The Doctor

I don't count the days, or the bullets, or the bodies. I just walk through my little town, serving my community, curing the infected. My home is a mess, I had an open door policy before, and now the door isn't even attached. I never touched those corpses, they sit there are rot. I don't care; I walk through the supermarket aisles making noise, rattling cans and dropping boxes. I dare them to try and take me.

I found an old bandolier on a leather clothes store; I fill it with my lead so I will never run dry. In a shop on Main Street, I found a knife, big, sharp and curvy. My days are spent alone, my nights, alone, my sanity? I can't quite say. All the old photos of my friends and I, lay face down in pools of filth with broken frames.

On the truly cold nights, when the water freezes in the pipes, I sit at the bar with my "pills" all laid out in neat little rows. Penicillin, ampicillin, amoxicillin, the bourbon and brandy warm me, but my breath is still frozen. The longer I stay here, the less I care.

I drink and I drink, drowning myself in booze. The liquor warms my body and makes me forget. I hope that in my drunken stupor, I get taken. But my hate pushes the alcoholic fog aside and I blow each of these monsters away. I need to escape from this nightmare. I shoot out the already dead streetlights, kick open doors and chase down the living dead. I just want to die, I am the last living man, but I don't want to continue on.

With a bottle of booze in one hand and a loaded gun in another, I wander the streets on the verge of vomit. I spot a building in the distance. The lights are out, like everywhere else, but I know what it is, the local clinic. The doors aren't locked because it never closed. The sterile white walls have faded to yellow. I walk through the lobby and search exam rooms until I find what I'm looking for, the medication cabinet. The door is locked but the glass is thin. I reach through the shattered glass and grab bottle after bottle. In my stupor, I struggle with the caps. During this utterly embarrassing debacle with the pills, I somehow end up on the floor, with so much liquor in my system and no food, I black out.

A man in a white lab coat stands in front of me, completely filling my field of view. Embroidered on the front are the words.

Victor - M.D.

I hear a sweet angelic voice, somewhere in the distance,

"Look little Vik, the doctor's coat has your name on it."

The doctor takes it off and puts it around my shoulders. It is impossibly big and I struggle with the sleeves.

"Let me help you, little guy," says a deep soothing voice. "You're the doctor now."

I'm the doctor now…

I am the doctor…

The Doctor… I like the sound of that. I cure these people, free them from their misery. I give these poor souls their medicine.

I awake in a pool of my vomit, the acidic stench bombarding my nose. I pick myself up off the ground slowly. I stumble out the door, dropping my bottle. Its contents pour out onto the dirty floor in the middle of the lobby. In the distance I can see a walking corpse, moving slowly, methodically. I trod down the paved road, getting closer to the monstrosity.

It stops in a circle of moonlight, its dead eyes staring into the darkness around it. I can see where the rot has eaten away part of its face, exposing sun bleached bone. I can see where branches or hands, either living or dead, have torn at its clothes. In its hair are the fungal spores, little tan beads of growth clumping together dirty hair. The stench of death and rotting flesh rolls of the beast. It walks closer to me, its feet dragging on the pavement. I cock the hammer back, the soft click alerting it. Its head snaps in my direction and it lets out an inhuman scream. It runs toward me, its ungainly gait shockingly inhuman.

"Come get your medicine."

As it lunges at me closing the last few feet, I put a bullet in between its eyes. As the congealed blood dries on the asphalt, I bend down and close the cadaver's eyes.

"Rest now, The Doctor will care for you."

I leave its body in the street, searching for other poor souls to help. I find them in the houses, the malls and on playgrounds. I cure them all. The men, women, children, all freed from the binds of their eternal unrest. It takes days to cure everyone; I only stop to grab another bottle from the cold bar. Night or day, I still find them. Sometimes they come to me, some walking, others on their knees begging for help. It does not matter to me, for I shall turn none away.

Even with all of the townspeople cured, I still prowl the town. I search all the buildings and open spaces for more patients. Sometimes I find one or two but it's quite unusual. It has been a while since I had last seen anything but still, I patrol the local mall. I walk through one of the stores, the winter sweaters folded nicely and coats all hung neatly. Across the store, I see something that doesn't look right. Without hesitating, I draw my revolver and send a bullet into whatever it is. Instead of a spray of blood like I expected, the resulting crash startles me. I stare at the now oddly misshapen figure. I approach it slowly, staring down the sights. Gradually, I realize it's a mirror. The figure staring back at me is unnerving. Its eyes are bloodshot and wide, like a scared animal. Filthy clothes hang like rags and cracked lips remove all semblance of sophistication. Its facial hair is long, ragged and repulsive, and the grime layering its face should only be found in a sewer.

I reach my hand out tentatively, and touch the reflective glass, the web of cracks making thousands of images. It copies me, waving when I do, tilting its head the same way. Slowly, I realize… that's me. Anger boils up inside me. I step back, raise my gun and put another bullet into the already shattered glass. I storm out of the store, ready to destroy every zombie I see, but to my fury, there are none.

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