It’s four thirty in the morning; the sun has yet to rise. The date is February second, the year is 2013, and these may very well be my last words to mankind. If there is anyone out there, anyone at all, please listen to this in a safe area. I have left this tape downstairs, there is metal plating on all the windows and food upstairs to last five people for a few months if used well. Please be careful. Do not head outside at all costs. Of course, if you’re here, you know how to survive by now. After all, it has been three months since the world began to end.
My name is Isaac Jarunlem, and I am one of the last of a dying race: humanity. This is my story.
Three months previous
It’s six thirty in the morning, I have been up since three when I realized that my girlfriend had yet to return home from “gurls nite,” as she wrote on the note I came how to at two thirty in the afternoon. I know she has been cheating on me. And I think she knows that im cheating on her. So we maintain an awkward relationship, officially together but just strangers sharing a house at home. I’ve been sleeping on the couch for a month now. The bed feels too warm.
It’s weird, she would have usually been home by now. Normally she gets home by two AM, but apparently “gurls nite” is going to last a bit longer this time. I sit up on the couch and rub my fingers with my eyes, pressing my palms to my chin. I flick on the TV and as it starts to turn on I head to the bathroom to relieve a six-packs worth of beer. I hear yipping and Caroline’s dog, Mr.Fluffles (poor dog) comes bouncing down the stairs to meet me as I go up. I smile and pet his head, then gently attempt to kick him down the stairs so I don’t trip over him and break my neck. He bounces(on his feet, not his head) down the stairs and yips off. I head into the master bathroom and stare into the mirror. The person I see there looks sad to see me. His eyes have sunken into his skull, grey coting his sockets and cheeks. His dirty, sweaty black hair hangs close to his skull, swaying slightly as he holds onto the sink for support. A day’s worth of facial hair clings to his chin, he cannot seem to grow any hair on his upper lip, which does not matter to him. His dirty black SWAT shirt and Kevlar vest still hang from his chest, and a bottle of beer hangs loosely from his hand, half full of alcohol. He takes a swig from it then slams it on the sink counter, and then hurls into the toilet.
I start to make my way downstairs when I hear moaning coming from the door. I sigh and then stumble down the steps to let Caroline in. My “girlfriend” seems to be scratching at the door, begging to be let in as she moans in what sounds like hunger or pain. I reach the bottom of the steps and see Mr.Fluffles yipping happily at the door, his tail steadily thumping on the ground. I reach towards the door and look out the window, and am shocked.
Caroline is covered in blood, from head to toe. She sways unsteadily, her arms loosely swaying like ropes from a tree, covered and blood and a hunk of flesh missing from her left arm. Her pants are torn and her heels are broken, and her ankle is bent at an unusual angle. Mr. Fluffles begins to bark, uncertainly. I look up to Caroline’s face, and almost hurl again. Half her face is missing, and her mouth if full of blood, her teeth and hair stained crimson. I back off from the door, then run into the living room. I pause when I hear frantic shouting from the television I left on.
“Do not, I repeat DO NOT leave your house at all costs. Many sick and injured people are outside, and seem to have gone insane from the disease. They are attacking and naulign people at random, and all seem to be heading toward their homes. The government has issued a state of emergency. DO NOT GO OUTSIDE. If you see a loved one outside that is showing symptoms of infection, do not let them inside. I repeat, do not let them inside! They will attack and even kill you. Infected people may be staggering and hunched over, covered in blood, moaning and not responding to words. Please, if you see someone like this, return home immediately and lock your doors. Do not, I repeat, do not…”
I stare slack jawed as the man repeats the warning again, only more frantic this time. I think I can hear moaning coming from the background of the words of caution.
I look down to the ground, staring in disbelief as the man starts to talk faster and then begins another time with the warning. I look around, up to the ceiling as I say to myself, muttering “it’s a hoax. That’s what it is. Just a joke. Yeah, a joke. Caroline is wearing makeup, the man is a recording, and they’re all lying. I should go let Caroline in. She must be pretty angry I walked off. Yeah, I’ll go-“
Suddenly I hear screaming and shattering glass as the reporter looks off the the side and the looks back to the camera, horror in his eyes. “I’m John, and this will be my last report. Good luck.” Then a dark figure tackles him and blood stains the camera screen. The television goes blank, and then the CNN logo pops up, reassuring me that “there has been a technical difficulty. Your new will be back shortly. CNN is sponsored by-“
I press the power button and slowly put the remote down on the coffee table, and stand up and begin to walk up stairs. I walk into the master bedroom and close the door. I sit and on the bed and is hear springs bend beneath me as it accepts my weight. I sit, unmoving, for five minutes. Then I pull my phone out and call Jason.
Jason has been my best friend since I was seven, when he taught me how to use karate by kicking me in the face until I could beat him. We have been inseparable ever since. He answers on the third ring.
“What do you want man? I’m busy.”
“Turn on your TV, Jason.”
“Why, is oprah on early?”
I sigh. “Jason, your life is in danger. Turn on the TV.”
I hang up. Five minutes later he calls back.
I ask “You ok?”
“Dude, this is one fucked up prank. This is like, the most messed up hoax of all hoaxes since like, they landed the space shuttle on the moon or whatever.”
“It’s not a joke, Jason. This is happening. Caroline is at my door, freaking out and covered in blood.”
“Why haven’t you let her in dude? You are a cruel bastard. Just because she’s cheating on you doesn’t mean you get to leave her outside when she’s injured!”
I shake my head. Jason is going into shock, denial. In my job, is see it too often: someone you love is killed, and then you deny the world everything. I was going to have to talk Jason through this.
Suddenly, I hear glass breaking downstairs and moans fill the hall. “I’ll have to call you back Jason, Caroline got in.”
I hang up, ending his protests as I slowly walk down the steps. I can hear the dog barking as I slowly turned the corner, then a high-pitched whine and the moans stop. I hear tearing and small moans coming from the living room. I turn the corner and almost hurl again.
Caroline is kneeled over on the ground, blood stained footprints covering the carpet. She is facing towards me but not noticing me as she tears into her meal, what was once her dog. Her teeth pull muscle and fur from bone and she tears into Mr. Fluffles like a ravenous beast, devouring him. I hear a crunch as a bone snaps, and I flinch. Crimson stains the carpet in front her, the beast that is Caroline, and she moans as flesh and fur run down her gullet. I gasped softly as my foot touches a small pool of blood that has reached the hardwood of the stairs. Caroline stops and her head snaps up. I see her eyes look at me, and her jaw snaps open. She drops the carcass of what was once a living creature she loved and stands up, staggering over to me to do the same. Flesh and blood fall from her mouth as she begins to moan. I run upstairs to the bedroom and slam the door shut. I can hear her moaning and stumbling up the stairs as I call Jason. He answers on the first ring.
“Dude, did you let Caroline in?”
“Jason, she is trying to kill me.”
“So… She doesn’t like you now? Is she free? Not that I’m into her or anything, but she is kind of hot and I um…um…”
“Jason, she wants to eat me.”
“…So you got your relationship back on track then?”
“NO, Jason! SHE IS TRYING TO KILL ME. SHE JUST ATE THE DAMN DOG AND NOW SHE WANTS TO EAT ME.”
“…You have one messed up girl, dude. Never mind, I don’t want her anymore.”
She begins to scratch on the door, attempting to dig her way through the wood with her fingers. I can hear her frantic moans behind me, like a monster craving for my flesh… which, with a shock, I realize is what she is. The phone drops to the floor as I hang up on Jason and slowly stagger to the bed stand, opening drawers until I find what I was looking for: my .375 magnum revolver. I aim at the door and hesitate with my finger on the trigger of the revolver. My finger rests on the trigger, rubbing up and down the metal, a cold embrace of a cold act. I fire three times at the door where I know its chest should be, puncturing the lungs and maybe the heart. I sigh wearily, then drop the gun to the floor. I sit down on the bed, placing my face in my hands. Tears begin to flow down my face freely.
I grab my gun and stumble over to the sink and dry-heave. I look into the mirror, a tired, tear streaked face stared back at me. I then scream and raise my gun, firing and shattering the glass. The shards tumble down to the counter, tinkling in an oddly pleasant way as they cut my hands. I do not feel the pain.
I grasp one of the shards and absently begin to clench it as my mind goes into a frenzy. My thoughts tumble over each other like a cascade of water flowing out of a broken dam. Too many emotions to process, too many thoughts, too much confusion. Tears begin to fall again. Suddenly I am angry at the world, at life, at God, at myself. I scream again, longer and louder this time. My voice ascends into a high pitch, a screech of fury. I stop only when I run out of air.
A stabbing pain snaps me out of my fervor, and I realize I have stabbed the shard into my palm. I pull it out and fling it at the wall, then stumble my way to the door. I knew I needed to get some bandages, and those were in the kitchen. So I leaned on the door, gasping, sweat drenched. It seems that killing a loved one is harder than you would think.
I begin to open the door, but then feel pressure of a body pressing against it. I sigh, then vow not to look down as I open it farther. Suddenly the pressure increases and I see movement through the crack in the door. Caroline is not dead. She cannot moan, but she still struggles with her upper body to get through the door. I slam the door closed, then pause gasping. She scratches at the door. I brace my shoulder against the door, readying myself, then shove it open as fast as I can and raise my gun.
Caroline tumbles like a ragdoll down the hall a bit, then tries to pick herself up. I raise my gun and shoot her in the chest, right in the heart. She flails back, stumbling, then continues back towards me. I rush at her, kicking her in the stomach. She flails and falls again, but starts to get up. She is on one knee when I rush her, and kick her in the face. Blood spews, but not much. She falls back and stands on the edge of the stairs, congealing blood running slowly down her face. He begins to move back toward me, and I scream and run at her, lowering my shoulder and shoving her hard down the stairs. I hear a loud snap, and she comes to a stop sprawled on the last three steps. I walk slowly down the stairs, noting that her mouth it still open and her neck is bent at an angle that looks very uncomfortable. Her spine and also her leg looks to be broken.
As I near her, my gun with its final bullet lowered but ready to fire, she attempts to move towards me, but her arms on twitch a bit then fall limply to the ground. She bites at me, unable to move. I raise the gun again and aim at her head, crying. For a second, she stops biting.
Then she splatters the walls.
I stumble my way to the basement, stepping over her body numbly. There are more guns and bandages downstairs.
I walk slowly down the stairs, dragging my injured hand along the wall, coating it in my blood. I enter my “office,” a room filled with weapons of all sorts- from shotguns to sniper rifles, swords the shuriken. I look along the wall, then stumble over to my ammunitions cabinet. I rustle through boxes, until I come across ammo for my magnum. I select three shells, then place them in the revolver in every other slot. After spinning the chamber, I cock the hammer, put it to my head and fire.
My luck holds. Either someone up there loves me a lot, or hates me and wants to laugh as I go through hell. Either way, im dead. So why not fire another time? I think as I put the barrel in my mouth. I hear a click as the hammer cocks. I close my eyes, and make a choice.
My choice is now obvious, as you listen to my tape. I chose the path of most resistance. In order to ease my life, I chose the hard path.
I choose to survive.
Now what about you?