Chapter Two: Knock Knock, Who's There?

"We should go out tomorrow Sarah," Will said catching her off guard. He didn't usually start conversations unless he needed something or wanted something. This meant that he obviously wasn't asking to go on a leisurely stroll through the zombie infested park, no he had a plan and he wasn't going to be easy to convince otherwise if she thought it was a risky or stupid plan. "Anywhere in particular or do you just want to go for a stroll through the zombie infested forest down the road?" she replied the sarcasm dripping in her voice actually causing him to smile in the process.

"The electronics store down a few streets. I think we should take the Jeep and head up there," he replied. "Well what do you want from there? There's a smaller one up the street that'd probably be safer to get stuff from," she argued and he shook his head. "I want a battery generator and some laptops so we can get online and find the nearest stronghold to us," he replied matter of factly. "What if there are none around us?" she asked predictably and he quickly replied "We start one." as if that was the only logical solution there was.

"We are not even going to argue about that right now, but fine we can go to the electronics store but we are going in armed and heavy and that is a no if ands or buts situation. We go tomorrow but we go under my rules, alright?" she demanded and he was taken aback. She never really got this bossy with him but he really couldn't say any otherwise so he replied with a meek "Okay."

The room became silent again. There wasn't really much to do in a zombie infested world, and contrary to popular belief the number one enemy against mankind was boredom. No video games, no television, maybe some radio if you were lucky. If you had an Mp3 player and some batteries you could listen to some music for awhile, but once the batteries were done it was back to silence. About all you could do is write or draw, and maybe if you were lucky and you thought it was safe enough, throw a ball around in your house or something to the effect. You still had to be quiet because you didn't want to deal with any more zombies than you needed to.

He wanted to tell her why he wanted to be part of a sanctuary, but part of him didn't know himself. All he wanted was for the two of them to be as safe as they possibly could and with each day of disaster falling upon them, he knew it wasn't long before they would be overrun with zombies. He wanted safety for both of them and he of course wanted Sarah to be looked after, especially because she was now a carrier of the virus. Who knew if the virus had a gestation period within her or if she was almost completely immune to it. Someone somewhere would be able to figure that out, that he was sure of.

They had an unspoken agreement that the electronics mission would take a whole day's worth of time and so the next few hours went by slowly as they sat and watched the sun pass. Sarah motioned to Will that she would take the night shift again as she did not feel the desire nor the urge to sleep whatsoever. This troubled Will but as he tried to refuse her offer she just shook her head. "If it makes you feel better, I'll rest tomorrow. You just sleep tonight okay?" she had responded to his attempts and he nodded with a sigh, as defeated as he had ever been. "If the electronics thing doesn't go so well tomorrow we might both need to take shifts," was all he had replied and she smiled.

His sleep was fitful that night and he wasn't sure why when he looked back upon it. He slept for sessions of twenty minutes to two hours, and they were at random intervals. The clearest thing that night he remembered was Sarah shaking him awake and motioning for him to come look at something. At first he had awoken thinking that something wrong was going on but as she further revealed it wasn't anything that would put them in immediate harms way. "Look at this. All the zombies in this area seem to be following a certain zombie, showing almost like signs of leadership and intelligence," Sarah had noted having been watching the zombies this whole time.

"That would not be a good thing, I don't want to see this zombie persona of a human body army get any smarter, we are lucky because our technology and wits are all that separates us. That and a deathly disease. "I am recording it on one of the video cameras we have so I am using some of our batteries," she said and he nodded. Both of them believed that they should be recording history as it happened in case survivors of man kind or other species were to come across it and know our history as it happened. They did not want the humans to just be wiped off the face of the Earth, and then no one would know how or why it happened!

As much as the duo wanted to talk about this new piece of knowledge, they didnt want to talk over the recording that they were doing and so they silently acknowledged each other and Will decided there really wasn't much point in staying awake for the whole night. No point in getting tired when he could be getting rested for what could be a potentially dangerous and consuming task on the following day. So it did not take him long to fall back into that light and not so deep sleep he had been experiencing all night. He also remembered being promptly awoken by a "Good morning sunshine!" from Sarah right after a dream about his past was coming to it's end.

"How are you?" she chimed as he groggily attempted come untangled from the covers that he had been sleeping in. "Who didn't piss in your Frosted Flakes?" he mumbled but she made out every word of it. "I got my period today!" she announced and he gave her a curious stare. "So why the fuck are you so happy?" he asked not seeing any reason to be overly excited."Think about it you dolt," she snapped back and he did. He couldn't see any reason to be happy so he shrugged. "Think about it what has a period?" she asked and then it hit him.

"You are still human enough to have a period!" he exclaimed much too loudly and she shushed him. "Well it took you long enough didn't it?" she giggled loudly as well. He smiled at her in return. Things weren't as bad as they could be, after all Sarah was in a pretty good mood for someone who had recently been bitten by a zombie and acquired at least some of the disease. Every time something human happened it meant that it was going to be another day he could spend with his friend while she was still human. He hoped that the virus would never take her over completely, but there was nothing he could do to control that. He had no idea if he could actually kill her if she was turned completely zombie though.

He had killed hundreds of people in his life, but he couldn't turn the gun on his only friend, his best friend. She had saved his life countless times, and he owed it to her to help her as much as he could. He wasn't even worried about himself as much anymore. He could take care of himself without even having to try. Zombies scared him but they could be dealt with just as easy as any human he had ever killed before, but trying to protect his best friend was difficult and so far he had failed completely.

His friend had been infected by a zombie while she had stopped one from turning him. In fact she had basically tried to give her life for him and so him being a man of honor and values would do the exact same thing. His mother, wherever she was now, would have wanted him to do this. It was the exact idea that she had drilled into her kids' heads. If someone gives their life for you, or tries to anyways, then you do the same no matter what. If you hate them too bad, you just have to deal with it. That was her theory anyways.

All of a sudden they heard a loud knock on the door, or what served as a door anyways.. "Is anyone in there?" a loud voice yelled from the other side of the boarded up door hole. Will motioned for Sarah to get on one side of the door and he perched on the other side, prepared if the unknown contact tried to breach the door. He felt the wall shake as the person on the other side attempted to kick the boards down and when that failed Will and Sarah saw the wood break apart as an axe came through it. Then a set of black hands came through the wood, tearing it apart.

Will was ready to talk to the man (or at least he assumed it was a man judging by the hands alone), until he caught a glimpse of a pistol poking through where the door had been. This changed his mind completely and the second the man stepped through the newly created hole, Will put his size to good use. He was reminded of his wrestling days as he came in with a double leg take down, disarming the man and sending the pistol sliding over to Sarah who picked it up. They didn't want to risk leaving a weapon

Will put his pistol right on the man's forehead and looked down at the man. "Human?" the black man blurted out the question his eyes pleading for life. "Yeah. I am going to move this gun from your face and you have ten seconds to tell me why the fuck you just broke into my place, and if you move an inch, I'll blow your fucking head to bits," Will replied assuming his army man persona. "I won't lie man I was looking for supplies and hoping someone had just boarded up this place when they left or something. You can't kill me man, I ain't no zombie.." the man started but Will interrupted him. "Okay well you should get going then, this isn't an abandoned apartment."

"You want me to just go man? You two are the first two humans I have seen in twenty days! Man don't you believe in strength in numbers?" he said and that sparked a memory in Will. Sanctuary. They really could use all the help they could get whether they created their own sanctuary, or if they went and found an existing one. "You know what? You are right. Strength in numbers, what the hell the world is as fucked up as it can get. I'm Will, that over there is Sarah, your name is?" Will asked and Sarah waved as she was mentioned, careful not to expose the parts of her that had been zombified.

"Name is Lewis, Lewis Clark. Pleasure to meet you fine folk," the man they now knew was named Lewis introduced himself, and Will took his outstretched hand and shook it firmly. "Now not to be a party pooper or anything, but we really need to board that door hole up again or else zombies are going to come in. Oh a few rules quick. No being loud. Ever. That is one important rule, we are always quiet. We only use the balcony to enter and exit. Never give your position away to other humans. You don't know whether or not they are friendly or just want to come raid us. Oh and last but not least, you need to not indulge in huge amounts of food. We are rationing ourselves to the bare minimum we need to do what we need to do in a day. Hopefully that all sounds alright to you," Will said.

"Sounds reasonable to me man. I don't want no fucking zombie to take me. Rather shoot myself point blank dead before I'd let one of those fuckers turn me. That must be the shittiest life to have no point to you but to kill others," Lewis mused sighing as he did so. By the time they had finished talking Sarah had already brought over the wood and the tools and the three of them set to work, hurriedly and attempting to be quiet in repairing the door hole. They boarded it up in a triple thick pattern, so that it would take a human with a chainsaw to take the door down (or a bunch of heavy and very lucky zombies).

Will observed Lewis as they worked. The man was wearing a white tee shirt that read "Come get some!" and a pair of ripped and fading blue jeans. The man hummed some tune that sounded like a mix between Black Sabbath's War Pigs and Iron Maiden's Number of the Beast. Well at least that was what it sounded like to Will anyways. The man knew his way around a hammer and between the three of them it only took one quarter of an hour to board the hole up to their satisfaction. "I am going to go record another journal entry. Yeah Lewis I keep a journal just in case we die and our recordings are found. Humans will not be forgotten," Will had explained and Lewis had responded with a crooked smile and a "Here's hoping," in response.

Diary Journal Number Sixty One (Day Number Forty Nine)

Will Armstrong

Today we increased our numbers to three. A man named Lewis broke through our sealed up door in search of supplies. He thought the boards meant the apartment had been abandoned and he was scared to find it occupied. At gunpoint I made him explain himself. I decided that strength in numbers actually seems like a reasonable thing at this point and so I decided that he should stick around. I can already tell that I am going to like the guy, I mean he hums. I long ago gave up on humming music because I honestly thought I would never hear it again. I like this guy's spirit, and I might even start humming music again.

Looks like I am going to have to put off the electronics store run for another day. I want to have a full day to do this because I do not know how long it is going to take, and I don't want to get caught loading the van in the dark. That's just asking for huge amounts of undead and fetid trouble. I mean I don't know how many of you reading this will have smelt the breath of a zombie, but let me tell you it isn't pleasant! All the normal disgusting odors like dog shit and cat piss and garbage and second hand cigarettes (to some people, me personally I love the smell,) do not even compare on any scale to the smell of rancid, rotting zombie breath.

My mind is leaning more towards setting up a home base here in this apartment. If we got enough people, we could start clearing out other apartments of zombies if we needed to. We could theoretically commandeer a whole apartment building as a stronghold. It would be safer than having a one story place to defend, because stairs presented a huge challenge to zombies, who were as dumb as they looked most of the time. I still want to check out the Internet for surrounding area sanctuaries, because I didn't want to start a war with one of them accidentally by declaring myself a sanctuary, but I kind of want the power that will be involved with running a sanctuary.

If there is some kind of divine entity out there, then Lewis must be a sign, I mean after not seeing another human all this time, one happens to break into our stronghold? It has to be a sign, from who? That I am not going to argue about. Somebody is looking out for me and that is what I am grateful for. I mean more company always makes this life worth living even more and when it comes down to fighting, I am willing to bet Lewis knows how to fight and shoot a gun and a lot of other things about survival. If he was still alive at this point, then he had to have some kind of skills or luck anyways.

I think today marks an important day in the history of the post human ruled world, at least in my history. Today is the day that I finally feel huge amounts of hope. In a world where you have little to entertain yourself with, and when it comes down to it, little to do all day long, running a sanctuary seems like a wonderful idea. Maybe one day we will even mobilize against what I like to call the zombie army. I was never really a leader in the army when it came to rank, but people always came to me. Whether it was with problems, or even if they wanted a back up plan in case things went wrong. People came to me, and that is one thing that I can never forget. My army days will follow me for as long as I am still alive. Which I hope will be a long time from now. The day of hope is upon us, so let us bask in the light in which it shines. For what starts as a ray, becomes a rainbow.

Will put aside the journal and the pen he was using to write in it with, and reached into his pocket out of habit and realized he had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in it. "Hey Lewis you smoke?" he asked the newcomer who smiled for some reason unknown to Will. "I think everyone who is alive still probably smokes... but I got a surprise for you," the black man responded and this left Will feeling curious but cautious at the same time. The two men went out to the balcony and sat on the camping folding chairs that they had out there.

"I haven't had a cigarette in a long time," Lewis mused as Will passed him a cigarette. Lewis reached into his pocket and pulled out something remotely resembling a cigarette and it took Will almost no time to figure out where it is. "I need to know, where the hell did you find a joint?" he asked and the other man just chuckled. He quickly removed the backpack he was still wearing and placed it on his lap in front of him. He opened the main compartment and motioned for Will to look inside. He did so and his mouth opened in surprise. The backpack was almost completely full of the green leafy substance that he knew to be marijuana, and so he asked "Where did you get all that?"

"I accidentally broke into an old grow op, and took what I could. No one was living there, and so over the last two weeks I've made sure that I replenished my stock. This is all that was left from that house. Now I am obviously trying to make it last, but what the hell this is a celebration if I have ever known one," the man said lighting up the joint he had in his hand and taking a few sustained puffs from it and passed it to Will. When Will took his first few puffs the change of state of mind hit him hard and fast. He had not smoked any marijuana in years, but he wasn't against it.

The immediate effect was calming and this was a state of mind Will had not found himself in since the zombie outbreak had occurred. "So what about you man, what did you do before all this happened?" he said motioning to the world around him. "Nothing fancy. I worked in a factory that packaged chocolates. I worked my ass off day and night to support my wife and two little girls... but they are not human anymore... if they are even alive at all. Once they turned I didn't have the strength to shoot them, I just couldn't do it. They were my family, and zombie or not, I just didn't have the guts to do it..." Lewis trailed off. "I am sorry to hear about that man," Will said and meaning it.

"I've gotten over it. My theory is if we ever find a damn cure for this disease, then maybe I will be reunited with them one day... who knows. Anyways what did you do before all this?" Lewis asked. "Me? Oh I did the same damn thing that I do now. Shoot shit. I was in the army and I was on my leave when this happened. First place I went to was the army base and stocked up on weapons. Probably one of the reasons I am still alive. I didn't have a family really, I mean I had my parents, but we weren't really on talking terms. They wanted me to go to school, I joined the army," he shrugged his shoulders as if he could care less whether his parents were safe and alive or dead, or wandering the streets as zombies. Truth be told, he really could not care any less about the fate of his parents.

The conversation dropped off after that, and this was fine for both men. They both lived a life where the main source of noise was silence, and so it was not as bothersome as it would of been before the zombie outbreak had occurred. They passed the joint around, enjoying the effect of the drug on their minds and body. Will thought about inviting Sarah to come join them, but he knew she didn't like drugs that much, and thought better of it. When the joint had burnt to the end, Lewis threw the roach into a separate compartment in his backpack and the two men lit up a cigarette. "Damn it's been awhile..." Lewis mused to himself and Will smiled.

Seeing that the joint had been finished, Sarah joined them outside. "I brought the whiskey I found, figured tonight would be a good time to celebrate. Nice to have you here Lewis, not everyday we find another human. Certainly not everyday a human finds our home and tries to break into it!" she exclaimed and they all broke out into laughter. They passed the flask around and it was not long before it was drained empty. Will enjoyed the warming sensation as he poured the liquid down his throat. He passed the flask back to Sarah with a quiet "Thanks," before shutting his eyes momentarily.

Things were changing quickly. His original plans to break into the electronics store today were foiled and Will thought he might even have to push them back even farther. He didn't one hundred percent trust Lewis. He certainly didn't' want to leave him here alone with everything him and Sarah owned, but if he wasn't much of a fighter, then he also didn't want to bring him along and possibly jeopardize the safety of all three of them. This was going to push back all his sanctuary plans in the process, but to be honest he wasn't in a huge hurry. The virus wasn't progressing quickly in Sarah, if at all, and he really had all the time in the world otherwise. The zombies didn't appear to be getting any smarter so it was just a matter of staying alive and staying supplied.

"Do you mind if I put an entry in the journal?" Lewis suddenly asked. "Yeah no worries, as long as you follow the format. I think we should all get some rest tonight though, don't worry though I am a light sleeper and I will sleep by my weapon that way if by some miracle for the zombie one of them manages to make it in here, we will be alright," Will responded and after opening his eyes he picked himself off the chair and threw his tired body on the couch. He first had made sure to grab a pistol and a blanket. All this indulging of substances had made him exhausted and he just threw himself down and has passed out not too long after that. Sarah had retired to one of the bedrooms and this left Lewis alone.

Diary Journal Number Sixty Two (Day Number Forty Nine)

Lewis Porter

Well this is my first entry into this journal. I am not so good with words, but I think it is a great idea to record important events in the journal so that humanity will never be completely lost. Today I was very fortunate to run into two people named Sarah and Will. Not only do they have a very tight set up in their house but Will is also an army man and this mean he knows how to use a weapon. This makes me feel very safe. I mean after all, weapons are our best friends in days like these.

I want to prove to Will and Sarah that I can be a part of their "family" for lack of better words. I really have no idea what you want to call the three of us but family is as good a term as any. I want to prove to them that I am not useless and that they will not regret taking me in and not killing me or sending me on my way. Even before the days of the zombie outbreak I worked my ass off in the factory, and you damn well better know that I am going to work my ass off in the days to come.

Humanity has a chance to survive and I believe that chance is the three of us and whoever else we end up meeting along the way. We are doing much better off than most of the survivors are doing right now and that I am sure of, I mean not everyone is an army man with a large stash of weapons. I am even assuming that the Jeep I saw in the parking lot is his. Let me tell you, if only whoever you are who is reading this could see the jeep I am talking about, it looks fucking bad ass and I don't say that about a lot of things.

Tomorrow I want to ask them if they are planning on taking over the rest of the apartment building and maybe clearing it out as use for a sanctuary. I really hope so because the nearest one I have heard of is one hundred miles away and that seems like an awfully long trek when we have a perfectly good apartment here that could be set up as a sanctuary with little effort, or at least what I believe to be little effort anyways. It's not like we have television shows to catch or video games to play, the world is run by zombies.

I am going to go get some sleep now though, weed and whiskey together make me more tired than any man who has ever climbed Mount Everest. I am afraid to get too attached to Will and Sarah though, I mean look what happened to the last family I had. Gone. Just like that. I worked all my life to have a family and support them and some scientist asshole invents a virus and gets the world killed in the process. I hope he is one of the fucking zombies I kill at some point in my life, because that man is the single handed cause for the near extinction of humanity.

Humanity is far from dead though. As long as one beating heart still pulses on this world hope is not lost. I know of at least three. Does that mean three times the hope? I think so. How can we live if we do not have hope? I mean I hope that one day while I am still alive that all the zombies will have been killed or cured, but I can only hope. It probably wont happen but if I don't have any hope then I know that it will never happen. I never used to believe in positive thinking, but now I know there really isn't anything else to think. I mean what good does believing the world will never be back the way it is supposed to be going to do? Nothing. All we have is hope.