Dark Light

I look at myself: Afro-American, male, 30-something, no ID, no phone, just a flashlight and a battery to be combined together. I’m lost in a land far away from home, without knowing who I am. Nobody tells me where to go, or what to do. I’m absolutely, undoubtedly, terrifyingly alone. Nothing is to be heard – there’s only silence. Dead silence.

It starts raining on me. I start getting wet. I rush inlands, to a small village. I find nothing but empty houses. Whatever passed through, it left no survivors. I start coughing. My clothes are soaked, and I start getting sick. I find no clothes to put on, just some rotten cucumbers. I eat them anyway, because the hunger starts kicking in. I can’t stay here for long – it doesn’t look like anybody is coming to rescue me, anyways. Where could I go? Maybe there are cities nearby. Maybe there are survivors. Maybe, just maybe, they have some answers to what happened to me. To what happened to the world. I need to get moving.

I go hiking into the woods. I traverse the mountain, alone: only my breath cuts the silence. I see a little lake and a harbor in the distance, and start running towards them. I’m hungry and thirsty, and the coughing is intensifying every minute. When I reach the harbor, I notice a small industrial unit with its gates open. I take refugee inside, away from the everlasting rain. I find some useful things: a screwdriver, a backpack, some ropes, some sticks – and a hat, a haunting hat. It looks phoney, but I have no choice. I hear something: someone’s nearby. I crouch and slowly walk out through the back door. I see two men fighting each other with knifes. One of them dies, and the other scavenges its corpse. I barely hold back vomit, and rush over to a house. What the hell is happening here? Why is everybody either disappeared or a fucking maniac? I have no clue.

I open the main gates and hide inside. I look through the windows, holding my breath: the murderer comes right at me, and then turns towards the mountains. I am safe, for now. I search the house, and find a rusty saw. It could come in handy, if I were to meet another murderous fellow. I also find some beans to calm my hunger and a canteen quench my thirst. But it’s not enough, so I dare to drink from the lake, now that I know that I’m alone. I get near the water, and try to drink from the surface – but I fall. I swim towards a little staircase, on the other side of the lake, and start hearing steps. I run into the forest.

Next thing I know, I’m inside a little cabin. There’s a map, but I can’t tell where I am. Next to a road, I find a sign, but I can’t decipher the name of the place, since it’s written in cyrillic. Nearby, there’s a railway. I follow it into a little village, and, thankfully, I find some food and water. I’m not hungry or thirsty anymore, but I’m getting ill, and I have no medicines. I pick up some rags and spare clothes. I tear a page from a book – I could take notes, but I’d need a pen. I start to feel more confident: I’m alone, but I’m moving. I walk to a hill, and notice a distant barn. It starts raining again, so I run upwards. Inside, I find some more food, a better backpack, and a pair of pristine boots. I climb a staircase into the upper floor. I get too confident, and start running up there – and fall. I scream in pain. My leg is broken, and I start bleeding. I lie on the floor and almost lose conscience.

I can’t die here: I manage to heal the bleed with some rags, and put my leg into a splint made of sticks. I’m very sick, and walking is getting harder every minute. The broken leg doesn’t help. I need to find answers. I walk – I couldn’t say for how much, but I find a larger village. The largest I’ve encountered so far. Still, there are no survivors. Or… are they? I see a figure on the middle of the street. I start walking towards it – and it nearly notices me. I feel something’s wrong, and hide behind a nearby house. Whatever it is, it’s not human anymore. It walks slowly. It growls. And it stinks – I can smell it from where I’m hiding. It smells rotten. It smells trouble. I ought to remember not to deal with its kind.

I get into the house. I manage to build a fire-kit, but I don’t know how to light it. I find a coat, some more books, food, another canteen, and a huge trident. I’m ready, now, to fight whatever gets in my way. I’m determined to find out what happened – to me, to everything. I go out and run towards a little cabinet, in which I find, at last, some medicines. I sigh in relief: everything seems to start falling into place. I’m prepared for this world. Yet, I don’t notice the creature behind me. I don’t smell its putrid breath. I don’t hear its rabid murmur. I turn, only a second too late: and it hits me like a roller-coaster. I can’t even hold my trident up. It hits me. It bites me. I fall to the ground. My bones are breaking, my blood is flowing. I die in the middle of nowhere – lost, in a land away from home, without knowing who I am. I see nothing but the zombie. I finally lose conscience, and close my eyes.

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