Survivors of the Z’s- Graham Jackson, Nottingham, UK
A few days had passed and nothing but a dreadful nightmare about that day was my alarm clock. I woke up in a sweat and a deep breath. All I could do was think about it all. Everything that had happened that day.
My victims bloody face
And the dead body
It was all just… horrific
I went to get out of my bed but stayed there a little longer to think. Every picture right in front of me.
He’s not going to be happy
That’s what the girl said right? Who wasn’t going to be happy? Was that a threat that was going to follow me until it actually happened?
Was it a threat that was just a threat and wasn’t going culminate into anything?
What ever it was my sleeping pattern was fucked. Here was me.
With a daughter, granddaughters and young lad who I now looked at as a son and I was worried about
EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM.
“Dad,” I heard, “you up?”
My angel came in and Jessie and Elvis walked in with her. Bruno laid on the floor beside me. He stood up, walked over to Evelyn and she stroked him.
“Hey Bruno,” she greeted tiredly
It looked like she had been up for awhile. She was already dressed, but her eyes looked tired.
“Hey,” I said
She sat down on my bed
Jessie and Elvis jumped up along with Bruno. Everyone was now sprawled on the bed.
One big happy family
“This feels great,” she said
“Not for my old legs, you’ll crushing the hell out of them”
I moved Bruno and Elvis out of the way.
“That’s better,” I said, “you ok?
“I had a strange dream,” she told
“Not about the monster in the closet again, I told you many times it doesn’t exist”
“Very funny dad”
I turned my head sideways and noticed the look change on her face. Soon she wasn’t smiling as much. Like the smile was dying. Like she was in the dream once more.
“What was it about?”
“It was Michelle’s birthday and everyone was there and I mean everyone, Uncle Thomas, Uncle Alistair, Auntie Gail, all my cousins, Joe, Cameron, Karl, Tammy, Lydia, Darah, you and…”
“Carrie,” I muttered
A sudden flashback hit me and I was found staring at her, but it wasn’t her, it was her mum. Everything just came back at me.
From the happy times
To the emotionally fucked up times
Then I began to wonder if she ever survived?
If her child ever made it?
Then I wondered, do I actually give a damn or not?
I didn’t want to think a bad thing about her with her being the mother of my child and all.
Where did it all go wrong?
What did I do to ever deserve what you did to me?
Was I that bad of a husband…?
“Dad,” I heard, “Dad, are you alright?”
“Are you ok? You just zoned out”
“Oh, sorry, just thinking about stuff”
“What was you thinking about?”
“I dunno, just… your mum I guess, how we all just used to laugh and have dinner in front of the TV, we… we had each other”
“Do you miss her?”
She looked at me
Into my eyes and deep into my soul
It was like she was reading me like a book
“I miss what we had, what we all had, I don’t miss her”
“It hurt to have that dream, instead of feeling love I felt confused, I didn’t know what to think”
“Nobody would,” I said
I headed out later in the early morning with Bruno and
left the other two with them.
I was still slightly worried about my new friends threats from before, so it was for peice of mind.
I felt the sharp air cut deep into my lungs as I breathed in with closed eyes.
Every day being a challenge
Every day I said
I whistled, “Bruno”
I waved bye to Eveyln and watched Elvis and Jesse dissappear behind the door with envious looks toward Bruno
“Just you and me boy,” I said, “I had to leave those two behind, you understand right?”
He quickly looked at me and looked away
“Of course you do, you’re probably loving it lad”
Bruno did what he did best and began to wander.
I let him walk as far as the eyes could see
As long as he didn’t dissappear then I was fine with it
It wasn’t like the roads were busy anyway.
We walked down a long road that had houses in ruins on both sides with tattered cars on the roads and driveways, it brought back memories of the riots when the disease hit the city, all the running and everything else that came with it.
I passed a house that had something familiar written on it on the side
And another familiar sighting came after. Another soldiers body was laid out on the ground, but this time. Their head was by its side.
Bruno suddenly growled
His ears were up
And his body showed signs of concern
“Bruno, come on”
He walked into the garden where the body and graffiti was.
“Bruno, come here now you little shite”
He started to bark
A woman then appeared from the house. She was tall. Very slim and had short blonde hair. Her clothes were baggy and slightly dirty.
“Nice doggy you have there,” she spoke, her voice quite low and strong
“Thanks,” I was by Bruno’s side now, “Bruno, come on”
I saw a knife appear by her side.
“Hey, I don’t want any trouble”
She looked at it, “what, this?” She said, “don’t worry, this is meant for someone else”
“I feel sorry for them,” I said, “I’ll leave you to it then, nice meeting you”
“Oh, we’ve already met”
“I don’t think we have”
“We have, in the distance”
I tried to think and then it came to me
Shouting from a far
It was her…
The figure that was following Preston and I
I grew angry, “Hey, listen to me and you listen good”
She put her hand up, “I suggest you listen to me mister and listen good, what you did to our friend was fucked up, you didn’t have to do what you did, the man was hungry that’s all like the rest of us, when I saw his face and how brutal the damage was, then I knew… you were gonna suffer for it”
“All I see is you, I don’t like hitting women, but if you’re threatening my family then I’ll enjoy every fucking second”
“It’s not me you have to worry about,” she explained with a twisted smile, “but the worry seems to be a long looong way from here”
“What the fuck do you mean?”
She rolled her eyes
Dropped the bloody knife and came in closer. Bruno walked closer. I motioned to him to back off. I clenched my fists and breathed deep. Getting ready for something that I always tried to avoid.
“I’m just going to give you a clue,” she told, “home,” she whispered
I then realised
My feelings then quickly switched from anger to anxious. My heart raced as my legs burned as I sped away.
Ran hard with Bruno by my side.
“You better hurry, he might already be there!”
“Come on boy!” I shouted
A tear appeared and I wiped it off
“Please no,” I begged
Everything that could go wrong was in my head, circulating. It all felt like a blur
The thoughts of blood
Everything just passing me by
Night had come and the candles were lit. Preston sat next to a face who he truly cared about. Somebody who he thought was dead.
Who I now knew as, Nicholas.
Preston was happier than ever as he asked him many questions
Where have you been?
What have you been doing?
All I could think about was the threat…
“Looks like your new dad has been looking after you, bro”
He was tall, slim and pale. Just like his brother described. I kept looking over at him and every time I did.
My blood pressure risen
He looked my way and smiled, “time for bed bro, me and your dad need to talk, I’ll see you tomorrow”
“Just don’t leave please”
Preston hugged him tight, “never again,” he assured
Preston got up
Smiled at me
He crossed his legs, spread his arms out on the couch and looked my way, “once again, thanks for letting me use your shower, wow, I haven’t felt like this for years ever since I got kicked out of the home”
I stroked Bruno who was by my side. Elvis and Jesse were upstairs with the others.
“I feel bad for you,” I said
“No you don’t”
“You’re right…” I gazed an angry stare his way, “I don’t”
“I’m sad you feel that way, Graham,” he said, “I just want to be your friend”
“Fuck you, you prick”
“I’m not the prick here, you’re, if you didn’t do what you did to, Marcus, we wouldn’t be having this conversation”
“Just what do you want?” I asked
“Just tell me something,” he said
“Did it feel good, beating some homeless guy up?”
“No, but if I had to do it again, I would”
“Because of your dogs?” He asked
“Aye,” I said, deeply
“Well,” he walked over and sat next to me, crossed his legs and spread his arms on the couch like before, “I have a proposition for you Graham, do you wanna hear it?”
“Just tell me, then fuck off”
“I won’t be going alone, I’ll be taking my brother with me”
I stood up, “You’re going to have to get through me first”
He rose to his feet too, Bruno was on guard, I motioned to him to sit and he did, “if you don’t,” he said, “I will kill everybody you love… your choice”
His eyes were sharply focused on mine. I wanted to fight it, but I couldn’t. He looked over my shoulder and winked. I turned and saw the same woman from before.
She smiled and waved
“She’s great, trust me, she’ll do anything for me”
I saw a few others out there also. I felt my heart sink. I was out numbered. I had to make a decision.
The right decision
“So… what’s it going to be Graham…?”