Day 22 – The First Night

Jasmine wanted to drive, so we pulled over into a rest stop. I got out and stretched. It was around 2 in the afternoon, and the place was deserted. I thought that a little weird, but I shrugged it off as just something unfamiliar to me.

Something caught my eye near the edge of the concessions booth. I stared at the booth for a minute before I gave up and turned around. Someone yelled from the direction of the concessions booth and I turned towards the sound again. This time I saw someone crouching in the corner, and someone else trying to grab at them.

I ran as fast as I could over to the booth, and grabbed the man standing in between the soda machine and the wall trying to reach the person in the corner. I turned him around, and the man was pointed his gun at me.

“Whoa man! What are you doing?” I said.

“That little bitch in there is a fucking Zombie. I caught her chasing after some of the squirrels in the woods behind the rest stop. When I yelled at her she started running away. Zombies are to be killed on the spot, but I wanted to make a sport of it. I can’t just kill her when she’s crouched in a corner. That wouldn’t be fun at all. So I’m trying to get her out of there so I can go on a hunt” he said proudly.

“Wait…so you’re a zombie hunter…right?” I asked.

“Yup, ever since it was made legal to put these….these spawn of Satan out of our lives permanently I’ve been chasing them.” he said.

I tapped my foot trying to keep my cool. By this time  Jasmine and Susan were just an arm’s throw away from the man with the gun.

“Girls, get back in the car. We’ll be leaving after I deal with this” I said, starting to growl. The girls stayed put, until I bared my teeth at them. I knew I was about to jump over the edge, but the girl in the corner couldn’t have been more than 13 years old, and it was in no way her fault with what happened to her.

I turned back towards the man who turned ghost white. His hand started shaking when my growling volume started to increase, and I bared my teeth.

“You’re a fucking zombie too. I’ll kill you then I’ll kill your girlfriends in your car, then I’ll come back after this little bitch in hiding.” he said, trying to act tougher than he looked.

I stepped towards him, and he fired a shot into my shoulder. I kicked my shoulder back to prevent hurting it any further and charged the man.  I knocked him off balance, and he dropped the gun. He started to run away screaming for help. I looked around while I ran after him and there was still no one in site. The man was a lot slower than I was, and I was able to over take him without any problem. When I pinned him against the ground with my legs, and my good arm I snapped my teeth at him.

“Kill me first man, don’t eat me alive!” he said between gasps of breath. Tears were streaming down his face, and I knew if I took the bite, I wouldn’t be able to stop biting. I fought against my urge to eat the man alive, and looked away towards the concession booth. Jasmine, Susan, and the girl was running back to the car.

I looked back at the man and said, “You’re the one here that has any thought of killing someone. Remember this, because next time you come across one of us, they might not be able to stop themselves. That little girl had no choice in becoming a carnivore, and that’s what we are, not zombies. Here’s another reminder, to let you know that we aren’t to be messed with”, I said grabbing his thumb and trigger finger on his right hand.

I twisted them both backwards, and the bones could be heard snapping under his screaming. I could smell the piss that was wetting his pants when I got off of him. I walked back towards the concession booth, still fighting the urge to turn around and take a bite. I bent over and retrieved the gun. I turned on the safety and shoved it in between my belt and my pants. I looked back at the man, who was running towards a truck coddling his hand like an infant.

I got back in the car, and looked at my shoulder to access the damage. Jasmine leaned over from the front passenger seat and pushed me forward towards the steering wheel.

“Oh thank god, it went all the way through, you’re going to have a nasty scar, and you need to have it stitched shut in case he hit something that could make you bleed out. The worry is, we don’t have the thread and needle, and Susan and I don’t know how to do it” Jasmine said.

“Don’t worry about it, it doesn’t hurt. Besides I can walk you through stitching it up. I was in the core before I started working for the office. One of you will have to stay with me and the girl while the other goes into a store and gets what I tell you to.” I said, and drove out of the rest area. As soon as we got back onto the interstate we saw cops pulling into the rest area.

“I bet he snitches, we better floor it” I said, then looked down at the gas gauge. “We won’t be able to go far though, and I’m not sure that the man even looked at our car. We’ll take the next exit and drive to the closest gas station. They should have some needle and thread if it’s a convenience store, we’ll fill up with the gas card then keep driving. We should be able to reach Chicago by morning if we’re lucky. If we’re not lucky….well let’s just hope we’re lucky.” I continued.

I floored it for the next 20 miles, and saw the cops coming my way again. I pressed a couple of buttons on the dash and found that I still had another 60 miles before I needed to fill up, so I took the first exit I could find and drove past all the gas stations available. I turned onto an old road, and floored it until I found a house with overgrown grass all around. I pulled around back and turned around to look at the girl.

It was the first time I saw her closely, and seen she was more like 8 years old, and had blood around her mouth. I looked at Jasmine then Susan and reached into the console for a tissue. I handed her a tissue and said, “Here wipe off your face, and tell me what you were doing at the rest stop by yourself. Then tell me what you ate so we know how hungry you are.”

She grabbed the tissue and started wiping at her face as hard as she could. She started crying and Susan put her arms around her, taking away the tissue. Jasmine handed Susan the box of tissues and Susan started gently wiping her face using the tears to help her out.

The girl pushed Susan’s hand away from her face and looked up at me. Her lip start quivering again, and she looked back down. After a few minutes of silence, I unlocked the door and started to open it.

“I was there with my mom and dad, but that man shot them. My dad told me to hide before the man shot him again. I don’t know why he shot my mom and dad, they were nice people. We were just sitting in the woods behind the rest stop, listening to the wind rustle the leaves. Mom always said that listening to the wind would tell you where to go next. I got distracted by some playful squirrels, and told my mom I was hungry. She looked at my dad and told me we were out of meat. I told her that I bet I could catch one of those squirrels, and she laughed daring me to. So I got up and I started chasing them” she stopped for a minute almost as if to catch her breath and continued.

“I finally caught one and showed my mom and dad. They both smiled and nodded, giving me permission to go ahead and eat it. We have the virus you know? The one that the crazy people have too. I don’t have to eat as much as my mom and dad, so a squirrel would have held me off for the rest of the day. My dad got up and started chasing more squirrels, but I think the squirrels heard mine scream when I bit into it and scattered up the trees. My dad was about to climb a tree when that man ran up and shot my dad. He turned around and shot my mom in the head. My dad growled like you did mister,” she said nodding to me, “and that man shot him again. I got scared an ran away. I was hiding in the concession booth when I saw you guys pull up. I stuck my head out hoping you guys would notice me, and I thought you did but I saw that man coming after me again so I screamed.”

I nodded saying, “That must have been hard to watch, seeing your parents hurt by that man.”

“Yeah, but when you went after that man, I knew you’d be able to save me.” she said.

I opened the car door, and stepped into the overgrown grass. I smelled something pungent in the air, and I walked towards the smell. I walked up to the back porch, and saw that the back door was open. I peaked in, and saw what caused the smell. A woman was on all fours eating a dog, and I knew she was already crazed. I pulled the gun out of my belt and shot her in the head. I heard footsteps coming towards me, and I opened the door in full swing. I saw four other crazed coming towards me. I shot the others in the head while backing out of the house. I turned around and ran to the car, getting in the driver’s side I started it up and drove as fast as I could towards the interstate.

The girls were frantic, and wanted to know what was going on. I told them what I saw, and they sat back in awe.

“So this is it? With the food supply being so low with regular livestock, people are breaking into houses and feeding on random people and pets.” Jasmine said.

The girl spoke up and said “My name is Annabelle, and that’s why my family left. Someone broke into our house looking for meat, and they got our pets. We knew it was too dangerous to stay around, so we packed up and left. The first night we were gone, my dad looked at our security cameras and our house was filled with the zombies. Dad said that we weren’t zombies, we were people that could only eat meat. The zombies don’t have any control of what kind of meat they eat, they just eat and eat.”

I nodded, if the first night gone their house was filled with the crazed, then the world was worse than I thought.

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