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Issue 3 - Life Goes OnEdit
He pushed the medium-sized gate in front of him, leaving a partial opening for him to fit through as he didn't fully open it.
He walked into the suburban neighborhood, getting ready for the change of scenery.
He braced himself, as he walked in the middle of the road, knowing that nothing will run him over.
He looked left and right, observing his surroundings. He'd notice that there were barely any cars parked in the streets, as if the people living there didn't go home after work, even at this time of the night.
The lights inside the houses were closed. Some of the houses' front doors were left swinging open. Julius visualized those things grabbing the people inside, dragging them to be eaten. People, in their cozy homes, instantly pushed out into the dangerous world. Parents, telling their kids that they have to go somewhere far away, disrupting their usual schedule of school, and distancing themselves away from their friends...
Who's to say that the people who left here went into a safer place? Did they make it out safely? Are they still alive?
"Why am I thinking too deep into this?" he whispered to himself. Maybe he just wants to believe that these people don't have rights to their property anymore. He started to notice paper and plastic flying in the streets, blown by the wind again. To him, a sign of abandonment.
He placed his hands on the pockets of his hoodie as it started to get colder. But aside from the cold, something else caused the chill he felt inside.
He stopped in his tracks when he saw a body turned on its back in the middle of the street, its blood spilled and glowing from the dim street lights. He looked around for any other signs of death.
He saw somebody standing to the side of the road, only its silhouette visible. He could see that it was standing in front of a house's fence. He continued to look, now walking back behind the nearest parked car he could find.
As he kept his eye on the silhouette, he started to hear silent moans and light dragging on the pavement right behind him. He turned to look.
It was an older woman wearing a night gown, her right hand bleeding from the wrist. Julius saw a glimpse of her plain white eyes from the dim light post next to him.
This made him want to run, as far away as he could, but he thought it was a rash decision.
He clutched his bat as tightly as he could, his right hand holding the handle and his left grasping the barrel. He looked at the woman, then back at the silhouette. It was starting to move... slowly turning around, toward him. He turned back to the woman. There was now another person limping just right behind her, barely visible in the light.
He didn't want to fight. Something told him that these were still people. Murder, in his head, regardless of the capital punishment, will scar his conscience forever.
But are these really people? Maybe they haven't killed any other person, but they were getting ready to.
No. He just couldn't wrap his head around killing any of them right now.
He stood up from his hiding spot and started to jog, as far away as he could from the slow walkers.
As he distanced himself, his surroundings became less and less grim, and more peaceful; aside from the trash flying in the street, and the lack of cars, there were virtually no walkers present.
Julius savored this quietness for a moment, and was quickly interrupted.
There were three gunshots that rang not too far from him. He started to slowed down a bit as he felt the sting of a loud gunshot sound through his ears. He stopped jogging, and resumed walking.
He turns left in a street named "McDowell". Instead of the usual empty street, he sees dead bodies scattered on the ground, and a shadowy figure standing in front of them, a firearm clutched in hand. Julius stops in his tracks.
The figure turns its head to its left, then turns around, as if he or she sensed something. The figure then completely turns, sees Julius, and aims its firearm.
"You... he-hey you! Talk!!" a man's voice says loudly.
Julius took one step back, tightly clutching his bat on one hand. "I-I'm not infected, if that's what you're wondering," he replies.
The man breathes loudly once, then puts down his gun. He walks toward Julius, becoming more visible upon every step.
The man was a police officer. He had a small cut on the side of his forehead, a single line of blood dripping down to his neck.
"This place is fucked... y-you have to get out of here..." he says, as if there was no hope left.
"But... my uncle, he--"
"They're all dead, alright!?" He walks up to Julius to meet him face to face. "You won't be saving anybody here." He placed his hand on Julius's shoulder, as if he was forcing him to turn around.
"This shit's hopeless... just--just turn back."
The police officer walked away, past Julius. He looked at him for a while. Hopeless? "Just how hopeless is this?" he thought.
What if a wall of those walkers stood on the next block? Was he really telling the truth? Was everybody really dead?
He refused to believe it. He was sure that his uncle's locked up in his house, safe. He wouldn't be dead... he knows what he's doing.
He ran quickly, not only because of the dead bodies on the street, but because of his anxiety to find his uncle. The distant smoke rising to the right side of the street made him move faster.
As soon as he reached the end of the block, he saw multiple walkers to his right. Some were feasting on a corpse, while others were just standing up. There were two police cars, one of them burning from another car that destroyed its side. There was also a S.W.A.T truck, with a walker pulling out a heavily armored corpse from the driver's seat.
Julius stood in horror. Something in his mind told him to move, but he just couldn't. He slowly moved back.
A few of the walkers noticed his presence. They slowly inched toward him.
The police car's fire, which rose from the front, somehow got stronger in a blink of an eye. Then, it exploded.
Julius was thrown on his back, covering his ears and closing his eyes from the explosion's piercing light. He curled to a fetal position as he was on the ground, wondering if he was on fire.
He stopped covering himself to see the aftermath. There were only bits and pieces left of the walkers he initially saw from before. One was on its torso, heavily burning, clawing its way to Julius. He turned from his back, quickly stood up, and started to run, away from the explosion site and into the opposite street.
He had no idea of the amount of walkers that was right behind him. They walked towards him, ignoring the explosion.
Julius held his bat, both hands on the handle, as a pair of them were only a few feet close to him.
He swung his bat at the head of the nearest walker, quickly forcing it to land on the ground. The force of Julius' swing made him take a few steps forward, getting closer to the second walker for a brief few seconds. He stepped back, and got ready to swing again. He waited for the next recipient to get a bit closer.
As the walker slowly stumbled toward Julius, he swung his bat sideways, targeting the walker's head. The sheer force of his swing brought him down to his right knee. He recovered quickly, noticing more walkers that followed right behind the other ones he just killed.
It looked like he needed to force his way through, as there were more than ten of them scattered around the street. He minded the crawler from behind him, and held his bat ready. Just as he was getting ready to swing at the one nearest to him, he heard a sharp, loud sound. Something grazed the walker's right arm, as blood profusely spilled from it.
Another sharp sound rang. This time, the walker's left knee cap exploded, causing it to fall on its back. As the walker fell down, he noticed a silhouette at the end of the street, smoke rising from it.
"JULIUS!" a loud voice shouted. It sounded like that of an old man's.
He ran to the side of the felled walker, passing the rest of the walkers to his sides. As he got closer and closer to the silhouette, everything seemed a little more familiar.
"C'mon, kid! Let's get out of here."
The man, looking like a sheriff with his jacket and clutched hunting rifle, ran toward a car parked on a curb, quickly opening the front door. Julius remembered seeing this car parked on the place he worked in.
He quickly went to the passenger side, opened the door, and hopped in.
"Since when did you use guns, Uncle Henry?"
"Since a week ago." He started the car, failing the first few times. "But we have no time for that now."
The car finally started, and he quickly drove away.
"Saw you through my scope. Figured I'd play it safe by shootin' that thing's knee. I've only used this twice. In my lifetime."
Julius maintained looking at his godfather, still impressed by his shooting.
"You know, you're better than all of those soldiers in my video games, Uncle," he responded.
Henry smiled briefly.
"So that week when you told me you went on vacation... you were at the shooting range?"
Henry briefly turned to face Julius, then back to the road. "My friend was pushin' me. So much so that he coulda probably shot me with his own gun."
Julius wanted to laugh, but under the circumstances, he just smiled. He turned his eyes on the road. The seemingly long drive made Julius realize how much he had to run.
"You know, I was meanin' to pick you up from your house. Thought you're still in denial."
Julius felt stupid for a moment, not being ready for the horrors he's faced. But still, he was proud of the quick decisions he made.
"Margo told me everything. She pretty much brought the conflict up front. The way she sounded... I had to snap out of it."
He started to notice that they were getting close. He hasn't been seeing many walkers, which was a relief.
"Good. Good... I was gonna go over there and probably show you that these things needed to be killed. Maybe even hit you with the butt of my rifle."
Julius smiled. He noticed the familiar street. They've arrived.
"Y'know, you're crazy for coming for me on foot."
Julius looked at him, as he felt the slight upward bump, which was the slight incline toward the house's garage.
"Coulda got yourself killed."
Julius thought about it, as he was looking at his bat, which rested on his lap.
"It was insightful, my walk over here..." he replied.
"Finally built up the courage to fight them."
Henry didn't bother opening the garage, as he took his rifle from the back seat.
"Good. You gotta keep up that up."
Henry smiled at him, and opened the car door to step out. Julius did the same.
Julius thought the block his uncle lived in would be swarmed. Instead, it was empty, much like what he saw from the blocks prior to the explosion site.
Henry opened the front door. After doing a quick scan, Julius quickly followed Henry inside.
For a moment, everything felt normal for Julius, as there was no symbol of chaos in his godfather's house; everything was normal, the way he saw it half a month ago.
"Alright, well... I started packin' a duffel bag full of food on the kitchen." He looks toward his dining room, which was a room away from the entrance's. "Go ahead and finish it up if you're willing to carry it."
Julius realized that these supplies would come in handy, especially when the trip outside of the city might take longer than usual. He quickly walked to the dining room, seeing the small red duffel bag on top of it. Packaged food, ranging from a bag of chips to canned fruit, were packed by the dozens inside, still leaving enough space for more. He looked around the kitchen to see where the rest are. It all felt familiar, since this is where he would do his cooking when he crashes in his uncle's house.
He walked toward the rows of tall kitchen cabinets, with the one farthest to the left already opened. As he checked for more supplies, a muffled sound stopped him. It sounded like something was pushing a door.
He went to Henry, who was sitting at the living room near the entrance, looking at the television. It was on the emergency broadcast system.
"Uncle... I heard something push against a door... sounded like it came from--"
Julius and Henry turned looking the front door. It sounded similar from earlier, but it was much louder this time. Henry stood up and looked at the peephole.
"Hell... must've followed the damn car."
Julius assumed that it was a walker.
"But--the street was practically empty--I didn't see anyone--"
"I know. Me too. But these things won't quit, I tell ya."
Henry walked over to the sofa, and took his rifle. "You gotta leave, kid."
He throws his car keys at Julius, who catches it, his face slightly surprised.
"You mean we gotta leave, right, uncle?" he replied to him.
Henry, who was already walking toward the stairs, stops. "Sorry, kid... but I'm staying."
Julius continued to look confused. "What do you mean, you're staying? T-there's plenty of room in the car... I mean, what--"
The front door continued to bang louder. Surprisingly, the walkers haven't figured out the front window yet.
"Kid... your aunt Quinn. S-she's up there."
Julius felt the familiar feeling he thought he'd left behind when he saw his uncle.
"She turned this afternoon. Talked as if..."
The front door was banging even louder this time. A walker started to bang on the windows as well.
"... it were our last."
Julius could see grief in his uncle, something he never saw from him.
The door and windows behind them seemed impenetrable to them.
"I-I lost hope too, uncle. Almost did, about a..."
He looks at his cell phone. It was completely shut off.
"... hours ago. But I talked it over. E-even a police officer encouraged me. But no, I didn't lose it. E-especially when I saw you."
He heard a crack on the window just right behind him.
"Stick with me, uncle... I need you. Together, we can survive. Just..."
Henry faintly smiled. He walked toward his god son, and placed his hand on his shoulder.
"Look at me, kid. I'm old. I'm practically food for them." He briefly glances at the window behind Julius.
"I... I've talked with your aunt, I've... I've got all the hope I could get, kid." He patted Julius's shoulder, then places his hand down.
"This isn't how I pictured my final moments... but hell, I'm too old for this end-of-the-world business. You, kid..."
He was smiling, as he looked at his god son. A tear streamed from Julius's eye.
"Knowing that you escaped? That's my hope. You living, that's my hope...
... life's done for me, kid. But for you, life has to go on. You're still young. I don't want you to give up now..."
Julius looks away, wiping the single tear in his eye.
"Promise me that for you, life goes on."
Julius looks at him, then nods.
Henry turns, then walks up the stairs. Julius runs and quickly grabs the duffel bag.
"Hey kid," Henry calls standing from the stairs.
"When you find Brian, tell him me and mom love him with all our heart."
There was no time for exchanges, as the window in the kitchen started to break. Julius briefly looks at the window, then back at the stairs. His uncle was gone.
Julius could hear the window from the front door being completely broken. He quickly runs, and opens the door to his right.