“How’re you still alive?” a lot of people ask me in disbelief. It’s a fair question, it’s the end of the world and zombies eat people. I mean, knowing how someone survived for so long in an undead world tells you a lot about a person. Some would tell you how they ripped a zombies head off with their bare hands, and you’d know they were probably a liar. Others would say how they were an amazing shot, but most knew you survived by making as little noise as possible. That all being said, I probably get the added disbelief due to the fact they would see me walking around the dying world with a cane out in front of me tapping away while black shades cover my face.
That’s how I met Dave and his group. They found me making my way through the city – mostly devoid of undead thankfully – lost and alone. Not just that, but I was hungry. They took me back to their camp, fed and watered me. I graciously accepted and said I’d be on my way. They insisted I stay with them, and I accepted that offer as well.
We travelled together for a few weeks and, as was the way of the new world, we lost members through attrition. Some died of their wounds. Another committed suicide. Some thought they would be better off by themselves. Others thought I was slowing them down. Each and every time, Dave remained by my side until we were the only two left. The thing is, Dave wasn’t great at making decisions or thinking ahead, and that’s what led to us being trapped on a rooftop.
“What’s going on?” I asked Dave. I didn’t really need to know, it was obvious. I could hear the cacophony of the undead below, and Dave standing on the edge of the building looking down at them told me all I needed to know. We were surrounded.
“We’re surrounded,” Dave said, reflecting what I already knew.
“Any idea how we can get out of here?” I questioned, once again already knowing the answer before he said it. I lifted my cane from the ground as I walked forward, removing the tell-tale tap that he had become so accustomed to whenever I moved.
“If we found a way to distract them … maybe lure them away from the door, we could probably get back out,” Dave said. I removed my shades, truly looking at him, before placing my cane against his back and pushing him – not very hard, but just enough to cause him to tumble forward and into the undead below.
I didn’t wait around, I couldn’t let Dave’s sacrifice be for nothing. I folded down my cane and slipped it into my belt along with the shades. I raced down the stairs and out the front door. Dave had been right though – something to distract the undead was all that was needed to escape.
As I charged out the building, I dodged around the snarling undead that stumbled their way towards Dave. He hadn’t died on impact, his gunshots that only delayed the inevitable told me that. It was a shame, I liked him and didn’t want him to suffer. But the world doesn’t run on ‘wants’. He ran out of bullets quick enough and then they were on him, digging their broken and ragged fingers into his stomach, tearing away flesh and pushing it into their mouths. Others just skipped that entirely and fell upon him, biting straight into him and chewing the meat off the source. That was just the way it was – it wasn’t the strong who survived. It was the smart.
I realised early on that intelligence and having the element of surprise was what kept you alive during the end of days. After seeing so many fast and strong people go down fighting who simply didn’t run away when given a chance … I knew I would survive no matter what. So, I adapted. I made myself as non-threatening to other survivors as possible. Not only that, I made people feel sorry for me. Triggered their protective instincts to care for those who needed it. I donned the black shades and found myself a cane. Tapped my way around when I thought people were watching. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t work all of the time. Some just didn’t care, but that’s where I had the element of surprise – taking them out before they got me. And those who saw a blind person and offered help? I accepted it, folded into their group and let them take care of me. Folks didn’t mind sharing what little they had when they thought you wouldn’t have anything. People underestimate you when you’re blind, and that’s their fault. I never said I was blind, just created the image and never corrected them when they assumed that. But life goes on.
I hadn’t travelled far from the building where Dave had died. It was maybe a few miles away, walking through a housing estate, and that’s when I heard voices nearby. I took a deep breath, slipping on the shades and unfolded my cane. I saw a glass bottle on the ground, which I made sure to kick as noisily as possible, sending it clattering across concrete until it shattered against a wall. The voices quickly silenced and I saw movement from a window nearby. I didn’t react, despite the gun they held loosely.
“Shit, it’s some blind chick,” the man sighed in disbelief, lowering the gun.
And it begins again, I thought. My face twisted up in fear as I swung my cane wildly in front of me. “Please don’t hurt me!”
“Oh, hunny, it’s ok,” a woman from their group said as she rushed out of their hiding place and to my side. She hugged me and asked in disbelief, “How’re you still alive?”