Melissa adjusted her rear view mirror as her Volkswagen cruised along at 70km/h. The speed limit was 70 and she had no intention to break the law. Not that the law mattered much anymore. The law hadn’t mattered since the outbreak. Driving happily with her music blaring, she was almost oblivious of the events that had destroyed much of the human race 3 years ago. Well, forced oblivion. She knew of the things that had occurred, but her kind wasn’t much affected by it. No, she was wealthy enough to be fine. Her silver Golf glistened in the sunshine as the green trees whizzed past, the brilliant blue sky visible over the hills in the distance, with wisps of clouds speckling the blue. A beautiful day by any measure, and Melissa was enjoying the scenery of the country side. Had she been going slower and fully taking in the views, she would have noticed the infected man trudging along the road. More disease than man at this point, he was ravaged by the disease to such an extent he barely had an any skin on him. But the sun was shining and the music was loud. It was a lovely day.
The vibration in her pocket startled her, she had forgotten to take her phone out of her jeans and sync it with the car stereo. She wriggled and wormed to get the oversized phone out and glanced at the caller I.D. It was Ethan, her boyfriend. He, much like her, came from a well off family and so had survived the outbreak with ease.
“Where are you?” He asked. He sounded incredibly worried.
“I’m still driving babe!” She shouted over the excessively loud melody of I Kissed A Girl.
“How about you turn the damn music off please? Ethan asked annoyed.
She killed the music so they could speak better.
“You should be here by now, you know it’s not safe out there.”
“It’s just such a beautiful day baby. Relax, I’ll be at the compound soon” she assured him.
“Hurry up and stay safe.” He scolded her.
She rolled her eyes and told him she loved him before hanging up. She glanced to the side to put her phone on the seat. By the time she regained her concentration on the road, there was not much time for recovery. She saw the figure on the hunched figure on the road and swerved to miss it. She veered off the road and pulled at the steering wheel to get back on. She overcompensated and lost control of the automobile.
Her head was pounding and her vision blurred. She could feel a warm but steady trickle running down her face. There was an explosive pain in her legs and her right arm felt warm. She had driven back off the road and hit a tree. The car uprooted the small tree and proceeded to roll several times before landing on the roof. Her disoriented state prevented her from realizing the exact details of her predicament. She disengaged her seat belt and crashed to the roof of the car. She tried to open the door but to no avail. Melissa scanned the car in the hope of finding her mobile phone but could not locate it. She felt dizzy and the grey cloud in her head turned to black. The sun still shone, and it was still as beautiful a day as ever.
It was the meat. The beef more specifically. But not the top of the line prime cut, the infected meat seemed to stem primarily from cheaper sourced beef – commonly sold in small corner shops and wholesalers. No one could pinpoint what exactly it was that caused the sickness. What everybody did know, was what the sickness did. Those who ate the meat became discoloured first of all. After the discoulouration came the death of brain function. The infected would be unable to move or talk, and simply just be non responsive. The body decomposition was next. The bed sores would become infected and spread over the whole body. This was the last stage of the outbreak. From here on out, it was best to put the person out of their misery – saving them, and yourself. After decomposing, the brain activity seemed to spike, causing the previously dead person to function. Once they “came back”, they were different. No longer was it the friendly and talkative old lady down the street. Now, the rotting corpse that was once her, seemed to be violent. The special forces had tried to contain the infected, but any contact with their blood led to the spread of the infection. Soon, the army and other branches were in shambles. The rich moved away to quiet and remote compounds and locked themselves away. Those that weren’t so fortunate, were either torn limb from limb and eaten, or turned into these monsters themselves.
Melissa awoke, confused, to the sound of the car door screeching as it’s hinges were worked open. Relief flooded her heart and she could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. Ethan knew the road she took and had come to find her after he could not reach her again. Thank God! She lifted her head weakly and waited for Ethan to save her from the wreckage. She was pulled out and set down beside the car on the grass. The sun was blinding as it glared down on her. Her eyes began to focus and she looked upon her saviours.
Their decomposing faces loomed over her, skin hanging loosely from the skull, rotten teeth filling the abysmal holes that were once their mouths. The smell overpowered the disgusting site and Melissa felt sick to her stomach. Apart from the horrid smell of decomposing flesh, the smell of death was rife. She cast her gaze to the hills, where the blue sky met the green hilltops, and white clouds floated casually above all. They tore into her stomach first, to feast on the glorious abundance of innards available. As the crowd of infected increased, the amount of flesh available to eat decreased. They began to fight over what was left. They had emptied her stomach of its contents and had eaten the legs to the bone. Once everything was gone they would undoubtedly gnaw at the bones. One optimistic feeder scrambled away from the fighting group and set to work on her face. He bit a hole in her cheek and pulled her succulent tongue out through the hole. What a feast it was. A feast fit for a king. Or the rich, one might say.
~ Alexander Hickey