I Awoke | Chapter 1:3+4 — Mission

I Awoke | Chapter 1:3+4 — Mission

I Awoke

by Benjamin Arandjelovic-Vaughan

This idea began as a short story but has now become a through composed novel. Chapters will be released periodically and is still being written. You can read this yourself or have TripleS read this to you in the YouTube video below. Feedback is always appreciated and enjoy the tale.

 

Chapter 1 - The Silent Night

1.3 – My Mission

When contemplating moving further into my future which, probably meant moving out of the safety of my house, I consulted the Zombie Survival guide which was currently sheathed in my suit jacket pocket.

Rule 3. – Find good shelter, think about permanent places. Possibly a public place where survivors can gather and use as a base.

But where the hell was I to find a potential permanent place? Public? I don’t go out in public. Surely there is some sort of fantastical place that makes complete sense to everyone else to try looking for first but I just couldn't come to the right conclusions. I mean, don't get me wrong, I have performed certain social activities (Dungeons and Dragons is a social activity right?) but not really ever understood ‘Communal’ behaviours. Being diagnosed as Dyslexic and a bit Asperger seemed to be my parent’s only way of explaining their notoriously boring son to the rest of their convent, oh sorry, I mean ‘Friendship Group’.

Does it say anything else about where may be a good option to try in my rule book?

Rule 4. – Some options to attempt if they are 1. In your vicinity, or 2. Safe to enter, could be the following: A Cinema, University, Sports Hall, Office Building. Avoid anywhere with large open spaces that are difficult to patrol and always know your escape routes.

Oh thank god for literature, who knew that this book, which I am assuming was meant to be a complete joke, has now come in handy! With a new sense of hope I grabbed a flashlight that was lying in one of the cupboards and a few extra batteries (I’ve played games, you always need spares on you) and ruffled though my bags making checks before leaving into the unknown.

Food, clothes, batteries: Check

Cricket bat: Check

Where would I go? The Cinema and University is on the other side of town and I’m sure at this time of night the office blocks around here would have been blocked up. Wait. There is a sports centre not one mile down the road, that could be perfect. I’m sure they even have free Wi-Fi and people are always there at all times of the day and night wasting their lives getting fit.

“Right, here’s where the shit usually hits the fan.”

Knowing that my house was on the way and that my hope was not going to last for much longer I cherished my current emotional state and strode out onto the pavement.

It must have still been night-time or at least very early morning as there was not even a glint of sunlight on the horizon. As I took one big breath of fresh air I shivered in natures glory, for a gentle moment being able to forget about the task at hand. Confidently stepping onto the pavement I made a turn to the left and headed back home. There was a sloping drop in my mood when I could not even hear the crickets calling out to me. Each footstep of mine was like a gunshot in my ears, there was silence, utter dread and silence.

Whistling was the best option, be wonderfully in denial until something bad actually happened. That's right, ignore the creepy wonderland that pervaded every inch of your vision. Then I walked past him, the man at the bustop that was still contemplating number 4 across. I could have told him that it was the Inca civilisation that drew pictures on the ground but I don’t think that would have really been the best way to help him at the moment.

Looking around was the worst thing I could do as a couple of lights remained on in houses and very clearly there were people ‘sleeping’ in their sofas watching basically nothing but static now. It was strange but I noticed that the houses were going by a little quicker, my feet had other ideas and were making a run for my house. The fact that nobody was even moving and the soundtracks to all my favourite horror films were building in my head did not help the situation. My whistling grew manic and breathless, almost comical as my walking pace could no longer be considered Andante. The cellos, those bastard cellos began to hold an epic and chilling pedal note, low and brash after being edited heavily. At this time there would only have to be a single noise or something strange happen to send me into a state of frantic mess.

Check over the shoulder (sure someone was following me). Looking into the car windows, nope. Fuck was that a dead dog, oh poor thing (please don't come back as a zombie, zombie dogs are a nightmare to kill!). Oh look, a little girl in the upper window of that house, peeking through the curtains, Normal. Shit she’s gone, creepy as hell. FUCK! ZOMBIE.

It was the last straw, using muscles I only read about in a science textbook once I sprinted for the gold medal back to my house. Vaulting the gate like a show jumping horse I fiddled with the keys with hands trembling from intense fear. Slamming and locking the door behind me did not fill me with much relief. Post haste the curtains were shut, every light was on and I scrambled up to the bedroom to wait under my sheets until dawn.

After an innital assessment of my situation I concluded with the following sentiment:

“Holy shit, fucking zombies.”

However, after a few moments of intense thought and deliberation:

“Holy shit, maybe she isn’t a zombie and could actually be ALIVE!”

Yes, it could have been true, at least I knew that it was worth checking it out and making sure that there could be someone else. Even though it was only a couple of hours so far and the sun was due to break any time “It would be nice to actually have someone else to talk to before I go completely insane. Obviously, if I was to travel out there I would not be taking any of my pack or my laptops, who knows, it could be some zombie trap wanting to take my equipment to run further experiments on us humans…”

I paused and noted my sanity level, shook my head and continued to ponder.

“Maybe I will take basic essentials and my bat just in case.”

Picking up the bat and wielding it in the way the Bruce Lee would have made me have a brief boost of confidence, almost denying the fact that I was potentially going to die and refusing to believe that any paranormal creature of the night would stand a chance against me.

Throwing the flashlight into the air and catching it before it fell on the floor…wait, it fell on the floor, was a move I was glad I made when nobody was watching.

YOU: I saw that.

…I was glad that nobody was watching when I also attempted to open the door, caught my foot and headbutted the frame. After rubbing my head to whisk away feelings of intense pain I jumped back onto my feet and headed outside. One-finger-saluting the door as it closed made me feel comforted as if the situation was rather normal and mundain, however the re-realisation of my situation sent shivers down my spine until my toes beckoned be back towards my home.

“Are you really going to coward out now? Is all this heroism going to go to waste. Face your fears mate and burst forth into the unknown!” I shouted at myself.

Opening the gate and heading onto the path became almost a game to me. Like agent 007 I was ready to accept my mission and proceed to the creepy house with the zombie girl to either:

  1. Slay her violently in panic.
  2. Befriend her.
  3. Die pathetically.

Though for a double agent the third option was not an option (well it is obviously an option but we will just discount the option for now and also in my memoirs of heroism). Looking to the horizon one could note the distinct glow of reddned sun just peaking it’s way into existence. It lit the landscape in a warm twinkle that set the scene for my heroic act rather perfectly. In my mind this also gave me a time limit; almost as if I was 12 years old again.

“In and out and back in the house before the sun rises, got it!”

Crawling, side-stepping (a technique learned from the green hero, link!) using my bat to part the bushes silently before jumping to surprise unsuspecting creatures of the night that may be lurking.

“Thou darkest and dankest beings, defend yourself from my axe of truth.” I spoke.

I stopped to write that one down in my notebook. I scrawled the sentence down and noted the following two realisations: I must stop playing dungeons and dragons, and I was still potentially in a zombie apocyalypse. I breathed in stupefied confidence and proceeded to hide behind a couple of cars before I reached the house.

‘I daren’t look up at the window’ was the only thought that went through my head as the false ‘this is all a game’ pretense slipped like ink through my fingers. The feelings of that moment were almost tangiable, up until now the reality of the situation was far from the loose grasp on a dream world I had used to cover up the truth. My mind was already slipping but who could blame me, it was not an average, everyday setting.

Looking to the window revealed no further clues of life and though a light was on downstairs I had to consider the possibility that I imagined the whole thing. Reflecting on this notion I hasten to add that imagining a zombie girl would not have been the most disturbing event in the last few hours. Even so, it was important that I check on this as if there was in fact another human being not comatosed or zombified then it may lead to some important clues to solving this mystery.

“Zoinks” was blurted from my mouth out of strange necessity.

“Hey, wait…what if…” that girl is my age, the scenario: Last two on earth, must Adam and Eve it up and re-populate humanity. My re-found confidence (in other words my libido) took me from behind the car and through the rotting gate.

“They really must get that fixed. A messy front garden ruins the look of the whole house” to quote Alan Titchmarsh.

*rattle rattle rattle*

The front door was locked. The curtains upstairs moved. My boner disappeared.

I noticed that by hopping over a short fence that the back door was left unlocked and I hesitantly let myself in. A large lump appeared in my throat but I swallowed it down. Someone had left a candle lit in the kitchen where I entered and the lavender ravaged my nostrils and left me light headed, in this state I spoke in a rather squeaky voice.

“Sorry to intrude but I must check your house for zombies, routine now. Just a local council service every couple of months. Don't be alarmed.”

Cracking jokes kept my sanity from cracking under the pressure, I walked over to the pungent candle and blew out it’s obvious fire hazard. It would have been awful if a fire began because of that and went out of control!

I crept through the kitchen and on my way out, stepped in the dog bowl still full of some meatylicious treat that now was spread on my shoes and jeans. The dimly lit-by-static room had two adults neatly laid on the sofas in some sort of ritualistic offering. Their hair was tied up (yes even the male) and in their hands were mounds of popurri (obviously from the bowl on the coffee table). Taking my incredible deductive reasoning into hand I noted that this could not have been a ‘normal’ way that a family may relax and could potentially have been set up by someone else.

*Clonk Clonk*

Swiftly I turn around and my unkempt hair follows and hits me in the face. Upon taking further note that someone was not there I keep my investigation flowing.

*Clonk Clonk*

Again, there it is again! I look downwards and notice that my hand is shaking violently and the bat is simply knocking against the floor. Trying to deny my fear was obviously causing negative implications for my nervous system. Holding the bat more firmly in both hands I began to creep up the stairs.

Candles,

MORE FUCKING CANDLES on the stairs, leading me in procession to my eventual doom! Blowing each one out behind me my way out was closed off by the darkness that swarmed me, only further pushing me to what could possibly be up the stairs.

Thinking back to the last week of absolute boredom, coding and copious otaku-style gaming this was definitely not the situation I should have found myself in. Being caught watching porn, maybe; going to the shop because I had run out of alchol, for sure; but this, not an icicles chance in hell I ever thought I would be doing this. Nostaligia of my over-simple lifestyle caused a new found excitement to well up inside and forced me to the landing where I noted three potential doors and a cupboard overflowing with towels and bedding. Before randomly choosing a door to burst into, I took note of a small flicker from the underside of one of them before it seemingly disappeared, or was ‘blown out’. Every imaginary string instrument I could conjure began to accompany me towards the handle of the sticker covered door. The music grew and grew as I noted this girl’s obsession with boyzone and something called ‘teen-teen magazine’. A plethora of 2001 a space oddesy voices plundered the corners of my brain and my hand seized the door handle. Turning it to the left slowly (for obvious dramatic effect) caused a surge of dread, nausea, trembling and also swift portamento until it clicked. The door was open and the music stopped, cage-ian silence.

I threw it open and charged.

 

1.4 – Final Battle

Finally after all these years of cowering away behind the guise of a fantasy character allowed my actual self to come in contact with a real life-or-death situation. Throwing the door to the bedroom open I charged valiantly in as if on horseback and what met me was so shocking that I became immobilised and tripped into pink beanbag. A swirling storm of pointy-sharp fury whizzed past be which was narrowly blocked by my bat that now had a large, deathly cut out of the front. The high-pitched moan it emanated was so piercing that it rang in my ears for minutes after the event.

A spectre? A banshee summoned by the ritual downstairs?

Jolting my head towards the door which it left, I could only make out a small shadow figure with arms as long as it’s body and green eyes that pierced the thick gloom of night. We were both still, it hid behind the banister as if to eye up it’s prey for the final strike; looking at the chunk of wood from my bat still twirling around on the floor I noted that it may not miss on the next attempt. Observing a surface wound on my cheek, I counted my blessings and almost began muttering to a god that not once in my daily life I had chosen to give existence to.

“Well zombies and banshees are real so god doesn’t seem so farfetched anymore”. I spoke silently to my motionless body.

A staring contest with the creature made my heart beat incredulously fast and for what seemed like an age we remained at a distance, like a tiger in the bushes and it’s prey in a corner. Being literally in a corner with the only exit covered, my lips parted and I trembled out a faint: “What…Who?...” before the entity shouted with tear filled angst.

“Who are you!!? What do you want and what’s happening? Please…”

I’m an idiot to accept the ploy of a spirit monster, but in hearing a young girl’s voice almost pleading with my heartstrings, I replied.

“I’m not here to hurt you, I’m just as scared, please come out.”

She did not move for a moment but in the deepest silence of a red sunrise I could almost hear the tears drop from her eyes. For a minute the light grew stronger highlighting the swords in her hands and what looked like drops of blood but was simply the culmination of her sorrow.  Not a single bird, not even a breath of wind broke the silence on this still morning but as she ran towards me I dropped everything and pulled her close. As she cried and cried she turned from depravity into almost joy that someone else was alive. After recollecting those lifeless girls I saw earlier, a well of grief overflowed and I gripped onto this human that, like me was a survivor.

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