Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
The freak meandered through a group of the undead. It was nearing nightfall, and he began to head back home. His pack had plenty of food in it, and he shouldn’t have to leave his house again for another week or so. Unless one of the zombie bastards punched its way in again. He didn’t carry a gun anymore. He had figured out a while ago that they couldn’t see him. It wasn’t necessary for him to carry a gun, because if they did realize he was there he would be dead long before he could pull out any kind of weapon whatsoever.
He did have to carry a weapon, in the earlier days, back when he was normal. Back before he became a freak. The people back then would try to steal food from him, attack him in delirious, starving rages. He killed quite a few people, in self-defense, but managed to detach himself from emotions. If he hadn’t, he would be dead right now. Or insane. He was free of the burden of emotions now, and all he ever felt was contentment. He used to be afraid, he used to hate himself, but now there was no reason for either. He hated himself for not being normal. He used to be normal, but now he was just a freak, a freak in a sea of normalcy. He was only content, not feeling too strongly towards positive or negative emotions.
In the early days, the infected, the zombies, the monster, the ghouls, the beasts, were the minority. They were the freaks. They were the repulsive ones. Now it was him. He was the freak. He was one of the last of his kind. He was the last of his kind he had seen in some time now. When the virus first hit, it wasn’t that big of a deal, just a few hurriedly covered stories in the local news, stuff like that. It wasn’t close to home at all, it was in little jungle villages in Africa. But it spread quickly. This sickness was spread through the air. Coughs, sneezes, bodily contact. It all spread the disease. The symptoms were subtle. And by the time you died and returned, it was too late, far too late.
When they first started to attack, when he first became a freak, he was with a few more like him. Hunted. They all stowed themselves away in a child’s treehouse. They had pulled the ladder up behind them, but they knew where the freaks were. They always knew. They were sitting, waiting. There were seven freaks in the treehouse total. Cramped, moist, afraid. A few of them had guns, and were firing wildly at the remade below. The freaks with guns were panicked, didn’t know how to shoot, and didn’t know to shoot for the brain. They were out of ammo and they had only destroyed one.
The reanimated shuffling men couldn’t see. Their eyes were either closed, filmed over, or missing. They smelled, felt vibrations through the air, heard, or maybe some unknown new sense. Nobody knew. It didn’t matter. You were dead if you weren’t immune. If you were immune, they couldn’t sense you in whatever way it was they used. But if you touched them, they would feel you. They would feel your warmth. And they would take it away. One of the monsters in the treehouse wasn’t immune. The rest were. The one who wasn’t immune was showing symptoms already, and they all knew it. They planned to push him down sometimes soon, but he was too overactive right now.
They had watched as he shot up on heroin a few minutes ago. He was too violent and unpredictable now. His rifle was now firing dry. He kept pulling back the bolt and firing anyways. Crazy bastard. The plan was to push him down when the opportunity was there, distract the re-living enough for the rest of them to get away. They didn’t know how smart the undead were yet, though. About twenty minutes later, he had finally begun to crash. Three of them exchanged a glance, and shoved him down. He hit the ground with a sickening crunch, and the undead closest to him stood up, walked over, broke his neck, delivered a swift blow to his skull and left him there.
That was when the monsters realized how smart the undead were. Maybe not completely genius, but they knew. They had killed the addict, and destroyed his brain to make sure he wouldn’t come back. They needed the food, after all. They had heard two rifles firing at once, and knew from experience a man could only fire one at once. They knew there was at least one other up there, probably more. They were surrounding the tree, waiting. The survivors were at a loss. “I…I think I know what to do,” a small, fortyish balding man piped. He was still wearing a button-up shirt and khaki pants, but he had ditched his dress shoes long ago. They only slowed him down. Everybody turned to him as one.
“I think…since they can’t see us…since they can’t see us we could maybe go down and try to sneak through. A few of us will…won’t make it. But it’s a better chance then we would have.” They had all died but the freak. Now he was alone, and was glad. If he saw another survivor, he would probably kill it in disgust. And he had done it before. A few months ago, he had found one more survivor, dying of dehydration. He slit his throat. They couldn’t be spared to live. And now this. He had just mounted a crest, to see about twenty immune people hiking down the highway. He grimaced. The freak reached into his pocket.
Do not suffer a monster to live. He pulled forth a well-made pipe-bomb. He had made it over the course of a week. Why hurry when he had all the time in the world? He pulled a lighter out of the other pocket, and then stuffed the pipe bomb into his belt, covering it with his “Welcome to Margaritaville” shirt. He held the lighter in his left hand, hidden, then began to tromp down the hill, holding his hands high in a gesture of peace. They were all overjoyed to meet another like them. There was a child with them, but the rest were either middle-aged or in their early twenties. He awaited an opportunity to use his weapon, but none arose until later that night. And he didn’t even need the lighter. There was a fire in the middle of the camp, and they were all sleeping.
They had rigged up an alarm system consisting of soda cans on a string. They all slept soundly. He stepped outside the limits of the camp, and pitched the pipe bomb towards the fire. It detonated almost immediately. He ran from the blast of heat and smiled. He had stopped them from trying to overturn the world, how the world worked. They were re-organizing. That was not allowed. He had ended them all. He giggled, and headed back home.
Credit: Coby I.
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