When I woke up it felt like it had all been a distant dream. Who would have ever imagined that the end of the world was happening? I never imagined that anything like this would happen in my lifetime. I mean, we’re talking about Zombies! Flesh-eating, decaying, straight-out-of-a-Romero-movie, undead. The very idea of them makes me shudder in terror.

As I lay there, looking up at the old ceiling in the gas station, I kept hearing what sounded like a dog. It sounded really close and I slowly opened my eyes and glanced around. Standing outside the locked glass door was a large canine, slavering and growling as though we were a feast. I stood quickly and the dog ran off with one last hungry glance. I couldn’t help but wonder if animals were susceptible to this terrible infection.

I started to stretch out my limbs, looking over K and T where they were still asleep. Looking around the store I noticed this place must have been badly raided before we got here. No gas cans, or pretty much anything for automobiles. I guess we are out of luck there. Behind the counter, I saw something that made me so happy. Cigarettes, rows and rows of cigarettes. As I hopped over the counter, I saw an old messenger style backpack hanging from a rack on the door to the back room. Picking it up, I emptied out the contents onto the floor. It was all mostly junk, but I noticed a mostly unused notebook. I picked it back up and put it back into the bag, because it could certainly come in handy later. I then started to fill the bag up with the tobacco-y goodness I love so much.

It’s funny to think that as a teenager, I was always told that cigarettes would kill me. Never did anyone tell me that it was possible for corpses to reanimate and come after the still-beating heart in my chest. I was never the child worried about crossing the street, or walking home late at night in a bad neighborhood. I was worried about monsters, and aliens coming down to our world to destroy everything in sight. Now that is what I KNEW would get human kind eventually. But to have zombies show up was unthinkable to me. Zombies belonged in bad, late night movies and not in reality.

Slowly, my salvaging (or outright stealing depending on who you were asking) stirred up K and T.

“Looting the cigs?” T said sleepily, getting up to a sitting position.

“I feel nasty. Is there a shower by any chance? I’ll even settle for one of those chemical emergency showers,” K asked hopefully, squinting into the morning light.

I just looked at her. I hadn’t thought of that at all. Looking around, this really looked like an establishment where the owners very well could have lived here. She got up thinking the same idea, but I was not thinking it would be a good idea to explore the back. She obviously was.

Nothing sounded like it was moving back there, but my Spidey sense was tingling. K looked at me with her green eyes. They always shined when she wanted me to do something and I have to admit that I do it each time. I put my bag on the counter and grabbed my bat. I noticed it had red stains on it now.

T just stared at me like I was insane. I just shrugged and slowly reached towards the door handle. My hand was shaking like I never imagined. I was scared. Taking a deep breath I finally started to open the door and as it slowly opened, I saw that it was an office. Opening it more I felt the vomit rise in my throat.

A young woman slumped over a desk with a gun in her hand. She couldn’t have been much older than 18, and I couldn’t stop staring at the unnatural angle of her neck. She had obviously shot herself, more than likely the result of the mangled wound on her forearm. The splatter on the wall behind her was mixed with chunky bits of something that I really didn’t want to examine further. But, I did want to get a look at that gun in her hand.

I knew what I wanted to do and I hated myself for it. Walking over to her, I pried the handgun from her hand. T and K slowly came into the room and saw me with the gun in my hand. K just looked at me, mouth tightened into a thin line and face impassive. T just shook his head.

“It was in her hand. I hate to say it, but she didn’t need it anymore.”

K just nodded and walked into the room. She walked over to the desk and opened some of the drawers. She threw papers around. She looked like she was obsessed with the idea of some item. Which was a weird idea to me seeing as we had never been here before.

“Bingo.” She said and help up a box of ammo.

I would have never thought about grabbing that. I grinned. That girl was always thinking. She handed me the ammo.

“Any bathroom?” she asked.

“I really didn’t get past her.” I pointed at the woman slumped down.

“I’ll check the other door.” T said walking into the room and went to the door on the other side of the room.

He pressed his ear up to the door first (wish I thought of that instead of just wandering in like a moron). Nodding, he opened the door and grinned ear to ear.

“We have a bathroom!” pointing at it like he found the holy grail.

Well, at least we would be able to clean up a bit. I had no intention of staying here for more than an hour. I vocalized my concern to my friends and they both agreed that we need to get out of here soon. K took the bathroom first as T and I went back out front.

He kept looking at the car.

“Can’t believe you stole the oldest car ever.”

“Meh,” was my ever witty response.

“And we find the one gas station without gas,” he continued, laughing.

“No gas?” I asked.

“Empty as keg at dawn, bro. At least we have some food and smokes. Besides it’s not like this can last forever…with us surviving it anyway.”

“Scary idea huh?” I nodded along.

“Could be worse. Could be alone in that city like I was.”

“What were you doing there anyway? We hadn’t seen you in months, man.”

“Long story B. Just know I was finally heading someplace. But, when the end of the world happens you want your family by your side.”

“When did you grow up on me?” I asked, laughing.

“When the end of the world happened?” he laughed.

“What about A… I know your brother lived with you.” I asked him.

I had to ask since I knew that those two were very close (depending on the time of the year.) I saw his face fall. This was not a good sign and I knew I was about to feel pretty bad.

“Sorry to say I doubt he will be joining us. He was with me till a couple blocks before I saw you. We were running and suddenly I didn’t hear him talking anymore. I tried to look for him…” T just stopped talking.

“I get it” I said.

“Yeah, I dunno. I’m just glad that I got to you two. And since I want to keep you, we’d better get out of here before anything unfriendly shows up.”

“I have an idea about that.” I added

“What is it?”

“I think we need to head north. Like far north.”

“Seems as good as any, but why?”

“If these things are really zombies then I doubt cold will be good to them.”

“We don’t have a lot of gas.”

“We have enough to get out of the desert. Well maybe. But enough to get out of the we-are-fucked-if-we-get-stuck part.” I smiled.

“I’ve never been north.” T said smiling his usual smile

“I have. And it’s nice. “

“Well, let’s go!” he yelled

“Go where?” K asked, emerging at last from the bathroom.

“We’re going North!” T and I exclaimed.

“I guess we have to go somewhere.” she said smiling

It was nice to know that we had agreed in which direction to go. I had an idea, and now it seemed we had a loose idea of what was going to happen. We would head to the colder territory and see what happens from there.

Something T had said seemed to be stuck in my head as we packed the last of our plunder into the bus. At least if the worst happened, we very well would die together. And as close as we always were, it seemed we were truly becoming the family we each needed.

“Ready to go guys?” I asked as I heard the motor turn over.

“Ready, “ K said smiling at me.

“Ready B,” T said from the backseat.

We pulled out of the gas station as I heard rustling coming out of the bushes and had never been so relieved. It seemed the boogies were emerging. I stopped for a moment just to see how many. At least 10 had come out but I heard more rustling. If we waited even 5 more minutes we would have been fucked. If I ever see that dog again, I’ll have to thank him for waking me up this morning.