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                   Painful Tragedy
                                          By Alyssa Arthur


Chapter 1: Smell of Death

  I was awoken abruptly by a thundering sound of fist pounding against the
paper thin walls that surround me.  I must have drifted off to sleep again for
maybe fifteen minutes this time.  After staying awake for thirty-eight to forty
hours, I realized my body was starting to shut down.  And yet again did I have
that dreadful dream.  The memory of Elle, my deceased wife, crawled deep
inside the crevasses of my dominated mind.  The same dream I've had for
nights on end since the horrible tragedy that this nightmarish plague cost me.

  The irritating sound of dragging feet shuffling down the stairs should frighten
me but it beginning to place me in a calm trance.

"I must snap out of it if I'm going to get out of this place alive.", I thought to
myself.

  The pungent odor of the dead overwhelmed what used to be a pleasing sent
of wine.  Even though I placed a towel at the base of the door and closed the
air vents, the air was composed of a thick sticky moisture of decay.  All I could
do was hope to get used to it but it was not possible for the smell became
stronger every day.  My nostrils burned and my lungs felt heavy.  Every step
that pounded on the floor above made my heart beat faster.  I could hear the
flesh sliding across the ground above.  I sat there very still trying not to make
the slightest sound.  I looked around making sure that there was not a single
splinter of wood that stuck out of the floor.  Not one nail that lay on the wall or
ground, for if I were to accidentally scratch myself they would know that I
locked myself down here and they would never leave.  They would swarm
above me and I was running out of food.  I nearly had enough to last another
week.  I would soon have to leave to gather supplies.

Chapter 2: Diseased

  This horrible thing was a virus, a disease.  A individual could get infected by
a bite, a scratch, or by a single drop of bodily fluid that touched a wound or
any other open part of the body.  Including the ears, eyes, nostrils, and
mouth.  It could even be spread by mosquitoes, similar to how other diseases
spread throughout history.  Blood devouring insects were the main cause of
infection.  Like mosquitoes, being bitten by fleas or lice could easily infect you,
since they fed on the flesh of the dead.  Their blood covered fangs and long
straw like needles would sink into the skin of the animal or person it bit causing
their immune system to collapse.  There were quite a few animals that could be
infected by the virus, such as dogs, horses, cats, large predators, and even
sharks.  But most were just carriers of the disease.

  The survivors all pretty much had the same thoughts in their heads.

  'Why?', we thought, 'Why, must this disease plague my generation.'

  I knew I had a promising future but now, now it is all gone.  No hope will
grasp my pounding heart, that will surely be ripped to shreds or stop beating
from lack of water and food.  No, there is no hope here.  Reality in not like the
safely casted and special effect added movies that appear on the advantages
home`s television set.  There will be no rescue.  Every individual is for
themselves and there is no community out there and if there ever where to be,
they would surely be slaughtered like pigs after a few years or possibly, even
weeks.  They could not keep up defenses forever.  One of them would become
tired or lack knowledge of what would happen is they left their post.  And one
is all it takes to let a few in.

  Plus the entire facility could not be protected from every last insect and
animal known for man.  This is why I had lost faith in surviving.  There is not a
force out there that could destroy them all.  Not a cause that could clean the
earth of these monstrous beings that we once called our own fellow colleagues
and relatives.  The brutal winds of the living dead swept over the earth's blood
stained tundra.  And the hostel tidal wave of those infected flooded the land
and stripped it of its humanity, covering the floor with internal organs.

Chapter 3: Alone

3 Days Earlier;

  I slowly slide my fingers across the tree's rough bark as I place one foot in
front of the other so gently and carful not to make a sound.  My heart beat was
like metal horse shoes pounding swiftly across the dust-covered muddy
landscape of the bitter desert.  That alone could reveal where I stood in an
instant but I had to get water from the stream near by.  Not even my home in
the bright wilderness would protect me against the diseased.  It was not
untouched by infection like most thought.  It was the deers, the gentle deers,
that were sick with death.  No longer the hunted but the hunter of the race that
butchered their kind from years before.  And now, right before my sky blue
eyes lay the figure of such.  Its pitch black eyes glared deep into mine.  I
paused in my tracks and then slowly reached for my knife.  Guns were much
too loud to use.  The knife was around 7 inches tall and had sharp, gagged
edges.  It was much like that of a kitchen knife.  I grasped it's smooth leather
grip and stood my ground.

  The stag sprinted towards me and then as I tried to quickly move out of the
way the deer's head rammed into my forearm.  I completely ignored the
intense ache the raged beast had caused.  I looked behind me to witness the
flashing speed of the animal as it rammed at me once more.  The pure bliss as
I wrapped my good arm around it's neck and then stumbled backward.  The
creature’s front legs rose up as it thrashed in all different directions, trying to
escape my clutches.  And during the few seconds in which I held its head back,
I dug my knife deep in to it's slick throat.  I then slide my knife across its neck
towards me.  Warm, dark blood covered my hand in a thick glove.  The animal
was not yet dead.  Its head seemed to be loosely placed on its body.  It swung
drastically back and forth as it fell to the ground.  I ripped my knife from its
neck and then buried it inside its soulless right eye.  It had stopped trying to
escape but yet it still twitched.  The puddle of the red substance grew larger by
every second that passed.  What a pity, I couldn't devour it.  I couldn't even
take a sliver of the warm and rich meat fore the flesh was infected.

Chapter 4: Static

  I placed my canteen filled with the chilled, thirst quenching water that laid
beneath the thin layer of ice that covered the surface of the stream.  I turned
around and locked my heavy, wooden door.  I sat down in the hard chair next
to the kitchen table.  Suddenly there was actually a voice on the radio that sat
in the middle of the broken down and dusty table.  I jumped up and turned the
volume higher.  The signal was filled with static but I could make out a woman's
voice.  She was asking for help and gave a location that was located near my
estate.  Her voice was desperate and panicked.  Then I rose up from my chair
and swiftly grabbed my bag of weapons but I knew that if I was spotted by any
of the infected, I would have no chance of escaping.  I would have to sneak
past hordes of them to get to the girl.

Chapter 5: Rescue

  I walked for about a mile until I came upon a rather small house.  I knew
immediately that it was the house that the girl was in fore the outside was
surrounded by Rotters.  Rotters was what I called the restless dead because
the strong smell of rotting flesh was the first sign that those mindless things
were near.  There was none of them surrounding the backyard for some
reason.  I walked quickly and silently to the wooden fence and was hesitant to
jump over it.  The thought of not knowing what stood beyond the fence
paralyzed me with fear but I knew that she would not survive if I did not cross
the treacherous fence.  I wrapped my right hand around the top of the fence
and pulled myself over it.  Thankfully there was nothing to be seen. I walked up
to the screen door and gently slide it open.  As soon as I place a single foot in
the door I saw a girl, that looked around my age, run towards me.  My first
instinct was to grab her arm and go but her left leg, next to her ankle, was
gushing blood.  I was to concerned about getting out alive to actually think
about the consequences of taking her back to my house and the possible
ways that she could have gotten her wound.  I threw her over my shoulder and
ran back to my porch, unaware that every step I took, left a trail of blood as a
pathway to my estate.

Chapter 6: Deadly Decision

  As I opened the door I heard a loud rustle in the woods before me.  And then
hordes of bloodied, decaying creatures ran towards us from the brush.  I
rushed through the faded door way and sprinted towards the wine seller door.  
I dropped the nameless woman down on the cedar flooring and then grabbed
the large couch at the end of the small room and placed it completely in front
of the door.

  I looked at her and grabbed a old, dusty t-shirt that I had left on the floor.  I
ripped a sliver off the bottom of the shirt and hoped that the wound would not
turn septic once I placed the dirty fabric on her skin.  As I looked at it, I noticed
that it was no mere scratch.  She had been bitten and would soon die and be
reanimated.  The painful memories, the terrible memories of Elle.  Not again, I
refuse to do this again.  But yet I had no choice, no trace of admiration for this
woman but for my dead wife that I had killed by my own shaking and blood-
stained hands.  She had also been bitten and she turned into one of those
ravenous freaks.  She was gone and I had clawed the pain and guilt from my
mind until my nails grew dull and bled but now, now it was back at full stead,
once again.  No man can continue to stay sane after something like that.  And
the memory crushed me down to my knees.  I grabbed the medal baseball bat
in the corner.  I knew what had to be done.  After all, she was already doomed
and there was Norway to save her from the fate that was brought upon her.

  'It was a mistake to go and save her.',I thought to myself.

  I pushed her down to the ground.  She did not struggle fore she was already
dying.  I then lifted my bat high in the air and smashed it down on her head
repeatedly.  Every time I brought my wraith down on her I heard another part
of her skull snap.  Blood coated the floor in a dark and foggy layer.  When I
had finally stopped I dropped the bat on the ground and fell into a corner and
sobbed for hours.  In a time when survival is the key, there are no room for
heroes.  Even a hero must harden his heart to survive.  And in the end, we are
no better than the soulless beast knocking at our door.  This was truly a
painful tragedy.