Hungry. Mika was suddenly very hungry. For what she couldn’t quite decide. She wasn’t like other girls who felt sudden hormonal food cravings, not usually. But today her stomach churned as she waited in line for her coffee. She coughed into her hand, her cold had worsened over the past few days. People shot her nasty looks, afraid she had the swine flu or some other such virus. Indeed she looked ill, her skin sallow, her face sweaty with fever. She couldn’t afford to miss classes this week, finals were coming up. She drew her wallet out of her purse, the small physical effort tiring her. The man in front of her was wearing a paisley shirt-in this day and age?- the motif swam for her in her fevered state. She stood, frozen, her wallet in her hand, arm still jutting out from the movement of taking it out of her purse. So hungry, the line was taking forever. Her heart, she never realized, was slowing. The paisley’s started to blur and she could barely make out the man’s form in front of her. Everything started to blur. She heard voices raise around her, unable to make them out. Mika’s eyes rolled back and she fell to the ground, her wallet spilling her coins from where she had started to unzip it. She always had too much change. It bounced around her as people stood over her, so many people. Her heart stopped moments after she had fallen, her body lay awkwardly where she fell.
The paramedics came quickly, they had been down the block getting their own fuel for the day. They pronounced her dead at the scene. People whispered about what could have killed her, infectious disease, swine flu, airborne toxins. No one was allowed to leave once the paramedics realized she was ill. People panicked, thinking they were next. No one noticed Mika’s arm move as the paramedics tried to calm the panic stricken coffee shop patrons. The man who had been standing in front of Mika, still stood nearby, just within biting range…
Ten months later:
Mika woke with a start. She lay face down on warm pavement, the sun beating down on her back and her body placed awkwardly. She moved her right foot; it felt stiff and sore. She rolled onto her side, the movement taking great effort. She suddenly felt very sick, and very weak. She vomited, lifting her head enough so as not to choke. Once she thought she was done, she rolled onto her back, lifting her hand to block the sun from her eyes. Scanning her field of vision, she could see that she was laying in the middle of the road. After a few minutes of rest, she managed to push herself up and surveyed the landscape. What she saw made her want to vomit again. A bloody, half eaten corpse lay before her, bloated and stinking in the mid-day sun. Nearby was a white van that had run into a telephone pole, its hood smoking slightly. Craning her neck around she saw that she was in the country side, but not completely alone, she could see houses speckled in the distance. Turning back to the corpse, she saw that it was a man, older judging by his hair colour. She swallowed, her mouth dry and caked with dirt from laying on the ground. She could also taste something else, something coppery. She turned away from the corpse, her vomit catching her eye. It contained what looked like raw, uncooked beef. Turning back to the corpse, she saw the extent of the damage done to the body, something had torn savagely at his flesh. His face was unrecognizable and his chest was one gaping hole. Her eyes widened in horror as a vague memory of leaning over the body and chewing came flying back to her. She scrambled away from the body quickly despite her weakened state. She took in air with big gulps, her head pounding as blood rushed to her head from sitting up and moving so quickly. She covered her eyes with her hands and rocked back and forth, her knees drawn up to her chest. She hummed some song she had heard on the radio a while ago. She stayed this way for a while, trying to block out the smell, the taste, the idea that she had been eating this man. Eventually she heard a noise behind her. It was a continuous sound that hadn’t bothered her until it had gotten close enough. She put her hands down from her face. She saw nothing in front of her. Looking behind her she screamed. A group of people were shuffling towards her, moaning, their faces and bodies bloodied in some manner. A few had their hands outstretched, as if the pace they were forced to march was impeding their desperation to reach her.
“Help!” She yelled, at them ,at anybody. They did not stop moving towards her. She looked around for something, someone. Mika could sense that these people wanted to harm her, and they were getting closer. They made no human noises, only moaning and groaning, their mouths gaping, eyes fixed on her. Jumping up she ran for the van. It was still running despite the fact that its front end was crushed slightly into the telephone pole. She tried putting it in reverse but the engine died the second she engaged. Screaming in frustration she looked out and saw the group was getting perilously close. Their pace may be slow, but she knew that they could easily swarm her. Looking in the back seat of the van for something, anything that could help her, she saw bags filled with survival supplies, a tent, water and a gun. She reached back for the weapon but it was far enough back that her fingers barely grasped the handle. She pushed herself further back, her arm swinging madly, trying to reach the goddamn gun. She turned and looked out the window of the driver seat door just as one of the people smashed his face against it, blood spilling out of his mouth, smearing on the window as his jaws opened and closed. Screaming again, this time in fear, she squeezed into the back seat, seizing the shot gun. It was too long for her and she banged it against the side of the van. She couldn’t remember what to do with it, it had been so long she was afraid it might not be useful to her. In her panic she fumbled at the trigger, not sure how to load it, or if it even was loaded. It suddenly went off, shooting a hole in the back of the van, the back door swinging open to reveal two of the people, their eyes locked on her. She had managed to hit one in the chest, blood squirting onto the van as he scrambled to get it. Aiming it again, she squeezed the trigger and blew him off his feet. Regardless of his fallen comrade, the other maddened person reached into the van. She aimed, fired, and screamed anger when nothing happened but an empty clicking. The man, his age undeterminable because of his massive face lacerations clamoured into the van, his jaw hanging by a thread was waving around like a jowl. She scrambled back, stopping when she hit the driver’s seat. Looking back, people had swarmed the front of the vehicle and were now banging on the windows, the glass giving way. She closed her eyes. She was going to die.
“ No,” she breathed. “ No!!” She cried out, her eyes snapping open she kicked out at the man who was now inches away. Her foot pounded at his chest but he kept coming. She kicked again, this time at his face. His lower jaw went flying and he fell into the side of the van, giving her an opening. Mika clawed her way to the back door of the van, desperate to reach the light, hoping that she would find no more of these people waiting for her. She didn’t have time to peer out quietly as the man behind her had composed himself and was now in the process of trying to turn his useless body around. Bursting into the hot sun, she ran. Not looking back, she dare not, Mika ran. She could hear the noises behind her noises coming from long dead mouths, screams of the hunt. They wanted to consume her. This Mika knew somehow, knew what they wanted and yet she could not remember how. So she ran until her feet bled and her legs and lungs burned. Until the sun was setting and darkness began to surround her.