Art & Life

When This All Started

One green bush
Photo by Cory Fraser.

Creative Writing

When This All Started

It all started with announcements that there was a worldwide pandemic. Corona virus, the beer that became a meme and all that. It wasn’t so funny anymore. We all joked, “this isn’t the zombie apocalypse we wanted.” Well when it came right down to it, it was the zombie apocalypse we got. We shouldn’t have been laughing. None of us should. Look who’s laughing now.

There was a buzzing sound in the distance and my friend looked to me with her deep ocean eyes. She cocked her shotgun. The murder hornets were coming. Here’s the thing though, they had been mutated by the virus and something they’d been carrying in them when they’d crossed over had mutated the virus too. The virus was more dangerous than ever, bringing the dead back to life, and the hornets were even more scary.

The hornets were half the size of a person and whenever you heard their buzzing wings you knew a few zombies weren’t far behind. “Casey, on the left.” We were in the park, had thought we could take a break for once. But there was no stopping, no resting. Only running or fighting. We put down our lunch, forgetting all about it for the time being.

“Thanks, Dariel.” She winked at me. Then she fired upon the first hornet to pop up.

I fired my pistol at the first of the zombies, letting Casey take out the bugs. Behind each bug was two or three zombies. You see, the zombies followed the hornets around, doing their bidding. It was a hive mind, the flying marauders controlled the walking dead, connected by the virus. No one had ever expected this outcome.

We had all joked how we’d have 20/20 vision in 2020. Well, we were seeing clearly now. 2020 was not my year, it wasn’t any of our years. It had gone from bad to worse. At least with the extensive quarantines it meant the survivors outnumbered the dead. We had to band together.

That’s what Casey and I had been trying to do, find more survivors. It was our mission to build a group of us, fight together and rebuild this broken country. I didn’t think it would be hard and Casey had bought a ticket on my crazy train. I had hope, so she hoped with me. I didn’t know if she was really optimistic, but I was glad for the support.

We finally managed to defeat the horde and stood surrounded by the bodies of Corona victims and deadly hornets. Not so tough now were they? I laughed and Casey turned to me with a smile, “What?”

“I’m just glad. We’re good together aren’t we.” I winked at her.

“Hey now, don’t be getting any ideas!”

“Oh hush. You know I’m gay.”

“Too bad there’s no boys around huh?” Casey teased me.

“We’ll find some survivors. I’m sure of it.” I looked across the brown field of grass to the dead trees and to some object erected at the end of the field. I also saw one single green bush and that made me happy. It was thriving out here in all this death and destruction. That made me feel as though if it could thrive then anyone could. I could for sure! It gave me a renewed hope to find more survivors. “Come on, I got a good feeling about today.”

“Where we heading boss?”

“There’s a housing development not far from this park. Maybe some survivors holed up there.” I pointed in the direction of the neighborhood I was thinking of. The sun was shining brilliantly just above my finger.

“Or maybe it’ll just be more Corona time!” her voice was high pitched on the last two words, a joke people had going around before too.

Corona time!” I mimicked. “But no, seriously, you know we shouldn’t joke.”

“Gotta keep up the pep somehow.” She shrugged. I only rolled my eyes at her.

We began our journey for Court Ridge, and I brought up a map on my phone. Luckily internet still worked and some places still had power. It wasn’t your average zombie apocalypse you know. Like I said, more people alive than dead and we still had essential workers and all that. Most places had completely shut down and by now even the grocery stores were closed. Food could still be delivered from storehouses, but it was expensive and risky for anyone doing it. I preferred to find my own food. I didn’t want to put anyone in any unnecessary danger.

The houses’ tips appeared in the horizon and I smiled. “We’re nearly there.”

“You are in such a good mood today.”

“I’m in a good mood every day.” I told her.

“Play us some music?”

“Music? You sure?”

“Hey we need theme music playing as we make our entrance.” Casey made finger guns at me. Hey at least those had come back before all this got to the point it was at.

“I got the perfect song!” I exclaimed in excitement and put on a song. We entered the gated neighborhood, the gates locked so we had to climb the wall, and made our way to the first house.

“Are we late to the party?!” Casey called into the house when we knocked and opened the door. No one was inside.

“Damn.” I snapped my fingers.

“There’s still plenty more houses.” Casey pointed out.

We searched about 10 houses before we finally got lucky and found a group of survivors. They were munching on cheese and crackers in the family room, all having a good laugh. I saw a videogame paused on the TV, and everyone was smiling. “We really are late to the party,” Casey pursed her lips. I turned off the music.

“How’s everyone doing on this fine day?”

“Could be better but can’t complain,” said the man spreading mustard onto one of his crackers.

“Wish the power would stop going on and off,” said the kid, “I want to play my game!”

The teenager just shrugged and said, “Meh.”

There was another man, I thought maybe the guy’s brother, who was completely silent. Then he took a wheezing breath and I lifted my gun, “Corona?!” Casey had her shotgun raised in a heartbeat as well.

“No no no!” the first man yelled, jumping up and waving his arms.

“No, he’s right…” said the quiet man. “You know what’ll happen when this runs its course.”

“You’re young, you’ll survive it!” the man cried.

The younger brother just shook his head, “You know the age group changed when the virus mutated.”

“No reason to shoot you now, give you as much life as you can, as much of a fighting chance as you can.”

I agreed, being my optimistic self. “Okay.” I lowered my weapon. “But don’t hesitate if he doesn’t make it.”

“It’ll be the first thing I do.” He closed his eyes and gave a firm nod.

Casey and I left, off to find more survivors, to tell their story. This apocalypse wasn’t over yet, not by a long shot. But even in all the chaos, and the darkness, there was peace and light. People could still come together and find happiness, even if it was in these difficult times. Thank your essential workers, maybe even tip them well, they’re out there fighting just as hard maybe even harder than the rest of us. And don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve done well.

Remember, you’re not alone. Casey and I are coming to you, spreading hope and joy in these trying times. Things will get better, I’m 100% sure of it. See ya on the other side! Oh and just so you know, I’m fighting another group of hornets with Casey as I give you these sentiments, drop kicking a zombie and shooting a hornet in the head as you go about your day. Just keep chugging along.

Image courtesy of Cory Fraser