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Journey Through Death
Katherine scans the field, directing soldiers to their appropriate positions. The whole port is full with noise, yelling, crates being moved, helicopters starting their engines and flying. A gunshot breaks the noise, Katherine runs towards the gunshots and screams. As she approaches the source most of the soldiers had become frozen in place. She searches for the problem, civilians attacking soldiers. Katherine immediately pulls out her gun and shoots the civilians in the head. Seeing more of these sick civilians running in, biting their way through, she begins to shout orders to the soldiers still oblivious to the situation.
“All of you, to the rec hall. Everyone, inside! Arm yourself! Stay alert and watch out for the sick!” Katherine commanded of the soldiers.
Most of the soldiers look confused, but they follow the orders. Katherine watch men running towards the buildings for safety, keeping an eye out for the cannibals. A high ranked soldier runs toward her, yelling.
Grabbing his arm, Katherine answers, “Shoot any man that has been bitten. Don’t worry about me. These sick people are eating us. This is the zombie apocalypse.”
With wide eyes, the soldier runs off to start his new task. Fighting off zombies and making sure that everyone is getting to safety, Katherine notices that the path to the rec hall was blocked by zombies. Taking in her surroundings, zombies surrounding every building and running towards people, she notices that the weaponry is wide open and dashes in that direction. Hitting zombies in the head and chests as she runs by, trying not to stop and waste time fighting off the monsters.
Slamming the door shut, in the safety of a bullet proof room full of weapons. No people or zombies existing in the same room. Katherine looks around at the weapons, handguns with holsters, samurai swords, bullets, hunting knives, bows and arrows. She pulls the sword strap over her shoulder, letting the sword hang on her back with the handle over her left shoulder. She harnesses a gun holster on both thighs with a fully loaded handgun in each holster. After pulling together three boxes of ammunition, Katherine grabs a backpack and fills it with the necessities: ammunition, gun cleaning supplies, and the snack packs that were stashed away in secrecy. She lifts the bag to check for weight and adjusts it on her back. Satisfied with the relative lightness, she peeks through the window.
Zombies scattered all through the port, not in clumps, but scattered like the intersections on graphing paper. She looks up at the ceiling, seeing a hatch to the roof. She pulls herself out through the hatch and stands on the roof. Looking off into the distance, she sees zombies racing towards the rec hall. Using that as a distraction Katherine jumps from roof to roof gaining on the fence and leaving her military home behind.
When she reaches the fence she is surprised to see no zombies in sight, empty. She quietly jumps down onto solid ground. Afraid that one of the monsters may have heard her, Katherine runs a full sprint for a half mile. Reaching the highway she sees stranded cars everywhere. She checks a few cars for any useful supplies, a few snacks, Some extra clothes, but almost none of the cars had their keys. While searching the bags in the back of roofless jeep she sees some keys under the front left wheel. Ecstatic, Katherine jumps out of the back, grabs the keys and hurriedly tries to start the jeep. The first try, it just died off. With little hope left she tries again, the scales move and align and the engine roars.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
After a few days drive and one stop for gas the car starts to die in the middle of no where, just trees on both sides of the road. With no extra gas, using it up the day before to burn some bodies, Katherine’s only choice is to walk. Grabbing her bag and weapons, she jumps out of the car and begins her hike. She checks her watch, 5:00 P.M. Katherine runs for a bit, in hope to come upon a small town or a decent place to sleep before dark. After running for a half hour, she sees a few small buildings in the distance. The sun is slowly going down and she starts a sprint.
Reaching the edge of a small town, a little road with shops and bakeries, the first building to her right is a small bar. Katherine slowly pulls out her sword and pushes at the door. The door swings open and a zombie runs at her as if it was waiting. Flailing its arms around, she kicks it in the gut making it tumble down the stairs. As it lifts its body up, on hands and knees, Katherine cuts the head off execution style. With a deep breath, she walks into the bar and closes and locks the door. Skimming the room for more zombies, she drops her bag, seeing none in sight. She closes the curtains and closes all other doors leading into the main room. Stools at the bar, tables in rows 2x2, with chairs knocked on the ground.
Exhausted, Katherine walks behind the bar and grabs an unopened bottle of Captain Morgan rum. She pours a glass and looks around for something to use as a bed, a few tablecloths, a couple booth cushions that had been torn off. She drops herself at the bar stool where she left the rum bottle. “What is your plan? Is this some funny joke, or some stupid game? Is there anyone else even alive? What am I supposed to do?” Katherine says as she pours another glass. “What am I suppose to do? Is Romel okay? I have to find him… Dammit!” She picks up the whole bottle and drinks from it. “I don’t even know where I’m f*ing going! AH!” She throws the empty bottle across the room. She stands up and kicks the stool away from the bar. With hands cupping her eyes, she sled down the wall and cried.
Bam Bam! Katherine jumps up immediately at the loud banging. Grabbing her equipment, she slowly inches her way to the door. She peeks through the window at the top of the door and sees about five zombies at the bar door and even more on the streets. She looks around to find another way out. The window on the opposite side of the room led straight towards a back road. Katherine grabs a random half full bottle, stuffs an old rag mostly inside, and drags a match across the counter. Lighting the rag on fire, she quickly breaks the window by the front door, letting all the zombies go up in flames. After waiting for zombies to be attracted to the light, she breaks and jumps out of the back window. She looks down the street and sees nothing in view, just a few knocked over trash cans, and old bones. Katherine looks around the corner to check if they were attracted to the light, but she almost rams face to face with a zombie.
She turns quickly and runs in the opposite direction, deeper into town. After passing about 10 buildings, Katherine decides to check and see if she is still being chased, from what she could see there were only 8 zombies, but she could see heads bobbing behind them. She runs faster, trying to gain some distance. She sees a huge field with a forest on the other side. Katherine races towards the field, in hope that the flatness may give her advantage and that she can hide in the forest. Half way through the field, monsters start coming out of the forest. Katherine pulls her sword out and prepares for the assault. Seeing only five come out of the forest, she keeps running. As she gets close to the first zombie, an arrow shoots right by her head and into the zombies head, nailing it to a tree. After killing all the zombies, with the help of this mysterious archer, she walks towards the thick forest.
An arrow flies right past her ear and hits the tree right in front of her. This time, a note dangles on the arrow, taking the note off Katherine reads, “Your 4 O’clock. Its getting dark. We have room for visitors.” Katherine looks to the sky and notices that the sun is halfway down. She gathers the arrows from the monsters and begins to walk to civilization.
As she gets close to the huge metal wall, stretching for 20 yards, a part of it started to move. The wall separated into two, like two sliding doors, open just enough to let her in. Katherine slid in and saw just a few people, no more than 10. The town had a few bigger buildings, apartments, smaller buildings for markets and makeshift weaponries. The archer ran down from the wall as someone came to take his place. She looks up, a tall, slender white man, with sandy, brown hair and sky blue eyes.
She smiled and said, “Wow. You look a lot like an old friend of mine. But I haven’t seen a real person in a long time.”
The archer laughs and said, “Well, my name is Michael and your name?”
“Oh my god! Michael? Its me, Katherine, from high school!” She screams as she pulls him in for a hug.
After a few moments, they pull away and Michael smiles putting his hands on Katherine’s shoulders, “Stay here, it’s safe here. We have plenty to live on. You will fit in just great here.”
Katherine’s smile faded and tears welled up in her eyes, “I can’t stay. I have to go home, I have to find my family. I’ve traveled so many states, I can’t stop now. I need to know if he is still alive.”
Michael nods his head, “Okay, but I’m coming with you. I can shoot an arrow and hunt. I can also get a good machete for us. Just stay one night, or two, get some good sleep, take a bath. Talk to some random people. This won’t happen again for a long while.”
“I can’t ask you to do…”
Interrupting Katherine, “I didn’t wait for you to ask, cause I know you wouldn’t. I’m not giving you a choice in this. You’re stuck with me.”
They both smile and Michael leads Katherine to a place to sleep. She walks into a small room with blue striped wallpaper, a small bed, a dresser, and a door leading to a small bathroom. Katherine puts her bag down and runs to the bathroom. It was a standing shower, no bathtub, a toilet, and a one leg sink, but that's all she wants. Katherine strips down and jumps into the ice cold water, it didn’t bother her, it was clean. As the water began to heat up, there was a knock at the door.
“Hey Katherine, Its me. I realized you probably…”
“Come in! It’s open!” The door opens, “I’m in the shower…”
“Oh. I can come back later, well actually, I came to give you soap for your shower and tell you the schedule…”
Katherine giggles and sticks her hand out of the door of the shower and takes the soap, “Go ahead and talk, Its fine.”
Michael begins to talk about the camps food hours, light hours, water hours. “... and usually we only take showers from 2-5 and only for 15 minutes per a person.”
Katherine turns the water off, “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize…”
“No no no. Its fine, totally understandable. But dinner is in 5 minutes”
“Crap! I’m sorry I kept you waiting,” Katherine says and she grabs a towel and gets out of the shower.
“No its fine,” Michael says as he tries to divert his eyes, “I’ll just wait out in the hall.” He steps out.
Katherine quickly puts some clothes on and grabs her sword and steps out with him to go to dinner. Michael raises an eyebrow and points to the sword, “Why do you need that? You’re safe here.”
Katherine shrugs, “Just a precaution.”
As they walked towards the door to exit the building, Katherine hears screams. “Did you hear that?” She sprints to the door with sword in hand.
Zombies were pouring through the metal walls, chasing after people, children. Katherine charges at the monsters, jumping over benches and bushes, slicing heads off, cutting limbs off, demolishing all the zombies. She searches for the injured, everyone said they were clean, that's when she heard the scream.
“AH! I’ve been bitten! Help!” A man yelled. He was by the wall, probably the first to be attacked.
A women at the wall pulled a gun out to shoot the man that had been infected. Katherine ran towards the wall yelling at the women not to shoot. Reaching the man, about in his forties, Katherine began to search for injuries.
“The damned thing bit my arm! I'm going to die, aren’t I?” The man began panicking with eyes wide open, yelling at her.
Katherine stood up, cleaned her sword off with her shirt, and chopped the man's arm off right above the elbow. The man began to scream even louder from the pain.
Katherine dropped down and covered the man’s mouth, “Be quiet. I may have just saved your life. The walls are still open, don’t attract more of them. Hey, someone bring a doctor!”
Katherine lets the professionals take the man to be taken care of. She stands and watches everyone try to collect themselves and their things. Michael runs towards her with a confused look on his face.
“Where did you learn to do that? How do you know that will work?” Michael mumbles in curiosity.
“I don’t know if that will work. I just hope that it does,” looking Michael in the eyes, “We are leaving now. Its not as safe as you thought. If you’re coming, get your stuff and some food.” Katherine walks away, towards the apartment complex she was going to stay in.
While packing her bag, someone starts to knock at the door. Michael walks in with a plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes and brown gravy. He smiles and hands Katherine the food. Katherine sits on the bed and eats the food.
Michael sits next to her, “Why are you so scared? Don’t tell me you aren’t, I know you. You were terrified when you heard those screams, I didn’t even hear them.”
Katherine lets her head drop, “I was worried you noticed. I only heard the kids scream. I didn’t want a kid getting hurt. I thought of my brothers. I’m not just worried about finding Romel, but I know one of my brothers is in good hands.”
Michael leans over and embraces Katherine, “Everything will be okay, I promise. We will find them. We will find Romel, ya’ll can start a family and I’ll be their crazy uncle. Don’t worry.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Driving down the road in a 2002 Chevy Truck with farm fields on either side on the road, Michael pulls out a CD from his bag and puts it in the CD player. He smiles at Katherine as Linkin Park plays on the radio. They jam out to the music, singing along with the childhood memories. Katherine smiles and laughs as Michael tries to head bang. They smile and laugh for a while as they drive into Arkansas.
Michael turns the music down, “We’re in Arkansas? Already? Last I heard, we had a few friends here…”
Katherine looks at Michael, “Well I drove during the night a few times after you fell asleep. Sorry, I know you asked me to sleep too, but some nights I just couldn’t.”
Michael smiles at her, “It’s okay. Do you think we will find anyone?”
Katherine looks ahead, “I think we may have just found someone. Hand me my sword”
In the distance, they see zombies tearing at a makeshift wall, metal pieces bolted and welded together, wobbling and being torn apart by zombies. Katherine slammed on the gas and manages to hit at least five monsters.
She takes her sword and says to Michael, “Try to shoot the ones closer to the wall, don’t let them get in.”
Michael reaches to get his bow and arrow and begins to shoot the zombies. Katherine could hear the screams from behind the wall. She runs towards a huge heard of the monsters and kills all of them, slicing 3 heads off in one swing, kicking them causing a domino effect and stabbing their heads. A child screams, Katherine doesn’t see any more zombies. That’s when Katherine notices a zombie stepping through a tear in the wall. Katherine pulls her gun out, her heart beats faster than ever, and shoots the monster right in the head. She runs towards the opening. Peaking through, she can’t see anymore zombies. Katherine motioned for Michael to follow her. They crawl through and patch up the wall. The kids that had been screaming stand up and hug Katherine and Michael.
People begin to open doors and look at them. Coming out of shops, apartment buildings, and peaking their heads out of windows. A man runs up to them and yells their names. He embraces them both and laughs out of joy.
“Katherine! Michael! You’re alive! You saved us! I ran out of ammunition right before you showed up.”
Katherine looks at the man, “Wait, who are you?”
The man stands back, tall, brown hair, bright blue eyes, a slight gote.
He smiles and says, “It’s me, Nathaniel. Boy is it great to see you guys.”
Both Katherine and Michael laugh and scream. The three high school friends have a small reunion in the middle of the street, trading stories and experiences from before and after the outbreak.
Nathaniel smiles at his friends and says, “So you are going to stay here with us, right? It’s not safe out there. We can clear another one of the buildings out and you can pick where ever you want to stay.”
Katherine sighs, “I can’t stay Nathaniel, I’m looking for my family, my boyfriend, Romel. I can’t stop now, not after travelling this far or this long. I’ve been on the road for months, I can take care of myself.”
Nathaniel’s smile fades, “At least stay for a little bit. Give us some time to fix the walls, we could use you for security if something goes wrong.”
Michael looks at Nathan, “You know, You could always come with us. We can find our own safe place, us three on a mission to find family and friends. Who better to live with?”
Nathaniel looks at them with wondering eyes, “Give me a few days, I’ll help fix the walls and I can think about coming with you. Maybe you can pass the time by clearing buildings? You’re probably the most qualified and talented people here to use weapons.”
Katherine half smiles and says, “Deal. We could use some real rest anyway.”
Nathan’s face lights up, “Great. You two will have to share a room, we have run low on housing. It will only be for a little while though, there's two beds.”
Michael stands with Katherine and says, “That will work perfectly, I can keep an eye on her. Make sure she doesn’t do anything crazy.” They all laugh at the joke, remembering old times, and walk to their room for the week.
Katherine and Michael unpack their things and put together a pile of clothes to be washed. They put things in order, organize their room.
Michael smiles at Katherine, “I really hope Nathan decides to come with us. It would be a lot of fun. Us three hanging out like we use to all talk about.”
Katherine drops herself on the bed, “I just hope he can take care of himself. Do you really think we will find more of our friends and family? I’m worried they’re all gone or scattered.”
Michael walks over to Katherine and puts his arm around her, “I know we will find more of our loved ones. I know my family didn't make it, they would be a zombie buffet. But most of our friends and family are smart, they know how to survive. We all read books and watched movies about this sort of thing happening. Half of our friends are probably loving this. Don’t worry. We will find Romel…”