Pushing Up Gravestones – Chapter 2

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From the moment she stepped out of the house, panic sunk deeply into Denise’s heart. Blood pressure, anxiety; everything was at a high level, including the number of zombies.

A zombie apocalypse no one could imagine was happening right before her eyes. The wind was also at a high speed too, as if it must’ve gotten scared of the creatures as well and fled in terror.

Was it possible for a dead person to be alive? Was it possible for a person to be the contrary of themselves?

This idea was just a rumor until it was real. Now it could be seen by the naked eye, by Denise’s naked eye, and the other survivors, and perhaps even those that turned.

She went out to follow the crowd. Standing there wasn’t going to do any good, and she knew it. She just needed to find the hospital and her mother would solve everything. She would know what to do; she’s best at these cases.

Denise ran and turned left and right but everyone was everywhere.

“Where do I go?” She kept mumbling the words in her breath.

She desperately looked around, trying to get a sense of her bearings. Suddenly, she felt a strong grip on her arm. She turned her head to her left arm and saw it was a zombie.

“Get off of me! Get, off!!” It didn’t stop, as it was too dead to understand.

Denise pulled extremely hard to get it off but this zombie clawed at her relentlessly.

Denise yelled and yelled, and maybe cried a little bit, but everyone yelled too. Her eyes blinked down a tear rolling on her cheeks when she saw the zombie’s mouth and her arm get close, she closed her eyes tight letting go of her defenses and waiting for the bite.

However, at that moment the feeling of the tight grip disappeared. She opened her eyes and saw the zombie’s head fly to the side from the strike of a frying pan. The zombie collapsed to the ground, the frying pan was covered with splattered blood. It was held by a large man, who was panting hard.

“Are you okay?” Denise heard a mature man’s voice.

She looked the man up and down. He was rather young and handsome.

“I g-guess so.” I stammered.

The stranger looked around for a bit and commanded Denise to follow him. Denise had no choice, so she held his hand and he vigorously pulled them both through the large crowd of dying people.

As the stranger pulled her through the crowds, many of the people around her randomly dispersed, running in any direction they could to avoid the hordes of the dead.

“Wait, wait! There’s a person over there that needs our help!” Denise tried to tell the stranger but he didn’t listen. Seeming almost emotionless, he dragged Denise on and on and out of the crowd, and into an alley.

The man’s hand loosened just a bit and Denise immediately pulled free of his grasp

“What are you doing? Don’t you see?” She yelled, “There are people out there that need our help!”

He grabbed her hand roughly again, moving forward and not replying to her question.

“They should hang the sign beware of zombies,” He mumbled to himself out loud.

He opened a door which led them out of the alley, and into a wider street. Zombies were spread out, all of them focused on their food. It seemed like this city has already undergone the phase, as Denise likes to call it, ‘The Beginning of the Worship of the Zombies’.

He put his index finger on his lips which were a sign to Denise which gave her the message to stay as quiet as possible. Denise followed him as they sat behind a billboard that conveniently had fallen down beside the exit of the alley. At this point, it wasn’t worth asking what was happening or why. They simply had to hide from the zombies that seemed to be everywhere, and survive.

“Now, little girl-“

“I am not a little girl! You-“ Denise shut up realizing she incidentally interrupted his whisper far louder than she should have.

“Fine, whatever name that doesn’t make you shout like that, we are going to try to get to that campsite over there. That’s where supposedly my friends are, and hopefully where food is. They should have barricaded it. Zombies aren’t there I suppose, and if there are, we’ll be fighting them and bunkering down with a supply of weapons,” He told his plan to Denise, “So, any questions?”

“Yeah,” Denise replied, “Why are you protecting me?”

“I guess none,” He ignored her question and moved on, “Anyway, we’re gonna go on only one rule, do what I say. I may seem somewhat non-trustworthy but I know a lot of tactics about these things.”

Denise simply nodded and so the survival mode started. She did debate in her mind whether she should trust this stranger or not, as the saying goes, ‘never accept candy from a stranger’. But in this world now, the word ‘stranger’ should be changed to a zombie.

“Move up,” The guy commanded.

Denise moved to the left side of a truck, blocking her view from the majority of the zombies in the immediate area. Denise gagged a little seeing the amount of blood on the truck’s tires and the two bodies within, but she stayed quiet for her own survival.

“So do we-“

“Shush, wait. A zombie’s there.” He interrupted her question. He held his fry-pan like a sword. It looked really funny causing Denise to let out a snort before she could stifle it.

“Sorry,” Denise became serious again.

Beside the truck, there was a staircase to a door. The door was open and the guy could see the zombies roaming around, meanwhile, Denise kept looking at the guy for further instructions.

“I’m going. Stay here and, try to be quiet?” Denise took it as an insult but she still stayed quiet.

Denise saw him walking quietly, working towards the door, hitting a zombie with the frying pan in the process.

“Cleared,” He called out, which encouraged Denise to go up the staircase and follow him.

“God… what happened?” asked Denise.

It was a fire station, although the floors were carpeted with blood and entrails, and all of the vehicles were dispatched and missing. This gave the building and ominous, vacant feel.

“Let’s go from here to the roof.”

“How?” Denise asked. She didn’t see any ladders or stairs, so she was curious how he expected to make it to the roof.

“By the pole over there,” He pointed at the pole that stuck up from the ground, allegedly leading up to the roof.

“And how do you expect me to climb that slippery stick?” She asked and once again the guy ignored her question and started climbing the pole.

Denise had no choice but to try to climb up. She miraculously did so, trailing behind the stranger. When they reached the top of the pole. She found herself on the third story of the firehouse. He quickly moved to a window and opened it.

“This will have to do. Now, we have to jump.”

“What?” Denise was shocked.

Jump? Off the roof? It was worse than dying from those zombies- sorry, it’s still better but dying couldn’t be an option. Thinking this, Denise remembered that her goal isn’t to go to some stupid campsite but to go to the hospital and find her mother.

“Look, I really I have to go because-“

“Just jump.” He commanded.

Poor Denise didn’t have the courage to do so, she thought she’d die. If she did somehow manage to survive, the whole world would’ve known that there is no law of physics anymore!

“But…“ before she could say no, the stranger pushed her out the window into some trees and then jumped himself.

Denise opened her eyes after that painful push and saw that she landed on a cushion, torn and ripped, but still, it was able to protect her from the fall. Next, to her, she saw the stranger sitting on a chair, staring at her.

“What’s your name?” He asked Denise.

“Denise. Yours?”

“Mine is Hugh,” Hugh replied.

Denise was relieved; she didn’t have to call him ‘guy’ or stranger anymore!

“Is there any food?”

“None. I guess first come first serve. Looks like my friends didn’t stay as long as I had hoped. Plus, we only have the beds. Good enough for surviving, right?” As he spoke Denise remember a triggered thought before the push.

“Look,” Denise got up, brushing off the dust on her clothes, “I have to go to find my parents so that they can help me. They work at the hospital, they may know more about what’s going on. I can trust them; I can’t stay here. I mean, I don’t even know you and you’re helping me and it’s all just, confusing.”

“Well then, let me come with you.” He got up and walked to Denise.

“Why?” She asked.

Instead of replying, Hugh again ignored her and moved on. “We have to go through that alley, and you’ll reach the hospital just fine.”

Denise nodded and they both went on to the alley and saw a huge crowd of people moving by. Without saying a thing, he grabbed her hand tightly and forward into the crowd. While passing through the crowd once again he realized most of them were zombies, eating the last humans they could find. Fortunately, Hugh and Denise escaped with some fry-pan hitting and running. They reached the open streets and Denise could see the hospital down the street a short distance.

“There it is!” Denise pointed.

Hugh had already known this but acted like he had just gotten the information. They continued on walking on the empty street until Hugh turned his head back.

“Z for zombies,” he responded, pointing at a graffiti marker on the door of one of the buildings.

She looked back and saw a whole crowd of slow, dead people, marching towards her and Hugh. Hugh marched towards the zombies to kill them with the stupid fry-pan, but she stopped him. She knew it was impossible.

She begged him to run and so they both did, but a faster zombie came from the crowd, running up to Hugh and biting his neck. This happened so fast the zombie took a second bite before he even tried to raise his fry-pan to hit him. Hugh eventually defended himself from the zombie with his impressive fighting skills and knocked it down.

“Hugh! Are you okay?” Denise kneeled down to him, seeing his fatal wounds.

“I’m infected which means I’ll turn soon. Don’t wait. Go, I never mattered anyway.”

“But-“

“You don’t know me, just find your family. It’s fine. You just… just reminded me of my daughter. Thought if I protected you, I could make up for failing her. I guess…I guess I’ll be joining her soon.”

Denise gave him one more look as he moved to bar himself between the zombies and Denise.

“Go!” Hugh cried, racing at the zombies.

She went off running, as she couldn’t save him anymore. She ran from the growls, the screams, and the cries as he knocked down one zombie after another with his ridiculous frying pan, holding his neck with his spare hand.

A mysterious guy named Hugh who was a stranger saved Denise all the way and brought her to the hospital safely. She stood in front of the large hospital, hoping that her parents would be able to fix everything.

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