I don’t know if anyone will see this. Even so, I feel like this needs to be documented, for the preservation of our history. Why this started, I don’t know. How I escaped, I can’t remember. All I know is that Philadelphia was not the right place for me to be.
I was on a business trip with my father. He’s a neurologist and his appointment waiting list is a mile long with a year for the wait. My dad taught geography and biology at the University of Nevada, Reno for a while. Dad was going to Pennsylvania for a few days, and I really wanted to get out of the house, so I went with him.
“You’re just like your mom, so smart.” my aunt always told me. “It’s too bad that she can’t see you now. She would be so proud of you.” Mostly, she’d say this because she wanted to make me happy. The only thing I had left of my mother was her crystal necklace. We all missed my mother, and since I am an only child, my father smothered and spoiled me for most of my life.
My mom died a little while after I graduated. She used to tell me stories about how she ran through school faster than the average bear. I never really understood that until she made me watch Yogi Bear. Honestly, I still don’t understand it. Sometimes, I wonder what was in that cooky head of hers. I asked her once, and she told me that it was the same thing that flew through mine. She tended to say lots of things that I didn’t understand until I went through high school just like she did. It’s been hard without her here with us.
Anyway, the first attack. I didn’t notice that the whole entire street was deserted as I was walking up to the hotel. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, my father comes lumbering up towards me from the hotel. He is groaning and mumbling something.
“Dad? Dad, what’s wrong with you?” He didn't answer, just lumbered towards me. His eyes were fogged over and his skin had a yellowish tinge to it, almost as if he had the flu for weeks.
I thought that he was just trying to mess with me, being that it was Halloween. Turns out that he wasn’t joking. He was dead. Well, technically he was dead, but he was one of the-not to be cliché- walking dead.
At that moment, I didn’t know what was wrong with him, didn’t know that he had been in the lab a little while before, and he, somehow, got sick. Something was wrong with him. My safety was at stake. I was scared, I wanted to run. Wait. This was my father. Didn’t I have to protect him? Wasn’t this the reason he put me through karate and boxing classes?
The first thing to hit me was the smell. Try to think of the smell of cat urine and burned food. Multiply that by 600. That was close the what was smacking me in the face.
The second thing that hit me was nausea. I felt like I was going to hurl. It made me want to run away as fast as I could and never look back. Now, I refer to this as my zombie radar.
I didn’t know how to help my father. So, I worked up enough force in a punch to knock him cold without breaking my hand. He went down faster than a dirty politician. I dragged him to the car and drove him to a hospital, but there were more people coming out of it that looked like Dad did. I left him in the car and got out. One of the people lifted their head. She had a gash the length of a pencil going from her forehead to her chin, right through her nose.
“Hello? My dad’s in the car, and there’s something wrong with him. Can you help me?” She sluggishly moved towards me, and I felt another wave of nausea come over me. I wanted to run. Unfortunately for me, there was a bunch more of whatever they were right behind her. They started to sprint towards me, which is something that zombies in apocalypse movies can’t do. Fortunately, I got back to the car before any of them caught up. Looks like track was actually beneficial.
I drove. And drove, and drove, and drove. I don’t remember how long it was, but my dad only stirred twice. I was scared, so I just cold-cocked him whenever he moved. This time I wasn’t as careful, and I popped the knuckle in my hand. After a while, I stopped feeling the pain.
I remember my dad telling me something before I left the hotel. He told me that something bad would happen, it could happen soon and I should be prepared for anything. I just thought there was just an outbreak of a rare disease or something and he caught it. I hadn’t yet figured out that he was a zombie.
I thought that we could try to make it up to New York, where my grandmother lives. We would’ve been safe there.
Try to think, Rosie. That’s what dad would say. Where did dad go to catch this? He went to the lab. What was he working on? He was trying to develop a cure for some virus. It was...it was called the Necroa Virus. Wait a moment.
The Necroa Virus is a zombie virus. It creates the ability to regenerate and heal, especially when injected into humans. Was my dad turned into a zombie? If so, why? Was he trying to test out the cure? He said that he was running short on test subjects and space. Maybe they started to sacrifice themselves?
My dad is still unresponsive. I’m trying really hard to remember what he said to me. He was talking about the cure, but I can’t remember what he said. He snuck me a sample of it. I have to go back to the hotel to get it.
Trying to get to New York was a bad idea, if it really was a zombie outbreak. That’s one of the most crowded places in the country.
I entered West Philly again. The hotel is in view.
There isn’t anyone in front of the hotel. I didn’t know how fast the virus is spreading, but I want to help my dad, so I had to get this sample. Before I got out of the car, I felt something sharp clamp down on my wrist. I looked over and I see my dad’s jaw lock on my arm. Something went into my arm. It felt like liquid fire running through my veins.
I could hear my heartbeat. It felt like it was slowing down. I had to get the vial. I ran into the hotel, through the hallway, and into our hotel room. I grabbed all of our bags and left. I didn’t even bother to close the door. I ran back out to the car and drove away. I didn’t know where to go now, and we were running low on gas.
The car slowly crept to a stop when the gas was depleted My digital watch dinged with the hourly chime. I looked down. It said 12:00 am. Perfect. All alone in a possibly zombie infested area, with someone who is possibly a zombie, and it’s midnight.
My father was stirring for a third time. I rummaged through my book bag in search of the vial he had given me. Of course, it was in the bottom of the bag. The blue liquid that was in it glistened. I popped the cork off of it and opened my father’s mouth. As the liquid dribbled into his mouth he mumbled something to me, but I couldn’t hear him.
He fell back into an uneasy slumber, and he shifted and tossed and turned throughout the night. I didn’t know how safe it was to sleep in a car with a possible zombie, so I slept carefully. The next morning, he shook me awake as he started the car.
“Rosie, wake up. We need to get out of here as fast as possible.” He quickly murmured.
“Daddy? Are you okay? What happened? Was there an outbreak of the zombie virus?” He chuckled.
“So you remembered after all? I’m proud of you, Rosie girl.. I always knew you’d make me proud.”
“Daddy, where are we going?” I was still groggy; I wanted to go back to sleep. It’s not fun sleeping in a car, you know.
“Well, first we need to go to a library. We have to find a map and try to stay a step ahead of the virus.”
“What did the serum do to you? Yesterday, you were all moaning and groaning. And you bit me.”
“I bit you? I’m so sorry, dear. I wasn’t myself. We have to get you to the lab, then. That would’ve been our second stop anyway.” With this, he started to move with a hurried motive.
“Why do we need a map?” I didn’t understand any of this.
“Baby, we need a map so we can try to predict the next places where the outbreak will appear. We have to take into account all the things that people touch, smell, or do anything on that transfers DNA. This is called looking for the structures in spatial relationships. If one infected person is immune to the virus, they can still carry it around with them. I’m immune to it now, since you gave the the blue serum in the vial. We have to look at how it can travel, through highways, or over active towns. Busy places, like Philadelphia, Harrisburg, New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles. These are called processes. These are the places where the outbreaks will first appear. We also have to look at how they relate to each other, in space and travel time. This virus will spread faster than the common cold. These are called relationships within spacial relationships. We need to use this to our advantage. This part of town is deserted, but if we go to a small town, say like Delair, which is a few towns over, it probably didn’t spread there yet.”
“How are we going to get there?”
“The car, of course.” He tries to crank the engine over, but it won’t turn.
“The tank is empty, dad. We need to find a gas station.” He gets out of the car and goes to the trunk. “I always keep a little extra gas in the trunk, dear.”
Oh, yeah. I forgot about that.
Okay, I could do with a few years of unconsciousness. I went to sleep.
My dad must have been still speaking to me, but I could only hear him hazily. He was saying something about how he gave me the serum a few days ago, and I was immune to the virus, but the serum didn’t work properly on me. Then he said that they were going to be taking some blood from me. I didn’t hear anything after that.
When I came to, I was in a hospital bed, with an IV stuck in my arm. My dad was sitting by my bed, crying and apologizing. I tried to sit up, tell him I was okay, but he couldn’t hear me. I was screaming at him, trying to get his attention. I was up in front of my dad, but he still couldn’t see or hear me. What is wrong with him? I turn around just in time to see myself on the bed and the heart monitor on my arm flatline. Does this mean that I’m