by Brian John Mitchell

Itís like Iím a leader or something. I donít want to be. I guess itís just what happens when you act responsible. I donít think thatís fair because I think everyone should always be responsible & take the consequences of whatever. Thereís some kind of a new thing going on, I guess itís a disease, where people are suffering from sudden total body paralysis. They look like mannequins. Not that you see them very long before the zombies get them. I donít know if they turn into zombies then or not. I donít know if the paralysis outlasts death or not. It doesnít really matter. It doesnít effect my life directly right now & I donít care anyway, existence is plenty.
I need to go out & get some stuff for me & the rest of the group. I heard a rumor about a semi-unlooted K-Mart thatís only current entrance is the roof which should equal no zombies inside. So I leave our little garage home (I have a theory that the zombies have never tried to break in because they canít smell us over the gas fumes from back when this was a business or maybe theyíre actually afraid of the smell of gas because so many of them have been lit on fire with it) & walk to the K-Mart.  I get there & there arenít even any zombies around & I go to the back & climb the ladder up & bang Iím inside. The place really is in good shape. In fact itís cleaner & nicer than I ever remember K-mart being & it even has carpeting in parts of it.  I see this guy standing & I think heís a mannequin for a moment before I realize heís paralyzed. Itís really creepy. I donít understand what possible reason there would be for it, but his left hand is cupped & filled with oatmeal & underneath it on the floor is where a little has drooled off to. Now that I look around, there are probably twenty or thirty frozen people in the store & nine or ten shoppers like me. Some of them are actually using carts even though thereís no possible way they could get that much stuff back home in one trip.  I fill my back pack with the canned food & high processed snacks (they never go bad) that I can find & stuff some pens & notepads in my pockets. Iím looking around randomly for anything else we absolutely need & there it is on a rack. Theyíre neon green overalls that are made out of this thick stuff like a quilt with batting & it has this heart at the top of it thatís purple with a blue floral print & I know Amy would love it & I want to get it for her, but I donít know her size & would be embarrassed to get her one that doesnít fit. So I just leave them there, the whole rack of them & I go to sporting goods for guns.  All the guns & bullets are gone of course. I shouldíve gotten one before the zombies when they were nice & cheap so that Iíd be ready when something like this happens instead of walking around with a pry bar & a tack hammer hoping not to run into more than one or two at a time. I guess Iím lucky Iím still alive. Itís just what happens when you act responsibly & donít take unnecessary risks.  Thereís this oriental woman I see on the way out & sheís dressed pretty distastefully, but in very expensive clothes which means she still somehow earns a living instead of scaving. Sheís probably in her forties, but she looks like sheís sixty. "Do you have any guns?"  "Yes, yes, guns." It seems so peculiar to me that someone doesnít speak english well because I havenít talked to anyone who didnít in so long & it makes things feel like some comedy clip.  "Where are they?"  "Outside. I meet you outside around back later." She walks off.  I donít have time for this. I need to get back home. & Iím paranoid that if I had a gun someone would kill me for it.  I go up on the roof & there are pretty many zombies in the parking lot & even the back area & there are a couple of other people trying to figure out whatís going on. Thereís this construction conveyer belt contraption that leads off the roof & is lined up with more like it & I know there is no way the zombies made it, so I get on it to take me wherever they go & a couple of others get behind me. The girl directly behind me is pretty & for a second I think I could fall in love with her. She has these two notebooks & she has them sitting by her feet for the ride & when the gap comes between two machines they fall down. Sheís about to jump after them when I grab her by the arm & say, "We can try to come back for them later."  She knocks my hand away & says, "No, I canít." She jumps down the fifteen feet & the zombies have formed a sea around her before sheís even hit the ground. I know theyíre eating her alive, but sheís not even screaming or anything. Then I realize this is it & this is my chance to get out of the situation when the zombies are focusing on her & I run down the conveyors until I finally get to the one that leads to the ground & I donít stop running until I get home.