I had a dream about the zombie apocalypse, 100% based on the exercise app I use when I go running, called Zombies, Run! by Six to Start. Definitely worth it. Check it out if you like audiobooks or audio drama, post-apocalyptic narrative, and vivid, believable characters.
There were so many people it was hard to track them all, but there were aspects of human psychology working in her favor. Humans were hunters, and categorized creatures by how they moved. A cat moves differently than a dog, and a hunting coyote moves differently than a coyote at play. With enough background knowledge, it was easy to identify things at a distance by movement patterns.
And the thing about this virus or whatever it was and the way people moved was that it attacked the nervous system. Their movements became stiff, sluggish, and jerky. So if she just let her eyes slide a little out of focus so she wasn't looking at a specific person, she could see when they turned, even before things like skin tone and voice timbre changed.
This was just another reason to hate summer camp. Too many people, not enough safe places to retreat to. And on check-in day, too. Could there have been a worse time. So while the other councilors were still trying to figure out what was going on and sort the "sick" ones from the rest, she just ran. She dodged through the crowd, narrowly missing the grasping hands of one newly turned. Someone screamed. The words "he bit me" floated up into the air and the crowd became even thicker as they surged together, trying to hear and see what was going on. Idiots.
Bursting out of the back of the crowd, she saw the parking lot and sprinted for it, the stitch in her side nothing compared to what might happen if she stopped. She had to leave her stuff behind, which was a shame, but she had emergency gear in the car, and that would have to do. If the outbreak had reached the end of the peninsula, then she was willing to bet a great deal more than what she had in the bank that things were much worse on the mainland.
Throwing herself into her car, she started it up and, without a backward glance, she pulled out and tore onto the road. It was only after she was on her way and safely away from that mass of zombies (that was all they could be, honestly) that the thought struck her - that she'd left some of her friends behind. She had sacrificed them to this plague or whatever to save her own skin.
Did that make her a bad person?
Wouldn't a good person have tried to save someone?
Muscles in her jaw and neck tensed and she gripped the wheel harder. She didn't have time to drown in guilt. There were bigger things to deal with right now. Like how the zombie outbreak had finally happened, all those sci-fi novels were right, and she had nowhere to go.
This was the start of something completely new, and it wasn't going to be fun.
"Up! Up the tower!"
A flying leap, the stinging smack of her hands against the rungs, the rush of air from her lungs as she collided with the tower. No time to breathe. Just climb. Limbs shaking, lungs burning, she forced herself up one rung at a time. Below, the groan and squelch of zombies made her cringe, but she was quickly getting out of reach, and that was good enough for her.
"Are you hurt?" The woman climbing the ladder below her wasn't quite out of danger yet. Up. Up up up to the platform. It was only after they reached it that the runner answered.
"Not hurt," she huffed, and scraped a hand through her sweat-damp hair. Gracious, how long had it been since she was able to take a real shower? "You?"
The older woman sat on the edge of the platform, breathing deep and steady as though she'd just been hauling firewood instead of running for her life. "No. Not hurt, thank goodness. You're pretty good at avoiding the zoms. Are you on your own?"
Her mind flashed back to the summer camp and the friends she'd left behind, and the runner looked away. "Yeah. On my own."
"I have a proposition for you, then. How about you come with me, once the walking dead have moved on, and I'll introduce you to a township that could use your talents? You did sort of save my hide back there, and I think you'd fit right in with the runners."
For a moment, she wasn't sure if that was a good idea. Could anyone really rely on her if she just abandoned the people she cared about when things got scary? But just because it happened once didn't guarantee that it was going to happen again. Slowly, she nodded.
"If they need a runner, I can run." The less said about it, the better. That person she used to be, the one that went out of her way to do good things for people... that person didn't seem to exist anymore. Now she was just a person who was trying to survive.
"Excellent. You got a name, stranger?"
"Alright. I'll call you... Runner 5. They'll need to pass the number on anyway, so that's that."
A series of pops, like firecrackers, broke the white noise of groaning zoms down below, and three people appeared from the tree line, firing into the crowd. Several zoms dropped, and the rest turned to follow the runners as they disappeared into the trees again. Once the majority of the mob had moved off, the older woman flashed Runner 5 a grin.