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Although it seemed like a nightmare at first, an unimaginable event happened mere moments ago, when two men knocked on my door. I thought they were just door-to-door salesmen, so I ignored them. They kept knocking, harder and harder. I finally gave in and opened the door, only to discover the ‘salesman’ had glowing orange eyes, ripped clothes and turquoise gray skin. I may only be 17, but it didn’t take me long to realize what the big picture was; zombies. The apocalypse was here.

I kept calm and let them in. I then quickly ran out of the house and locked the door using a key I grabbed off of a table by the door while inside. Even though I’m as much of a couch potato as you can get, maybe this whole zombie apocalypse wouldn’t be so bad for me after all, considering “Call of Duty” had given me a lot of experience in a zombie strategy.

I creeped into my back yard, where I grabbed a metal rake and took the lid off of my garbage can, knowing I could use it as body armor. With my newly found weaponry, I began my journey. Suddenly, a group of people approached me.

I turned to run, when one of them yelled, “We’re not those things. You can trust us.”

“Can I be sure you guys aren’t bitten though?”

“You can’t be sure about anything in this environment.” The leader said.

“You’ve got a strong wit. I suppose I can trust you. I’ve got a metal pronged rake, if any of you want it. Trade the rake for membership in a group of survivors?”

“You’ve got yourself a deal.”

I thanked them, because even in an apocalypse, you have to have manners.

“You got a name, or do you just like being mysterious?” a person in the group asked.

“Name’s Geoff, what about all of yours?”

“My name’s John, the leader of this mess of a group.”  

“That’s Andrew,” he points to a man who appears to be one of those renaissance fairgoers, which I assumed because he had a complete layer of chainmail armor over his torso.

“...and that’s Aaron.” He points to a man carrying a fire axe over his shoulder who has the build of an 18 wheeler and looks like he drinks protein shakes with every meal.

“This is probably the most diverse group of individuals I’ve ever been a part of.” I chuckled.

We ventured forward, until we realized the sun was setting. Aaron said, “We need to move and find a house to stay in!” Everyone’s heart skipped a beat at the danger.

I felt like saying, “Nice observation, Sherlock,” but I kept it to myself.

We had to find a house that’d accept us, which was easier said than done. Almost all of the residents said, “We already have enough survivors,” which made me realize Call of Duty hadn’t prepared me as much as I thought. Finally, we found an empty house.

The night was long, but I eventually slept. Waking up from my slumbers, I felt watched. When my eyes adjusted, I figured out why. A woman, not from our group, was holding my previously owned rake.

“I think I’ll be leaving with this now. It could be useful.” she said as she started to run off.

“Wait!” said Andrew.

“Oh, also, you probably won’t be needing these, right?” She pulled her backpack from behind her and showed us all the goods that she had stolen from us.

“Actually, yeah,” I stand up for the group, “We will be needing those!” I started to approach her.  

She set the backpack down and pulled a knife out of her back pocket. “Stand back,” she said.

A silent beat hung in the air, followed by Aaron saying, “If you find yourself willing to take our supplies, so be it. But we will hunt you down. Take the risk or leave the bag and carry on.”

There’s yet another beat of silence, followed by the sound of groaning zombies breaking down the door.

I shout, “If there’s any time for you to make your decision, it’s now!”

The zombies crashed through the door, just as she jumped out the window of the master bedroom, taking the backpack with her. Everyone in the group checked for anything that could be used as a potential weapon. Bedposts, drawers, lamps, literally anything, can be a weapon when you’re defenseless.

We moved as a group, everyone protecting the back of one another. Suddenly, someone broke through the door. It wasn’t a zombie; it was help. He pulled out a handgun and drew the

zombies’ attention, leaving us free to get out. We then dropped out the window with our hero following us.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“The name’s Mike,” he replied back. “That trouble back there was intense. I’ll join your team, if you have enough supplies.”

“See, that’s the thing,” Andrew says. “We had enough food, but a woman just came by and nicked everything out of the pantry. If you join, just be sure finding food is your first priority.”

“Must have been Sara. She was part of the group I was in. Not a very trustworthy group, I can tell you that.”

No one says anything for a solid 40 seconds, but we’re all thinking the same thing. “Can we trust a man who was partnered with a thief?”

I break the silence, saying, “All in favor of letting him join, say aye.”

Everyone agreed in unison, because we eventually made a compromise for Mike joining. No matter what, he would have to fight his survivor group. When he agreed, it hit me that zombies roaming the streets was bad enough, but humans teaming against other humans had created an intense game of ethical Tug o’ War.

Later, with Mike’s help, we followed the path to the raider group.

“This is where Sara’s group hides their supplies. Trust me, they can defend themselves with a selection of weapons.”

We had to devise a plan to get our food back without alerting the guards. We realized Sara and her group hadn’t been aware of Mike’s departure, so we came up with the perfect idea. Mike would stroll up to the entrance like he normally would, once in, he would search for the backpack, and walk out like it was his. We could defend him from the hill.

“Are you ready to go in?” I asked Mike. “I’ll cover you.”

As he calmly walked down our vantage point, I held my gun steady. Mike walked in and turned the corner of one of the six buildings that may hold the bag. After the search of the second building, we finally saw him with the backpack. He then headed to the armory and supplied himself with an assault rifle. On his way out, a guard pulled Mike aside.

We knew there would be trouble, when the man pulled the carabiner off the bag with the name ‘Sara’ written on it.

“Run!” Andrew yelled to Mike, making the guards trigger a chase and the alarm. The suspicious guard swayed like a ballerina, and just managed to make a shot on the power switch for the loud speakers to activate. Multiple guards pounced on Mike, while others came for us. I took the handgun and started shooting at the men coming up the hill, while slowly realizing I was running out of ammunition.

Luckily, Mike had taken a machine gun away from a guard and was making progress towards us, killing people left and right. Once we knew there was no one left, we walked through the gate and inspected the weapons we had to choose from. It was then, we realized we weren’t the only ones left. Anthony spotted Sara from the corner of his eye upstairs in a green building.

We piled through the door of the first floor and carried on until we reached the fourth floor. We saw her laying down, sobbing. We slowly walked toward her, but she swiftly pulled out a pistol aiming it at all of us. Her hand shook so much, we doubted that she could hit any of us.

“I had a job to do, and I failed,” she mumbled. “My men died, because I wasn’t able to defend an area. I have enough lives on my conscience, please don’t make me add you four to the list.”

“What do you mean?” I ask.

She unveiled a zombie bite on her arm. You could tell it was a recent bite because of the festering blood seeping out on the surface of her skin.

“Just kill me now. I understand you know me as a fighter, but I don’t want to battle for the wrong side.”

We all stared at each other, after she said those words. We were all lost, not even about who should be the figurative gun to shoot the real bullet, but about the possibilities of random attacks by the men that would be her protection.

John stepped up and took the shot. We didn’t know what to do after.  There was no noise to be heard, no sight in anyone’s mind, no voices to be shared. Was it respect for the dead? I’m not really sure. As for John, while he wasn’t proud of what he did, he had proven himself to be the leader we needed.

After a few minutes of silence, we were somehow able to strike up a conversation, and finally decided to bury her. This was her land. It should be her right to be laid to rest on it, and we still had some humanity left in us, we hoped.

As we leave for who knows where, I realize I’m not the same boy I was just a day earlier. I’ve started to lessen my intentional cynicism, and value human life in an imaginable hierarchy. This monstrosity of blood and gore is real. The loss of human life is real. Instead of playing on my Xbox, I’m now living in the games I used to play. Instead of playing the hero, I’m just trying to survive one minute at a time. I certainly can’t be sure about where I am going, but I will keep on going, until I hear the words Game Over.

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