We ran towards the colony as fast as we could. Our footsteps echoing on the black pavement of the street. There were eight of us altogether and each of us had a backpack full of supplies. I pull out my Glock 18 and swung around shooting one of the zombies in the head, taking it down. Ace my closest friend and the rest of the group ran past me and drew their weapons shooting behind us. Our gunshots echoed off into the distance. Feeling the warm spring breeze against my face I turned back around and ran the rest of the way to the colony.
We bang on the wooden gates yelling for them to open. Nothing happens. The zombies are getting closer, and we have nowhere else to go. Benji, Marcus, Corey, David, and Tiffany turn around and start taking down some zombies with their guns.
“PLEASE, open up!” yelled Amy, a member of our group, banging on the door.
A Zombie strayed close to our left and Ace takes off his backpack slamming it into the Zombie, knocking it down. I shot it in the head finishing it off. I looked at Ace and he had the same look of wide-eyed concern as I did. Why weren’t they letting us in? We both turn to the rest of the zombies getting closer, getting ready for a fight. We glance at each other wondering if this was going to be our last fight together.
My name is Darcy and after surviving one year into the outbreak, I think this may be my last day alive as a human.
Three months ago
“What did you get this time?” I asked as I slid open one of the dock doors for my mother and her boyfriend. We are in a windowless warehouse that we use to store goods for the colony. We had a tough winter, so we didn’t currently have many things stored now. It was very spacious, and our voices echoed in the building.
“Beds, tables, chairs, just all kinds of much needed furniture this time,” my mother answered.
“It wasn’t that much trouble either, was it Lisa?” said Jack my mother’s boyfriend, coming up behind her and putting his arm around her shoulder. Jack has grey hair and a grey stubby beard starting to grow in. He has a peachy tone to his skin, and he has brown almond shaped eyes that are always laughing. Jack and my mother Lisa have been dating for a short while. I would say two months or so. Sometimes it can be hard to keep track of time in this new world of ours.
Last spring the world turned upside down. A worldwide pandemic broke out. Many people started getting sick. At first it seemed like a bad case of the flu. Then turned into what many thought was pneumonia. Everyone that was infected died. It shocked the whole world when the infected woke up with a taste for human flesh. After months of people catching severe flu like symptoms it suddenly stopped. Many speculated that the rest of us that never got sick were naturally immune. If you were to get bit by one you would change into one no matter what. If anyone said to me a year ago that the dead would come back to life I would have laughed in their face.
“That’s great!” I replied excitedly, “Edmond will get a kick out of announcing this to the colony.”
My mother let out a guffaw that echoed throughout the warehouse, flicking her long red hair over her shoulder. “Of course, he will! He loves the attention, like he even does much around here besides order everyone around.”
“Yes, that fat faced jerk,” agreed Jack lighting up a cigarette, “I don’t even know how he managed to be the one in charge.” It was a safe place to be so neither of us questioned his position or how he got there until later. At first, he seemed charming and nice, but he started showing his true self after a while. We asked how he became in charge, but the only response we got was that he used to be the town governor and that it ‘just happened’ that way.
Jack moved into our house a couple of weeks ago and my mother joined the ‘Tractor supply run,’ team to be closer to him. This team goes out with tractor trailers and search for anything needed here at the colony. These household items my mother and Jack got will be of use to us.
Everyone that lives in the colony is given a job to do. Most of the time people are assigned to do things they have experience in. Many people like to try new things so when they request something different, they usually get it approved. I don’t always agree with that because some people tend to be egotistical and think they can do anything. That can cause many issues with people getting along and the actual job getting done. Edmond the leader of the colony is incompetent. That is why many people can get away with doing a bad job in whatever position they are in.
The houses in the colony were built before the outbreak. They were luckily unscathed from all the havoc. The colony is a huge, gated subdivision that was newly constructed. The owner of the subdivision wanted to make a huge modern and technically advanced family friendly neighborhood. As time went on, the colony managed to include a nearby warehouse that was next to it. The colony also acquired some extra land that also had walls built around it. No one knew why or who would build a wall around an empty piece of property, but the colony took advantage of it. We used that land for farming and to keep the cattle on. There are one hundred houses and a couple hundred people living here. Every room in every house gets used. To get through the winter, due to a huge snowstorm taking out some of the solar panels; a lot of people had to resort to burning their furniture for warmth. The solar panels were a part of the owner’s plan to save energy and make a more environmentally friendly area. I heard he died at the beginning of the pandemic.
Nearly a year ago, my mother and I came upon the colony, which is near the West Nyack, New York area and Edmond was already in charge. We were exhausted from our long trip there from Virginia. We were so relieved when we saw the wooden perimeter fence come into view. Our feet stumbled beneath us as we got closer. It wrapped around the entire subdivision. It is an eight-foot-high fence all around. After everything we went through it was the most beautiful thing we had seen.
“Well either way this is still good news,” I said walking up to the already open dock door. I slid open the truck door that was waiting for me. The door slid open and what do you know? Loads of furniture still wrapped in plastic. “Was it already loaded like this?” I asked turning to my mother and Jack.
“Yes,” they both answered in unison smiling at each other proudly.
I chuckled “You two go home and clean up and get some rest, I’ll notify everyone of this truck so we can get it unloaded.”
“Okay, be careful,” my mother said. I watched them walk away as I notified the warehouse team through my walkie talkie of the delivery of supplies. I am glad my mother found someone again. During the outbreak we both lost my two little sisters and my husband. Things were havoc back then.
I never would have guessed my mother to be the survivor she is today. After she finally divorced my abusive father she never really dated again. She had a lot of healing to do from that relationship. I could have sworn he broke her but now I realize all he did was make her a stronger woman. Sometimes I wonder what happened to him after the outbreak. I never did keep in contact with him. I hated him so much for making our lives so miserable when he was in it. I hope he got torn to pieces by the monsters and died a long painful death.
My husband died trying to save our lives. I don’t like to think about it too much. My sisters both got sick and turned into those zombies. The first one to turn was my middle sister Cathy. We went to go check on her and found her trapped in her house as a zombie. We knew she had been sick, but we didn’t know she was going to die and come back to life. This was one of our firsthand experiences when all of this started. My youngest sister Emily was a teenager that still lived at home. She was also sick, but we were prepared for what was going to happen to her by the time that happened.
I took a deep breath and muttered “here we go,” turning back to the truck, thinking of a plan on how to and what to unload first.
I got home late that night. The warehouse team finally finished unloading the truck and Edmond made his way down from his fancy house to look. He lives in the biggest house in the colony, and he is the only one that doesn’t have to share rooms. He convinced people that he needed to be in the big house because that’s where leaders should be. They went along with it. That is why I don’t socialize with many people within the colony. They don’t seem very bright to me. It’s like their skulls are empty at times.
He is an obese man. His belly plumps over his blue jeans his white short sleeved button-down shirt covering it. He kept moseying around watching my team and I do all the work with this annoying lazy and slow walk he always has. Not lifting one finger to help, as always.
I walked to the bathroom and turned on the shower. The colony used to be a new neighborhood that was developed before the outbreak. It has solar power, so we have been able to use that to our advantage for living purposes. I slouched in front of the mirror leaning my hands on the cold marble sink. I looked at myself in the mirror noticing a smudge of dirt on my pale face. There was also visible dust in my dark brown hair. My brown round eyes looked tired. I have a baby-face despite the fact I am twenty-eight. People always think I’m younger than I really am. When people find out how old I am they always tell me that it’s a blessing that I look so young. They are correct. Who doesn’t want to have a youthful look? There are times that I don’t like it because people will then make assumptions about me and not treat me like a respectful adult.
I sighed. I wish I never got put onto the warehouse team. Everyone that joins the colony has a role to play and due to me having warehouse experience I was assigned to work in the warehouse. Unloading and sorting through supplies and keeping track of the inventory.
My mother used to watch the children in a daycare since that’s what she used to do before the outbreak; but after she met Jack who was on the tractor supply run team, she managed to get switched to working with him. Now they go out together in the dangerous world and have adventures together. As scared as I was of getting torn to pieces by the zombies out there, I sometimes wished I could see how much the outside world has changed in the time since I had last been out there.
When someone turns into a zombie, they still have their normal looking skin. They are just paler. Sometimes you will come across them with pieces of their own flesh missing. Their skin is so cold and there is no heartbeat. The white in their eyeballs stained a yellow jaundiced color. Smelling like they came out the sewer they just walk around emotionless in tattered clothing. Unless they are attacking you. Then they are snarling and stalking you wanting to eat your flesh.
I honestly am not sure how my mother does it. She is forty-eight years old, and I never thought she would be in the shape she is now. She lost a lot of weight after the outbreak. As for me a twenty-eight-year-old who used to work in warehouses, I didn’t have much weight to lose to begin with. I was always staying active at work and enjoyed taking kickboxing classes. Those classes really came in handy after the outbreak.
During the outbreak when the monsters first started showing, turning other humans along with them, many criminals did not hide their bad deeds. I had to fight off a couple of many men who tried to take advantage of me. Thanks to my husband’s family I also already knew how to use a gun. They were huge on being armed. I am so thankful for all that experience. I am not sure I would have made it this far if it weren’t for it.
I turned around checking the temperature of the water making sure it was hot enough. It was. I love taking hot showers, it is always so refreshing to me. I take off my clothes and step into the shower. I let out a sigh of relief as the hot water hits my back.
The next morning, I woke up hearing people in the colony starting the day. I hear people chattering out on the streets as they walk by. The birds are being extra chirpy today and sound like they are having an argument in a nearby tree. The curtains on my window are wide open to the sun’s indifferent reach, and dawn-streaked in. I stretched and got out of bed. My mother and I were fortunate enough to not have had to burn anything in the house for warmth, so we still had our beds. Walking into the kitchen following the smells of eggs and bacon. My mother was there cooking and looked up at me as I sat down on a stool.
“Good morning,” she greeted me taking some greasy bacon off the stovetop.
“Morning,” I mumbled back. The smell of the bacon made my stomach rumble in hunger.
“How did it go last night?”
“It was tiring,” I replied, “Edmond showed up while we were unloading the trucks and didn’t help at all. I understand he is the leader of this place, but it would be nice if he could be a productive leader.”
“Well what else would you expect from his lazy ass?” said my mother. We both laughed.
“We had a messenger show up this morning with a letter for me and Jack. Edmond wants us to do another run together.”
Messengers were pretty much the mailmen in this new world. People wrote each other letters and leave them at the messengers’ office, and they will deliver it to whoever you need. It was a small area, so messages got sent quickly. Humans were still lazy, even in the apocalypse. They could have delivered their own messages, but they didn’t.
“Why so soon?” I asked surprised.
“He said since we need more supplies, and we did so well yesterday that he wanted us to go out further and see what we can find. Don’t worry, we are up for it. Lately we haven’t ran into many of the Zombies, so I must wonder if something happened to them this past winter. Maybe they froze to death.”
“How is that possible though. Unless, having a frozen brain will kill them for good?” I twirled my dark hair around my index finger wondering about this.
“I’m not sure Darcy, it was just an idea.”
“Good morning Darcy!” Jack said cheerfully walking into the kitchen smiling and rubbing his greying beard.
“Jack are you happy about going on this new trip tomorrow?” I asked concerned, getting a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach about this.
Jack’s smile disappeared. “Why of course not! I have to spend another week or so out in those streets with your mother, can you imagine that?”
“Jack!” my mother said playfully smacking him on the shoulder. Normally they were gone for a week. No more than two weeks. They were only sent out once a month.
“Hey, I’m just stating the truth,” Jack said smiling again and sitting on the stool next to me.
“I don’t think you should go; I have a bad feeling about this one.” I furrowed my brow; alarm bells ringing in my head.
“We will be fine,” my mother said handing us both a plate of food.
“We always are,” Jack agreed taking a bite of bacon, “man this doesn’t taste as good as it used to in the old days.”
“That’s because it is made differently honey,” my mother said sitting down next to him. The pigs that were slaughtered for food didn’t taste the same as ones that were sold in stores. Understandably so. Nothing extra was added into the bacon ingredient wise. No more processed foods are made. We sat there eating breakfast together as Jack brought up a story of when he used to be a truck driver before the outbreak and how he used to get so mad at the drivers out on the road.
There were no supplies to unload today so I decided to go for a walk and enjoy the fresh spring morning air. I put on a pair of blue jeans and threw on a purple tank top. I brushed my thick hair and braided it back into a ponytail. Before leaving my room, I made sure to pocket my sharp pocketknife with me. You can still never be for sure what will happen, even in the colony. I went to the front door and put on my shoes.
“I’m going for a walk!” I yelled to my mom and Jack.
“Okay,” they both yelled back at the same time. I grabbed my favorite dark purple jacket off a nearby chair and walked out the small two-bedroom house we lived in and headed for the tiny park we had in the colony.
I walk next to the small pond we’ve named Deep Seaweed. We are not allowed to swim in it, because if your foot gets caught, it will easily tangle in weeds, making escape impossible. Five people drowned in it before we banned jumping in.
I watched the white ducks waddle around in the pond and took a deep breath of air finally relaxing a little.
“Well, hello there Darcy,” I heard a deep voice say from behind me. I turned around and it was my longtime friend Ace. We went to high school together. We kept in touch after high school, and we have always been good friends. Whenever he needed relationship advice, I was there to give it to him. And likewise. He was already at the colony when I got here. Just like my mother and I he heard about the safety of the colony and traveled to New York from Baltimore. I eventually moved to Virginia so Ace, and I couldn’t see each other in person as much throughout the years. Before the cell phones stopped working, we were able to communicate when the outbreak happened but eventually, we lost touch. It made me so happy to see a familiar face when I arrived here.
“Hey, Ace it’s been a while,” I said smiling giving him a hug. He hugged me back and turned to look at the ducks on the pond. “Nice day it is.”
“Yes, it is.”
He looked at me and frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“What do you mean?”
“C’mon Darcy, I know you, somethings bothering you.”
I smirked. Damn it, I swear he can read me like a book sometimes. “Edmond wants my mother and Jack to go on another run tomorrow, but further out this time. I have a really bad feeling about it.”
“They always come back safe I am sure they will be fine. Besides, there have not been many Zombies around lately.” Ace was a therapist in the community. He is always busy, so I did not get to see him around that much. Many people in this colony have experienced much trauma the past year. I looked up at him squinting my eyes due to the bright sun. Ace was a tall person. It is hard to keep up with him sometimes. We used to go jogging together before he was needed much more in the colony. Blonde hair and brown eyes he looked down at me with that look on his face like he was expecting me to give him some smartass remark. My mind was blank though. I looked away. I was not sure what to think. I do think it has been odd not seeing many Zombies around lately.
“Maybe your right but I still don’t like it,” I finally said.
“Maybe that’s just because since your mom is all you have left you don’t like her leaving and let the fear get to you.”
“Well, she is all I have left,” I replied starting to walk next to the pond again, Ace walking next to me. “Something is just off this time Ace, okay? I’m serious.”
“Don’t stress about it much Darcy, you still have goofy me!” he said making a funny face and laughing at himself. I was not that amused but managed a half smile.
“You work a lot though, which is fine, only if I could make other friends around here.”
“Well, that’s because there is no one around here as awesome as I am,” Ace proudly said about himself.
I laughed, “You think so highly of yourself.”
“Well why shouldn’t I? It is the apocalypse you know; many people have died so I don’t have much competition on being goofy and awesome.”
“Oh my,” I said while face palming. “You win Ace.”