Burn baby burn, by Carl Cart

John was a hard core survivalist, and he had been prepping for the apocalypse for a long time, way before prepping had became popular. His basement was fully stocked for whatever shit finally came down. He had food and water for three months, medical supplies, and enough guns and ammunition to start his own small war. He even had a fully stocked bar and a battery powered ham radio. He was a survivor, and he was ready for anything.

The one small flaw in John’s plan was that he still had to go to work. Every week day he got up at six, showered and shaved, ate a sensible breakfast, and drove the twenty miles to work. He was off before five and on his way home before rush hour. Every day Monday through Friday, and that’s where he fucked up.

The end came without much warning; just a few random news reports about some unspecified illness in the bigger cities. The government kept a tight lid on what was really happening in an effort to limit the ensuing panic, and the shit spread quickly. When John left for work in the morning everything was normal, just another work day. While John did his daily grind, the sickness passed over his hometown like a funeral shroud drawn over a corpse. By the time his employer sent everyone home early, it was too late.

Still John didn’t panic. He drove through the chaos of the city’s death throes, swerving around the bodies in the streets and the snarled wrecks. He had preplanned an emergency route, sticking to the back roads and alleys, and he finally made it home. John paused as he stepped out of his truck to look around. The sounds of sirens and distant gunfire filled the air. A woman’s scream sounded, shrill and hysterical and very nearby. John had heard enough, he was going inside. Before he got two steps towards his front door a shotgun blast hit him in the lower back, spinning him around to a violent face-plant on the pavement. He heard someone approaching, and the racking of the shotgun’s pump. The spent shell landed beside him, and he could smell the acrid burnt smell of gunpowder. John waited for the killing shot; but his unseen assailant only reached down to steal his wallet and smart phone, and then walked away without speaking a word.

John lay in the slowly spreading pool of his own blood and waited to die. He seriously doubted anyone was coming to help him. The gunshot had paralyzed him from the waist down, and it hurt like hell to move at all. John could barely even move his arms, and each breath was an agony. He laughed grimly: he was only a few yards from the safety of his basement refuge, and he would die like a dog on the street.

John waited to die, but for some strange reason he didn’t. The bleeding stopped. John felt weak and dizzy, and he was amazingly thirsty. No one came out to help him. Maybe his neighbors were hiding, maybe they were dead, but they weren’t coming outside.

Eventually a car turned onto his street and came to a stop a half a block away. A man got out and stumbled a few feet towards him; then he collapsed onto the pavement. John called out weakly to him for help, but the man didn’t get back up. John began to black out, and he lost all track of time. At some point the man disappeared. John awoke to find that he was gone. The sun began to set, and John waited painfully for the release of death.

The night passed slowly, and the air was full of the sounds of the disintegrating city, and the violent ends of its dying citizens. Eventually the sirens stopped, then the screams, and finally the gunfire. The sun rose over his dead hometown, and still John clung feebly to life. He lay in a sticky pool of his own drying blood and excrement, and watched the light illuminate the now quiet street through blood-shot eyes.

A sound caught his attention, and he painfully turned his head to look for its source. A wounded man in blood stained clothes was limping towards him. John weakly groaned for help, and the man groaned back. To John’s relief the man shuffled towards him. He slowly approached, and stiffly knelt down beside John’s paralyzed legs. The man lifted John’s calf, and took a bloody bite , tearing through John’s pants and the flesh beneath with his broken teeth. John would have screamed, but he could only feel a slight tug. The man ripped at the pants leg, and then really got serious about eating John’s leg.

John freaked, but he couldn’t do much. There was nowhere to go. John slowly pulled himself towards his truck, the driver’s door was still open. He excruciatingly reached out to grab the frame, and painfully pulled himself to the truck. His friend shifted to follow him, still tearing bloody chunks from John’s upper thigh. The exertion drained John’s strength, and he blacked out again.

John awoke to find there were now two assholes eating his legs. He assumed he was hallucinating until another man shuffled up the street and joined the buffet. In an adrenaline fueled panic John pulled himself halfway under the truck, but he couldn’t escape his devours. A horribly disfigured woman arrived for breakfast, and then a crippled, bloody kid. John’s screams had no effect, and the people eating him didn’t seem to be in much better shape than John was. They all had horrible wounds, and were soaked with blackened blood. Slowly John had to accept the fact that the cannibals devouring his lower extremities were zombies, and they weren’t going to stop with his legs. The kid got his nasty little fingers into John’s abdomen and ripped open his stomach. Pain began to filter back into John’s brain as the little bastard began to pull out his lower intestine.

Eventually the zombies had stripped John’s legs to the bone, and they began to try to wrestle the rest of him out from under the truck. John grimly hung onto the frame, locking one arm around the muffler. He watched in absolute horror as the zombies disemboweled him, dragging bloody loops of his organs and flesh into their blackened teeth. As they zombies moved north he could feel more and more of it. He looked around in absolute hopelessness.

With his loose hand he searched his pockets. He only had some change, his keys and a pack of cigarettes. The zombies tugged at him, ripping off a gnawed thigh bone. He almost came loose, but grimly hung on. He didn’t want to die this way. In desperation John yanked at the truck’s fuel line. He released the muffler pipe and locked both hands on the fuel line. The zombies pulled again and again. The line held for a moment, and then it ripped loose. Cold gasoline flooded over him and pooled across the pavement as the zombies pulled him out into the street.

As the ghouls began to eat what was left of him John frantically searched his pockets until he found his matches. Through a haze of pain and dripping blood, John opened the match cover. There were only three matches left. He struck the first one. It wouldn’t light. The zombies knocked the second one away, biting into his bicep. John laughed grimly as he struck the last match. It flared to life. John would take the fuckers with him.

The zombie eating his face leaned in and blew out the match.

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Written by Daniella Vega

Spends her time preparing for the end, with no end in sight.