This would be my submission. The following is a section of journal found in a burned out house. Only the final pages survived...
I’m sat here looking at the gun and - Lord please forgive me for this – wishing that I’d not used that final bullet to put a hole in Tobey’s head. I know how selfish that must sound and I fully understand that you (whoever you are) will want to judge me for my actions.
I couldn’t blame you for hating me.
But now I have a choice to make and the options scare me. It would have been so much easier to have turned the gun on myself and taken my own life.
God, I cried as I pulled the trigger. The tears are still wet on my cheeks and I feel that I have already died inside. I wanted so much to tell my little boy that I loved him, that I would keep him safe and protect him from a world gone mad. Instead I pointed the barrel between his milky, lifeless eyes, the same eyes that now stare at me from the floor, and squeezed the trigger.
Shit… I can’t do this… not with his body still here… I promise I’ll be back… I have to ease the guilt before I make my final choice.
OK. I’ve moved Tobey to the basement, laid him down next to his mother. I think she would have wanted that. I should wash his brains from the wallpaper, but I don’t have the time or the inclination. I have to put down on paper what has happened here before I move on… call it closure… Hell, call it what you want… It doesn’t matter anymore.
I’m sorry Tobey. I’d hoped and prayed that you wouldn’t change like the others. It wasn’t even a bite. It was nothing more than a scratch on your lower arm.
I can still remember him asking me why mommy would want to hurt him. He wanted to know what he’d done wrong. I couldn’t answer. How do you tell a kid that his mom wanted to eat him alive?
I thought I’d cleaned the wound, even removed the section of broken finger nail stuck in the base of the inch long laceration. That had made Tobey cry out. He was still crying as I’d bandaged his arm and put him to bed. I sat and listened to him for at least an hour, the sobs gradually fading to a whimper as fitful sleep took him over.
I gave it another hour before I ventured downstairs.
I found Carol, Tobey’s mom, my wife of fifteen years in the kitchen. She was sat with her legs wide apart and eating her own arm, tearing away the already fetid flesh in large chunks.
I whispered her name and she looked up at me. There was no recognition, no emotion in her eyes. All I could see was a blind hunger, a primal instinct to feed. Carol came at me with a snarl, her arms outstretched for my throat. I raised the gun and fired off a panicked shot. My aim was less than perfect; the bullet ripping through Carol’s left shoulder in a spray of decayed skin and off-white bone.
Carol kept coming at me, her dried and cracked lips pulled back to reveal the rotting meat hanging from between her teeth. She was so close I could smell the death that had replaced her usual brand of perfume. I pushed the barrel of the gun against her head and pulled the trigger. Her head snapped backwards, a tiny red hole just below her hairline appearing a split second before the back of her head exploded over the table we had eaten breakfast at only days before.
That was three days ago now yet it seems like an eternity. I have witnessed Tobey’s condition grow steadily worse. I’ve watched the infection spread throughout his eight year old body. It eats away at my insides that I can do nothing for him, rendered useless as a father, unable to heal the illness that pumps through his veins.
All I could do was sit with him, his featherweight frame on my lap, and wait for the last, ragged breath to pass his lips. When the moment came I felt a twinge of relief. I pulled him to me and hugged him tightly to my chest as the tears came.
It was a mistake I won’t live to regret.
I felt no warning movement before Tobey’s teeth sank into the skin above my left nipple. The pain was like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I tore Tobey from my chest, his teeth tearing away t-shirt and wet flesh. He glared at me, chewing aimlessly on a mouthful of me.
I screamed, a mixture of fear and anger, and tossed Tobey across the room. He hit the corner of the dresser and I heard the breaking of bone as his dead body twisted backwards.
Tobey hit the floor, still chewing. His bottom half hung loosely behind him but he used his arms to drag himself back towards me.
I took the gun and pointed it at Tobey, tears blurring my vision. I couldn’t do it. I turned the gun on myself and pressed it hard against my temple. I was ready to end it all but I couldn’t have Tobey as my last image… not like that.
I waited, let him get closer, and then raised the gun. I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger. The retort was deafening and I waited until the ringing in my ears had ceased before I opened my eyes. Tobey lay at my feet like a puppet with the strings cut.
Sorry, about that, had to take a break. The tears had started again and I couldn’t see to write. I’m alright now and not much left to say except for goodbye.
I’m still not sure how to handle this. Like I say, I have options, but they scare the living shit out of me. I realise I don’t have long; I can feel the tendrils of infection winding through my organs like a forest fire.
I have to choose.
Maybe I could risk a journey to my place of work in the city. The others show little interest in me now that the infection has spread. I must smell dead already. I could easily head for the top floor, prise open the elevator doors and just step into the empty shaft. Hopefully there wouldn’t be enough of me left to get back up.
Or maybe I’ll just head down to the garage and siphon the gas from the car, douse myself in it and then have that cigarette I’ve been saving.
Would the heat be enough to destroy everything I am?