Tide

The walls were dirty. They were covered by the leftover tracks of rain

from yesterday. The silence of the street was sometimes punctured by

the slight shift of cardboard boxes found on the floor. It felt colder

this way, but the hairs on her arm remained limp.

On the empty store across the street she could see herself reflected.

The light blue pants had turned gray. Her sweater looked somehow

bigger, as if someone had pulled it and let go.

She hadn’t been alone before. There had been her brother and mother,

at home, she supposed.

Ahead she saw the downtown buildings covered in fog. It was strange,

but she could have sworn there was some missing, taken right off the

ground only to leave smooth concrete.

“What the hell” she breathed as she descended the small slope. What

happened, she thought. Reflexively, she looked back, to where her home

was supposed to be. Of course, that too was missing. Her arms felt

weak and cold.

Hesitating, but thinking it was necessary, she moved from rock to

rock. Debris scattered the floors. The walls of stores and parking

structures had caved in at an impossible angle. They leaned forward,

standing solely on one corner. As she looked up, she noticed three

walls laying horizontally midair.

“Who did this?” she wondered. There was no sense in all this. She

couldn’t remember, but it was more than that. It was as if she was

inserted into this scene, like someone was writing her in here to see

what she would do. Maybe was it a dream.

She went inside one store with the door intact, except the walls were

leaning on top of each other. It sort of looked like a teepee. There

was a barman cleaning the counter for no one. He didn’t even look up.

Seeing her chance, she went for the backdoor to see where all this

ended.

“Great! It looks the same. Why does the air feel so dense? Did people

die? This guy creeps me out. Maybe if I just keep going I’ll find

someone who can help. Like over there! Who are they hiding from? That

place does not look safe. Wait, is that Gali? And Markyt? Gali! Gali!”

“Cal, just hurry up!”

“Cali, careful!” yelled Markyt

“What the hell is that thing! Zombies are real?!” she shouted. Over

the turned down chairs, furniture, and walls, came a swarm of blood

covered bodies. Squirming and jumping in spastic moves, they gained

speed. The closer they moved the fouler the smell wafted over to her.

It was a strong sour stink that had traces of sulfur. She mustered all

her strength in her legs, almost jumping from rock to rock. Her lungs

fought for any air, through her mouth and nose, but she bit her mouth

closed. Gali and Markyt took her by each arm, and lifter her to

safety.

After several minutes of laughing and breathing clear air, she asked

for all the information they had. Turns out, they didn’t know what was

happening, but they had scoured for any weapon and made of their own.

“From the looks of the sun, it’s not even two yet. It’s ten or

eleven.”

“I don’t know how you know, but okay,” she said. She asked about her

mom. Gali didn’t know.

“On the other side,” Markyt said. “We’re going before it gets dark.

Here have this one.”

The weapon had a sling, which she put over her shoulder. It was light

but sharp. They put on protective gear they had gathered.

“Have you seen anyone else?” she asked.

“No. Well, some people, but they’re always running.”

“I think it might rain,” Cal said. “Do they eat you? They didn’t have

any skin, huh? That’s why they’re red and slimy.”

“I haven’t seen them eat someone. But they beat and beat you until

you’re head cracks.”

“Oh.”

“Remember, we’re going over that brick wall and fence across the

water. In the middle we all have to climb over the fence because we

know they won’t be on that side. We’ll help each other.”

“Okay, Markyt. I’m not ready, but let’s go,” Cal said.

So, off they went to cross the other side, marked by a simple barbed

wire fence. It didn’t take long to reach. The fence separated the

lake, which had been placed to separate the new and old downtown.

Despite their best efforts to remain unseen, one of the creatures

followed them.

It was easy to move once inside the water. Unlike the weather, inside

it was clear and cool. Cal feared this was too easy, so she

begrudgingly took one last look back and almost fell to the side when

she saw a horde of red vicious humanoids staring and salivating on the

deck. It all happened fast. She didn’t know how, but they were all

running through the water with weapons ready to use. The creatures

looked black under the sun as they jumped high into the water, gliding

for a few seconds before lunging with great force. They all screamed.

Creatures and humans.

“Hurry, Cali! Get Up! Don’t be stupid! Run.”

“I am! I am! Don’t stop!” she shouted.

“Fight –no- fight!” Markyt urged.

They all fought, pushing water aside, kicking limbs, piercing

creatures, shoving dead ones, scratching others. Gali and Markyt were

struggling, but soon reached the fence. They were now on clinging and

shoving down their spears.

“I’m coming, as soon,” she growled, “as I’m done with these disgusting

things!”

They grabbed her leg, wrung her head, but she got out of grasps before

the next blow. Things became blurry. She kicked her way through and

latched onto the fence. Two blurry persons were on top already

swinging their legs for the other side. She climbed like a spider

would, she thought. The metal wires scratched her leg, and it hurt,

but kept on. The sounds were so loud, her ears were hurting. The

stench ended when she jumped into the water, covering her whole body.

Markyt and Gali pulled her away from the fence. They ran so fast, the

splash went magnificently up in the air, under a muted sun.

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