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It was the only thing I knew those past 3 months. I’m not afraid to admit it, I’m still terrified. I know that they’re still coming for me and that there’s nothing I can do to stop it and that I’m still definitely going to die soon and that I’m going to-
Hold on, I should probably calm down a bit. I remembered too many things. I was running for a while to get back here. Let me rewind a bit.
My name is Michael Davis. I was a soldier in the U.S. Army. Now that there’s not much of an army to be a part of, I don’t know what to call myself. You see, none of this would have happened had our glorious president Richard Nixon just decided to ignore the threats from Russia, or at least not start a nuclear war with them. Because of him, half of the United States’ population had been completely wiped out by a nuclear fallout. Then, the rest of the people mutated into them. I called them them because if I really knew what their names were back then, I’d be too afraid to even say it. All you need to know about them right now is that they’re disgusting creatures. I can still picture their mangled face, their black, black eyes, and their terrifying bodies, an enormous fusion of spider, beetle and centipede.
I still hear their screams sometimes; Garrett, Jenny… Mom. Those things killed my family, and I could do nothing except watch it happen. Since that day, I swore it upon myself that I wasn’t going to let anyone die by their hands again. I was running, trying to find anyone that could help me. At that point, I had only found an abandoned apartment complex. It could get pretty damn hot inside that army uniform, so I needed to find someone before I settled in for the night. As of then, the search wasn’t looking good.
I was starting to get really tired, so I probably needed to take a break. I still remember my eyelids drifting…
It was the next day, and I was searching again. At that point, I didn’t seem to be doing too well in terms of finding someone. Then I remembered a news company that was just down the road, The Daily Projector. In retrospect, that was probably a bad name decision, given that news outlets are supposed to be unbiased. I walked in and entered the elevator. To nobody’s surprise, it was broken. That meant I had to take the long way around. I walked up way too many stairs to count. I looked through every door on every floor, with no luck. That was, until I reached the second-to-last floor; I think it was Room 7H. I ran down the hall, knocking on every door, shouting,
“Anyone there? Anyone there?”
Then, he walked out. James Miller, the head journalist of the company. He was a bit shorter than me, with blond hair, pale skin, and a pinstriped white-and-blue shirt. Needless to say, he fit the bill exactly for the stereotypical journalist. What I didn’t think was exactly normal for a journalist was the M16 rifle he carried on his back, or his gas mask. Now, I always wore a gas mask, so I don’t think I should be the one to judge here, but something just felt off about him with that mask. Regardless, he shouted at me,
“Stop! Don’t move! Who are you? What are you doing here?” while simultaneously pulling the gun off his back and pointing it at me.
Knowing not to say or do anything that might get me killed, I immediately put my hands up and said,
“Michael Davis, U.S. Army. I’ve been going around the area looking for people to get into a shelter.” He lowered the gun, but still kept the weary expression on his face as he also slowly took off his gas mask.
“Alright, I believe you, at least for now. But I don’t need to go to a damn shelter. I’m doing just fine here, thank you very much. Now piss off, will you?” I saw that this guy was not kidding around, nor was he afraid of anything this world had to throw at him. I saw potential in this guy.
I asked him,
“Are you looking for someone, or what? I can help you, trust me.” He did not like this statement, judging by the fact that he said,
“No, you can’t. I won’t tell you again: get out.” With this, he brought the gun back up to his shoulder and pointed it at me once again. I didn’t want to do anything that could have gotten me killed, but then my stupid monkey brain punched him in the face.
He folded like a deck chair and crumpled to the ground, as his rifle skittered along the floor to a stop. I started going over to pick up the rifle, because I figured if there was anyone here who could handle a gun, it was the U.S. Army soldier. Well, I made the mistake of standing in place for too long, as James jumped up and kicked me in the stomach. Then it was my turn to go down. I rose quickly and grabbed him by the neck, putting him in a headlock from behind.
I heard the trademark shink of a knife being pulled and released him to the ground immediately. He fell down, gasping for air, which left me to go and pick up the rifle. I put the stock to my shoulder and aimed. The iron sight swam in and out of my vision, as sweat dripped down from my face into my eyes. I took a moment to wipe them, and then I told him,
“Alright, here’s how this is going to go. You’re going to tell me where I can find the nearest vault, and then I’m going to take you there. You will not resist, because I am a big, scary, military man with a big, scary gun. Got it? Alright, let’s go.” He let out a sigh of defeat and said,
“Alright, fine. You want to go to the nearest shelter? Zanesville, Ohio is where you wanna go. There’s a car down in the garage, so we’re going to need that. It’s going to be about a 45-minute drive from where we are right now. Let’s go.” We got in the car and drove. Turns out, it was not a 45-minute drive, but a 4-hour one. We stopped by the forest to get some rest, which came quite easily.
We woke up and started driving again, until we reached Zanesville. From there, James directed me to the shelter, where I opened the door and led him into the vault. Then, it attacked.
The creature that I remember so fondly, with its disgusting visage and terrifying body, burst out of the vault, a mess of legs and claws. I opened fire almost immediately, trying to bring it down with a sheer number of bullets. James screamed in terror and fell back onto the ground. It slowly advanced on us as we continued to spray at it, until I yelled,
“Dammit! I’m out of ammo.” Soon after, James ran out too, as he shouted,
“Ah, for God’s sake, I’m out too!” I noticed a simple handgun lying on the floor, but it was being guarded by the thing. I signaled to James in a vague manner as if to tell him to grab it. He looked towards the handgun and signaled back to me in a way that acknowledged the presence of the huge monster blocking us from him. I understood and started to split up from him. The creature, distracted by the guy sneaking away, turned from James and started running after me. That was all the time James needed to dive onto the ground and pick up the handgun.
He opened fire onto the monster too, and then we saw a swirling red hole in the side of the monster. I assumed that James had penetrated its shell-like armor, and proceeded to unload the rest of my magazine into the hole. The monster let out an ear-piercing shriek as the loss of blood drained its life from the inside. James and I collapsed onto the floor out of tiredness and screamed in joy. I then realized that that was probably the last monster that hadn’t been killed by the radiation, as it had gotten worse since the radiation leakage increased mortality rates among the infected.
I slowly turned my head in James’ direction to see his eyes grow larger and blacker. His midriff suddenly split like an accordion and a shell started forming along his back. His face still hadn’t fully transformed, and he looked to me in a way that said,
“I’m sorry.” Ten jointed legs exploded from the shell and his face finally transformed into that of a horrifying beetle.
Then everything went black.