After Life Ch. 01byRedheadlvr01©
*** Author's note*** Anything in this story is free to criticize and all help is very much welcome. This is my first trial at something substantial in writing as I am a huge fan of the high quality writing and am attempting to put something together like it. Any editors or advise givers please feel free to message me with suggestions! And as always, make sure you rate and if you feel like it, please leave a comment!! ENJOY!
The Sunny Times
Millions dead! Billions Undead! The U.N. continuing to talk over what to do over what can only be described as a massive infection overrunning the world. Forty-three states in a state of emergency. No contact can be made with anyone from the island of Hawaii... government considers abandoning hope of civilization left on the islands.
No one knows what is really going on in this world right now. Whether it was a biochemical bomb set off, a strain of virus accidentally set free or a drill in Pennsylvania fragging open some prehistoric bug while mining for natural gas, no one really knows. Now it becomes a fact of survival. The governmental scientists around the world have been working on this growing problem nonstop for the last two weeks since the first case cropped up in Camden Pennsylvania. A young man by the name of Andy White was the first confirmed case of what we like to call the ABC Bug (Apocalyptic biochemical). He survived sick for a whole week in the Mercy General Hospital until the virus took him. By that time half of the residents and patients of that hospital were already sick and would die within hours of Andy turning "zombie". Although zombie is not a realistic diagnosis for Andy's condition, it is widely becoming known as this due to the aggressive changes in personality. Anyone not killed by the virus is turned into a partially alive cadaver that does not need to eat, sleep, or relieve itself, but has an extremely strong will to survive. This causes subjects to become extremely aggressive and alert to anyone not of their kind... and also some of their own kind. They will kill any warm blooded on sight. Stay away from anyone who has been infected and if you yourself have become infected, please relocate yourself to the quarantine areas designated by your local police force. Self preserving killing will be tolerated but outright "zombie" slaughter will land you behind bars... in some cases viewed by this reporter, without food or water, locked behind bars with no contact of the outside world left to die. (Simply because the wardens became infected and had to vacate to the quarantine areas)
In the event a cure is found, the military will be bringing around cures to any place made public that people are alive and unharmed. Keep AM radios handy as the government will issue public announcements over the radio when and if anything changes on bands 750, 850, 950, and 1050.
In the words of our president before he was taken by the virus, "God help us all!"
~The Sunny Times
Levi had read and reread the article from the last newspaper printed in the United States, but he looked over it again all the same from its taped up position on his bedroom wall. He rolled over and pulled the covers over his head and attempted to get back to sleep. His dog Kiora buried herself under the covers and nudged up underneath his arm, looking devilishly and wanting to play. He pushed off his covers and smiled at Kiora, softly patting her head. "Yeah, I suppose I had better get up. Maybe we can make it down to the mall today and see if we can't get ourselves a few new games to play." He sat up, stretched and ran his rough hands through his long curly dark brown hair. Kiora again nudged her way under his arm, showing him the affection that he so desperately needed now that he was alone. Alone, that was something that Levi really hated the thought of, but was what he had dealt with for six weeks now. Luckily the only family that he had died before the viral outbreak had occurred. He had been in a foster home since he was six with no one who really cared about him or cared what happened to him. When he turned eighteen he had decided to get out on his own and make a living. He gained a job as a packer at a local distribution plant and that allowed him to afford an apartment on his own. It wasn't much but he had made payments faithfully and kept to himself.
His landlord didn't like the idea of pets but after seeing Kiora, his Blue Merle Sheltie pup, and Kissa, his Korat gray kitten that he rescued from a place that had abused the animals, he couldn't say no. Levi kindly gave his landlord more money to have the pets there and seeing as he had to walk past his landlord's apartment to take the animals out for walks, they all became good friends. That was three and a half years ago. He cherished those memories. It pained him when he found that his landlord had been turned into one of them. Levi gritted his teeth and headed to the bathroom in his apartment, silently touching the two katanas that he had leaning against his night stand. He remembered back at the look on the "zombie" landlord's face as he turned and faced Levi standing at his door. His hand trembling while holding a pistol he found, pointing straight at his landlord's head. The bone chilling yell that emanated from his landlord was enough to make him freeze up and not pull the trigger, but as the body that once belonged to a dear friend came running at him, the trigger pulled as if on its own. Brains splattered the walls of the apartment downstairs.
The cool water running down his hardened and now scarred body helped to pull him back from his memories. Hot tears running down his face and mixing in with the cool water of the shower. Levi brushed the hair out of his face, regained his composure and shut off the water. It was cool but at least he was clean. He pulled the shower curtain back and reached for his towel, chuckling to himself seeing Kissa sitting atop his toilet, mewing lightly, her gray tail swishing back and forth lightly, those intense orange eyes staring at him as he started to dry himself off. He looked down and found Kiora lying on his bath mat, staring at him with her heterochormatic eyes (one sapphire blue, one chocolate brown). It warmed his heart to know that his two best friends for four years were still there for him and didn't get taken by the virus like so many animals had. Though, truthfully more animals died from zombies killing them than actually dying from the disease, but from Levi's experiences he knew at least some of the animals had succumbed to the disease as the humans had.
Levi finished drying off and pulled on his black Under Armour shirt, a clean pair of boxers, and a pair of military cargo pants. He looked over at his two companions who sat on his bed staring at him as if to say "don't go, we may not see you again". "Don't worry," he said pulling on his leather vest with ammo pouches all over it, "I'll be fine and I promise I will bring you back a nice treat!" He tucked his two extra sharp samurai swords into their holsters, one over his back and the other at his side. He sat down between his Kiora and Kissa and pulled on his combat boots. He had liberated most of these supplies along the way just trying to survive by getting food and the necessities just to keep himself and his two companions alive. After pulling his laces tight he reached up and smoothed the fur of his best friends. "Now you two, under no circumstances do you open the door for anyone but me, and even if it looks like me, make sure it is before I come in." He chuckled to himself as he got up and walked to the door of his apartment.
He meticulously undid the locks on the heavy duty door that he installed in his apartment, slowly opened the door and looked into the hall to make sure the coast was clear. He then locked all of the doors and set the timer on the automatic lock for the pet door. He wanted to make sure they had a way out if he didn't make it back to the apartment, it would at least give them a chance to survive. He checked the holster for his 9 mm pistol making sure it was clear of its' bindings. Levi hated to use guns but found that in some circumstances, it couldn't be prevented. He also learned very early on that the human zombies for the most part just wandered around aimlessly unless they happened to see something alive, then they went ballistic and tried to slaughter any subject who happened to have a pulse. But they were rather dumb, if one zombie went running by, others would not take notice unless they also happened to catch a glimpse of body heat. They didn't seem to respond to noise too much so long as you weren't setting off a car alarm or something. If you could remain unnoticed, you stood the chance of not having to kill any of them. Levi though, was quite confident that the area around his apartment building was completely clear of the zombie population. Three days of ninja-like stalking and slaughter accounted to the lack of zombie presence. Unless one came wandering in, he never really had to worry about fighting any until he left the immediate area.
He went down the two flights of stairs to the lobby area of the apartment building. As he walked by the remarkably clean lobby, he touched the cross and fake flowers that hung from the door of his only other friend that he was forced to dispose of after he was turned. "Rest in peace Lennard." He kicked the main door open, hand on his pistol as a precaution, but a silly precaution as it was. There was nothing but silence answering him in return. Levi trudged over to his car, now parked up on the sidewalk close to the door and hit the door unlock button on his key chain. His 2012 lime green Charger with black racing stripes blinked their lights in recognition of its newly found owner.
Levi started the throaty engine and slammed it into gear. The tank read full, so he decided he'd drive to the nearest mall and see what he could find to scavenge. As he drove, he was again astonished at how abandoned the roads were. It wasn't like the video games he used to play, where zombies would come running at the slightest noise or attack in hordes, the roads all clogged with wrecked cars, explosions and fire everywhere. Quite to the contrary, the roads had very few wrecked cars, and little to no debris littering the streets. Zombies for the most part avoided vehicles during the day, but Levi found it dangerous to drive at night due to the zombies being attracted to the light like a moth to the flame. At night, before he'd cleaned out the surrounding area, the zombies would congregate around the street lamps and creep him out. That was when he found a 30-06 hunting rifle and decided to start picking off as many as he could when they gathered together. He'd become a great shot, and guessed that playing all the video games he had while growing up had attributed to that fact. He used those street lamps every night to make sure no zombies had migrated into his area. He then found the swords and found them perfect for defensive combat. Zombies may be ruthless killers, but they weren't very quick or smart. A slice here, sidestep there, and Levi could easily mow down twenty or so zombies before he felt the need to seek higher ground and go for a gun. And this was a rarity that he never really ever found himself in. The larger groups of zombies were fairly easy to stay away from, but if he found the need to kill them all, he'd just wait until night time and let them congregate around light and pick them off with his rifle one by one. Luckily he found that once a zombie was dead, within a few nights it was fully decomposed, bones and all, which made clean up even more of a breeze.
Seeing his exit off the interstate, he slowed the car and merged off, still using his turn signals and looking for traffic... old habits that he found hard to break. He turned in the direction of the three miles to the mall that he desired to visit. As he pulled into the parking lot of the King of Prussia Mall he smiled to himself. "Well, if you come during a weekday, you don't have to deal with the crowds." he said to no one in particular. Levi pulled up to the door and put the car in park, cautiously looking around before shutting the car off. He slowly stepped out, hand on his pistol. With the double beep of the car's alarm, he had it locked and was ready to go. He had been to the mall several times to raid it and was confident that he had cleared out the inside of it for the most part. So with all the confidence in the world he pulled open the door and headed inside.
He walked in next to the security office, next to Journeys and Teavana. The emergency lights were on but he still cautiously moved on, hand on the hilt of the sword on his waist, flashlight in the other hand. The first stop he had to make was Bath and Body Works, he needed new shampoo for his pets. As he rounded the corner next to the Auntie Anne's pretzel stand he saw three zombies huddled around the escalator. He cautiously ducked behind a trash can and pulled both swords free of their sheaths. He then pulled out a rock from his back pocket and flung it over the zombie's heads and onto the escalator and as the zombies lazily turned toward the noise he sprinted out from his hiding spot. Only the sound of his boots hitting the floor were a warning for the three unsuspecting zombies. Two dropped headless at the foot of the third one in the middle, and as realization seemed to slowly hit the last zombie, his face scrunched and a guttural yell sprung from his unused vocal chords and he spun around... to slow... before it had even seen the body heat coming from Levi its head and voice were severed and lying in separate heaps on the floor.
Sinking his swords into their hilts, he moved on. The rest of the visit went on without a hitch. He picked up some shampoo for his pets, raided the Chick-Fil-A and Five Guys Burgers and Fries freezers for frozen meat and anything else he could get his hands on. Haagen-Dazs provided some ice cream for him, Game Stop proved effective for more entertainment, and the Sweet Factory provided him with the rest of the Jelly Belly Jelly Beans that the mall had to offer. A few clothing shop stops and he was stored up with quality clothes that would last him for quite a while. He then stopped off at Peptic, the last stop before he headed out of the mall, and picked his two best friends some new toys, new collars, two more auto feeders for them, new beds, and some new T-shirts he thought would look cute on them. With his two piled cart loads he headed out of the mall.
He froze as he pushed the last of the goods into the back seat of the Charger, feeling that something was out of the ordinary. He slowly and quietly knelt down beside the car, pushing the door closed with a light click. In the evening light, the red sky almost as an omen to him of danger. Levi put his hand on the hilt of his sword on his hip and used his other hand to keep himself steady as he snuck around the end of the car, looking in the distance toward the entrance ramp that he would use to get home. He couldn't really place what was wrong, but he knew something was about to happen, so he stayed in the shadow of the car. Just as he was about to give up and shrug the feelings off as him just being paranoid, he heard the roar of what sounded to him as a pack of motorcycles. He turned to get into his car and get out of there when he heard an audible scream. As he looked back over his shoulder toward the interstate and saw what looked to be a woman running away from something, tattered pieces of clothing hung limply from her limbs, she looked beaten and bruised. As this mystery woman was heading toward the closest entrance to the mall, thirteen cruiser motorcycles tore off the entrance ramp and raged onward straight toward her. Levi knew he shouldn't get involved but to him this woman was in trouble so helping her out was something he found almost second instinct. "Hey, Miss, over here!" he yelled, running toward her, hand on the hilts of his swords. Her path turned immediately, and with speed that Levi could not believe she had, closed the gap between them within seconds. She flew behind him and ran toward his car. On instinct he quickly reached the key ring on his hip and locked the car doors, then with both hands on his swords, he took a fighting position.
The motorcycles rumbled to a halt, kick stands hit the dust covered pavement, and the gang of cyclists menacingly dropped off of their bikes and started toward Levi. A man of about 6'5" , muscles that made him look capable of breaking bones, and wearing nothing but a pair of jeans and cowboy boots was the first to reach Levi. "'Ey Boy. Ge' out o' me wa'. Tha' BEETCH go' nuttin ta' to wid' ya." Shotgun in hand dangling down at his side, this man seemed full of himself to Levi.
"Where I come from, we don't hurt women like she is, and if you did it you should be ashamed to call yourself a man." Fury built in his voice, venom flew from his mouth, "Now, you have one chance to leave in one piece, that goes for all of you!" Levi's jaw clenched and he sank lower in his stance ready to pounce, knowing these men would not leave well enough alone. His heart slowed and he found calm within himself, and took a nice slow deep breath, determination made known by the creases in his facial features.
"Den ya die wid da' beetch!" the muscle bound man said lifting the shotgun, but before he could even think about aiming Levi moved with skill and precision that the bikers had never seen before. The man barely had time to think before Levi's sword tore through his giant muscular neck as if moving through paper. Levi, head hung with an almost possessed look in his eyes stood in the middle of the remaining twelve bikers.
"Leave with your lives," he growled, the bikers jumping as they turn from just seeing their leader's head hit the ground and not even seeing this mystery move. Seven of the bikers reached for their weapons to point at them, the other five ran back to their bikes and took off. "So be it," Levi whispered and in a flash three bikers to his right were without heads. Levi twisted as a chain flew past his head causing his long hair to sway in the wake, he then jerked back jumping over the biker with the chain. The bikers eyes went wide as a sword pushed through his heart and out the opposite side of his chest, the remaining three fired their weapons toward their skewered cohort but Levi wasn't there. One biker slumped in a lifeless lump and as the other two turned toward him a single shot rang out... smoke curled from the barrel of his 9 mm as the other two biker's heads sprayed blood.
Levi watched as the other bikers sped off on the interstate the way they came as he cleaned his swords on the leader's jeans and carefully slid them back into their sheaths. It was the first time he had to kill another human being, and he wasn't sure what would happen to him emotionally when he made that commitment to save someone, but he figured they were worse than the zombies that now infested the planet. Who in the world would go after a woman to hurt her and do god knows what.
"Are you ok?" he said, breaking the silence and softening his voice so as not to startle the mystery woman who remained cowering behind the car.
"Y-y-yes." she muttered, looking around for a way out.
"Don't worry, I won't hurt you." he said turning toward her and looking a lot more calm then he had been. "If you hurry with me, I can guard you and get you some clothes from in the mall," he said kneeling down and offering a weak smile. "My name is Levi, what's yours?"
"Enya," she said, slowly standing, still unsure of Levi.
"Well Enya," he said pulling out his 9 mm pistol and tossing it to her, "I think you better hold onto that in case we run into any unfriendlies... just don't try to shoot me and let's keep moving ok?" She nodded slowly, ready to be rid of her crappy and tattered clothes. Together they ran off toward the entrance of the mall.