Georgia: home of the largest aquarium in the world, Coca-Cola World and the CDC. This state had been home to Regina Garcia and her four year old son for three years. Regina hated Georgia compared to her home in Virginia, but ever since she was transferred for her job, she made no move to return.
Regina was angry—not with the world, no. She was angry with the person whom she trusted with her white Ford Endeavor. She allowed her younger sister, Ferrera, to borrow her car that day so she would be able to go out with friends. The only condition Regina gave Ferrera was to be on time to pick her up from work. Her little sister was late by an hour which left Regina to call a cab to go pick up her son, Daniel, from his day care.
Now she stalked the downtown sidewalk with Daniel's hand clutched in her own, angry.
Her Ford Endeavor pulled up to the side walk where she turned to look at who was honking at her. The window opened and Ferrera poked her head out, her brown eyes sheepishly staring out at her sister's similar dark brown ones. Regina's eyes flared upon sight of her sister, "I trust you to pick me up on time and you can't even do that! How do you expect to go back to living with Mama and Dad like you want if I can't even trust you?"
Ferrera never liked being the one yelled at, but then again, what sixteen year old would? Ferrera was the type to blow up at you if you blew up at her, even if she was the one wrong and deserved the roasting. "I was caught in traffic! Calm down!" Ferrera mumbled something along the lines of 'cunt', but Regina chose to ignore the comment. She was only a teenager after all and that was something Regina could understand even at the age of thirty two.
Ferrera moved over into the passenger seat as Regina helped Daniel into the back seat. She then climbed into the driver's seat after closing his door, put her seat belt on and pulled away from the curb to drive toward the highway. The moment she got onto the highway, she was slowed down tremendously by the cars stuck in a slowing line.
"What the…? What's the hold up?"
Ferrera crossed her arms and kicked her legs up onto the dashboard, "Told you. There's like a bunch of paramedics up the road. There's some freaky shit goin' down. I watched the news this mornin' and they said that some places in Atlanta were being quarantined, but they weren't giving any details. I saw people bleeding and being attacked on my way up. Thought they would have already cleared it out by the time we got back onto the highway, though."
Taken aback, Regina looked to her sister who was oddly calm about people—plural, mind you—being attacked. "A-attacked?" She sputtered.
In the back seat, Daniel gasped, "Swear jar, Ferrera!"
The younger girl ignored her nephew, "Yeah, attacked. Like a few people were gettin' up off the stretcher or the ground and started biting into the paramedics."
Regina stared disbelievingly at Ferrera, "And you didn't think that was important to tell me?"
Ferrera turned up the radio, switching from The Heat Station to 107.5. "I tried, but you wouldn't let me speak. You just kept spittin' rules at me about the car," She then moved to stick her head out the window to look farther down the highway. Complete chaos.
There were at least three collisions between cars, two or three of the cars involved in the mass wreck catching fire. Georgia citizens were just abandoning their car since they couldn't get out of the blockade of traffic.
People of all ages walked the streets, but there was something off. They were bloodied and walking oddly—some even dragging themselves across the ground. These people were dragging others out of their cars, trucks, and off their motorcycles, and then began… They began biting into them.
What the fuck? Ferrera thought, shooting back into her seat and rolling up her window quickly. People were being eaten by people! Cannibalism! How in the hell did she not notice this on her way to pick up her sister? Sure, there were police trying to calm down the situation while directing traffic, but it wasn't a nearly as chaotic as this. How did it get out of hand so quickly? How did she not hear the sounds of gunshots ringing through the air?
That's right… She had the music blasting. Ferrera also spent thirty minutes searching the streets of Atlanta since her calls to Regina weren't going through. So the situation on the highway had a small timeframe for things to go to shit.
Regina raised an eyebrow at Ferrera's sudden change of attitude from nonchalant to one of absolute fear. "What's up?"
"Peo…" Ferrera couldn't find the words to speak. When she began to talk, she was interrupted by a shriek from Daniel and the rocking of the car. Regina turned back and her motherly instinct kicked in, she pulled Daniel up to the front as these…people…? were slamming their hands against the glass of the car. There were about six of them. Few of their faces were rotted while most only had their skin torn to pieces and were bleeding profusely. They all had one thing in common: the glazed over eyes. It was as if they weren't all there. In fact, none of them were there mentally.
Out of fear, Regina pulled the car into reverse, thanking God that she wasn't closed in on the exit ramp. The car rocked as it hit multiple people. "God forgive me…" Regina mumbled to herself.
Ferrera rolled her eyes as she gripped tightly onto Daniel, "Forgive you for what? I'm pretty sure those ain't people."
Regina was able to get onto stable road, but Atlanta had become different in the twenty minutes she was stuck on the ramp. Its citizens looked to be in complete shambles. People were running this way and that while others were crashing through windows of shops and stores, some ransacking the location. This reminded Ferrera of the Hurricane Katrina Aftermath video she had to watch in class without the water flood and more of a frantic atmosphere.
Regina gasped as she watched what she could as she sped down the street, maneuvering around other cars and even using the sidewalk to get around car wrecks blocking the road. She caught sight of a man being torn to pieces by the decayed and slow humans. She heard some gunshots ring through the air and the crashing of metal. "Then what the hell are they?"
Daniel covered his head, "Mommy…" He whimpered. The rush or the moment scared him. He didn't know what was going on and the fact that he felt as if they were running from something had no positive effect on his fears.
Keeping one hand on the wheel and her eyes on the road, Regina reached to the side with her right hand to run her fingers through Daniel's curly dark brown hair. It usually calmed him when she did such a thing, but this did nothing in the current situation. She could still feel him trembling.
Ferrera placed a hand firmly over Daniel's eyes to shield his view of the morbid acts taking place, "I've seen way too many movies not to know what these are. They're zombies, Gina. I'm surprised you haven't caught on, Ms. Lawyer," Ferrera's shoulder hit the car door as Regina cut a sharp left, "Where are we going?"
"The back way home," her older sister answered, "If this is zombies we're dealing with—and I'm not saying that's what they are—then we need to get home and lock up."
Ferrera, hearing the words 'lock up', maneuvered around Daniel and clicked the button on the door to lock the doors as a response, "Alright."
Regina winced and Daniel began to sob as his mother rammed something with the grill of her car. "It's okay, baby. It's okay," she cooed to Daniel, but the panic in her voice made him panic even more. Regina wasn't sure if that was one of the undead that she had hit or if that was a person.
Regina glanced at her little sister, "I've got a feeling that soon, if this isn't a false alarm, the electricity and the water will be cut off, so what I'm going to do is get us home and lock up the house. As soon as we get home, I need you to clog up every sink, every bathtub, and fill everything with water. Buckets, too. Put every electronic that can be charged on the charger—Phones, laptops, iPods, anything. Got that?"
Ferrera nodded. Regina began to regret not ever listening to the precautions people must take for weather emergencies, but she's watched enough Travel Channel and Survivor Man when she was bored to know what to do—somewhat. "I'm going to leave out again. I've gotta get to the store before other people do and all hell breaks loose. Sam's Club should be good. While I'm gone, I want you to keep Daniel close and pack us each a backpack of clothes, 'kay? Find all medications and especially Daniel's extra inhalers."
Ferrera attempted to coo to her nephew to calm him down as her sister gave her orders. Ferrera nodded once more and braced herself for the bumpy ride, noting how her sister gave her most of the work… the lazy bint.
Westbrook was a gated community, which Regina was grateful her parent's talked her into buying a house in. The more she drove the streets of Georgia, the more Regina was convinced this was the real deal Zombie Apocalypse. There weren't as many zombies by Westbrook as in Atlanta, but she could already tell they were growing in numbers. The moment the gate opened Regina sped through the opening and she prayed the gate closed in time. The neighborhood looked to be still intact.
Upon arriving to their two story home, Ferrera opened the door ready to hop out the car. Daniel quickly followed her to the front door and stuck his thumb in his mouth as a habit as his aunt rushed to unlock the door. She eventually busted into the house, Regina and Daniel at her heels. They went into action.
Regina sat Daniel on the couch and had him watch Cartoon Network while she and Ferrera rushed around the house. She could hear the master bathtub beginning to spew water heavily from its faucet upstairs, the bathtub in the Jack 'n Jill bathroom quickly following the master bathroom's rhythm.
Regina rushed out into the back shed. Looking around, she realized that she couldn't carry all the plywood into the house herself. She called her son to help with the little things, giving him gardening gloves so he could drag plywood by plywood into the house without splinters.
All of the plywood belonged to Regina's carpenter uncle. He was meant to finish her basement on a discount, but he went out of town on a promise to come back and finish the half done basement. She and Daniel worked together to bring in the wood until the clock hit one PM. There was even a broken down bunk bed that belonged to Daniel and Ferrera when they lived in and a two bedroom townhouse four months prior. Regina brought that in too.
As his mother brought in the bunk bed skeleton through the basement door, Daniel lugged in the tool box.
His mother set to work and Daniel handed her the tools. As Regina nailed three piece of plywood, she called down Ferrera, made sure she was done filling up all of sinks, tubs, and buckets full of water and the electronics were charging, and gave her a mallet.
"What am I meant to do with this?" Ferrera casted a look to her sister. Regina pointed her in the direction of two old dressers that once were in Regina's bedroom before she brought different ones from IKEA, "Break those down into pieces we can block the doors and windows with."
Ferrera gave a sinister laugh, making Daniel stared at her cautiously, "I get to break shit!"
"Swear jar, Chachi!"
"Shut up, Danny."
"Get to work!" Regina cut in.
Within an hour half of the plywood was used on the windows and the door was blocked using the bed skeleton which Regina found a way to drill to the doorframe. No one was getting in or out of the basement for a while. Regina was glad she had Ferrera tear the dressers into scrap wood.
They then moved to the first floor and while Regina blocked the windows, Daniel handed her the tools as Ferrera brought up the other scraps of wood.
"What if this was all just a false alarm?" Ferrera questioned, "Imagine how stupid we'd look."
"I'd rather look stupid than worry about what others think about me and get killed by zombies." Regina replied.
Ferrera hummed, "Zombies sound like such a kiddy word. Let's call them something else…" She suggested.
Not wanting to bother with her sister's 'I-want-to-be-different' demeanor, Regina grumbled, "Like what?" She didn't have time to answer such trivial things. She still needed to make it to the store and they still needed to board up another window and block the front door.
It was a moment of silence before Ferrera uttered a response, "Walkers."
Regina really wasn't paying attention, "Fine, Ferrera, fine. Now go move the book shelf from the den to the foyer. Don't block it yet, but when I tell you to, you block it. Don't let anyone in. I'll come in through the garage."
Ferrera moved all of the heaviest items she could to the foyer as her older sister and Daniel blocked up the last window. Regina didn't block the second floor because she was sure no one could reach the second floor. Regina went to her room and into her closet. The attic entrance was at the top of her walk in closet. She tugged the string and allowed the ladder to come down.
She climbed the ladder and pulled a suitcase from the attic and closed it again. She tossed the suitcase onto her bed and went to her dresser to pull out a pair of jeans. Regina changed quickly, tossing her black hair into a ponytail and covering her feet with her brown boots.
Opening the suitcase, she revealed a set up of guns that belonged to her ex fiancé. When she kicked him out, the guns were one of the few things she allowed him to forget. The bastard.
Regina picked out a simple 9 millimeter and hid it into her right leather boot, the safety already being on. When she went back downstairs, Daniel and Ferrera sat on the couch watching the news. She caught the caption on the screen: Reality: Zombie Apocalypse 2012. Not exactly something Regina wanted Daniel to watch, but there wasn't really anything wrong with it.
"What's goin' on?" Regina questioned.
Ferrera turned back to look at her sister, "The CDC isn't givin' out any information. It's not only Georgia goin' through this, from here and Maine to Louisiana and Missouri. They've got a lot of places quarantined. I can't believe how fast this went down. Like, it's only been half a day and nearly all of the United States is becoming infested with them. These clips they're showing… Those walkers are vicious. This is some serious shit goin' down, Gina. Please be careful gettin' to the store."
Regina nodded and leaned over the couch to kiss Daniel's cheek before moving to go out the front door. Ferrera followed and watched as her sister moved to go out the front door. Regina turned back to look at Ferrera, "Push everything up against this door. Don't let anyone in. I'll be coming through the garage."
Driving to Wal-Mart, Regina noted that the walkers had gotten closer to her neighborhood. She needed to hurry back.
Wal-Mart was in complete chaos. Walkers were crowding the store. There weren't as many as you would think, but there were enough to make Regina uncomfortable. She chose to park a ways away and go in through the plant nursery. The Wal-Mart employees seemed to have blocked the front entrance the best they could.
The walkers were, of course, in Wal-Mart. But there were also people—normal people—running around, leaving without paying and such. The surviving employees didn't even protest. In fact, they were ransacking the place as well.
Regina decided to call them survivors based off of the knowledge from playing her cousins in Left 4 Dead at family occasions. Some of the survivors easily became one of the Walkers, but others fought and they got what the hell they needed then left.
She found a cart. Regina began to think of this as a race against time. Mentally, she went over the things she needed. Canned and dry food was a given, medical items, bottled water, batteries, flashlights, toiletries, undergarments, books, cans of gas, warm clothes, walkie talkies.
Regina got most things without a problem, especially the warm clothes. It was too warm for most people to worry about warm clothes, but Regina thought they could save the warm clothes in addition to the clothes the already had for when it did get cold and when it became summer once again, they'd just rip them up appropriately. Hopefully it wouldn't last as long as she was making it out to be, but you could never be too careful.
The canned food was a bit of a problem. Regina had to pull the gun from her boot to threaten a woman with a bat who tried to jump her for her supplies. She wasn't going to shoot her; she merely wanted to scare her off. After Regina used the woman as an example to other survivors, they left her alone and she began throwing anything and everything remaining into her basket.
Upon reaching the cereal aisle, there was a gunshot and from her spot, Regina could see the few walkers that were able to get in move toward the sound.
Regina noted how well they paid attention to sound. When Ferrera turned up the music in the car earlier, the Zom—walkers were on Regina's car like white on rice. Whenever someone shot off their gun in the Wal-Mart, the walkers would respond and go toward the sound.
She continued throwing things like applesauce, granola bars, cereal, and whatever else she could into her basket. There was a bloodcurdling scream from the direction of the gunshot, "Oh, God, please!"
Regina winced, hoping to ignore the shrieks, and rushed away from the sound of a man's shriek toward the medical items and toiletries. Don't play the hero, Gina. She reminded herself in a mantra. Similar screams of agony echoed throughout Wal-Mart.
Both aisles were halfway picked clean. She grabbed everything that she thought she needed; she grabbed all of the high and low quality things that were left like Pantene and the cheap store brand shampoo and conditioner, body wash and soaps.
She eventually tied another basket to her first and used it to carry the luxury items like books and toys to keep Daniel and Ferrera preoccupied. It was a lot harder to maneuver. She had gotten a stack of CDs for the car in case they had to resort to being on the road. Regina had no idea how long they would be cooped up in that house.
The Latina managed to get one small tin can of gas in the auto shop out back, where she had to shove a zombie off of her, but she couldn't bring herself to shoot. Thank God that their speed was not very fast at all. It seemed as if the Wal-Mart had yet to restock this part of the store.
The more time that she spent in Wal-Mart, the more crowded and chaotic it seemed to get and once someone got shot over a box of paper towels; Regina figured it was time to leave. She tried her best to inconspicuously go out the way she came in and she was almost successful.
The moment she reached the automatic door of the plant Nursery, she was tackled to the ground. Looking up in fear, Regina caught herself thinking that she would have rather fought a shopper over paper towels.
Regina attempted to hold back the female walker as it groaned in her face. For something so slow, it sure had the strength to make up for it. She braced her left forearm against its neck and her right shin against its stomach so she could reach down for her 9 millimeter.
The Walker fell to the ground, bleeding profusely through its cranium.
Regina could only stare. She killed a person. She did that—murdered someone's sister, someone's daughter, someone's mother. No… She acted in self defense, right? Besides, it wasn't even living anymore, right?
God forgive me…
Regina pulled the carts as quickly as she could and the zombies were still attempting to get into Wal-Mart at the father end. There were several bangs from inside of the megastore and the zombies seemed entranced by the sound. She was good to get to her car.
The items took up all of the trunk and half the back seat. She closed the trunk as quietly as it would allow her and her rushed into her car to close the door. The slamming of her car door attracted some of the attention of the zombies. How in the hell did that attract their attention, yet a gunshot didn't? Was it because of the distance? Damn.
She drove out of there before any of them could reach her.
The Latina reached Westbrook within half an hour. There were zombies surrounding the gate. Regina cursed. She needed to open the gate by punching in a code, but she couldn't let those beasts in. Havoc surely would ensue on the so far gated community.
She knew what she needed to do, but it would be as risky as putting her head in a lion's mouth.
Taking a deep breath to relax herself, Regina cocked her gun and allowed the window to slide open. The zombies were gathering upon hearing the sound of the purring engine of the car and the beeping of Regina hitting the buttons of the keypad.
The double beep responding to Regina's correct code put a small smile on her face and the gate began to wheel itself open. The zombies were close—too close. She began to unload the rest of the clip into whatever zombie that was within four feet of her until—
No bullets. She ran out of fucking bullets. Well, her luck had to run thin at one point, huh? Up until now, she had been extremely lucky—her home's placement in a gated community, the guns, her having little to no problems in the grocery store and not to mention all of the "free" items she had in her back seat.
The gate was open and walkers began to try and limp or drag themselves in. Regina rammed her foot on the gas and ran over whatever was in her way causing a bumpy ass ride. She found herself morbidly thinking.
Twinkle, twinkle you won't go far
I'll run you the fuck over in my car.
It was dark out and the only light within the house was Danny's toy camping lantern that he had received with his tent for Christmas now. They were watching some Apocalyptic Tips on the Discovery Channel since for some reason, the broadcasting studio thought it was appropriate to continue to show reruns at a time like this after saying "It's crucial our audience is aware of what to do in times like these."
The power cut out around seven and Ferrera found herself cuddling on the couch with Danny in hopes of some type of entertainment. She was tempted to use her iPod, but she knew she needed to save that fully charged battery. Who knew when she would be able to charge anything again?
The moans and groans of the dead had grown louder since Regina had left and she was on edge, afraid that if they got past the gate the boards Regina put up around the house wouldn't hold.
Danny fiddled with one of his action figures—Iron Man, if she had her superheroes right—before looking up to Ferrera, "Mama's not home yet."
Ferrera sighed. She told herself she wasn't worried at all, but there was this nagging feeling in the back of her mind telling her that maybe Regina wasn't alright—maybe her sister wasn't as strong as she made people think and the walkers had gotten to her. If that happened, it would be up to her to get Danny to safety or protect him.
She wasn't ready to die yet. Not that way. Just the mere thought of her being ripped apart by the walkers and then becoming one terrified her enough to want to fight as long as she could stand it. Actually, the dying part made her squirm, while being a walker didn't bother her too much.
Ferrera squeezed him to her body more and rubbed his arm, "She'll be home soon. Your mama is one stubborn lady. She ain't goin' anywhere."
Danny nodded and his aunt felt him relax. Ferrera wasn't even sure her words were true, but if it gave Danny any hope, she'd repeat them over and over again.
Ferrera began to talk in a rhythm, "There she was just a-walking down the street, singing 'do wah diddy diddy dum diddy doo'…" Danny listened to his aunt sing random bits of songs as his memory began to remember the broken up lyrics filling the silence.
The teen was on her thirteenth random song when the screeching mechanics of the garage echoed into the house. Regina!
She didn't allow Danny to run to the garage until the screeching stopped for the second time. They rushed to the door in time to watch Regina slam her bloody car door shut. Danny whimpered. He never did like the sight of blood.
"Lights out?" Regina questioned upon sight of them. Ferrera nodded as her sister stepped in front of them. Ferrera could see the large mountain of supplies that crowded the truck's trunk and back seat. Not only did her sister survive, but she got awfully lucky.
"Water, too?" She received a nod in return. Regina grumbled and bit her lip. How long would they be able to camp out in their home? It was at least until the water began to run thin, then it would be time to go.
Regina brushed past them into the house, Daniel following quickly behind her. Regina thought he would have at least given her a hug, but little Daniel was too afraid to even touch his mother with all of the blood covering her. The woman noticed and went to go change.
Ferrera and Daniel walked into Regina's room just as she was putting on her shirt. "I haven't heard from mama or dad," Ferrera sat on her bed as Regina used a wet rag to wipe off the remaining fluid. She tossed the rag to the side instead of dipping it back into her sink water. The water needed to remain free of things like that in case they needed to drink it.
"Damn…" Regina didn't know what to do as far as her parents were involved. They lived in Virginia, but she wasn't leaving her home to go and find them. She couldn't. It was too much of a risk covering that type of distance, especially if this wasn't only happening in Georgia.
Once she was cleaned up, Daniel jumped into Regina's arms and she chuckled. "I missed you mama," he told her. Daniel was indeed a mama's boy. Regina kissed his forehead, "I missed you too, baby."
Regina decided to hold up in the house until the food they already had before she ventured to Wal-Mart and the water ran out. They would not touch the food in the trunk until the very last crumb in the pantry was gone. Until then, it would be as if the food was never there. That food would be saved for when they needed to hit the road.
Regina groaned at her sister's call, "What, Chachi?"
"I've seen a great movie about stuff like this. Wanna know what it's called?"
"What, Chachi? What was it called?" Regina chided with mock patience.
"Zombieland." Her tone said it all. Her older sister could already tell that she would be spewing random zombie apocalypse movies for days.
"A-fucking-mazing, Chachi. You're so brilliant."
"Swear jar, Mama!"
Regina prayed to God that night that things would blow over quickly and that he would forgive her for having to kill those...things—the walkers. She prayed that He would watch over her mother and father in Virginia and her own family right there in Georgia. She prayed that He would keep them safe.
Author's Corner: I know it took two days for things to get really bad in the Walking Dead Game, but that's just it. When people think every thing's gone to hell, shit hasn't even hit the fan yet and Regina will learn this soon.
Regina had gotten unbelievably lucky in this first chapter, huh? Y'know, with the food and all? Eh, wasn't too happy with that ending.
Constructive criticism is welcome.