HELLS ON EARTH
They parked the bikes beside the gate, so they were pointing towards the road for a quick getaway.
As they approached the house, Eula pointed to a man standing in front of the front door. He was walking and banging hard into it.
She said, “I thought that was a man, but it looks more like a zombie.”
She pulled out the bat in preparation while Kevin took hold of the crowbar. Eula said, “I will do it.”
They both approached the zombie quietly. It was a farmer, a massive zombie, and it looked powerful. It was banging on the door like a slow-motion angry child.
Eula indicated to Kevin to stop. She took the last few steps with the bat raised, then brought it down accurately on top of its head. The loud crack resounded out, and the zombie fell to the ground.
From the other side of the door, they heard a scream, then the door opened to showcase an old woman, hands on her mouth in despair. Without a single look at either of them, she knelt down beside the body and lifted its head up carefully then wept.
Eula said, “You have the shovel, start digging.” She knelt down beside the old woman, put her arm around her, and said, “I am sorry this happened.”
“He was a kind man who was turned into a monster. I couldn’t bring myself to finish him off.”
Kevin walked back to the bikes, pulled out the fold-up shovel, and found a place to begin digging and got to work. As he dug, he watched for zombies. He also looked at Eula caring for the old lady, comforting her, helping her stand up, and taking her inside.
The soil was hard and challenging to break. It wasn’t long before his hands and arms hurt. Eula came out of the house and went to Kevin. After she gave him a hug, she said, “She is lovely. That was her husband. She is happy to let us bury him here. I will get the wheelbarrow and two real shovels.”
Kevin stopped to rest by leaning on the brick fence and watched her walk away. He thought about Amanda as well, how he wished she was alive and with them. His heart began to hurt, then he wept for a while.
When Eula reappeared with the equipment, he met her by the body of the old man. Together, they lifted it onto the wheelbarrow and shifted it to be beside the grave.
They dug a relatively shallow grave, so they added rocks on top of it. They had the task done as the sun dipped below the horizon. Kevin was mildly surprised that there were no more zombies.
When they finished, they entered the house to the smell of pork roast and vegetables. The old lady, Betty, directed them to their double room with ensuite and told them to clean up before eating.
They showered, changed, and felt fresh and human again. Eula said, “This is the best thing ever. This is normal.” She reached over for another quick hug. Kevin looked uncomfortable, so she said, “Amanda?”
“Yeah. But, given the circumstances, I mean, we could be dead soon anyway, I would rather we were close and like this than anything else in the world. I just miss her.”
She came in for another hug. She whispered, “I miss her as well. I also need us to be strong together, connected, and in tune. This, us, is how we survive.”
He hugged her back, and they walked to the dining room hand in hand.
Betty was pleased to see them. The meal was on the table already, so they sat and began to eat.
Betty said, “My husband was a kind man. I was lucky to have him this long. Thank you for what you did.”
Eula said, “It is not easy doing it, but we needed to do it. We all need to be ready for ending each other.”
Betty said, “I have been watching the news. This RedEye virus, it is global, and it is going to end everything as we know it. Large parts of the world are going dark. North America, all of it, went dark last night. No power at all. It is gone. Europe has been going dark over the last day or so. In fact, it is happening everywhere. It will also happen here in the next day or so.”
She ate some more of the pork. Kevin did as well and appreciated the quality of the cooking pot into the meal. Eula had already finished her plate and was loading up a second one.
Eula asked, “How is Melbourne?”
“Last I heard they were using the stadiums to store the undead. But it is everywhere. Everyone seems to be catching RedEye, almost everyone dies from it and returns as a zombie. Those who survive, well, most of them will die as well.”
Kevin asked, “Are you alone here? Where is everyone?”
Betty said, “We are a small farm. The workers took off yesterday when RedEye showed up on Barry. I stayed. You stick with your loved ones, no matter what.”
They ate more food, drank some cold beer, then Betty said, “I am old, I am going to die soon. This is not a world for old people. You two need to stay here. Secure the house, make it safe. There is a tractor with plenty of fuel. When the worst of this is over with, use the tractor to travel around the area. Find somewhere else far away and start a new world.”
Kevin laughed. “Hey Eula, she is worse than me by thinking we will live for more than a few weeks.”
They all laughed for a while.
Eula said, “Thank you, Betty. You are right about most of that, except, this could be the faraway place to start our new life. We will do what we can to build a new world from here.”
They talked for a few hours, by the time Eula and Kevin got into bed and held each other tightly, Kevin was feeling almost positive about the future.
But with that, he knew that almost five million zombies were spreading out from the South, and there was going to be more than enough that will find the farm given they were less than one hundred miles away.
He also knew that if they were to make this their new world, they would need more people, more walls, more everything.
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