I was up early Tuesday morning working away at a test. If I know now what I knew then… I wouldn’t have bothered. I just figured that if the apocalypse turned out to be… not the apocalypse, I should still probably take a stab at maintaining my grades. As I was working, Nate came in, sporting a bandanna on his forehead. I’d momentarily forgotten he’d been slain that evening, following the mission.
Being undead apparently didn’t bestow upon Nate any new-found sense of chivalry or humor, becuase he spent the next 15 minutes talking trash about how bad I was gonna die the next day. About how I’d become his personal target, and that he was going have some of the best zombies out scouring campus for me. Then he sniffed the air near my head, and said he could smell my brains.
OK. Whatever. But after he left, I had to talk to Ian about what to do. If there was even a grain of truth in his words, I was in serious trouble. Still not confident in my skills to defend myself in a pinch, I was afraid of these people who would hunt me. Ian and I hatched a plan. We decided that I’d wake up at 5:30, go to Magruder, and then sleep on a couch in there until 9, when Ian would come wake me up for class. If I could just get to that building, I would be safe. All three of my classes were held in the building, so I wouldn’t have to leave if someone brought me food.
The plan was perfect. I set my alarm for 5:30 when I hopped into bed at 3:30. The only problem is, near as Ian and I can infer, I got up, switched off the alarm at 5:30, and got back into bed. Ian woke me up at 8:15, realizing what had happened. Quickly I suited up, aiming for stealth rather than intimidation today. The horde would not be impressed by any array of weapons at this point. They were hungry, and there were only twenty-some-odd of us left.
I snuck out early, creeping across the parking lot, only packing socks up my sleeves, and a 6-shot maverick stowed in the pockets of my cargo pants. I began walking up the street right in the middle, trying to distance myself from the sidewalks where it would be all to easy for a zombie to hide, and simply reach out and grab me by the ankle. Eventually, I made it to Magruder. As I stepped inside, I realized right then how far I’d come, and how little I had left to go. The nightmare would soon be over, for better or worse.
The day went by pretty fast I guess. Between every period I had to check up on the TrumanZombies.com website, and slowly watch as our numbers dwindled, and theirs grew. Cody had, the night before, requested information for when the humans would all be free to meet. The Final Mission time was set for 4:30, with a potential standoff to end everything occurring at 6 PM. Location: to be determined.
Ian brought me lunch, which was awesome. Some people came to visit me, tell me war stories, give me news about the outside world. It wasn’t a bad day, all in all. That afternoon, I began to check my e-mail compulsively. It was nearly 4, and Cody hadn’t given us a location. Finally, we were all directed to the BSU, at the edge of campus. I started to panic, becuase that was about as far from where I was as was possible. I quickly packed my things and moved out… noticing the zombies amassing in the very building from which I had taken refuge in. My flight from there was quick though, and without reservation. I was done hiding.
I took a long route, skirting campus, to get to the BSU. En route, I saw the military commander who’d helped us access the automatics walking towards Barnett with the case of syringes. My heart leaped: maybe we were finally going to escape this nightmare; maybe with those samples someone could find a cure! I continued on quickly to the BSU only to find it was locked when I arrived. I turned to hasten my retreat; this screamed ‘ambush’ and I wanted to get under cover quickly. As I did so, I saw a fellow human jog up to me. I began to explain to him that the doors we locked, but he already knew. He’d been spotting from a window up in the West Campus Suites from across the street. We quickly got inside of the building, and as more humans showed up, got them to make their way over as well.
Finally we met Greg and Kathleen. We’d learned from a security video that the military commander I’d just seen had actually set us up. He killed the tech who was our last hope of getting communications to the outside world. We understood in that instant that our fate had already been written, and that there was no escape from this hell now. Kathleen said she was able to determine that the commander had called for a helicopter to provide him an emergency extraction, and that he’d taken with him the samples. I felt like such a fool. I trusted this man without thinking, assuming he was working for our survival. If I’d stopped him right there, maybe things would have been different.
So we mobilized. I at least knew where he would be: Barnett Hall was the only building with enough space around it for a helicopter to land. On the way over, people were… excited. I didn’t understand it. Every step I took was one closer to my own death. A horde of potentially 100 Zombies would be waiting for us, hungry to stop us, and allow the commander to escape with the samples which he planned to spread throughout the Midwest. We pressed onward, taking a back road that eventually ended behind Barnett at a fence.
As we approached the fence, we saw that lurking behind the houses was the first wave of our attackers. The gathered at the open end of the street forming a line, picking their targets, and discussing strategy in whatever foul tongue the dead communicate in. The closed in, closer, closer. A few of us jumped the fence, and though safe, were unable to protect those remaining. We rushed them and quickly they backed off. We returned to the fence. More went over. A tipping point had been reached and the zombies rushed in. Trapped in a corner, I did what I had to. SNAP. One stunned. *slide-back-slide-forward* (this is how the gun reloads) SNAP. A second one down. Michael Justus is eying me and I wasn’t going out that easy. *slidebackslideforward* SNAP. I’d stunned him. Just like that.
Some random woman came over then, hollering for us to “get off her property.” I guess you can’t really say you live in a hick town until you’ve heard that at least once. The zombies scattered, stunned and confused at the sudden appearance of the woman. I jumped the fence and rejoined my squad. In the fray we only lost one man, Michael. We continued to our destination.
On the hill we saw a large cluster of zombies. A forward squad of humans went ahead and chased them back across the street to the creek. My eyes followed them, and were met with the sight of the full horde. I couldn’t believe it. It seemed like they’d mustered their entire force, just as we had. We were out-numbered 4-1. Greg and Kathleen found the position they needed to attack the helicopter, and told us it would be in range in 5 minutes. If we could just hold the hill for that time, Kathleen would blast the damn thing out of the sky, and the Midwest would be saved from the plague.
The zombies slowly began moving in. 4 minutes. Breaking into two main squads and forming a pincer attack, they were getting ready. 3 minutes. Every second they wasted organizing was like a tiny gift from the almighty. 2 minutes. Then I heard it. The sound of hundreds of feet stampeding to hasten our doom. Things went quick. They were closing in on my end of our loose circle around the launcher. We quickly confirmed that only one of us needed to survive to complete the mission. That was encouraging.
What was not encouraging was the 20 hungry faces I was staring down that were now moving with alarming pace. SNAP. I missed! The shot veered off! *slidebackslideforward* SNAP. I got one that time. *slidebackslideforward* SNAP. Got a second. I stepped back a few paces, but there were to many, moving too fast. 1 minute. *slidebackslideforward* SNAP. ANOTHER! *slidebackslideforward*
I fell to my knees. In the confusion of it all, I’d forgotten the skill that kept me alive this past week. Someone had gotten me from behind. The feeling was unreal. I had pockets full of clips waiting to be spent on zombies. I had comrades that needed avenging. I had a life left to live. No more. Soon, I would be one of them. As I struggled to come to grips with the events of the last 5 minutes, I heard ‘whoosh’ sound, and saw Kathleen’s missile sail up until the sky, connecting violently with the approaching helicopter.
It was done. The zombies had devoured most of us. One had run to take cover in Barnett. Another had just run. I can’t blame them. We all wanted to live though this. A strange sense of euphoria spread over me though. Maybe it was the neurotoxins… or maybe, just maybe, it was the knowledge that my skills and sacrifice had bought us the previous seconds needed to save the greater Midwest from the nightmare that had been our lives this past week.
I struggled home, walking with the horde. Pulling myself up the stairs and into my room, I did my best to summarize the events of today as best I could. With that done, I searched the room, and found what I was looking for. It’s sitting here on my desk, as I type this. Loaded, cocked, and ready to go.
There’s maybe ten minutes left before it happens, before I turn- oh wait. There’s Ian. I’m glad he’s back.
I don’t know if I would have been able to it myself.