The Dead Rule the DayRebecca Carter / Horror
“The Dead Rule the Day”
Copyright 2010 Rebecca Carter
Original Cover Image: Billy Frank Alexander http://www.rgbstock.com/downloads/ba1969
Thinking back on the last five hours, I should have known something was wrong long before the first attack on the complex hit. I was pissed when my channels went out on the TV. I finally decided I was getting rid of that cheap satellite company while logging into my computer. Great, my Internet was down; that was all I needed today. At least I could curl up with my Kindle and enjoy the silence. After about fifteen minutes my lights had went off and the neighbors came over to use my fireplace for warmth.
There were ten of us then. Now there are three; Chris, Beau and Myself. Normally I would make a joke about three being a crowd, but I can't say I have ever wanted company more. This warehouse smells like rotten eggs and I think it’s the only thing that smells worse than the rotting flesh roaming the city. We are huddled together in the attic. The monsters outside can't move fast or well enough to reach the pull chain in the office ceiling, they have tried...it would lead them to what is likely the last meal in the city.
The sound of them shuffling is floating up from beneath us, hundreds trying to fit in the tiny room. The dead walking is a lot more terrifying that I would have thought, you can’t just 'walk past them'. They are uncoordinated and slow, some of them nothing more than flesh dangling on bones, but the newer dead are a little faster. Those who were taken in the attacks can almost go as fast as I can walk, though if we run we can beat them. The problem is that we get tired and they don't.
There are just so many of them. Surrounded by two hundred years of our dead coming back to life, I find myself being thankful I have almost become accustomed to the smell of death. Chris is still trying to use his cell phone to make contact and Beau is frantically trying to find a station on the radio. It has been only two hours since we ate, but the amounts we rationed are so small I can hear the others stomachs growling. Even at these small portions we only have enough food to last for two days, but we have a week’s worth of water if we each get a bottle.
I am not sure if I should but the thought hits me that if I offered them a piece of chocolate it would make us all feel better. The chocolate bar had been on the counter when I was grabbing food and I knew it would come in handy at some point. Breaking the candy bar into three pieces, I passed it around the room. Sugar would keep us going for another hour or so.
Beau has given up on the radio and started scribbling in his own notepad; Chris is still playing with his cell phone. Playing, I mused, it seems like a weird word to use right now. Before I could start to get more depressed over our situation Beau shot up from his seat and yelled "Listen!". As hard as I strained I couldn't hear anything. Then I realized what he meant, I couldn't hear anything. The scuffles and groans had gone from underneath us. I dropped the ladder and descended down the stairs with a flashlight. Attached to the office was a small break room and I was hoping there were some vending machines and snacks. To my relief there was a fridge that was miraculously still closed, holding the cold air in. Disappointment hit me once I opened it. There seemed to be only a bag of grapes and a half pint of milk, I grabbed them anyway.
The cupboards were bare except a couple disposable cups, which I hoped we could find a use for. The food vending machine was easy enough to get into, the glass front made it breakable. I shoveled packs of snacks into a garbage bag I had found. The soda machine was not as easy, but I wanted into it badly enough that I became rabid. The drinks would give us high calories and sugar, things we normally would want to avoid needed now. Passing the bag up to the men in the attic I decided to walk down into the warehouse.
In the open it truly looked abandoned. There was a well placed crowbar at the bottom of the stairs and I felt lucky for a second. When I turned around that feeling left me, there was one of those creatures at the end of the building. It was standing still, watching me. I had watched a lot of zombie movies, but nothing really prepares you to have death literally in your face. I ran up the stairs and prayed that it wasn't able to catch up, that they hadn't somehow developed speed beyond what I could accomplish. I reached the office and locked the door, screaming "BEAU! CHRIS! GET DOWN HERE!" while trying to drag the heavy office furniture in front of the door.
They helped me barricade the door and we stacked things in front of the window. I wasn't taking any chances even if the creatures were not very strong. My lucky feeling came back when a generator kicked in. I used the crowbar to bust off the front of the soda machine. While I stacked drinks in the now running fridge, Beau grabbed coins from the machine. He must be able to see the confused look on my face because he shrugged and mumbled "It’s easier than breaking the fronts off of the next one."
'The next one', the words made me sigh internally. We can’t stay here forever, its winter so the attic isn't unbearable but we are close to spring and once the temperatures rise we can't be here. I place the milk back in the fridge after giving us each a cup. There was enough for one more round.
With provisions a little loosened, we relaxed and split a pack of sunflower seeds. There was a small TV in here with a VHS player (who still uses VHS?). The only tapes there were training tapes but it could have been worse, we could have sat in silence. "I think we should stay down here until we are ready to go to sleep." It was the first thing Chris had said in hours. "I don't know if that's safe", the words left my mouth before I could consider the benefits of being anywhere but the attic.
We had already been down here for three hours, watching old training videos on VHS and finishing off the grapes like they were the last fresh thing we would ever eat. Thinking harder on it I realized that they really may turn out to be the last fresh thing I ever get to taste. The thought made the grapes bitter on my tongue. We fell to awkward silence again until a loud bang on the office door jolted us. I almost ran for the stairs but a voice called out from behind the glass "Is anyone in there?!? We have food and water, but we need shelter!"
Pausing for only a moment before moving the furniture just enough to let the two people outside in, I wondered why I was doing it. They wheeled in two suitcases and confusion set in until they opened it to reveal food. Three gallons of water filled one of the suitcases, the one provision we were short on. The other was much larger and was filled with crackers, peanut butter, bread, nuts, dried fruit and candy. We dragged the suitcases upstairs after the door was barricaded again. "What kind of sleep watch are you guys on?" the boy asked. I paused for a minute, wondering why we hadn’t thought of that. "We aren't, the attic is safe. The dead can't get up there. Do you have any news from out there?" The boy just shook his head and dropped into the office chair.
The morning came and the shuffling was back below us, they had broken our barricade. If they knew we were here, why had they left in the first place?
Relieved we had bought everything except the milk and a few sodas up from downstairs I started looking for something to eat. The boy and girl were already moving around and trying to wake Chris and Beau with promises of food. Silently chewing my handful of cashews and dried bananas I couldn’t help but let questions run through my head. I didn't know these people, why did we trust them? Why do they trust us? We could just take their food and leave them in the night. I wouldn't do that, but I am sure there are those out there who would.
My old fashioned watch had come in handy, with no other way to tell time. It was almost four in the afternoon; the whole day had been wasted sleeping. I chuckled to myself, what else was I supposed to do? There was nowhere to go and the only thing to keep my mind off the rotten people downstairs was down there with them.
Two hours had passed and the boy and girl admitted that things were bad outside, that they only made it here because the zombies had left where they were camped out right before sun down. The noises below us slowly died out and I suddenly realized that the only times they walked among us was in the day! As soon as the sun went down they disappeared, it’s how the boy and girl escaped, and I remembered the creature didn't attack me last night. They seemed to disappear but where did they go? We tepidly walked down to the broken a torn room below, the fridge was somehow still intact. I grabbed a cold soda and the others followed me.
"I'm going grocery shopping!" Even though the words came out choked, my voice showed a bit of hope. The others looked at