Author's Note: This story takes place in first person with alternating points of view. Now onto the story hope you enjoy it.


The Sickness

Chapter 1

The Cold Walking Grey

Henry Miles


If God could mourn through the wind he would surely weep a tempest. If the lush green summer leaves could cry out, they would surely scream, scream as if the world was breaking into nothingness. They would utter but a mere warning, a sonnet in the breeze to anyone who would listen of what horrors aimlessly wandered down the litter covered suburban streets and the lush overgrown lawns. A panicked screech in the soft morning wind would pass the tree lined avenues but would then be drowned out by the moans of the shambling dead that aimlessly wandered through the neighborhood searching with cold purpose for the living including me. The wind and leaves of the many tree lined suburban streets would scream in despair and desperation to anyone who would listen to run and hide and sneak away into the nearest rotting hole out of sight of the walking dead. The rotten, the lumbering death that moved slowly across fallen litter moved as one like a wave upon a rocky Maine shore. The horrid and hungry scourge carried a sensation of fear, decay and certainty, certainty that the end was near, that the world was not what it once were a mere 3 and a half months prior and to run from it was impossible; to dream and to seek solace and safety, to breed hope and love, it was all thought to be lies by those that remained alive here including me. Time, 3 and a half months of fighting to stay alive since the sickness overtook had worn me down and anyone left alive here in the suburbs. Food and supplies were spent; hope and safety were gone. Death however was in abundance and it seemed was an absolute presence that stalked around me.

And there I sat on the dusty leather couch in my tatty living room, alone. The soft golden light from the morning sun peaked through the boarded window in front of me showering me in the light. My black jeans were splattered with blood, dotting the fabric with small dried blotches and droplets. What were they? Why were they here; Christ, what the hell happened? I was there when they poured out of the city; I was there when they overran the police downtown but now, now I don't even know what happened. I don't know what to do anymore I planned on heading to the river maybe to find a boat but I never made it far from my house every time I tried. I nearly got bit looting a home down the street. I guess I should count my lucky stars I'm still alive. But maybe being dead isn't so bad at least they got to eat once in a while. Perhaps my luck would be better now that the streets were mostly clear of walkers and the carnage that was all too common in the early few days.

Scoffing at my sulking I ran my hand through my matted black hair feeling the grease and the sweat that stuck to my tresses like dust to a computer screen. I hadn't washed since the water to my house was cut over a week ago. I looked up from my lap and sighed pushing away the visible dust that was illuminated in the beam of yellow light.

The room was poorly light ever since the electricity was cut the floor lamp in the corner remained out. The room had little furniture: my old leather couch with matching armchair, the old floor lamp, a flat screen TV with a wooden stand that I had ravaged for its wood to barricade my windows, and the coffee table I rested my sore overused legs on.

I got up from the stiff couch and scanned the room. Cracking my sore back and stretching I felt my stomach growled.

Food!

My stomach knew what was up. I was starving; I hadn't found much to eat in two days and even then it was just an old candy bar from a turn over car. I knew I wouldn't be able to fend off anything I encounter if I was drained of energy from lack of food.

I walked towards the window and peeked for a view outside. My house laid directly on a three way intersection. Willard Street, a small, two lane, tree lined street ran across from me while Hawthorne Avenue ran forward away from me eventually it would link with Geneva Avenue and after that towards the highway towards Saint Louis. I cursed under my breath at the horror show I saw outside beyond the overgrown lawn.

Damn! There're so many of them!

They were coming through the neighborhood like a wave; there were dozens of them. They moved agape and gurgling in a loose group but stayed together moved towards the city several dozen miles ahead to the east. A force unmatched, an army of misery and descent they made my bones freeze in fright as they passed my house moving away from me down Hawthorne Avenue. Their bodies swayed with faint purpose, slanted but secure in the way they shuffled and dragged along the ground: grinding twigs and dirt and small rocks into already punctured, slashed, and deteriorated flesh. Sunken white lifeless eyes radiated with vacant interest and swirled in an empty slush of dull glint. It seemed that they were heading along the sun warmed streets to Saint Louis in the east. The promise the smoke and the carnage had given them some vigor when what appeared to be the herd leader, a large muscular man with sickly green skin with a ripped black eagle shirt howled in the air pointing eastward towards the smoke columns of what I thought was a deserted and overrun metropolis. Warmed by the promise of blood flooding their mouths and streaming down their throats they shuffled forth slowly but surely. Screams of life draining, beats of life fighting, these were the things Death craved and in the end death was the only certainty now. They wobbled along moving past the caravan of debris beyond my view.

The tree lined avenue was jammed with debris and trash. Several derelict wrecks lay strewn on the pavement and on the foot tall lawn grass some charred from fires. Most of the cars had their windows blown out with dried brown blood caked on the doors and dashboards. Besides the few walkers and rotters aimlessly wandering around the block became unusually quiet, the distant moans of the rotters and the walkers faded away. The majority of the mass that had moved through had passed heading towards the highway down the street leaving behind a few stragglers that remained out of faint curiosity of the boarded up houses and mesmerized by the many red quarantine signs on the abandon houses. Unknown to the curious dead that were watching the houses I was watching them.

Walking away from the window I proceeded out of the living room and into the hallway. Down the hallway was the front door and to the left the stairway leading upstairs and another next to it leading to the basement and dining room and to the right of the hallway was the kitchen. Walking left I entered the dining room just past of the staircases. As I entered the dining room I was instantly bathed in amber light. The skylight above showered the room in light. In the center of the dining room stood the thick, wooden dining table and several wooden chairs, not like I used them now though, no more dinner parties with my friends that I can only assume are all dead now walking the streets. On the table rested my gear, or what remained: a small black leather satchel, a lead pipe I found with a makeshift grip of leather straps to prevent my hand from slipping, my "acquired" Colt Cobra revolver with a box of .38 special ammunition, my leather jacket, an aged black baseball cap, and my dark blue bandana I used to cover face to protect it from splattering blood. All in all it was a decent amount of gear what I lacked in provisions I nearly made up for in gear. Grabbing my gear I proceeded back into the hall upstairs. I needed two more things before I headed out again. I needed to move out my stomach demanded so I guess I was going to head into downtown I pretty much took what was left in around here scavenging everything useful around me in a four square mile radius around. I needed new grounds and with the lack of any supplies here I needed to go—no I had to go. Heading up to my room I was greeted by the creaking sound of the thick wooden door. Entering the room I took the rest of my stuff that I was going to need. I was leaving the safety of my house. I needed a new place; this place wouldn't sustain me for much longer and perhaps I could find better gear and food in town and maybe some people if any were still alive. Maybe, I could find a much more secure place to hide.

Ha.

Hide, so that's what we've been reduced to, both us and them, to hide and to sneak about like rats and cats, and we were the rats. I shook that thought from my mind as I continued to rummage through my messy room.

Aha!

I found what I was looking for, my Mag-Lite with a couple spare D-cells and my first aid kit, I had found them and with everything intact. Tossing both in my satchel along with my Colt Cobra and with my lead pipe in hand I trotted downstairs and braced myself against the front door peering out.

The streets were clear and empty not a moan, not a sound was heard besides the wind. All the rotters must have left lucky for me maybe I could make some ground. It has to be easy enough downtown was only five miles straight down Willard to the south.

Removing the wood and the barricades from the front door I poked my head out and scanned the street and looked around.

Nothing.

With that thought I crept forward cautiously at first but by the time I reached the sidewalk I was standing upright brushing the crushed grass off my boot heels. Standing on the sidewalk I looked down the long seemingly endless street towards the tiny dot ahead, downtown.

Looking up into the sky I witness the sun fading behind black storm clouds darkening the ground removing all the hard shadows beneath the trees in place of them nothing but soft grey tint, a bad omen, perhaps but I still needed to get moving the longer I was exposed outside the bigger the chance of being spotted. Shrugging my shoulders I began my long march into town. My heavy boots clicking against the concrete making the only noise beside the soft distant wind, it was my only companion as I walked straight ahead into the distant grey. The street began to slope downward; the hill the street ran down was quite steep giving me a clear view of the maze of businesses and buildings that made up downtown. From here the streets look moderately clear a few small groups of walkers every now and again but for the most part it seemed empty. The buildings were growing bigger and bigger as I continued to walk casually in the direction of downtown. After about an hour or so I couldn't tell since I had no watch I neared the first few buildings on the outskirts of downtown and by then the sun was again shining down upon me with the storm clouds approaching from the distance.

One more mile to go, come on Henry you can do it.

Resting my lead pipe on my shoulders and wiping the accumulated sweat on brow I made a faint grin as I neared my destination. Maybe if I was lucky I wouldn't be seen—or worst eaten. Perhaps I wouldn't find myself running back home; perhaps I wouldn't need to run and hide—to flee from the cold walking grey.


"Do not go gentle into that good night... Rage, rage against the dying of the light."