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On Our Own
My footsteps made the dried leaves on the ground break with a crunching sound. Much to my luck, none of walkers heard me being behind them. Their attention still paid to the trap I’ve set up in front of them. Their life drenched bodies slowly dragged themselves, leaving a trail of rotting flesh and gobs of rot and thick dark blood behind them. The sight of it made me gag, but I had to stay silent if I didn’t want to turn into another meal on their menu. The undead stumbled towards the dangling pieces of meat in the trees. I laughed in my mind about how we were sometimes referred to the same way, us being meat to them.
I stretched out my hand towards my back to get my favorite weapon. It wasn’t a gun of some sort, they made too much noise and that’s a risk you wouldn’t dare to take. I observed the katana which glistened in the sun. It’s curved; slim blade I cleaned earlier had the reflection of me in it, once I looked closer in the reflection, it wasn’t just me. There was a figure standing behind me, moving slowly towards me. I acted quick and turned around to face whatever walker I had to kill, but sighed after the mini heart attack I just had.
I pushed his shoulder irritated and nodded to the walkers that were now behind me, still making their way towards the trap. Nikolaus winced by his own mistake took out his baseball bat with nails drilled in the end of it.
I remember sitting in his garage, when all of this had just started, observing him working on his new piece of self defense. His first love has always been baseball and he was glad that he could still put his skills to use. I sighed and remembered how we used to plan our future. I dreamt of him becoming a successful baseball player, and me, his lawfully wedded wife. We fought over the names of the kids we would have and what breed our dog would be. But the world changed and so did our way of thinking. The idea of a perfect family, with a huge house and a white picket fence became a distant dream and the only thing on your mind is new food supplies and survival.
I sprinted towards the walkers and swung my sword over their heads, missing just two. The four of them fell flat to the floor with their skulls in half. The smell of death had traveled to my nose and I cringed in disgust. Even if it’s been months, I still hadn’t gotten used to it. There’s always something different about the stench each of these inhuman beings have. Whether one of them reeks with a stronger sense of rot or another has a strong smell of illness and blood.
Nicholas had this idea of running towards the other two walkers with a yell. I tried to shush him, but he had gotten into the character so much, there was no going back. His bat collided with the head of one of them and its body became lump in a second. I took the other one out slicing the sword through its scalp.
We stood frozen in silence. He looked my way with a smirk and came up to me to plant a kiss on my forehead. His face reflected his mood. He seemed to be proud of what he had just done.
After embracing me in a tight hug, I pushed away to the sound of growls and whimpers coming our way. His cry of victory had sent walkers our way. We didn’t dare to go against them this time. You never know how many of them are so we ran for our lives. We found a tree further away with branches so wide you could lay on them peacefully. We decided to stay there until they passed us by. He pulled me and lied against the tree and made me sit between his legs. We were about twelve feet in the air, so our legs dangled freely.
Niikolaus nuzzled his nose in my neck and mumbled “I’m sorry.”
I saw no reason for him to apologize. It was his way of taking out the anger, his way of taking revenge. In a way, we all have gotten caught up in the killing. It’s not a good thing, I know, but the idea of you conquering these things by making them dead for good, was overpowering. You feel like you’ve done something for the greater good. I’ve caught myself once or twice looking at the defeated bodies with a smirk on my lips, but then I frown, understanding, that no matter what the reason was, I’ve killed.
He lost his family before I lost mine.
His mother had gotten really sick. No, she wasn’t bitten, but cancer took over her body and after weeks of fighting, she gave up. It broke him and it broke me even more seeing him that way. What made it worse was the fact that we didn’t know what might happen afterwards. No one knew back then that no matter what way you die, you come back as a monster. Nikolaus had to learn it the hard way. All I remember is Nikolaus sprinting up the stairs just to see his just passed away mother clinging to his sister’s neck.
The animalistic noises become louder by every second. Silhouettes of about a dozen walkers appeared in our sight. They still made chills go down my spine. Nikolaus knew that, so he hugged me tighter around the waist. Their flaky, greenish skin and sunken eyes were disturbingly scary. Flesh wounds and gashes covered their bodies. Some of them were missing a limb or two and I still wondered why they didn’t die from that or didn’t feel pain. It stayed as a mystery for all of us.
No one warned us and didn’t waist a second to explain how this epidemic had started. It began when the severe disease had been announced on every news channel. The disease was unknown and it spread so quickly, no one was ready for what was about to happen. People died like flies and one by one resurrected. That was something we didn’t expect and most of the population of the town, got attacked. I might say that we were a few lucky people who lived far further from the town centre and had the time to be prepared.
My heart sank a bit when the walkers got closer. There were children mostly and it saddened me to see that kids have suffered as well. Some of them seemed familiar and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’ve seen them before. We were a small town and a united one. So day by day I got sad seeing all these familiar faces, which were once a person, now a monster with no soul.
”It’s getting dark. We should get going back.” I managed to say it as quiet as possible to the blonde haired boy behind me.
He nodded in agreement and nudged me to get up. I did, as carefully as I could, but I slipped on the moss that had covered the half of the untouched tree. I reacted as fast as I could and grabbed on to a branch. It cracked and fell under my weight. Luckily, Nikolaus had gotten hold of my other hand.
“Mikaela!” he shouted still holding on to my arm.
The loud thud of the branch failed to leave me unnoticed. I turned my head to see the walkers noticing our presence. Their mouths opened wide and stretched out arms they made their way towards us. I landed on my feet and waited for Nikolaus.
We sprinted back to our place killing any walker that was in our way. We had found a safe hiding spot, but only for now. Trying to survive the apocalypse, you learn to deal with the fact that no place stays as your home for long. You come and you go. That’s the safest way. We came to a halt and I tried my best to catch my breath. I crouched on my knees and took long deep breaths.
”Well, that was something.” Nikolaus snickered. I wondered how he still had a sense of humor, not that I lost mine. We were both pretty sarcastic people.
”Yeah, we should do that more often.” I joked back.
We settled down for a meal after the long day. The night was dark and cold, but where we were was as cozy as it could get.
”What’s for dinner?” I asked tiredly slouching on the stack of blankets and hay we used as a bed.
He turned to me with a cheeky grin and two cans in his hands. “Tuna!”
I grunted. Not much of a surprise we’ve been running low on food options, so we had to accept what we had.
”We should look for a different place soon.” I said while picking at my food.
Nikolaus nodded and muffled something with his mouth full. I punched him playfully.
”Tomorrow?” he repeated after emptying his mouth.
I wiggled my shoulders as a response.
It seemed like the evenings were the times we talked to each other the most. The time we spent outside was more like our alone time without being alone. We didn’t risk on going anywhere by ourselves. That wasn’t an option. After a moment of silence I sighed and spoke up once again.
”Do you think things will ever be the same?” I asked quietly. It was a topic that had always played on my mind.
”Maybe not the same, but things can change for better. We can make it happen.” Nikolaus looked at me with concern seeing that I missed the old times.
”We could find a safe place to stay for a bit longer. Not just be on the road.” I offered, looking away waiting for his response.
”We could,” He said casually and I brightened up. “Step by step.” He looked at me with a slight smile as if saying we will do it together.
I smiled back for the first time today. “Step by step.”