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Zombie Short Story- Newt's Last Wish

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They had been warned. There had been more than enough warning signs, but they remained adamant to the threat ahead. It had been just mere months ago when the rumors first occurred; nobody quite knew what was happening. It was somewhat of a joke in many places, in others a religious miracle, and to everyone else it was simply the end of the world. No matter who you were it was a fact; the dead were coming back to life, and they weren’t friendly.
Alec crumpled up the small article in a newspaper he found lying on a bench. Winter was coming fast and he was alone; more alone than he could ever remember feeling. Now he had lost his home, his life, and his best friend Newt. The only thing that kept him going was the promise he made to him. Alec didn’t care whether the undead did get him, he would die trying to fulfill Newts last wish. Newt and Alec had been best friend since they were little, and as life threw obstacles at them it only made them stronger. Even through the beginning of the apocalypse. They were a team, and he had lost his partner. He could remember their first encounter with the undead. Despite how long ago it was, he could remember everything with an uncanny amount of detail.
107 days ago. It was just him and Newt, down by their favorite secluded spot they liked to call The Cove. It wasn’t a Cove really, just a little area on the outskirts of a lake. It was early fall and the breeze kept him cool as the sun beat down on his face. They were talking about the rumors, rumors of dead people coming back to life. It had been somewhat of a phenomenon from what he had heard. Stories of cancer patients slipping into death but up on their feet 5 minutes later, stories of the elderly about to be buried and rising from their coffins like they were just having a small nap. He thought it was wonderful. Newt couldn’t say same.
“I don’t know man… Something’s up. People don’t just come back from the dead. When you’re dead you’re dead! End of story.” Newt was usually quiet. Nothing ever seemed to bother him, he never voiced his opinions, but Alec could tell something was wrong with his friend.
“What if it is real though? Wouldn’t that be amazing, you could live forever!”
“Exactly what I want, my great aunt Muriel pinching my cheeks for all eternity.” Newt shook his head with such disgust that Alec couldn’t help but laugh.
“I see what you mean. But really, what do you think, real or phony?” Alec could see the wheels in his friends head turning; he was truly worried about something.
“I don’t know…” He grimaced “I just can’t trust it. It’s too good to be true. Something like this just doesn’t pop out of nowhere.” He sighed and ruffled his shaggy blonde hair. Alec understood; he didn’t take any of the rumors seriously. It was a joke; an impossible feat. He decided to push the thoughts from his mind, he just wanted to enjoy what was one of the last days before school and sports took over his life. He leaned back onto a tree covered in spongy green moss and closed his eyes, letting the warmth spread across his tanned face when a twig broke near his head. Newt whipped his head up, the stones he was absentmindedly stacking freezing in his hands.
“Dude, get up. Did you hear that?” Newt’s voice was low and gruff. Alec cracked open one eye before closing it again.
“It was probably just a squirrel; don’t get your panties in a knot.” He smirked, cracking his eye open again to see his friend frozen in the same spot, hand half way to placing a large flat rock on top another just like it.
“What’s with you lately?” Alec asked relaxing back into the spongy moss.
“Huh?” Newt replied lost in a train of thought, “Oh. I don’t know… still stuck on the whole coming back to life thing I guess.” Newt’s voice slowly trailed off. Alec had never seen his friend act this way. Something was really getting to him, and he was determined to find out. Alec’s gut was telling him Newt knew something he wasn’t saying, something big.
“What’s got you so freaked out?”
“Nothin’ just overthinking it I guess.” Alec sat up now. His friend was still staring off into the forest transfixed. His gaze flickered to Alec and back to the forest. Newt sighed and dropped his gaze to the rocks piled in front of him. “I heard something today; I heard that the people coming back to life weren’t coming back quite… the same.” his voice wavered and he returned his eyes to the forest, watching carefully. Alec thought about this a moment. He never thought the dead would come back exactly the same, what’s weird about that?
“They are coming back and attacking people, still dead inside. No heartbeat, no pain.” Newt blurted out, holding Alec’s eyes. He tried to mask the small pang of fear he felt in his chest. “That’s not even the worst of it,” Newt continued, “They’ve been saying that there’s something that changes when they come back. That they can bite others and turn them… well turn them undead too.”
“That’s crazy talk.” Alec said quickly. His eyes bore into Newt’s forehead, willing his friend to take back what he said.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. Sorry, I guess I’ve just been playing a bit too many video games.” he smirked, “Forget I said anything.” Newt’s body relaxed into a slouch against an oddly shaped rock, his eyes never leaving the trees behind Alec’s head. Closing his eyes he pondered what Newt had said. Was it really possible that people could come back from the dead with no heartbeat? It was absurd to even think for a second that there was even a possibility of people being undead. But he didn’t really believe this. Even after he closed his eyes again, his ears were straining to catch any breath of the wind, any ruffle of a leaf, or snap of a twig. Alec was nearly asleep when he heard a different sound. It was a deeper sound, like the rumble of an old car; a steady sound, way back in the forest. Alec’s eyes snapped open, Newt’s stare pierced into the forest as if they could see for miles. People didn’t come out this way, ever. It was far away from the city, at least an hour’s drive. Alec didn’t need to be able to read his friends mind to know they were both thinking the same thing: The undead. No words passed between the two teenage boys as they stood up and backed together to the end of the small cove. Keeping their eyes trained on the unseen threat in the forest, they grabbed the closest weapon they could find. For Alec it was a large stick, slightly tapered at the end, and Newt chose a flat rock roughly the size of his fist that had a sharp edge. They were a pathetic pair, but hopefully it was enough to keep them safe. Seconds passed and the low rumbling grew louder and more consistent. It was close enough he could hear it was a voice, with the occasional crack in its otherwise steady and monotone groan. After another 10 seconds the culprit showed himself. He could have been just a normal person if it weren’t for the grey undertone in his skin and the obvious limp in his leg. The closer he got the tenser Alec grew. He didn’t know what they were about to face but he knew it couldn’t be good.
When the undead man was about 15 feet away Newt acted, throwing the flat rock like a knife. And with an audible thunk it found home in the man’s chest. Alec’s eyes widened in surprise; he was so relieved he could laugh. He turned to give Newt a high five but he was frozen in fear. Alec glanced over his shoulder to see the undead man now only 10 feet away, still slowly limping towards them. The stench of the man had finally reached them; a disgusting mixture between manure and rot. Alec nearly puked. He pulled his t-shirt up to cover his nose and saw Newt doing the same. The man grew closer and closer and Alec saw the man in more detail. The splinter of a broken bone protruded out of his leg, a gash was taken out of his head, and the most disturbing: he was missing his nose. Alec snapped out of his stupor and grabbed a firm hold on his spear-like stick, and threw that at the man. It missed and hit a tree 3 feet to the right. Alec glanced around himself grasping for any kind of weapon and settled for snapping a nearby tree branch, praying this time he would hit his target. It wouldn’t be too hard now as the undead was nearly upon them. Alec took a second to compose himself, which didn’t last long. Newt screamed, “Alec! What are you doing, just kill the thing!!” This snapped Alec back to focus on the undead approaching. He charged, holding the branch at chin height like he was jousting. The branch found home in the rotting man’s temple. This time, when hit, the man fell like a sack of potatoes. Pausing only for a moment, Newt sprinted the short distance and rolled the man over. This time he truly looked dead. For good measure, Newt reached out and grasped the stick from the man’s head and pulled. With another disgusting squish sound, it came free. Just as soon as it came out he stabbed it in again. Newt looked absolutely terrifying; Alec didn’t know his lifelong friend had this side to him. A few moments of silence passed between them like years before Newt spoke.
“That was awesome man!” He grinned, slapping Alec on the back. Still stunned, he just nodded and swallowed.
“For a dead person his eyes still had a lot of life in them.” Alec managed to say. Newt dropped his weapon and backed away. “All I know is I saw the fear in those eyes. It’s almost like he knew what he was doing, but couldn’t stop himself.” Newt shook his head. Alec thought back to the man. What if he had been fighting it? He had been moving awfully slow, perhaps the man was still in there somewhere? No. If they were going to survive this they couldn’t think like that.
“We did what we had to do.” Alec glanced down and saw for the first time the man was wearing what looked to be overalls, long ago torn and dirtied. He wondered how long this man had been wandering in the forest: days, weeks, months? Newt and Alec had once tried exploring, and as far as they could tell the forest went on for miles, surrounding all sides of the lake, and following the freeway past it. He sighed and followed suit with Newt, backing away. They did what they had to do. He kept repeating those words in his mind.
“Do you think they’ve reached the town yet?” Newt murmured to no one in particular. Alec hadn’t considered this. If they’ve already experienced one, who knows how many are in town. He didn’t exactly want to know.
“Maybe we shouldn’t go back, just to be safe.” Newt shook his head. “No way, if they have made it there we have to try to help our family.” Alec considered this. He hadn’t much to go back to anymore, he was an only child, his mother dead, and father away on business 40 weeks of the year. But he knew what Newt meant; he considered Alec part of his family after all the years. Alec slowly nodded his head in agreement, and glanced at Newt.
“We do make a pretty bad a** team if I do say so myself.” the corners of Newt’s mouth turned up in a slight smirk. Alec took this gesture as a silent agreement and started on the path to his car. He didnt get far before he turned around to see Newt several feet back staring at the ground. Without looking up he spoke, just loud enough for Alec to hear.
“We have to establish one thing before we go.” Newt had grown extremely serious. “Promise me. Promise me one thing.” Alec was wary, but Newt was his best friend. He trusted him.
“Anything.” Alec said trying to meet his gaze.
“Promise me if we get into trouble, or if something happens to one of us fighting off the undead, that you’ll... that you’ll kill me. I’d rather be dead than face being trapped in a strange body, trying to kill everyone around me.” Alec was stunned. He couldn’t do that, not in a million years.
“Before you say no, hear me out. If you were in that position, wouldn’t you rather me kill you instead of leaving you to attack others? If you’re really my friend you’ll do this for me.” Newt’s face transformed into a hurt grimace, waiting for his best friend to deny him. But Alec knew that he would want the same thing for himself. So with the words weighing down his heart like a lead brick, Alec agreed.
“But if I’m going to promise to do that for you, you have to promise the same for me.” Alec said a slight smile on his face. Newt returned Alec’s smile and that’s all he needed. They were in this together.
87 days later, Alec broke his promise to Newt. They made their way back home to find his family, but instead found the city in ruins; buildings on fire, the sounds of alarms screaming from every which way. It was a living h*ll. The sounds of screams pierced his ears every few seconds, and the normally blue sky turned an ugly gray. They tried to save their family, but they were already gone. That was the day they swore to themselves they would do everything they could to get revenge of the cruel world for doing this to them, and make sure it never happened to another person again. That was the day they became undead hunters. They traveled from town to town trying as best they could to rid them of the abomination they called Zombies. Of course it was an impossible task for two teenage boys, but they had a passion, a motivation, and a truck full of firearms. That was good enough for the two of them. It was early in the morning of the 87th day since they made the promise. Newt was dozing beside him, hair fanned out around him. Alec smirked and grabbed a can of beans, one of the few luxuries they had at the time. They were running low on supplies, and they hadn’t seen a town for days, but they spotted one in the distance, roughly 5 miles away. They would reach it easily by car, but not wanting to wake Newt, he set off on foot. It was a stupid thing to do, but Alec got up, packed his stuff and left. It was early and he was dying to check the town out. He knew if he hurried he could make it back before Newt had time to notice he was gone. All the sports he played in school had finally paid off; he was in top shape and could easily run the few miles. What Alec didn’t predict was to be followed. Alec made the short journey to the town in just over an hour. He scoped out the town quickly, it didn’t look like it had been hit hard by the apocalypse. A few broken shop fronts here and there, but not much else. He could smell them though, they all smelled the same; rotten. The sun was well above the horizon when we left on his way back to camp. Alec made it back with plenty time to spare. He decided to let Newt sleep in before they continued on the long day ahead of them. Alec on the other hand went to the creek a five minutes’ walk away to bathe. It wasn’t long before he heard shouts. He paused and cocked his ear to the faint sounds, his heart dropping in fear. Newt. He would know his voice anywhere. Alec turned on his heel, and sprinted faster than he ever had towards the sounds of distress. Even though it had taken him mere seconds to reach Newt, it was too late. He rounded the last corner as he saw the Zombie bite him. He felt as if he had been punched in the gut; the air rushed out of his lungs. His vision blurred, gone white with rage. He could feel the blood pounding in his head as he fell to the ground, legs not willing to support him anymore. He grabbed at the grass, tearing it out of the ground. Before he knew it he was on his feet charging towards the Zombie that bit his best friend. He was going to rip the d*mn things throat out with his bare hands. As he neared, he grabbed a crow bar from the inside of the cab of his truck, and in seconds he was on top of the Zombie wailing on it with every last bit of his strength as he cried out. The zombie was long dead; Alec had obliterated its head. Covered in the zombies flesh and guts, he finally rolled over and let the tears come. In no time, the blackness of his world sucked him in.
Alec awoke quite some time quite later. The sun was overhead, and the cool air nipped at his face. Images of Newt and the zombie came flooding back to him, making his head spin and his stomach churn. He rolled over and put his head in his hands, trying to block out the blinding sunlight and forget everything. Forget… oh no. Alec jumped to his feet and his head shook from side to side searching, searching for Newt. He couldn’t believe it, he was gone. Alec groaned, hands gripping his hair he nearly tore it right out of his head. He couldn’t believe what he had done. He couldn’t believe he had completely forgotten Newt. How could he have forgotten him? After everything they had been through. Alec was filled with such remorse and guilt he questioned if he could even move. Maybe he would just wait until some sad Zombie wandered by and bit him and he would be taken away from it all. It was his fault. It was his entire fault. If only he hadn’t gone to town, if only he hadn’t left Newt. More than anything, he broke the promise. The very thought of his promise to Newt sharpened his mind, allowing him to think clearer. No matter what, Alec was h*ll bent on finding Newt and releasing him. He would keep his promise. Alec looked around himself and stood up, attempting to salvage his disgusting clothes with no luck. He threw his clothes on the ground and changed. He didn’t even care about cleaning up the mess he left, he just had to get out of there and find his best friend. Find him and kill him.
20 days later he found himself in another deserted town hopelessly looking for Newt. Somewhere along the way he acquired a map and was determined to mark off every place he went. He knew that he might never find Newt; for all he knew he was dead already. But he couldn’t give up hope. It was the only thing that kept him going. Alec had grown ragged over the weeks; his hair long and matted against his head, battle scars covering every inch of his skin. He would never believe that it was just weeks ago when he still had Newt. He shook his head, banishing the thought. He didn’t allow himself to think of Newt in those ways. It would just grow to be too much for him to handle. He instead focused on the days in front of him. Alec didn’t know what to do or where to go anymore. He wandered through a once lively town, now turned into a graveyard. Homes still had the ghost of their owners past lingering on them, every broken fence told a story, and every door flown wide open had a reason. It gave him chills to think what had happened to these people. He prayed they were alright, that they didn’t have to suffer his losses. Alec sighed, standing in what looked like the town square. He knew he was just stalling, not willing to move on and fight another pointless war. But like every other day, he pulled himself together enough to get in his beaten up truck and drive. He pulled the small shotgun out of the concealed pocket of his coat, fingering the trigger. He could end it all right here right now. He sat head resting on the wheel for quite some time. Eventually he put the gun away, and turned the car on and drove. For the first time, he drove with no destination clearly in mind. He maneuvered around the countless abandoned cars, and turned onto an old dirt road. He was driving on pure instinct and something took him along this path. He drove for a long time, finally ending at a forest. He glanced around, the surroundings slightly familiar, but he couldn’t name it. He opened the door to the car, and took a rifle from the trunk for good measure. He set off on foot into the forest.
After a few minutes he reached water. It was a small lake, seemingly very similar to the one near The Cove. He strained his eyes and saw a figure, somewhere across the lake. It wasn't alone. Curious, Alec decided to venture over. Staying well enough in the trees to stay hidden but not enough to lose sight of the gathering of people, he picked his way over. When he got near he heard them. It wasn’t a gathering of people like he had thought; it was a group of zombies. This startled him. Zombies rarely cooperated together in packs; they always ended up killing each other. The group was surrounded around something he couldn’t quite make out. They sounded distressed, if that was possible for a zombie. He found it pointless to keep waiting around, and took out his gun. He slowed his breathing and steadied his shot, aiming straight for the temple. Bang. Thunk. One down. The zombies looked at the fallen member and looked towards the source of the shot. Bang. Thunk. Another one fell. This time the zombies came towards him. It was exactly what he wanted. He wanted revenge. He wanted to kill them, rip their throats out. Staying low he balanced on the balls of his feet ready to pounce. When the first zombie came close to him he lunged, whipping a knife as long as his forearm out of his belt and swinging it in an arc that sliced cleanly through the zombies’ neck. That left just 2 more. Feeling a rush of adrenaline he then threw the knife, a satisfying crack let him know it had hit home in the zombies skull. The last zombie was still lingering back. Feeling a rush of power, he surged forwards seeking out the final kill. This one he decided to kill with his bare hands. Every time he killed one of them he imagined it being the one that had taken Newt from him. He broke through the clearing of trees and his eyes zoned in on his target. He lashed out and kicked it in the face, not expecting to do damage, but just wanting to get the upper hand. He tackled it, and rolled on top of it, pinning its claw like hands by its side. Alec laughed menacingly, enjoying every moment of it. He looked down into the zombies eyes, seeing the glassy, lifeless gaze. It looked familiar to him. Shocked he leaned back a moment, and slowly recognition dawned upon him. Newt. Alec nearly passed out right there and then. He had imagined this moment in his mind a thousand times, played out the scenario a million. But nothing prepared him for this. Nothing prepared him for the gut-wrenching feeling. It was his best friend. His eyes went blurry with tears.
“Newt.” he whispered. Shaking his head he just repeated his friends name over and over again. He glanced down at Newt’s eyes again but they hadn’t changed: glassy, lifeless. Alec then realized Newt was trying to throw him off, and Alec tried as hard as he could to hold his ground, but all of his strength and adrenaline had fled his body. He knew what he had to do. He knew it was the only thing Newt ever asked of him as a friend. Alec made his decision as he was thrown roughly to the left, Newt breaking free. Newt crawled towards his old friend, a small rumble emitting from the depths of his chest. Alec just stared in silence. Newt paused for a moment when he reached Alec, as if he remembered him. Alec reached out, trying to find his friend beyond the zombie. He knew he was in there. He knew he could find him. And then Newt bit him. Alec stared stunned at the now gaping hole in his arm spurting blood everywhere. Newt just chewed the bits of Alec’s arm and went in for a second bite. Alec pushed himself back. He had a choice. He could kill Newt, and kill himself, like he should. Or he could let the fuzzy blackness of the spreading infection take him away. He had the choice. He had come all this way to kill Newt. He came all this way to save him. Save them both. But he couldn’t do it. He let himself slip away into the blackness. “I’m so sorry Newt.” were his last words as he finally drifted away.





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