December 1, 2008
By Daniel Curry, Fairfield, CT

Ron sighed. Normality was setting in. With normality came boredom, with boredom spare time to think, with time to think depression. He was depressed just thinking about it. Depression led to desperation, with desperation carelessness, with carelessness, accidents, and the way the world was now, he wouldn’t live long with a broken leg or non-working eye. He needed his legs to run away, but to where? The whole world was like this now, the only safe place Mars. He needed his eyes to see, to aim, and to survive. He needed a gun to keep himself from harm, with all the infected everywhere. He smiled. To think that plain ol’ Ron Perte was the same Ron Perte who, until three weeks ago, was a faceless cubicle-ite, the kind with a repetitive, soul-crushing office job, an accountant. Everything changed the day his boss came to work with greenish skin and complaints about how hot it was, in February. Well, his cubicle was the hero of the story, hiding him as all his coworkers ran in fear and got attacked by the thing that was his boss. He yawned. He always was a night owl, but three A.M.? That would be ridiculous in any other circumstances. But now, everybody needed to be on guard, even at three A.M. He saw headlights in the distance. He slurped some coffee. He was on his third cup. The worst thing about caffeine is that you get acclimated to it. Wait, did he see the headlights again? A customer! He thought about how absurd that at 3 A.M., Ron was ten feet in the air, with a hunting pistol, thinking about customers. Under any other circumstances, that is. He was excited because he was down on clean drinking water. Ron spent his day’s modding cars for food, water, ammo, munchies, and other necessities. Ever since he was a teenager, he loved welding. Now he did it for a living, literally. He had freelanced as a mechanic to stretch his paycheck before, and now he added armor, spikes, and weapons to cars, trucks, busses, vans, boats, and even one airplane. The headlights drew nearer. Ron turned on a little searchlight he had. The car was filled with human, running, had steel plating and looked like it didn’t need anything else. So why were they here? Maybe repairs? It didn’t look like it. “HELLO,” he shouted out. They answered with a round from a gun. It wasn’t a salute, it was aimed at Ron! He ducked and drew his pistol up. The people in the car were raiders! They came here to loot his place! Even when humanity is almost extinct, somebody always manages to start trouble. Ron didn’t have much. He certainly didn’t have enough to fend them off. He did the only thing he could: He bolted. On his motorcycle and GONE.

The author's comments:
I wrote this story with inspriration from the Resident Evil movies and from Cory Doctorow's novel, Little Brother.

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