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Life After: The Phoenix
(© Bryan Way)

This contribution is part of a series:-
1. Life After: A Deadly Secret (2-Aug-2006)
Two young people cross paths at the start of an outbreak, but one of them may not be what they seem.
2. Life After: The Phoenix (15-Jan-2009)
The story of a separated couple struggling to find the solution to their strife during an undead outbreak.
3. Life After: The Cemetery Plot (17-Jul-2012)
One man's obsession with cheaply burying his brother-in-law sees him get more than he bargained for.
4. Life After: Undeath Syndrome Surveillance and Diagnosis (7-Jun-2013)
An attempt by the CDC to diagnose and analyze the conditions that cause Zombies.
5. Life After: The Basement (7-Jun-2013)
Eric & Mia think they've found the source of a Zombie outbreak, but their reality is far worse than they imagined.

Page 1

(The Life After series is intended as a collection of short stories coinciding with the book of the same name.)

10-11-04, Monday

"…when she saying, oh that I'm like a disease/Then I wonder how much more I can stand/Well I guess, I should stick up for myself/But I really think it’s better this way/The more you suffer/The more it shows you really care/Right? Yeah, yeah yeah…"

"Offspring, Self Esteem right here on 94.1 WYSP, taking you… well, wherever you’re trying to make it this hour, that’s right, it’s YSP’s Push Through The Night with Vanessa Pilgrim, that’s me… just trying to keep you awake long enough to finish off that long drive, wipe out that last chapter for your test tomorrow, survive that night shift, or… really anything else you need us for, like the song goes, I’ll be there. Just passing 2:35 in the am on this chilly Monday morning and… I don’t know what it is, but I’m just feeling the mid-nineties today. I guess it’s just one of those days, I woke up this morning hearing the MTV Unplugged version of Come As You Are in my head and it stuck, so we’re giving that one a spin right now on Philadelphia’s number one rock station, 94 WYSP…"

Adam’s finger instinctively goes to the volume knob, leaving only the sound of the tires pulling along the cold pavement. "Right, you and every other fucking DJ on YSP… the same four Nirvana songs over and over again … fuckin’… predictable." He lets out a heavy sigh as he looks over at the box of miniature chocolate chip cookies on the passenger seat and the two full Wawa coffee cups.

After a few moments, his eyes lose focus, and though they continue to glance around ineffectually, it’s clear that he’s gone someplace else entirely. His lips slowly purse and begin moving as though he’s forming words as he pretends to take notice of the complete lack of traffic. After his blue sedan descends a gentle decline, he eases on his left turn signal and sidles into a turn lane that is continually struck by the steadily flashing red light. With no one coming, Adam spins the wheel to make a U-turn into the opposing lane, which curves immediately toward the right. He slows down as he approaches a steady green light and turns right into a parking lot inlet while making an audible mumbling noise.

The lane descends and curves around the outside of the expansive parking lot for the 24-hour Giant supermarket. Adam pulls around the outside and begins cruising down the lane until he finds a white Toyota sedan. "Bingo." Though the parking lot is mostly empty spaces and there are several spots closer to the front doors, Adam nestles his car next to the Toyota and puts it in park. He immediately rifles through his jacket pocket until he produces a cell phone; flipping it open immediately, his thumbs awkwardly dance across the number pad.

I’m out front

He presses send, closes it, and stares at the faceplate for a moment before sipping from the coffee cup closest to him. 2:41. Not letting go of the cell phone, he reaches across for the cookies, flips the top open, and delicately places two in his mouth. When he finishes chewing, he washes it down with more coffee before returning his attention to the faceplate. 2:41. Adam mumbles through a sigh, pushing the dark brown hair away from his pale face. He fidgets uncomfortably in the car seat before looking through the smudgy windshield at the parking lot. After he’s completed a listless pass, he fixes his eyes on the front doors, which glow like a light bulb from 200 feet away in the dim parking lot. He looks back at the faceplate. It changes to 2:42.

"Come on, Shar." He mumbles through a sigh, his eyes falling on the steering wheel as the rest of his body crumples from the exhale. His lips move again like he’s trying to say something, but he cuts himself off by subtly shaking his head. The glare continues as he sits motionless for a moment. After some consideration, he exhales softly as his head begins bobbing up and down. The phone lets out a roar of vibration, snapping Adam instantly out of his trance.

Where are you

His thumbs once again stagger across the keypad.

[ Continue to page 2 ]

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Genre:Living Dead
Type:Medium length story
Rating:5.69 / 10
Rated By:102 users
Comments: 6 users
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