What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* Dan Adams is a Sydney-based writer. When he’s not penning kick ass war stories, he’s working on his guns - the arm variety, rather than the weapons featured so prominently in his books. He loves slushies and always finds himself climbing too many stairs on Wednesdays. Follow him on Twitter at @DanAdamsWriter
* The man was running toward them and Alice instinctively stood and moved in front of her sister, resting her hands on her hips in an attempt to look as intimidating as possible. Last term she had adopted the same stance in the playground when Susie P had stormed up to her and accused her of snitching. She had held her ground then and Susie was a proper bitch — this guy looked like he had nothing on a pampered schoolgirl.
* ‘Oh dear, oh dear,’ he muttered as he saw them, huffing between words to catch his breath.
* Alice didn’t know what he meant by that but even her little sister had risen, and now stood behind her, clutching her book to her chest like a makeshift shield.
* He slowed, glancing over his shoulder, then to his phone, then back over his shoulder again before slowing and changing his direction to come their way. Behind him the street was empty, and the air hung heavy with static, a shimmering haze warped the road in the distance.
* ‘What are you doing outside?’ he asked in disbelief.
* Alice thought it was none of his business and told him as such.
* ‘Didn’t you see the news?! It’s been all over the television and radio.’
* ‘Do you see any of either of those around here?’ she retorted, indicating with the wave of her hand the open expanse of the park.
* He looked at her like she hadn’t heard a word he had said. ‘The infection … it’s been all over the news. They are telling everyone to remain indoors and people who display symptoms are … dangerous.’
* ‘What do you mean infection?’
* The man was clearly getting frustrated, ‘The fatal kind.’
* Alice’s sister let out a whimper behind her. It probably wasn’t as bad as he was making out. People died all the time from diseases.
* At the sight of her questioning raised eyebrow, the man elaborated. ‘It’s worse than just death. Once they die, they get back up and start feeding on the closest human. If you don’t believe me check out YouTube. I’m sure someone’s posted something by now.’
* Alice skimmed her finger along the screen of her phone, quickly thumbed in her password without taking her eyes from his face. He was looking nervous; his fingers were shaking and he kept looking back in the direction he had come from.
* A moment later she had opened a browser and was skimming through videos labeled ‘zombie outbreak’, ‘woman eats child’ and ‘The apocalypse is here’. She clicked on the first and tapped her foot impatiently as the video loaded. The screen opened and was filled with a woman cradling a man in her arms, both covered in blood. At first it looked nothing more like some horrific accident, and the woman was grieving the loss. Until the woman leant down and tore a chunk of flesh from the man’s chest, ripping her head back and Alice could clearly see meat dangling from her mouth, her jaw moving up and down as she devoured it.
* Alice put the back of her hand over her mouth to stop herself from vomiting. The video panned down the street behind the meal and a crowd of blood-covered monsters were shuffling toward the filmer’s location. Then someone muttered ‘Oh fuck’ and the video cut off abruptly.
* Alice’s face was drained of colour as she slowly put her phone away. The man, who had stood patiently while she discovered the horrid truth for herself, was now jumping from foot to foot, scanning the distance.
* ‘Ok, I believe you now.’
* ‘Finally. They are evacuating the city at four different points. We’re closer to the south exit, at the school on Williams street. Do you know where that is?’
* ‘Yeah, I know.’
* The man pulled his phone back out of his waistcoat pocket and looked at the time. ‘We’ve got 20 minutes before they quarantine the city and no one else gets out. The army will probably fire bomb the city if ground troops can’t deal with it.’
* Alice wondered if he had formerly been in the military or if he was just repeating what he had heard on the news. It didn’t really matter, but she was curious, if only for a second. She was about to ask him when the sound of smashing glass resonated in the distance followed a split second later by a wailing car alarm. Then there was the high-pitched scream.
* ‘Fuck it, let’s go! I don’t want to be late,’ the man ordered, before turning and racing off south.
* Alice looked at her sister then back at the man. She grabbed Elizabeth by the hand and raced after him, risking a glance back over her shoulder. She immediately knew she shouldn’t have. The first wave of the walking corpses came around the corner where the man had come from and her heart leapt into her throat.
* Alice fixated on the man at the front of the pack. Perhaps ‘man’ was a loose description now.
* Half his face was missing, exposing the whiteness of the jaw and teeth underneath the skin and muscle. Blood dripped from the remains of his dark goatee and covered the front of his white shirt. His head hung to one side and he seemed to be dragging his left foot along with each labored step of his right.
* ‘Don’t turn around sis, just keep your eyes focused on the man in front of us, the man in the waistcoat,’ Alice pleaded, making a bigger push to catch up to him.
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