They sat in the car overlooking the sea, as they had done so many times before. When things were normal, that is. It was cold outside and the wind howled against the car, rocking it back and forth, as if to comfort them.
It was full dark; the most dangerous time. They figured that it didn’t really matter. If it happened, it happened, but they’d turned out the headlights, killed the engine and sat holding hands in the dark anyway. Just in case. They at least wanted it to be on their own terms, if possible.
They had no idea if they’d been followed driving up from Swansea to Rhossili. It felt to them as though it was the last bastion of civilisation; remote, distanced from the horror of the city and the friends and family they’d seen torn to pieces, or worse, those who’d changed, swathed in their own blood, and that of others.
The girl sat in the passenger seat, her teeth chattering as the temperature descended. The boy sat in the driver’s seat, saying nothing but rubbed his thumb in a circular motion against the flesh of the girl’s goose pimpled hand.
No-one really seemed to know how it had started. The government, most likely holed up in some bunker somewhere, had no answers. It wasn’t air-borne; it was just there. A spate of murders, turning into riots, turning into massacres, turning into something seen only in horror movies. Except the horror was real, palpable, a taste in the back of your mouth, throat hoarse from screaming, crying, begging.
They’d hidden in the flat for a while, agonising over what to do. When the howling and the hammering against the door had finally abated they decided to make a run for it. The tenant on the ground floor, they’d forgotten her name, was the reason for this temporary distraction. They could hear her desperate screams through her door. They must have gotten in somehow. They had crept past guiltily, hands clasped clammily together.
It was a mess outside. If they believed in miracles then it would be one that they made it to the car relatively unscathed in the first place. A second would be that they’d managed to navigate the debris and people littered streets with what seemed like ease.
But this was the end of the road. There was no turning back. They didn’t know who or what had followed them and they were okay with that. Countless were not so fortunate.
They’d seen the movies, of course, but it all just seemed such a laugh back then. Not so much now when everyone you’ve ever known has most likely been ripped apart. Real blood leaves real marks. Outside the flat, the air was heavy with the thick odour of spoiled flesh and swathes of lazy flies gorged on the bodies of the dead that lay decaying pitifully in the street.
They’d heard a whimpering in the bush opposite the car and stopped dead in their tracks. The girl tentatively called out a hello, though of course, not too loudly, as not to attract attention to themselves. A dog, next door’s collie, poked its nose out through the foliage. Thank fuck for that, the boy had exclaimed, ready for fight or flight a few seconds earlier. The dog appeared unharmed so they bundled it in the car, much to its howls of protest and sped off out of Eaton Crescent and into Uplands. Pedal to the metal.
It was so cold in the car but they didn’t want to start the engine. Night after night they’d listened to screams outside their building and now, thankfully, there was just silence. The dog, now calm, sleep at the girl’s feet, kicking out its paw occasionally, running from phantom aggressors. Who knows what it must have seen.
Time passed and they talked about things.
The sun eventually rose over Rhossili and it was glorious. The girl was glad that she got to see a sunrise untainted by the horror of recent events, the boy agreed and the dog slept soundlessly. They’d never realised just how green the area was and it smelt so fresh.
They got out the car and stood taking in the view hand in hand. The dog scuttled over to them and nestled its head against the boy’s knee. In the cold light of the morning they could see that the National Trust shop was boarded up and abandoned. The Worm’s Head Hotel was the same but there were still empty pint glasses and coffee cups outside on the benches, frosted slightly. One of their friends used to work there. Probably dead now.
Ready, asked the boy. Yes. I’m ready, replied the girl. Dog in tow they started the winding walk down to Worm’s Head. Dotted about were some sheep, oblivious.
It took about an hour. The dog trotted down the path barking half-heartedly at the sheep and sniffed at piles of dry cow pats. Back at the car, they could make out some of those things ransacking the place. Just in time, said the girl.
The boy scooped up the dog in his arms; it was quite small given its breed and its fur tickled softly against the boy’s face. He couldn’t bear to leave the dog behind. With his spare hand, the boy clasped the girl’s hand and they made their way to the end of path.
I love you, said the boy.
The girl smiled brightly, I love you too, baby.
One, two, three.
They jumped and the crashing waves of Rhossili Bay leapt up to meet them.
All content © booksandting, i.e. Katherine Williams. Don’t nick my stuff, it’s not nice. Suffice to say, all events in this flash fiction are made-up; Rhossili is a beautiful place to visit and there are little to no zombies lurching about the place.