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Fiction Horror Thriller

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

                                FIVE YEARS LATER…

The world has changed a lot since I watched my best friend Nick reanimate as one of the Lurkers. The Lurkers are what we’re calling the infected now. With everything that has happened to the world these past fifteen years, the Lurkers have made it somewhat easier to live in, but harder to survive. There are less living people to contend with, but I fear going up against the living. They’re more unpredictable than the dead.

               My job is more or less the same. I’m a scout, a gatherer, I’m on the frontlines of the community defense. The world has slowly been able to heal itself, we’re seeing grass, and trees. The water has even started to come back. Our community, we call Hope’s Reach, has been able to grow crops, the corn we grow, it’s the best damn food I’ve ever eaten, at least since the end times began. Clive, who is our leading crop expert has made plans to start growing potatoes. Can you imagine? Potatoes? The world is easier to live in, but I have never been more scared than I am now. Seeing this community built, food, water, people. I’ve got so much to lose now, more than I ever have. If only Nick was here, if only Nick could see this place that I’ve helped build. Would he be proud?

               Today, I was on a scouting mission, my job was to bring back any seeds that I could find. That, and survive. These days, I go on my missions alone. I can’t risk losing anyone else because of the dumb mistakes I’ve made. It’s easier to handle losing myself, but anyone that I care about. It would kill me. I’ve taught myself how to track, how to kill more efficiently, how to hide my fear. I’ve disconnected from being, Doctor Sarah Martin so much that it almost seems like I was never actually her, that it’s just some dream that I once had and it stuck with me. The things I would stress about, the problems that I had, the things I would hold onto. It all seems so frivolous now. The pain that I’m in right now has been a long time coming, something I’ve prepared for, the rigorous training that I’ve put my body through over and over again. I can’t feel it, but I know the pain is there. Being a Doctor in my past life has given me the knowledge to know I can’t just pull this knife out, if I did, I’d bleed out a hell of a lot quicker than I am now.

                        Thirty Minutes Earlier…

               I raise the radio up.

“Hope’s Reach, this is Sarah with my report.”

“Go ahead, Sarah.”

“I’m at the bunker, I had a run in with a herd of Lurkers, not much of a problem there, however when there’s one herd-“

“There’s another.” Antonio says.

“Yeah, there’s a few rooms left to check in the bunker but there doesn’t seem to be much here. Let Clive know that there might not be any potatoes for awhile.”

“Copy that, check in once you clear the rest of the bunker, we’ll let know if we find anything else to scout.”

“Copy. Sarah out.”

I hook the radio back onto my hip. There has been something that’s felt off about this bunker since I arrived. The feeling when you know someone else was just in a room you walk into. Slight hints here and there, showing evidence of your suspicions. I slowly push a door open, empty room. There is a shelf with an opened can of dog food. Not much use. Another door, another empty room. One more door.

This one is closed. I place my hand on the handle, it’s warm.

I take my hand away and place my ear up to the door. I can hear something, there’s definitely someone in there. I check the bottom crack of the door, a faint glow, flickering. A fire. Someone is using it as a home. This could go either way, it could get ugly, or not. It all depends on how I approach this.

I knock. The room behind the door grows silent.

“Hello? Is anyone in there? I mean no harm, I’m just looking for supplies.”

“Go away.” A deep voice emits.

“Look, I don’t want to hurt you, I’m just hoping to gather a few things if you might have it.”

Silence.

“Look..” I say. “Either you can open this door, or I can do it for you. My community isn’t far from here and you’re more than welcome a spot in it, if you just help me.”

“I got my own community. Thanks lady.” The deep voice gets closer to the door. “You can run along now, tell your people you ain’t found squat. Got it?”

That tells me where everything in the bunker has went. This person has it all, behind this door.

“Hey, the reason I’m here is because the research we’ve done for this place, shows it was an emergency bunker that the government had created, in case our crops were hit. There should have been seeds for all types of stuff. I’m just asking to take a look at some and maybe we can come to an agreement, that’s all I’m asking.”

“I said go on, get. These seeds are mine. I cleared this place, I take the reward.” He hits the door. “Get!”

“Look, my people are living off of a few things of corn here and there, I don’t want my people to starve before we can really make this community what it can be-“

The door flies open, suddenly there’s a rifle in my face.

“I will NOT tell you again. I’m not sharing my stuff. Now get OUT!”

I am able to catch a peek at the stockpile he has in the room. Bags and bags and bags of supplies, seeds, canned food, bottled water, ammunition, rifles, this is the motherload of supplies, I can’t pass this up. I won’t.

“Now, I told you, I don’t mean you harm. We can settle this a lot more humane than killing each other. Please, let’s make a deal.” I say.

The man remains silent, his bearded chin and unkempt hair shows me his community may need this stuff more than mine. We have showers and razors, mirrors, toilets. This man clearly doesn’t have much.

“Do you really have a community, sir?” I ask.

“Course I got a community! Several. Now you go, now, and this won’t start a war you can’t win.”

This is it, this is my moment, there seems to be now negotiating, no reasoning. Either I walk away from the jackpot, or I get shot in the face. Lose, lose situation.

“What about those? Can I just have one?” I point into the room.

The man turns to look. I hit the barrel of the rifle away from me. BOOM the shot echoes through the bunker. I rip the rifle from his hands, I point it at him.

“Now, wanna make a deal?” I ask.

The man is on his knees, he shakes his head. It almost seems like he is sobbing.

“You don’t gotta do this, I just have a family to feed. Please, don’t do this.”

I inch closer to the man, lowering the rifle.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want it to come to this. Come with me, to my commun-“

I feel a sharp pain in my stomach. I look down to see a hunting knife in my gut.

“I told you, I have a community, one you don’t wanna mess with, yet, here you are, messing with it.” He says.

The man grabs the rifle, I fight him on it and pull the trigger, the bullet ricochets and hits him in the leg. He falls down, screaming.

“What the-“ I fall to my knees. “What the hell?”

The man sits up.

“No…” I point the gun at him.

I pull the trigger. Click. Out of bullets.

The man laughs at me and stands up.

“Oh shi-“ I slowly stand.

He begins limping towards me, I grab the barrel of the gun and swing. The butt of the rifle makes contact with his head. I swear I heard his skull crack. He immediately falls to the ground.

I drop to my knees again. Out of breath. This knife is in deep, it almost feels hot to the touch. I grab the handle of the knife.

“GAH!” I shout. “That’s not going to work. Oh god.” I lean up against a wall and sit. A pool of blood slowly filling in around me.

The man appears to be dead, no sign of breathing, no sound. I reach for my walkie.

“Hope’s…..Hope’s Reach….this is Sar-….Sarah.”

“Sarah? Everything okay? You sound distressed.”

“Sasha? Hey, yeah, no I…..I just have a big knife….really big knife jammed into my stomach right now. There’s so much…..so much stuff here. Bunker. I need….help.”

“Sarah! Hang in there. We’re on our way. Keep breathing, stay alive Sarah.”

“No promi…ses.” I drop the walkie.

Keep breathing, don’t focus on the knife. Think of something else, anything else. I look at the bags in the corner, I see cans, seeds, potatoes? Real potatoes?

It’s not going to be too much longer until I bleed out, I would have had less time if I pulled the knife out, prolonged the inevitable just enough to hopefully be saved. If only the could get here quicker. Come on, Sarah. You’ve been through worse. That’s not much blood right? Oh god, that’s a lot of blood.

“Mmmmffffuuuu” A deep voice growls.

“What? You’re alive?” I ask.

“GGGrrooffffuu” The man rolls over and slowly stands up. His back to me.

“Hey, my people are on their way.”

The man slowly turns to look at me, eyes completely white, black ooze dripping from his head wound.

“What? You were bit?”

Where was he bit? When? The infection is usually quicker than that. This isn’t good. I thought I was going to die from bleeding out, not being ripped to shreds. Oh god.

“Sarah? Do you copy me?” The walkie!

“Sasha? Hey, Sasha….please tell me you’re here. I’ve got a situation.”

“Sarah, we’re coming, we’re about ten minutes out. Please, hang on.”

“Sasha, he’s infected. He’s in here with me, I don’t have my gun, I don’t have anything. I’m losing a lot of blood. I don’t think….I don’t think I’m going to make it. There’s so many seeds in here, Sasha…seeds, rifles, canned food…there’s so much stuff that’s going to help us. It’s here. When you get here….please…don’t leave me like one of them….I don’t want to be roaming the Earth as a Lurker…please Sasha?”

The Lurker is inching closer, closer, and closer.

“MMmffuggguu” It drops down. It’s grabbing my feet.

“Sss…Sasha.”

I’m losing focus, getting too dizzy to see straight. I’ve lost so much blood. I grab the handle of the knife and try to pull it out of my stomach, summoning every bit of strength I can.

“GAHHHHHHH” The knife is free.

I grab the lurkers head, aim the knife for the base of it’s neck. Suddenly I feel intense pain on my forearm. He bit me. Oh god, he bit me. I plunge the knife down into his neck. The Lurker immediately stops moving, it goes limp. The black ooze piles out of it’s new wound on it’s neck. This is it. No turning back now. I slump over, the cold blood on the floor hits my face. I don’t want to die yet. I can’t die yet.

“Sarah? Copy?”

Sasha has to do what I asked her to do. She can’t leave me like this. She wouldn’t.

“Guys! There she is! Back room. GO! Oh shit, she was bit. Grab it. Sarah, this is probably going to hurt. Do it. Go.”

SLAM.

A memory of my fathers voice echoes in my head.

“Sarah, what are you doing out here?” I feel him pick me up and put me on his shoulders.

“Daddy? What’s death?” I ask.

“Well, death is the ending of everything. We all have to face it sometime, it's the only guarantee we have in life. It's something you won’t need to worry about for a long time I hope. Let’s go help Mom with the potatoes!”

Everything fades to black.

September 13, 2022 19:48

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9 comments

Laurie Roy
10:22 Sep 22, 2022

At first I was like, oh another post apocalyptical zombie thing. But then, I was totally hooked. Writing style is beautifully done, pulled me into the story and had me rooting for the protagonist. Enjoyed the play on the past to present. Well done that you have an entire character development in a compressed format.

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Brendan Sanders
18:03 Sep 22, 2022

Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. 😊 I did the first part of this series and didn’t absolutely love it. Once I wrote this second part, I fell in love with my protagonist, and I hope I can keep her alive for a long time!

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08:34 Jul 23, 2023

Can't stop reading long enough to leave a comment!

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J.M. De Jong
07:38 Sep 19, 2022

Welp...I'm hooked now. I'm not usually a fan of zombie stories but it's too late nowww, I'm already drawn in, lol. I'll be waiting for part three ;)

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Brendan Sanders
18:37 Sep 19, 2022

Thank you for taking the time to read them! I would be lying if I said I didn’t tear up when I saw someone actually read my stories and comment on them! So thank you. Thank you so so so much!!

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J.M. De Jong
01:15 Sep 20, 2022

No problem! And awe, hehe. I appreciate your honesty ;) Having a stranger take the time to read and praise your work is one of the best feelings ever! Especially since we all put our hearts and souls into our stories!

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Brendan Sanders
02:49 Sep 20, 2022

Absolutely!! I have so many unfinished “books” and stories in general, that I’ve honestly bonded with these characters I’m writing about in this little challenge series I’m doing for The Infected, I literally don’t want to lose them. Doctor Sarah Martin is definitely going to be around for awhile 😁 by the way….Part Three is up!

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J.M. De Jong
06:17 Sep 20, 2022

Each book of mine with the different characters all have a special spot in my heart :) I get attached very quickly and so hard, whether they are mine or someone else's, lol, it's a problem. I just came from reading the next part! Had to read it before responding to comments, haha.

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Brendan Sanders
03:28 Sep 15, 2022

I’m currently working on Part Three…stay tuned!

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