This is after the fall of the country, some 15 years later.
Dust in the Wind.
Michelle Williams awoke to the alarm ringing in her ears and reached lazily across the bed to swat it with her hand. The alarm broke when it hit the ground and she found herself cursing and sitting up. Great,
she sighed, just one more thing to add to my list of things to do.
It took another moment for her to realise that the alarm didn’t belong to the clock. It was second bell and it meant one thing, an attack from the infected.
Springing into action Michelle leapt out of bed and covered her nakedness with a blue baggy shirt and sweatpants. From the cupboard, she pulled out a shotgun, slinging it across her back and the pistol into the holster at her hip. She threw open the door not caring as it cracked an already cracked wall and joined her fellow soldiers as they rushed to the wall. The wall of compound was built from scrap metal and wood so it appeared uneven and shoddily made in places even though it was solid as stone. To stop the infected climbing it they had placed spikes and barbed wire along the length and width. Sometimes it didn’t deter them at all. It really depended on how hungry they were and these days that was very.
“What type?” she asked the Watcher. He was a tall man with a hard muscled body borne from hard labour.
He didn’t take his gaze from the streets below. “Three and two. Runners and Walkers. I don’t know how many.”
There were twelve of them on the wall, all armed, all prepared to shoot down any climbers. Surprisingly it tended to be the slower infected, the Walkers that were better at climbing, quicker too compared to the Runners. “I hate Zombies,” she said to herself, not meaning to be overheard.
“Yeah well, they’re not too keen on you either.”
Michelle turned and gave her brother James a quick smile before turning back. “Do you think they’ll climb?”
“Who the **** knows what those things think,” said James. “They might but then again, like yesterday, they might just move on.”
They watched and waited. No one wanted to waste ammo for these days such things were scarce and needed to be rationed like food and everything else. Sometimes riders from other colonies would come and they would trade goods scavenged or otherwise, but they hadn’t seen or heard from anyone in months.
The infected moved listlessly by the wall letting out the low-pitched groaning that sometimes characterised their arrivals. These ones, Runners included, seemed unmindful of the wall or the people watching them from on top. Still, they had to sound the alarm for one never knew if an infected would break from the pack and try to climb. Michelle and the others waited for the moment, the tell tale sign that this day would be just like every other day.
This day was different however and this time the infected moved on, vanishing around the corner of an abandoned Tesco. Michelle sighed and then wiped the sweat from her forehead. “We’ll call it an hour and a half before calling it quits, agreed?” They all murmured their agreements before returning to the watch.
“You don’t have to do this, you know?” said her brother coming close and placing a callused hand on her shoulder.
“I know, but I want to,” she answered. “She was my child.” The last words came out as a whisper, as though broaching the subject was taboo. To some it was, as the death of a child was by any means a terrible thing, a traumatic event that you either coped with alone or did not cope with at all. It did not help when the reason your child was dead was your fault and that had you chosen a different path that day she would still be alive and not infected.
Isabella had only been five years old when they had taken her.
Today would have been her sixth birthday.
The least she could do was put a bullet in her head, save her the pain of being infected. No one knew much about the Zombies except they were dead or un-dead depending on your view; they didn’t even know if there was a thought process behind their attacks or movements. Michelle had heard stories about those kinds of Zombies and wished with all her might they were just that, stories.
“You should get some rest Michelle, y’know you need it,” said Harlo. He was a short and compact man with a wiry frame and strong arms earned from working the leaver on the gate. There was a scar on his upper lip giving him the appearance of a permanent half-hearted smile. “No one will blame you.” I’ll blame myself,
she wanted to say, but didn’t, and nodded instead. “I’ll be in the refectory if you need me.”
The echoes of their conversation faded into the background as she made her way from the walkway. She didn’t head to the refectory however, and instead moved to the north facing walkway, the one looking out across the old town that had once been called Consett. From here she could see the roundabout with the cars seemingly parked around it or fallen on their sides. She could see the old bus station and the streets around it. Though only fifteen years had passed since the incident, most of the buildings still appeared in good condition. Fifteen years since the world ended. Fifteen years for everything to change.
It seemed impossible yet it had happened.