This is my attempt at writing a horror story, about zombies. I don't write horror often and this will be written, as I normally write, sort of, as I go along. I don't have a plot outline other than the whole zombie apoloclypse. Hopefully if you enjoy this opening chapter you'll stick around and enjoy the tale with me :) So, obviously, in later chapters it shall contain gore / scary stuff etc. Mild language. Just a warning for you all :)
Anyway, hope you enjoy this.
Chapter One: Anything but Ordinary.
The pillow that she had stuffed against the side of her ears did nothing to drown out the screeching of her Mother's voice. Charlie sighed, launched the pillow at the bedroom wall and dragged herself to a sitting position. The cold, bare floorboards greeted the soles of her feet and she winced at the sensation.
"I'm awake woman!"
Charlie glanced at herself in the mirror that sat on top of her dresser. She looked tired, worn out, yet she had slept for a good ten hours. Her brown hair looked dull and lifeless, her eyes, once a vibrant blue, seemed to have lost their sparkle. She sighed, now she didn't just feel like shit, she looked like it, too.
Every day was the same. Boring. Mind-numbingly ordinary. Get up, get dressed, get to work. The same routines, the same scenes playing over and over. As she headed for a shower, Charlie began, as she often did, to contemplate the point of it all. Her life had begun to resemble a scene out of Groundhog Day. She was twenty-five and somehow, things just hadn't turned out how she had expected. Once, she had seen the world through hopeful eyes, planned out an exciting future, dreamt the biggest dreams. Yet here she was, still living at home, with little to no money to survive on and only a boring, dead-end job to split up her day. Half of the time she felt like an empty shell, though she assumed that was because every moment working in the store left her feeling like her soul had been sucked away, piece by piece. There was no hope left, her life, it seemed, would be this way forever.
The water ran over her face and she closed her eyes for a moment. It seemed silly that she should be so depressed when she did, by most people's standards, have a pretty decent life. She had a job, a roof over her head. It wasn't like she was living in a third-world country, suffering like real people suffer. Charlie chastised herself for her self pity but even then, her brain tried to rationalize it.
For society seemed to always be displeased. People watching as their lives become a movie on repeat, replayed until their eyes were worn and dulled into a blindness. A blindness, Charlie noted, that prevents them from seeing the tedium of it all; birthing, decaying, dying. Doesn't anyone notice? Life itself is a never-ending cycle;
it never stops, never fails and never satisfies. Why does it never satisfy? Why are we never happy? Why do our religions fail us with hollow smiles and laughter,
a false hope for our dirt covered "afterlife"? Why does life exist, if only to act as a repetitive ruse? Is there any point of living at all?
"You're going to be late! For God's sake!" Her mother interrupted her serious, inner musings, and Charlie shut off the water.
The day dragged along as it often did, with the same questions from customers, the same condescending attitude from her boss. The same, soul sucking, minimum wage experience that wasted yet another eight hours of her life. Charlie was glad when the clock eventually reached five-thirty and practically ran to her locker. She couldn't wait to get out of there and in her haste, dropped the key.
She grumbled, then knelt to pick it up. Whilst on her knees, fumbling around, she noticed a pair of feet stood in the doorway.
"Hey, Charlotte! You finishing already?"
It was Mike. They worked together a lot, but he was covering the night shift for the next few weeks. He was a lot older but treated her with respect, unlike most of her coworkers. He was a gentle soul, someone she would call a friend.
"Yeah! Finally. Sucks that you're just startin' eh?"
He nodded grimly.
After a brief conversation, they parted ways and Charlie began the short walk back to her home. It was dark already, bitter too. It was to be expected for mid Winter though somehow it seemed colder this year than the last. But, it was England, Charlie digressed, it was always a rainy, miserable shit hole.
"Help me! Oh my god! Heeel-"
A terrifying scream. Charlie stopped dead in her tracks, her stomach doing somersaults and her throat dryer than ever.
She called out into the darkness. Nobody was in sight and a deathly silence had replaced the previous commotion. Unnerved by it all, Charlie looked over her shoulder and again, called out.
That was when she saw her. A young woman, around her own age, running towards her. She was as pale as a ghost, with mascara stained cheeks and an expression of pure terror.
"Please! Help me!"
Charlie was shocked as she ran full force into her, holding onto her for dear life. She returned the hug awkwardly and tried to calm her down.
"What happened? Are you okay?"
It was a stupid question, but something you just asked anyway.
"My friend, oh my God, my friend...she's ...she's..."
She burst into tears once more and Charlie could guess the end of the sentence. Dead. Murdered. Perhaps that was what the terrifying scream was. Charlie fumbled in her pocket for her mobile phone, whilst still gently stroking the other woman's back.
"Shh...I'll phone the police. It'll be okay, you're safe now."
The stranger mumbled something incomprehensible, holding onto Charlie as if she was the only person in the world that could save her.
"The police...they...can't...help...it's too...late..." She sobbed.
Charlie awkwardly maneuvered the woman so that she was no longer hugging her and cupped her face. She wiped away a tear and tried to give her the best, reassuring look that she could muster. In truth, she was terrified too, but that wouldn't help the woman beside her. She needed to show strength, calm her down.
"Hey, it's okay. What is your name?"
"I'm... Oh my GOD! They are back!"
Charlie spun around and saw exactly who "they" were. She dropped her phone in shock, the call to the police still unmade. Horrified, she watched as it split into several pieces of shattered plastic which glistened like diamonds under the glow of the orange street lamps. She groaned as she realized they now had no way of contacting anyone for help. Shock took hold at the sight in front of her. A group, ten or more, of people who moved as one in their direction. They shuffled, slow yet determined, towards their location. Blood stained their mouths and a low, unsettling growl, came from their mouths.
"My friend! My friend is with them! How...?"
The stranger pointed out another girl, again, of a similar age, who was in the center of the group. She was so badly injured it was a wonder she had managed to stand,
let alone walk. Charlie could see the large, open wound in her neck, still bleeding profusely. She also saw the that most of the other people were injured too, some,
as they got closer, with internal organs hanging out.
"We need to move!" Charlie grabbed the stranger's arm and pulled her away, "Come on, she isn't your friend anymore."
The woman reluctantly followed, not wanting to leave her friend, and headed with Charlie down a small alleyway. To their dismay, the people followed, seemingly getting more aggressive, their growls, more vicious. Charlie could feel her heart beating at ten times it's normal pace. Her breathing, shallow. Adrenaline pumped through her veins and she knew then, that this was something else. This was a far cry from the life of mundane mononity she had lived for so long. In a way, it was what she had wished for. She may have sought excitement, sought an adventure, but not like this. This was just too much.
"What happened to your friend?" Charlie breathed out.
"They...They bit her! They're like fucking animals!"
The blood around their mouths. Christ. These people were clearly unhinged, maybe even diseased. They clearly had something wrong with them to try and eat another human being. Cannibalism in suburban England, who would have thought it? Charlie picked up the pace and soon found herself running. It couldn't have been much later than six at night but the streets were all deserted. People had vanished, cars had stopped. What the hell was happening?
It was all so very surreal. As the duo ran towards the local Police station, a good half mile away, the footsteps behind them seemed to get louder, more numerous.
It was as if the horde was growing, as if people were joining them. Like a mob ready to lynch the town's most hated. Charlie nervously glanced over her shoulder and saw that indeed, the group had got bigger. Much bigger. They were outnumbered, outmatched.
The absurdity of it all struck home and for a moment, Charlie felt like she was living in a nightmare. She was running along, still in her black trousers and bright orange work coat, alongside a strange woman, who looked somewhat like a prostitute with the clothing she wore, trying to avoid getting attacked by a group of, clearly, psychotic cannibals. She laughed dryly to herself, thinking if she told someone about such a situation, they would tell her she was insane. Things like that just don't happen, they would say.
Well, not ordinarily.
But Charlie knew one thing was for sure. Whatever this was, it was anything but ordinary.
Thanks for reading. Please review :)