A/N: This is a thing. I don't know what I'm doing with it, or how often it's going to be updated, or if it's going to have any such thing as a plot, but I wanted to write it. It's also lazy writing. But who cares... everybody likes zombies. Right?
It's hot and the air shifts when you stare up at the white ceiling - your whole world tilts on a crippled axis when your head swivels from side to side. Something is holding down your feeble efforts at movement and it sticks to the heat of your skin, clammy and tight, with the rattle of angry chains when you move. Through the corners of your eyes you see a mass of people, all dressed in the same unfeeling shade of white, seething around the room.
A rough hand on your face brings you back - his touch is like sandpaper and he frowns when you whimper and turn away. Sweat rolls into your eyes, and he gently brings a cloth to wipe away the sting. The regret in his gaze startles you.
"I'm so sorry, baby girl," he hushes and pushes back a strand of your soaked hair, "we really thought it would work. I never meant for this to happen to you."
Meant for what? The burn on your skin overwhelms you until you can scarcely think, your thoughts fracturing and scattering on the wind of your dry breath. There is a deeper pain in the meat of your forearm, nestled between the bones, and it pulses to your shoulder until it seems the half of you is paralysed by the agony.
"I'll stay here right until the end," he continues, clutching your limp hand and drawing patterns upon your palm, "just like I promised. I won't leave you alone."
Your mouth opens but your throat utters no noise, forced to focus in on his words and fight through the delirium that has seized your mind and seeped into the very essence of you.
"We thought this was it, you know? You would be the one. You were the perfect specimen, they said." At this he cracks a small smile, runs his finger down your pronounced cheekbone. "I can't argue with that. Always so beautiful, just like your mother."
Where is she? You look around, glazed eyes rolling from side to side, but you catch no glimpse of blonde hair. He shakes his head sadly, the downturn of his lips pulling until his whole expression crumples.
"I won't let her see you, sweetheart. It... it'll be too much. I'm requesting transfer after this. I just... I'm so sorry, Brittany. I should never have volunteered you."
Something beeps and you're assaulted from all sides by people in white, prodding at you, their fingers hard as stone against your tender flesh. You moan and the sound is grating, spiralling from deep in your chest, until they all pull back warily and watch your father still his sobs. He gets up, hovering over you; the glow from the harsh lights above him gives him a halo, and you raise one arm to touch his hair before your body gives out halfway. It falls back to your chest with a dull thump, the weak hush of the restraints but a distant sound.
His left hand cradles your face and he smiles, the sentiment full of bitter tears. "Close your eyes, darling. It won't hurt for a second." Your eyelids flutter shut at his command and the dark is comforting in your confusion. Your father would never lead you wrong.
Cold metal at your temple. A kiss brushed against your forehead.
"I love you, Britt."
A click and a bang, then nothing but echoing silence.
The constant wheeze of the ventilation system wakes you.
You frown, the tiny crease in your brows the only flicker of life upon your face, listening to determine the source of the noise. As your spread your awareness further and further, it all becomes overwritten by the screaming pain in your skull and the ache in your joints. It sweeps you under the process of rational thought for what could be days, laying in a cocoon of shivering agony, listening to the hiss of the cool air that flows through the vents. You're inside, you know that much. The slick surface underneath you is too perfect to be natural.
You have to open your eyes, kid.
You coach yourself through the actions but always give out just before the success, when that first sliver of light blinds you and your head explodes into a plethora of needles. Someone hammers a spike into your temple and you resign yourself to trying again, and again, and again.
The first time you fully open your eyes it feels like fire, but you force your blurry gaze to fix itself upon the metal above your head, squinting through the grit and tears that accumulate. There are white bricks, sterile and blank, making up the walls of the room. When you tilt your neck a fraction to the right you see blue tiles, so dark they shine black, with drains sporadically placed every few feet. Everything else is too far, shifting in and out of focus, so you blink and turn your attention back to the sectioned ceiling above with trails of shiny metal shafts splitting off above you. You count them, add one half to the other, subtract the grey ones from the beige ones. You try multiplying but math has never bee your best subject - when you ponder that, if you divide them by three would you get an even number, you decide it's time to get up.
That's easier said than done. Doing anything more than twitching your fingers causes a gasp of pain to spill from your dry, paper lips. Moving your legs makes you wonder if you'll ever be flexible again. Still, you awkwardly twist your body until you can wedge your right arm between you and the surface - a table? - and use the strength in your bicep to push yourself into a sitting position. You breath through the ache (yoga really does come in handy) and bring your good arm up to rub the painful grit from your eyes. When cleared, you finally take a good look around.
And promptly wish you hadn't.
Something tells you that you were never really good with horror movies.
Still, you've seen enough CSI to know where you are. Your eyes roam over the metal shelves, each with a little tag hanging from it, and stainless steel tables with a showerhead hovering over each. The low lighting and the various x-rays scattered about upon the little black screens. All the different tools, some gleaming, others covered in red, lined up on a stand and ready for use. You swallow a bout of nausea and glance down, noting with a sense of mounting unease that you wear a light blue slip, tied at the back, with nothing underneath. Just like the sole other occupant of the room.
Well, maybe you shouldn't say occupant. Whoever you used to share this place with is long dead; the skin is grey and waxy and the mouth hangs open, the blue of his lips startling against the contrast of his teeth. From underneath his slip the presence of his abdomen is unavoidable, bloated and straining upwards - the rest of his flesh hosts the same affliction to a lesser degree. For the first time you notice the smell of rot circulating in the air. Your eyes track around the room and you wonder how many more bodies are trapped within those shelves.
Thirst drives out any other observation - your throat sticks and your lips are split to the tender quick, and you wince whenever you attempt to wet them. Upon the distant table your eye spots a bottle, half-empty and unscrewed, but filled none the less with water. This distance, however short, means walking.
It also means walking past that rotting corpse.
Perhaps it's the light, but you spy the alluring gleam so clearly that your whole body cries for it. So, ever so slowly, every so cautiously, you swing your legs over the side of the table and shuffle to the edge, dangling into the short space between you and the floor. Even now your joints cry protest - the burn in your arm has increased to a sear, leaving your elbow unusable. You flinch, fingers tugging the edge of the soiled bandage around the wound, feeling it peel from your skin in painful spurts as the crusted top is ripped from the flesh. It isn't a well-dressed injury, with only one or two winds separating it from the open air. As your death-pale arm is finally revealed, you suck in a sharp breath of air at the destruction that you see.
Your forearm is mangled. It's the only word you can summon that adequately describes the mess. A large, crescent shaped wound has sunk deep to the marrow, gouged out pieces and torn others asunder (you see the nubile-white of your bone through the ligaments and it looks far too similar to frozen whites of his eyes), tainting the surrounding flesh an angry, brutal red. Upon the underside is a similar indent; together they must have severed a tendon, for curling your hand inwards is near impossible without crying out. It looks like a... bite mark? Did an animal find you laying here? You curl your injured arm to your chest and push it to the back of your mind - you have something else you need to take care of first.
The first steps you take in days are stiff and supported. Muscles in your right arm strain as you force yourself to stay upright, hunched over the table with sweat that rolls down the length of your temples. Your knees tremble and your thighs burn and this just needs to stop, you need to wake up in your own bed in your own house with your own- family? Did you have a family?
Wracking your brain merely produces shapes. Flickers of a memory, little snatches of sound stolen from times past. No matter how hard you try you remember little other than hot summer days laid out upon the grasses or cold winters by the fire, the days merging together until they become but blurs.
Who are you?
You stumble blindly across the room, hand sweeping beakers and papers to the floor - glass shatters but your naked feet hardly feel the sting. The cool of the counter is comforting - it brings quiet to your feverish mind and your flesh that radiates heat like the suns outside this. Infection has undoubtedly set in, slowing your both your body and mind - if it were such the case, then why is your vision still so sharp?
When the first touch of water meets your lips, the groan it produces is low and satiated, gulping down until you cough and hack. Only when the empty bottle crumples in your weak fist do you cast it down and chance another look around the room, searching for the unknown answers to your plight.
Instead, you find a mirror.
A stranger gazes back at you. Limp blond hair, tinted red, hangs about her waxen pallor. The slanted blue of her eyes is dull and confused, hazed with hunger. Her shoulders stand out from her lanky frame; you go to touch and you can nearly count the individual ribs from under her slip. Something peeks out near her collarbone.
Her bony fingers hook the neck of her slip away, pulling back hesitantly to view the damage underneath. A scar- no, such a word would not do it justice. A great thick line separates her skin in clean strokes, held together by metal staples. The flesh surrounding the area is numb, raised and swollen, continuing down under her clothing. You watch her blanch and tear at her paper dress, tugging and grasping until it's pulled up above her head and thrown carelessly to the floor, palms smoothing now over the gruesome injuries exposed to her. Somebody has slit her open to play with her insides - two gashes, both neatly stapled shut, join together between her breasts to trail down until her navel. She runs her fingers down the roads of her suffering, each bump of metal so wrong against the natural resistance of her flesh. The swell of her lungs strain them, and it shifts like a riled serpent when she moves.
Her body is not your body - your hands touch these wounds with a certain sense of dream, tracing them and prodding at what was left behind. You remember nothing, not of animals or knives - certainly not of this pain. There is an oppressive weight in the back of your skull, whispering of chairs and bright lights, but you whimper and push it away. Too many things clamour for your attention. But first, clothing; your body shivers under the cold of the ventilation shafts. So many deceased must have worn something in another time.
The halls are silent as you walk. Here, as you push your way through the metal doors of the morgue, you are delivered into a place of chaos. Walls are smeared with bloody handprints, desperate and dying, the floor wet with puddles of crimson. Papers are scattered and bullet holes make abstract portraits along the sides. Every so often, the neat little indent is spattered with a halo of red where it had met its mark.
Whatever horrors lingered here have long since passed. There is nothing but the sound of the broken vents, split open under the belly whom leak their invisible blood into the complex, and the distorted echo of your slow footsteps. Doors, open and gaping to shadowed rooms, offer but a glimpse into the monstrosity you missed - their entryways are tainted by large smears of blood, bodies that have dragged themselves into the concealed dark to die.
You reach what must be the main lobby. The same disaster, no matter where you turn, has too claimed this room. You bend stiffly at the knees to pick up a fluttering sheet of paper, eyes scanning over the formal wording, placing it down again once no more information has been gained. It seems hopeless - the front doors have been chained shut to keep away whatever evil lurks outside (or perhaps to keep it in?) and the endless maze of this place makes your head spin. You lower yourself down on the nearest chair, naked and shaking, placing your head in your hands.
Your fingers spread over your temples, nails digging into the hot flesh underneath, and you frown when a wetness spreads over your fingertips. Cautiously you glide your hand over your skull, coming upon a patch of shaved hair - hidden under the rest, you brush the short, prickly hairs before reaching an abnormality. Pain flares so bright it blinds you, and you jerk away as if burned.
Your hand comes back red.
"No," you moan, the sound foreign and grating from your throat, "not more. Please not more." With difficulty you drag yourself over to the desk - every breath comes in short, panicked gasps, the once unpronounced ache of your skull now a throbbing rhythm that aligns all your pains together, fingers flailing to grasp the first reflective surface you can find. Somebody had dropped their music player and the metallic backing had fractured; multiple faces of you peer out as you turn yourself to the side and pull back your limp curtain of hair.
It's almost anti-climatic in a sense. After all the unbelievable horrors you've endured these past hours, you'd think that one more would be the piece that severed your dwindling sanity. Instead, you eye the neat, round hole in your temple with a certain detachment, the edges clean and almost free of blood.
A swift kill.
The machine falls to the ground with a clatter and the sound against the stillness startles you - your body flinches back until you curl into a weak ball underneath the desk, teeth chattering and eyes squeezed shut. No light filters in but that singular dull shaft from the entryway, spilling illumination over the disgusting wounds on your sternum, traveling down your body to fan out by your feet.
Occupied by your more immediate survival, you had failed to notice the tag attached to your largest toe. Frowning, you pick at the string until it falls away into your palm, bringing it close to your face to read the scrawled writing.
Brittany S. Pierce.
Is this yours? Your... your name? It sounds right. Familiar. Its mantle fits well around your shoulders.
Date of Birth: 02/15/1994
Time of Death: 06/24/2012
Death? No. No, they're wrong. You're not dead. You can't be. Not with the scared hiss of your breath and the tremble in your hands and the searing pain that sinks itself down into your marrow in a way you think will stay with you forever. Not with the eyes that see and the ears that hear and the tongue that tastes the blood in your mouth and the hunger in your stomach. Not with the steady and reassuring thump of your heart, so loud in the cage of your chest.
So instead you close your eyes, little slip of paper clutched firmly in your working hand, and resign yourself to dreams once again.