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“Jolie!”I yelled into the dark morning.
The sun hadn’t come up, yet. The air was still and icy. The street was full of fog from my uncle’s pond that is right behind my house. The street light reflected off of the fog. I could see some of the left side of Mr. Kasey’s house. In the distance, I could see the outline of the old elementary school across the highway. I shivered. This place gave me the creeps.
I look around frantically, searching for Jolie. I hoped that she hadn’t gone the highway. I turned my back on the highway.
“Jolie Blanche! Come here, now!” I yelled with as much force as I could on the creepy street.
Suddenly, I hear something running from behind. I whirl around. My adrenaline was pumping loud in my ears. I saw a small figure. As the figure came closer, I realized it my dog.
“Come on, Jolie! Come on, little girl,” I coaxed.
As she came closer, she didn’t stop running. She ran right pass me, down the street towards my house. I ran after her, glancing back curiously.
“Jolie! What’s wrong, baby?” I asked her.
She didn’t turn towards me, though. She kept running almost smacking into the door, scratching it frantically. I ran up to the door and opened it for her, still curious to know what had scared her so much. She ran into the room, just a black and white blur. I walked in after her and locked the door. I walked to the piano that was to my left and stuck my hand in the glass jar. I grabbed a dog treat and turned to face Jolie. She wasn’t in the foyer. I looked in my room. She was hiding under my keyboard, shaking.
“What wrong, Jo-Jo? Huh, baby?” I asked gently, kneeling in front of her.
She shook even harder. The treat fell next to me, forgotten. I grabbed Jolie and tried calming her. I rubbed her head and back, scratching her belly. No of this seemed to calm her. She jumped out my arms and ran out the room. I went to the master bathroom on the other side of the house.
“Mom?” I called, also knocking on the closed door.
“What is it, Hannah?” my mom asked.
I opened the door. Mom was standing in front of the tiled counter with the sick centered in the middle. She was in a pink polo and khaki pants. She was straightening her hair with her black Chi straightened.
“Mom, Jolie’s acting weird,” I told her.
“Is she about to get sick again? Does someone need to be here with her?” Mom asked wearily.
“No, ma’am. I think she’s terrified of something. She shaking so hard and she ran away from me to hide somewhere,” I said, concerned.
“Maybe she saw one of those stray dogs and got scared. She’ll be okay after a while,” Mom said, dismissively.
I hesitated. I didn’t think mom was right. But she could be right, too. I walked out the bathroom, closing the door behind me. I went to the kitchen to make my lunch for school. I put some mini corndogs into the microwave for a minute and went to the refrigerator for a fruit cup. As I bent down to get it, I heard moaning. I got up and looked around. No one was in the kitchen with me. The moaning got louder and louder. I ran to my dad, who was still asleep in the master bedroom.
“Dad. Dad!” I whispered, shaking him.
“What? What is it, Hannah?” he asked me, still half asleep.
“I hear moaning outside,” I told him.
He grunted and got up. He was only wearing his boxers. They were the ones Mom, Hillary, and I picked out for him for Christmas. It had Donkey wearing a Santa hat from Shrek on them. I rolled my eyes. Dad walked to his closet and grabbed a shirt and slipped it on. He also put on some orange basketball shorts. In the same closet, he grabbed Averna. She was my rifle. A 2008, 7 mm rifle, I might add. He grabbed some shells and loaded her up. Then he walked out the bedroom with me on his heels. The moaning had gotten louder.
Dad unlocked the front door and walked out, pointing Averna into the foggy morning. I looked into the slightly sunny morning from behind the door. Huge figures stood in the fog. They moved slowly towards me and my dad, moaning louder.
“Get back or I will shoot you’re sorry *sses!” My dad yelled at them.
But the figures didn’t stop. They kept coming. Dad shot at them. He hit one and it fell. But moments later, the thing my dad had shot got up.
“Hannah, get inside! Now!” My dad yelled at me, running back inside.
I backed out of his way as he slammed the door shut and locked it.
“Steph! Re-re! Hurry and grab some thing that will be good to board up the windows! Hannah, go get my drill from the pantry!” my dad commanded.
“Kurt! What’s wrong?!” Mom asked my dad, worried.
“Daddy! What’s happening?!” Hillary, my sister, asked fearfully.
“I don’t know but some kind of things are coming! Go get some wood! Break the furniture if you have too!” Dad yelled.
As Dad was explaining what was going on, I was in the pantry getting the drill. But not a second after he finished talking, the front windows shattered. I shot up and looked at the window. People were trying to crawl in. But they weren’t people, they were the living dead! Blood covered their ripped clothes and faces. Some of them had bits of flesh missing. I stood there paralyzed by fear and disgust. They were horrible looking.
“Go, get Sophie and get into the car! NOW!” my dad shouted frantically.
Dad started shooting the zombies. I was the first out the back door and into the car because the pantry was next to the back door. Mom and Hillary ran off to get Sophie the last I saw.
. . .
All day I lay on the floor of the car, waiting for someone to get here. Zombies kept passing by never looking in here. More and more of the sick looking creatures went into the house. I get my hunger and thirst down with Mom’s stash of snacks and drinks she had for Sophie. Later that evening, I noticed that no zombie had passed for a while. I wondered why. I decided to take a chance and look out the car’s windows.
I slowly rose up, feeling stiff from lying on the uncomfortable car floor for hours. When I finally rose enough to see around, The sun was almost gone and the stars comin out. I didn’t see any zombies around. Not in the backyard, my uncle huge field, or in my neighbors backyard. My adrenaline rushed and I felt brave enough to get out of the car and go into the house. I slowly opened the side door and silently stepped out. I searched my surroundings carefully, making completely sure that no zombies were around. I shut the door as silently as possible and crept into the house. Blood and dirt was everywhere. In the kitchen, I choked back a cry. The zombies had eaten my dog.
I quickly walked by and went into the foyer where I last saw my dad. I held back a scream. My dad was torn into pieces. His arms were left half eaten on the piano. Averna had be thrown to the side. My dad’s body lay in the middle of the floor, completely torn up. I looked away and saw my dad’s head had rolled into the corner next to the open front door. Tears poured down my face as I held back the sobs that threatened to come. I hurriedly grabbed Averna. Then, I scurried out of there and towards the master bedroom where Mom and Hillary went to get Sophie. I walked into the master bedroom and almost screamed. I turned and ran out the room. I leaned onto one of the walls in the hallway. I didn’t want to think about the ugly scene in there. Blood and guts were everywhere. All I know is that Hillary’s body wasn’t lying next to what was left of Mom’s and Sophie’s bodies. A stream of tears poured down my face. Silent sobs took over my body. I just sat there and cried for my dead family.
. . .
For what seemed like eternity, I heard footsteps. My adrenaline once again rushed. I slowly and quietly stood up. I glanced around, fearfully. I quietly crept into my small bathroom which I once shared with Hillary. Another sob threatened to come but I held it back. I stood behind the door and peered through the crack on the door. The footsteps became louder. Whoever it was, they were about to be in the foyer. I held my breath. The footsteps suddenly stopped. I listened hard, trying to figure out if it was a zombie. Then, I heard a silent cry. I stood behind the door shocked. Zombies didn’t cry, did they?
I slowly walked out of my hiding spot with Averna slung on my back and towards the cry. I pressed my body against the wall and peered around the wall. There stood a hunched figure with his hands on his face. A gun was slung onto his back. I recognized the gun.
“Poppee?” I whispered.
The man spun around and stared at me in shock. It was surely Poppee, my grandfather.
“Hannah?” he whispered.
I ran and landed into his arms. I cried into his shoulder and her held me tightly. He cried into my hair. I pulled away, looking at him.
“Poppee, where’s Bibi?” I asked, fearing that maybe she was dead too.
“She’s at the house. Oh, I’m so glad you’re live! Are any of the others alive?” he asked, hopefully.
I shook my head, not trusting my voice. Poppee hung his head. But then, I remembered that I hadn’t seen Hillary’s body.
“Well, I have seen Hillary’s…um…Hillary’s…” I couldn’t finish the sentence. A tear fell down my cheek.
Poppee hugged me again, rocking me this time. “I know I know it’s hard” he kept whispering to me. It was a long time that he held me like that.
Then, we looked up. The moaning started again. Fear started taking my mind over. I couldn’t think.
“We have to go,” Poppee said, tugging my hand.
“What about Hillary?” I choked out.
“There’s no time. She’s probably dead, too. Unless she hid with you,” he said sadly, staring at me.
I shook my head, suddenly filled with grief and regret, and followed him. We went out through the back door. I saw his truck pulled up behind Mom’s white car, out in the open. The moaning got louder. I froze up but Poppee was strong from farming all his life. He practically dragged me to his green Super Duty.
When we reached the edge of the carport, Poppee whispered in a barely audible voice, “Run to the passenger’s side when I say go. ‘Kay?”
I gave him a nod. We stood there ready to run. The truck was five feet away. I stared at it, fighting off the fear that was overtaking my body. Poppee slung off his gun from his back and held it ready to shoot. He motioned for me to do the same. He peered from behind the wall as I got Averna into position like Poppee’s gun.
He whispered, “Go!”
We ran to the truck. I opened the truck and slid in. I slammed the door shut and held Averna close to my chest. Poppee slammed his door and put his gun pointing up between the seat and the hand rest. He locked the doors and started the truck. And soon, we were off, driving through a crowd of zombies. I closed my eyes and prayed to God Almighty that we would make it through this nightmare.
Once we got on the highway, I started to relax a little.
“Hannah, how did you escape?” he asked.
“Um…I was making lunch for school this morning when I heard…um…the moaning,” I explained in a shaky voice. I explained the rest, the zombies, Dad commanding us to get borads and a drill, running to car while the others went to save each other. “Then, I went to look for them when it felt safe. It was…” I faltered. I choked back more sobs. I hung my head in shame, grief, but mostly regret.
Poppee drove a little while in silence. We passed by Ben Ruth Park.
“So…How did you escape?” I asked, trying to break the unbearable silence.
“Bibi and I ran to the shed once the zombies started breaking through the windows. The shed has no windows and more food. Plus, the doors are super heavy. I shot at the zombies as we made our way to the shed. Thankfully, I had closed the doors yesterday. We both got a few scratches but we weren’t bitten,” he said.
“What about Uncle T, Aunt Laura, Holly, and Mary? Did they survive?” I asked hoping some other family members had survived.
Poppee shook his head. Tears poured down my face. My family…gone…
We sat there mourning for our dead family members. I glanced at Poppee. Tears fell from his sun kissed skin. His big blue eyes filled with more tears. And for the first time, Poppee looked ancient.
“Do you have any more shells in your rifle, Nanna?” he asked, using my family nickname.
I loosened my grip on Averna and checked to see how many shells where left. There was only one.
“I have one left,” I reported.
“Look in the back. I have a box of shells for you.”
I unbuckled my seat belt and crawled to the back. Behind Poppee’s seat was a box. Next to it, there was a camouflaged hunting book sack. I took both and crawled back to the front. I refilled Averna and put the remaining shells into the book sack I found. I put the book sack on and held Averna suddenly filled with determination. I was going to kill these sons of dead puppies for killing my family.
Poppee turned left and was slowly coming to a stop.
“Hannah, when we stop, we are going to run to the shed. Shoot at free will. Got it?” he asked.
“Got it,” I replied, filled with a strength I didn’t even know I had.
Poppee kept going, but he got slower and slower. Then, we stopped. We jumped out of the truck. Zombies were everywhere. I started shooting. Poppee did the same. We plowed through these zombies until we got to the door. I knocked on the door yelling at Bibi to let us in. Poppee was shooting at the zombies but they kept coming closer. Finally, Bibi opened the door and I ran in. Poppee turned and ran into the shed too. Bibi quickly locked the door and leaned against it.
“I was so worried! You nearly gave me a heart attack,” she complained.
I ran and hugged her, glad for her to be alive. She hugged me tightly while Poppee sat his gun on the wall. Bibi pulled away and looked between me and Poppee.
“Where are the others?” she asked.
I looked down at my feet while Poppee explained. Bibi stood next to me, dumbfounded.
“They’re gone? All of them?” she whispered.
Bibi collapsed. She fell to her knees, crying. I knelt by her and cried with her. Poppee came and joined us.
. . .
The next few days were all full of grief. While the zombies moaned and banged on the walls, we mourned and said prayers for them all to be in Heaven. One the fourth day, our food supply was getting dangerously low.
“I’m going to go get some food from the house,” Poppee announced.
“No, you will not, Richard Steve Hargis! I’ll go. You’ll just get all the bad food,” Bibi told him.
“Tell me the right ones and I’ll go get them.”
“I can’t name them from the top of my head! I have to look at them.”
“Well, then I’ll just go and get all the food.”
“That’ll way you down!”
“No, it won’t!”
“It will, Steve!”
“Sharon, I’m going. End of conversation.”
“It is not! I am going!”
“STOP!” I yelled. They looked at me in shock.
“Poppee,” I said more calmly. “Bibi’s right. She knows what food to grab. But Bibi will need some protection. You will be the sniper and shoot the zombies the she can’t shoot herself. Okay?”
They looked at each other and nodded. Poppee went and grabbed his gun. I grabbed Averna and gave her to Bibi.
“Good luck,” I whispered to her.
“Love you, Hannah Bell,” she said, smiling at me.
“Love you too, Bibi,” I said, giving her the biggest smile I could muster.
. . .
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! I heard Poppee’s gun shooting. It’s been twenty minutes and Bibi isn’t back yet. I was getting really worried. Poppee’s gun suddenly stopped. I turned towards the door. Bibi was standing there flushed and out of breath. I ran and hugged her. She was alive. She hugged me back. But I felt something wet on her back.
“Bibi, did you get hurt?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Here you go, Steve,” Bibi said, handing Poppee bag of food.
I led Bibi to a chair and sat her down. I took Averna away and placed her next to Poppee’s gun. I went back to Bibi and went to examine her back. I gasped. She had a big part of her skin bitten off. I started to sob.
“Is it that bad, Hannah?” Bibi asked.
Poppee came over and looked at it. He gasped next to me.
“You’ve be bitten,” I whispered, crying.
Bibi turned to us in shock. Her soft brown eyes were already starting to get glassy. Her skin was getting paler.
“No,” she whispered.
I nodded. I started crying.
. . .
Bibi and Poppee decided what must be done. We had to kill Bibi. I couldn’t think of it. I couldn’t kill my grandmother. There was no way I could allow it. But I also couldn’t allow me or Poppee becoming zombies too.
Right now, Poppee and Bibi were sharing their last few moments alone together behind me. I sat there, staring at the wall. Numb.
When Bibi and Poppee came to me, I just sat there and stared.
“Nanna? Hannah Bell?” Bibi asked.
I looked up at her and started to cry again. She sat next to me and hugged me. She kissed my forehead.
“Hannah, Poppee and I decided that after the…um…deed is done, you and him will get has far away as possible. Do you understand” she asked me, her brown glassy eyes staring into my blue eyes.
I nodded. “I love you, Bibi,” I said.
“I love you too, sweety,” she said and got up.
Her and Poppee walked to the back of the shed. Poppee had his gun. I turned, facing the wall. BOOM! I cried.
. . .
Poppee walked over to me. He sat there next to me, staring at the same wall.
“You’re grandmother was a wonderful wife and mother,” he said to the wall.
I nodded, unable to speak. We sat there I silence.
“We’re leaving in ten minutes,” he said, getting up.
I sat there. I couldn’t believe how my world had changed. One day, I had a whole family. Now, I have one family member left.
. . .
Getting to the truck was a piece of cake. The zombies were too busy with the dead body than the two living ones. As we drove off, we passed my road. There on the road stood Hillary. Blood covered her mouth. Her clothes ripped. Her blue eyes were glassy. Her blonde hair tangled and messy. I stared at her as we left, feeling remorse and regret. I couldn’t save her…