The Final Era | Teen Ink

The Final Era

March 22, 2023
By mnyreej BRONZE, Aldie, Virginia
mnyreej BRONZE, Aldie, Virginia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I stared intently at the window and makeshift door, refusing to tear my eyes away from them. After an eternity of waiting, the smoky sky went from a bruised blue to an ashen red. Indeed, the figures below were human-like, with gaping wounds, exposed organs, pale eyes, and vile greenish skin.

I counted three…fifteen…twenty-five of them in my line of sight. There was no telling how many were surrounding the treehouse-base from here. No telling how many were in the area.

No telling how many I’d be going up against if I made myself known.

I sat back down, thinking. Sooner or later, they’d smell my flesh, and they’d start coming here. Do I catch them off guard, or wait it out to see if some of them leave before finding me? I bit my nails. What I needed was to find food, and clean water. It’d already been two days with nothing to eat, and I finished everything I had to drink. It could be days before the Zombie mass thinned. I wouldn’t survive that long. Still, I found myself waiting the day away, procrastinating.

The sun had begun to fall before my indecision waned. I had to act now. I peered out again, and my heart plummeted. The mass had doubled, maybe tripled. And they were all near my base.

I sat back in a daze.

“Aubrey-?” Loven asked. He’d been playing with his bat, and now looked at me. I was quiet. He repeated my name, coming over. I stayed staring out the window.

“It’s over… Tonight is our final stand…” I said quietly, watching more hordes enter the graveyard on the horizon.

“Don’t say things like that,” Loven said apprehensively. “Aubrey, hey, look at me. Don’t say that. You’ll be okay.”

He reached for me, and his hand passed through my shoulder, sending a chill throughout my body. It didn’t seem as cold this time.

“I didn’t think they’d come back here,” I murmured. “They don’t usually revisit places they’d been… This was abandoned…”

Loven said something, but I couldn’t hear him. I searched the ground for spare ammunition, making sure my guns were fully loaded before putting extras in spare cartridges, and storing them in a pouch.

Loven’s voice took on a panicked, pitchy tone and I was brought back to reality.

“-a death wish to even try to go up against-”

“I’ll die if I do nothing too,” I interrupted. “They’ve already doubled in size.”

“But- But I could lose you!” he said. His voice told me he was on the verge of tears. “I lost my real family! I don’t want- I can’t-”

His stammering melted into small whimpers, and I squeezed my eyes shut, a twinge of guilt rising to the surface. I opened them again after a few seconds, and looked over the guns.

“I have no other options,” I whispered, picking up a semi and going over to the window, aiming.


I blew through the masses, getting their heads when I could.


The treehouse was destroyed.

“AUBREY!” Loven screamed. I gritted my teeth and kicked the Zombie away from me before tossing my last gun away - I was officially out of ammo - and pulling out my knives. My gaze darted wildly, trying to figure out which one was closest to striking me first.

The one on my right went down, and Loven’s panicked gaze emerged where its head used to be. His bat was in hand, and his gaze slid to behind me. Instinctually, I whirled and lashed out, slicing at its neck, arms, cheek, chest, everything. I jumped at the next one and sank my blade deep into its neck before tearing its head off.

My vision started to turn black around the edges, but I blinked it away and kept fighting alongside my partner. He helped guard my blindspots as I butchered a way through the crowd. We fought as the sun sank deep into the horizon, and the foggy moon gleamed once more.

We were close.

More of them kept coming from beyond the barriers.

“I’ll cover you! Climb the wall!” Loven shouted, his voice sounding hoarse. Strange, how a ghost’s voice can sound hoarse.

I nodded.

I cut away the Zombie standing between me and the wall, and climbed atop its shoulders before jumping. I cried out as the rocks dug into my palms, and gasped when the rest of my body slammed against the wall and into the thorns. I blinked away the stars and pulled myself up, three spaces at a time. I was straining to keep going, but I could feel my grip becoming looser.

I heard a shout, and a bony hand clutched my ankle. My gaze whipped downwards, and I clung to the wall for dear life as one of the Zombies pulled me towards the sea of rotten flesh.

“Let me go!” I shouted, kicking.

Then my other leg slipped. I screamed and my legs flailed, the free one getting ensnared by thorny vines.


“Hang on!” I could faintly see his glow among the mass, weaving through, trying to get to me. The Zombies started holding onto each other, weighing me down. The rock tore through my left palm, and I bit off a cry as my hand slammed into another hold, home to several thorns. Loven was beating at the crowd, but it didn’t do enough damage to relieve the weight.

My hands slipped, and as I was pulled to the ground, my head slammed against the wall. I choked back screams as my descent was broken by pain. I wasn’t on the ground, and the world was upside down. Thorns pricked me, and tore at my skin as I slowly slipped downward.

The vines broke my fall.

My eyes started to close, and I dimly saw Loven staring. He looked…defeated, with a haunted air of trauma shrouding him. I wanted to tell him that I was sorry, and I felt hot tears slip.

Hands snatched the thorns away, causing them to tear at me more, and I couldn’t stop myself from screaming and crying out. Teeth buried into my neck, into my arms, tearing away more skin.

More than that, I felt myself dying. My organs were shutting down. I was Infected, and it was spreading quickly. My injuries weren’t helping my chances either. I squeezed my eyes shut and gasped shallowly.

Unable to bear any more pain, and unable to fight anymore, I made a silent wish and prayer that Loven would be able to forgive me.

Then I allowed myself to slip away.

The author's comments:

This piece is based off the idea that not all main characters survive their stories - especially when they’re children. Sometimes, they don’t have powers to save the day. Sometimes, they don’t have the strength to save themselves. Sometimes…it’s simply a bad ending.

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