Going to the gas station didn’t exactly go as planned, I thought to myself as I pulled up to the pump and watched a zombie charge at my car. It slammed hard into the passenger’s side window, sending cracks through it and eliciting an annoyed grunt from me. I was not feeling up to this today. It was bad enough that I had to go out when I had the flu, but this whole ‘zombie apocalypse’ thing was really throwing a wrench into my recovery process.
I sneezed and scowled at the undead mailman. Then I glanced at how much gas I had left. Hm, half a tank. Not great if my family and I had to get out of town. But this was the only relatively safe gas station in close proximity to the house. Going any farther really ran the risk of just wasting gas to find a scene similar to this.
Throwing the vehicle back in drive, I slid it out of the zombie’s grasp and headed for the grocery store. Zombies were a pretty new thing, so I wasn’t expecting it to be completely ransacked. In fact, when I shuffled into the store, soft Christmas music was playing over a crowd of calm, wandering shoppers.
I grabbed a cart and pushed it into the canned food aisle, ignoring when people skittered away from me. “It’s the flu,” I grumbled to a woman who squeaked and carried her child away.
They had good reason to be concerned. The symptoms of turning into a zombie after their bite were very similar to the flu. But it lasted less than twenty-four hours before turning, and I’d been sick for a week now. And I didn’t have a bite. Well, a human bite.
I absently scratched at the gauze around my forearm and sniffled. I’d been bitten by a dog a week ago. It was horrible timing, really, to have flu symptoms and a bite. But my wound was obviously from a dog, though not many people would likely stick around to watch me unwrap my gauze to show them. Whatever. More cans for me.
I pulled out my phone and called my mom as I tossed canned vegetables into the cart. She picked up on the second ring, which I greeted with another sneeze. “Hey,” I muttered under my breath so no one else heard me. “There was an attack at the gas station, so getting gas was a bust. You want anything in particular from the grocery store?”
“Charles Andrew Briggs, Jesus Christ. You’re sick, you shouldn’t even be out right now.” I heard my little sister, Abby, wail about some tragedy involving candy in the background. “Can you hurry up and get home? Your father will be here soon. He’s rather impatient to leave.”
“Yeah, yeah. Thought we’d go a little ‘Doomsday Preppers’ and have a bunch of cans. I-.” At that moment, I happened to glance up and see a woman just a little farther down the aisle. She’d dropped her box of rice and was spasming uncontrollably. I blinked at her and slowly took another can of ravioli from the shelf. “Hey, I gotta go. Looks like maybe the grocery store is a bust too. See ya soon.” Before my mom could protest, I hung up and turned my cart around.
With one foot up on the cart and the other pushing me like a skateboard, I rode out of the aisle calmly and nearly ran into an older boy with a blue polo sporting the store’s logo on it. I jerked my chin at him. “There’s about to be a big mess down there. I don’t recommend it.” His hazel eyes flickered down the aisle and back to me.
“Thanks for the warning.” He glanced around and leaned towards me. A strand of red-brown hair fell forward, briefly revealing a few piercings in his ear. “The cashier won’t stop you if you leave without paying.”
I think I would have melted if it weren’t for the fever already having done that for me. Grinning, I slouched comfortably over the cart and propped my fist under my chin. “And thank you for the suggestion. Now, where would I find the medicine section?” I thought I’d look gross, but the tops of his cheeks turned a very interesting shade of pink. He gestured behind him towards a few back aisles. The movement drew my attention to his name-tag. Max.
I pushed off away from him and went to where he’d pointed, throwing another ‘thank you’ over my shoulder. So the grocery store wasn’t a bust. I wouldn’t have to waste time paying hundreds of dollars for some cans, I could get my medicine here, and I learned something about myself.
The pharmacy aisle was delightfully well-stocked. Grabbing as many vitamin supplements, pain killers, and cold medication as possible, I next went to the actual pharmacy. I slid right over the unmanned counter and snagged antibiotics and real pain killers. As I was finally rolling my cart towards the exit, I heard the first scream echo throughout the entire store.
Sounded like someone found the zombie in aisle 2.