Doesn't it always seem like nothing ever turns out the way you plan it to? I was a household name once. People knew me; they knew my songs, my face. People wanted to be just like me! And now, they want me to be just like one of them.
I guess being a celebrity doesn't get you very far when you’re faced with the end of the world. In fact, I’m struggling. On the rare occasion I find a group, they won’t let me join them. So I’m by myself all the time. They think I’m weak, or something. Or they hated me before all of this started. I understand that a lot of people did. But I’m not weak, and I’m not that guy anymore. I’m still human. I’m still ALIVE! I wish they’d realize that nothing before this world matters anymore; all that should matter now is whether or not you're human.
It started off quietly. We were the first to know, of course. Having millions of dollars gets you the advantage of exclusive knowledge about when, and how, the world you know will end. Rumors. It started off with rumors. Something that had plagued my entire life was now about to save it, or at least prolong it for a little while.
Some crazy guy murdered his wife down in Florida, so I was told. Considering I lived in Canada, this was pretty far away from me and I didn't stress it too much. But my bodyguards and the authorities thought it wasn't something I should just shrug off. You see, they found the body of the murderer lying on the floor, with his throat torn open. What I mean by that is only a strip of skin as thick as paper, the back of his neck, still connected his head to the rest of his body.
The police originally concluded that wild animals must have done it. Some massive, powerful animal had eaten his throat to the point where his neck no longer existed, the flap of skin at the back the only thing left. I had more important stuff to worry about anyway, rather than pondering the strange circumstance.
My next tour was coming up soon, and I was constantly in and out of rehearsals and meetings. But seeing as I was a celebrity, they felt it was necessary to inform me on the things the general public didn't know. They gave me little bits of extra, exclusive information here and there. And that extra information sent icy spiders crawling up and down my spine.
Every door in that house had been closed. There was no way an animal could have wandered its way into the house, unless it knew how to open doors.
When the police investigated the scene even further they found the wife’s foot in the doorway and a knife with the husband's DNA all over its handle. Her blood painted the silver blade red. He’d plunged the weapon deep into her chest in their garage, killing her. Before he even had time to face what he’d just done, she came back. She tore into his throat, eating every tendon, every muscle, and the windpipes that were once safely sealed behind his pale flesh. I guess what goes around comes around.
A foot without a wife was conclusive enough evidence for the police to assume the series of events that took place. They didn't require extra evidence, but they got it.
The guy came back too. The police stood in awe as the guy opened his eyes, and stood to get up. His head, having only been held on by a small flap of skin, hung down in front of his chest until the weight of it became too great and the skin snapped altogether. His head rolled to the floor, his body collapsing behind it. The guy looked up at the policemen, his mouth moving to form words, but with a missing throat he was unable to speak.
That was the ‘inside scoop’ I received, and with that my tour was cancelled and it was decided that I needed to be air-lifted out of the country. When I inquired as to why, considering that Florida was a long way away from Canada, I got a one sentence reply from my most trusted bodyguard.
“Because they still haven’t found the wife, Justin,” he said. And that was all I needed.
As fear took hold of my insides with its icy hands, and panic’s tidal wave flooded my brain, I decided I would gladly flee my home with my family and a few of my friends.
“You guys are lucky I know you, you know. You wouldn't be getting this special treatment otherwise,” I said to them, forcing a smile onto my chattering teeth as we prepared to depart.
By this point in time strange news reports had been erupting from all over the country, stating that an air-borne parasite of unknown origin had made its way to America. But we knew better. It turns out that the wife of that guy had found some more victims while the police were searching for her.
The way people became infected can be described as similar to a pebble when dropped into a pond. The ripples of the infected slowly grew, and the more their numbers flourished, the bigger the next ripple became. As my family and friends finished packing and we headed to the final chopper that would ever leave Canada, the infected had reached us. It took only two days.
We rushed to the chopper quickly, masks covering our entire faces just in case the virus was in fact air-borne. We clambered into the mass of metal and told our sleeping pilot to get us out of there. We ripped the masks from our faces... Wait, sleeping pilot? How could he be sleeping at a time like this?
Suddenly, a moan came from the pilot. He had turned.
We struggled frantically with our seat-belts, desperation fueling our efforts to escape the helicopter. A hand shot out and the pilot grabbed my mother, and sunk his teeth into her arm. I can’t begin to describe the pain that squeezed my heart at that moment. As tears welled in my eyes, I yanked the seat-belt off of my agony-stricken self and ran for the nearest building. I knew all that mattered now was staying alive.
I've met a few groups along the way, but no one lets me stay for long. I don’t know how much longer I can go on; the last thread of strength I had snapped a long time ago, and I've lost track of what day it is. I want my mom, and my friends back. I’m so scared. Not just of the undead, but of other people. I've been locked in this room for almost a week now. I did it to myself. I can't bare to face the world as it is anymore. I don’t know how much water is left in the puddle next to me. I’m going to die.
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry thinking about the things I used to take for granted. I mean, I used to think I was destined to sing and play my music. I thought everything would be okay. Sitting here against the door, in the blinding blackness of this tiny room, I find myself longing to see a tree again. Maybe if I could even just here the wind again, I won’t lose my mind.
There is only one entrance and exit to this room, and that’s through the door behind me. And I've been in here for six days. No, I can’t leave now. I can’t face what the world has become. I wasn't built for it. Maybe they were right. I suppose I am weak; I'm nothing in this new world.
Wait, am I breathing that loudly?
Suddenly, a hand shot out of the darkness and grabbed me by the neck, holding me tightly and hoisting my skeletal figure off the ground. As it pulled me closer towards it, I stopped struggling.
The thing holding me had no eyes; instead coagulated blood had filled the eye sockets where its once green eyes used to be. The smell of its rotting flesh burned the insides of my nostrils, and I would've gagged had it not been squeezing my neck. Bits of its face hung down about its jaw, slashed into as easily as one would cut paper. It...he...was my bodyguard, or what was left of him. The man who had sworn to protect me was now threatening my existence. Like I said, nothing ever turns out how you plan it.
As I hung there, limp and struggling to breathe, I felt the familiar trickle from the waterfall of terror begin to stream through my veins, and 40,000 volts from the jolt of realization hit me like a truck. He had been in here with me the entire time, just watching.
Once again, I began to struggle, the terror now drowning me and inundating my body. Except this time, the fear consumed every rational part of my mind and tied knots with my insides. Then the thing that used to be my bodyguard opened his mouth, and out come the sound that nightmares are made of.
“I want you to become like me, like all of us,” he said, as what was left of his lips curved and formed a hideous smile. “And you will, Justin. It takes only seconds.” The harshness of his voice sent my body trembling, and my hands shooting up to meet my ears. His voice was so deep and unsettling I felt the floor beneath me tremble.
The dread which threatened to overwhelm me quickly became too much for me to handle, and my eyes began to rock back. The extra energy required for me to stay awake was a luxury I unfortunately was not granted with. I hadn't eaten in days. Sweat poured down the sides of my face, and then I became the darkness.
I woke up lying on the cold floor, the darkness still obscuring everything in the room. I wondered if my eyes were even open, and then I heard him laughing. I backed up against the wall as the laughing got closer. His cackles were like thunder, and my heart began to thud faster in my chest.
My clothes were filthy with blood, grime and sweat. I could hear him getting closer, his laughter managing to break through the layers of darkness that had descended on the room. I couldn't see him, but I knew he was in there. He could have been standing just three centimeters away, I still wouldn't have seen him. And then the laughter stopped, and a face appeared in front of mine cutting through the blackness like a knife.
I screamed, immediately cursing myself. His face disappeared as he pulled his head back and roared with laughter, and then it was in front of mine again. I didn't know how he could possibly see me, seeing as his eyes had been replaced by lumps of old blood and loose tendons. But he could see me, and that’s what scared me the most.
“If you’re going to do something, do it,” I choked out, my voice raspier and smaller than I was expecting. Everything else had, but I never expected my own voice to betray me. I spoke up again, “If you’re going to kill me, do it. But I will never be like one of you.”
Suddenly a shooting pain from my leg sent my entire body reeling in agony. My whole body began to convulse. I reached for my leg, felt the blood oozing between my fingers, and touched the ragged edges of the skin that had been torn apart. And then the blackness invaded the corners of my eyes, threatening to take me away again.
The face in front of me grinned slowly, exposing yellowing and rotten fangs. Red stained his mouth, and there was flesh stuck in between his teeth. He laughed mockingly at me, coughing up some blood in the process. And then he spoke in that deep rumble of thunder, the coarseness of his voice like fingers on a chalk board.“Never say never, Justin...”
Written by Natalo
This pasta has received a rating of 6/10 or higher and has moved on to the finals of the 2015 freestyle pasta challenge.