An alarm clock rang loudly bringing me out of the dream I was having, I flailed aimlessly with my hand trying to find the button that would make it shut up, finally succeeding. I opened my eyes and rubbed them hard, my vision returned and I watched the ceiling fan turning slowly overhead. I climbed out of bed and pull on a pair of jeans and a shirt for work. Leaving my untidy room I head down the hall to the bathroom, kicking my room mates door on the way.
'Get up Matt!' I shout.
I brush my teeth and stare at the face before me in the mirror. My name is Dan Brooks, im 25 with brown hair and a beard, my blue eyes shining amidst my hairy face is the one feature that I somewhat like. I turn on the tap and splash water on my face and run fingers through my hair.
'Last chance Matt, every day we go through this shit.' I say.
I grab a glass and fill it with icy water and head to Matts still shut door. I creak it open to see him slumped unmoving in his bed.
'Did you die in the night or are you just a lazy fat shit?' I ask expecting a reaction of some kind.
I turn the light on which causes a groan from Matt, edging closer I hover the glass over his head and tip the water all over his mop of curly blonde hair. He explodes out of the bed dripping wet, confused and angry.
'Lazy fat shit it is then' I laugh.
Matt shakes like a shaggy dog and grabs a towel off the floor off his floor and rubs his head with it.
'Well that was unnecessary you dick head.' croaks Matt.
'I gave you so many chances to get up yourself, well more than one chance anyway.' I say arms folded across my chest
Matt glances at the clock on his wall before frantically springing into action grabbing jeans and whatever other clothes he can find on his floor and shoving them on.
'Were going to be late.' says Matt.
'Yup that has been my concern for a while now mate.' I reply.
Matt grabs the car keys off the counter and heads into the hall.
'Come on then, ready when you are.' He says rubbing his face.
'Teeth.' I suggest.
'Thanks dear.' He says running to the bathroom.
'Shut up.... Dick.' I say before walking to the door and heading outside.
The sun was shining brightly, a shocking sight for London, an even more shocking sight for London in April.
'Is it raining?!' Matt shouts from inside.
'Yea, badly!' I shout back.
Two minutes later Matt comes rushing outside in a raincoat looks at the sky takes it off and throws it in the hallway, shuts and locks the door.
'You are such a dickhead.' He says pushing past me to the car.
'What I like your anorak, it keeps you dry but gets the ladies wet,' I laugh.
'Yup, regular Casanova me, you know that', he jokes back.
The shit mobile as Matts car was christened was a blue Fiat Cinquecento, we climbed in and it started first time which was as surprising as the sunny weather.
'Wow, what a day, your car works.' I quip.
As we head closer to the centre of London from our flat on the outskirts the traffic gets worse, we work in a general shop that sells pretty much everything, from necessary to utterly useless. Matt once got in trouble after the boss heard him tell a customer 'we sell everything from carpet cleaner to condoms'. Apparently that's not the moniker the owner wants for his shop. The traffic at rush hour on a Monday is usually bad but we are now at a total standstill. Gridlock as far as the eye can see.
'Ahhh shit, any chance of getting to work on time are well and truly gone now.' Matt says.
'I know, we really tried today as well, well more than usual at least.' I reply.
'We'll do it tomorrow Dan, I have faith.' he says.
'You said that yesterday.' I remind him.
Sirens can be heard in the distance now and people have started getting out of their cars to try and see the cause of the chaos.
'For Gods sake why do people always insist on getting out, what are they expecting to see. They will be taking their 'OMG look at me in traffic selfie' next.' Matt complains.
'You are so easily annoyed aren't you.' I say.
'People are annoy....', Matt begins.
A soul piercing scream cuts Matt off mid sentence before several others join, the car horns, sirens and now the screams made for a deafening cacophony of sounds. Matts face turns from mild annoyance to utter shock and fear as he slowly opens the car door and pokes his head out.
'Oh you're getting out now are you? I ask.
'I'm an enormous hypocrite get over it,' he says.
Matt climbs out of the car and on to the bonnet straining his eyes to see and cupping above his eyes to block the sun. I get out of the car too and look ahead to the growing masses of people gathered on the road, I look behind at the few cars behind us, our lateness has put us near enough at the back of the jam.
'Can you see anything?' I ask.
'Not much, I think people are running,' He replies.
'Running? Where?' I ask.
'Umm, this way, I think maybe we should drive away.' Matt says growing concern in his voice.
'Fine by me, this is fucking weird lets get out of here.' I agree.
As Matt climbs down off the bonnet and heads back to the drivers seat the screams get closer and I too can now see hundreds of people frantically running towards us, I swear a lot of them look like they are bleeding badly, its hard to tell from as far away as we are but several seem to be fighting each other. I climb quickly back into the car as does matt, he puts it in reverse and slams hard on the accelerator, crashing into a car behind.
'Shit, sorry mate!' Matt shouts.
But the man behind seems already over it as he too reverses and drives off the other way, now with more room Matt manages to turn the car round and we put some distance between us and the screams. The roads are manic with cars darting everywhere, we see several minor collisions and two very bad head on collisions that I can only assume nobody survived. We didn't have time to check as we continued speeding away from the city.
'LOOK OUT!!' I scream as a person darts in front of our car.
But its too late, he came out of nowhere and we were going far to quickly to stop in time, the man looked to be in his late 40s and had a bloody mouth and arm, that's all I noticed in the few seconds we had before we crashed hard into him, his legs crumpled and he crashed onto the bonnet and was gone over the roof leaving blood splattered up the windscreen. Matt and I sat in horror mouths gaping.
'SHIT, shit shit shit I killed him, is he dead?!' Matt shouted in a blind panic.
'You couldn't have possibly stopped, there was nothing you could do, this isn't your fault you hear me!' Im shouting louder than I intended to but adrenalin is pumping through my veins and my heart is thundering. 'I cant see, he's not moving, we have to check.'
Matt and I cautiously get out of the car and head towards the broken body of the man lying 20 feet behind where the car stopped. As we got closer we saw he was still moving, as we were off the main road now the cars speeding past were less often.
'Hes moving, hes still alive,' I say. 'WERE GOING TO GET YOU HELP JUST STAY STILL!' I shout to the man in the road.
'I have no mobile reception,' Matt says holding his phone in the air trying to get signal.
'You don't need reception for emergency services just try it.' I reply.
'Oh yea, shit. I cant think straight,' Matt replies
Matt holds the phone in his shaking hands, keying in 999 and clutching the phone to his ear. He tries again and again for several minutes with no response. We're on our own we both realise at the same time. Our focus then goes back to the man who has now turned and is crawling in our direction, as we get closer it doesn't seem possible that he is still alive. He is covered head to toe in blood and it looks like both his legs and one of his arms is broken.
'Dan? You seeing this, this, this isn't right. He doesn't even look like he's in pain.' Matt stutters.
I move closer to the writhing body until I can finally see his face close up. Large gashes cover his face from forehead to chin and a large section of his cheek has been ripped clean off revealing all of his teeth on the left hand side of his face, the teeth that are snapping closed and jerking open again as if operated by a spring rather than human muscles. When I finally draw my eyes away from the gore I notice his eyes, the outlines of the iris and pupil can still be seen but all colour has gone, the entire eye is white. But not dead and still, there are swirls of cloudy grey giving the eyes more life than the obviously dead corpse we are looking at. He's dead, that's the realisation that suddenly overcomes me, there is no life left here, no remains of the human who had put on that white t-shirt and shorts this morning. The man suddenly starts thrashing his arms out trying desperately to grab us, guttural moans come from his mouth as his teeth continue snapping open and closed.
'We. Should. Go.' I just manage to stammer as I inch backward towards Matt who is frozen in place.
'Y*cough* Yea,' Matt attempts to say.
We both climb back into the car, Matts hands are thundering against the wheel as his entire body shakes.
'Il drive,' I tell him helping him out of the car and into the passenger seat.
I climb into the car and drive away from the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in my life.
'It.. was a zombie,' Matt says as colour is slowly returning to his face.
'Don't be stupid,' I say as if convincing myself more than him. 'We don't know what it was but lets not get ahead of our selves, lets just focus on getting away from here.'
We drove for miles away from the city centre until we see a collection of cars parked haphazardly around a 24 hour garage which has the shutters drawn closed. I slowly drive closer looking left and right for any more of those things out there, but we haven't seen any since the first.
'What do you think,' I ask Matt as we get closer to the garage.
'I think we need supplied and this looks as good a place as any,' he replies.
'Agreed, we don't even have any weapons though what if we get attacked again?' I ask.
'Check the back.' Matt says.
We exit the car several yards before the garage and opened the boot, inside was a crowbar and Matts golf clubs.
'Better than nothing, Matt says.
Matt picks up his driver club and swings it a couple of times before shrugging and walking back round to the passenger side. I pick up the crowbar and shut the boot before joining matt.
'Leave the engine running just in case we need to make a quick getaway,' I say.
'Good call,' He replies.
We head to the garage and do a check all around its perimeter, there is nothing here. At least not on the outside, we silently head to the door also with its shutters down. I exchange a look with Matt and back at the car, making it clear, if anything happens, run! I raise my hand to the shutter and after a brief hesitation bang on it 3 times. I hear a shuffling inside. One way or another there is someone or something inside.
'WE'RE ALIVE, WE'RE HUMAN, IS ANYBODY IN THERE?' I shout.
END OF CHAPTER I