For a pessimist, I'm pretty optimistic. Hearing the bodies hit my door in a clumsy rhythm made me think, well, perhaps it's the apocalypse, but at least they're stuck on the other side of that door. Unfortunately, I realize, so is my girlfriend, Imogen, somewhere... beyond that door.
That's my first problem.
Right now I'm supposed to be in the shower. I'm supposed to be drying my hair, shaving my face, applying my deodorant.
Right now I'm peering out the second story window of my house, holding a bat to my chest as if something could attack me at anytime.
I can see blood everywhere. I've never seen so much in my life. Then again, I've never seen someone who is supposed to be dead eat another person. I guess you see something new every day.
There are two men in my yard. They're dead, most definitely, but that doesn't seem to be stopping them from trying to break into my house. I sigh, watching them.
That's my second problem.
I walk down my stairs and back into the living room. I have to step over a body to get to the couch, a guy I found staring off into space in the middle of my living room with his bottom jaw missing when I came down for my morning coffee. I pick up my phone, opening it to see Imogen still hasn't called. I call her for the millionth time that morning, but she doesn't answer.
Right now I'm supposed to be getting dressed. I'm supposed to be finding a clean pair of socks, tying my shoes, finding my keys.
Right now I'm dragging my corpse friend into the laundry room and locking him in it.
I beat his head in with the bat, but for all I know he could get up at anytime. As far as I'm concerned, I could cut him in half and I'd still have to worry if he was going to move again. The door doesn't seem to want to lock. I play with the door a bit more, locking it and opening it with ease. It's not going to lock.
Unfortunately I know these dead guys can open doors, otherwise he wouldn't have been in my house in the first place.
That's my third problem.
I make my way into my bathroom, deciding it time to brush my teeth. It may be the apocalypse, but I'm a dental freak. I don't want to have morning breath all day.
I apply my deodorant, not wishing to smell as bad as my dead buddy in the laundry room. I won't end up smelling like a corroded, coagulating, corpse; but body odor isn't a pleasant smell either. I look into the mirror. Malachite eyes stare back at me, my skin looks almost ashen, and my dark brown hair is still sticking up at odd ends. I pat it down with my hand. I'm vain, I won't lie. The world is crumbling around me and I still make an effort to look good.
I walk back into the kitchen, past the laundry room. I set my bat against the counter and start to pour myself a glass of apple juice. The laundry door catches my sight, and I notice with a sickening shiver that it's open.
Right now I'm supposed to be on my way to work. I'm supposed to be fighting traffic, changing the cd from something soothing to something heavy, arriving a few minutes late.
Right now I'm cautiously advancing towards the laundry room, clutching the bat in my right hand for dear life.
I peer around the corner; he's not there. I look behind the door, down the hall, back into the kitchen. He's gone.
Unfortunately, I can only assume he could be anywhere in the house, around any corner, waiting for me to walk by.
That's my fourth problem.
The phone rings.
Suddenly everything has left my mind.
I rush into the living room blindly, searching for my phone. For a moment I don't really comprehend what is going on, and I notice I've rushed right into the missing dead guy. His grimy, grotesque hands leave gore on my shirt as he grips my shoulders in desperate hunger. He cries out, a strangled moan, trying to pull me closer to his mouth. A putrid aroma fills my nostrils, bile rising in my throat. I push back, but he does not relinquish me.
The phone continues to ring and I panic. Imogen could be calling; I could be missing her call.
I thrust the bat upward in desperation; knocking a few teeth out of his remaining jaw, blood squirting from open wounds on my arms. I try not to think about it when I do it again, managing to release his grip enough to break free. I raise the bloodied bat above my head and bring it down on his skull as hard as I can. Another part of his skull gives in with a nauseating crunch. I swing again, knocking him to the ground. I swing down hard, a few more times, each sending a spray of crimson hues onto my shirt, a bit on my face. His face is a shattered mess on my floor, soaking into the creamy colored carpet, staining it forever. I dive for my phone in desperation.
The ringing stops the moment the phone is in my grasp.
It beeps to let me know I have a voicemail.
Right now I'm supposed to be asking an old elderly couple what they'd like to eat for breakfast. I'm supposed to be ringing up orders, carrying out drinks, expediting.
Right now I'm pacing over a corpse frantically dialing my password for my voicemail, cursing
every time it apologizes to me because I pressed the wrong button.
One new voicemail, it tells me. Imogen's prerecorded name in her soft soothing voice causes my heart to skip a beat. It's from her.
The voicemail starts with heavy breathing. Then a cough.
"Rhys? Pick up, please." She sounds like she's been running. She's quieter than she usually is. "I'm heading over, okay?" She mutters away from the phone, its muffled, but I can hear a string of curses. "I'll be there as soon as possible."
I walk over to the window and peek out. The two men in my yard have now become several. Three of them are now clawing at my door in vain. If she tries to come over now, she's dead.
This is my fourth problem, or perhaps my fifth. I forget what number I left off at.
I call her back immediately. She doesn't answer. My hands shake as I continue to watch the men outside. I call again.
"God damnit!" I fight to not punch something. I have to get a hold of her and fast.
Light ash blond hair, almost white, catches my eye. My head snaps up and I can see her, in the street. Her high tops are sloppily tied; legs are covered by thin white thigh highs. Her skirt, pleated and short, is white, but I can see a blood stain from a rather nasty laceration on her left leg. Her long sleeved dark blue top clings to her, ripped at the shoulder and exposing her pale collarbone. Her face, framed by her long hair, holds a look for pure terror for only a moment, before it morphs into resignation. They haven't noticed her yet, but I know it's only a moment before she's doomed.
I book it to the door, unlocking the locks and pulling it open as fast as I can. Three men fall to my feet and I bring the bat down quickly, over and over, the gore spurting onto my hands, my arms, my face, my shirt, my carpet and the walls. I grab them by the shirt, one at a time, tossing them onto my porch. The few other have already noticed me.
"Imogen!" I cry out. "Get into the house!"
Her eyes widen, and she runs as fast as she can, injury and all. A few feet away, moments from salvation, one of the men grabs a hold of her hair.
"Rhys!" She screams, falling from the momentum being pulled from her like a carpet beneath her feet. I'm at her side immediately, fighting the corpse's grip off her. She breaks free and makes it into the house. Just as I'm about to follow, I feel a sudden, unbearable pain in my wrist. Unimaginable, tormenting pain. His teeth remove a nice section of my skin, pulling out a mess of
red and blood instantly begins to pour.
My eyes almost roll back into my head; I'm in so much agony. I kick him back weakly, and make my way back into the house. Imogen slams the door behind me, locking every lock frantically. A kitchen knife is in her hand.
I roll on the floor, holding my wrist, trying to hold back my screams. I don't want to terrify Imogen, not now that she's finally here.
She comes to my side, petting my face, tears spilling from her azure eyes.
"Rhys, I'm so sorry." She whispers, her full lips trembling. "I'm so sorry. I love you." She kisses me. I try to focus on her, but the pain is overwhelming.
"Rhys, I love you, but I can't let you turn into one of them."
She brings the knife down.