NaNo Novel

Hangs head sadly.

Yes, guys, I shamefully admit. Scroll down a little, and you will find that for this year's NaNoWriMo, I chose to write a Zombie Apocalypse story. I know, it's not an original idea, and it seems crude and a little barbaric...but what can I say? I've been addicted to The Walking Dead for a few months now...and I just couldn't resist. Obviously, I'm still looking for a title for the story. I'd really appreciate ant ideas you might have.

Thanks. :)
~Ripple

Chapter 1

by: _Ripple_
In truth, it was an ugly house. The exposed bricks were a violent shade of red, and the roof’s dull grey clashed against them horribly. The single tree that stood in the corner of an overgrown garden had succumbed to some strange, disfiguring disease many years ago. Its trunk was now little more than a black, gnarled lump, its branches reaching long and tall into the sky, as though searching for the rain that had not fallen in time to save it. The windows were small, and allowed no view of the house’s innards, thanks to the layers of dust that had been gathering unchecked for years. Even if they had provided some kind of view, anyone trying to see in would be faced with nothing but rooms full of dusty grey carpets, whose previous colour was a mystery, and stacks of card-board boxes that seem to positively gleam in contrast with the state of the rest of the house.

None of this mattered, though, in Sam’s opinion. As far as he was concerned, the house was perfect. Although it might not have been technically his, it was only rented, after all, it was still a huge step up from the cramped apartment he had lived in before. Here, finally, he would be away from neighbours that seemed never to sleep, that blasted music and shouted themselves hoarse long into the night, that constantly carried a stench of smoke, drugs and alcohol, the neighbours that he had thought he would never be able to escape from.

Of course, a normal person would have embraced those same people that Sam had shied away from as friends. His family, he knew, would have preferred if he had stayed in the apartment. They saw it as a chance for him to socialise, to meet new people. He had hated disappointing them, but he had no other choice. He wasn’t the son his parents had wanted. He had never been confident, social or popular. As much as he had hated it, year after year he had fallen into place at school as the quiet, shy kid that nobody noticed, and nobody really cared about. Looking back, he felt that he almost could have been content with his place if it hadn’t been for his parents, constantly pestering and nagging, asking him why he didn’t bring more friends home or why he hadn’t had a girlfriend yet. He wished he could make them realise that he wanted to have friends just as much as they wanted him to, but friends weren’t easy to come by, especially not to people like him.

None of that mattered now, though. His school years were longs gone, and with them most of the expectations that his parents had had for him. The house represented many of the things that he had always wanted: independence, solitude, and a new start. Finally he would be living somewhere away from the constant judgement that his family and peers had provided. Finally, he could act without fear of ridicule and failure. He knew it couldn’t be so, but the optimistic side of him, that was usually so squashed and suffocated by walls of doubt and fear, was telling him that maybe from hereon in, life could be easy.

Sam was dragged out of his thoughts, and a sharp sense of practicality returned to him as he stepped through the front door. The smell of dust was overwhelming, and he stepped back into the sunlight, already fighting off a sneeze. He blinked, and hovered in the doorway for a moment, uncertain and reluctant, before he stepped inside once more. This time, he was more prepared for the smell, but the dust still made his eyes itch, and so he skittered through room after room as quickly as possible, throwing open each window or opening that he came across in the hopes of exorcising the stale feel of the house.

It took him little more than half a minute. The house was tiny, after all. There was barely enough space for one person to live in. And then there was another drawback- the house’s electricity and water supply had been cut off for a few years now. Doubtless, there would be complications when they were turned back on. No, there was nothing at all that was ideal about the house, but it was all he had been able to afford with his salary, and it was enough.

Sam decided it would be at least another couple of hours before the dust had cleared enough for it to safe to unpack his things. He wandered idly into the lounge, and sat cross-legged on the floor, gazing at the room. This was the largest room in the house, since two thirds of the way across the floor the carpet stopped abruptly and the room merged into a kitchen. Whatever had once covered the walls, whether it had been wallpaper or paint, had long since been stripped away, leaving a flat plane of white. Without furniture, the house seemed eerily still and quiet. He listened carefully, reaching out with his senses to find any sign of sound, of movement, of life, but there was nothing. A strange, hollow feeling formed in his chest, spreading outwards through his body, making him uncomfortable. It took him some time to place the feeling, as it was one he was distinctly unused to. When he did put a name to it, it didn’t make him feel any better.

Loneliness. He, who had always cherished the few hours of solitude that he could scrape together, was lonely.

Desperate for a way to counter the unfamiliar feeling, he searched through his bag for something to occupy himself with. The first thing he had come across was a copy of the day’s newspaper, so he dragged it out and did his best to flatten out the creases that had already formed. The main article bore the vulgar title:

‘The Dead That Won’t Stay Dead’

Despite his immediate feeling of annoyance at the lack of sensitivity of the writer’s part, he couldn’t help but read the beginning of the article.

“In the past 24 hours, twelve locals have been admitted into hospital in a comatose state after being attacked in the streets by what several eyewitnesses have labelled ‘zombies’. At varying times after admission, each of the patients suffered complete brain death for several minutes, before awakening in a violent state. The patients are reported to have attacked doctors on the scene, leaving several injured. They proved immune to anesthesia, and were eventually detained by force…”

The article went on to describe in detail the complete bewilderment of doctors as they tried in vain to explain the incidents, and then quoted several interviews in which religious figures had labelled the events ‘the beginning of the end’, claiming that God was finally passing judgement over mankind. Sam finished the article, and threw the paper down, feeling sick. Phrases from the article clawed their way to the front of his mind, words about brain death and God’s mercy and autopsies that didn’t make sense…
He wondered about the victim’s families. There had been no mention of them in the report. How on earth did they react to something like this? He tried to imagine how his parents would feel if he had been one of those patients- but stopped. For some reason, thinking about his family made him uncomfortable. Sam shook his head, as though the thoughts were clinging to the outside of his scalp, and he was trying to shake them off. Sighing, he decided it was a good time to unpack.

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