I sighed heavily and threw the pearl necklaces aside onto the dusty and dirty floor of the abandoned department store. I remember half a year ago when my best friends and I would come to this store and wish we owned these necklaces. After school the three of us would come to this store in this mall and drool over the expensive and shiny things. We were such girls. Most days I just wish that we could do that again. A tear ran down my cheek and I sniffled. I caught the reflection of myself in a table mirror next to what used to be a make-up stand not far from me. I took a deep and shaky breath as I pulled myself together. I was a mess. There was me: seventeen year old Amber Greene: with a miserable look on my face. My black hair was surprisingly perfectly straight and my long bangs were just growing in front of my eyes. It was shoulder-length, parted sideways along the crown and was a little dirty with spots of dust. There was a small healing cut on my cheek, clothes with many holes and rips. I brushed the dust off.
I didn't even know why I was wasting time in this store. Jewelry wasn't my concern right now. I was trying to find things more like duct tape, food, and things to drink. I returned to my tasks that have been pushed to the back of my mind and walked towards the exit of the department store. I felt the backpack on my back start to slide off so I adjusted it.
Upon exiting the store, I looked both ways. This shopping mall had two levels to it and more than two hundred stores. All stores were along wide hallways and broken by small plazas which were more of hang out spots then anything. Always look both ways. That's a must. You need to be more careful nowadays because traffic around here is deadly.
It was clear so I made my way to look for what I needed. I walked down the mall's main strip hallway looking around. Store windows were broken, things thrown through them. Spray painted symbols of Anarchy and other tags lined the walls. All these stores were looted a long time ago. There wasn't much left but the worthless things. I took a deep breath and stepped over a body and tipped over bench in the way.
A loud crash echoed through the building. My head shot to the direction it was at and I jumped a little bit. "Damn…" I whispered, suddenly angry with myself that such a little thing caused my heart to start racing.
Whenever I was exploring and scavenging places like this I heard a lot of noises. Noises like crashes and things falling down. The scariest part is not knowing if the thing making that noise is an alive human or a dead human. The only way I could tell is if I used my ears. I didn't want to risk being seen, so if I heard clear voices they were alive humans. I didn't have to listen carefully to hear the turners. They were people actually dying from the virus via bite. Loud and clear, they screamed and shouted nothing really. It was just random pitches and noises.
Turners were the most terrifying things after the normal ones. There weren't many of them, since getting a bite usually resulted in death. If it happened to be on an arm or leg, not hitting an artery where you would bleed out, they would die slowly. And in a horrific way. Turners were people trapped inside their own bodies. They couldn't control what they did or where they went. They were spreading their own kind and trying to bite you enough that you would become one of them.
Since their brain was still fully functional, the virus could hijack it and use it to its advantage. Turners were more precise on their grabs and could even run at times. If they couldn't, they would at least move faster than the typical zombie. Turners were still live bait and the zombies would often go after them to eat. I've witnessed even the virus has its civil wars and won't give up a body with that kind of benefits without a fight. Turners wouldn't last long against a small group though.
The regular zombie was slow, stupid and just plain hungry for anything that moves. They were still a threat since they often moved in groups or what popular culture called "Hordes". Their strength in numbers was just overwhelming and one or two verses up to one hundred was suicide.
The only way to become a zombie was to die without your brain destroyed, or die from a bite. Simple rules the world got to play on. Although the virus was a dormant volcano ready to erupt inside all of us. Everyone was already infected. If you died of blood loss or starvation you would still come back.
I turned my head to the noise down the mall hallway of stores and spotted a zombie walk out of a store slowly. He wasn't a threat since he was so far away, but I kept the thought he was there and he had friends in the area most likely. I stayed close to the walls, moving along them in the shadows to avoid being seen. I then froze where I stood when I heard the sound of doors opening in the distance.
"Hurry it up." I heard a male voice say.
I cursed quietly to myself and stood in the dark. Sliding along the walls, I poked my head out from around corner for just a second. I spotted two figures walking cautiously into the building.
"You check over there. I'll check over this way. Holler if you hear anything." I heard the voice say.
I cursed under my breath and poked my head around the corner again. One person, a Caucasian man with a black tuque, scruffy mullet and brown jacket was heading slowly in the direction to where I was. I needed to think of something fast or he was going to find me. Crouching down, I felt around the floor. My hands found what felt like a soda can. I decided to throw whatever it was. Watching as it soared through the air and land in the middle of the plaza in front of me; it made a loud clank sound. I looked around the corner and the two figures looked directly at the noise.
"Did you see that?!" He asked with a fright.
"Yeah." A female voice said.
Now was my chance. I crawled across the floor and moved into what I saw was a store. The doors were propped open and they invited me right in. Once past the doors I stood up to my feet and focused on finding a hiding spot.
"Whoa what was that?" I heard him say.
"What?" She asked.
"I thought I saw something move."
"Then go check it out. Call if there's anything."
I froze in terror. I thought he had seen me. Feeling threatened, I pulled a small revolver I had looted off a police officer out from behind my waistband and continued down the middle of the store toward the back where the pay tills were located. The revolver was a weapon I took with me whenever I went out to find supplies. I held it in my hands tight and looked left in right. The shadows hid a lot and I couldn't make anything out. I could see a little but my eyes hadn't adjusted enough yet.
"What the hell?" I heard someone say loud and clear.
I heard a gasp from him and turned around at lightning speed. There was the man with the tuque staring straight at me from the open doors of the store. I was in plain sight.
"They're over here!" He yelled at a monstrous level, reaching behind him.
An immediate hot rush surged though me. "Oh shit…!" I gasped.
Before I had a chance to process what to do, my reflexes on their own, acted. The loud crack of a gunshot sounded out loudly and caused my ears to ring. The revolver wasn't even brought up to full air when it went off.
The recoil burned my wrist and I flinched back. I noticed my shot went somewhere I wasn't sure of. The man, I noticed had ran for cover ducking down behind a wood display stand.
"They've got a fucking gun!" He roared out.
Backing up and crouching below a till counter, a gunshot not from my gun rang out. I wasn't the only one with a gun.
My heart raced. "Shit…" I whispered to myself in a slight panic.
Trying to figure out what to do, I move over along the counter to the other side and peeked around the corner. Then, I had a brilliant plan. Opening up the cylinder holder in the revolver, I spun it so it was on an empty slot and closed it shut. I took note I had four bullets left.
"Where are you little bastard?" I heard him ask angrily.
I pulled back the hammer then squeezed the trigger. It made a loud click noise and went silent.
"Dammit!" I said loud enough, hoping he would hear.
"Out of ammo huh?" The man asked, slightly laughing. "I guess this is it."
I peeked around the corner and spotted his dark silhouette come out from behind the display stand and walk toward the side of the counter I was behind. Sneakily, I moved to the other side and wound around, preparing to sneak up behind him. He looked around for me, and even lifted up a large box to check under.
Hearing footsteps behind me, I turned my head. All I felt was the force of a freight train smash into my face. It was stunning and sent me up to my feet and stumbling back. There were two of them.
"Grab her!" I heard someone yell.
I felt myself being pulled into a bear hug from behind by two mighty forearms around my upper arms. He squeezed hard making my shoulders ache. Starting to flail back and forth and kicking my legs frantically, I made sure I kept my revolver in my hands tight.
"Stab her!" The man trying to hold me still shouted.
A large male stood in front of me, whipping out what looked to be a sharp kitchen knife from the back of his jeans. I started to move less and concentrate where his position to me was. He held the knife up high, ready to stab. Moving closer, I thought quickly.
I kicked both my legs up together and struck him in the middle of the chest before he could get too close, causing him to stagger back. The force of my kick against him caused the guy holding me to fall over backwards. I fell out of his arms as soon as he hit the floor and rolled along the ground.
I lay on my back and caught the dark figure get back up and run at me with his knife. My reflexes acted again and I pulled the hammer of the revolver back, shooting it instantly. The shot was defending but proved worthy that he fell backward instantly, dropping the knife.
I scrambled to my feet and located the one who grabbed me. There he was, rolling lightly around on the spot holding the back of his head, like a sit up. He must have hit his head pretty hard on the fall. I dashed to him and was over him immediately.
"No! Please don't kill me!" He cried in distress.
Turning the revolver upside-down and grabbing the barrel, I bent over and hurled the steel and wood handle onto his forehead. Once was enough to knock him out. His eyes still open; I brought it down a second time. The hit caused his eyes to roll to the back of his head and forehead start to bleed heavily. The fourth time caused it to bleed over more. With blood covering my hands, I hit him for the last time. The force caused loud snaps and his skin and bone to split apart, leaving cracks like in the sidewalk from the forehead out.
I stood up and walked backwards panting and examined the scene around me. Two dead men. I had killed them with no remorse.
"Allan! Vince! Are you still alive!?" I heard the woman shout from a little ways away.
Feeling in a panic again, I ducked down and crouch walked my way over quietly behind the shelf a little ways from the front of the cash registers. I hid behind the shelf and waited. Trying as best as I could to calm my breathing down, I thought maybe she would pass and not notice me. In front of me I spotted a steel baseball bat. I tucked my gun behind me in my waistband.
Curious, I grabbed it off the shelf and inspected it in my hands. It could be used for taking someone out. It would be better than wasting a bullet. I procrastinated the idea but decided it would be easier if I just got rid of her. It seemed like just the three of them anyways. If I tried to sneak past her she might see me and shoot me.
Sure enough and expected, she came quickly through the open doors of the store and closed them behind her. A light from a flashlight in her hand danced around. I slid back into the shadows. Stalking her like prey, I followed her with my eyes as she looked around the store and eventually came across the tills and spotted one of the people she knew.
I watched the woman with light brown hair and long face stare at horror at the body of whoever she knew. She freaked out and screamed, covering her mouth and dropping her light. I could tell she was caught off guard and this was my chance. Coming out from my hiding spot and gripping the bat in my hands tight, I ran towards her. I saw her turn towards me as soon as she noticed someone was coming up from behind her.
I let out a loud scream as I stuck down on her head with my full force. The force of the blunt hit brought her to bend over. Quickly recovering, I brought it down a second time, sending her to her hands and knees. One final time I used all my strength and sent it underhand like I was hitting a golf ball. I heard a loud crunch and crack sound as blood from her skull sprayed out. She fell on her back and didn't move.
I panted and dropped the bat next to me causing it to clank on the tile floor. I looked down at the woman's body lying face up, a pool of dark red blood formed under the body.
"Jesus…" I whispered to myself.
By now I was exhausted and my head pounded. I held it gently and rubbed the spot on my face where I was punched.
This is how it is nowadays. I thought people were greedy when everything was normal. We were all humans. We were supposed to all work together and make it through this in a legion. But when it comes to survival, I guess we're just like every other animal out there. Everyone you come across is either going to kill you for the supplies you have or they're going to pretend they're nice and rob you in your sleep.
I've killed before; both alive and dead. It changes you and you get used to it. The feeling of wrong and guilt after so many times goes away and you're nothing but a cold hearted killer. It starts off with doing it only to protect the ones you love. Then it turns to something you just have to do every day to stay alive.
I heard something close to a demonic gurgle and shot my head up in the direction it was coming from. Towards the left of the store there was a decaying, dead human walking into the store through a broken window. My brain was snapped into thinking mode again as I looked for a way out of the store. All the commotion I must have made attracted him, or them. Who knew how many were on the way.
Usually I would loot the things from the people I found dead or I had killed but there was no time this stop around. I located the main doors to the store and they seemed to be clear. Dodging fallen equipment and tipped over shelves, I made my way to the exit of the store quickly.
Pushing open the double glass doors and stepping out into a square plaza where several tipped over garbage cans and sofas were, I looked both directions. To my left was an exit to the mall a little ways down the hall and the other way I spotted four more zombies straggling towards where I was down that hall.
I jogged towards the mall exit and hopped over bodies and other things that have blocked my path. Reaching the exit I noticed they were closed shut, automatic sliding doors. I tried to pull them open by the small crack in between the two but it wouldn't budge. Giving up, I looked to the left of the sliding doors where a glass manual door was. I stepped up to it and gave it a push. It opened easily and I slipped out of the building. The afternoon sunlight burned my eyes as I shielded them with my hand.
"Okay…" I sighed quietly to myself.
I decided to return to my hideout which was located in the suburbs surrounding the mall. There was nothing around the building I really needed right now and I was both emotionally and physically drained by that fight. I lightly jogged and crossed the parking lot located at this mall's particular entrance. Into the streets I went, spotting many of the walking dead in the distance wondering around aimlessly.
They all gave me the chills every time I thought of what they were capable of. I know it all first-hand. Hell, the whole world has seen it first-hand. Sometimes I wonder why I was one of the many that survived the hardest hit of the virus… I guess I'm kind of glad I'm alive. I kept surviving, making it through, just like I have for the past two months.
These Virginia neighbourhoods were once full of thousands of regular people and families just going about their everyday lives and routines.
Not any more though. Now they were full of bodies, loose garbage, abandoned cars and the walking corpses of the people that once inhabited here.