The Punch Line
In eighth grade, when these things didn't matter anyway, the yearbook did a good old fashioned "Most Likely" section. It was packed full of the basics- Most Likely to Become Rich, Most Likely to Become a Rock Star, Most Likely to Marry an Older Woman. You know. Menial things.
Obviously, at least to the student body of Winterwood Hollow Junior High, none of these were obscure enough to be fittingly handed off to Noah Ian Aster. So they made one just for him-
Most Likely to Survive a Zombie Invasion.
Everyone had laughed at this when the yearbook came out. They all knew about Noah's "Zombie Invasion Survival 101"books and the utter silliness therein. And Noah laughed along; he was not only notoriously odd (and starting to make a name for himself as the school fag), he was also known for being a generally mellow guy. So he wasn't about to slam everyone in sight with his awe-inspiring zombie invasion preparedness and flip out at them for their disbelief and complete close-mindedness, even if they were more than ready to screw with him on a daily basis.
But those stupid ideas of his?
His childish daydreams?
Those ludicrous survival guides?
No one was laughing when they suddenly became the only hopes of survival. Though no one heeded him openly, either- they just knew well enough not to laugh while zombies were getting their munch on wherever the hypothetical (that's right, folks) Half Life virus was sold.
Hypothetical, you might wonder? How could a virus be hypothetical?
Because the government denied all. Because no one was given any information. But directly before this fiasco broke out, whatever white coats worked over on Regent Island, which was only about thirty miles off the nearest shore, were screwing around with new forms of biological warfare. God knows what exactly happened with that.
Hand in hand with being unsure of the cause came being unsure of exactly how big of a scale this was on. They didn't know for sure how far the invasion had extended, since all the government officials had done about it was close off the four towns Noah did know of, one including his current place of residence, and assure the rest of the world that there was no problem. They were swept under the rug and trapped there (by armed troops, no less), with only the crazy homo's words to help them out.
The punch line: half the eighth grade class of 2010 was knocking down his door when the first of the victims were appropriated as lunch meat.
The other half was wandering the streets with gaping mouths and empty heads. As usual. He actually liked them better that way- they were just as stupid, slow, uncouth and bloodthirsty as usual, but now, they weren't calling him a queer or a freak anymore, and now, they were useful for training purposes.
That aforementioned half ended up part of them eventually. They all did. With no way to get out of the Ground Zero that was Winterwood Hollow and no common sense about them (and not having read Noah's books, which he'd distributed to everyone pro bono at the first sign of trouble for reasons of trying to offer his insight), they were all bitten or devoured or had their heads taken off by his axe by the end of the second month of this madness.
Every single one of them. Even his first boyfriend, Rory, which kind of sucked. He was such a cutie, too.
Well. Not so much with dirt under his nails, half his flesh rotten and his hair wild and his eyes rolling all over the place, but he had once been a real prize. Once.
Lonely, Noah had stooped over his body- the last of his classmates'- and talked to him a while. Even though his head was detached from it and lying off to the left of his shoulder, it felt nice to hear himself. Even though, in a sort of detached sense, he thought he might be going insane for it.
"So I'm, like, alone now." He sighed and thumped the handle of his axe against his thigh. His white jeans- ooh, bad choice for the occasion- were now tattered about the ankles, his sweatshirt in even worse shape; his whole front was splattered with blood, and it was caking into his hair and making it stick together and look generally disgusting.
"Great. This sucks so much, Rory. What am I going to do now? Do you think there's anyone left?"
Naturally, there was no reply.
"You were always quiet, I guess."
Rory gaped at him.
"Dude, that's rude. Cut it out."
Of course, that's when another survivor had to walk over. When he was acting completely nuts. He was just one lucky dude.