Lovely Leader

Lovely Leader

I used to be a happy girl happyhappyhappy or at least that’s how I remember things being before all hell broke loose. Yes I was always a little bit out of place at home, school with boys with other girls with everyone. I never felt that I really fit in but that was okay because I was only 16, 16 and one day I was going to find the secret to happiness and be happier than any popular girl or any celebrity on the TV or YOU. But I never got a chance to be happy because one day my life was changed forever when monsters began roaming the Earth.

 

How did the end of the world start wish I knew but I don’t know how it happened. Zombies came one day gross with white and green flesh dead eyes and people I knew weren’t people I knew anymore. I was at school and the windows smashed in and glass pierced my hands and face and I bled but didn’t feel anything but my pounding heart as the monsters crashed through the windows and I ran RAN RAN RAN RAN RAN far away from classmates and teachers and pain and the past and my fear of the future. I ran out the school and down the steps screaming shrieking tumbling over the bodies of the already dead. The monsters were behind me chasing me hunting me pounding the dirt path and I was out of breath and drowning in adrenaline but I escaped into a forest hiding climbing into a tree and sleeping on branches. Starving sweating delirious listening to the moans of the undead and screaming of the soon to be dead. It was horrible and I was alone and dying and I was going to die at 16.  Where were my parents my brother my friends teachers the rest of the World. What was happening why me was everyone okay.

 

Those first couple of nights in the forest I was so alone but when I looked up up up at the black sky black as the licorice I would chew before hell broke loose and looking into the stars I felt calm. I would die and go with God okay it would be okay and I didn’t dare move for nearly two days only stretching so my legs wouldn’t clot because who needs that in the midst of all the crap I’m about to endure. On the third day I was delirious with thirst and hunger I was dead or dying I couldn’t see all was white and blurred and I felt calm and laughter roared through my ears as I tumbled off the tree and down below to the ground THUD CRACK SMASH.

 

It’s blurry after that but I remember hearing shots nearby whimpers and a gruff voice shouting out “There’s a girl here.” Things were clear when he was close he was handsome and strong and tall with clear blue eyes pouring down on me like a waterfall. He was so close to me and I thought he was an angel and he almost was and he gave me medicine and food and carried me to safety. He lifted me up up away from the pain to safety and I didn’t want to go didn’t want my feet to ever touch ground because I was so safe and warm in his strong rippling arms and I just knew that from that moment that I was a goner that for the rest of the apocalypse he would be my only source of home.

 

They brought me to a safe house and I slept and slept and he visited me and told me his name was Eric and I got better and learned about him and it was love that I felt. He was the leader of the group kept us safe brought us food maintained order taught me how to shoot slowly aim remove safety squeeze the trigger BANG BANG. I learned quickly what he told me and I tried to please him because he was all that I needed to get me through the struggle. Parents dead went to house and there was only blood and three corpses to be seen and I wept and he held me and we returned to our home and I trusted him and loved him because there was nothing else nothing but him.

He began to trust me more and more I was young but I was strong and he made me feel useful and wanted for the first time in my life and if we’d met under different circumstances I’d be happy so happy and I was sort of happy but there was always terror waiting to come to the surface. We’d hunt for food raid empty houses open drawers take pills food water weapons anything useful. An excellent team we were- me and my lovely leader and he’d smile at my and touch me face, telling me what a great girl I was and how he’d keep me safe so when it was all over I’d make a good wife to a young boy. I’d smile wide trying to hide my pain because I wanted to be his wife. life was conflicting, hard, when love tried to get in the way of survival but I was obedient I worked hard, just raided listened to Eric did what I was told and put bullets in the zombies BANG BANG. Violence was nothing anymore, nothing nothing. It’s a videogame just a game it ain’t real.

 

I remember That Day like it was yesterday maybe it was because time’s been real damn fuzzy since he’s gone. Gorgeous man rugged tall leader was talking, he liked talking and I listened not really listening his voice was like caramel warm and inviting even when he talked of danger and his soft lips moved frantically and I wanted to kiss him. Smooch. Smooch. I should’ve listened but I didn’t stupid girl you stupid girl blaming myself all this time after it happened. Others got up STANDING STANDING and I was so scared it was like an activity back at school when I wasn’t paying attention. And SMASH glass flying everywhere in fly people OH MY GOD IS IT MONSTERS and I can’t breathe can’t breathe all the progress I’d made all my newfound strength gone feel like I did the first day of this Hell. In they come horrible people with guns threatening shooting killing pillaging pill bottles flying food disappearing and I scream and cry and one hits me in the mouth. I look weak Eric comes over to calm me and he’s 20 I’m so immature and like an infant to him but I accept the affection because I’m damaged and so alone. Screaming yelling Eric fighting my mouth bleeding crying NOOOOOOOOOOOOO ZOMBIES ZOMBIES they come and I can’t find the gun what the hell is happening to me I was so strong before. Help me leader but leader can’t help and I grab hammer SMASH SMASH SMASH SMASH eww blood splatter what am I doing this can’t be me but remember Callie it’s a videogame not you just a videogame be a hero get a medal. BANG BANG and it’s over.

 

Not safe we must leave and I listen to leader he leaves and I should follow but I’m scared so scared and damaged in some irreparable way from that fight different from all the other damn fights of the months somehow. I go outside and they walk and I slip back in and hide in the kitchen blood everywhere hell I shiver. Pain is too much and I’m all alone. Delirious and in pain physically emotionally. Smashed bottles on the floor pills white on ground and I scoop them up pop them in my mouth. One two three four five six twenty. Bye lovely leader. Bye world. Licorice and starry nights for all eternity now God I’m coming home to you. No painful death no zombies eating me alive no shotgun blasting my brain away. Control in control things fade and I sleep.

 

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU OKAY CALLIE. Lovely leader in Heaven WHAT? My head buzzing my mind swirling and I’m alive but lovely leader’s here and that’s okay. He lifts me up You must’ve just fainted hold onto me darling. Grab firm shoulder his warm hand on my waist and we walk and walk. So woozy so so so foggy and tired and weird in the head took too many but that’s okay I’ll survive and he’s with me so I’m happy. We walk and walk and it’s okay. He tells me about a new house but we just need supplies and I want my right hand girl on this mission with me he smiles his gorgeous smile and I melt through my wooziness and we go.

 

He stops me in front of the door and turns to me. This will be dangerous Callie be careful take care of yourself he says he’s concerned he hesitates looks into my eyes and doesn’t realize the amount I’ve ingested he kisses my lips soft and faint warm and if I felt less numb I’d be too happy to feel much of anything. We walk inside empty house creaky floors must be careful. Walk around must be careful can’t make noise so dangerous the rooms spins and I grab onto marble countertop to steady myself. Not getting a good feeling but shake it off. Stay calm it’s just a video game.

 

I follow lovely leader up the stairs and he’s quiet so light on his feet and I try to follow but it’s so hard. Eric backs into room behind me I go up stairs as I’m told. Quiet, quiet, focus, ignore the medication SO STUPID SHOULDN’T HAVE TAKEN ANYTHING I’M so stupid. Thump thump down the hall zombies move around but don’t hear just need to get up stairs be careful and check for medicine leader checks for weapons easy done it a thousand times before but stumble NO. CREEEEEEEEEEEEEEAK. Zombies turn I gasp they run bound up the stairs MOAN GRRRRR Leader leaps RUN CALLIE I turn want to fight can’t fight too numb Run Run ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! LEADER! Scream turn zombie behind AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH run run run run trip back up through the hatch and up and away. Gasp gasp crying he’s gone and it’s my fault and hate my useless self he’s gone and I should’ve died with him such a coward. I cry and cry and cry feel so much pain no calm numbness just pain now’s the time to really try to end my life but I can’t and I won’t so scared can’t jump off the edge though I stare down and try. Leader’s gone and happiness is gone but he’d want me to be happy and fight I’ve gotta fight.

 

I walked down off the side of the roof, down down from my happiness to reality and pain and suffering and loneliness. Down to where I am today. But God is good always was good. Because as I walked and walked no Zombies came and the fuzziness disappeared and I was back. Sat down, tired heartbroken, took off the battered men’s coat Leader found for me. Felt a bulge in the pocket. Pulled something out and cried- shiny silver LEADER’S RING and a slip of paper. I looked at it Dear Callie keep going on. Cried cried happiness and pain mingled together Damn complicated life but I couldn’t stop after seeing that.

 

I was determined. I fought and it was hell but I fought every step of the way. Killed every last Zombie that crossed my path using boulders if I had to eating bugs if I had to just surviving. Crossed forests washed my clothes in streams and came out on the other side as strong and rugged as leader. Now others call me Leader. I’m happy as happy as I’ll ever be in a time when the dead roam the Earth. I blame myself for losing Eric, but I’m stronger now than I’ve ever been and for that I’m hella thankful. Strength comes from within he told me and I know that now. Others depend on me and it’s tough but I don’t depend on others for happiness the companionship is a bonus. Together we’re saving others helping mankind stopping the spread of disease working wonders. I’m 5 years older and maybe not so wise but when Leader’s ring is on my finger I’m ruthless and daring. I’m a leader and I’ve finally found my place in the world.

About the Author /

Steph@absynthe.org

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