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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1616335-Follow-the-Light
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Horror/Scary · #1616335
Survivors of a virus outbreak attempt to stay alive.
    Maggie looked down at her bloodied hands from where the man had bit her on the arm.  She remembered him.  He worked at the bookstore across the street from her bank.  She had asked him about a book last week.  Last week, that was a long time ago.

    God damn it, thought Maggie holding her left hand over her arm trying to stop the bleeding.  The virus would spread quickly, just as it had with all the others. 

    Seconds, just seconds.

    Not Maggie, she was not going to be one of those things, whatever you called them, dead, undead, living dead, zombies.  She preferred the term infected, it was easier to grasp the concept.  It made it a little easier to deal with.

    This was not how it was suppose to happen.

    She told herself when the time came it would be a bullet to her temple.  Nothing ever goes as planned though.  The man had surprised her, knocking her gun out of her hand.  She had been able to get away from him just before more of the infected had gathered in the alley.  Now she was in the town’s central park, in the dark of night and her time had come.

    “Maggie,” shouted Todd, one of the other survivors.  “Where are you?  I’m coming.”

    “I’m over here… by the park bench.”  She could tell that he was close.  It was hard for her to speak; the pain in her arm overwhelmed her.  She had to find him.  The two had become close in the past two weeks since the outbreak had started.  She did not think that she could fall in love in such a short time, but given the circumstances, time no longer functioned at a normal rate.  Two weeks was too soon to love someone the way she loved him, but they had experienced so much in fourteen days, saving each other’s lives countless times.  Not this time though.  The only salvation would be a bullet to the head.  That was all Maggie could hope for now.

    “The benc…  I’m at the ben…”  She collapsed onto the cold concrete of the park walkway.  One of the infected moving towards her stopped suddenly, with a look of disinterest, and then headed off in the opposite direction.  It was at this moment that Maggie knew that she had become one of the infected.

    Feeling like her body was on fire; Maggie was surprised to discover that she still had her memories.  She was Maggie Williams, mother of three children, wife to a wonderful husband, and a schoolteacher for fifteen years.  At least that is who she had been.  Her children and husband were dead, eaten alive the first day of the outbreak.  She could take solace in the fact that they had not become what she had become.  They were dead, there had been nothing left of them.

    Maggie knew she was still in the park.  Her entire body felt like her wounded arm had.  Everything hurt, everything burned.  Even her eyes felt as if they were going to burst into flames.  It was hard to focus.  The only thing that mattered was an addiction, an addiction that took precedence over everything else; an addiction that focused her mind on one thing, and one thing only; consumption of human flesh.

    She could hear gunfire coming from the other end of the park.  Where there was gunfire there was the living.  There was Todd.  She picked herself up off the concrete path and began to run across the park lawn towards the sound of the shots.  Other infected followed her, tens, maybe hundreds in number, all of them screaming a horrible sound.  It was a sound that she did not know she was capable of making.  The pain of running was enormous, but the addiction, the addiction kept her from focusing on the pain. 

    Maggie could see someone ahead that she recognized.  It was not Todd, but another from the group of survivors.  Maggie struggled for the name. 

    Who was it, Dob?  No, it’s Bob.  Bob Spencer.  He is a Civil Engineer.  Maggie remembered Bob telling her that when they had met. 

    Bob the Civil Engineer.  I am coming for you. 

    Bob’s gun was empty, and he was alone, separated from the others.  He was heavyset, could not run very well, and it showed.  The infected were on him quickly.  They had him down on the park lawn in an instant.

    “No, no,” shouted Bob as the infected tore into him.  “No!”

    Maggie was late to the scene.  Bob was already dead as she pushed into the crowd, knocking two of the infected over.  Grabbing his left foot, she frantically ripped off his shoe to get to his fleshy ankle.  Other infected fought with her for the foot, but it was hers and she was not about to let them have it. 

    Mine.  It’s mine.  I found it.  It’s mine!

    Quenching the addiction, she bit repeatedly into Bob’s skin.  Her pain disappearing, and for a brief moment, she was at peace, the fire inside her burning a little less intense. 

    Decadent.     

    The feeling did not last long however.  Bob’s body cooled quickly, and the addiction returned.  She staggered to her feet, screaming the infected shriek into the cool night air.  The sound of the shriek had plagued her the past two weeks, and now she embraced it.  It felt natural.  It felt good.  Blood from Bob’s ankle spilled out of her mouth, down her chin, staining her white shirt that her daughter had bought her for Christmas last year.

    “Maggie!”  Todd shouted into the night air.

    “She’s dead Todd,” replied a woman’s voice.  “She’s gone.  We have to go.  Please!”

    “I can’t leave her,” said Todd.  “I have to find her.”

    Maggie could not comprehend the words; it was too hard to think that way anymore.  She knew Todd’s voice though.  She was sure it was his voice.

    Todd.  Where are you?  Across the park lawn she ran.  He was close.  She could sense him.

    She had to find him.  He could make the pain stop.  He owed her that.  Todd had promised her they would make it through this.  He was wrong, but he could fix it.  He could finish it.  He would save her from the pain.

    It hurts. 

    Maggie spotted him a short distance away, with a woman standing alongside him with two other survivors.  Maggie knew that she should know them all, but she just could not remember.

    With a group of the infected amongst her, Maggie sprinted towards the four survivors, watching as they turned and ran into the darkness away from the park lighting.  One of the living had an assault rifle.  Maggie could hear the weapon ripping rounds into the air as they ran. 

    The park gave way to a dark weedy field.  Outnumbered by the growing population of infected pursuing them, the survivors reluctantly fled into the field.  Maggie and the other infected followed the lights coming from the survivor’s four flashlights dancing in the darkness

    “Turn off the lights,” shouted one of the men.  “They’re following the light.”

    “I’m not turning it off,” said the woman.  “No way I go pitch black with those things.”

    “Just keep running,” said Todd.

    Further into the darkness Maggie ran, pursuing the lights.  The tall weeds of the field cutting her arms, but she could not feel it.  She could only feel the addiction burning her. 

    After several minutes, the survivor’s pace slowed, consumed by exhaustion, the infected closing in on the lights.  The four lights became three, as a human scream broke out.  Maggie kept on, focused on the three lights that suddenly became two.  More screams.  Maggie stayed focused on the two remaining lights illuminating in the darkness.  One light left.  She continued on, no less than twenty other infected running with her. 

    Follow the light.     

    The flashlight suddenly stopped moving, shining instead directly at the infected.

    The light is my salvation.  Go into the light. 

    “Come on you pieces of shit,” shouted Todd firing his handgun repeatedly.  “Every last one of you.”

    Maggie froze as the light illuminated her.  She could see Todd staring directly at her.

    “Oh no Maggie,” he cried out, knowing that he had truly lost her.  “Not you.”

    Shoot me Todd.  Shoot me.

    Her eyes met his eyes simultaneously as Maggie sprinted towards him.  Todd lifted the gun, hesitating for only an instant.  He squeezed the trigger and fired. 

    The bullet severed her ear, not slowing her down in the slightest.  Todd took aim again as she slammed into him knocking him to the ground.  More infected piled on them.  Todd screaming as the handgun slipped from his fingers.

    You were supposed to shoot me Todd.  It was supposed to be over.



   

    WORD COUNT:  1468 

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