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Typical, Atypical

Charlie was not remarkable. In fact, he was quite unremarkable. His nondescript name said as much. He wore wire-framed glasses that frequently slid down to the end of his nose, and his skin was pocked with acne that had not gone away when he exited puberty. He was scrawny, especially for a man of twenty-one years who looked like a thirteen-year-old more than anything. Charlie had a grand total of approximately zero friends. He had never been kissed, his virginity was most definitely intact, and he couldn’t even say that he’d held a girl’s hand. Actually, he’d never held a boy’s hand, either, but that was beside the point.


So, overall, Charlie’s twenty-one years weren’t really looking up. The most he could brag about was that he was still alive. It wasn’t much of an accomplishment when he had 1.) no one to brag to, and 2.) nowhere in life to go except probably down, because that had been his luck for over twenty years. When the apocalypse hit, taking the electricity along with about 6.9 billion people, even Charlie’s video games abandoned him. No electricity meant an extremely lonely, pathetic twenty-one-year-old man who had never quite ditched the side effects of puberty.


Charlie passed the time by alternately staring at the blank television screen and reading the dictionary. It was quite a dull existence. When he got tired of the dictionary, he began to talk to himself.


About a year after the first wave of the apocalypse hit, Charlie sat on the couch with the dictionary opened to page 713 on his lap. “Typical,” Charlie muttered to the tiny print on the page in front of him. “Man invents some abomination straight out of the worst zombie flick in the history of terrible horror movies, and the world is ending because of some dude’s genius idea to create a monster who could potentially wipe out the entire population. And of course I survive, living off of peanut butter which rightfully belongs to the mice that inhabit the basement when they stick their nose in the stupid mouse trap expecting a treat. Disappointment, I tell you. Life is just a big disappointment. Those poor mice will be smashed around the middle, and they won’t even get a single lick of peanut butter as a welcoming gift from mouse Heaven.” Charlie shut the unabridged dictionary with a muted thump, and stretched as he stood, still muttering under his breath. “It’s also typical that I live without a hint of companionship to be found in this entire city. I’ll die a virgin. Worse, I’ll die without ever once getting to first base. Why? Because this world is freaking unfair, that’s why.”


Charlie was so lost in his own ramblings that he absentmindedly walked to the door and undid the ten bolts that held the door securely closed. He then proceeded to step onto the porch. It took him a moment to realize that he was outside for the first time in a year. He squinted at the sun in confusion, then panicked as he realized that he was outside, exposed to any flesh-eating abominations that might be in the vicinity.

“Maybe becoming one of those freaks wouldn’t be so bad,” he mused. “Maybe I would at least get to touch another freak. And maybe that freak I touch might have been a female at one point in time.” He almost smiled at that thought.

Charlie shrugged, glanced about a bit nervously, and then abandoned the safety of his home.

The city was empty. There was not even a breeze to make the leaves rustle against the sidewalk or to carry a stray newspaper page across the street. The flesh-eaters had long ago exhausted the available food sources, and Charlie felt as if he was walking on a land mine. “Typical,” he mumbled. “This place is probably packed with booby traps meant for me.” He continued to irritably stomp his feet, creating as much racket as it was physically possible for his battered generic-brand tennis shoes to make.

That’s when someone charged at him from behind a tree. The sound that burst from Charlie’s throat was extremely high-pitched and painfully feminine. The scream came to an abrupt stop as Charlie’s jaw slackened. The girl with the machete was looking at him with a strange mix of curiosity and disgust. She was beautiful. Wild red-brown hair fell in vicious curls to her waist. Freckles dotted her cheekbones and nose, which would usually make one look innocent, but had the exact opposite effect when paired with the machete she was wielding expertly, dried blood still staining the blade.

Charlie nearly cried with joy. “Kill me, please,” he begged. After all, if he wasn’t going to ever get to first base (even if he was the only fertile man left on the planet), much less lose his virginity, the next best thing had to be getting cut into steak-sized chunks of meat by the girl in front of him.

Her expression was decidedly disgusted by then. “Ew. Pervert.”

“Kill me?” he asked hopefully.

“Keep your pathetic life,” she growled, spinning away from him and running back the way she’d come.

“Wait!” Charlie cried and ran after her. His gangly limbs were clumsy, but the girl had short legs. She was fast, but he was faster, especially when he had more motivation. He caught up to her, and stretched out a hand. His face was pure rapture at the thought of touching another person. There was something strangely sensual about the thought of skin touching skin, even if it was his pale white bony hand touching her smooth, tanned skin.

“What is your problem?” she screeched, whirling around so fast that Charlie nearly slapped her with his outstretched hand.

“I…I just haven’t seen another person for a year.”

Her face did not soften in sympathy. Charlie decided he was in love. “Well, that’s quite unfortunate for you, but I have larger concerns than your pathetic attempts to hold my attention.”

She spun away and took off at a run slightly slower than before. Charlie wasn’t about to let her get away again. He darted off after her, even more determined to catch her. He caught her arm, but she anticipated his move and wrestled her arm back. Unfortunately, she wasn’t paying attention to where her feet were being placed. She tripped, fell on the machete, and let out a terrible gasp. Charlie backed away, frantically looking around for witnesses, waiting for someone to step out and arrest him. Of course there was no one to enforce laws from a year ago. Humans had apparently decided that unified living wasn’t such a priority when faced with the death of the entire human population.

Charlie didn’t find out until much, much later that the girl had been the only other survivor in the entire world. But when he did, all he could do was sit on the ground and rock back and forth, moaning “Typical. Typical!”




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