How the zombie apocalypse started – 10

Miami, USA

Her parents had called her Grace, but her demise was far from graceful. Amazingly, Grace had only been infected for just over a day when she died, her death having nothing to do with the virus. Instead, it was down to an overdose of Fentanyl.

In the doss house where she went to buy and take her drugs as a means of blissful escape, she passed away not with a cry, but with a blue-lipped choking sound. The seizure that then took her was all but ignored by the other occupants of the house, because they too were higher than fucking stratospheric kites.

She had been neglected as a child, often left to be looked after by employed carers who saw her as a job rather than someone to love. Whilst she was never physically abused, the lack of connection with her parents was palpable. It was as if she was an inconvenience, her mother tolerating her presence, her father barely ever there. Unfortunately for Grace, she also inherited an addict’s genetics, her mother’s consumption of alcohol, part of the reason for the distant coldness the woman showed to her daughter. When Grace started smoking at the age of thirteen, the rebellion an attempt to get some kind of reaction from the icy emotionless walls of her parent’s faces. Grace was hooked. Alcohol came next, then a brief spat with cannabis, which she actually rejected.

It made her think too much.

Then at the age of seventeen she was involved in a car accident breaking her hip. After surgery came the opiate painkillers, sending her on a long heavy road to a dangerous addiction that would eventually kill her. The doctors, it seemed, cared little about her constant agony, the pills, in their mind, a way for them to shut her up. Pretty and often outgoing before the accident, she descended into desperation, quickly converting from morphine-based drugs to the artificial opiate Fentanyl. Before long, she was smoking it, and Grace became just another victim of a drug that was almost one hundred times stronger than medical morphine.

It led to an end so many others had been fated with.

Grace(Z) opened sightless eyes, its mouth, lungs and throat filled with vomit. That was how Grace had died, drowning in her own gastric acid, spared any pain through merciful unconsciousness. It sat up, listening to the human structure around it, smelling the beautiful aroma of sweet human flesh. There were seventeen other people in the dilapidated mansion, a bank repossession that had been left to rot, helped in its decline by the mould, the squatters and the rats that quickly moved in.

Most of the other people were downstairs, Grace having gone off to take her drugs in an upstairs bedroom. For her, the addiction was a solitary, almost embarrassing affair. She didn’t want others to see how far she had fallen, so nobody was there to see her rise.

Grace(Z) stumbled to its feet. As zombies went, it was surprisingly agile, possibly an unexpected side effect of the chemical narcotic still present in its system. It stood motionless, lacking the usual jerkiness and swaying that normally accompanied a zombie’s first steps. Bile leaked from between its lips, slowly being washed away by saliva that still flowed from the glands that would take days to become useless. It stepped forward, the floorboards complaining about its progress across them, a journey of death about to be undertaken. The odour of humanity drew it on, and it left the room to enter into the hallway outside. At the top of the stairs, it turned left to the closest prey which lay in the room across from her.

There were two people in the room, both completely wasted. Lying propped up against one wall in a supportive embrace, they didn’t even register the almost naked creature as it stumbled into their domain. Both in their early heroin highs, having just shared the same batch, they barely noticed as Grace(Z) fell to its knees by their feet. The male of the two still had the needle sticking out of the vein in his arm, so completely gone into the realm of bliss was he.

Grace(Z) grabbed the man’s unprotected foot with hands that were now cold and clammy. The man murmured something illegible, barely reacting when the zombie bit down into the meat of his heel. A tentative bite, not taking much. Testing, tasting.

Bent over, it started to chew, still miraculously possessing the ability to swallow. The effects of the heroin were nothing compared to the experience the zombie got from eating the ripe bite and it swallowed. Still holding the foot, it bit again, this time getting more of a reaction, the zombie’s teeth hitting bone. As if from some deep sleep, the man seemed to become semi-awake, and he tried to pull his foot away, the agony breaking through the analgesic wall. Grace(Z) gripped on tightly, breaking some of the smaller bones in the man’s toes.

That resulted in an incoherent howl that was barely heard by anyone downstairs, and the man kicked more violently, hitting the zombie in the face, sending it sprawling backwards. Still too under the influence, the man manoeuvred away, more on instinct, his companion clinging to him. Grace(Z) regained her knees, and this time attacked the woman’s calf. That got a violent reaction, and the resultant scream was heard by some downstairs.

Unfortunately, there was nobody in the house who even cared.

By the time the virus began to spread across the state, nobody cared where it came from. And nobody was left to remember a young woman who had just wanted to be loved.

 

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