A chill breeze swept through the sewers, a relief from the heat and stench of the city above. Bodily fluids of all kinds ebbed gently through the labyrinth of tunnels, but the reek of stagnant water was preferable to the decay and decomposition of bodies above. The sewers were free, free from their original use with the loss of humanity, and free from the roaming, moaning bodies that feverishly sought the few survivors.
Helena shivered as her legs wobbled. She slid down the damp, dark wall, her fingers raking through her matted hair, and for the first time in two weeks she allowed tears to drip onto her grubby vest. Her feet dangled in shallow, murky water and she thumped her head with the base of her palm as the things she’d seen raced through her mind. She grabbed a fistful of hair and let out a clear, uncontrolled wail.
She keened, rocking on the edge of the rill, hitting her head against the wall until sticky, warm blood coated her hair.
Her mind blinked as she recalled moments of horror, but she failed to notice the whir above the whistle of the wind or the tiny, flashing green light peering out of the dark tunnel. Footsteps splashing through the water saw her leap to her feet in terror and run on loose legs, tripping and tumbling into the foetid water. For a moment she wondered if drowning was the better choice.
“It’s okay!” The voice startled Helena. The voice had cohesion, it uttered words, real words, and Helena lifted her head.
Two bodies hurried towards her and she scrabbled backwards in panic. When she realised the bodies neither ambled nor dragged, but headed direct and fast, she allowed herself to wait. Strong arms scooped her up and words, blessed words, accompanied the arms that cocooned her. She blacked out.
As the haze cleared, and her heavy eyelids opened, blue eyes stared back. “I wasn’t sure you’d wake up!” he said.
Having been alone for so long, Helena couldn’t form a single word, let alone a sentence. She gazed at her hand, at the crude drip set up and hanging from a rusty hook on the wall. Her rescuer lifted a torn curtain and her eyes trailed the room. It was huge, concrete and lit by dull fluorescent strips. People, equipment and supplies filled every corner.
“It’s okay,” he said. “You’re safe. Saw you on the video feed. Didn’t think we’d get to you in time!” He indicated a timer on the wall. Huge red, digital numbers rolled into single figures. “A few hours later and we’d never have got you all the way down here…and safe! You’re the last one from above, the last one ever!” he said.
A soft boom echoed, and dust fell from the ceiling. He squeezed her hand. “The President just hit the button – our last resort. Welcome to Armagedddon.”
Written for J. Whitworth Hazzard’s Zombie Apocalypse Flash Fiction Contest. Go take a look at the other stunning entries…and add yours if you’ve time!
If you like this you need to read Dead Sea Games by J. Whitworth Hazzard.
Like my story? Kickstart the zombie apocalypse by publishing Dead Sea Games.
Want to write like me? Personal coaching and critiquing by Miranda Kate.