(© Rich Restucci)
The best word to describe them is
relentless. They just never give up. They may go away for a few hours, but
they always return. They come back for a sole purpose: they are looking for
us. We serve some primal need of theirs.
We had numbers in the beginning, but were
overrun in mere days. Thousands, millions of us murdered and they just got
stronger. The tenacity of them is unfathomable, and as I said, they just don't
give up. Ever. They hate us. They want this planet, and our population has
ebbed. There's no more fighting for us, we have to hide.
Since the plague started, and the dead
began attacking the living, we've been on the run. Hunted. We've bounced from
sanctuary to sanctuary on our way to my ultimate goal, but no place can survive
the tide of these things. They always find us. They must be able to smell
us. That must be it, our smell. I can smell them a half a mile off, so it
must also be the same in reverse. I shudder to think what would have happened
to us if I hadn't been somewhat prepared.
I am from a suburb of New Orleans. My
girls and I were on vacation, seeing the sights in the Big Easy when the horror
struck, stranding us in our expensive hotel. The entire building was put under
quarantine, trapping us inside until there was no one left to man the
barricades. We were ensnared by the very people sworn to protect us, waiting
for the whole hotel to become infected so they could be indiscriminant in whom
they slew. It was horrible.
We didn't make a sound for fear of being
exterminated one way or another, but we could hear the television in the next
room over the din of screams and gunshots. The talking heads that we couldn't
see relayed to us that someone had brought in the plague from far off. We
heard it had originated in Syria, and had come in on a jetliner that crashed
into the swamp the day before. The plague made it to the city in less than a
day, and in another half day, the city was in chaos.
The sounds they made were awful, communicating
with each other to hunt us down and kill us, or that scream they make. They
simply wouldn't leave us alone. Somehow they knew where we were, and a group
of us banded together and fought them off, with many losses on both sides,
until they ran out of attackers, and we were able to catch a breath.
We made our escape when our jailors were
busy fighting off an attack that had come from outside. Apparently it wasn't
just our hotel that was overrun. As soon as we burst forth from the hotel in a
mob, we could see the danger wasn't just inside. It was all over. We stared
wide eyed as smoke and noise assaulted our senses. New Orleans was lost. They
were everywhere, killing us as we struggled to get away. We fought our way down
the highway toward the ocean, miles and miles to the south. A losing battle,
with several of our number falling before we made it half a mile.
There were dozens of us when we first
started out. We had to get out of the city. There were just too many of them
to fight. Roving packs of those things, or sometimes even one at a time,
culled our merry band from almost fifty to two. Myself, and my daughter.
My poor wife and youngest daughter were
taken from me on the road when a huge pack of those things caught up to us unawares.
We fought like cornered tigers, but they were so fast. They were in amongst
us, killing before we knew they were there. Fifteen of us lost before we could
muster a defense. I saw a friend go down under three of them, and I hesitated,
not knowing what to do. In my moment of indecisiveness, my youngest was
grabbed and brought to the ground. My wife, knowing our daughter was already
lost, tried to get her from those things and was lost herself. To my
everlasting shame, I took my eldest daughter and fled when I realized I
couldn't help the rest of my family. If I couldn't save everyone, at least I
could save her. As my wife lay on the asphalt, she gazed into my eyes. I
looked for the briefest of moments, wishing I could do anything, then I carried
our little one off into the swampy woods. I will never forget the look my wife
gave me just before she closed her eyes for the last time. It was an
expression of gratitude. I had saved her child even if I had lost the other.
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