I would like to introduce Jeremy Bergen. He is our Zombie Flash Fiction Contest Winner. Please give him a warm applause! :)
Jeremy R Bergen is a 22 year old aspiring actor/writer and has been writing stories for as long as he can remember. To date, he has written multiple short stories, a screenplay, and a one-act play. His brain is filled with ideas for many more. Currently he is working on developing a novel. Jeremy graduated from Providence College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Theatre with a minor in Communications and Media. Jeremy currently lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
So I guess this is it. The final stand of humanity. Nowhere to go from here. A jungle gym, some swings, a slide, a couple of fire poles. Everything, everywhere crawling with those afflicted with the epidemic. A few believed that they were people with a severe disease, but most asserted their opinion that they were the walking dead. At the moment I was on the fence in regards to the invasion of our summer serenity.
All around me is the reminders of the summer camp that I would happily attend for seven days a year. Seven days where all I got to do was revisit my old life. A few years ago, my parents moved with my younger sister and me to a community in the city. Dad got a better job apparently. It sucks for me though because I don’t like my school. My teacher doesn’t care about me and everyone in my class hates me. Most days I just end up going home right after school, doing my homework, and not leaving the house. When I do go out, it’s usually to go for a walk by myself in the neighbourhood. These seven days of camp were all I had to visit the friends I had at my old school. Due to the situation this year, I got to see my friends for an extra two weeks, but this will be the last year of summer camp. There will be no return from this.
I glance around the play structure and I see frazzled versions of my favourite people. I’ve known my best friend Kenny for as long as I can remember. I think we had play dates when we were still in diapers. We did everything together. Now I only see him once a year. I’m afraid my last memories of him will be him fighting off death with an old baseball bat. Benjamin is a boy that I only met last year at camp but we became friends very quickly. I can’t pinpoint it but I was able to relate to him deeply after knowing him for five minutes. I sure hope those sapling branches he whittled are pinpoint sharp. Julie is the cute girl I knew from my old school. We used to talk a lot before she started to mature and hang out with the other girls more. She still smiled at me the first time she saw me at camp every year. She isn’t smiling now. Her face is the epitome of fear as she maintains her death grip on a canoe paddle.
Twelve hours ago that paddle had a very different purpose. The four of us, plus two counsellors, were on a morning canoe trip out in the lake. The lake was calm and beautiful. Back at camp things were tense as we were placed under government quarantine for two weeks already. We couldn’t go home because the epidemic was already widespread and they wanted to keep us secluded if they could help it. The lake wasn’t far from the camp so we were allowed to canoe if we didn’t go out too far. I wish we had stayed out there longer because I feel like that is the last serene moment I’ll ever experience.
When we were portaging the canoes back to the camp, I remember hearing lots of running and screaming. I couldn’t see well. Half my face was under a boat. Our counsellor soon told us to just drop the canoes and make a run for the mess hall. I tripped and fell by a small bush on my way there. Soon after I fell, I felt pressure and a sharp pain, never occurring to me that it could have something other than a scrape or a scratch from a plant. I neglected the new danger. When I got to the mess hall, there were lots of campers and a few staff already in there. Someone immediately looked at me and said,
“Dude! Why is your leg turning green? Oh my god, is that what I think it is?”
I then realized that I was sweating, not from running but from a sudden onset fever. Then I remember the floor coming to meet me before things went black.
* * *
I actually woke up a while later. By this time things had changed. I was still in the mess hall, although someone had decided to change my position from where I had taken my impromptu nap. The mess hall was empty. I was very, very hungry. There was lots of food in the building but I had some strange craving I couldn’t identify.
Anyways, I eventually found my friends. They were making their last stand for the camp and for their lives. I’m sorry to say that I was not part of their efforts. I was among the hordes of zombie children stumbling their way towards the play structure and up its polished ladders, steps, and slides. It’s odd really. I’ve read about zombies before and I never expected my thoughts and memories to be intact even though I no longer have any control of whatever body I have left. Any method of exhibiting feelings is all but impossible. If I could have produced tears of emotion, I would have, just to communicate to Julie that I was more than a walking cadaver craving the flesh of the living. I’m glad she was still fighting for her life valiantly alongside everyone else. I never had to watch her suffer through my ordeal. That was the last thing that ran through my head before her paddle did.