeth into the boys throat. Markus screamed and I felt my throat clench up and tears start to fall. This just seemed so surreal. I picked up the nearest blunt object which happened to be a lamp, yanking it out of the wall as adrenaline started to pump through my veins. I was acting on instinct now as I smashed the nicely made glass end over Dalton's head. It let out a very reassuring crash as it hit his head and I could see little bits of glass where they were imbedded in his skull underneath his hair.
He wasn't dead. He turned his head to me and glared, it was terrifying with his lifeless eyes. He had seemed content with Markus as his meal at the time before I hit him but he seemed to have changed his mind now. I was shaking as I picked up a large shard of glass from the hollow end of the lamp and before he could move towards me I shoved it into the back of his head. And that was the start of it, from that point on I was nothing but a disgusting murderer. Markus was already dead, he had bled all over the bed he had shared with this man he had 'loved', the man who had just devoured him like a monster. He was a monster, there was no other way to look at it.
I fell to the ground as I realized what I had done and I screamed holding my head in my hands. I was shaking uncontrollably and blood was starting to stain the floor seeping into the carpet. It already smelled horrid and I was brought to the reality that this was actually happening, and chances were I was already infected and soon enough I would be the same disgusting beast as Dalton had become. I knew I couldn't stay there but I had no idea where I was going to go.
There was screaming from out in the hallway now. There was running and suddenly the door to my room burst open. I grabbed another shard of glass from the floor and stood up to face my enemy. I immediately recognized the person as Heather, and she, in turn, recognized me as uninfected. She ran at me throwing her arms around me and sobbing into my shoulder she was going on, chanting, about what was going on, she was confused but I couldn't do much to help her. I knew that. "We have to get out of here." was all I could manage to say she went completely still, the sobs stopping for a while before she pulled back and looked into my now emotionless face and she nodded. I grabbed my back pack which contained a few things to eat and drink, as well as my notebook and I rushed into the bathroom pulling off shower curtains and passing Heather one of the metal rods that had held them up. Now armed and with provisions we headed down the stairs.
"All three of them...all three of them were like that..." she said sounding completely delirious. I thought it would be in her best interest if I tried to actually talk to her, maybe talking about it would make it seem a little less crazy to, and I think it did work.
"Who...?" I asked quietly.
"My roommates...I can't believe it Jamie, is this a dream?" she asked me.
"Maybe..." I mumbled sort of still believing I was asleep at the moment. This was all just way to impossible. We encountered no problems on the stairs down to the lobby, which I thought would definitely be the worst place to be caught, there was no where to run, but there really are worse places to be caught when faced with zombies but I had no idea what they were at the time, I had no idea I would learn, let alone learn the hard way.
The lobby was empty too, there was no one in sight, but beyond the windows and the smashed down door I could see a few of them wandering around aimlessly. I turned to Heather, "We're going to have to make a run for it, hide in the next place that looks safe." I said holding her shoulders and looking her dead in the eyes. She looked terrified but she nodded and I felt she trusted me completely.
We started towards the door, I held the shower rod in front of me like a sword and stepped towards the door. My heart was beating in my throat and I tried to swallow it down. Something touched my shoulder and I screamed. I swung on instinct and the person stagger out of the way before the metal rod could connect with their head. I looked down at my supposed attacker who was getting back up. Aaron, looking almost as terrified as we were, was standing there. He had a long shard of glass in his hand with a pointy tip and the bottom was wrapped in duct tape. His front was covered in blood, though I had to assume I looked no better.
"What the fuck is all this?" he said motioning with his chin towards the lumbering beasts just outside the threshold of the door.
"Zombie apocalypse?" I suggested in a monotone voice.
"We have to stick together. The more we save the better, right?" He said. At this point it didn't even surprise me, I was slowly growing accustomed to the world turning on it's head, so I just nodded in agreement. Before this I would have never thought I would be able to get along with Aaron, but here we were, about to fend off evil zombies together in one of those pacts that was like 'if you get turned into one, I will be the one to take your life' sort of things. At the moment I questioned nothing, I didn't end up questioning it much at all in the end either, I just sort of went with the flow. By the time I finally clued into the fact that this was no dream I was already far enough into it that I didn't want to question anymore.
The three of us left the lobby only sparing a second before we broke into a run. Aaron led us, he held his arm length piece of glass out in front of him and wasted no time in shoving it up through the head of a zombie through it's chin. It fell to the ground but he kept running.
During the run I ended up passing him without much problem as a zombie got to close to me and I smacked it in the head. The adrenaline pumping through my veins only helped me. Looking over my shoulder for a split second I ran into something and fell right back as though I had hit a brick wall. I looked up and saw a figure, I covered myself to the best of my abilities. Hoping that it would spare me but instead it spoke and I looked up to see an actual human, but not just any human the man I had seen yesterday from the top of the museum, the one who had killed the first zombie. He was still in his green GFDC uniform but it was stained in blood.
"What the hell are three kids doing out here?" he asked in a very serious tone. I looked to Aaron and Heather who had stepped up behind me. Aaron had a fierce gaze pinned on this new man and I saw his fingers tighten around the make shift weapon in his hands. Heather on the other hand bent down and helped me to my feet.
"Couldn't we ask you the same thing?" Aaron stated sharply. It was good to see something familiar right now, and Aaron and his horrible attitude was good enough for me, I almost smiled just looking at his familiar profile, ignoring the blood and sweat that stained his face and clothing. The other man seemed to get an almost amused look on his face as Aaron argued with him. Another voice quickly joined in and the two men were pulled out of their staring contest. We all looked over at a middle aged man who was motioning wildly with one hand for the four of us to come inside.
"What the heck y'all doin' out here? You wanna get killed!" he shouted. We all looked at one another briefly we all seemed to agree, without a word, that this man meant us no harm and we hurried ourselves into his house and followed him down to a cellar. I looked around at all the stuff he had on the walls varying from small technical looking things to common tools to axes and guns. I jumped as a door slammed and turned to see the old man locking a large metal door. I didn't know why at the time but the sense of that large door closing and blocking off that horrible reality outside cheered me up immensely; though, of course, at this time it still all felt like a dream to me.