Mika slept, hard. She didn’t dream much but when she did they were swirls of maddening images. Grunting and groaning over corpses, and blood, so much blood. Her eyes snapped open and the sun streamed onto her face. For a moment she thought she was in her dorm but quickly realized that she was not, a memory retreating into her mind. Looking around, she vaguely remembered that she had stumbled into a shack in the dark. She had not been frightened, she was too exhausted, falling the second she closed the door behind her. Now she lay on the floor, dust and old grass clinging to her. The small building was filled with tools, a lawnmower and other devices for clearing land. She sat up, her stomach suddenly panging with hunger. She stiffly stretched out her sore legs, her feet covered in dried blood. Due to the previously dire circumstances that she had recently found herself in, Mika had not realized that she wore little more than rags. She wore nothing on her bottom half but dirty, stained underwear and a ripped up t-shirt that did not cover the essentials. Spying a pair over coveralls, she removed her tattered clothing and slipped into it. The name tag read some local garage name and she had to roll the sleeves and legs but at least it didn’t have dried blood caked on it. Her stomach growled again and she hurried her search for anything useful. Weapons, food anything. Spying a crow bar she tucked it in the belt loop at her waist. As for food, her search came up empty, it was time to move on. Going to the door, she peered out the dirty, scratched window. She could see the main road, but she was covered by trees. The main house, which she hadn’t seen last night was to her left. Opening the door slowly, she slipped through to the outside. A bird cawed at her making her jump. Sending a glare in its direction, she moved cautiously towards the house. A blue car sat in the driveway, its trunk ajar. Moving closer, Mika could see that someone was sitting in the front seat. She stopped, suddenly afraid. Swallowing hard, she gathered the courage to walk again, grabbing the crow bar from her waist with sweaty fingers. The sun was high again beating down on her, making her whole body sweaty.
“ Hello?” she called, her voice cracking from not being used. The head in the driver’s seat did not move. She hobbled slightly, her feet moving from the grass to gravel; she needed to find shoes. She was by the trunk now, her eyes fixed on the head that had yet to move, she could just make out brown curls. Mika reached out and closed the trunk, there was nothing inside anyway. Still nothing, the only movement being from the shove required to close the trunk latch.
“ Just go just go, just go,” she whispered under her breath and with one stride she was at the driver’s window. She gasped. The body that sat in the front seat, was half eaten. There was enough left to hold up the head, whose face was frozen with the persons last moments. It was a woman, and her chest cavity had been emptied and now lay open, her spine exposed. Mika put her hand to her mouth, she could not afford to vomit, even if she could. The passenger door was open, that’s how whoever did this to her got in. Mika went around to the other side of the car and discovered that the keys were in the ignition. The car had been running until it ran out of gas. She slammed the passenger door, upset at the ghastly scene in front of her, but also that this woman had died alone and afraid. Her face would forever be in Mika’s mind.
It was time to gather the courage to explore the house; she needed food and shelter. The crow bar still in hand she walked slowly up to the steps of the porch that wrapped around the front of the house, listening. She saw how slowly these people moved, but knew they could easily sneak up on her. The first step creaked, and she stopped. Shaking her head, she realized that if there were any of the maddened people around, they would have heard her slam the trunk and passenger door. She walked up the stairs quickly and yanked open the front door. The smell overwhelmed her, causing her to double over. Her hand went to her mouth to silence her retching. Bodies lay strewn across the living room, on the stairs and slumped against the walls. Too many to count. She stood straight and took a deep breath, through her mouth, and stepped over the corpses, taking care not to disturb their final rest. Some had holes gaping in their chests, or stomachs, entrails spilling onto the floor, or each other. One person had the intestines of another in its mouth, half of its own head was missing from a presumed gunshot. Mika reached the kitchen to find it relatively clean despite the carnage in the front of the house. She went to the cupboard and found canned goods. Hunger suddenly took over and she stabbed viciously at the can with a knife nearby. Once the contents were free, she shovelled them into her mouth like a crazed half starved animal. Peas. That’s what she ate, and thats what she then proceeded to vomit when her body rejected the sudden intake of food. She sank to the floor once she had finished, tears silently streaming down her face. The world had ended, or so it seemed. Mika was usually perceptive and level headed. She had not gone mad over the events of the past 24 hours when anyone else would have curled into a ball and tried to shut it out. She did not remember events of the past few months, but was experiencing snatches and memories from before, when she was younger. A man, she assumed to be her father, had no sons and therefore decided to pass his knowledge onto his daughter, it had to be her. What were these memories? She had learned to hunt and fish; tie knots and scavenge. Images of them together on a fishing trip flashed before her eyes. He taught her how to survive. That was what she had to do now: Survive. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back against the cupboard. She opened her mouth and let lose a blood curdling scream. It came from her soul, the part that was afraid, the part that knew what she had done even though her mind had yet to comprehend.
Movement. Mika opened her eyes. Her throat burned as well as her stomach, but she stood. The crowbar found its way into her hands again, and she readied herself for whatever was coming down the stairs towards her. It moved slowly, cautiously, the stairs creaking under its feet. She saw the shadow it cast on the front door from where it stood at the bottom of the steps.
“ Hello?” she croaked. She saw a door to her right that led to the back yard. She also saw that it was blocked by stacked boxes. Whatever was coming towards her stopped when she spoke, pausing. She thought for a split moment that it was a living person, not one of those things that had tried to kill her. But then she heard it. A raspy, rattling breath coming from wet lungs. A growl, low at first came from its throat but then turned into a moan as it took the final steps and came into her view. It was a man. He was stocky, or he was in life. He now had considerable chunks missing from an arm, his side and his face. These injuries did not faze him as he started moving towards her. In an instant she was at the boxes, trying to push them out of the way. They were heavy as they were meant to keep things out and the resident safe, but she didn’t feel very safe as she managed to push them out of the way only slightly. She reached for the handle of the door and pried it open a few inches before it banged against the boxes. She turned just as the man was on her. He grabbed her ankle and yanked, causing her to fall to the floor. The crowbar that she had set aside to move the boxes was above her head on the counter. The man reached down, blood oozing from his open mouth, landing on her torso and legs as she kicked at him.
“ Get off!” she screamed, her voice cracking in fear. She kicked him in the face and he fell back giving her enough time to grab the cold hard crowbar. She stood quickly before he had time to regain his balance. Mika raised the bar above her head, hesitating for only an instant before bringing it down on the dead man’s head.
Mika sat on the porch. Five cans of various vegetables and fruit lay strewn about her. She lifted her hand to her mouth and shoved a handful of sweet peaches into her mouth, her eyes on the road. It was the afternoon, a few hours after she had killed the dead man. She had come out here to get away from the stench that rose from her opening his corpse with her crowbar. She had searched the house first though, finding more canned goods which she was currently eating, but also bedding and a change of clothes. She still wore the coveralls though. The men’s pants and t-shirts she was saving for later. These blue coveralls had seen her through a difficult event and deserved to be worn a little bit longer. She had also found more bodies upstairs. The most difficult was that of a child who was next to its mother, their hands intertwined. Mika would stay here the night, in the garage again, the house was too unbearable. She would move on in the morning with her new things and hoped she survived long enough to find people who did not wish to devour her entrails.