This is the first chapter in my Vote Your Own Adventure series. You are in control. Vote on the options at the end to decide what happens next. A chapter will be posted every Tuesday and the results posted every Friday. Good luck.
VOTING FOR THIS CHAPTER IS NOW CLOSED. A NEW CHAPTER IS POSTED EVERY TUESDAY
THE SAFE ZONE
Four months. That’s all it took for the virus to spread to over 70% of the world’s population. Humans have become an endangered species forced to hide from the monsters that hunted them.
They were human once, these monsters. Now there isn’t an ounce of humanity left in them. They’re a shell. A vessel for a disease that cares about nothing but trying to cure an insatiable hunger.
The military built safe zones in cities throughout the world. They were merely tents at first but were quickly upgraded to full-blown dormitories. Anyone who wasn’t infected was welcome to stay.
They weren’t aware of the other mutations at the time. There were different strands of the zombie virus. Some of the effects were much more subtle than others – some of the infected could even pass as human and pass security unnoticed. Many of the safe zones didn’t make it past the first month.
By the third month, security had changed its approach. Nobody got in without going through a vigorous screening process. Applicants were tested for every possible variation of the infection. It took days to get approved for residency. Most were killed before it was time to move in.
During the fourth month the attacks began. Thousands of zombies moved from zone to zone, their numbers growing with each successful raid. They started with smaller zones and moved on to the bigger ones once there was enough of them. They pushed their way past the walls through sheer force and numbers. They couldn’t be stopped. The attacks were aggressive, devastating and organized.
Vancouver, British Columbia had the largest safe zone. The city had converted one of its biggest tourist attractions: Stanley Park. The park was an evergreen oasis of over one thousand acres surrounded mostly by water. It was located a mere kilometre and a half away from the city’s core and the most logical choice. It was overrun four hours ago. The last safe zone in Canada to fall.
The tiny room smells of blood. The only light comes from a tiny window. The falling sun pushes its way through the blinds.
Mangled bodies litter the floor. Only one of them is whole enough to reanimate. He moans from the corner of the room. His arms and legs have been torn off and he wiggles frantically in an attempt to creep across the floor towards his next meal.
Victoria sits with her back pressed against the opposite wall. Her legs are pulled tightly to her chest and her chin rests on her knees. She sobs loudly as she watches the moaning torso. His eyes are completely white and they stare directly into hers.
She wipes her face with the sleeve of her red sweater and sniffs loudly. Next to her is the remains of a dead soldier. The body is so mangled that Victoria is unable to tell whether they were male or female. Its head is a mass of muscle, torn skin and strands of brown hair. The rest of the body is reduced to mulch and torn military fatigues. An empty, leather gun holster lays in the pile. The pistol dangles from Victoria’s right hand.
The sound of scuffing feet attracts her attention. It’s coming from the hallway near the door. Her eyes dart to the bottom of the door and she holds her breath as a shadow moves into place, blocking the sliver of light. It pauses for a few seconds before it slowly shuffles off.
She presses the cold steel of the gun against her face and cries again. The monster across from her tries using his mouth to drag himself. A sickening crack echos through the room as his teeth break against the wood. Thick blood and saliva squirt from his mouth and cover the floor. She doesn’t consider him a threat due to his inability to move. She’s seen so many of his kind over the last four months that his appearance doesn’t even bother her.
She raises her left hand from her damp jeans and uncurls her fingers to reveal the photograph that was crumpled in her fist.
It’s a small, wallet-sized picture. The edges are damp and torn. It shows her and her family at Stanley Park with a large banner hanging between two trees behind them. It reads “Happy Birthday Jacob and Elena.”
In the photo, Victoria’s husband Kyle is planting an exaggerated kiss on her cheek as she laughs wildly. Her eight year old son is to her right with a look of disgust on his face. To the left of her husband is Jacob’s twin sister, Elena. Her palms are covering her eyes and she’s smiling brightly.
Victoria’s hand shakes and the photo floats to the ground. Just hours ago they were alive. The memory of their deaths has been playing back in her head on loop since it happened:
Elena had been sitting on Victoria’s lap as Jacob played on the floor of their dormitory. Kyle watched them from the kitchen table with a loving smile on his face. His hands were wrapped around a mug of steaming coffee. It was one of the rare moments where they weren’t worried about what was going on outside of the park. They weren’t thinking about what had happened to the other safe zones. They were together. And at that moment, that’s all that mattered.
Victoria had kissed Elena on the head before leaving the dormitory to use the bathroom. The one on their floor was out of order so she was forced to take the elevator to the floor above them.
When she’d returned, the elevator door had opened to screams. The hallway was filled with blood as a crowd of zombies attacked, pulling terrified people to the floor and tearing them to pieces.
She’d stood in the elevator, frozen in fear, struggling to see past the crowd. The door to her dorm was missing now and the frame was splintered.
Her memory blurs here. She can’t remember how she got to room, only what happened after.
She can still see the crowd of zombies in her living room, still hear the sound of their chewing. She remembers placing her hand over her mouth to muffle her screams. One of them had heard her and turned his head away from his meal. Kyle was laying on the floor underneath him, covered in blood. He’d stared up at her with glazed eyes. The skin was torn from the lower half of his face. The creature had pushed itself to its feet and slowly shuffled its way towards Victoria while the others had continued to feast on her family.
She’d run from the room and into the hallway filled with moans and pale hands that grabbed at her clothes. There had been too many of them – no way to get out. She’d made it down a flight of stairs to the floor below but was forced to duck into one of the dormitories. She’s been hiding there since.
Victoria stares at the pistol in her hand. She had run from her family. She hadn’t even tried to help them. Maybe she could have done something. She could have gotten them out of the pile, taken them to safety. Instead, she’d abandoned them.
She slides the barrel of the gun into her mouth and wraps her finger awkwardly around the trigger. She can’t live in this world now. Not without them.
She begins to tighten her grip on the trigger but a noise at the door catches her attention. It’s the sound of footsteps. They are more rhythmic this time. Once again, a shadow blocks the light but this time, it doesn’t leave.
Victoria pulls the gun from her mouth and drool drips from her lips. She’s ready to die, that much is evident, but not like that. The thought of becoming one of them, roaming the world as a mindless zombie. It terrifies her.
She raises the gun and aims it at the area above the shadow. She hesitates. She doesn’t know how many are out there. If she shoots, the sound could grab the attention of dozens of them. Her hand begins to shake as the door creeks. Something is pushing against it.
VOTING FOR THIS CHAPTER IS NOW CLOSED. A NEW CHAPTER IS POSTED EVERY TUESDAY