I see that the sun has risen through the trees. The light burning my eyes, making small white dots appear in my vision. Using my right hand to shield my eyes, I use my left hand to untie the belt I used to keep myself in the tree whilst I slept. I managed to finally make it to the less zombie-ish area of the Hellfire Club after a long time, making my way through the unknown terrain of South Dublin. I had lived in the North before this had all happened but time told that the explosion that started the infection made my home what I think heaven might be like – nonexistent.

Clambering down from my canopy, my stiff neck creaked from having slept rough for so many months. I don’t know quite how many months but it’s been long enough that I slowly feel my sanity burning up, tormented with the notion that I was the lucky one. I might now live in a land of plague, death, and darkness but at least I live. Life, that privilege, my family, friends, hometown, and all else I held dear, didn’t have, and never will have again.

My feet crunched on the dying, brown leaves but this time, the crunch was louder than usual. Too loud for it to just be my own feet crunching the dry plants. Quickly I spun around, retrieving the rock I had sculpted to a lethal point and holding it steady in my grasp. As my vision focused on my target, I held my breath. It has a human form which could mean either friend or foe, either zombie or human.

It saw me too and let out a horrific, hell-driven scream. He ran straight at me, full speed ahead. I raised my rock above my head and prepared to strike him down but before he was in range, he stopped short and collapsed in a sobbing heap. ‘Zombies don’t cry’ I told myself as I moved closer to the weeping man. I saw his wounds. His flesh jagged and ripped, like someone had attempted to dismember him with a butter knife or skin him with a spoon. Around these wounds, his skin was white and his veins turned green.

“Help!” he said. There wasn’t anything I could do. “I’m sorry,” I whispered. “Please, I’m trying to find my wife. I haven’t found her yet. I can’t die now. If I die now, it’s all for nothing. No, no, no. I – I should have stayed. I…” he began to wail again, the wail I assumed was a battle cry. I felt my heart  leap into my throat and overwhelm my system. Had this man run any closer, his head would be caved in, bludgeoned with my sharp rock. “Stayed?” I asked, “Stayed here?” Is your family here? I can run and grab the-”. 

“No, they’re on the otherwise. The outside.”

“Outside? Like heaven?” 

“No, not heaven. My kids, they’re on the outside. North Dublin. I left them with their Nan but they deserved a Mam. She worked in Brittas but then the infection broke out and South Dublin was quarantined. I thought there was no way she could get out now so I came looking for her and now I see I should have just stayed. Now, they’re practically orphans and I’m going to die or turn into one of them zombies.”

“It still exists?”

“The zombies? Yeah, they still exist. Where the fuck have you been? They’re everywh-”

“No, North Dublin! It’s still there. Government stated that it for destroyed but you’re here. It’s there. I’m from there. My family is still there. My family is alive!”

“It’s quarantined. You’ll never get through and that’s if you get to the Liffey.” he hissed in pain as the infection set further in. He wasn’t going to die, he was going to turn.

“Listen,” he grunted, “If you do get there, go to Blanch. Little white house beside the Bellview Pub. Tell Ben, Séan, and Leana that daddy and mammy love them very much. Promise me”. 

“I will.”

And with that, he snatched the rock from my hand and smashed his head. He aimed for the eyeball and drove the point through his brain. He lay there, dead. Now, he was on the other side but my family and his family are only on the outside.