Of Cabbages and Kings

Farewell life! my senses swim, And the world is growing dim:

Thronging shadows cloud the light, Like the advent of the night -

Colder, colder, colder still, Upward steals a vapor chill;

Strong the earthy odor grows - I smell the mould above the rose!

Thomas Hood

I lived in a small town on the East Australian coast. Small population. Little country town. Nothing major. Same as nothing major every happened here. Of course, that was until the zombie apocalypse. Maybe we all knew something was coming, maybe we were all too scared to do anything. Either way, the world was going to fucking end.

"CJ, are you paying attention?" I can't believe this is where it started for me, sitting in the back row of classroom B-12.

"Yes," I mumbled incoherently.

My teacher was incredibly old, probably appropriate as she taught Ancient History. She pushed up the thick glasses that framed her frail, creased face, "Then what did I just say?"

At this point I think I would have actually welcomed a zombie attack.


"Uhhh," I drawled, searching my mind for the correct response. "Pericles' democratic reforms?"

Mrs. June shook her head, "We learnt that last week."

You know, I'm not even sorry.

A few moments later we heard someone knocking on our classroom door. Distraction! The class finally stopped looking at me and my blatant ineptness. Mrs June opened the door absently, while the class started quietly conversing with each other. I was sitting next to my best friend and super genius, Samantha. I say super genius because her average grade in all of her classes was around 95%. School was ending for us in just a few months and she had all the options. However, I would be lucky just to get into University.

"Hey do you wanna do something tonight?" Sam asked pleasantly. Only she could be this happy in a classroom.

I thought for a second before bobbling my head, "Yeah okay. What did you have in mi-" but our conversation was cut short.

In a horrified silence our whole class turned to the front of the classroom. A dark figure, which I later recognised as a fellow senior named Harry, had grabbed Mrs. June's shoulders and ripped (yep, I said 'ripped') his teeth into her neck. She screamed as blood slowly began trailing down her collar bone. Harry didn't seem too concerned about the dying teacher he was eating. Instead, he growled lusting over her blood. The class sat frozen, a look of disbelief and terror in their eyes. And then there was me, who couldn't stop wondering why people loved vampires.

Repulsed, I quickly diverted my gaze to the window. My jaw dropped at the sight. There was people running and screaming frantically below. Not vampires – zombies. Shit, even worse.

I felt someone roughly grab my arm and I looked up to see Sam pulling at me to follow her. Our class was in hysterics and I suppose I was a bit crazed as well. All I saw was bloodstains, people crying, and that desperate struggle to escape and find safety. I don't know how we got out of that classroom. Were just started jumping over tables and people. But, I distinctly remember the distorted and gnarled face of my age-worn Ancient History teacher. Her eyes lulled lethargically in their sockets and her jaw was wrenched open as if in a permanent scream. Harry still sat over her, menacingly devouring her lifeless body.

We just kept running, never turning back. Horrible and selfish, or perhaps just too afraid to stop. Because we didn't try to help any of the frightened faces we past.

In the main quad we pushed past a group of people. I stopped momentarily, entranced by the sight of four monsters pulling at a blonde haired girl. Her muffled cries and distraught expression made we want to help her. I stepped forward. I was aware of Sam frantically tugging on my arm and I was aware of the zombie who had turned curiously to growl at me. But, I didn't care. It was judgement day, so I'd literally be damned if I didn't at least try.

"Move!" I yelled, pushing against several large bodies. I could still hear the girl crying as I neared her. Good, she was still alive. I was going to help someone. I was not going to hell. "Hey!" I called over the voices as I reached her. She looked at me, her eyes were cold and unmoving. I suddenly gasped. My body froze as the four zombies started pulled at each of her limbs. I swear it's impossible. I mean, it couldn't have been real. But, somehow, they tore off her limbs. Maybe in some freak act of adrenaline or, and I honestly hope not, maybe these things are hulk-smashing-strong. I looked down at her bloody torso. I didn't save her. And that fucking glassy look of her eyes… I wanted to vomit.

The tugging on my arm suddenly stopped and I spun around to see Sam pinned down by a zombie. I guess after seeing that girl being torn apart I was pretty pissed. I was vaguely aware of my actions as I lunged forward, knocking the zombie off her. I pulled myself up and kicking the monster that lay crawling at my feet. You know, just for good measure. Can't be too careful with this whole Armageddon thing happening. I grabbed Sam and again we started running. But, this time we made it out of the school.

We stopped at the gate, desperately gasping for air and looking in the direction of Sam's car. The street was crazed and everyone was running around in an erratic frenzy. "Come on!" Sam managed in between breaths.

Luckily, if the word still applies now, we didn't have too much trouble reaching her beat up Corolla. There were zombies everywhere, but there was also a large crowd of people littering the street. We reached the car unscathed. Well, I mean it was only parked about 10 meters away, but it was still a heroic effort.

Sam thumbed the keys in the lock and we both dove in the car. "Fuck!" We both screamed as a zombie slapped itself against my window. "Christ Sam, drive!" I failed my arms trying to ignore the semi-decapitated ghoul. As soon as the car roared to life Sam slammed her foot on the accelerator and we sped off. "Where the hell do we go now?"

Good question. Too bad we didn't have an answer. Just drive around and hope we find a super awsome zombie-proof hide out?

You bet your ass. We drove further into the country. Less people, less zombies, right? Right. It wasn't hard to make it out of our town although we did choose to take the farm roads. The chance of a pile up on the highway was far too likely, so we thought this our safest option. Yeah right, I told you luck didn't exist anymore.

There farm roads were eerily empty, already embodying a post-apocalypse setting. It looked as if most people chose to take the main roads. Point one for us. I could see a blue truck heading our way, but I wasn't really paying attention.

"I said, WHERE DOES THIS ROAD TAKE US?" Sam yelled, as a permanent state of tension manifested in the Corolla. What? We were having a stressful day.

My knuckles clenched as I gripped the map tighter. "I don't know Sam-an-tha. Maybe if you owned a map without coffee stains I would be able to answer you!" I retaliated as my knuckles slowly turned a pale white colour.

There was a momentary silence as we both cooled down. "We should get some food and supplies or something," Sam suggested. But, the thought of leaving the safety of the car seemed daunting and unlikely. I was already sporting white knuckles because of a coffee stain. Put me outside and I'm quite certain I will lose control of my motor functions.

However, we didn't have much of an option when the blue truck swerved into us. Freakin' peachy. The impact of our vehicles colliding sent me forward in my seat, triggering the airbags to eject for both Sam and I. Then… darkness.

Sunlight was flickering over face. My eyes were closed, but I was distinctly aware of the warm orange shapes dancing underneath my eyelids. I wearily opened my eyes and pushed the airbag out of my face with an annoyed effort. I could hear Sam moving. Thank God. I resailed we hadn't been unconscious for very long as I slowly stepped out of the totalled car. I didn't like being out in the open like this. I felt so unprotected.

"CJ?" Sam mumbled and I imminently went over to help her up. I quickly glanced at the truck as I pulled up Sam. The driver's seat was empty. Oh, balls.

We both stood in the middle of the road and I noticed that we were at a crossroads. So forcefully repressing every Robert Johnson song I've ever heard. Nope, no hell hounds today thank you. However, the two adjoining roads curved around the forest-like terrain so we had no sight of what was around the corner. I was again forced to repress thoughts of a zombie army marching out.

My ears were ringing and my lip was bleeding. Oh, dammit and my neck was killing me. Sam also looked pretty beat up as we both held ourselves up, slightly swaying with the effort. The sudden sound of footsteps caused us both to scream. We quickly spun around, which probably wasn't the best idea, as we both nearly passed out from dizziness.

Despite my blurry vision, I could still clearly see that the footsteps belonged to the hellish zombie driver of the blue truck. He decided to stumble closer. This totally sucked, by the way. Because we couldn't do anything to defend ourselves, we were helpless. Our legs were shaking and our heads were pounding. He shambled even closer forcing us to trip in our attempt to move backwards. He bent over us and stared down our frightened eyes. I about to fall out of consciousness, both from fear and the possible head injury I had obtained from the crash. But, first he revealed his blood stained teeth and pulled his lips into a savage leer. Yeah, I think I'll just go ahead and pass out now.


My whole body tensed. What the fuck was that?

The ringing in my ears reached a higher frequency just as the zombie fell limp on the ground at our feet. Blood began spurting and oozing from a gunshot wound to his head. The best I could do was slightly turn my body as the sound of a motorbike echoed in my head. Who the fuck has a gun in Australia?

Sam was already standing as the motorbike pulled up to greet us. It was a guy. He pulled of his helmet, stood up his bike and walked over. "Thanks," Sam managed in a strained and hoarse voice.

He didn't say anything. He simply stepped over and bent down to inspect the zombie. Okay, rude. But I was distracted by the sudden sound of car engines. A black four wheel drive and a campervan came to a stop behind the motorbike. Three men emerged.

"Did you get it?" The eldest man called casually. That's a little weird right? He yawned and scratched his stubbled chin as he waited for a reply from motorbike boy.

Motorbike boy stood up and nodded briefly before finally diverting his gaze to Sam and I. But to my disappointment, he didn't say anything. He just moseyed back over to his bike. I gave his back an incredulous look. He just shot someone in the head and didn't seem even remotely affected. He expressed no traces of remorse or sympathy. Yeah, I mean the thing was a zombie. And yeah, he saved our lives and all. But wouldn't you feel something after killing another human being? I mean isn't that what makes us as people different to those… monsters?

Well whatever, I'm still fucked up from the car crash. Maybe indifference is the way to go. After all, this is the apocalypse. Fucking pale horse riding around sicking his zombie hoard on us, right? Right.

After a moment of awkwardness, one of the other guys rushed over, "Are you girls okay?" At least this guy seemed genuinely concerned about our well being.

"Uh, yeah," I shrugged as he lifted me to my feet. "Thanks."

This was… weird. The stranger shot me a toothy grin as he roughly pulled back his long orange hair. Actually, he was quite attractive. I mean, his rampant shoulder length hair, clear complexion and comely green eyes completely forced me to double take. Sure the world just ended, but hey, I can already see an upside.

Sam smiled at him as the elder man and another guy walked up.

"Do you have any injuries?" The eldest man spoke with a smooth voice. He was of a stronger build than his travellers and his wild dark hair was strikingly similar to one of them.

I looked at Sam and shrugged, "Just sore from the accident."

"So you don't have any bites?" The other guy questioned firmly.

Were they serious?

"No…" we both began. This was insane. "Are you saying these things are like… are actually… zombies?" My breath caught as I felt my whole body tense.

They nodded.

Oh my god.

I mean, I thought they might be something like that. But, I didn't think they'd be the serious, 'get a bite and turn' zombies. Something like the Jack-Nicholson-Shining-crazy-cannibal-zombieish things seemed more probable. But full on Romero? Christ, why did I even wake up this morning, I should have just drowned myself in my cereal bowl.

"Lets go." motorbike boy called as he sat on his bike, displaying a blatantly bored expression. Okay, something is definitely wrong with him.

"Uhh," the ginger guy drawled. "Dad, we can't just leave them here. They don't even have a car." He looked back at the tolled Corolla and furrowed his eye brows.

Oh, well then, they must be a family. I saw Sam nod, obviously reaching the same conclusion.

The father contemplated for a moment, probably going over the pros and cons of two extra people on his convoy. After a moment he cleared his throat, "Alright. Do either of you girls know how to shoot?"

Our eyes bulged. I'd never even touched a gun. Fuck we don't even have gun stores! Aren't they illegal or something? Where do you even buy guns from?

He held up his hands and chuckled, "Don't worry I was kidding. We wouldn't leave you out here with no protection. You're welcome to come with us." Huh, he seemed like a pretty chill dad.

We both nodded in acceptance of the offer, even though we had no idea where the family were heading. "Then you're in. I'm John." He held out his hand and we both shook it.


"CJ," I smiled. Which I thought was completely ridiculous. Seriously, smiling while everyone I knew was dying? This whole little friendly introduction thing seemed ludicrous while the world was currently ending. Maybe I was in shock or something because the whole 'apocalypse now' thing just hasn't hit me yet.

John nodded, "And these are my three kids, Tom," he gestured to the nice guy who helped me up as he gave us both another goofy smile.

"Philip," the oldest brother, standing next to him with a stern decorum nodded. It was kind of surprising how attractive John's children were. Philip had curly blonde hair and a gorgeous tanned face. I mean, I'm not complaining! This is definitely improving my day.

"and Jake," John finished. Jake, or motorbike boy, didn't even look at us. He annoyed me. Like, yes, he was obviously dashing. His dark hair draped loosely over his forehead, his skin tone was slightly darker than Philip's and his scrutinising blue eyes were entranced by a grey cloud floating above our party. But, he still annoyed me.

Huh. Okay. Aryctgvubhdsomf;l.

Nope, still hasn't hit me. I'm still just chilling here with Sammy and the freaking Winchester family, having a good ol' chat about daffodils and teddy bears. I'm feeling pretty dandy, while my family are probably dead. My friends are also most likely dead. Shit, the whole world could be dead! I should be in hysterics. Like, 'on the floor rocking back and forth' hysterics. Like, 'holy crap I have arachnophobia and a spider just landed on me' hysterics. Like, 'fuck me, it's a zombie apocalypse' hysterics. Oh, wait a second…

"Its dangerous standing out here," Philip noted. He seemed very serious and attentive. I guess because he is the eldest and has to look out for his younger brothers. I suddenly got this horrible sinking feeling. Where was my little brother?

"Yeah okay," Tom nodded. "Oh, Sam and CJ, you guys can ride in the campervan with me and dad." He smiled at us enthusiastically. But, we must have looked unconvinced, "Come on, there's a TV in there!"

Eh, we shrugged. Maybe luck did still hold some meaning.