HELLS ON EARTH
Kevin was on the phone listening to his friend tell him that she had RedEye.
In his head, while he was emotionally reeling from the news, as his friend was telling him soothing words that made no sense given she was the one who was probably going to die, he did some math.
Four million people live in Melbourne and the news says there are four thousand reported cases. That is one person in ten thousand. Yet, in the space of several days he had caught and survived it, both of Amanda’s parents and seven neighbors had caught and died of it.
Either the news is not telling the truth, the truth is much worse than is being reported, or he is carrying the infection and giving it to everyone he meets.
Although, clearly, he was not responsible for the global situation, so maybe he is just horribly unlucky.
Or maybe it is a bit of both. He carried the infection and gave it to others as did many others.
The idea of Amanda getting sick made his chest constrict.
His friend, Eula, said, “You will be okay, but don’t hang around here. You survived RedEye, but you may not survive the zombies.”
“Kev, don’t fuck about with this. Is Amanda sick?”
“No. She is stealing the neighbor’s car. They caught RedEye and became zombies then were taken away by the police, so, yeah, they won’t be needing their car anymore.”
“Shit she is too good for you. Get out with her now before she catches it.”
“What about you? I can wait for you to live or die then pick you up?”
“No, all my house mates have it. I can’t leave them.”
“Amanda tied me down for safety reasons.”
“Yeah, that is a good idea, I will do that.”
A car was pulling into the driveway, the sedan from next door with Amanda driving it.
“Amanda just arrived with the freshly stolen car. I am sure that is still illegal. I need to go, I will call you tomorrow and I expect you to answer.”
“Kev, whatever happens, I am glad we……”
“Shut up Eula, I will catch up with you tomorrow.”
He hung up on her just as Amanda walked past him and into the bathroom.
She said loudly, “Fuck.”
“What is it?”
Kevin got up, slowly crossed the room and entered the bathroom to see Amanda standing in front of the mirror with tears running down her eyes. It doesn’t take a genius to know what was wrong, but he asked, “What’s wrong?”
“RedEye. I have Redeye. I have RedEye.”
They had been living together for about one year. Been in a relationship for eighteen months. Known each other for three years. Workmates, friends, then lovers.
They were young, full of energy, and had a lifetime together ahead of them together and they both knew it.
Kevin was hoping, or attempting to not think about, the possibility of Amanda catching RedEye. Just the chance of it upset him.
See her blood shot eyes, and hearing those words, more than upset him, it unbalanced his entire life. It removed the floor from his feet and left a gaping chasm for him to fall into.
“I have RedEye.”
“Tell me how you treated me before you get too sick.”
She looked to Kevin, gave a half smile then leaned in to hug him. She whispered, “I just tied you to the bed and wished for your recovery.”
Kevin whispered back, “Then that is how I will cure you as well.”
“I need to fill the car with petrol, then load it with the food, sleeping bags, clothes and camping equipment while I still have energy.”
She walked out of the bathroom, out the door and drove the car away.
Over the coming hours, as she became more tired and Kevin became healthier, the car was loaded with the equipment they had. Kevin kept the bikes in the garage for now but planned on taking them because cars run out of petrol.
He saw another zombie leaving a house down the road. He called the police but this time the zombie roamed for almost two hours. It strolled and stumbled about in an aimless manner. Nobody went outside to engage with it this time. And Kevin watched it closely and stayed quiet.
By the time the police van arrived, Amanda was already exhausted, her head felt like it was splitting in half and her joints wanted to crack open from the pain.
She was in bed. She had ordered Kevin to tie her leg to the bed post. They both found some humor in that moment.
After several long hours the task of prepping the car for their escape was finished. While Kevin was recovering, he was still tired and weak. A stark contrast to his usual condition of fit and strong from constant bike riding and his job as store person at the local supermarket.
He closed the door behind him, sat on the couch and was about to check on Amanda again, expecting her to be asleep or semi-comatose. He closed his eyes for a few moments then fell asleep.
When he opened his eyes, the sun had already gone down. He was drowsy, so his mind did not truly acknowledge the thumbing of fist on door. When he understood the sound, he instantly became awake, turned to the front door and was preparing to push the sofa against it again. The pounding wasn’t coming from the front door, it was from the bedroom door.
It was loud, rhythmic, and strong.
He looked at the door, unsure if he should open it.
He knew what had happened, he heard the pounding, it couldn’t be anything else.
He approached the door.
He opened the door.
The zombie was on the ground, arm lifted up and swinging down for another hit at the door but struck the ground instead. It looked up at Kevin.
He saw his Amanda, her face, her body, but her eyes were filled with blood and dead inside. Her skin had turned a sickening grey, and the only thing she wanted was to grab and eat him.
She launched forward but couldn’t, the rope was strong, the knot was solidly tied by Amanda herself, and the bed was too heavy to drag.
Kevin took a step backwards, closed the door, took his phone out of his pocket then called emergency services.
“She is a zombie.”
“I am safe.”
“No, I will wait for her to be picked up before I leave the house.”
He hung up.
The ambulance took until morning to arrive.
They injected her with something, she went limp. She was loaded onto the gurney then taken away.
The ambulance officer said, “She will feel nothing, she will be at peace now.” They simply left him there.
He sat down on the sofa, then wept.
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