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  1. My parents and I ran a small mom & pop donut shop in southern Maine, near Wells, before everything happened. At first we barricaded ourselves in our store, living off our canned goods and sweets. We all huddled together in fear, listening to society collapse around us, pointing our family rifle at our front door. My father had a heart disease though and with our provisions quickly running out, we all decided that a trip to the nearby pharmacy was our best option. My father wanted to go, he felt it was his responsibility as the head of the household. He was too old though and he could hardly run before being hit with a coughing fit. I left early one morning, taking his place and the rifle for defense. I made sure to deadbolt our door and even placed a heavy patio chair in front of it. The trip to the pharmacy was quick and nothing happened, it was looted but I took what I could as quickly as possible. Returning home I encountered my first undead, though I didn't know it at first. It walked out of a house I was approaching, maybe 40 feet away and fearing it was a bandit as it approached I fired a warning shot in its general direction. It showed no reaction nor did it stop. I was shitting my pants at this point still thinking it was a bandit but a deeper sense of dread creeped into the back of my mind, a childish thought really that in that moment actually calmed me somewhat. I shouted a warning again, waited for a response and then quickly shot it in the lower leg. It went down and writhed but it didn't cry out and it still didn't stop. It was then everything clicked and my body trembled uncontrollably; my breath caught in my chest. I became paralyzed, my vision tunneling on the writhing body crawling towards me. I cried, screamed as hard as possible and collapsed in despair. I cried for what felt like forever, losing sense of my surroundings as I curled up. I feared the future and I feared the present and I sure as shit feared being bit in the fucking neck. Zombies, what the fuck man, zombies! The thought of my parents well being finally reached me through the murky dread I felt and I struggled to my feet. I gazed in the direction of my home, at the thing wriggling on the street, at the future awaiting me and I took my first step. I then fired my rifle and took my next step. I trudged home, adrenaline and fear coursing through my veins. Every corner was now a deathtrap and needed to be handled with care. Guess those thousands of hours in csgo are finally paying off for me. I was rounding the corner to our street when a body in the middle of the road stopped me in my tracks. It was my father. He lay in a pool of his own blood with his stomach torn to shreds and scattered around his corpse. Whatever had gotten him had already moved on, abandoning him in the street. I couldn’t stop the tears just as I couldn’t stop my body. I approached him and collapsed at his side, broken, just like him now. The guilt burned me as bad as the loss. It was my fault, I left them defenseless. Then the body twitched and I jumped back, crawling away and babbling incomprehensibly in fear. I won’t lie, I pissed myself when my fathers body rose up. The feeling of that warmth pooling in my underpants is seared with the sight of his clicking teeth and spilling guts. I couldn’t take it, I couldn’t face it and I ran. I ran in a random direction as fast as I could, I was blind and I wouldn’t stop. I ran until I couldn’t, collapsing to my knees in exhaustion. I sat there panting, trying to cope, trying to just think. My head whipped back in the direction of my house as a thought then crossed my mind, my mother. I ran and didn’t even think about her, a fresh wave of dread and shame washed over me as I struggled to get up, to go back. I tried to push myself as hard as possible, but my body fought me the whole way back. I could barely walk out of fear and exhaustion. Another zombie then shambled into the street from a nearby yard, barely 10 feet away. My flight response kicked in immediately and I ran again. I ran and ran and when I couldn’t run anymore I hid. I hid in a dumpster for 2 days, just curled up in a daze. I didn’t have the gun and I didn’t have any food or water. Eventually my thirst drove me out of hiding and I scavenged a vending machine. I needed the gun, I knew how important it was and worked up the courage to go back home. I reached our street again but couldn’t bring myself to round the corner, my body froze as the memory flashed through my mind once more. I stood at that corner for 10 minutes, terrified and furious and distraught. A distant crashing sound finally urged me to move and I rounded the corner. There was nothing. No dead body, no gun, no supplies. For a moment I believed it all wasn't real, but the crimson pool in the middle of the road practically screamed no at me. The disappointment of losing the gun loomed over me until my eyes crossed over our house. The heavy chair lay toppled on the patio, the front door on the ground next to it. There was blood smeared on each side of the white door frame, a set of handprints clearly imprinted as if someone were dragged inside but was fighting. It was late evening and heavy shadows filled my once bright home. I didn’t call out, in fact I didn’t make a sound, I slipped away as if pretending I’d never come back in the first place. The shame stabbed my heart as I turned my back on my home and family. I never got a goodbye, I never got closure. Not going in that house is the biggest regret of my life. Now I just wander, my goal is Alaska I guess. My friends and I went one summer and I enjoyed it there, plus it’s remote. But that is the destination, right now I’m still on the journey.
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