Garden City, Iowa
Claire peered down the scope of her dad's old deer rifle. She could see fresh tracks in the light snow. She scoped them up to and around the edge of the old red barn across the yard.
She had been visiting her parents when it happened. They were so happy to see her home, away from the dangerous big city. Her parents were both in their late 50's. They died so fast which was bad and then it got so much worse.
those clumping feet on the porch at night aren't my Dad coming in from the barn , it's not him it's...the...the..things. I am not calling them zombies - this is not some b horror movie where it all gets better in 90 minutes it's been almost a week since they started to.. to...come back
Claire shook her head. She was on the second floor of the house in her parent’s room. She pulled the curtains shut slowly and moved down the hall to her childhood bedroom . She could see a bit farther around the barn from there. She pulled the old wooden chair from her desk where she had spent countless hours studying and reading and daydreaming. Claire sat down. Unconsciously she opened the big middle drawer and saw all the little loves and crushes lined out on the bottom of the cheap wood in shades of Bic ink.
So many hearts with my initials and i dont remember who half of them were.
Claire scooted the desk chair near the window and lifted the shade slowly. She lifted the gun and peered down the scope.
She started to count, never gazing above their chest, never looking at a face.
shit shit shit there have to be at least 8,9,10 of them out there.
She gripped the rifle tighter, shut her eyes and thought of her one box of ammo sitting on the dining room table downstairs.
Not sure shooting my way out will work, ha, out to where?
The tv had shown horrors for a few days then nothing but snowy static, the radio announced the same in even more lurid terms then went mute except for the muzak station that must have been completely automated. KMZK. Nothing like the end of the world with a soundtrack of Stairway to Heaven played with chimes. The internet worked for a bit longer then the power went out. Marjory, Claire's mom, had been a pickling and preserving practitioner (Marjory's own alliterative description)and the house was on well water so food and water were covered for the time being. Claire silently thanked her Mom each meal.
Whole world dead, things came back, stop, rinse repeat thoughts.
The house had heavy wooden shutters and when John, Claire’s dad, had seen the third day of news reports he had "battened down the hatches" as he liked to call it " just as a you-never-know-thing". At night the things pushed and pulled and pressed on the outside of the house. Claire could hear their plaintive moaning through the night.
After her parents had died Claire had dragged their bodies out to the barn for when order was restored and they could have a proper internment, it was cold out there and they would... keep.
Also in case of… NO. Stop thinking of them cold and dead out there… stirring.
She lowered the shade carefully, the setting sun turning the snow to a brilliant orange.
It was night.
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