I lose my shirt, find a kid and meet a Rasta

It was ridiculously easy to lose the cops. Three minutes parked in a back alley and I was clear. I almost laughed. Almost. Their terrified, wide eyes and the note of hysteria in their voices made me shiver. When I reached Liz's apartment building, I swung the bag of guns onto my shoulder and locked my jeep. A quick scan of the street revealed what looked like a blockade several hundred yards away. A lone cop was looking at me. From this distance, I couldn't make out more detail than the uniform and the rifle in his hands, as well the pile of bodies ten deep in a line before the barricade. I hurried into the apartment as the cop began to raise his rifle.

Liz's apartment building was in pretty much the same state as mine- quiet except for slight moaning or scuffling coming from a random apartment. On the third landing, I came across a real beauty. She was dressed in skimpy shorts and a sports bra, a water bottle clutched in her hand. Sandra Hastings—a younger, fuller figured version of Halle Berry. She was just standing in the middle of the landing, staring at her apartment door. She turned, moaned, and started shuffling towards me. She hit the floor quick enough, a black, viscous liquid seeping from the bullet hole in her head. I just kept going.

On the eight floor, I fumbled with my key to Liz's apartment for a moment, slightly nervous as to what I would find. Inside the door, my shoe made a wet, sticky, squelching sound on the carpet. It was a dark red colour, bits of flesh and torn intestine strewn all over the hall. I cocked my gun, and moved forward slowly, glancing in doors as I went. I was nearly at Ollie's room when a heavy weight landed between my shoulder blades, forcing me to the ground. The bag of guns landed with a "thunk" beside me.

Looks like I hadn't done a good job checking for hostiles. Someone, or something, got a mouthful of my t-shirt and began savaging it like a mad dog. I started bucking, trying to get it off. It should have been hard, the thing was heavy, but it had bad balance. With a ripping sound, it rolled off me, and I jumped to my feet, minus my t-shirt.

I whirled around to face Liz's mom. She was covered in blood, and her long brown hair was matted with it. She didn't appear to be injured in any way, though. She dropped my t-shirt from between her jaws and rose to her feet, making this wheezing rasping noise in her chest. It turned into a moan as she lunged for me. I shot her point blank in her left eye. The sound of the gun discharging was almost deafening in the narrow hall. I took a deep breath to calm myself. Just further proof that I hadn't learned my lesson, as a second later I was pinned against the wall as Liz's father fell into me from a door to my left. My gun went skidding away. I managed to get one hand around his throat and another around something that I realised later was one of his ribs.

I felt my crotch grow warm and wet as I stared into the mangled remains of a face that had, until recently, been prone to smiles and laughter. Both of his eyes were gone, as was his lips and most of his left cheek. His breath was putrid—stale smoke and something else I didn't want to identify. It made me want to puke.

The struggle didn't last long. I threw the remains off me and grabbed my gun. I swung round to fire and the corpse fell on top of me, forcing me to the floor. I managed to get the gun under his chin and fire again, rolling the body off me afterwards. My back and chest were covered in blood, as were my pants. My hands were relatively clean, so I went into Liz's room and grabbed the clothes I kept there for emergencies. When I had them gathered up, I threw them into the bathroom, and dragged the two bodies into the living room. When I had them covered, I knocked on Ollie's bedroom door and opened it a crack.

"Ollie," I called. "It's me, Eddie. I'll be in the bathroom when you want to come out."

I wanted to get cleaned up. No point in scaring the kid further by coming at him shirtless, covered in blood, sweat and the contents of my bladder.

I was just tying my shoelaces after my shower when I heard a soft sobbing at the door. I looked up and found Ollie standing in the doorway. He came running at me when I straightened up, and I cradled him in my arms as he sobbed into my shoulder. When he was done, I looked into his red rimmed brown eyes and ruffled his dark hair.

"You are coming with me," I said, swinging the bag of guns up with my free arm, Ollie been still cradled in my left arm. He didn't say anything, just nuzzled into me.

We were on the second floor landing when the gunfire started up. I heard the front door to the apartment bang open and the sound of heavy breathing below me. I put Ollie down, gestured for him to be silent and drew my gun and went down.

"He a fool. He a dead fool," a familiar voice said.

"Steve?" I called.

"Who be that?" the voice said, and a dark skinned, dreadlocked youth stepped into my field of vision.

"Who be it Steve?" another voice, older, asked.

"It be cool Nana. It be Eddie," Steve said.

"Eddie?" the voice asked, and an old woman hobbled into view. Outside, the gunfire stopped. Steve looked over his shoulder as Ollie joined me, lugging the bag of guns. Steve looked at me with wide eyes.

"That be your jeep outside?" he asked.

"Yeah, why?" I asked, though I felt I knew the answer.

"We have to move Rasta, Babylon be coming (1)."

"Who's Babylon?" Ollie asked.

"The police," Steve answered as I handed him a gun.

"But, why are we running from the police?" Ollie questioned.

"Quarantine?" I asked.

"You be right, Rasta. Babylon no idea what's going on. No one getting out of the city centre."

I took a second to think, then tossed Steve my keys.

"You drive. We need someone to keep fire going out the back window."

Personally, I didn't want to fire on a cop, but if they were shooting civilians, well...

We got to the jeep easy enough. There were three cops, two climbing down the barricade, and they were too distracted to notice us until we had swung round and were beginning to drive away. They started shooting immediately. I shot back, only two rounds, enough to make them take cover, but they busted my back window, showering us with broken glass.

Once we rounded the corner, I holstered my gun and dragged a silently sobbing Ollie into my lap. I felt him tremble against me as we speed down the road. The gunfire had brought all the infected out. They poured out of the back alleys and side streets. Maybe a hundred, two at most. Ollie buried his face in my chest, and my arms tightened around him as I saw two particular zombies.

My grandparents would not be returning.

Authors note: What do you think? Good? Bad? (1) In the Rastafarian movement, Babylon is used to denote things of authority, such as the government or police. In this instance, it means the police.