After The End. Short Story.

Bobby knocked on the door, “House keeping!” He chuckled to himself as there was a loud thud inside, he heard someone stumble to the door and start banging on it. “No dude, turn the handle. The handle!” there was a loud moan from the other side of the door. Sighing Bobby grabbed the handle and gave it a quick shake, nothing. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out his lock picking kit. Out on the road he could hear more moaning, though he wasn’t too concerned. To his left someone was thudding down the corridor, he glanced at the shambling corpse and dismissed her. She looked to have been about eighty, with wrinkled, sagging skin. She wore a stained and torn housecoat and a few scraps of a nightie beneath it. Her legs were criss-crossed with dark veins, she was missing her left ear and had deep gouges around her cheeks. Bobby stood and opened the door, pushing against it hard. The thing inside stumbled backwards then came forwards again. Bobby stepped to the side, allowing the zombie to stumble past him. This one was a surprise, business man in a soiled suit, the business man looked at him then went off towards the old woman. Bobby stepped into the room and closed the door over behind himself. Bobby walked past the bed and ripped open the curtains, flooding the light with room. He turned and got a good look at the place. It had faired well, the bed was messy and there were questionable stains on the floor but beyond that there was no real damage. He pulled a small notebook from his pocket and quickly jotted down the room number and a rough list of the contents, one suitcase filled with business attire, a small baggie of what he assumed to be cocaine, some toiletries and a surprisingly well stocked mini-bar. Bobby left the room, not bothering to take anything, he closed the door over and drew an X on it with a red sharpie and moved to the next door.

When he finally finished searching through the motel the sun was setting, more zombies had filled the parking lot, milling around and bumping into one another. Bobby looked down at the crowd and felt his stomach clench, he knew he wasn’t in any real danger but his instincts screamed at him to run and never stop. It had been about two months (really, who was keeping track these days?) since the dead came back to life and started chowing down. Bobby had been one of the lucky ones, completely immune, as was his mother though she had died in the mass panic. At first Bobby didn’t know what was happening, he didn’t understand why the zombies didn’t seem to see him. He thought that maybe it was just a case of there being so many people around but time and time again they ignored him. He’d stumbled across the group about a month back, others who were immune who were organising. They’d carved out a nice little space for themselves in one of the suburbs and now they were looking to expand. Once they’d completed inventory sweeper teams would clear the most valuable areas and so far there had been no casualties.

Bobby climbed down the stairs and started slowly making his way through the crowd, he was about half way through when he spotted her. He froze, his breath catching in his throat. It couldn’t be, but it was. Lizzy from next door, all of seven years old and still wearing her dirty and torn school uniform and her now grubby pink backpack. His stomach clenched and he felt bile rising at the back of his throat. Bobby looked away from her and the gory remains of her throat and face but it didn’t stop the memory. He’d been running, at the time he had no real plan, no idea where to run too and he almost ran past his own building. Around him people were screaming, the stench of blood and shit was heavy in the air mingling with acrid smoke. He stood outside the glass doors and punched the access code in, entering it wrong before finally, mercifully, it buzzed and unlocked. Bobby ripped the door open and dashed inside, pulling it shut behind him. A second later Maria was at the door, Lizzy’s hand gripped tightly as she banged on the glass. “Hey! Hey! Let us in! Bobby!” He had stood there, frozen in terror, then he took a step forward, reaching for the door. As his hand closed around the handle he saw the zombie running towards Maria, he knew if he opened the door they’d all be doomed. The thing dove on her, dragging her to the ground Lizzy screamed as the creature ripped at her mothers face. Bobby didn’t stay to watch anymore, instead he turned and ran deeper into the building. He burst into the stairwell and took the stairs two at a time until he reached his own apartment, he’d opened the door which shaking hands, the key missing the lock again and again, until finally it was open. He burst through and slammed it behind himself, collapsing against the closed door and panting heavily.

Bobby kept moving through the crowd, his eyes on the ground as he went. He couldn’t look at poor Lizzy. He’d ask someone else to come back here for the clean up, he’d tell them it was one of his family members, his little sister or something. They’d understand, it wouldn’t be the first time it happened after all. He walked slowly, head down, at least he managed to clear the entire building. He glanced behind at the crowd, half expecting to see the little girl following, but the road behind him held nothing but a few stragglers.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 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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