Ma name, is Susan. Ah come a very long way. Ah’m on my way to see an ol’ friend ‘a mine named Joel. He was the father of ma best friend, Sarah. He was also a second father ta me. Actually, Ah’m his niece. ‘is brother, Tommy, is ma Dad. Sarah died when this infected shit started. It was a month after summer vacation. Ah was staying at Sarah’s house for the summer since ma Dad was workin’. Plus, Ah didn’t want ta stay at my other snotty cousin’s fancy house. Sarah was sleeping on the couch while Ah was on the floor. It was very late at night, but gladly we woke up.
“Let’s talk about this in the morning, okay?” Me an’ Sarah heard talkin’, which woke us up. Plus, the light was on. When we opened our eyes, we saw a man in his thirties on the phone. It was Joel. “Ok, bye.” He hung up, and went towards the couch.
“Hey.” Sarah greeted.
“Hey Joel.” Ah said.
“Hey you two. Scoot.” Sarah scooted over, so he can sit down.
“Fun day at work, huh?” Ah giggled at the comment.
“What are you two still doing up? It’s late.”
“What?” Ah shouted.
“Oh, crud. What time is it?” She asked, shocked. We both looked at the clock. It was 11:50p.m.
“It’s way past your bedtime.” We both nodded at each other.
“But, it’s still today.” She said. We grabbed two things from the nightstand.
“Girls, please not right now. I do NOT have the energy for this.” Joel complained.
“Here” We both said at the same time, holding our presents. Ah had something rectangular wrapped up, and Sarah had somethin’ in a box.
“What’s this?” He asked.
“Your birthday.” We both said. He chuckled.
“You two always creep me out when ya do that.” Ah remember how he was always weirded out every time we say the same thing at the same time. He opened the box first, seeing a watch inside it.
“You kept complaining about your broken watch...so, I figured you know.” He started to put it on. “You like it?” He was looking at it weirdly, and started tappin’ it.
“Honey, this is...” He tapped the watch again.
“What?” She asked worried. She looked at me with a scared look.
“This is nice but I-I think it’s stuck. It’s not-”
“What? No. no. no. no.” The watch was workin’ just fine.
“Oh, ha-ha. He was just messin’ with us.” Her head laid on my lap. Ah sighed of relief and punched Joel playfully on the arm.
“Alright. Open mine.” Ah said.
“What did you get him?” Sarah asked.
“You’ll see.” Ah smirked. Ah knew that she knew it was a surprise. Joel unwrapped the paper, and saw a $200 gift card for Gatlin’s BBQ.
“Gatlin’s BBQ?!” Sarah asked excitingly. Joel was just shocked.
“That’s the best & most expensive barbeque place in Houston. How did you get the money for this?” He asked.
“Ah’ve been savin’ money since last year. Ah have $60 left, and ah think ah know the answer if ah ask ‘do ya like it?’” Ah giggled. Ah was a very giggly type ‘a person back then.
“Thank you. I love it. I love both presents...What about you, baby? Where’d you get the money for the watch?”
“Drugs. I sell hardcore drugs.” Sarah responded sarcastically.
“Oh good. Maybe you can help with the Mortgage then.” He turned on the TV.
“Yeah. You wish.”
“Y’all seriously goin’ ta let us watch TV at 11:52 p.m.?” Ah asked, quirking ma eyebrow.
“Consider it as a ‘thank you’ present.” We watched TV for about thirty minutes, then me an’ Sarah went back to sleep. At about 1:30 a.m. Ah woke up seeing Joel picking up Sarah. When he saw me, he cocked his head towards upstairs, telling me to come on. Once Ah gave him the puppy-dog face, he sighed and turned his back to me. Ah smiled and put ma hands on his shoulders. He carried us to Sarah’s room, and he put both of us on the bed. He put some of her hair out of her face, then he looked at both of us. “Goodnight, baby girls.” He whispered, trying not to wake her up.
“G’night, Joel.” Ah whispered back. Then we fell asleep again. Ah woke up again hearing the phone ring. Sarah probably got up a second before me, ‘cause she picked the phone up when Ah got up.
“Sarah, honey, I need you to get your daddy on the phone.” Ah think that’s what Ah heard
“Uncle Tommy, what time is it?” ‘Daddy?’ Ah thought. ‘Why’s he callin’ so early?’
“I need to talk to your dad now! There’s some-” Suddenly, the other line was dead. Connection must’ve been blocked.
“Daddy? Why’d he need to talk to Joel?” Ah asked, worried.
“Must’ve been somethin’ important.” She responded. We both got off the bed. “But, what was that all about?” She looked very scared. Almost like she was gonna faint.
“Sarah, Ah may have been listenin’, but Ah don’t know shit ‘a what he was talkin’ ‘bout.” I said.
“Let’s go find Dad. Tell ‘im what happened.”
“Ok.” We both went out the door of her room. “Joel?”
“Dad?” We both called out to know where he is. We went to the bathroom and saw a newspaper on the nightstand. It had the are hospital on the front. It said; ‘ADMITTANCE SPIKES AT AREA 300% Increase due to mysterious infection’
“What the hell?” Ah asked maself, a little frightened. “For once, Ah’m getting really scared right now.”
“For once?” Sarah asked mockingly.
“Just shut up, an’ let’s go find Joel.” We walked out of the bathroom and went into his room. It was quite messy.
“Daddy? Are you in here?” Ah saw the news on right in front of the hospital on the newspaper.
“Sarah, look.” Ah pointed at the TV. Then, we started to listen.
“We’ve received reports that victims afflicted with the infection show signs of increased aggression and-”
“That’s nearby.” Sarah said.
“That’s a few blocks away.” The military men were talking, but the newslady didn’t hear ‘em.
“We need to move everybody out of her now. There’s a gas leak. Hey-move! Get out of here!”
“There seems to be some commotion coming from be-”
“Lady get the hell outta here right-” The place exploded right before their eyes. Then, the screen was fuzzy.
“Uh...what was that?” Sarah asked, getting freaked out. Ah looked out the window, and saw the explosion. We both flinched in fear, and embraced each other. We both ran down the stairs. “Dad?! Dad?!”
“What the heck is going on, Susan?”
“Yeah, Sarah. Like, ah totally know about this shit!”
“Sorry, you know I’m scared.”
“Ah am too. Look, let’s just hurry.” We found his phone in the kitchen. Eight missed calls, texts from Tommy saying; Where the HELL are you? CALL ME! and On my way. The time said it was 2:15 a.m. We went into his office. “Where-” The door opened, seeing Joel come inside. He looked like someone just died or somethin’.
“There you are.” Sarah said relieved.
“Are you okay?” Ah asked.
“Sarah, Susan, are you okay?” He asked with a frightened tone.
“Yeah.” Sarah said.
“We’re fine.” Ah looked at ‘im observin’ly. Somethin’ must a happened.
“Has anyone come in here?” He was getting his gun from his case. “Don’t go near the doors. Just...Just stand back there.” We backed up from the doors and went behind Joel. What the hell is goin’ on here?
“Dad, you’re kinda freaking us out. What’s going on?” Sarah asked, backing up some more.
“It’s the Coopers. Somethin’ ain’t right with ‘em. I think they’re sick.”
“Sick?” Ah asked.
“Yeah, sick.” He mumbled.
“What kinda sick?” Sarah asked. Suddenly, Jimmy Cooper, the neighbor next door, ran against the door.
“Jesus.” Joel whispered. “Jimmy.”
“Girls c’mere. C’mere.” We both went behind him and hugged each other out of fear. He managed to break the glass and fell on the floor.
“Jimmy. Jimmy, just stay back!” He got up. “Jimmy, I am warning you.” He ran towards us. “Don’t!” Joel shot Jimmy twice in the face. Then he fell down, dead. The both of us started cryin’. Joel held our hands & dragged us to the living room.
“You shot him.” We both said. “I saw him this mornin’...” Sarah said, still crying.
“Girls, listen to me, there is something bad going on. We have got to get outta here. Do you understand me?” We both nodded our heads.
“Yeah.” We both said. Then, we all saw a light coming through the window.
“Tommy. C’mon.” We ran out the door of the house & saw Daddy walking towards us. Ah ran into his arms.
“You ok, baby?” Ah nodded with tears in ma eyes. “Where the hell you been? You have any idea what’s goin’ on out there?” Daddy shouted at Joel.
“I got some notion.” Joel said opening the door to the back seat. Ah walked towards the back seat of the car.
“Holy shit. You got blood all over you.” Daddy looked like he just got slapped in the face.
“C’mon girls. Go on in there. It ain’t mine. Let’s just get outta here.”
“Wait! Hang on.” Ah ran back into the house.
“Susan!” Ah heard Dad call. Ah knew that ah needed a gun. Ah had 2 revolvers that my mom gave me right before she died. Ah had all the ammo I needed. Luckily, my pajama pants had pockets. Ah put the ammo in there, & put the guns into my backpack. Ah ran back out, and got into the truck. Now, ah know what you’re thinkin’. Why did ah have guns at my best friends house? Joel was helpin’ me practice how to shoot. Ah couldn’t get a lesson from him tonight, since he was working late. He would’ve taught Sarah, but she didn’t wanna.
“They’re saying that half the people in the city have lost their minds.” Dad stated.
“Can we just please go-and what the hell were you thinkin’ Susan?” Joel asked angrily.
“Ah had a feelin’ that we ain’t comin’ back.” Joel nodded and looked away. Sarah and ah looked at each other, we were more frightened then we’ve ever been in our lives. We looked at the smoke from the explosion. There was a lot of it.
“Some sort of parasite or somethin’. You gonna tell me what happened?” Dad added.
“Later.” Joel was getting really pissed off by Dad’s choice of words. Ah don’t blame ‘im. He was REALLY freakin’ me out. Dad and Joel got in the truck, and started drivin’.
“Hey, girls. How you holding up?”
“We’re fine.” We both said, again. Dad chuckled.
“You still do that, huh?” He asked still smiling. Ah smiled back at him.
“Of course we do, Daddy. It’s a connection.” Ah said. It was true, we always had this special connection between us. We may have been total opposites, but we had a very special connection that lasted forever. Well, it would’ve.
“Can we hear what’s on the radio?” Sarah asked. She loved listening to music no matter what situation. One time, we almost got ran over by a car when we were four. Right after we both got saved by Joel, Sarah said. ‘Thank you daddy! I’m gonna go listen to some music.’ She skipped into the house, and he gave me that ‘What the fuck’ look. Ah just shrugged, & hugged ‘im. Thanking ‘im for savin’ us. After that, he wouldn’t let us ride our bikes for 3 months! That was a bunch of bullshit!
“Yeah, sure thing.”
“Thanks” When Daddy turned the radio on, we heard nothin’.
“No cellphone, no radio. Yeah, we’re doin’ great.” He said sarcastically. “Minute ago, the newsman wouldn’t shut up.” Ah just remembered that Ah had my iPhone with me. Ah checked, then ah saw about 30 messages from ma friends. Like, ‘OMG what the hell is going on here?!’ ‘Just left my house, hope to see you guys safe.’ ‘Goodbye world’ and mostly ‘Is everyone ok?’ Ah was about to reply, then ah saw at the top of my phone. No service. ‘Shit.’ Ah thought to maself.
“They say where to go?” Ah asked. By the look on Joel’s face, he was about to ask the same thing.
“They said uh...Army’s puttin’ up road blocks on the highway. No getting’ into Travis County.” He was goin’ towards a direction sign. (I don’t know what the hell they’re called.)
“That means we need to get the hell out. Take 71-” Joel said.
“71, that’s where I’m headed.” We saw a few police cars pass by. We went through an empty road in the woods, then we were back on the main road.
“Holy hell. That’s Louis’ farm.” We all looked at a house with a farmhouse right by it. “Hope that son-of-a-bitch made it out.”
“I’m sure he did.” Joel said tryin’ to comfort me and Sarah. But, let’s face it. We both knew he was dead. The both of us held hands. Louis was an old friend of Dad and Joel’s when they were kids. We’d go and visit ‘im every now an’ then. But, me and Sarah see ‘im everyday when we walk home from school.
“Are we sick?” Sarah asked.
“No. Of course not.” Joel said.
“How do you know?” She asked again.
“They said it’s ah, people in the city. We’re fine.” Daddy answered.
“The city?” Ah knew he was lyin’. It’s possible that we’re sick too.
“Didn’t Jimmy work in the city?” Sarah asked in fear. Jimmy was the father of our friend, Ross at school.
“That’s right, he did. We’re fine.” Joel was getting’ really mad now. All these questions has ‘im worryin’ ‘bout us. Ah can tell. There were some people walkin’ on the side of the road. Tommy saw them, & started to pull over. I started to get real worried.
“Let’s see what they need.”
“What the hell do you think you’re doin’? Keep drivin’.” Joel said angrily.
“They got a kid, Joel.” Dad tried to reason with ‘im.
“Daddy! They could be sick. Ah don’t care what the newsman says!” Ah yelled at ‘im. It wasn’t to be mean to him, it was just outta fear. Ah don’t want any sick people in ‘ere.
“We have room!”
“I don’t care!” Daddy kept drivin’, even though a guy from the group was calling out to us.
“We shoulda helped them.” Sarah said quietly
“You ain’t seen what I’ve seen. Someone else’ll come along.” Joel was thinking out loud. But, we just ignored it. We saw an ambulance drive by. Then, me and Sarah stared at the hospital, seeing if someone sick was running out.
“Oh, this is bad.” We stopped the car seeing that there was traffic right in front of us. “Everyone and their mother had the same damn idea.”
“You have GOT to be kidding me.” Ah mumbled. Ah wasn’t scared anymore, now Ah was really pissed off. That changed back into fear when a guy got out of his car sayin’, ‘Hey, what the fuck, man! Let’s go!’ Then, a sick guy pushed him down to the ground, and ripping ‘im apart. Then, another one came attacking another person in there. The first one spotted us.
“Holy shit.” He started to back up and drive away. Right before he drove away, Ah looked behind us, and he slammed right on the back of the truck. “What the fuck just happened? What the fuck just happened-did you see that?!”
“Yes, I saw it.”
“Jesus. My God, this place is turnin’ into a bitchin’ hell hole!” I yelled. “Ah’m sorry, but I just had to let it out.” I added.
“It’s gonna be ok, Susan. It’s gonna be ok.” Joel said, holding my hand. “Are you ok, baby?” He turned his head to Sarah.
“Yeah. Well, no I’m not.” We drove to an RV where people were running from behind it. “What are they runnin’ from?” Sarah asked in fear. There was a lot ‘a yellin’ from Joel & Daddy. Joel kept telling ‘im to get us outta here, but ah saw that he was tryin’. We finally found a space in between a wall and the RV. We drove through it and then a second later, we got in a car crash. Ah woke up to Sarah shaking me, telling me to wake up. When my eyes woke up, they really hurt for some reason. Ah sat up, trying to speak. “Are you ok, Susie?”
“Sarah?” She hugged me so tight, Ah was hurtin’ even worse. But I didn’t care. Ah hugged ‘er back, glad that we’re both ok. Ah let go. “Sarah. Joel and Daddy.” She gasped and leaned towards ‘im. Ah was havin’ a headache, so ah felt the side of my head. Ah was bleedin’. Ah thought ma eye came off, but when Ah touched ma eyelid, Ah knew it was still there. Ah really thought ah was gonna die when ah was bleedin’. But, ah knew ah was over exaggeratin’. Joel finally woke up, and helped Sarah outta the car. She said ‘er leg hurts, so ah knew at that point her leg was broken. Then, ‘e helped me out next. He asked me if ah was ok, too. Ah told him it was just a little cut. Ah grabbed my backpack and got outta there.
“We’re gonna need to run.” Daddy said, looking at somethin’. Joel gave ‘im a gun.
“Keep us safe.” Ah took out ma guns from ma backpack. “Why the hell do you have two revolvers in your backpack?!”
“Trainin’, rememba? I have extra ammo in ma pockets.” Joel picked up Sarah, and we started ta run. It was gettin’ crazy out there. First, a sick dude started rippin’ a women apart. Then, a car ran into a gas station, then two cars crashed into each otha. Also, a car got caught on fire and exploded. More sick people were after us, so Daddy decided to go through an ally. When we first got in, a sick dude attacked Joel, so Daddy and Ah shot ‘im. More were behind us, it was pretty intense, but ah managed to shoot most of ‘em. We went inside a bar. Daddy closed the door. But it wasn’t gonna hold ‘em.
“Get to the highway!” He shouted to them. “Go! You got Sarah! Me and Susan can run ‘em off!” Ah helped him keep the door closed as much as Ah can. But, they were gonna get in soon.
“Uncle Tommy! Susan!” Ah mouthed to her. ‘It’s okay.’ Ah saw ‘er startin’ ta cry.
“I will meet you there!” Joel ran off with Sarah, now it was just me and Daddy.
“Ready, Baby?” He asked, prepared to let go.
“Ready as I’ll ever be.” Ah was so scared. Ah knew that Ah had to face those things, but it’s awful ta think what can happen to ya. Daddy counted to three, and we let go. There were about 5 of ‘em. Good thing Ah’ve been takin’ lessons from Joel. One lunged towards me, then Ah did a back flip on the desk. There was NO way in hell Ah was gonna let those things touch me! Ah shot three of ‘em in the head ten seconds lata. Then, we heard gunshots and screamin’. “Daddy! Joel and Sarah are in trouble!” By the time Ah finished that sentence, he shot the two others. We ran to each other and hugged. “That may have been easy, but it was fuckin’ scary too.”
“I know, sweetheart. I know. Let’s go. We gotta help Joel & Sarah.” We ran like there was no tomorrow. While we were runnin’, Ah reloaded ma guns. When we got there, Joel was layin’ on his back, holdin’ his hand up.
“Please...” The soldier was about to shoot, but we shot that motherfucker first! Ah saw Sarah with a bullet in her stomach. Ah started to cry and ran towards ‘er.
“Sarah! Uncle Joel!” He saw her in her state, and ran to us. He put pressure on her wound. We were both tellin’ her we know how much it hurts. She squeezed ma hand for tha pain. He started ta pick her up. A few seconds later, she stopped crying...She was dead...Me and Joel were cryin’ so much, we almost dehydrated. Literally. She was gone....ma best friend was gone...the one who stood by me, the one who picked me back up when Ah was down, and the one who was a sister to me ma whole life. Cousin, or not.
After that, the infection got even worse. It spread worldwide from America to Canada to Mexico to South America to Europe to Africa to Asia and Australia. No one got infected in Antarctica. It’s too cold. Three months after that shit started, Joel, Daddy and Ah formed a group for survival. When Ah was eighteen, Ah decided to be a worldie. A worldie is a survivalist who explores around tha world to help otha’s. There have been a couple of ‘em that are famous for their actions. Joel refused to let me go, because he didn’t want to lose anyone else that’s important to ‘im. It was so sweet of ‘im to think that, but I had to explore, help people survive from the infected. That’s what they’re called now. Daddy didn’t wanna see me go, eitha. Ah’m his one and only daughter. I honestly didn’t wanna leave ma Dad. I lost ma Mom already. But, Ah sucked it up, and sneaked out with everythin’ Ah owned. Since Ah left, Ah have thousands of hiding spots around the world where Ah have some gear in each to fight. Ah’ve been gone for about five years now. But, I haven’t seen Joel or Daddy in fifteen. What is this world like now? There are military surrounding each Area. You can't leave the district, or else you get executed. They always scan you if you’re infected or not. Everyone turns within two days. Fungus is in yer brain, sproutin’. Ah have almost been bitten a few times, sometimes Ah can’t sleep just thinking about it. Ah was on my way to see him, then Ah see this girl makin’ a drop-off at the West End District in Boston. She said her name was Tess and she knows Joel. She can help me find ‘im. On our way back, a couple of guys jumped us. Ah threatened one of them to tell me who they’re workin’ for. All he said was Robert. Robert who? Tess told me he was someone who she and Joel have been after for a while. She needed me to meet her and Joel right by the door of his apartment. Luckily, ah found just the place. Ah just knew it. Ah knew at that moment, ah was gonna see Joel again.