Recollection

Submitted into Contest #60 in response to: Write a post-apocalyptic story that features zombies.... view prompt

25 comments

Science Fiction Drama Thriller

They say your life flashes before your eyes when you’re bitten.


How would they know? How could I believe them? Frivolous, uneducated guesses by people trying to make sense of a world that can no longer be controlled.


They were wrong. It’s not a flash after the bite. It’s a slow dream.


A recollection.


I’m in the hospital where Davy was born. He’s squeezing my pinky in his tiny hand. His grip is surprisingly strong.


He likes you,” whispers Mom, hugging us tight to her chest. I listen to her heartbeat and melt into its slow rhythm.


She fades into someone on the edge of my memory—a teacher. I can’t remember his name. He presses the button on a dusty TV siting in the corner of a classroom.


“—a new mask mandate, required for all, as the mysterious virus doesn’t show signs of slowing down—”


“Don’t worry,” he says, smiling at the class. “This’ll blow over soon enough.”


He turns back to the whiteboard and picks up a green marker. He begins to write—


Mom and Dad step into the classroom, and Davy’s running around, his blond hair bouncing with his strides. The classroom disappears and a camping spot takes its place.


Our camping spot by the lake. We stay here every year.


I inhale the aroma—the smoke and the trees, the lingering scent of hot dogs. The lake is close enough that I can hear the splash of the waves hitting the rocks.


“Nice to get out of the house for once,” says Dad. “Don’t know when the quarantine will end.”


“I hope we don’t get in trouble for this,” says Mom.


“What’s the worst that could happen?”


Davy almost runs into the fire and I grab his arms, yanking him back. “Not too close!”


He laughs and hugs me, hugs me, hugs me.


The campsite disappears. We’re at home in the living room and there’s fire everywhere. Mom screams so loud I slam my hands over my ears. There was something in the house, something evil, and suddenly Mom’s foaming at the mouth. She lunges toward us, and Dad jumps in front—


“Run!” he shouts, and I pick Davy up even though he’s much too big now. He wraps his arms around me, and I feel his tears on the back of my neck. I want to set him down and look him in the eyes. I want to slow the heartbeat thats frantically thumping against my own. Instead, I sprint out of the house. I don’t stop running for a long time.


We’re in the middle of the street now, and Davy’s lying on the ground. We’ve celebrated ten birthdays since we left Mom and Dad.


I’m shaking as I tie a bandage around his leg. The blood seeps through until the bandage is more red than white. Something green oozes from the gashes.


“It’s no use, Rox,” moans Davy. There’s a sheen of sweat on his forehead and I use my sleeve to pat it dry.


“Shut up!” I’m really panicking now. This isn’t Mom, or Dad, or everyone else in the world. This is Davy, and I can’t accept it, no. Not Davy. Not my brother. Not the kid who clung to my hand on his first day of kindergarten and wouldn’t let go until the principal and two teachers had to pry him away. Not the kid who, when he blew out the candles on his cake and Mom asked him what he wished for, proceeded to crawl into my lap and kiss my cheek.


“She’s always my wish!”


I’m crying now, the messy kind with sobs that rack my entire body. It’s too much, all of this. Too much.


“Go,” he whispers, reaching up to touch my cheek.


I should’ve seen it—that thing. It was my turn to take watch, and I’d nodded off for just a second.


Davy’s turning now. His pupils dilate until his eyes are entirely black. The veins in his forehead turn purple and threaten to burst. “Now!” he growls, and I know that he just used every ounce of his soul to say that word, and I can’t waste it.


I’m running and running, and the memories are turning hazy now, with shadows at the edges. There’s a woman with black eyes running after me, chasing me into an alleyway, into a dead end. 


Pain flutters around the teeth marks where she bit me, on my right forearm. There was already a faint scar there, from when Davy and I jumped into the lake and I grazed a sharp rock. He cried so hard when he saw the blood; it took hours for me to assure him that I wouldn’t die, that I’d only need a couple of stitches….


The wound starts to turn green as a sickening amount of blood spurts out. The pain shifts from an uncomfortable prickling into an unconscionable stabbing, a knife plunging into my forearm over and over until I’m laughing in hysteria. The stabbing spreads into my shoulders and slithers down my back. Everything starts to feel on fire, and I know that I’m stumbling now, but I can’t see—the pain blinds me, burns me, turns my memories into flashes of white—


I trip and the world turns sideways. Numbness creeps in, replacing the pain, and I know this should soothe me but all I feel is scared scared scared.


They said it was a flash. They said it was a flash.


There’s something in front of me—a body. I feel an odd sensation in my stomach; a swoop that suggests starvation even though I know I had breakfast just this morning. I stare at the body until it consumes my whole being and the swooping intensifies into an inexplicable gnawing.


I don’t like this feeling. I don’t like this wanting. I try to look away from the body, but I can’t turn my head. I want Davy, now. I want Mom and Dad. Where are they? There was a fire…a disease…a…a…a woman with bloody teeth and purple skin….


There was…a bite?


Arm…hurts.


Crawling.


Fire…fire everywhere. Burning.


I need…to eat.


Davy…who is Davy?


Eat…I need…to eat.


Hungry.

September 19, 2020 00:29

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25 comments

Scout Tahoe
02:29 Sep 19, 2020

Wow, you come out with stories quickly. The end is quite thrilling. I really like your word choice in this. Also, first line really sucked me in, haha.

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Scout Tahoe
02:31 Sep 19, 2020

Oh! You just changed your profile pic! This new one's so cute!

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Lani Lane
02:41 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you for reading and commenting, Scout! And yes--the old one was way too headshot-y for my taste. This one is from a dog-sledding adventure last year. :)

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Scout Tahoe
02:43 Sep 19, 2020

Ooh! Do you have a dog?

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Lani Lane
02:45 Sep 19, 2020

Not yet, sadly, despite being an enormous dog-lover. :( My fiancé and I are waiting until we can get a bigger place, preferably with a yard. I'm a fur aunt, though--my sister has an Akita named Raven that I love. :)

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Scout Tahoe
02:47 Sep 19, 2020

Aww, so cute! Akitas are amazing. Raven is such a cool name. "Fur aunt", girl, love that.

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Lily Kingston
04:18 Sep 19, 2020

dang, this story was good. It was so tense from all the running and sad from losing her dear brother that she cared so much about. Keep up the good work and keep writing!!

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Lani Lane
17:54 Sep 20, 2020

Hi, Cara! Thank you so very much for your comment, it means a lot! :)

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Ryan Dupont
20:53 Oct 02, 2020

I wish I could give this story more than one like. It was very well written and very creative. Loved the idea and the way you ended it was awesome. I look forward to reading more of your stories.

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Lani Lane
00:26 Oct 05, 2020

Thank you so much, Ryan! Made my whole day. :)

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Mandy Kehoe
13:04 Oct 02, 2020

I love this. Especially the ending, you ended it in such a great way. This was definitely my style of writing, and you did a great job!

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Lani Lane
13:05 Oct 02, 2020

Thank you so much, Mandy!! I really appreciate that. I see you've written for this contest--I'd love to read your story! Will do so hopefully sometime soon. :)

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Mandy Kehoe
13:08 Oct 02, 2020

Yes! I would definitely love some feedback. The story about zombies was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I wrote another one for this week, and I am super proud of it. If you have a chance I would love your opinion on how to improve!

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Lani Lane
13:42 Oct 02, 2020

Of course!! I'll try to get to it at lunch. :) Love meeting new authors on here, excited to read your stuff!!

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Lani Lane
00:32 Oct 05, 2020

Hey Mandy! I'm so sorry, I was traveling this weekend and out of service, so I ran out of time to read your story--but I'm definitely going to get to it either tonight or tomorrow, I promise!!

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C Britt
01:38 Sep 29, 2020

You had some awesome imagery! I especially liked the line, "The pain shifts from an uncomfortable prickling into an unconscionable stabbing, a knife plunging into my forearm over and over until I’m laughing in hysteria." Great job!

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Lani Lane
03:46 Sep 29, 2020

Hey, C--thank you so much for that comment! I appreciate it, and I'm glad you liked the imagery. I'd love to give your stories a read--I'm about to hit the hay but I'll hop on tomorrow. :)

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10:21 Sep 26, 2020

It's a good story. One question: the start is just what happens after a bite, right? Which definitely means the end is when the bite comes? The recollections of past memories are really good especially as they seem really relatable. Those simple flashes of a life that could have been fine. The part where she loses her brother is by far one of the touching parts of the story. Second question: At the start, you said that after a bite one begins to remember things, recollections of the past. Then in the middle, I think, you said after a bite, ...

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Lani Lane
12:09 Sep 26, 2020

Hi Abigail!! Thank you so much for reading and commenting! Great questions—so basically she gets bit and remembers her life as she slowly turns into a zombie, finally succumbing at the end (which is why those last sentences are clipped).

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