In August one of my giveaway gifts was a short story featuring the winner as a zombie apocalypse survivor. This is the first story in that series! The giveaway is done through my mailing list which is at my website www.eloisejknapp.com.
Sadie wasn’t surprised the zombie apocalypse really happened. After reading so many books and watching so many movies, she figured it was only a matter of when, not if. When the telltale signs started popping up—strange bite victims, overloaded hospitals—she called it what it was.
She was in an inopportune location with opportune resources when things really got bad. Sadie happened to be judging a youth fencing competition at the local high school when the first undead broke through the door. The stiff was just as she imagined. His glassy white eyes were hungry for flesh. Fingers worn to the bone reached out for anything living while eager moans escaped his fetid mouth.
While everyone screamed and tried to run, Sadie headed straight for the rapier in a glass box that was to be awarded to the fencing champion. It was meant to be decorative, but she recognized good steel when she saw it. She shoved the display case onto the ground and gingerly picked up her weapon of choice.
People were falling over each other as they tried to cram themselves through a single emergency exit on the opposite side of the gym. A few bold individuals would circle the zombie and dodge by it.
She didn’t want to dull the blade if she could avoid it and took the same approach, easily side-stepping the oafish monster. Sadie mentally noted their strength would be in numbers and if they managed to get her by surprise.
Her numbers theory was proven correct as she went for her car behind the school. There were a dozen of them all headed straight for the building. Four were blocking her from her vehicle. Despite her confidence with the blade, by the time she dispatched any attackers, the rest would be on her in an instant.
The run home would take thirty minutes at top speed. Sadie wasn’t confident she could maintain top speed that long. Plus, there was no way of knowing what was between her and safety.
An alternative idea came to her.
“Hey! Hey, look!” She waved her free arm and instantly caught the attention of the stiffs. They began shuffling towards her. “Come on. Over here, that’s it.”
Her blood pressure was through the roof as she executed the risky maneuver. Her body screamed for her to run but she stayed firmly planted. Eventually the horde was consolidated and only ten feet from her.
She bolted right and ran around the group towards her car. The second she navigated around the minivan parked in front of the driver’s side she came to a hard stop. Standing right in front of her was Mr. Pearson, the principal who invited her to judge the competition.
Only now he wasn’t Mr. Pearson. He was dead, his shirt missing and his entrails hanging from his stomach. Huge chunks of flesh had been torn from his arms and chest. They seeped blood. He must not have been dead for very long.
Sadie’s reflexes were better than she remembered. She took the proper stance and jabbed him. The strike went through his throat. Not good enough. She readjusted and quickly corrected her mistake. The rapier went through his eye and plunged into his brain. His body fell to the ground with a loud thud.
She steadied her hands as she unlocked the car and set her weapon in the driver’s seat. If she could drive any distance closer to her house, she’d be happy.
But she only made it halfway. A semi-truck was tipped in the middle of an intersection, blocking any way around. An SUV and sedan were wrapped around each other in a tangle of metal and rubber causing even more congestion. At least fifty zombies shambled around the scene, picking off the living still in their vehicles.
Sadie went to back away, but in the time she assessed the scene another three cars were behind her. She cursed and flung her door open, snatching her rapier as she exited the car. Speed was her best friend. The sooner she was out of the mess the better.
The jog home only took fifteen minutes as she was able to cut through lawns and parking lots. Her confidence was building. She just killed a zombie and had multiple near death experiences. If this didn’t make her a badass apocalypse survivor already, she wasn’t sure what would.
A pang of stress dampened her mood. As she turned onto her street she saw dozens of the dead wreaking havoc. Some were eating people on their front lawns while others beat on cars as they tried to get escaping prey.
Thinking quickly, she slipped around the back of the first house she saw. The fences weren’t too high. She could climb them and make her way to the back of her house and enter unnoticed. A handful of zombies already caught sight of her, but she was sure after jumping a few fences she’d lose them.
It worked. At first. What she hadn’t anticipated were the ones already in back yards or moseying inside houses that came to greet her. Sadie’s muscles ached as she dodged and sprinted. Climbing fences was a lot harder than she thought it would be. Each time she tossed her rapier over and hauled herself over, she worried she wouldn’t have enough strength to do the next one.
After four houses, she needed a break. Her arms were like jell-o. She glanced around the backyard for somewhere safe to hide.
A shed! It was the perfect place for the stiffs to lose her trail, not to mention give her burning arms a break. The house it belonged to was silent; no zombies had yet to see her. Sadie crossed the lawn and pulled the door open on the prefabricated storage shed.
Inside was the last person she ever wanted to see.
The wannabe home wrecker extraordinaire sat by a lawnmower with her knees pulled to her chest. Runny mascara made thick trails down her thickly applied foundation. Uninterested in spending a minute with the crazy chick, Sadie turned to leave. She had a history with this one.
But the groans of the undead sent her right back into the shed, where she closed the door quietly.
“They’re out there,” she told Lola. “Be quiet.”
Lola eyed the bloodied rapier and bit her lip. “Um, is that a sword?”
Outside something rattled. A fence door, she figured. Sadie shushed the woman. Her plan to lose the undead might not have worked. It certainly wouldn’t work unless she shut up.
“Hey, I asked you a question…”
“I said shut up! Don’t you hear them out there?”
Now she whimpered, burying her face into her hands. Her makeup was a horrific mess. It reminded Sadie of a demonic clown, the way the gloopy pink lipstick smeared around her mouth. “They killed Ted!”
“Ted? Oh my—wait, why were you with Ted?” Sadie thought better of it, also realizing she broke her no talking rule. “Nevermind. Just shut up.”
The sound of wood splitting caught her attention. The living dead were relentless. Whatever it was that drew them to the living was an effective radar. If Sadie stayed in the shed, they’d find and trap her. What she needed was something to distract them long enough to truly escape.
She clenched her jaw and took a deep breath. Her house was only a few fences away and she had the perfect distraction right there with her. Every woman for herself, right?
“Lola, we need to make a run for it. On the count of three…”
“What! No, I can’t!”
“Sadie I’ll die out there!”
Sadie pushed open the door. There were five zombies shambling into the yard. Their mouths opened and snapped at the sight of the women. A few were only ten feet away from the shed. Sadie bolted left and ran to the fence, using every precious moment she had.
A shrill wail came from behind her. Sadie took one glance back and saw Lola halfway through the shed, her strappy heeled shoe caught in the doorframe. Two undead had descended on her. One pulled a sinewy chunk of flesh from her neck. A waterfall of blood cascaded down her chest and her screams turned into gurgles.
Sadie tossed her rapier over the fence and followed suit, forcing her body to obey her command. The next two yards were completely empty. It appeared her zombie followers had given up as well, distracted by the taste of trampy flesh.
As she finally entered her own yard and home, relief flooded her. The entire experience lasted about an hour, but it had taken its toll on her. She’d only be safe at home long enough to gather supplies and make a plan. Who knew when the undead would be at her doorstep.
No matter what, Sadie knew she could handle whatever the apocalypse threw at her.
She was a fighter. She would do anything to survive.