He rolled over and buried his head in the pillow to stop the ringing. After a few more blasts the phone stopped. Keith smiled and rolled over, happy to spend the rest of the morning nursing his hangover in the fluffy softness of his bed.
The phone started to ring again. With a groan he rolled over and picked up the receiver “Whhaat?” he growled into the phone.
“Oh god, you’re still there! Keith, why haven’t you left yet?”
Keith looked at his watch “I don’t get it, its Sunday, I don’t need to be anywhere” he moaned.
“Yes you do, you need to leave, they’re tearing the gates down, you have to get out!”
“The gates! The gates of,.. Oh, turn on the TV, look out the window, do something”
“Ok ok ok. Look I’ll call you back when I figure something out”
“What? No you have to le” with a click Keith pressed the button, and set the handset down so that she could not call back. Walking to the TV he switched it on and then walked to the window. Twenty floors below he could see the street, bustling with people, which was unusual considering it was a Sunday.
The TV hummed to life and pictures from a news chopper filled the screen. Far below it was a huge crowd pressed up against a giant fence, stretching from one side of the screen to the other. Keith looked at the image in disbelief. He turned the volume up and the reporters voice filled the apartment “… Fighting on two sides as they try to hold the quarantined back away from the fence while at the same time fighting a small group of activists, who appear to be trying to break into the quarantined area. As we heard earlier, these activists believe the virus should be studied and used for the benefit off all mankind “Staving off the final sleep” as they say. If we can swing the chopper around a bit we can hopefully get a better view of some more activists.”
Keith was worried now, he started to grab a few things and stuff them into a bag as he watched the TV, and the National Guard trying to keep the two groups at bay and the fence intact. He looked out the window toward the street below, realizing now that it wasn’t busier than usual, but that people were leaving their buildings and heading away from the gates, trying to flee the coming disaster.
He looked up as the reporter yelled something, just in time to see a car hurtle down the street, over an unlucky guard who had held his ground and through the gate. Keith could hear the sound of dragging metal out in the street. He abandoned the bag and sprinted for the stairs, knowing it would only take minutes for the quarantined to climb through the fresh hole and reach his building.
Vomiting as he reached the final steps Keith staggered out onto the street as the first of the infected rounded the corner. People were streaming out of the apartment buildings now, hundreds of them pushing past Keith, shoving him back into the doorway as they struggled to get away.
Keith took a step back and then threw himself into the crowd, pushing his way through, fighting to keep his balance and blindly following the herd away from the terror behind him.
As they rounded a corner Keith felt the crowd begin to tighten around him, closing in and slowing down as they entered the narrower street. Slowing, Keith turned to look back behind him. Immediately he slammed into a street light and spilled to the ground. He tried to pick himself up as more of the crowd streamed past him, but no one slowed to help him, everyone just blindly following those in front to get away.
The screams were closer now and Keith again tried to pull himself up, only to be knocked to the ground as more of the crowd pushed past. Suddenly he felt a something grab his leg and looked back to see a pallid hand, with finger nails torn away, gripping his ankle. Delirious with panic and his hangover, he screamed, lashing out at the hands owner and looking up to see more of what he now saw to be not infected, but truly undead, pushing into the street. He kicked out again, breaking free of the grip and pushing himself up, and into a staggering run trying to catch up with the fleeing crowd, now just a sea of retreating backs moving away from him, before another hand clamped down on his shoulder and dragged him back.
He felt pain as something tore into his back and cried out, his screams echoing across the street, joining with the others who had been knocked to the ground and who now shared his fate.
High above him the chopper circled, filming the giant horde slowly chasing the fleeing residents and their path through the city.
Hundreds of miles away Keith’s mother sat watching her TV set, face white and fingers gripped around the phones handset as she sat watching her son. She watched as the blood poured from his wounds, his halting steps forward, his screams until finally he was pulled back and swallowed into the crowd of walking dead.