Fan Fiction of the Walking Dead. A Journey Through Genres: Offical Contest Entry
|He was telling me I couldn’t pack everything and started rattling off a list of necessities. No one knew exactly what was happening, and the reports were very spotty. Whatever it was, it wasn’t good. It didn’t seem so bad at first, especially since we lived in a rural area. Local hunters had set up around the town, and as long as the ammunition and light beer held out, it didn’t seem to affect us. What was so odd was that these weren’t rabid animals on the loose, they were people. Yet, all of us had seen the news, and none of us wanted to be torn apart. My foster father realized that the situation in town was untenable, and it wouldn’t last forever.
We had a plan. Dad had a friend he’d fought with in Iraq, and they had remained close ever since. He had purchased a marina after he got out, and we managed to talk to him before cell service went down for good. The idea was to get to the coast and find the biggest boat we could. I was hoping for a yacht, but we’d take what we could get. Then maybe, we could live aboard it until this plague ended, or find a place where it hadn’t spread. It sounded good to me, almost an adventure. That’s the way a seventeen-year-old mind works, I suppose.
Our Jeep was built to travel over all kinds of terrain, and it served us well. But even with the gas cans full of fuel and a siphon rig, we finally sputtered to a halt. Trying to find more would be problematic, so we shouldered our packs and took off on foot. We would stick to the woods as much as possible. According to my father, the trees will break up a herd of walkers. We’d see plenty of these “walkers” as people called them, but never a large group. Even I could take them one or two at a time, but we heard many warnings about the larger groups.
Unfortunately, that didn’t last. One of the other bad ideas was to get stuck with no exit, but when that first huge group of walking dead came upon us, I did. They moved slow, but a large number could surround you quickly, and I scrambled up a tree. I was trapped like a raccoon hunted by dogs. My dad started screaming and banging gear together, drawing them away I could only watch as the man who had taught me to fight and gave me the skills to survive trade his life to save mine. All I could do was drop down and run until my lungs were on fire.
When I finally stopped, I was at a clearing. There was a small cabin on the other side that canted to one side as if it were drunk. I used the cover of the woods and approached carefully. Fortunately, after careful inspection, it was empty. There were also no dead nearby to trap me inside. I sat on the edge of an old drab olive green cot, and I finally let myself weep. Then, when I finally wiped the salty wetness from my face, I felt I would never cry again. It was time for me to become a man, because now I was alone.
For the next few years, I stayed on my own, and my hair grew, along with my skills. The latter helped me not only stay away from walkers, but people as well. They had almost become more dangerous. At least you knew what to expect from the dead. It happened to me again, but this time there was no one to save me. I had come upon an old overgrown cemetery well outside of any town on my maps. I heard them before I saw them, and it was not a small number.
I had been hoping for a caretaker house or maintenance shed that hadn’t been looted. There was one, but the splintered front door told me someone had beat me to anything good. As I was doing a quick search, I heard the moans and saw some coming out of the trees. I double-timed it out the door, noticing they were also almost ahead of me on both flanks. I would easily outrun them, but skidded to a stop when a second group came taggering around the headstones in front of me. I’d be engulfed in moments
To the left was a mausoleum, ironically with the family name Walker, and it was hide out or nothing. The door was locked, but not in any way I couldn’t open in seconds, and it also slid open. That was important because the door could be wedged closed. The good news was that it would keep them out, but the bad news was the noise drew them right to me like moths to a flame. In my pack was a half-full bottle of water, and on my belt was a full canteen. The food supply was pretty grim, but I was hopeful it would hold out.
Just as I settled in to be as quiet as possible, banging came from a coffin inside with me. Someone wasn’t quite dead yet... I knew if I fired my weapon, an AR-15, through the casket, many would surround the vault. If that thing kept banging, none of them would ever leave, and neither would I. The little brass casket lock was snapped open with my trusty Ka-Bar knife, and it also dispatched my noisy cellmate. Through one of the lighter panes of an ornate stained glass window, I could see they were almost ten deep. I settled in to wait.
After the first day without sleep, because snoring would be very bad, it was maybe down to five or six rows of them left. Checking too often would make noise and keep them interested, so sitting still was the best thing to do. By the third day, all my provisions were gone, and a good number had left. If it came to it, I just might be able to punch through and run. Maybe one more day could do it. Doing without food and water wasn’t an issue, but staying awake could be a problem. Just then I heard a commotion and voice, but it was hard to see what was happening.
“On your left…” A deep male voice warned.
“Got it. Well, someone with an arrow got it,” Came a reply.
They were very quiet and efficient in dispatching the people who had become monsters. It didn’t seem to take them very long, either. The most impressive part was that several of the voices were female. That was something of a new experience in this madness… female warriors. It got quiet.
“Is someone in there?” A voice called out without much volume.
“Yes!” I put all my multiple weapons on the concrete floor. “Coming out! Unarmed!”
I pulled out the tools used to keep the door closed and slid it open wide enough they all could see my arms were up and spread wide with empty hands. The mixed group of sex and race just stared at me. Without a mirror, it didn’t dawn on me that my face sported a full beard, and my hair was past my shoulders.
“I’ll be damned,” One said. “How long have you been in there, son?”
“Three days,” I replied. Several of them chuckled, but I didn’t get it. “What’s funny?”
“Well, looking like you do and rolling out of a tomb after three days is funny. You Jesus?”
“By the looks of you, you should come with us for some rest and chow,” The obvious leader added. “We’re from Hilltop.”
“Okay,” I said hesitantly. I certainly could use a meal. “Is it safe?”
“Oh yeah,” The leader replied. “Plenty safe. So… what’s your name?”
“Jesus will do just fine,” I replied. I’ve never known by another name since.