We can help each other. Those words play over and over like my iPod’s stuck on repeat. I miss music. It’s not like it’s gone or anything, I’m sure there’s a cd somewhere in this car. It’s just, listening to music isn’t high on the list of things you wanna do these days. My list has four things on it:
Music might as well be one of those freaks out there, around, visible, but still dead. The only melody I hear now is the sound of the air passing us by while the car races down the road to a destination that should be called a galaxy far, far away. New Jersey is the goal but I’ll take any place that gets us the hell out of Georgia. In case you’ve been living under a rock or held up in a Wal-Mart bathroom like I was, the world kind of ended. I’m not sure if it counts as an apocalypse because I always thought everyone had to be dead for you to be able to call it an apocalypse. Currently, there are a lot of dead people but they’re still walking around doing their dead thing, moaning, walking, eating and we’re still kicking, so I’ll hold off on calling it an apocalypse for now, maybe just a shit show?
“Die, bitch!” Kevin shouted. I didn’t get an opportunity to react before the metal of the car crashed into a feral looking body. I couldn’t tell what it was, a man, a woman, maybe a kid? That thought chilled me, kid zombies are the worse. They just drive home that there's no future, no pretty ending to this story. I listened to the body bouncing between the undercarriage and the asphalt. I could feel Kevin's eyes on me, as I stared into the passenger mirror to watch the twitching of the bloody mess that we created. The zombie got smaller and smaller and the blood seemed less and less as we kept moving along. It had been two months and four days since the worst moment of my life. While I watched the yellow lines zip past my sight, I had the feeling that stealing this car was going to be the second worst moment of my life. “What’s wrong?” His honeyed sweet voice cut through what was a good hour of silence. His blue eyes fell upon me and they glowed with the help of the sunlight. “You alright?” he softly asked.
“I’m Fine,” I quickly replied.
He laughed, “Really? Because you’ve been PMSing for days now.” Kevin isn't an ass, well I guess he is, but that wasn’t his normal setting before all of this. Few would believe it, but he was the sweetest man that I had ever laid eyes on. “You’re still mad I strung up that Zombie?” He asked. He didn’t wait for my answer, most likely because he already knew how I felt, “I was having a little fun, you remember fun, right?" His fingers tightened around the black leather. "It’s something you can have with or without the fucking dead.” Kevin sighed and his palm slapped the dashboard, “You’re too fucking soft, that’s what your problem is. They're not people Jessica. We don’t have to be nice to them, because they damn sure won't be nice to us.”
People talk the most when they know their wrong, you don’t need a lot of words to defend what’s right. “It’s not the zombies, you idiot,” I said. I spun around to face him, I wanted him to look me in the eyes. I wanted to see if anything was left of the man I once knew. “We didn't have to leave her,” I said
Kevin’s eyebrow went up, “Leave who?” he asked. My eyes were locked on him and he quickly glanced at me and then he rolled his eyes, “That Wal-mart chick? Are we still talking about that bitch? It’s been a week now Jess-”
I balled up my fist and sent it flying into his shoulder. My emotions are closely connected with my body, I use it to express how I feel. In couples counseling, they called it having anger issues and self-control problems, but I don’t have any issues when the rest of the world aren’t acting like dicks, so I think it’s got less to do with me and more to do with society. “Don’t call her that!” I shouted. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before calmly and softly saying, “She needed our help and you fucked her over.”
Kevin nodded, “God damn right! That chick was heading to Savannah on a wild goose chase. I wasn’t about to risk our lives for her,” he said. As I looked at him I wondered if he truly felt that way if he was honestly thinking of us and not just himself, “but she had what we needed and that was it, end of story.” The tone of his voice was cold but honest. This apocalypse or shit show, it did a lot more than just raise the dead, it killed a lot of the living, we just don’t know it yet. People don’t like to think about their souls or maybe they don’t believe in that kind of thing, but I do and Kevin’s soul got killed off and mine is on life support, “Don’t put this all on me. If you were so concerned about her you could have stayed.”
He was right and I hated him because of it, “I bet you would have loved that.” I said.
Kevin hit the brakes and the car came to a violent halt, “What the hell does that mean?” he asked. My fingers combed through my hair and my resting bitch face switched on as I looked out the window once again, “You think… You think I’d leave you? Let you risk your life for that chick’s family?” Kevin rested his head back on the seat and closed his eyes, “Jessica I love you, more than anything in this world or the next. I’m not about to take a risk on every person we come across.” I watched his eyes flicker open and that light blue sparkled in the sunlight. Kevin looked at me and placed his hand on mine, “The dead aren’t the only thing that changed Jessica. Everyone is just trying to get by, just looking out for number one. The only people we can trust are each other,” He said.
I ripped my hand free from his, “So as long as we’re together, fuck everyone else right!” I shouted.
“That’s how its always been,” He softly said. Kevin turned to me and tried to take hold of my hand again but I quickly slapped his fingers away,“When your dad didn’t want us together. When your family didn’t want anything to do with us or Sabrina,” His eyes lowered and I knew just where he was taking this fight, to a place I never wanted to return to. “When those freaks broke in and took her. It was just me and you. Jess, it’s always been me and you.” I had enough, I pushed open the car door and slammed it as hard as I could behind me. Kevin’s head slammed back into the headrest repeatedly before he yelled, “What the hell are you doing Jess?”
I kept walking, “I’m getting my soul back!” I shouted
Kevin hopped out of the car quickly, “Damn it, Jess, now isn’t the time for this! Get the fuck back in the car!” Kevin shouted and slammed his fist onto the roof of the car.
I slowly turned around, I hoped he was far enough away that he couldn’t see the tears in my eyes, but the moment I opened my mouth, my voice gave it all away, “You’re always bringing her up. Like I forgot about her, I was there Kevin! I held parts of her in my hands! I felt her blood dripping through my fucking fingers, Kevin!”
“Oh, my God,” Kevin said softly.
I started walking back toward him and the car, “After what happened to our daughter, how could you not help Catherine? How could you leave her there to die?” I asked. My arms crossed over my chest and I did my best not to replay that night in my head, not to listen to me screaming her name in the darkness. When I looked over at Kevin, his eyes were wide.
He looked like I set his puppy on fire at his birthday party, “Jess.” Kevin said softly.
I shook my head, “No Kevin! I was there when those fuckers broke in! I saw her blood on the crib, I-” My words faded from my thoughts as I noticed Kevin turning white, like Casper white.
“Behind you!” Kevin Screamed
I spun around to see a large mass of zombies making their way down the road. My eyes scanned the massive horde, the ones up front were far faster than the others, but they weren't racing toward us, which meant we weren’t noticed yet. Then my eyes met the glare of a gray-eyed woman that was in the front of the pack. The zombie had long black hair that hung over a bloody red gash running from the left side of her face down to the middle of her chest. There was dark red blood dripping from her chest onto the blacktop and little maggots swimming through her flesh like kids in a pool. She slowly raised her left hand toward me as if pointing. I didn’t want to find out if it was zombie sign language for 'Get that bitch' or just trying to grab her future meal. I ran toward the car, "Let's get the fuck out of here.” I said and jumped back into my seat.
As the rest of the horde of zombies laid eyes on us, a number of them started speeding down the road. Kevin got in the car and before I knew it, we were flying along the blacktop once again. I turned to look at the oncoming mob of death behind us. Then I heard Kevin shout, “You have got to be kidding me!” I almost broke my neck how fast I spun my head around, to see another group of zombies in front of us. Kevin slammed his foot on the breaks, then my head bashed into the dashboard and everything went black.
A rush of pain ran through my skull like someone used it as a drum but instead of drumsticks, they used fucking bricks. My fingers lightly touched the gash in the middle of my face and I could feel the blood stick to my fingers, coating them like oil. I looked around but the car, the zombies, and Kevin were all gone. A dark room took their place, I went back to watching blood drip onto my palms, “Kevin.” I said softly. I looked back into the darkness and saw a glowing light switch. My bloody fingers hit the switch and the light cast out the darkness. “Kevin!” I screamed. I look around the room to see nothing, except a bloody white crib standing alone under the bright light. I was right back in my darkest moment, “No, no.” I said as I started backing up. My back pressed against the wall, “Not this, God, please! Not this!” I shouted. I slid down the wall until my knees were fastened to my chest. My eyes closed, “Kevin!” I screamed. Then out of nowhere, I felt a hand grab hold of my arm and I looked up into a pair of dead gray eyes. It was Kevin but it wasn’t, his skin was a dark gray color. Blood stained his mouth. He leaned in smiling, pulling me closer.
His lips parted causing blood to run down his chin from his jagged teeth as he asked, “What's all the screaming for?”
I screamed a blood-chilling scream, one that was created out of pure fear, then my eyes shot open. I could see the night sky, sprinkled with bright stars. The cool air tickled the hairs on my arm and I sat up only to feel a sharp pain shoot through my whole body. I dropped back down to the ground and screamed, “Jesus Christ!” A man came running over toward me. He placed his hands on my forehead, being careful to avoid the open wound, as he rested my head back on a dirty blanket.
“Take it easy. Just take it easy, you’re safe now,” he said.
My eyes filled with tears, half due to the nightmare and half due to the pain that was running through my body. My skin was on fire, I could feel the sweat pushing its way out of every pore of my body. I rested my head back, looking up at the short dark-haired man who hovered over me. He had on a pair of glasses with silver frames that just popped out along the redness of his clearly sunburnt skin. I bit down on my lip, and spoke through the pain, “It hurts.”
The man nodded and picked up a rag soaked in warm water, “I know it does. You have to rest, sleep is the best thing for you right now.” The man ran the rag over my forehead and then slowly looked over to the side of me. My eyes tried to follow him but even that small movement hurt.
“Where’s Kevin?” I said softly.
“I don’t know who that is,” The man replied, “but my name is Joseph.” His hand felt my cheek and then he looked over at a small campfire that sat beside us. My skin felt so hot that I didn’t notice the added heat from its flames. Joseph leaned over and I could hear him shuffling the wood of the fire. “I wanted to do this when you were out but building a fire isn't something I learned in school. It took longer than I thought, but I guess it’s now or never,” he said.
“Do what?” I replied softly. My eyes flickered lightly as I watched a star shoot across the night sky, it was a beautiful moment that was quickly stolen by Joseph swinging a red-hot machete down on my left arm. The heat hit me first and then lighting bolts of pain, “Oh, Gwad!” I screamed.
“Damn it!” Joseph said. “It didn’t cut through.” I watched as he wiped sweat from his forehead only to smear my blood along his eyebrow. “Fuck, well...” His hands wrapped around the handle of the machete and he twisted it, cracking the bone in my arm. I wanted to scream but nothing came out. My eyes flickered and then rolled back into my head as I heard Joseph shout, “One more time!”