The end of the world seemed so near all of a sudden. I woke up to Andy’s petrified face looming over me. He was shaking me, “We need to leave right now”.
Wait a minute, just a brief introduction. I am Angie Andrew- an early-teen who along with her brother, Andy, was abandoned by her parents when they were toddlers. Andy is just a year older than me and just to make our miserable lives any less miserable, we used to daydream about never-happening adventurous scenarios.
And so, I had all the reasons to believe he was pranking me. His zeal for pranking had long surpassed fun and was nearing the cringe border. His being my elder brother, made him exert an invisible authority over me to treat me as his prank-rat. From scaring me in Anabel style, to mixing salt in my milkshake, he had done it all.
But tonight, it felt different. The lights were off and Andy knew that I would never forgive him if he dared prank me in the night. That was my most infinite limit. Also, there was a genuine terror in his eyes that made me sit upright and put an overprotective sisterly palm on his cheek.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Something weird is happening. Grandpa is dead…and he was killing grandma”, tears were rolling down his cheeks now as if saying it out somehow made it much more traumatizing for him.
We had always been fantasy lovers since I can recall. And our most favourite part was watching zombies. Binge-watching “The Walking Dead” and “Fear the Walking Dead” was an inexplicable hobby of ours. ” The Evil Dead “, ” Train to Busan “, ” Zombieland “- name it and we have seen it. Not only seen, but we had also gone a step further to read the “Resident Evil” novels as well as play its video games. Call us zombie nerds. We used to play the zombie version of Dungeons and Dragons. Each of us had a fair share of becoming the superhero who saves people in the apocalyptic world. We had killed zombies in all kinds of ways possible, the most popular being- shooting them point-blank in the head. We never made ourselves invincible though, calling it training if such a scenario were to happen in real life. Imagine being chased by a horde of hungry cannibals who just want flesh. No. Don’t imagine.
Imagine my horror, when I connected the dots in my head. My grandfather was a zombie. I knew it. Even though I had fantasized about such situations, where I save the falling world, I felt a sinking sensation in my stomach. I was scared beyond my absolute-senses.
I got up from the bed, to look outside the window. The sight that met my eyes was straight out of an apocalyptic movie.
Our house was located overlooking the street. It looked as if a giant tornado had swept through the roads. Instead of neat columns of cars passing that my eyes were used to seeing, it was a haphazard arrangement of cars, with some billowing smoke. At first look, it seemed as if some major accident had taken place.
But that wasn’t all. There were blood-strewn bodies, with their internal organs spilling out. There was our dad’s friend, uncle Smith. His guts were spilling from his body, while a zombie with only torso was feasting on his neck.
All the hours we had spent watching those episodes had left us with a thesaurus of information about zombies. We had to know how far it had spread. I switched on my data and there it was a sea of notifications. I clicked on the latest notification.
Dead feasting on the living
Eyewitness reports on seeing a cannibal attack on his parents.
“I saw them being eaten and I couldn’t do anything. I was frozen to my spot. I don’t remember how long before they turned into one of those monsters started walking towards me. I had to run for my life”, says one of the survivors.
The entire city of Connecticut is blaring with 911 calls. The State has lost connection with the police station in the city. It seems like the heart of the city has been run over by the dead. There are distress calls from people hiding in buildings all over the city.
Researchers are debating over what happened. There are talks about it being a case of biological warfare from adversaries. ” It could be a virus that works by altering the DNA of the host cells. We can’t confirm anything yet, at least not without studying the samples” said Dr. Isamil Sadar of WHO.
Okay, so this was actually happening. We needed to escape. Quickly. Our only remaining ounce of luck was that we had been prepared, though not mentally, but rather strategically for such situations. We had to pack some ration for surviving till we got as close to safety as possible. We knew exactly how to pack and what all to pack. Packing was over in less than 5 minutes. But something we hadn’t anticipated was finding the car keys.
We knew where grandpa usually kept his car keys. But it wasn’t there in its usual place. It meant that grandpa had the keys with him. It was likely that grandpa had been bitten on his night trip and he had turned into a zombie after he reached the house.
We hatched the only plan that we could come up with. I would open the door, luckily zombie grandpa wasn’t banging on the doors to let him free. It was Andy’s turn to distract grandpa zombie while I fetched the car keys from his coat pocket. Yes, we assumed grandma wouldn’t have turned so fast, just to spare us some horrors. Our mistake!
Things went downhill when grandma woke up from her sleep and dragged her heavy body towards Andy. I had got the keys from grandpa’s drawers. But Andy was in deep trouble. He was holding grandpa, and grandma’s teeth were just a few feet away from Andy’s legs. I can never justify what I did next. I took the sharpest object my hands could reach, a fragment of the broken vase my grandma loved, and in a split second, there was blood everywhere. My grandma was dead. She was dead beyond any cannibalistic plague to bring at least her appetite back to life again.
I stood there frozen, contemplating what I had just done. I could feel tears overflowing from my eyes. I couldn’t see anything. Andy was screaming at me to run outside. He pushed grandpa head first to the floor. He grabbed me by my waist and pulled me outside the room and slammed the door shut behind us. I was crying on his shoulders. My grandparents had taken us in when our parents abandoned us. They took care of us like their own children. It was too much of a trauma to handle. But Andy reminded me, that we had to keep moving. We equipped ourselves with the knives and sharp tools we could lay our hands-on.
But as we were about to get inside the car, a zombie emerged from the gates. It had spotted us. It was sprinting towards us as fast as its half-eaten legs could carry it. Andy panicked and he turned the key without hitting the clutch pedal. The car made an ugly sound and naturally, we attracted more hungry growls all around us. We were beyond terrified at this point. We knew we were going to be zombie meals on four wheels when we were being surrounded by zombies coming from all directions.
“Go go go”, I screamed on top of my lungs, as a zombie started banging on my door. Its face oozing blood, its eyeballs popping out of its sockets and its mouth being just loosely held tissues- gosh! what a freakily gruesome sight. It was enough to snap Andy out of his panic-paralysis and he rammed the car into all the zombies in our way. The front side was soon covered in zombie blood design. It was just a matter of a few seconds before we hit the road.
None of us spoke for a very long time. Andy was driving as his life depended on it, which it did. He wasn’t a professional driver; he just knew how to drive theoretically. He had never driven before. And so, we were just plain lucky to have made it so far. He was concentrating on driving and I didn’t want to distract him by talking so I didn’t say anything either. We were moving according to our plan.
Andy started saying something about running out of fuel. And everything went awry in a split second. A person came running in front of our car out of nowhere. Andy’s basic instinct was to not hit the person. And he was already distracted talking to me that he lost control and the car somersaulted and crashed. BOOM!
And the next thing I know I’m awake, I sat bolt upright on my bed, sweating profusely, my heart pounding in my mouth. What had just happened? I looked out of the window and everything seemed normal. My lights were on, nothing suspicious there. I then rushed to Andy’s room, he was snoring in his pyjamas, drooling all over the pillow. I had to check if my grandparents were alright.
They were sleeping peacefully in their room. I was finally able to breathe again. I was so much pumped up with adrenaline. It felt so much happy, it almost felt like I was living my fantasy. I was sceptical at the same time. What if I was having another one of those “Final Destination” disorders and the nightmare I had was a vision like that. I never got to know that till now.
Anyways, I realized why fantasies are meant to remain fantasies. It is better to imagine never-going-to-happen scenarios rather than to have them come true in reality. Too dangerous fantasies could be traumatic to handle in real life!