I AM ALONE | Teen Ink


December 19, 2014
By Hayden Stuckey, San Diego, California
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Hayden Stuckey, San Diego, California
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Author's note:

I was inspired by the hit TV show THE WALKING DEAD and other zombie survival movies, the book was to show you that even when the unimaginable happens and you feel lost, there is always something better waiting for you just around the corner.

L.A, once filled with the noises of cars honking and people shouting over one another as if it were a competition of who can be the loudest, now  completely silent. I don't remember clearly what happened, it was all really a blur and to be honest I spend most of my time trying to forget it anyway.

     My name is Joel, I am 15 years old but none of that matters now though, the days just start to blend together and with no one around to celebrate your birthday with it gets kind of pointless. I have got scruffy brown hair and my favorite style of clothing is ‘torn up’, I don’t really take care of my appearance since no one is really here to care about how i look anyways. I have been on my own since they fell and no I am not playing the pronoun game just so you have to wonder what they were, the truth is I don't know myself, nobody knew. All that was said on the news broadcast what that meteor like rocks some the size of a large school bus were spotted by meteorologists. They were said to pass right by earth, but that's not what happened.

     All I remember was waking up to a giant explosion and a rumble. One of the meteors hit the gas station fuel pumps and ignited the gasoline and caused a huge explosion. My family all ran out of their rooms in a panic. My dad told me to pack as much of my stuff as we could and that we needed to get out of the city. I grabbed some clothes and threw them into a spare duffle bag.

      I had no idea what was going on. I was scared but my dad said that there was nothing to be scared of, I know now that that was a lie but it still made me feel better. We raced outside into the chaos. My mom, dad a day me tried to stay together as best we could. We got to our car and got in. The first thing my dad did was lock the doors. My dad turned the key in the ignition and all we heard was a grinding noise.

    My dad is, i’m sorry, my dad was a mechanic so he knew what to do. He got out of the car and ran to the engine. After a few seconds he hopped back in the and the car turned on with no problem. I used to go to his job and watch him work. He taught me everything I needed to know, this is probably the reason I am alive today. We got out of the chaos and onto a small rode on the outskirts of L.A when we were clear my dad turned around while still driving and said “It’s all over, we are going to get out of the city and go see your uncle.” my uncle was a strange guy. He lived up in the mountains in a cabin he built kind of a survival type guy, scruffy beard, always wore flannel, and lived off the land. We used to make fun of him for it, but now I would kill to live in the mountains.”It’s all going to be o-””LOOK OUT!” My mom screamed interrupting my father. I looked out the front windshield just in time to see us hit what looked like a person just standing in the middle of the road in a very lifeless manner. We swerved off the road into a ditch, I blacked out on impact.

    When I woke up everyone was gone all that was there were red tains and puddles of blood in their seats, I was terrified. I crawled out of the wreckage and did the only thing that I could think of, I ran and didn’t stop. I was running for what felt like hours. I had no idea where to go so I ran back towards home. Looking back now it was dangerous and probably a very stupid idea but I was ten and I guess I needed something familiar. it took me a while to find it seeing as I had only ever been to the end of the block on my own. I ran all the way home, the entire time I was hearing dogs barking, people screaming, police sirens and helicopters flying overhead but I couldn’t see any of it. The meteors kicked up a lot of dust when they hit, you couldn’t see more than three feet ahead of you, which made the task of finding my house even harder. when I finally made it home, I locked the doors and windows and hid in my room.

    it was about a day before I worked up the courage to go get some food from the kitchen, well maybe it was hunger but it didn’t matter, all I knew was that I was hungry and I wasn’t able to eat anything in there. I went to the kitchen and opened the pantry which was filled with canned foods, stocked from top to bottom with canned beans and canned fruit, anything canned you name it. I grabbed the can opener and grabbed a can of peaches. I tried to open the can only to cut myself, I dropped the items in my hand which made a loud crashing sound on the floor. holding my hand from bleeding I carefully walked to the bathroom to get a bandaid, I walked past the front door only to hear a harsh thud on my door, followed by another, followed by another. I slowly walked to the door stopping for a short time every time I heard a thud. I peered through the peephole and what I saw was terrifying.
I tried to hold in my scream as I threw myself away from the door. They weren’t human, I mean they were, at some point. Now they just looked like walking corpses. I quickly and quietly put a chair under the door knob just in case the lock broke. I ran to my room and hid.

Every day brings a new challenge. it’s either problems with the generator or the corpses wanting to make a meal out of me, today its the generator, either way I have to deal with it. In the apocalypse its all work and no play, which kind of sucks but I don’t have anyone to hang out with, sometimes I go weeks without using my voice, and when I do speak my voice is deeper and more coarse than I remember it. Around midnight the power went out and the generator  shut down so im going to go check and see what’s wrong with it. I walk down the stairs into the basement of the grocery store that I have made my home over the last couple years and I pull out my flashlight to light up the way to the generator. To my surprise it was out of gas, which was weird because I had just filled it up the day before and it usually takes a week and a half to run out.
    I got my supplies and hit the road I made sure nothing saw me exit the building so they don't try to get in when i'm gone. I walked the five blocks to the nearest gas station to siphon the gas out of the tanks around the back. It usually takes me a good six hours to go back and forth with the one gas can I have, to get enough for the generator.
it was about noon when I got back and I still had a lot to do. once I got back on my last round from the gas station I saw a group of corpses walking down the road, which is strange because I have never seen them in a group like this. I dump my gear off in an alley so I can come back and get it later, I need to be light on my feet just incase one of them spots me and I have to make a quick exit. I snuck around the back of the old deli across the street from the grocery store, I climb the side of the building using the vines and plants that have grown over most of L.A. When I get to the top I crouch over to the edge of the building to get a better look. There were about ten of them, it might not sound like a lot but when its ten things that want to eat your face you get to thinking how much ten actually is.
    I wanted to kind of split them up and make it safer for me to go back home, so I threw a rock away from the grocery store to attract a few away but when one heard the rock hit it screeched and ran towards it and the others followed. They use screeches and clicks to alert others, or at least thats what ive noticed, the noises are terrifying at first but you get used to them after a while.
    they ran towards the area I threw the rock and scurried around trying to find whatever the noise was. I should have hurried back to my gear and gone home but sometimes you get bored and need to do something to keep you from going insane, so I threw another rock to mess with the corpses. I kept throwing them in different directions causing them to run up and down the street, after about 30 minutes it was time to stop so I threw one more at a old movie rental store and hit the window causing it to shatter.
“Oh, crap” I exclaimed realizing that it was way too loud and had attracted more of the corpses and I had to hurry home before I became a midday snack.
“i need to get out of here, fast” I said to myself.
i ran to the edge of the building and jumped over to the next roof.
i know that they heard me because I could hear screeches and clicking quickly approaching my position. I quickly jumped down from the roof onto a dumpster lid, on impact I twisted my ankle, it hurt like hell but I didn’t have time to stop and examine it with the corpses right on my tail. I limped past the deli and crawled through the alley way to get to my gear. I did not have enough time to get back to my home so I high tailed it out of there to the nearest door I could find. Thankfully, not a lot of people had time to lock up, you know with impending doom and all. I ran into the closest building and barricaded the door, I walked towards the back wall so I could always see ahead and not have to worry about what was behind me. I watched the door bend in and creak and I knew I wasn’t going anywhere for a while.
I always kept a spare First aid kit in my backpack so I wrapped my leg in a splint so it could rest it was about midnight when the pounding and screeching started to slow to a halt.
The corpses looked like a person had been dead for, well about five years, and during that time they had a fungus or mushroom growing out of their heads and pours. I had thought about how the people and one of the things I thought of was that when the meteors hit the ground, they burst causing whatever germ or parasite that was in the rock to be launched out into the dust and then they traveled through the air until it found a healthy host to infect. once it found a healthy host it traveled through the bloodstream into the brain and took control of the persons brain. Kind of like Ophiocordyceps unilateralis does to ants. I may only have a fifth grade education but with the apocalypse and all reading is really the only thing that you can pass time by doing, besides throwing rocks at blood thirsty monsters, and well you see where that got me.

It is the middle of summer here in L.A so I don't have to worry too much about it getting too cold during the night. even if it does get a little chilly I always have everything I need in me backpack. Even though I like the heat and the warmth, the cold does help in some ways, like whenever it is cold the corpses seem to slow down almost to a halt and they never run or chase after you when it snow, which as you know it did not use to do but after the meteors hit earth they kind of changes the climate so that the weather is more extreme.
    I stayed inside the old video store long enough for my leg to start feeling better and then decide to get back home. I hobble over to the door and remove the barricade of shelving units filled with old movies and long expired un-popped popcorn kernel bags. I start to move the first shelf and it starts to creak with the old wood giving away under the weight of the movies.
“Shhh, Quiet!” I whisper in a moment of insanity, mistaking the shelves for living things that had a choice in how much sound that they make.
after I move all of the shelves away from the door I peer out of the barely open door to get situated with my surroundings.
“Nothing.” I sigh with relief.
    I Had to be super careful because if I made a sound I could risk alerting one of them which could in turn alert all of them, and on my leg there would be no running away this time.
    I scurry to a corner that let me get a good look of the street. There is nothing there so I limp as fast as I can to the other side of the street towards my home.
    I quickly make my way for the back entrance and, again, looked around to make sure that nothing was watching me enter. I got inside and immediately double checked all the doors to make sure that they had not been opened and they were still locked.
    i threw myself in bed and tried to go to sleep but it was no use. I laid awake for hours thinking about my life and how everything I was and everything I will be could have been erased today because of one stupid mistake that I made. I needed to be smarter, I can't treat Los Angeles like it is a giant playground, I need to survive.

    It was finally winter and my leg was fully healed. I am finally able to go look for some more food since my supply was dwindling. I didn’t leave the house the whole three months because I was working up the nerve to go back out, and after my near death experience, but I think i'm ready to go back out.
like I said before the weather slows down the corpses so I can walk leisurely down the street and even if they do see mr they will be reduced to a slow jaunt to come after me. there aren't many places that still have some food that is not gross and rotten or expired. usually canned food is still good but I am going to have to find another food source to rely on soon, I have survived this far and I am not going to be taken out by a stomach ache given to me by some rotten canned beans.
i go over to my half broken mirror and stare at my reflection, I start to talk myself up into leaving my comfy house/grocery store to go find more food. normally I would be ready to leave and I would know what I was getting into but today was different, today I had to go further than I have before.
I have never gone anywhere but the east side of L.A since the incident. I never saw a reason to go, the rule is, if you stick close to where you live you survive. Thats the rule I follow but since all of the store in the east side have been looted by yours truly.
It's been a long time since I had gone outside but I still knew what to expect. The same old corpses wanting to do the same thing to you every time, which is to eat you, yeah, not fun.
"You can do this" I said to myself trying to work myself up to leaving. I don't understand why I'm so freaked out about this. I am trying to reason with myself but I guess the idea of going into uncharted territory is a little weird, especially when you have no Idea what to expect. I don't even know where any of the stores on the west side of Los Angeles. I just have the time to scout as well and make a map of the area. I will have to come back later to go get the food.
I walk out of the back room and go to the plate glass windows in the front of the grocery store. Most of the windows were broken from when the meteors hit. I border up the windows from the outside so that the corpses would not be able to get in, they are not very good at pulling but they are very skilled at throwing their body weight up against anything they think that a person is hiding behind.
I open one of the small latches on the tin panels and two by fours that reinforce the ply board sheets on the outside. I peer out of the hatch and look into the street, I see nothing but a empty road lined with weeds growing through the cracks in the concrete and broken down old cars and trucks parked on the curb with broken windows and doors that looked like they were ripped clean off. There are still some cars with all their doors and windows that I could get up and running again but I will save that for if I absolutely need to get out of the city. Until then I am going to keep walking because noise attracts them and if they hear an engine running, well its like a dinner bell for them, there will be every single one of the corpses at the car within minutes.
I look a little further down the road tilting my view to the left and examining the rest of the road. then to the right, after a while of looking I decided that it was okay to go out. It will be a bit of a walk, two hours at least, I mean walking on the streets would be a breeze, only like maybe twenty minutes, but since I have to take back alleys and side roads to stay away from the corpses it is going to take a lot more time. in walk out of the front of the building this time because I knew that nothing was out there. I take a BEeline to the nearest alley and start walking towards the west side of Los angeles.
I walked for about twenty minutes before I saw a single corpse. there were a couple of them lingering in the middle of a street and I ran out of alley to pass them by so I thought back to when I threw the rocks and decided that I would try again to get them to go down the road a little bit so I could pass. I picked up a rock and right when I was about to throw it the church bell down the road started to ring. I looked up shocked and scared at the same wondering what happened and how it could have rang. There was no possible way for a corpse to ring it since you have to climb a ladder to get up to the top of the church where the bell is and then from there you have pull a large rope to get it to ring which I guarantee you none of the corpses can do.
i look up at the corpses just in time to see them run towards the church in a large group all excited for the meal they would get when they got there. I take the chance to run to the other side of the street and get into the other alley just in time for another group to round the corner up the street and run right past me towards the church. I sit there for a minute to catch my breath from the  sprint over here, I sit there thinking about how the church bell could have rang.
“Are there other people?” I say to myself, “there can’t be right, I mean, five years alone and I haven’t seen another person, but how was that bell rang?” I continue having a hard time believing what I just heard. I decide to keep going because there are too many corpses over there for me to go check it now.
I walk along the alley ways staying off the main roads and using the surroundings to my advantage. While I walk I think about the bell, I thought about the bell too much, trying to get myself to think of something reasonable, other than humans. I guess I just didn't want to believe that there could be other people out there, surviving, or at least one other person in los angeles. I guess that if I believed that there might be a chance that there are more people out there because it could have distracted me from the task at hand, and being distracted out here could get me killed so I push it into the back of my mind and kept going.
i walk for about an hour and then find my first store. From the other side of the street it looked intact so I check my surroundings and head over to the store. I get to the back door and it is locked so I get out my set of lockpicks and try to get in. After a while I get the door unlocked and open the old metal door into the shop, as soon as I enter the stench of rotten meat and fermented fruits and vegetables hits me, its almost enough to make me hurl right there on the spot but I hold it in and hold my shirt up to my mouth.
i walk further inside the old shop that is by now just a giant mold farm, it couldn't have been healthy for me to stay in there too long so I walk up and down the aisles grabbing what I can and getting out of there as quickly as possible.
when I leave I had about enough food for another couple days but I needed to find where the rest of the stores in this area were so I can come back later. I decide to get a better view of the area so I spot an apartment building slightly taller than the rest of the surrounding buildings about two blocks away so I start walking towards it. when I get there I head towards the side of the building where the fire escape was and try to get onto it to climb to the top but the latter was stuck and wouldn't come down so I look for the nearest object that can get me up there.
i turn around and see a dumpster in the back of the alley so I go grab it and bring it over to the bottom of the fire escape and climb to the top and get ahold of the ladder and pulled myself up to the bottom level of the fire escape. as soon as I got on I realized that the fire escape was very old and rust and could barely hold my weight so I had to be very careful on my way up.
I get about half way up when I hear a creak and a loud terrifying snap. I look down as the bottom level of the fire escape starts to fall and hang by its hinges bending most of the second level as well. I run up the last flight of stairs and the rest of it begins to fall. I get up just in time to watch my only way down fall to the ground with a deafening crash echoing through the walls of the empty streets creating a surge of corpses to come rushing my way all crowding around the wreckage of the fire escape that looked like a pile of old metal all bunched up on the floor. I didn’t lose anything in the crash but I did end up with about twenty corpses blocking the exit that I was planning to use.
I walk over to the edge of the building where I drop my backpack to get my pair of binoculars to get a good look at the surrounding buildings so that I could make a quick nap of where the nearest stores are so that I can come back later. I spot a couple of stores that look ripe for the picking so I mark them down on an old tourist map filled with celebrity homes and good places to eat, not that that matters now but back then, before the incident, everybody cared about that for some reason. None of it matters now, which is funny if you think about it nowadays you will find yourself enjoying the smaller things like the sound of birds chirping and the silence, you find yourself ripped of all of the good things in life and all of your enjoyment for meaningless things will leave you.I circle the areas with an old marker and try to look for a way to get back to the ground. The only way I could see was an old roof access door on the far left corner of the roof. I walked over to it to see if it was open, sadly the door was locked so I had to try to get in with my lock pick set, it took me a while since it was a very thick lock but I eventually got in and walked down the stairs to the top floor and I decided that that is where I would stay the night since it was starting to get dark and the last thing you want to do is walk home when it is dark. I walk into the first unlocked door and set myself up for the night.

It was about midnight and I couldn’t get to sleep, I wasn’t used to being somewhere that I have never been before. I wasnt planning on staying the night anyway. so I looked around the apartment on the chance that there was some food in the cabinets that was still good but it was no use, everything was wiped, not a single thing remained. I walk over to the window and looked out over the city, it was a good view, I could see for miles, it was actually quite beautiful. Plant life grew to the tops of buildings causing the entire landscape to look like nature took back an entire city. There were holes in the giant skyscrapers from the meteors and buildings leaning halfway towards the ground only held up by the partnership of surrounding buildings. It was peaceful, quiet and dark, the only light to illuminate the city was the moon’s.
i just sit there for what felt like hours, just sitting and staring off into the distance, until I saw the light. No, I didn’t die, i’m not on my way to heaven, It was a literal light! It just flipped on. I was looking out towards the outer area of Los angeles and a light in one of the warehouses flipped on. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There ARE more people out there. I hop up on my feet and start to go insane from all of the feeling that I was experiencing right now.
“There are people out there, I knew the church bells were not an accident!” I said to myself barely able to contain my excitement.
I jump into the bed and try to get some rest so I will be ready to go check it out tomorrow, but it is no use. I am too excited, I force myself to calm down and go to sleep so I wasn’t too tired for tomorrow.i lay there awake for a while and I Start to think "what if it was a hallucination, what if I'm going insane? What if none of this is real, if all of this is a dream. It can't be, I mean this is all too real. There has to be people out there." I start to worry.
Worry  that I am finally going insane,i worry that there is not a single person left and I am the last person left in los angeles, maybe even the world. Words start to circle in my mind as I drift off to sleep, words like ALONE and DEATH, Words that make me feel sick, I continue to think until I slowly drift to sleep. You would think that the light would be a good sign but it wasn’t to me, I wasn’t sure if I had actually seen it or if it was just in my mind. I was worried that I had let five years of being alone finally get to me and that I was finally falling apart from having no one to speak to for so long, but it didn’t matter now, I would find out soon enough.

I woke up at about ten o’clock in the morning groggy and still tired from not getting to sleep the night before, ten was still late for me but I felt like I needed more sleep. I hopped out of bed and forced myself to get up. I looked out of the window towards where I had seen the lights the night before. I thought about the walk and how it would be about an hour on foot. I didn’t want to waste any time so I grabbed my bag and packed up my things and started down the stairwell towards the bottom of the apartment buildings. I went out onto the street using the stairwell access door and started to walk towards the warehouse where I saw the light.
     I walked for about forty five or so minutes and finally got to a point that I could see the warehouse in plain view. I walked over to the gate that surrounded it. It looked way to fortified to serve any purpose other than to keep out the corpses. It was new as well, sawdust still later on the ground from where the screws went into the board that connected the chain link fences together. I started to accept the idea that there were more people out there. I don't know what it was but as soon as I saw that fence I felt safe. I walk around the fence looking for a way in, the only way I saw was a door in the fence, but it was locked with a padlock with a combination so I couldn't get in and the last thing that I wanted to do was ruin my chances of the people who could be inside taking me in by destroying one of their padlocks, it would not be a good first impression.
       I look for another way to get in until I find an old rug. I throw the rug over the barbed wire on the top and climb over the fence. Once inside I look around to see if anyone was there, there wasn't anyone outside so I went over to the windows of the warehouse and tried to look in but the windows had too much dirt and dust layered on the glass. I tried to scrape it off but most of it was on the inside. I walk around in the inside of the fence for a bit looking for any signs that people lived there. When I turned the last corner to go back I saw a garden. A well kept garden sitting against the side of the building.
      There were tomatoes, basil, carrots, and potatoes all grown in a green plump garden. It was amazing. I haven't had anything but canned fruits and vegetables in over four years. It was a great garden but even better than that it was a sign that people were living here. I try to look inside but all of the windows were blocked. I keep looking persistently until I spot an open window up at the top part of the building with a walkway leading to it. I follow the walkway around the building to a ladder. I got on the ladder and started to climb. I climbed up to the walkway and got on the thin metal grates that led to the other side of the building to the open window. I peered inside and what I saw crushed me.

There was no one inside. I looked and looked and I couldn't see anyone.
     "Hello!?" I shouted inside the warehouse trying to get the attention of anyone that could be inside. No one answered.
     "This doesn't make sense. There is a fresh garden and a brand new fence. There is no way that no one is here." I said to myself.
     "Hello?!" I shouted again just in case no one told me the first time. Again there was no answer. I climbed inside onto a large shelf stacked to the top with crates and other miscellaneous items. I carefully start to climb down but the snow on the bottom of my shoes caused me to slip and fall a good twenty feet to the concrete floor that awaited me below.

I woke up in an old cot with a bandage around my head and leg. I try to lift my head but I immediately got light headed and fell back into the cot. I tried again but slowly this time, I sat up and stayed there a little bit. The thought of how I got there never crossed my mind, all that mattered was that I needed to get my bearings and find out where I was. I stood up and my legs began to wobble.
     "Hello, anyone there?" I said in a weak scratchy voice. I could barely hear myself so I knew that if anyone was there they definitely would not have heard me.
     I walk to the door of the room I was staying in and peaked out into a short hallway that led into a bigger room. I could see light at the end of the hall so I slowly stumbled towards the light, stopping at different places to grab my leg from the pain or just to collect myself and stop from falling over. I walked closer and I began to hear voices talking. It was dark and I couldn't see very well, plus the lack of blood made my vision a little blurry. I got closer and closer and i began to smell the sweet smell of cooked beans and hear the crackling of an open fire and the chatter of people, a sound i had missed for too long. tried to hold myself up on a shelf but I fell over and took the shelf with me and landed face down on the cold hard concrete floors.
    “What was that?” I heard someone say as I struggled to keep from going out of consciousness.
    “How should I know.” I heard a second person argue.
    “Just go check it out will you, and stop arguing.” another person who sounded like a woman exclaimed at the other two people.
    I heard footsteps approaching around the corner, coming towards me.
    “It’s the kid!” I heard one of them say to the rest.
    “Who was watching him?” the woman exclaimed in a very annoyed manner.
    “I have no clue, I thought it was tom’s turn.”
“No, tom is out getting some food”
    That was the last thing that I heard before I drifted into blackness. I woke up a while later back in the same bed. There was a person standing in the doorway facing the opposite direction. I tried to get his attention but I couldn’t make a noise So I did the next best thing. I picked up the metal cup of water beside my bed and knocked it onto the floor.
The man immediately turned around and shouted to the others
“He’s up!” he shouted followed by two other people running into the room.
I tried to speak to them but I couldn’t say a single word. I just lay there and try to speak once more.
“No no no, Don’t speak. Here write on this.” He says handing me a pad of paper and a pen. all I could write was “who are you?”
“Im Sarah” the woman says “and this is Sam and Jonathan” She continues pointing at the two guys still standing in the doorway.
“who are you?” she asks
I write down my name on the piece of paper. I drop the piece of paper on the floor and tried to get it again but she said “Get some rest, we will come back later when you are back on your feet.” she says walking out of the room. I slowly drift to sleep while watching them walk away.

I woke up with the bright light shining through the dust caked window right onto my face. I sat up and felt better, no problems with my leg and my head didn’t hurt anymore. I tried to speak and my voice came out without a problem. I stood up and walk towards the bigger room where everyone was last time. I looked into the big room and the girl who helped me was sitting at a table laid out in the middle of the room eating lunch. She turned and saw me and beckoned me to go sit down with her with a mouth full of food.
    “You're up!” she said excited “I hope you enjoyed your stay here at the Hilton” She said chuckling to herself.
    I stood there and half smiled. I was still not sure what kind of people these were. They seemed nice enough but I haven’t seen another person in five years.
    “Were you alone before you fell into our lives?” she said “Sorry, bad joke.” she said.
    I didn’t get the joke at first but then I figured out that she was talking about me slipping and nearly falling to my death. I started to laugh and she did too.
    “Yeah I was” I said then continuing to tell her how I had ended up alone and how I got here. I talked for what felt like hours, It felt good to talk to another person for the first time in forever. I told her about all of the things I did and all of the near death experiences I had. I got up to the part where I  saw the light turn on when one of the men I saw burst in and stared at me.
      "Good, you're up, I need to speak to you about something." He said in a very serious tone.
     "What is it?" I ask. "Why did you come here and how did you get in?" He asks. "We're you trying to steal from us?"
     " I swear I wasn't, I just wanted to know if there were other people out there." I said to him. "Lay off of him Jonathan!" The girl says coming to my aid "he's just a kid, a kid who has been alone since the beginning of this mess."
     "You were alone before this? All alone for five years?" He says looking at me in astonishment.
     "Yes I was. But I kept going and didn't give up." I say to him.
     "I have a question," I say to him "was that you guys who rang the church bell yesterday?" I ask him out of curiosity.
     "Yeah" he replies " but that was over a week ago. You have been out for nine days. You know that right."
      I didn't. I didn't even know I was out for a day. I just kind of stayed there thinking about it. No wonder I was well rested. I had slept for nine days, I mean, that doesn't even seem humanly possible.
     I guess that the blank look on my face was worrying them because they immediately said welcome and introduced themselves properly. Jonathan brought me to the living quarters where the others were staying. There were eight people all together. They were nice to me and offered to share their things with me immediately after meeting me, without even getting a chance to find out what kind of person I was. After I was introduced to everyone Sarah said that It was time for dinner.
     We all walked towards the big room at the end of the hall and sat down in a big circle. I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life just to sit with other people and have people that I could talk to and listen to. During dinner everyone talked to one another and shared stories about their day, I just sat down quietly, listening to everyone's voice and finally feeling like a real person again. I loved the voices of everyone, each person’s different than the rest, I just closed my eyes and listened. This was the most human I had felt in years.

I sat there eating and enjoying everyone's presence. Then Jonathan turned to me and asked if I wanted to stay, he said that there was room for me and that everyone would be very happy if I would stay here with them. I agreed and thanked them for their hospitality and frankly for just being alive. the next few days I got more and more comfortable in their community and began to settle in. Everyone was really nice and they taught me how to garden and how to distract the corpses so you could scavenge stores with greater ease. I finally was a part of something greater than just my own survival, it felt so good to be able to help other people and make a difference.
    I stayed in the building for about three or four weeks before I went outside with a group to go get some more food and materials for clothing. It was so much easier with a group of people than it was when I was alone, I can’t even believe that once I was able to do this alone, I mean after what they showed me the easier ways it got me to think about all of the stupid things I had done and how dangerous they really were.
    Sarah told me that the group used to be bigger but the apartment building that they had fortified and lived in for the first two years got overrun and they had to find a new place, they lost three people in the process and a few others got seriously injured. They were planning on leaving the city because they thought that a place that was heavily populated was not a good place to stay in. They got out to the outskirts of the city before the injured people couldn’t go on any further. They found this building and thought it would be a good place to stay while the injured people were healing, but they ended up staying here for the last three years. I was happy that they did too because if they had left I would still be alone back in that grocery store talking to myself in a mirror.
    A couple days late Jonathan asked where I was staying before this and I told him all about the old run down grocery store where I had set up the generator and lived for the past five years.
    “Why didn’t you just stay at your house,” He asked me “Why did you have to go out and find another place to live?”
    “Too many bad memories,” I replied “Every night I slept there all I could think about was the car crash and how I would never see my parents again, so I got to the point where I said that enough was enough and decide that it was time to move on, I mean don’t get me wrong, I loved my family but I couldn’t think about them dying anymore, it was just too much.”
    “I’m sorry, that must have been hard on you, losing your family like that.” He said to me in a comforting way. “I’ll tell you what, give me the address and we will go get your stuff from the grocery store so you can go put it up in your room and feel more at home here, How about that?” He said trying to make him more than me feel better after bringing up such a sore memory.
    “Yeah i’d like that.” I said writing down the address on a piece for paper. I wrote down the best and safest way to get there and thanked them for doing this for me. I told them that there was some food there in a cabinet near the back of the store and that they should bring it for all of us because it might be helpful.
    A group of three of them left about half an hour later with empty bags and sacks and they returned about five hours later with every bag filled to the brim with food and my clothing and other personal stuff that they found, I thanked them for it. They had sad looks on their faces and they told me that the grocery store had been over run and there were some corpses that had gotten in. They said that they grabbed what they could and then got out of there. I told them that it was ok and thought about how I could never go back there again, no more grocery store to go back to, never again would I sleep in my old bed, but you know what, I was fine with that. I was fine with losing my old home because you know what, this is my home now and I like this one a whole lot better, in this home I had what was like a family, I had friends and at my old home the only thing that I had was myself and that was no good. I dont even miss it because the difference between there and here is that here, I was no longer alone.

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