The Promise Land

There were only two left alive. They had been the only ones alive for the last five days and over the weeks beforehand had developed a bond that went further than friendship.

David Edmund and Claire Son were there names. David was about twenty years old. His eyes were dark brown and so was his hair. His frame appeared skeletal after days of little or no food and very little water, none of it boiled to eliminate germs. His head was rather large and he had grown a mustache in the days since the infection had spread. He was relatively short and could run as fast as any other person under healthy conditions. These were not healthy conditions and his bones now seemed to creak with every step. He feared he wouldn't be able to run fast at all the next time he was required to. He had a leather jacket on over a Hawaiian T-shirt and torn blue jeans. All of his clothes and his used-to-be-pure-white shoes were specked with new and old blood. He hadn't changed his clothes in a long time. He had a .357 magnum tucked into the waist band of his jeans.
For days the two had been traveling through state after state after state to reach New York City. They had figured-with the other survivors at the time-that the larger cities would still be stable and operating at a basic level. Everyone but them had died on the trip.

Claire was seventeen with long, black hair that was dull and clotted with blood and dirt. Her face was pale and her blue eyes had the tendency to stare at nothing for minutes at a time. She was almost as tall as David and barely fit into the wheelbarrow she was being pulled through the mud in. So many days had brought nothing but rain in the past couple weeks and all the ground was soft and disgusting. Leaves from the skeleton trees surrounding them were hard to walk on when wet.

The air was growing cold. They would have to find a place to stop before winter arrived in full force.

Claire's left arm was bandaged tightly, the white bandage red in many parts. Her heavier clothing was sticky with blood. She had a long-sleeved shirt on with a light jacket over it. She had two pairs of socks on under Nike sneakers and her blue jeans were red. An empty gun that had very recently been emptied was resting on her left breast. Her chest was rising less consistently than it should. David feared she would not survive to see New York city in all of its glory. "Feared" isn't the right word at all; "knew" is. He knew she would be dead before they reached the Big Apple.

Still he pulled her along, slipping occasionally. He pulled her so that she would know that even at the end he had not wanted to abandon her. He pulled her so that he could satisfy that part of him that naively believed she would survive. He pulled her along at such a great expense of energy for Claire's unborn child whose father was amongst those that they were trying to escape. For the unborn child David had come to think of as his own.

They were so close to New York city that David could see the tips of buildings that were far taller than they had any right to be. It worried him that he saw no lights. That didn't trouble his mind much, though; they were close to salvation. He struggled through the mud and wet leaves. He would've been traveling on the highway, but it was clogged with demolished cars and bodies that were too damaged to rise again. He never noticed that the cars were leaving New York city. It never occurred to him that maybe the city that never slept had finally been laid to rest. He had gone through too much to reach it to allow thoughts such as that. He had banned them from his mind.

"Hang in there with me, Claire," David muttered to his dying girlfriend. Tears and snot were trailing down his face. "We're almost there. Claire? Claire? Answer me, Claire."

Then came a word that was more of an exhalation of air than anything escaped her blue lips. "What?" It was too silent for David to hear, but he didn't want to continue wasting his breath and energy on speech. Speech wouldn't save her. Doctors could, and there just had to be doctors at New York. Claire continued to stare at the black sky so full of clouds that little starlight or moonlight could penetrate them.

Soon after Claire uttered her last word David found a spot from which the entire northern portion of New York city could be seen. He dropped to his knees, ignoring the bitter coldness and wetness that spread up his legs.

It was a dead place, and the unholy shrieks of the undead could be heard. New York had been conquered by the zombies.

"FUCK YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MOTHER FUCKERS!" David screamed and tried too quickly to get to his feet. He fell face-first into the mud and screamed his rage into air bubbles before popping up for air. He hadn't realized just how much screaming that one sentence had taken out of him. He rolled on to his back and began to sob like an infant. His vocal cords were too strained for him to even chance whispering, so he just sobbed and sobbed some more.

There was no salvation. There was no promise land. There was no Utopia. There was only death for him, his love, and the bastard child he would've treated as his own had he only been given the chance.

He rested for several minutes before slowly getting to his feet. He managed to squeak out a compilation of words. "We… have to go… Claire." There was no response; it was too late to expect one. David limped over to the wheelbarrow and looked down into the glazed, dead, blue eyes of the one that had been his love. He only looked long enough to assess the fact that she was dead and then took two steps backed and shouted sharply at the body. David pulled out his magnum and aimed it at her head. He pulled the trigger and one of the last bullets in the gun obliterated Claire's head. Blood, bone, and brain matter spewed everywhere, coating David's once-white shoes in a new layer of blood. David screamed again and fell on his ass screaming.

Soon he lost his voice and he could not scream. He could only sit there and try to do so.

All that was left in this world was death. Nothing more. Finally realizing this, David raised his magnum to his head. Then he mouthed his last words. "I'm sorry for all the wrong I've done. I'm sorry for all the pain I've caused. I'm sorry for whatever it is that caused me to deserve this."

Then he did the last thing he ever would do: he pulled his gun's trigger.

Author's Note:

Hell, MorbidMan here. This was something short I began writing a long time ago and then forgot about. I just found it, revised what was written, and finished it. I think it turned out pretty good and may be one of the few zombie stories that has no zombies in it at all.

I've had this scene in my head for a long time, thinking it to be a good one for a zombie movie. I also have a scene in my head for the death of all the other survivors that these two, err… three, characters had been traveling with beforehand. However, that scene seemed far too cruel and lacking in morale to post. But I will write it up if I get enough positive reviews for this, so keep checking this for updates. Although I doubt this'll get many reviews at all since it's an R-rated horror story. Anyone can come up with a scary idea, but the trick is to portray it in a scary way. Not many writers here can do that (me included, especially for my early writings) and most of 's readers have realized this fact, so they steer clear of the genre. Anyways. This is it for my short story of zombies that features no zombies.

"When those bay doors open there'll be a thousand zombies in here. That'll take the heat off us; these guys will have their hands full."-Peter "Dawn of the Dead" (one of the few zombie movies to actually say the word "zombie" in it and the only one of George A. Romero's "Dead" trilogy to do so-by the way, he's coming out with a new one called "Land of the Dead" slated for an October 2005 release)