Human Nature – Entry#24

“What else did Jake say?” Cheryl quizzed Tammy, who shrugged her shoulders.

“Nothing, really. I mean, it was a pretty short walk. But he’s definitely into me,” Tammy bragged.

I couldn’t believe it. Undead or not, some elements of human nature apparently just don’t change. Tammy shot me a look, “If you guys want me to seduce him, I’ll do it.”

Cheryl replied, “That’s pretty obvious. Just be careful. You heard what Dr. Williams said about the possibility of getting pregnant.” The three of us shuddered involuntarily in unison.

Cheryl turned to me, “OK. So, what next?”

I took a moment to think. “That’s a good question,” I answered. “Let’s see. The next possible move we could make would have to wait until Jake or someone else comes back.”

Cheryl suggested, “We should be getting our meds pretty soon.”

“Oh yeah,” I added. “How did I forget about that?”

“Speaking of meds,” Tammy interjected. “How are we going to leave here without them?”

The question hit me like a punch in the gut. It wasn’t just the walls trapping us here. It was our dependency on the pills that were preventing us from turning into monsters.

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Hatching a Plan – Entry#22

Cheryl brushed back her blunt bangs from her eyes, which I started to suspect was a habit she employed when she was unsure what else to do with her hands. Tammy’s gaze on her was intense. Tammy asked, “So here’s the deal. Melissa and I, are trying to figure out our next move. But now we’ve got you thrown into the mix.”

Cheryl’s eyes narrowed. She shot back at Tammy, “Is this some kind of tactic? Because it seems to me that if you have any interest on acting on any big scheme, you’re probably going to need my help.” I was impressed. This Cheryl might not be physically imposing, but she clearly wasn’t backing down in the face of Tammy’s bravado. I decided it was best for me to continue the conversation.

I said, “Cheryl, tensions are high and this is a bizarre situation, to say the least. I’m sure Tammy didn’t mean to come off as a bully.” I was actually quite sure that Tammy had intended to be a bully, but I sensed Cheryl appreciated my attempt to diffuse the situation and appeared willing to listen. I continued, “It’s unfair to expect you to commit to formulating a plan that has the potential to expose us to dangers unknown. But the two of us feel we should be the ones deciding our fate and not some army of lab coats.”

Cheryl listened to me and thought for a moment. She replied, “What kind of good fortune is it supposed to be that we were spared only to live like this?” She paused for a second before saying, “I’m in.”

Three’s Company – Entry#21

Tammy gave a flirtatious smile to the guard as he lead her, Cheryl and myself to our new room together. “Why thank you,” she said to him as he opened the door and gestured for us to go inside. I studied him for a reaction.

While he remained professional, I was surprised to notice a subtle flush of color appear on his cheeks and the faint traces of a pleased smile. I looked at Tammy, who gave me a quick wink. We weren’t even in our new room and she was already working an angle for our escape. I could only hope Cheryl would be as willing a partner in crime.

Once the door closed behind us, Tammy promptly flopped herself onto one of the three beds. “So, Cheryl. What’s your story?”

Cheryl shrugged. “Same as everybody else, I guess. The first thing I remember is waking up, strapped to the bed. Can’t remember anything before that.”

Tammy continued, “Since it doesn’t really matter what happened before, what I guess I’m really trying to figure out is how you feel now.”

Cheryl looked at both of us. “I’m happy to have roommates. I wasn’t looking forward to going back to my room by myself.”

“It is nice,” I added. Tentatively, I asked, “Do you ever wonder what’s going on outside Area 216?”

Again, Cheryl shrugged. “I guess I hadn’t really thought about it much,” she answered.

Tammy gave her a piercing look, “We have. And you should too.”

We studied Cheryl’s face for a reaction. It took a moment before what we were suggesting registered with her. Quietly, she asked, “Are you two going to–?”

She was interrupted by Tammy faking a loud sneeze.  I gave Cheryl a tiny nod. Her eyes widened.

Roomies – Entry#20

Just as we finished shaking on our agreement to become roommates, John and I were approached by Dr. Williams. Shaking her head, she said, “No, I’m sorry. We’ll only be doing same sex roommates.” Tammy, overhearing her, spoke up in what I now realized was her trademark sassy tone of voice, “Are you kidding me? Why not? It’s not like we can get pregnant.” Dr. Williams adjusted her glasses on the bridge of her nose with a stern look. “That is something we don’t yet know for sure.”

At this, all of us, even including audacious Tammy, looked at Dr. Williams in horror. What if it were possible for us Zombie women to have babies? What kind of creature would we bring into the world? That unspoken question was enough to scare Tammy enough to promptly release her grip on William and make a beeline for my arm.

Pushing John aside, she said, “Sorry, nothing personal, but I’m here to claim my roommate.”  Momentarily bewildered, John walked over to William and stood next to him. Under her breath, Tammy quietly said to me, “So what was this escape business you were talking about before?”

I whispered back, “Let’s wait until we’re in the room.”

Just then, I noticed Dr. Williams approach the two of us, with the woman with the short, dark hair I’d almost paired up with earlier. “Tammy, Melissa,” Dr. Williams said to us, “This is Cheryl. She’s the odd man out in the group and will be sharing a room with you two, so she isn’t stuck by herself.”

I quickly strategized what just happened in my head. While there was strength in numbers, a possible escape could potentially be slowed down by a third person. Also, every person included in whatever plan I might formulate was one more person who could potentially make a mistake and ruin any hopes of us getting out of Area 216.

It was these thoughts that went through my mind as I engaged in the very human gesture of extending my hand to Cheryl and saying, “Nice to meet you, roommate.”

Two By Two – Entry#19

It’s funny to think how much has changed since the last time I was in my room.

After Dr. Williams informed us we’d be paired up from here on out, I assumed this meant Tammy and I would have a chance to continue our conversation about a plan for escape.

But this assumption was clearly trumped by Tammy’s libido.

Just as I took a step in her direction, Tammy practically leapt 6 feet away to secure her grasp on William’s arm. “Hey,” she cooed at him. “Wanna share a room?”

My escape plan hadn’t factored in the strength of Tammy’s desire to mingle with the opposite sex. It would take more than becoming a Zombie to slow this woman down. William looked shell-shocked but nodded in agreement. So much for my partner in crime.

It was amazing just how quickly people paired up with one another. Just then, I realized there were 25 of us, an odd number of Zombies. I needed to make a friend and fast.

Just before panic set in, I scanned the room quickly and noticed a petite woman with short, dark hair who appeared lost. I prepared to make a quick introduction when I felt a hand on my shoulder.

I turned around and saw John. “Want to be roommates?” I suddenly remembered how vocal he’d been during our first group encounter with Dr. Williams.

With conviction, I nodded. “Yes,” I answered as the two of us shook hands.

Sedated – Entry#18

Carrie, too weak to move, was the only one in the room of 25 Z-virus survivors who didn’t turn expectantly at the sound of the door opening. Two large men resembling prison guards preceded Dr. Williams as she entered the room.

“Is everyone OK?” she asked with concern. Eleanor answered, “Carrie has a headache.” I added, “Other than that, we’re physically intact, if that’s what you’re asking.”

John asked, “What happened to Carrie?” To this, Dr. Williams replied, “We’re still working with the dosage amounts. Each individual is different and what just happened here leads me to believe that Carrie’s was too low for her.”

Stone-faced, John pressed Dr. Williams with another question.  “Why did leave us trapped in here with her? You couldn’t be sure she wouldn’t attack us.” Dr. Williams remained poised, “Yes, there was the possibility that Carrie would attack, but past tests indicated that it was unlikely. I had to keep her contained until she could be stabilized. Believe it or not, though, this is good news.”

Tammy snorted, “Really? How?” Dr. Williams responded, “This means it’s safe for each of you to have a roommate.” At this, Tammy and I exchanged involuntary glances at one another.

Our solitary confinement days were over.

After the Storm – Entry#17

Watching Carrie lying still in Eleanor’s arms, I felt a mix of emotions. Guilt at having been the instrument of whatever it was that had just happened to her and relief that she appeared to have found some sort of peace in it. Perhaps her life had been taken away, but at least she was no longer a prisoner to her body’s unnatural urges.

“She’s waking up!” John said with more than a little alarm in his voice. He and William exchanged quick, knowing glances and each took a hold of one of Carrie’s arms. Her eyes slowly blinked open, but rather than a blank stare, they displayed a look of disorientation. “What happened?” she asked

Some ancient maternal instinct seem to kick in as Eleanor cooed to her, “It’s OK, Carrie. You relapsed, but you’re fine now.” Carrie looked at John and William, who slowly released their grip. Her arms free, she lifted a hand to her forehead. “My head is killing me,” Carrie said as she winced.

“Well, you were acting like a real asshole,” Tammy told her. Eleanor shot Tammy a dirty look. “Tammy, be nice! This poor girl has been through enough without you giving her sass.” As usual, Tammy appeared unimpressed. “So is she like your pet now?” Eleanor shook her head sadly, “Have some compassion.”

Tammy opened her mouth to deliver what I’m sure would have ended up being yet another indecipherable metaphor involving an animal when a distinct, metallic thud resonated throughout the room.

The heavy steel door had been unlocked and was slowly creaking open.

Gamble – Entry#16

Wordlessly, John and William grabbed Carrie by the arms. I held my breath. She continued making the motions of pawing at the window, as if the men’s grip on her were nothing more than some inanimate inconvenience.

Holding the syringe in my hand, I guided the needle in the direction of her neck. As quickly as I could, I jabbed the needle into her neck.

Fully expecting a wild roar from Carrie, every muscle in my body strained as I carefully plunged the syringe’s contents into her writhing, grey being.

Nothing. No reaction at all. John, William and I exchanged glances. If it didn’t have a pulse carrying blood to a human brain inside a skull, Carrie couldn’t see it. Nor, it appeared, could she feel it. Or if she could feel anything, she didn’t seem to care.

The men let go of her arms. Carrie continued to try and make her way through the glass. Gradually, though, her motions slowed down until suddenly, her knees buckled. Eleanor rushed to her side as Carrie slumped down to the floor.

Eleanor cradled Carrie’s head in her arms as the rest of us gathered around her. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head as Carrie’s jaws slowly opened and closed one final time.

“Is she dead?” Eleanor asked me. Shaking my head, I answered honestly, “I don’t know.” I hoped she wasn’t. Otherwise, I was a murderer.

Worth a Shot – Entry#15

Turning around to answer John, I held the syringe in one hand and the note in the other. Carrie continued clawing mindlessly at the window while the rest of the group looked at me expectantly.

“The note says to administer this shot to Carrie. It’s supposed to stabilize her,” I answered. Eleanor shuddered, “Who’s gonna do it?” We all looked at Carrie. In this moment, it was hard to imagine she had been one of us just a few minutes ago. She looked to me like a grotesque, unnatural animal. Before I knew what was happening, my mind wandered back to those vague, dark memories of my time spent as one of these mindless creatures. The only thing I knew for certain was that it was time spent in intense pain. I was holding in my hand the means by which to take that pain away from Carrie. It would be inhumane to deny her relief of her suffering.

“I’ll do it,” I told the group. The handsome young man on whom I was certain Tammy was fast developing a crush stepped forward and told me, “I’ll help you.”

I took a deep breath and shook my head. “OK. It says to inject this into the side of her neck. If you’ll hold her still, I’ll stick her as quickly as I can and … ” I couldn’t think how to finish the sentence.

“Hope she doesn’t go beserk,” John interjected with a pained smile. “What’s your name?” he asked the young man. “They tell me it’s William,” was the response. John cleared his throat, “William, why don’t you stand on one side and I’ll take the other? That way, there will be one of us for each arm.” William nodded in agreement.

I looked at the syringe and topped it off as the three of us began our approach toward Carrie.

Taming the Beast – Entry#14

The sound of Carrie’s straining against the glass filled the room, as we stood silent, gaping at her.

“Hey!” Tammy yelled suddenly. Startled, I jumped. I grabbed her arm and whispered angrily. “What’s wrong with you?” Tammy pulled away and started walking to Carrie. “Look. It’s like she doesn’t see us,” Tammy said to us as she continued her approach.

“What are you doing?” I hissed, under my breath. “Get back here!” I said, even though I was too scared to move. Tammy reached over and poked Carrie in the shoulder. Carrie continued pawing and gnashing her teeth, seemingly oblivious to Tammy’s presence.

Close to Carrie’s ear, Tammy snapped her fingers loudly. Still, no response from Carrie. Fascinated, the rest of us slowly started walking toward the two of them. “Carrie?” I said, as I gently grabbed her by the arm. “Look at me!” Tammy suddenly screamed at the top of her lungs.

Completely taken aback, we all fell backwards, away from Carrie. But Carrie might as well have been wearing high-grade earplugs for all the reaction this elicited.

Quietly, I heard a creaking noise from the other end of the room. The tiny metal slot in the door slowly opened. In the metal box that passed between the inside and outside of the room sat a syringe and a piece of paper. I scrambled to my feet and made my way to the door. Picking up the note first, I scanned it quickly.

From across the room, I heard John ask, “Hey. What is that?”