Chuck is doing Fairy Tale Remix. I was originally trying to make “Little Mermaid” work, but I just wimped out and went with “Little Red Riding Hood.” This isn’t specifically part of The Afflicted, but I wrote in in third person in case I decide to integrate it. I went with the original written version, so don’t expect a happy ending. At 968 words, I give you the zombie apocalypse:
Samantha “Red” Gregg awoke from her sleep. She had prepared for the mission for days in advance, but the day had finally come. She gathered her long red curls into a ponytail. The mission was simple, deliver the cure to her mentor, lovingly called “Grandma,” the director of a facility that would aerosolize and distribute it. After years, the zombie threat would be neutralized once and for all. The mission itself was expected to be uneventful, as the facility was hidden in the green wood of West Virginia. The trip from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to the facility had to be completed on foot as to not bring notice to her movements. She holstered her trusted Glock 17, packed enough rations for the trip there and back, retrieved the cure in its aluminum case and walked through the guarded gates protecting the compound from the horrors they witnessed beyond. Her mission had begun.
The journey was mostly uneventful. Samantha had the reoccurring feeling she was being watched. At one point she stopped and surveyed her surroundings. In the bushes, she saw a human refugee. His clothes were filthy and he had a long dirty beard.
“Help me!” He called out to Samantha.
Drawing her weapon, she pointed it at the direction of the voice. Cautiously, she replied, “show me your hands!”
He spread his hands from his sitting position leaning against the trunk of a tree. Again he said, “Help me, please!”
She stepped towards the man and whispered, “Look, man. I’m on a mission to deliver a cure to the zombie outbreak to the facility ahead. In a few days it’ll all be over.”
“I need help now, ma’am.”
“I wish I had the time to spend on you, but my mission is too important.”
Backing away, but keeping her weapon trained on the man, she whispered, “I’m sorry…”
As she receded further along the path, she heard the pleas from the man. A shudder raced up her spine as she heard his cries.
As she approached the facility and the end of her mission, she continued to feel as if she were being watched. No guards were in sight, but she suspected they were hiding and that they were the ones watching her.
She slid her access card through the reader and the door hissed open. She stepped through and the door hissed closed.
“Hello?” She called out when no one greeted her.
“Any body here?”
Her voice echoed off the sterile walls. She followed a corridor she was told would lead to the heart of the facility. She stepped into a large room and she saw him behind a glass partition: The man she had left in the woods. He was still filthy, but he somehow looked less helpless than before. She looked past him to see a pair of ceiling to floor windows and a glass door. Contained therein was a zombie hoard. They shuffled around, stomping on the bones strewn on the floor. Some were wearing lab coats, the rest were in various states of decay. Judging by the amount of remains in the room with them, they had many victims.
“What the hell’s going on?” She shouted to the man.
Quietly, he replied. “You should’ve helped me…”
Samantha could only stare at him and the scene behind him.
He gripped a lever on the console he stood at and calmly said, “Now you will die.”
“How could you betray me to those things? How could you betray humanity?”
The man laughed out loud. “Humanity?” He spat the word out. “Humanity died when the zombie apocalypse happened. You couldn’t even spare a few precious seconds to make sure I was all right.”
“But,” she replied, holding up the aluminum case, “This gives us a second chance.”
He shook his head. “I’ve had my second chance. Now I do what I need to do to survive.”
“If you pull that lever, the zombies will get you too.” She pleaded.
“Wrong!” He shouted. “They don’t seem to see me. I don’t know if it’s some freak genetic mutation, but they stay away from me. After they tear into you, I’ll take any supplies you’re carrying.”
She gripped the handle of her Glock.
Seeing her movement, he retorted, “Don’t bother. This partition is bulletproof. You’ll need your bullets for the undead.”
He yanked the lever and turned his back to her.
“Don’t want to see your handiwork? You’re a coward!” She shouted as she readied her weapon.
Overturning a desk, she leaned over the edge and fired her Glock. She was a pretty good shot, but there were simply too many. She backed away, but tripped over some piece of equipment and landed on her back. The zombies were almost upon her and she skittered under a desk. A zombie lunged at her and she was able to bring the case up to block its bite. She knew the end was near, but she couldn’t help examine the thing attacking her.
It’s eyes were huge and bugging out of its head. It tried repeatedly to bite around the aluminum case she was aware of the large teeth in its gaping maw.
They piled onto her as they all tried to tear the flesh from her bones. The pain was excruciating. She felt the bites on her legs. They ate mouthfuls of muscle, sinew and denim. She let go of the case long enough to bring her Glock to her temple. The trigger pull was met with a click. Out of ammunition, She would remain conscious while these things ate her alive.
When her screaming stopped and the zombies dispersed, the man set to work retrieving her supplies and corralling the zombies back into their glass cage. Someone would be along soon and he needed to be ready.