Life After. Short Story.

Ugh.

More spiders.

Two. Giant. Spiders.

Right by my bed. Only knew because one of the bastards skittered over the book that was beside my face. Heard a faint clicking sound, opened my eyes and boom. Giant spider. It ran behind my bed and along the floor, tried to use the spine of a book to kill it, it ran back the way it came. Finally got it when it was on the wall. Great. It’s over. That wasn’t so bad. Looked up. Another one on the wall. That was certainly a fun night.

In other news, there was home made pizza last night. It was quite tasty although the dough didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped, but I think I know what the problem is. It also made a lot of pizza. Four to be precise. So left over pizza for lunch today, awesome!

On with the show!

________________________________________________________

It was a simple matter really, one that could be cleared up soon. Well, he had no doubt it would be cleared up soon. The streets were strewn with rubbish, bits of paper and plastic wrappings were blown about by the wind. He tried to ignore it as he walked, even when a large piece of plastic wrapped itself around his leg. The streets were filthy, not that that was new. It had been like that for a few months. Budget cuts he supposed. It was certainly driving people away from the area, more and more shops were closing down, even the ones that were open the workers looked nervous. Probably afraid that they’d lose their jobs too. The streets were mostly empty of people, he could see one or two in the distance, but that was it. The neighbourhood was no longer as safe as it had one been. There had been attacks, actual attacks, with knives. He didn’t understand how or why people were so violent all the time. He passed a shop, its display window broken, glass glittered and cracked on the pavement, in the shadows of the shop he could see two people moving around. Looters. What a disgrace. He’d ring the police, but there had been budget cuts there too. No one answered, not unless you were lucky. He turned the corner and stopped for a moment, there was a large mob of people, just milling about the street. He looked to see if there was some kind of sale or commotion, but there appeared to be nothing. People murmured to one another, but he couldn’t make out what they were saying. It was definitely the most people he had seen in weeks. He moved against the wall of one of the buildings and started walking again. He didn’t want to have to weave through everyone, he could be claustrophobic in crowds. He felt like stopping and asking what exactly was going on, but he was in a rush after all. He cleared the crowd and kept going, they didn’t seem to notice him, so at least they weren’t the violent types, that was something.
He reached the bank without further incident, but it too was closed. He tried the door, it was locked, in a fit of petulant anger he shook the door and kicked it. It was supposed to be open, it was a weekday after all. He had tried ringing them on the phone earlier, but there was no answer, he had hoped they were just busy. He needed to get this sorted out today. He took a deep breath, trying to calm himself. It could wait a little longer. He looked around for a subway station, he never came here that often, but he thought there was one nearby. There was no one to ask either, though he knew if he was honest with himself, he wouldn’t ask anyone anyway. He walked away from the bank in what he thought was the right direction.
It took him fifteen minutes to find the entrance and when he did he descended slowly, the stairs were also strewn with rubbish. At the bottom he walked through the small pile of filth and got his ticket. He went through the turnstiles and after briefly looking at the map he decided which train he should go for. He stood at the platform, the signs telling people how long the trains would be was on the blink. It kept flickering and the numbers changed randomly. Sighing, he sat down on one of the plastic chairs. At least they were still in good condition.
He heard the dull roar of an approaching train and felt the wind on his face, he stood from the seat and moved closer to the tracks. The train sped past the  station. Damn. He sat down again. Two more trains passed before one finally stopped. The doors dinged and opened. He stepped on and took a seat. The carriage he was on was empty, but there were people in the others. He was torn between relief and feeling slightly creeped out. He didn’t want to be in one of the others, crammed with everyone, but alone he wasn’t as safe. What if someone dangerous got on the train? There was no one around to dissuade them from attacking.

He reached his stop and stepped from the train. He climbed the stairs out of the station and paused at the top to get his bearings. About a hundred feet from him, he could see a camera crew and a presenter. The cameraman panned the camera around the area, he shook his head and continued to walk. He wanted nothing to do with that, no doubt they were stopping people and asking their opinions on something trivial.
This bank was open thankfully. He stood in line with everyone else, shuffling forward when the line moved. He did what everyone else did, look around at the walls, the glass partitions, the posters, looked everywhere but at each other. Finally, it was his turn.
As he explained the cashier nodded and clucked sympathetically, it had been happening a lot over the past few weeks, she understood how stressful it was and she’d make sure it was sorted. He thanked her and withdrew a small amount of money, figuring he might as well while he was here. He stepped from the bank and into the cool breeze of the day feeling much better. He looked around, this area of the city was much better maintained, it wasn’t even the rich part. It was ridiculous. The streets were clean, the shops were open. He felt the money in his pocket, maybe he’d do a little shopping.
He walked into the first place, a small shop, probably family run, he needed some new knives for the kitchen. The cashier looked at him as he entered, she frowned, “I’m sorry sir, I’m afraid you’re going to have to leave.” “Why?” “Store policy.” Shaking his head in disgust he left the shop, he knew why, but she could at least have the decency to tell him. He pitied her in a way, she was so nervous telling him that, she didn’t want to kick him out, he could see that too. It was hard not to feel personally slighted. Going back to all this separate but equal malarkey. The next shop was much more receptive to him, after all, money was money. Even if it was coming from a dead man.

 

He didn’t look dead, not as a person would think. There was no gaping wounds or rotting flesh. He was spectacularly pale, his eyes looked bruised and his hair had begun to fall out. His fingernails had dropped off and he now walked with a limp. Apparently his body hadn’t done a perfect job of reanimation. Typical. He walked down the streets with his bag swinging at his side. Dead for almost two months now. He had gotten a letter from the bank, addressed to his wife, stating that as he was deceased, his bank account had been closed. She didn’t want him to go down there, saying it might be dangerous, after all he couldn’t heal properly. It was slow and there would always be a large, puckered scar. Everyone was so frightened of his kind, brainwashed by all those zombie films. There was confusion in the beginning and some were even violent, but he didn’t need to eat human flesh to survive, he didn’t need to eat anything really, though he still did so on occasion. He returned to the subway station again, the trains didn’t skip this stop he noted, but he had to wait for one that would stop at his destination. When it finally arrived he got onto his carriage. It wasn’t empty this time. There was a couple there with a young child. He smiled at them and sat down on the other end of the carriage. The woman had died, the father and child appeared “normal” as it was termed. The father looked slightly worried, the son was gurgling away happily on his mothers lap. No doubt the father feared attacks on them. They had been getting worse according to the news.

The train stopped at his destination and he stepped off, realising how filthy this station was compared to the one before. He looked at the couple who had stepped off with him and rolled his eyes, “Budget cuts.” The young woman shook her head, “it’s starting to get ridiculous. They cut off water in our apartment last week, the bills were in my name. It took three days for them to finally sort it. Even then we had to transfer everything into Tom’s name.” They chatted for a few more minutes then went their separate ways. This undead thing did bring some comradery at least. No doubt his wife was sitting at home, fretting over how long it was taking. He stepped out into the sun, this place was starting to get disgusting. He’d have to organise something, a petition or one of those internet things that got people to protest, maybe try and get a group of people together, after all if no one was going to help, they should start cleaning themselves. Take care of the area. They couldn’t live like this for the rest of their lives, they might be dead, but they weren’t animals.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 24 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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