Alone Among the Living Dead
Liberty gazed out at the city of New York from their perch high atop the Empire State Building, her eyes stopping for a moment on the falcon’s nest resting between the front feet of one of the stone gargoyles. The frozen sentry stood guard over the tiny hatchings that clung to the detritus making up the nest, their mother circling the skies above, waiting for her moment to land again. “Look at them…. Do you think there’s anyone else alive down there?”
“Lib, I don’t know. Maybe?” Her brother answered as he searched through his ever-dwindling pack of supplies—soon they’d need to concentrate on restocking, but first they’d have to get out of the city. “Hell, we’re alive, so there must be others too. It’d be some fucked up karma if you and I were the only ones left…”
The words fell between them—dead like so much around them. There was a time after this all started when there were more people who’d survived the initial outbreak. Family, friends, strangers who became friends, even some who didn’t want to connect. But in the past few months, life found a way of happening. Even the most careful, the ones who never took chances, began to get sloppy. And now Liberty and Trevor were the only ones who remained—alone among the living dead. At least that’s what it felt like…
“Do you see a way out?” Trevor asked, slinging his backpack over his left shoulder and grabbing his trusty round point digging shovel that had seen better days. But it’d also gotten them through a lot of rough times, so he carried it out of need and nostalgia.
“Once we get down to the street, it’s going to be a little rough, but we need to get out of Manhattan.”
“We’re not taking the tunnel, no fucking way Lib!”
Liberty stopped in her tracks as she moved toward the roof’s access door, bringing her head around to stare at her brother, dumbfounded. “Are you fucking kidding me? You think I want to take the tunnel? After the last time?”
Trevor’s body visibly relaxed, but his face still read of panic. They’d come into Manhattan about a month ago with the rest of their group from the New Jersey side—using the Lincoln Tunnel as their point of access. There were still people broadcasting at that time, people who told them Manhattan was free from infection, a last bastion of sorts.
What they hadn’t expected was the influx of the dead who’d found their way into the mouth of the tunnel, both before and after them, all of them moving like a wave that would crash once the light of the sun bathed over them again. They’d lost many that day, only a few managing to break free of the horde to find refuge in the husk of a building. The escape was harrowing and since that day, their numbers had dwindled steadily as they moved around the island, looking for a way to get off.
“We’re going to take I-78 and cross the Hudson. Might not be the best option, but from what I can see, it looks pretty clear.” She spoke with a level of authority, knowing it was what Trevor needed from her in the moment. While he was great in the thick of things, getting him to make a needed move was sometimes difficult.
“Okay let’s get moving then. We need to make it out before the sun goes down.”
Copyright © 2014 Julianne Snow