When the dark, pitch-black sky with splatters of white stars met with the fiery glow of the sunrise of the morning of April 1st, Haven knew that something odd was going to happen that day. She always had a feeling that something was off, but today was different. And she didn’t know how right she was.
All was fine in the morning, nothing out of sorts. Haven got up, sat on the porch drinking her chamomile tea and watching the sun come up, staring deep into it’s depths. After that she retreated back inside to do her morning chores. Sort through the whites and darks, freshen up the bathrooms, give the plants their daily watering, and finally sit down to her buttermilk pancakes, pouring syrup and scooping butter onto them as she looked through the newspaper. But once noon hit, something went wrong. After making herself some grits, she was standing at the sink, rubbing the greasy pan violently, trying to make it sparkle when all of the sudden a bright flash streaked across the window, digging into Haven’s eyes. She dropped the pan and sponge, sending a tsunami of waves crashing against the insides of the sink. Her eyes stained as she tried to look out the window and see what might have been the cause of the glare, but could see nothing. A few hours later she was sitting on the couch watching one of her saved programs. BOOM. An ear splitting explosion shook the face of the Earth, throwing Haven off the couch and against the wall as the TV shattered and everything went black like the world was ending.
When Haven opened her eyes, she didn’t even know if she was alive or if she was met with death. She lay in a pile of rubble and all around her dust particles floated and flew into her nose, coating her nose and throat. She couched and wheezed as she got up off the ground, pushing some rubble that was stuck on top of her out of the way. She looked around, breath being taken out of her body as she stood in what used to be her house. Everything collapsed, breaking vases and windows, smashing little figurines and decorations, cracking the counters and splitting open bureaus. A big stinging pounded Haven’s head, sending waves of pain crashing through her body. When she lifted her hand up to the spot, blood stained her hand. Her hair was wet with the blood as well, but that wasn’t the only spot. Right above the eyebrow, a blood line dribbled down the side of her face as a gash leaked blood on her leg. She trembled as a frigid breeze blew through her hair. She heard a huge pounding up in the sky, and looked up to find a black helicopter hovering close to the ground, a spotlight pouring through the trees until it hit her standing in the mess of what used to be her house.
“We got you!!” A voice boomed from a megaphone.
The helicopter lowered to the side where tufts of grass lay, and two men came running out to her aid.
“Are you hurt?” They asked, leading her to the chopper by the elbows.
“No, but I think I was unconscious for some time,” Haven replied, bewildered by what was happening.
The two men looked at each other with sympathy drawn on their faces.
“You better get in. You missed a lot,” One of them said, loading her onto the helicopter.
Haven sat across from a woman who was holding her two children close. They were grimy, and cuts and bruises assaulted their skin. Tears filled with dirt and dust cascaded down their cheeks.
“Do you know what exactly happened?” Haven asked hesitantly, sitting on her hands nervously.
The mom looked up with beady, tired eyes.
“Do you remember anything?”
“Um, no. The only thing I do remember though is that there was a huge explosion and then I woke up in rubble which I guess used to be my house,” The words that came out of Haven’s mouth shocked even herself.
“Wow,” The mom said. “Well, what we know so far is that Jokester Incorporation was planning a big April Fools prank,” She started. “It was supposed to be the best one of the century. Their plan was to spread out and drop little robot things everywhere that would portray zombies. But, somehow when they were creating them human DNA got mixed in, and they took over the facility. The zombies went everywhere and started to destroy everything, and that’s what caused the explosion.”
Goosebumps scampered up and down Haven and her eyes bulged at what she had just heard.
“Wait, so they’re out in the world, like right now?” She asked, shaking a little.
“Uh-huh. The only way we got the info was that my husband works for Jokester Incorporation, and he hid in the facility and called us to let us know something had happened. I don’t think he made it though with the explosion,” Tears fell down her face and her voice quavered.
The kids hid their faces in their mom’s coat, and she wrapped them in a hug.
Haven sat there, feeling like the world had just broken in a million pieces, with no way to put them back together.
When the helicopter landed at a government run safe-house, the two men escorted Haven and the family out and into a chain-linked area that had barricades stacked against the walls with security guards blocking every square inch of the area. They got ringed in, and they followed another person who escorted them into a huge, open room. Children, adults, animals and more littered the concrete floor along with sleeping bags for each of them. A bunk beds had been put up in some of the corners, but one side of the area was stacked to the ceiling with food, water, ammo, and weapons to fend off any unwanted visitors. The noise was a jumble of cries, worries, and prayers as people hugged one another and tried to sleep through the pain. Haven and the family were taken to some sleeping bags near the corner stacked with supplies. They thanked the man, and then settled down in their area. With nothing to unpack or do, Haven grabbed some bags of chips and gave some to the family while keeping one for herself.
“What’s all of your names?” Haven asked, digging into the bag of chips as hunger started to slowly eat away at her.
“I’m Merida, and this is Hailey and Braxton,” Replied the mother, referring to herself and each child.
“I’m Haven,” She replied, taking another handful of chips and stuffing them in her mouth.
Time dragged on slowly, and famine started to set in as food was becoming scarce. Whatever Haven could find she always shared with the Merida and the kids, as they were the only people she really had left. They tried to make the time go by a little fun by playing games, but nothing seemed to raise anyone’s spirits. More people showed up each day, and soon enough the floor was barely visible as every square inch was used up by sleeping bags. No one complained about space or that they were hungry, for they knew that they were extremely lucky to even be here, as only a few thousand across the country were safe. A few times they had a break in, with zombies either bursting in from the main entrance, or smashing through some of the walls. Every time this happened, an alarm would sound, sending people into fits of cries and screams of terror as gruesome figures approached them with chunks of skin missing and empty eye sockets that stared straight into your soul, snatching your life away before your eyes. They had lost a few adults, kids, and a dog who just sat there barking at the lifeless creature. Once one had broken in during the night right next to Hailey’s sleeping bag and grabbed her. Everyone woke up to ear-splitting screams. Haven instinctively grabbed a knife from the supply area and with a quick slice, the zombie dropped Hailey to the ground, sending her scampering to the comfort and safety of her mother. Everyone was on their edge lately, as zombie break-ins had become an everyday thing. The guards retreated from outside, and came inside while zombies stuck their arms through the fence and eventually started to climb over it. With walls and entrances broken, they gathered heavy things and put it up against the exposed areas while wooden planks were hammered across to stabilize it and prevent the zombies from breaking in. Each day got worse, and more people didn’t make it out alive. Morale was crushed and destroyed. Everyone dreamed and begged for the innocence of yesterday.