Our friends over at Zpoc Awareness are having a short story contest… Here is my entry. I’d say go for it but it’s going to be damn hard to beat this.
It has been exactly 50 days since the Zombie Apocalypse began. It started on a beautiful Tuesday morning on the 13th of September 2011. It began near Boston and spread quickly westward across the US and then the world. I was driving to work early that day so that I could conference call with some of our east coast clients. When I finally got through the early morning traffic that always congests the I10 in Phoenix I was exactly 8 minutes late. I slipped into the conference room and my design team and the clients were already talking. I nodded my head apologetically and took my seat; got out my notes I had stayed up late working on the night before as well as the mock-ups of their new advertising campaign I had spent weeks preparing. That was the last few normal minutes I had or ever will have again. After a few minutes their Marketing Director stopped mid-sentence and asked if she could put us on hold for a second. We could hear her fumbling for the hold button but she never actually pushed it so we continued to hear them talking. They were looking out of the 6th story windows of their Boston, Massachusetts’s office near Harvard Square. The sound of their voices were quickly drenched in confusion and fear as they excitedly talked amongst themselves about what appeared to them to be some sort of riot taking place in the street below. Over the next 10 minutes we listened as someone crashed through their office door and all hell broke loose. Within 20 minutes there was no one left talking or even screaming for that matter.
The screaming, that’s what I’ll never forget about that morning. The screaming seemed to go on and on. We whispered in our conference room as we threw ideas around about what was going on. Is it terrorism? A workplace shooter killing his co-workers? That was until a female voice whispered back at us through the phone, “I locked the door… Jesus, they’re eating each other, oh god… they’re eating each other”. She screamed and begged them to leave her alone as the door was smashed in. She begged the attackers and pleaded to “let her go home to her babies”. She screamed for what seemed like hours as they killed and devoured her on a conference call with Phoenix. It took no more than a minute in reality.
The screams I heard that day will always haunt me. I heard many more in the days and weeks that followed. But those screams, the ones on the phone, I will never get out of my head. Several of us opened our laptops and began looking for the news of what was going on in Boston. Drudge was the first one to post something. The first headline said, “Looters destroy offices in Harvard Square”. Oh how wrong that was. Slowly more links began rushing in as well as video from every television station on the east coast. They kept calling it “Mass Rioting”, but anyone watching knew what was going on. People were eating each other and they were most certainly not “Rioters”, they were Zombies. Groups of dead-ish bloody people were running down living people and tearing them to pieces and those people got up and ran down other people and ate them. On and on it went until zombies filled Boston, then the east coast, then the US and finally the entire world in less than a few days.
Almost immediately after that fateful conference call the TV in the conference room was turned on and a perky blonde female Fox News reporter broadcasting live was attacked in Time Square and was torn to shreds. The cameraman laid his camera down to get away and the close up of her silent screaming as she was slowly eaten on live camera was Pulitzer Prize winning cinematography. The way her face was framed in the shot was amazing but what was unbelievable to us at the time was that after she had been attacked and laid there looking quite dead for approximately 20 seconds her eyes re-opened and she slowly turned her head and looked right into the lens as blood poured from bite wounds all over her face. She stood up and ran away from the camera, staying in the shot as she attacked her cameraman that was standing on the other side of the street. The formerly perky blonde was now covered in blood and herself and the dozen or so zombies that attacked her subsequently tore him to shreds. That was 50 days ago.
5 days after it started TV stopped broadcasting, 7 days after it started radio stopped broadcasting, 8 days after it started the internet stopped working and 9 days after it started the power in Phoenix went off. Now just 50 days later the entire known world has come to an end. I wish every day that I could go back in time to 51 days ago. Life was so easy, life was real. Now an estimated 99% of the United States and most of the entire world is dead, well… dead-ish anyways. From what we learned before Day 8 a virus similar to Rabies was infecting the majority of humans across the planet. It was spread from contact with the bodily fluids of infected individuals. Biting was not necessary as simply getting any of their fluids into an open wound or orifice was enough to infect you. Within 20 seconds you were by all accounts dead. A fever measuring up to 109 degrees ripped through your body destroying the frontal lobe of your brain and effectively killing the humanity in you. Now all there was left was the need… the need to feed. I’m sorry, I know it’s not a joking matter but shit, if I can’t find something to laugh about I am going to end up just blowing my brains out.
Everyone I knew is probably dead. I never heard from my parents, grand parents and brother who lived in Florida even immediately after it all started. Not a single friend was able to contact me or me them. However in their defense, and mine, the phone system was overwhelmed and emergency services took over all of the lines. I never heard from my ex-wife or my girlfriend. Most of the people in my office left and tried to make it home but video from news-choppers in Phoenix showed the freeways at a complete standstill as panicked people tried to make it home all at once. I decided leaving was out of the question so I stayed. Myself (my name is Jason by the way), our Human Resources manager Megan, our Maintenance Supervisor Vera Lee, our Engineering Supervisor Douglass and a Graphic Designer named Braden locked ourselves into the building after everyone else left. There were a few others but they were lost 3 days later when a hoard of zombies pushed themselves over one of the walls and in the mayhem that ensued they were bitten. One shot himself and 3 others were turned. Megan blew their brains out with the AR-15 she had in her trunk. Our office is on the ground floor but the owner added roll down security doors a few years back and the parking lot is surrounded by 8-foot walls and razor-wire. We hunkered down and waited to see what would happen. That first night we saw chopper video of our boss running down the side of the freeway trying to get away from a swarm of zombies at least 500 deep. They overwhelmed him at the I10 and I17 split. No one else has come back trying to get back into the building.
50 days later we haven’t seen any living human beings in 18 days. 17 days ago we saw a small group of Survivors driving slowly down the street past our building. We never signaled them as we don’t have the room or the food to take on any more people and besides, they looked… untrustworthy. They drove on and since then, nothing living has shown itself. The zombies ate everything, people, birds, cats, dogs and even bugs. Everything that had life in it is dead. Megan said while on watch a few weeks ago that she saw several zombies eating ants across the street, crawling on their hands and knees smashing their rotting faces into the grass trying desperately to find sustenance. Thankfully the rabies that affected humans wasn’t transferable to animal species but it was just as deadly for them.
Most of the zombies have starved in the last 2 weeks. We haven’t seen one is 6 days now and the stench of the city around us is overwhelming. We spent several days closing all of the openings in the building to help keep it out but to no avail. The smell of death isn’t something you just lock out. Yesterday Douglas ventured down the street in the enclosed forklift we have in the warehouse and after just 30 minutes away returned with only vomit on his boots and a single gallon of water. There is simply nothing left.
We have given ourselves 10 days until we pack up what little we have left and we will be venturing out into the city. Surely there must be others like us, other Survivors who want to find us as much as we want to find them. Yesterday Braden heard someone on the CB radio that Vera Lee rigged together but unfortunately the man on the other end had no idea where his safehouse was. But from what they described they’re in the far west side of Phoenix, maybe Glendale. It might as well be the other side of the universe. 10 days until we venture out… 10 days until we find out if humanity is done on the planet Earth. So I guess this is a last will and testament. My words may be the only thing I have left so here they are.
We have 3 vehicles in our caravan with the last pulling a trailer with the fork-lift on it to clear road blocks. We will have enough food and water for 30 days once we leave and we will never be coming back here to this building, at least I hope I never have to see it again. I’ll keep writing as we go along. I will be journaling our adventure for as long as I can. I have written everyday for the last 50 days and I will share that with you someday but for now we are just moving forward.
So if you are reading this we are headed to 33°34′31″N 112°34′44″W. It is an isolated place I know that has natural springs and is close enough to what used to be civilization that we can scavenge easily. If you are reading this and you know where it is meet us there. Make some noise and we will come out and cover you as you come in.
So that’s it. That is who I am and who we are, the Survivors. There isn’t much left to say except this. The best advice I can give you that makes any kind of sense now is… Don’t… Get… Bit. Until next time, this is Jason signing off. Good luck and stay frosty.