Katrina Moore

Fear of a Blank Planet


               Shaky hands lit a much coveted cigarette. Cigarettes were hard to come by now, unless one was suicidal. One? How ironic... Wonder if there's some truth to that word. Allison McClure pondered this as she watched her hand slowly steady from the nicotine coursing through veins. She closed her eyes. The dopamine was jumping through her brain, grateful for the deprived fix. Smoke flowed out of her dry mouth slowly, as if tiptoeing around the tepid air.

                A human lay at McClure's feet. She nudged it with her foot just to confirm it was dead. One never knew. Tch... gotta stop thinking about that number. She quickly took another drag from the cigarette to calm her nerves.

                Amazingly, the clock in the drugstore still seemed to work. Time never cared for human devices. How wonderful that some things remained unaffected. She eyed the clock coldly, calculating the amount of time she had to finish the glorious cigarette before she was formally screwed.

                She had killed him approximately 2 minutes ago. One clean bullet through the head with her Magnum. He crumpled to her feet almost immediately. It was too close. He had been right there, so fast. She had been lucky, going unscathed.

                All for a few packs of coveted cigarettes.

                Another drag relieved her of that that thought. Best not dwell on things already passed. The cigarette was now only a stub. This was convenient because she had long run out of time. She needed to leave. Now. Earlier than now, in fact. McClure exhaled the remaining smoke and tossed the remains of her pathetic addiction.

                Quietly, she stepped over the body. Her shoes made a slight tap on the cheap floor of the drugstore. She froze, cringing at the noise, and waited. The shaking began again. This time it was adrenaline pumping through her body like crazy. This level of energy was good. It finely tuned her senses and gave her the strength she would need shortly. Her body knew before her mind did that she was in trouble.

                A shadow from the front entrance became larger and larger. No, not just one shadow. McClure's eyes widened as she counted. Six. There were six of them. She had scouted the area. How could there be six? It took all that she had not to let the fear take over. She needed to think rationally. There was a back door. She knew this. It would have been stupid not to find alternate escape routes. They heard the gunshot, they knew she was here. Waiting in plain sight- or hiding, for that matter- would do no good. The Magnum didn't have enough bullets to kill all six even if she was a sharpshooter. Now was an opportune moment to run.

                She did not go quietly this time. McClure exploded from the counter she had been leaning on, sprinting towards the back exit as quickly as humanly possible. Sneaking would not have worked with them. They had uncanny senses that she was still working to understand. The six followed. Tears welled in her eyes when she saw the same shadows coalescing with her own.

                They were new, and they were fast. All of them. Unbelievable.

                She made it to the exit and efficiently burst out the door. It was an alleyway. Her heart was beating wildly. With her medical experience, McClure knew she was probably about to have a heart attack from the spikes in her blood pressure. She turned left, away from the dead end, and made a run for-

                No! Nononono you are so stupid! Her car was on the other side of this hick town. The fear she had been blocking very eagerly transformed into horror and trickled into her like a virus. She could run fast, but it was unlikely that she could keep up this pace for the mile to the other side of town. They were so fresh she could barely smell them, which meant they were still coordinated. And hungry.

                Desperately, she whirled around and fired erratically. Three valuable bullets. Fatal, mortal, mortal. One down, five virtually unstoppable. Fantastic. She couldn't waste time having her mental breakdown yet, though. They were making horrid noises and still running like the finest Olympic track stars towards her. Pleading with them would do nothing, they were obviously too far deranged.

                As she ran for her life, she passed many boarded-up houses and warning signs. One particularly gruesome sidewalk mockingly warned her of the creatures behind her:


                McClure was panting at this point. Her body could not keep up with the adrenaline. Everything was just too fast. She was probably the only one left in this country who wasn't infected yet. One... Why not just give in?

                Her pack of cigarettes caught her eye. It was still in her hand, the one not wielding the gun. She was NOT going to die over this addiction. With that instantaneous resolution made in her mind (seeing as she was still fleeing from rabid undead), she made one last sprint to her truck. She could see it, welcoming her. Just a few meters more.

                Yes! She opened the door, hurling her body inside the car when a hand shot out and grabbed her. Something beyond horror occurred in that moment. She shrieked and pulled away. It was strong, though. It pulled her hand insistently. Drool dripped down its- no, his- face. He still looked human, recognizable.

                Her will to live was strong yet, though. She shot him square in the forehead and slammed the car door shut. They all immediately began to pound at her door. Shaky hands started the car, set it in reverse, and ran them all over. Twice. Just to make sure. The crunches of their bones reverberated through her ears and gave her peace of mind. Then, just like every other time she visited a drugstore for those coveted cigarettes, she drove out of town.

                Just like every other time, too, she didn't realize her face was wet from the crying until later.

Copyright 2013

Katrina Moore is currently a senior at the TAG Magnet and looking forward to fresh writing/travel/medical/lurking experiences in college. This is her first published work.