Hi all, I'm back after a long hiatus with a new story.

Disclaimer: This story is rated M for a reason. There is graphic gore, violence, language and possibly sex (I haven't decided yet). Also this story is a work of fiction. Any persons, places or event mentioned are fabrications of the author's imagination. This story does not reflect the religious views of the author. -

Chapter 1

Most stories start with a birth. My story starts with my death. I died in a similar fashion that most people are dying these days. I was killed by zombies. I know, it sounds insane, but those nutty end of the world junkies were right. The zombie apocalypse was upon us, though most everyone calls it the Collapse, or at least they did before the human race was essentially wiped out overnight.

Fall Semester of Senior Year, just after finals -

I scrambled through my apartment grabbing anything I could have forgotten to pack. Seeing my phone on the kitchen counter I take it along with my bag and rushed out the door. I looked at my phone and saw I had a voice message from Ian; it had been on silent to conserve its battery. I was shaking so bad I could barely go through the steps of getting it to play. Stupid touch screen.

"Damn it, Amelia, answer!" I heard Ian's voice over the phone's speaker. "Things have gotten worse out here. I'm coming to get you. I'm on my way. We need to get out of the city," he sounded out of breath, but otherwise he sounded as collected as always, if not frustrated. "I couldn't get to my car. I'll be outside your building in ten minutes." Tapping on my phone frantically, I look to see what time he left the message. Seven minutes ago. I raced down the hall to the stairwell.

The city lost power the night before last and people started to panic. More and more were dying, and more and more were coming back. Everyone was evacuating, and I can't say they had the wrong idea.

I hurried down the stairs to the parking garage. It would be easier for us to get out with a car, not to mention less dangerous.

Keys in hand, I rushed toward my car. I pressed the unlock button and my car beeped. Shit! I froze and looked around frantically for any of the dead. I gave a sigh of relief, but didn't linger to savor the moment. I was running the rest of the way to my car when I rounded a pillar and ran into them. There were three or four of them, maybe more. I didn't take the time to count. I spun around to start running again, but they were on me. I didn't have a chance. -

I woke in a gauzy haze. It took a moment to remember the violence that had just occurred. I opened my eyes, but it took a while before I could actually see. After several minutes of rubbing my eyes things started to come into perspective. I was still in the parking garage, judging from the cement ceiling and beams above me. Ian was going to kill me. I thought in terror, how long had I been out? Was I dead now? Had I come back as a zombie? I didn't have much time to contemplate this when a rustling sound interrupted my train of thought.

I sat up and saw something small hunched by the tire of my car. I recoiled quickly; ready to flee, but I saw something familiarly shiny out of the corner of my eye and paused. It was my grandmother's ring. I had taken to wearing it about a year ago after she passed away. That thing had my grandmother's wedding ring! I looked closer and realized it had a whole lot more than that. My ring was still on my finger. It was gnawing on the thumb joint of my right hand. My hand. I looked down to where my hand should be, and saw nothing of the gore I expected. My hand was still attached and my grandmother's ring still sat on the fourth finger. What is going on? I scrambled away from the zombie child and my back hit the cement pillar. I saw for the first time the carnage in front of me.

I don't know how, but I knew the body in front of me was me. I looked at what used to be my face. There was a gaping hole where one of my eyes was missing; the other was closed. There were scratches over my forehead, cheeks and temples. My lower lip and the skin of my jaw had been ripped away, revealing my teeth and jawbone. My skull seemed to be split open and my hair was matted with grayish sludge I was pretty sure used to be my brain that was mixed with all the blood. The rest of me… the rest of me was unrecognizable. Leftover tatters of my shirt were bunched under my arms and around my shoulders. My rib cage was exposed, though some ribs were missing. There wasn't much left of the contents of my chest cavity, what was left I couldn't identify. My entire right arm was missing, as was the lower half of my right leg. It had been broken off at the knee. I shuddered and tore my eyes away, looking down at myself. What I saw next was nearly as disturbing as seeing my mostly eaten body.

The first thing I became aware of was that I was faintly glowing and slightly translucent. The light coming from me was kind of like sunlight coming through a window that reflects off of the dust particles in a room. I also realized the zombie child had paid no attention to me whatsoever.

My observations were interrupted by the sound of many, loud footfalls coming up the ramp of the parking garage. A group of five men, some dressed in uniform came barreling up to my car. Most of them had guns on their backs, but held quieter weapons such as large knives, axes, and the like.

They came upon my carcass, many of them grunted in revulsion, but I had the feeling this was not the first time they had seen something like this. They walked by me, the conscience me, without a glance. They couldn't see me.

"Shit, it's a kid," one of them said, regarding the zombie still snacking on the meat of my hand. There was an obvious feeling of disgust and horror running through the group.

"We knew this was a possibility," one of them said, "They can infect anyone, including kids. Remember the no tolerance policy for these things."

The one who had spoken stepped toward the zombie. It wasn't until then that I realized I knew the child. It was Thanos, the youngest boy in the Greek family down the hall I used to babysit for. With a sigh, he picked the child up by the hair and swung an axe through its fragile neck. As his body dropped to the ground, I saw a sliver of light drifting behind the boy. It seemed to break and disintegrate like old paper. These hunters didn't seem to notice.

Then the realization struck me. That shimmery thing attacked to Thanos glowed the same way I did; it was his spirit or soul or whatever. It shattered; those hunters killed his soul. And worst of all, I was a ghost.

Suddenly I was pulled back to reality. "What about this one, Clarke?" one of them said, gesturing towards my corpse.

"Nah. That one's brains are all over the floor. Looks like they cracked her head open like a coconut," Clarke replied. "Leave it. Let's move out." They moved into an arrow formation and stomped up the ramp of the garage. I heard more noises – apparently more zombie killing. Then they came back down and left.

I was alone. My heart started to pound in my chest and my breathing came hard. I was hyperventilating. Could a ghost hyperventilate? How was I still feeling my heartbeat? These questions weren't helping anything right now. I needed to calm down. But I was dead. I was murdered by those things. The dead that weren't dead. How could this have happened? I was supposed to meet Ian—Ian! Everything in me stopped cold. I had to find him. What if he was still waiting for me outside? What if something had happened to him because of me? I took a deep breath and started down the ramp. I only had one thing running through my mind: Ian.