Prologue

I ran. I ran faster than I ever thought possible. Every thud sent shock waves through my body. My heart was beating faster than ever and I felt if it weren't for the adrenaline, my legs would've just given way and sent me crashing for the ground. I stopped, legs shaking. I peered through the trees, scanning for any signs of movement. That was when it happened. A series of loud bangs followed by an overwhelming sense of pain. I'd been shot.

Believe it or not, this is one of the few happy memories that I still possess. It was the day me and my best friend, Marcus, had gone paint-balling. It was the most fun I'd ever had. Something about the simulation of danger, with no threat of really being hurt, is simply exhilarating. For a moment, you escape reality, you actually believe that you are a hero or a Royal Marine, fighting for not only your country or your beliefs, but your survival as well. You genuinely believe that if you stick your head up for too long, you will actually die. But in the end, it's just a game. It's not real. You're left with a few bruises, maybe a cut, but they won't last, not forever. It's not the adrenaline rush that I miss, or even Marcus. It's the lack of responsibility. The freedom of zero consequence. The idea that my actions carried very little weight in the real world, unlike now. Now, every decision is potentially life altering. The difference between surviving or becoming just another cold statistic. But no one's counting statistics any more. Not that I know of, anyway...

It didn't happen quickly, like the government would have had you think. It happened slowly, gradually. It started off like any winter would. A few colds, the flu, but when people started going into comas, things got bad. The disease, or whatever you can call it, gave all the symptoms of a bad cold. Coughing, sneezing, the occasional headache and general lack of energy. This is where it gets more sinister, though. Around two or three months later, two thirds of the people who got infected slipped into comas during their sleep. Soon, hospitals were running at maximum capacity to accommodate all of the comatosed patients. None were ever brought back around. After a week or so of slipping into the coma, the patients died. With the growing number of infected people, the NHS were ordered to begin "pulling the plug" on comatosed patients to make room for those who were still conscious and who could potentially be saved. Hospitals became an area of quarantine. Doors were locked and no one was to leave or enter under any circumstances. This was a mistake. Soon, the dead began to... come back.

It's not known where or when this phenomenon was first observed, the chaos made it impossible to pinpoint, but those who had died came back and began attacking other patients and the hospital workers. In turn, those who died in the attacks were either eaten alive or were unlucky enough to come back themselves, attacking the living. Once a hospital had fallen, all communications stopped. No one had been allowed in or out of the hospitals but this didn't stop determined loved ones breaking in to the hospitals in search of their relatives and friends. Nothing could ever have prepared them for what they saw when they got in. Apparently, the first thing you noticed upon opening the doors was the smell. The smell of death. Then you noticed the blood, the corpses and then you heard them. An occasional shuffling, the odd moan or growl. Rarely alone, they are attracted to noises and the smell of fresh blood. Their shuffle becomes a walk which becomes a jog which becomes what can only be described as a severely uncoordinated run. Like a wild animal, once they've seen you they give chase relentlessly.

It wasn't long before the "dead" began venturing out of the hospitals that had been broken into, or simply found a way out of the ones that hadn't. By this time, much of the country was crippled. Those who had been comatosed had "died" and those who hadn't either recovered or had met a worse fate at the hands of the dead or themselves. Many had fallen into comas within their homes and therefore were not confined to the hospitals when they "came back". All political structure was gone. No government, no police, no army, no radio, no TV... nothing. One day it was there, then it simply wasn't. Electricity and gas went down about three days after the emergency broadcasts began. They promised some kind of "foreign intervention" but that was meant to come last week so that's not going to happen. I am alone, as far as I know. Except for the shuffling, moaning crowds of ravenous corpses that aimlessly roam the streets in search of food. There is no help coming, not for one person. As far as anyone is concerned, if there is anyone else, England is gone. It belongs to the dead now. An empty shell of a once thriving human society, crippled in a matter of weeks. An entire race of people, teetering on the rim of extinction. The nights are quiet now, dark as well, but sometimes, if you listen, I mean really listen, you can hear them.


Please review and let me know if I should carry on with this one! Thanks for reading.