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Zombies North of Normal (06)

Chapter Six: The Story of Sarah

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Though she didn’t see it, she heard the helicopter approach and make its landing close to the building over on the east end. She contemplated whether or not to make her presence known in some way. She was on the south side of the building and would have to either venture out into the hall with those monsters or make her way through the window and down the wall from the second story. It was easy for her to decide that she would choose the latter if she decided to leave her room at all. She did not care to encounter those things again so soon.

When it started, she was in the east family bathroom and heard the screams coming through the wall. Someone had been bitten she later surmised knowing everything she now knew. And that biter was spreading the disease throughout the shelter.

Panic overtook the place immediately as residents scrambled to their rooms and staff members ran for the exits. They’s all seen on the news what had been happening out in California and it was horrifying.

Once bitten, the victim quickly turned pale and became drenched in sweat as fever took over. Then there were convulsions and foaming at the mouth before all signs of life left the body. The third stage is what the news anchors called “the turn.”

In stage three, the bite victim opened its eyes which were now glazed over and pupils fully dilated. With a few jerking motions the body came back to life, but devoid of any behaviors indicative of being human. The bodies of mothers would bite their own children, which would turn in a matter of minutes – their smaller bodies overtaken with the virus even more quickly than in adults. Entire neighborhoods were wiped out within hours.

Still left with the decisions on whether or not to show herself to the helicopter and its occupants, she realized she probably had little time for vacillation. Whomever they were, they weren’t likely to stick around long enough for the dead to flock to their location.

As the sound of the rotors faded and the engine died, she heard the sound of the emergency sirens starting up again.

“Strange,” she thought. “I never would have thought to be thankful for being homeless at a time like this.”

The shelter had turned out to be a stable place to stay during the outbreak. But now that the initial shock was wearing off, she realized she had little on which to survive the coming days, weeks, and months. With the dawning of the next day, she dared to venture out into the hallway and was horrified to see the walls smattered with blood and a body of her former roommate lying in shreds on the floor not thirty feet from their door.

Sarah wasn’t even sure if she would have let her in amid the chaos. Her roommate had a habit of forgetting her keys and Sarah would oblige her by letting her in, even if she was already snuggled in underneath the covers of her warm bed. Thankful she hadn’t had to make that choice, she shuddered.

Hearing a moan around the corner behind her, Sarah bolted back into her room slamming the door behind her. The sound of it must have alerted the thing to the presence of a living person as it came to her door a minute later – scratching, hissing, gnashing, and growling at her through the solid wood. Sarah didn’t sleep at all that first night as the thing kept making its noises at her from the hallway.

When the sun came up and she knew that thing wouldn’t be stopping anytime soon, she decided to take stock of what supplies she did have in her room – a few granola bars, a couple cans of mineral water, and a handful of tampons is what she was able to dredge up. Realizing she would need to venture out of her room for more supplies again soon chilled her to the bone.

From watching the news, she knew those things wouldn’t stop. They didn’t need to eat, or sleep, or stop to rest. They just kept ambling towards their victims, distracted only by a louder sound. The things seemed to be blind as their pupils were fully dilated and they didn’t react to flashing lights or flares. But their sense of hearing was acute as they responded to the slightest sounds – even a pin dropping to the floor.

She also learned from the news that there was only one way to stop them and that was severing the spinal cord at the cervical vertebrae – the base of the neck. Seeing bankers, teachers, and mailmen running around their neighborhoods with screwdrivers and kitchen knives for self-defense was surreal to her and everyone around her. At that thought, she realized that everyone else left in the shelter – everyone she had watched that newscast with – is probably dead.

Accepting that the thing wasn’t going away or going to stop, she dug around her room for a weapon. She was frustrated that she hadn’t been allowed to bring her tools into the shelter with her, but she still managed to sneak in a screwdriver and hammer. Thankful for them more than anything at that moment, she took them in hand and mentally prepared herself for what she was about to encounter.

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