(Not) Just Another Zombie Story
(© Biswapriya Purkayastha)
(Special thanks are due to Rich Restucci
for encouragement and feedback for this story.)
10.30 pm, 1st May.
Iím writing this down as fast as I can,
hiding in this room while listening to them walking up and down the
stairs and along the corridor. Any moment now, I expect one of them to
try and open the door, as they have opened every other door Iíve seen so
far. I really donít know why they havenít tried mine, yet. I suppose
itís only a matter of time.
My heart is still hammering, and Iím
sitting down with my back to the wall and trying to take deep breaths.
Something bumps on the wall, near the door, and an electric thrill of terror
shoots through me, thinking this is it, now, but whatever it is moves away,
scuffling. Iím going to have to stop trembling before I can continue writing
Somewhere nearby, something is burning. The
smokeís coming in through the window, which Iíve left open. Iím on the third
floor, and thereís no convenient tree or drainpipe nearby to get to me, so as
long as the door stays shut I suppose Iím safe.† By the same token, though, I
canít get down except through the door. And I canít stay in here indefinitely;
thereís nothing to eat in here, and besides sooner or later theyíre
going to find me.
I donít really know for whom Iím writing
this diary, on this pad meant for pathology reports, and using a pen I stole
from the senior nurseís station, not that the senior nurse is going to miss it
anyway. Itís not as though anyoneís going to be able to read it, unless I
escape and find other...people. Probably, then, itís for myself, a way of
keeping myself sane in a world gone mad. Maybe I...
This is no good. I canít wait here to
starve or be eaten. I must get out, somehow. Itís impossible to jump out
through the window, because itís three floors right down to the concrete
parking lot. I must simply walk out of the door and down when there arenít any
of them around. After all, even they must rest once in a while,
Frankly, I donít know the answer. I donít
know anything about whatís going on since yesterday. Let me try to write it all
down and see if any of it makes sense...
My name is Ė but why should I write it? I
know it, and since this diary is for me alone, I wonít waste my time and energy
writing it here, or my age for that matter. Iím a surgical nurse at the
hospital, and I live in the nurseís quarters at the back. Itís useful not to
have to travel long distances when you have a job like mine.
Iíd reported from duty, straight out of
bed. Iíd just finished a double shift, sixteen hours straight at work, and Iíd
been so exhausted that Iíd dropped right into sleep and woken far too late to
do more than gulp down a cup of coffee while getting into my spare uniform. I
was almost running when I left my room, and I only just made it in time. I
thought I was lucky. Now, Iím not so sure.
There was a commotion in one of the
surgical wards. I remember shouting and things being thrown, and a couple of
the doctors running past. Of course I was curious, but I had to report to duty.
The nurseís station was empty. I signed the
register and was about to go and begin the rounds of the surgical wards when I
saw a man staggering along the corridor. He almost fell, got up again and came
wandering on, and I hurried to help him. I had almost reached him when he fell
down again and some instinct Ė I donít know what Ė stopped me from reaching
down to touch him. He was making strange sounds and trying to get up, and suddenly
he lunged at me on his hands and knees. His teeth snapped a millimetre from my
shin as I jumped out of the way.
ďWatch out!Ē someone shouted. I donít know
who it was, but the man on the floor was still crawling towards me and trying
to bite. I stumbled backwards from him and almost fell, only saving myself by a
quick grab at the corner of a desk. The crawling man was almost on his feet
now, and I could see that there was something badly wrong with him; his eyes
were staring vacantly and the saliva drooling from his mouth. He was still
trying to get to me, and I looked around desperately for help.
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