I am growing tired of putting up a fake act of bravery. In a world that’s turned to a living hell, where everything you love is turned to dust- bravery is what you need to survive. The thing is,survival is getting to be more of a burden than a blessing. This “life” I am living really isn’t worth fighting for.
The name’s Cali Thaliana, and I was done with the world throwing crap at me and expecting me to keep a shining, smiling facade with a wave as soon as I turned eighteen. The thing is, my group depends on me. Me! A girl who just turned 20 before the world took a horrid turn. I was hardly able to support myself before, and now the lives of twelve people all rely on me? I’m sure I’ll get them all killed.
This is it, post-apocalypse; The Infection destroying people's souls and driving them to insanity. Lives being lost every second and I am sitting in a shed with six kids, two older men, and some college kids. What could possibly go wrong?
- Cali , September 13th,2025 (Scrap paper)
‘Why me’ seemed to be the only thing that was uttered from lips those days. Whether it was a whisper so hushed no one could hear it, or a scream so loud everybody including the danger is put on alert, it was always there. Even if it wasn’t expressed verbally, it was hidden away. A chant in the back of your mind like an ancient spell, cursing your life with self pity.
I admit it was there in me too, the constant whisper of demons trying to persuade me that I didn’t deserve it, that the people around may, but I did not. I tried to shut it out, shift my gaze to the innocent children and remind myself that they are so pure compared to me, but it always seemed to hurt and not help.
Being a leader was harder than I could have ever previously comprehend it to be, but it’s not as if I had much of a choice on whether or not I was elected. It all happened so fast, the Infection taking its hosts and leaving most dead or dying. I collected as many people as I could from houses in an attempt to focus my mind on something, and next thing I know, I’m viewed as a hero.
I am not a hero, nor a savior. I’m some stupid girl who just so happened to need a distraction, and helping others had been the only thing available. Now their lives were on me, and if so much as one of them were lost, I didn’t know how I could live with myself.
That’s why we were currently locked in a small room, some children sitting silently and others weeping with the elders attempting to calm them down, and everyone’s eyes were on me. Thea Laserna, my only surviving friend from when the world was a much kinder place,was shifting from one foot to the other and locking her eyes with mine, the silent question of what we were going to do reflecting in them.
Of our group there were four college students: Ezekiel Crosier, Bryce Howlter, Thea, and me. We were the only students that had made it from the college without either going insane or becoming one of Them. Zeke wasn’t much of a fighter, unlike Thea and me, and was better at handling the kids. Bryce was our guy for supply runs, and often would go to the Outside for what we needed.
There was also a few senior men, wise from their years but not educated in any way with what we were dealing with, one was named Robert Sutter and the other was Daryl Nash. The six kids were Earl and Kayla Maloley,Elwin Lanzit, Mia Gloucester, June Silverstein, and Glenn Glover.
Sighing and placing my head in my hands, I stared at the ground, trying to hide my quaking. With strands of my brown hair falling from my face and seeming to tangle together even more than before. I began to wish that I had chosen a better route than the one we were currently on.
Outside, the inhuman guttural growls and other various noises of the Infected humans that resided just outside the shed could be heard, along with the whipping of the wind. There was a few slams against the door as a few of the smarter Sick hurtled themselves at the door, attempting to bring it down with force (and failing due to their weak body frames),
Lifting my head I looked back up at Thea and, in defeat, mouthed to her ‘I don’t know’. The look on her face was one of, at first, confusion and then one of disapproval, crushing my heart with her simple scrutinizing stare.
I shifted my gaze toward Zeke in an attempt to escape Thea’s stare, and watched as he cradled the four year old Mia to his chest she wept. I couldn’t clearly make out all of his words, but I knew they must have been quite soothing for Mia’s crying had calmed quite a bit from when I had last noticed.
Guilt had reclaimed its place in my heart as I watched the children and my friends sitting in this dangerous predicament, knowing that it was me and my poor leadership that had lead us here.
We used to have a beautiful little camp in which we all stayed at, within the schoolyards. For the most part it had been safe, despite the occasional Infected running through and attempting to rip out our eyes.
We had a few more people back then, a few older kids in the middle and highschool range, and we were doing as good as possible in an apocalyptic situation. By that I mean we were surviving.
It had been at least a month, possibly more, since the Infected started attacking. We had began to settle and get comfortable in our camp,feeling as if we would be safe there and possibly even survive there until this mess was sorted out, if it ever was.
It was almost like normal living, the kids had chores and since we were camped within the school we were even able to somewhat continue their studies. Due to the gates outside, we were provided a little more protection than normal.
On this particular dark evening, me and one of the high school students, Izaak,were on “guard duty” to stand and watch the gates. Izaak was, technically, an adult due to him being 18 years old, but even so it was foolish to ask someone who wasn’t even out of grade school to go on a dangerous watch, even if I did believe the gates could withstand almost anything.
Even if I regret it, he was there when possibly one of the worst events of my entire life happened. I won’t go into detail on this one, I’m afraid I would have to stop writing if I did,but while we were out there a hoard of Sick had began to appear.
At first, it just seemed normal. There were a few Sick walked toward us screaming nonsense and attempting to break the fence down with their sheer body weight. Since we didn’t have many weapons, we would save bullets by taking them out melee-style.
A few Sick were smart enough to leave after watching their comrades die, they must have been newly Infected,but while we were focusing on the Sick close-by, a hoard of massive proportions had began to formulate in the distance.
I never did learn why all of the Sick in the area decided it was a good idea to combine forces and close in on the schoolyards, whether it be fate or simply bad luck. Either way, before we could react the crowd converged on the fences.
There was nothing we could do about the fence coming down, or the fact that Izaak was so close by when it happened. Before I could even scream his name, the fence was down and some of the Sick were enjoying ripping him to bloody shreds, laughing their joy as the blood seeped into the ground.
I did the only logical thing possible in that situation- I ran. I ran all the way to the camp and explained to everyone what had happened in short bursts of words, but by the commotion they had already guessed.
Everything happened so quickly that it is hard to remember exact details of what had happened. There was a sudden burst of intelligent Sick who found an entrance to the room and took hold of a few of our campmates,though I do not remember most of their names.
I somehow managed to herd some of the people out of the room, as I said before most of the details were lost in the gory mess of my life,and we ran. I left behind so many people, anyone who couldn’t run fast enough was dead without question.
My poor leadership let those kids get killed, and that’s why even now as I write this I can feel the tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto the paper. We lost our home, we lost many of our supplies, and we overall were in very bad shape.
Around twelve people, one older woman and the rest were teens, were gone from our group. I can’t remember if it was more or less, if I was to be truthful I must say I wasn’t paying attention.If I had I cannot guarantee I would be here writing today.
And that’s why I am here. In honor of them, I write. In honor of everyone I know, everyone I spoke of, I will continue to write.
My thoughts are all I have left, this pen their last voice.
This isn't just a story.
This is a life. A life that is in your hands to continue, to carry on. If I die with this pen in my hand, I am happy.
They are known, and people know they matter. You are their legacy.