The Dead And Us

Chapter 1: The Family

Part 1: Happy birthday

Carrie had her eyes covered. As much turmoil there was, she wasn't covering them because she was scared, but because she wasn't allowed to look. Victor wouldn't let her spoil the surprise.

"Daddy, when can I open them?"

"In a little while, just wait a few more minutes."

The car ride was bumpy, and there was nothing to be seen or heard from where they were, inside a car. Even if they were outside, it would still be dead silent. At least, that's what she would want to hear, instead of...

"Are we almost there?" she said, dragging out her last word.

"Yes, just hold your horses."

"Don't say that. Now I want a horse."

"Well, maybe I'll get you one someday."

"REALLY?!" Victor took a moment to figure out what he had just said. He reconsidered.

"On second thought..."

"Oh... you're no fun."

"If you wait a few more seconds, you'll change your mind about what you just said." Victor turned his steering wheel and parked into a grassier than normal lot. He checked in the back seat to see if Carrie was still closing her eyes. She was.

"Alright, don't peek now."

"I'm not," she said kindly. He got out of the car with a lead pipe in his hand and opened her door from the backside. He took her by the hand and walked with her into the unseen location. Carrie could feel the grass brushing her jeans. It tickled her legs.

"Where are we?" she asked. They stopped after a few more footsteps. Victor kneeled down and looked at her from the side.

"You can look now," he said. She put her hands down and stared at the beautiful landscape. A small playground, featuring a swingset with one rusted swing and one missing a chain leaving the seat hanging, a carousel with rusted pipes, and a small fort with one side having a rock climb, one having a stairway leading to the top, one having a slide spinning into a semi-circle, and one with a holed wall. There was some water at the bottom of the slide, partly dripping onto the wood chip floor. Carrie couldn't have been happier with what she had seen.

"You found it!", she said with a smile. Her father smiled back.

"Happy birthday," he said. Carrie already started to run to the fort.

"Hold on," Victor said. She came back. Victor took off his black, homemade gloves and gave it to her.

"Don't get yourself cut," he said. She rolled her eyes back and took them from him. He ignored her facial expression and watched her play. He found a bench nearby to rest and sat down with his lead pipe sitting next to him, since he hardly ever gets the chance to do that. Ever since that day...

The 40 degree breeze was a soothing chill for his body. He had loathed the overwhelming heat of summer. He was forced to go out to the city more often to find water and supplies and that was always a hassle, since he had to bring Carrie with him. She wasn't a nuisance, but it sucks to have to bring someone who can't defend themself. He had sworn never to leave her, not because it was too risky, and not because he was her father and he wanted her by his side at all times. He never left her because she was the only thing in this world that he loved and had left. She was his best asset, his greatest gift God has given him in this lonely world.

Glass was being stepped on in the clothing store behind him. Victor did a double take and looked at that direction. The environment seemed empty, but Victor's ears didn't lie. He knew there was something. He quickly glanced at his daughter, who was now swinging, and glanced back at the store and picked up his pipe. It didn't sound like that many to him, since this area was not as inhabited, so he figured melee would be suitable for the situation. In case it was more than he thought, his trusty ol' 9mm was sitting quietly in his back right pocket. Walking slowly towards the clothing store, he realized he was walking to far from his daughter so he went to turn back.

Another crack was heard. He glanced back and this time made sure not to keep his eyes off it. There was a long pause in the moment and everything else was frozen in time except for whatever was walking in that store. He could hear the footsteps get louder.

"Oh sweet Lord, please don't do this to me now," he whispered to himself. Everything was getting hot, but he knew it was just his adrenaline. The crackling of the glass and the echo of the cement came to an end when it showed it's face and quickly darted into the alley across the street. All sense of fear was lost when he saw that it was a rabbit. Living a year in paranoia did this to him.

"Daddy, spin me!" Carrie said on the carousel. He turned back to face his daughter and walked back towards her. Dropping his pipe near the bench, she held on tight to the bars while he grabbed another bar and ran with it. After a while, he jumped onto it, letting his legs fly with the breeze.

"Thank you, Lord," he said. God recognized his hard work. Even though he gave them an apocalypse, he was happy to have one day off.