Ka-CRACK! A single shot rang out through the air, and the Undead's head exploded with a plume of blood, bone, and brain. The source was a Springfield M1903 sniper rifle atop a neighborhood grocery store in town. The gunman -- a clean-cut retired Marine -- discharged the empty case in the weapon's chamber, and replaced it with a fresh 7.62mm bullet. He lit up a cigarette, and turned around to face the group of people with him.
"That shot will probably attract others. Remember our exit route," he instructed the group. It was simple. If the storefront suddenly was overrun by masses of Undead, they were to make their way down the stairs, through the back of the butchery, and into a box truck that was waiting in the market's loading zone.
The veteran turned back to watch over the street. Another man walked up behind him. "Rob, how long do you think this will last?" he asked.
"Dunno," Rob grunted. "Days, weeks, months...maybe the rest of our lives."
A woman, overhearing his prediction, rushed up to add her comment. "We've been here for six days! The food in the store is going bad, and we haven't seen or heard anything from the government since we got here. We need to move soon, or we're going to die here!"
Rob sighed. It had been a week already. It felt like just last night that he was sitting on his recliner, watching his small-screen television while drinking his favorite beer. "Z-Day," as it had come to be called by the wittier members of the group, came almost too quickly. It had started with a simple science experiment involving lab rats and a parasitic bacteria called "toxoplasmosa gondii." The toxoplasmosa is a bug that takes over a rat's brain and forces it to run to cats to be eaten, because toxoplasmosa can only breed in the intestines of felines. American military scientists saw the potential in this as a secret biological weapon, and tried to evolve it to make it adaptable to the human brain for a basic form of mind control. Unfortunately, one not-completely-sealed container of a sample of this evolved bacteria managed to create a nationwide alert, and paralyzed the country with both fear and infection.
Now, six and a half days later, this infection had spread across over half the United States, forcing the other half to seek refuge in underground facilities, CDC buildings, or anywhere else that might have a chance of protecting them from infection. All it takes to get infected is to have an open wound exposed to the bacteria, and within hours it poisons the brain, slowly erasing everything that ever made someone human.
Rob could really use a beer right about now.
[To Be Continued...]