As she pressed her youthful body against the moss-covered tree log, rough bark plates nibbled her skin through her T-shirt. Her heart was acting like a powerful and sweaty drummer solo. She moved eyes moved back and forth, as she listened.
She had felt psyched this morning. As she had stretched the sleep out of her limbs, with sun caressing her freckled face, there had been just one thought in her head – today she would meet her little brother. This positive mind set had now taken an abrupt turn to the worse and now she was afraid that she would never see him again. She banned herself and the little reckon expedition of hers that she set out do, two days ago.
She swallowed and breathed with her mouth open. With each breath, her body became more relaxed. It was dead silent now. Besides her anxious breathing, all she could hear was the faint rustle from the treetops. She must have escaped, she thought, and a wave of relief washed over her. So far so good, she thought, raised her head and let her scared eyes look over the tree.
The sight of a pair of blood shoot eyes, staring back at her, hit her like a rock in the forehead. With a shriek, she shot backwards, landing on her back on the forest’s soft carpet. She watched in horror as the zombie scrambled over the tree. Like a baby who had just learned to walk, the zombie’s movements were clumsy, lacking any kind of rhythm and human grace.
Her legs shake as she rose to her feet. She looked around the small glade, but she didn’t discover any more zombies. This one most have strayed away from the rest of its herd, she guessed and brushed the moss and pine needles off her dirty jeans.
The zombie made it over the tree and now its lifeless gaze was aiming for her. He come at her with a crouch-like walk, with its head moving like a slow pendulum, accompanied by groaning sounds. She took a few steps backwards as she watched the zombie moving towards her. Its clothes were filthy and torn and they did just hang onto the body, much like the flesh on its face.
The mess of fabric could once have been a fancy suit, she reflected. Perhaps he had been a banker or a corporate hotshot, she speculated. She smiled a little as she imagined the zombie, driving around in a shiny new muscle car, attending high-class charity events, throwing money around him, with his grunting moans.
It had been her mother’s idea, to come up with funny stories about them undead, making them less scary and intimidating. That worked like a charm, as long as you didn’t let your mind drown in the imagination, forgetting your surroundings, that is.
The unmistaken smell of decayed flesh hit her nose as the zombie approached her. She backed up a few feet and buried her foot into the ground. Then, she set off against it and like a heated hockey player; she jumped up and gave him an excellent tackle, she brought him groaning to the ground.
She landed like a graceful cat and turned around. Seeing the zombie, struggling on its back like an upturned beetle, she giggled. It felt refreshing, she thought, and soon her rippling giggles expanded into full-blown laughter, making her stomach flex so hard it almost hurt.
It had been a long time since she’d have this much fun she thought as tears of joy ran down her cheeks. Then she thought of her little brother and the laugher subsided as she realized that she wouldn’t get back to him today.
She wiped the tears from her face while a sense of compassion rolled over her. She felt sorry for the zombie. Once, it had been full of life, with its own hopes, dreams and free will. Now, it was nothing else than a mindless mumbling flesh-eating abomination. Somehow, it all felt so unnecessary, like if God made a terrible mistake and instead of fixing it, it was like if he just shrugged and decided to looked the other way.
She reached back and pulled out a small, yet sturdy, gun from the leather belt, which went double lap around her waist. She looked how the gun fitted in her hand, almost as it was for lost girls, she thought. A slanted smile grew on her lips while memories flashed before her eyes.
She remembered little from the crash, but she remembered that it felt as she sat in a roller coaster jumping out of its tracks, plunging to the ground.
She shuddered as she remembered that horrible sound of wailing metal, just before the plane broke in two pieces. Before she understood what was happening, she was in the cockpit, and everything spun around her. The last thing she remembered was the harsh warning signal from the instrument panel, which flickered like an overcharged Christmas tree. After that, it all became dark.
She remembered the pilot though. His eyes were the first thing she saw when she opened her eyes again. She noticed something warm flickering in his eyes, which made her feel safe, despite their dire situation.
The crash had twisted his legs in a horrible way, almost ripped his nose off, and he had deep scars running through his forehead. It was a gut turning sight. Despite his injuries, he smiled at her, told her how happy he was that she was alive and that she didn’t need to worry.
The increasing moans from the zombie, before her, made her snap back to reality. It was still struggling on its back, unable to understand how it would do to get back up again.
“I’m so sorry!” She whispered, aimed the gun at its head, and closed her eyes hard.
The recoil almost made her threw the gun over her head, and she felt a sharp, numbing sound ringing inside her ears. She glanced at the body, avoiding looking at the head, making sure that it had stopped moving. It had, it was dead again, for good this time.
He had grimaced of pain as he pulled out his gun from the waistband of his dark-blue pilot trousers and handed it to her.
“The noise from the crash will attract them like a moth to the flame,” he said with a strained and mucus filled voice, “They’re probably here soon. Make sure you’re always quiet. Now, run child!”
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