I woke up suddenly, a cold sweat upon my brow. I was in my bed, my wife sleeping peacefully next to me. I rolled out of bed and shuffled into the bathroom. I felt very groggy and hazy as I flicked on the switch and looked in the mirror. My skin was of pale gray complexion, and my hair appeared to be falling out. I touched a patch of my scalp, and, to my horror, it wasn't just my hair that fell out. A huge patch of skin and hair came off in my hand.
I screamed, but only a low groan came out. When I opened my mouth, I wished I could scream again. My tongue was swollen to a dark purple, almost black color. Some of my teeth were missing. But that wasn't the worst part. The thing that horrified me the most...was that my entire face and neck was covered in blood. It wasn't fresh. It had dried on my skin, a rusty brown color.
I stumbled back into my bedroom toward the bed where my wife was sleeping. so my walk back to the bed felt like a trek up Mount Everest. As I made my way back to the bed, I flicked the light switch on the wall to wake up my wife. Again, I tried to scream but instead moaned. My wife wasn't sleeping. She had been murdered! No, not murdered. Upon closer inspection, it looked like she had been torn apart, her rib cage open as if someone had snapped a wishbone. Blood was everywhere, and her face was frozen in a horrified expression. Intestines, lungs, and all of her other organs had been ripped to shreds as if a dog had used them as chew toys.
I backed against the wall and fell to the floor. What had happened to my wife? Who would do such a thing, and why? Was I next? Were they still in the house? I slowly got up and scrambled over to the phone on the nightstand. I picked up the phone to call someone, but I suddenly couldn't remember who it was that I wanted to call. My mother-in-law? My brother? Then, for some strange reason, an overwhelming hunger completely changed my thinking.
I totally forgot about my wife, dead and gutted like a deer on my bed. I turned around toward the door and opened it up. I stumbled down the hallway to the stairs. After making my way down the stairs I went to the refrigerator in the kitchen. I opened it up, and saw fruits, vegetables, juice, milk, all the normal things you see in a refrigerator. I had the strangest craving for meat. I started pulling food out and found a plate of uncooked ground beef. Without even taking the seran wrap off the plate, I shoved the raw meat into my mouth.
The cold sensation didn't even faze me, and I continued wolfing down the soft, chewy, DELICIOUS meat. Before I knew it, the meat was gone. I couldn't see any more meat in the fridge, so I walked out of the kitchen. Even after eating at least three pounds of raw meat and having an engorged belly, I was still insatiably hungry. I had to go to the store to get more.
I staggered across the room to the front door, and walked out. The grocery store was right up the street, and I didn't want to wake up my wife by starting the car -- she's so beautiful when she sleeps, I hope she doesn't wake up and notice I'm gone and get mad -- so I decided to walk. It was dark out, had to be around 2am. Strange time for a meat craving. But I slowly made my way down the street. For some reason, I felt groggy and hazy, like the world was pushing against me, making it extremely difficult to walk quickly. I hadn't eaten anything at all today, and I was terribly hungry.
Wait...I stopped, looking around me. Where was I? How did I get outside? And why was I so hungry? A low growl escaped my throat. So...hungry...
Patch of Gray: The Infected
The first in a series of short stories about a zombie apocalypse.