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17th May
2012
posted by amber

Running Away

Allie darted through the woods, as fast as she could go. Dusk was descending, making shadows stretch across the path, as solid-seeming as fallen branches. She leapt over each one. She could not afford to trip.

The Undead were close behind her. She didn’t dare look, but she could hear their panting breath, smell their sweat. Their thudding footsteps pounded, as once her heart had pounded when she was one of them. Undead.

But now she was one of the Dead. And the Undead feared and hated her and tried to drive her from their midst.

This was not what she’d expected being dead to be like. She thought she’d be someplace else, or no place at all, or if still around, at least insubstantial. But she still had her body and it worked the way it always had, except that she couldn’t hear her heart beat and she didn’t seem to need to eat.

She didn’t think she looked all gross like a zombie, but she hadn’t had a chance to look in a mirror. Her hands, her feet, her torso – they all looked fine to her, the brief glances she’d had of them ever since she’d found herself lying in the ditch in broad daylight, in the very spot she remembered flying from her car after hitting that moose. There was no sign of her car, so she’d started walking toward town, only to have a carload of kids – kids she went to school with – stop and scream and throw rocks at her.

They threw wadded up pieces of paper too and yelled, “Go back to the graveyard!” Then they drove away.

Allie didn’t remember being at the graveyard, but the paper turned out to be a funeral notice. Her own funeral notice. And it said she was to be buried at Hilltop Cemetery.

So she headed there, and found a field of yawning holes. No wonder people were upset. Had all the dead come back to life?

She heard a commotion in the trees at the edge of the graveyard and saw a group of people beating something with sticks and shovels and baseball bats. Then someone shouted, “There’s another one!”

She ducked down, certain that they meant her, but they stampeded toward an old woman walking slowly along in the older part of the cemetery, weeping. Allie recognized her as a retired teacher from the high school who had died the year before.

Aside from her clothes, which were too dressy for anything but a party and a bit dirty, and her lack of shoes, Mrs. Gladstone looked exactly like the living. At that moment, Allie realized that she too was wearing one of her nicest dresses, not what she’d been wearing when she hit the moose, and no shoes.

She ran out of the graveyard, noticing the limp body which had been pummelled by the mob. It was a young boy who’d been killed on the train track when Allie was in junior high. There was no blood, but Allie was pretty sure he was now deader than dead.

She didn’t want to be dead again.

If she could find some shoes and make her way to another town where no one knew her to be among the deceased, she might be able to stay alive long enough to understand what was going on.

She’d felt a sense of freedom when she smashed the window of the shoe store and grabbed a pair of Nikes. I’m dead, she thought, I can do whatever I want.

But now, wearing the running shoes and running for her refound life, Allie doesn’t feel free, she feels desperate, and hunted. This is the third town she’s tried to infiltrate, but the Undead don’t trust anyone.

And then it happens – she trips. Her feet fly out behind her and the ground rushes toward her face, then a hand grabs her upper arm and a running figure yanks her along beside him.

“Keep running!” he shouts. “My friends will be here soon and we’ll chase those Undead back to their town. What were you doing, trying to stay in that town anyway?”

She gasps out, “I didn’t want to be alone.”

He pulls her down beside a stone wall. She can hear the Undead shout as a large group of the Dead come pounding toward them. Her rescuer says, “Alone? There’s more of us than them. You’ve got friends forever, girl.”

Today’s assignment was to write about someone fleeing something.

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