by Quinn Hailey

Sunday night, family dinner as usual. It was all fun stories, chatting, and TV –until normal programming was interrupted for some breaking news. Something was definitely happening. 

“Reporting live from California, we interrupt normal programming to bring you some terrible news,” the reporter began. “There has been an outbreak of an unknown infectious disease that’s killing people in a matter of hours. The dead bodies have also been waking up within a few minutes with bloodshot eyes and an urge for blood. A bite from these individuals will infect humans with the disease and turn them fast. The Government has said that they have no idea how this came about, and so far there is no cure.”

At first, this felt like a bad dream. But it was happening, right here in our city. The advice we got from the reporter was to stay indoors as it was safer. We were desperate to avoid further infections. My dad thought this was a bad idea and that we should pack only the necessary items, then move as far away as possible. We all disagreed and decided to stay put, switch off the lights and not do anything else to attract the attention of these unknown monsters. We did not know how long this would go on, but we were not prepared for it. With no stocked food, we’d eventually have to leave the house, or die of starvation.

Soon we were out of food and everything that we needed. My dad had to leave and get some groceries, but the infected creatures were right outside in the streets. He gathered courage and drove off with my brother to look for groceries. We all had a gut feeling about this, but there was nothing much we could do. We locked the door behind them, and this felt like that final goodbye. We could only follow the news from our basement and hope for the best. The infection rate was getting higher and higher, and both government and privately owned institutions had closed to protect their employees. All travel had been banned to avoid any further spreading of the disease. The city was at a standstill.

A few days later, the cell phone signal went out. There was still no sign of my dad and my brother coming back. We could see the zombies from the windows, and by this time there were so many, we didn’t dare step out. What kind of infection would this be, and how did it even start? My mom kept asking. My grandma needed her medications. Hunger pangs and thirst were killing us. We couldn’t drink the tap water anymore for fear of being contaminated. This was bad and getting worse as days went by. For the first time, we experienced how it felt to be like a homeless person –with no solutions and no help at all.

One fateful morning, we heard a knock at the door. We opened it to find my brother, alone. He looked shocked, sad and drained, but he at least got groceries to cover us for weeks. Bad news was to follow. My brother told us he and our dad were separated at some point. My dad had suffered a bite and turned. We couldn’t believe this awful news. Our dad had been our main source of income and with this news, our lives had been officially ruined. 

Months later, the government came up with a vaccine for the disease. Drastic measures were taken to first pick all the infected people from the streets and dispose of them in undisclosed locations. The next step was to vaccinate everyone who was still uninfected and not showing unhealthy symptoms. This horrific experience was finally over, but not without serious damage.