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Instytut Filologii

Instytut Filologii

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Akadamia Pomorska Słupsk

THE INFECTED CIVILIZATION by Maryia Viktorchyk

                                                                                   #zostańwdomu

All people believe they there is a purpose to their life. All people believe that they are born with their destinies and there is nothing you can change about that. We all have our plans of who we want to become or what we want to accomplish in life. However, one tiny mistake of humanity can change the whole world. And nothing will ever be the same.
    I was a student at university where I was studying to become an international translator. I had moved to the US for a couple of years. My family was back in England where I grew up. When I turned 13, I finally realised what I wanted to do in my life. I had a very strong desire to move abroad, study at a very prestigious university, get my degree, find the job of my dreams (this is what they say you should do, that type of thing) and, of course settle down in a nice house. Well, I started slowly and I was on my way to my dream. I was renting a flat in a house and my landlady was living just above me. We never really saw each other because I had my own entrance to my flat and I even had a garden. I was following my dream because I believed that with the right amount of effort and determination, I will succeed. But it seemed like my life was about to change everything I knew in this world.
- Adeline, how many times should I tell you not to use your phone? Is it really that difficult to put it away for 20 minutes? - said Mrs. Goodman, our translation teacher.
- Sorry about that, - I answered with a little smile on my face.
- Seems like you will have to show the rest of your photos later - said Luna. She was my good friend at university. She showed me what the real meaning of fun was. We were both from abroad so we were always helping each other.
- Yes, it does. But unfortunately after this class I have to get home. I’m having a meeting in the afternoon so before that I will need to take Max for a walk, - I whispered in her ear.
-Oh, okay, - she winked at me and showed me a thumb up.
    Later on in the afternoon when I came back home, Max (my lovely German Shepherd) was so happy to see me. He did not want to leave me alone. I had adopted him the previous year when he was still a puppy. Since I was a little girl I had been always dreaming of having a dog. I had trained him very well so walking and living with him was very pleasant and comfortable. We both went to the kitchen and I was about to give him a snack when I heard a knock on the door. I was wondering who it was because I wasn’t expecting any visitors. I came to the door and of course I was not going to open before asking who was there. I did not hear any kind of satisfactory response. However, that strange knocking sound continued, and what I heard behind the door was just some very weird noise which I could say was my landlord’s voice. I opened the door and what I saw completely terrified me. Here was my landlady barely standing on her feet with very pale skin, white eyes and blood all around the mouth.
- Oh, my God, Mrs. Koli, are you alright? – I asked her nervously, but obviously something was wrong. Max came closer to me and once he saw her, he started barking like crazy and then Mrs. Koli attacked me, screaming and sputtering her saliva everywhere. I screamed once or twice  very loudly trying to protect myself and block her away, but it seemed like she wanted to bite me with her bleeding teeth, piercing me with her insane eyes. Max continued barking at her, and I fell onto the small table and dropped the vase with my keys trying to get her off me. I was terrified. My fear paralysed my mind but also it helped me to gain more strength to fight. I pushed Mrs. Koli away and she fell down on to the floor. I looked at her with my eyes open wide, trying to breathe, and I could tell that it was not my landlady at all. It was some wild animal...beast...monster. I felt like it was just a bad dream which should go away soon, but the pain in my arms and legs told me it was as real as the day. Mrs. Koli was about to get up and I knew she would attack me. In this situation the most important thing is not to lose one’s mind and attack first. That is why I ran to the kitchen to grab anything that could help me knock her down. 
- MAAAX! COME HERE! – I shouted and headed to the kitchen. Max ran with me and in this situation it was of course difficult to think clearly, but I was trying my best to keep him behind me. I ran to the table extremely fast where I was trying to find a weapon. My hands were shaking badly, and when I heard the sound of that monster getting to the kitchen, I grabbed the frying pan and once I turned around, that thing was already there running towards me, throwing blood all around the kitchen and showing those disgusting teeth. I did not hesitate a minute and I hit that creature with it. It was disorientated and I started smashing its head with the pan over and over again, and once it collapsed on the floor, I kept on pounding the monster releasing my emotions in screaming.  It was not my intention to stop and check because I knew it was either her or me. To my horror, somehow that creature was still moving. There was blood splashing everywhere.  Parts of the head with skin were flying around the kitchen, creating some sort of nightmarish scene. Once it stopped moving, I stopped for a second. I was out of breath. I was panicking from inside because I had just murdered my own landlady, who had turned into some sort of monster. I was looking at her body and could not understand what was going on. But I knew for sure that this thing would not bother me ever again.
- HEEEEELP! – I heard someone scream outside. I stepped over that dead body trying not to get  dirty and came to the front door and what I saw was one word....Chaos. People screaming, running around, eating each other, attacking, bleeding, fighting..... I knew for sure that I had to get out of there. 
Max, - I whistled. - Come here boy c’mon quick, - the dog ran to me and I could say he was not any less terrified than me. Luckily, I had bought a bow with arrows and a sword before for one festival and a gun for self-defence. I quickly got into my room, grabbed the weapons and headed to my car (an orange Jeep Renegrade, suitable for such ordeals). I was in a hurry to drive away and I definitely did not want to face any of those creatures again. I opened the door to my car, Max jumped in and then I shut it, heading to the driving seat. I got inside, commanded Max to sit down and started the engine. The scene in front of me was very difficult to describe. I drove away from my house. The street was crowded with people, strange creatures and one horrid commotion.  Max was very tense and that is why he did not stop looking around and growled all the time. It was very difficult to drive through because there were a lot of those strange monsters out there. 
- BOOOM – something smashed against the rear window of the car and I jumped, putting more pressure on the gas pedal. Those monsters started running towards my car and wanted to get to me. Because of the chaos I wasn’t following any rules and I drove as fast as possible just to get away from Orlando. Finally I got out of the city and on to the motorway. There were other people driving away. Somehow in those cars there turned out to be those creatures and they were eating the passengers alive. My head was so blocked. I wanted to escape from this hell. I decided to turn into a small road away from the motorway. I was simply driving as fast as I could. Thanks to Max I did not lose my head. A few minutes later I was finally out of that chaos and was driving away. I knew I had to come up with some plan where to go and what to do next. I had my aunt in Rake, a small village in Iowa. She had a huge farm with her husband. It was the only one place I could think of.  However, the distance I had to drive was rougly 1470 miles and getting there would take a lot of time. Plus I still needed some answers to what the hell all this was about. I needed supplies but for the time being, I just didn’t want to stop.
    After some hours, Max finally fell asleep next to me, hanging his head down the seat. It was only 5pm but I knew soon it would be dark and driving at night without food and rest was risky. Luckily I saw a petrol station. I drove to the parking lot very carefully, looking around and checking for other cars or people. There was no one. I parked away from the entrance. I woke up Max and I decided to get in there. I got my small pistol, let Max out and told him to stay next to me. I was alert. I had my gun up just in case. Once I was in front of the door, I tried to listen to any sounds inside. Complete silence. The doors opened automatically and I was in. I started looking around.
- Max, next one, boy – I commanded and started checking every corner. It seemed like the place was empty.
- Do not move and put your gun down! - said someone behind my back. The dog started barking and growling, and I turned around. It was a middle-aged man with a thick beard, quite plump (probably because of his work) and with a uniform on (so it meant he was working there). 
- I do not mean any harm, sir – I said very clearly – I just got here to get more petrol and more food.
- Have you been bitten recently or scratched? – asked this man, who seemed defiant and yet very nervous.
- No I have not. I came from Orlando and heading north. I need supplies and that is all.
I saw that the man did not want to back down but he believed me.
- Fine then - he lowered his gun, - choose whatever you want. Got a request though. Will you give me a lift in the morning?
- Yeah, sure - I agreed even though normally I would not do that – thanks by the way. Max calm down, he is a friend. – I told the dog and he relaxed, looking at me and waging his tail.
- You have a lovely dog - said the man somewhat timidly. 
- Thanks, he is indeed. – I answered, and then I began to move round the shop to get all kinds of supplies. The dog started sniffing everything and checking around. When I came to the desk where the man was sitting, I was about to give him money but he refused.
- Don’t bother. Money doesn’t mean anything any more. It is just a piece of paper.
- Oh, okay. Thanks for that but... - I hesitated to ask because I was afraid of the answer, - Do you know what happened? 
- It is some kind of virus. It causes fever, pain and can be spread by bite and scratches of the infected. I am not sure where it all started but there was an announcement on TV saying that it is advisable to stay at home, not to go out at night while they are trying to figure out how to solve this problem. Many people are infected, especially in big cities. I was supposed to go home after my shift but it seems like the world is coming to an end – he said sadly, looking down on the floor.
- But.... do you.....think.... they can...solve this? – I did not want to believe in any of that. He looked at me and I already knew the answer by looking in his eyes.
- I doubt that because... – he paused. – it is becoming worse and worse each minute. I believe that people are sort of turning into zombies. 
I was stunned, confused and shocked... but I knew I should not give up. For now it was good that I was away from the chaos...well...I thought so.
    The morning was very nice, sunny and pleasant. Of course It did not seem like the end of the world at all. Max was lying close to me, curled up and snug. His warm body and fluffy fur made me feel like I was at home. However, coming back to reality we were still in the car. We had to move on and of course, we needed to take that man with us in order to return the favour. I stretched my body and I was ready to go outside. Instead of creating a lot of problems, I decided to leave the dog in the car, quickly go to the shop and invite the man to the car. I got out of the car, commanded Max to stay and looked around. I could say that we were quite far from any city or town. Luckily at night nothing bothered us. The field was shining from morning dew; the trees in the distance were rustling as if whispering to one another. I headed to the shop, enjoying the surroundings. I opened the door to the shop and looked around. I called the man, but in return I got silence. Suddenly I heard the sound of something being dropped on the floor from the back of the shop. I froze and got a strange feeling inside. I called the man again, however, I did not get any response. I was slowly approaching the backdoor where his office was supposed to be. I heard something (probably the man) snarling. It did not seem alright at all. 
- Man, tell me what is going on? – I asked very nervously and then from the corner of the office the man jumped out and ran towards me, trying to attack. He wasn’t human any more. I got so scared because I did not expect that at all. While he was chasing me around the shop, I ran out of the shop as fast as I could. I heard that snarling and growling behind me and it made me scream very loudly. Once I was out, there was another walking dead body approaching me. Once it saw me, it dashed towards me with a lot of blood, wounds and probably broken arm judging by the  bone sticking out. Max was all agitated inside the car, worried about me. Using all my speed, I opened the door with lightning speed, jumped in and closed the door. Those two zombies attacked my car trying to break in, using their heads. Their faces were absolutely disgusting and horrifying. Their skin was so pale and rotten that it definitely indicated the dead body of a human. Their eyes were feral and degraded, without any life in them. I started the car immediately because I didn’t want to stay there another second. I commanded Max to calm down and then I drove away from that place, looking back to check if they were following us or not. I couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened. I was in panic, shaking, and fely my heart  was about to jump out. I was looking around to see other forms of life and, to my surprise, there were some zombies in the fields. When I met some of them on the road, I avoided them in order not to get into a car accident.
- I suppose the man was right – I said looking at Max lying next to me – I think it got worse overnight. Now they are everywhere and hopefully, my aunt will be able to help us because if not her, then I have no idea where to go next.
    For me, my aunt’s farm was the only way-out, the only hope. The dog was as confused as me and I just wanted to stroke him and comfort him but suddenly I looked back on the road and  saw one of those creatures emerge out of nowhere. I lost control over my vehicle and desperately tried to manage my wheel and turn around. I do not know why I didn’t just go through that thing considering the fact it was dead anyway. But I got pushed to the side of the road and thanks to the forest this road was going through, my car hit a tree very hard and after that I went into the blackness when the barking started to fade away. 
...
    I got a terrible headache. My whole body was covered in pain. For some reason I felt like I was sitting on something very comfortable. I started hearing noises around me. The sound of a  car’s engine.... some music.... dog’s breathing..... someone humming. I started to move my body slowly and when I turned my head to the left side, I saw Max’s face, but behind that, from the blurry vision, the picture started to get clearer and I saw a figure...a body... a man. Considering the car, it seemed like he was tall, with black, coal-like hair, broad shoulders, strong hands and a very serious look on his face. For a moment I did not give it much thought but suddenly it hit me. I jumped up.
- HEY! – I screamed at him and leaned back against the window – What the hell? Who are you?
- Whoa, whoa! Relax, calm down – he turned his face towards me and his deep green eyes with that cheerful peaceful smile seemed very suspicious to me. 
- Stop the car NOW! – I shouted at him, repeating the same phrase over and over again. 
He finally listened to me and he pulled over. As far as I could see, we were on some kind of motorway, there were some cars left out on the road. Once the car sully stopped, I jumped out of the car and was trying to find any kind of weapon on my belt or pockets. The guy went around the car, coming to me but I told him to stay where he was. 
- Who the hell are you and why am I in your car? – I looked at his car trying to remember what had actually happened to me.
-Okay, calm down! I know you are stressed - the guy listened to me and stopped moving, trying to explain in a peaceful manner – My name is Daniel. The reason why you are here is because I found your car smashed against a tree and surrounded by the walking dead.  The only one reason I actually thought there was someone alive is by your dog barking inside. I killed all of them, took your supplies – and he pointed at his trunk – and got you out of there. After that we drove away and then you woke up. That’s kind of it, really. – he shrugged his shoulders – I know that we are strangers but you should know that I have no bad intention. Think if I wanted you dead and did not care, I would have left you there but considering the situation a companion would be very helpful.
    His words sounded convincing and it all made sense. However, it was just strange that he turned out to be on the same road as me. Deep down, I agreed that having a partner in this situation is useful. 
- I suppose you are right – I relaxed – But if we are going to stick together, we need to make some rules. And for the rest of our trip, I don’t want to be in this car with a stranger so you will have to tell me everything about you. 
- Okay – he nodded – But in return, I would like you to speak too. I agree rules are necessary but the question is: where were you heading?
- I have an aunt who lives on a farm in Rake. It is probably around 1000 miles away from here. I think it will be safe to stay there for some time.
- Okay then, we will go along with your plan then. I was thinking… I’ll drive you there but then I will head to New York to my family.
- Sounds like a plan – I agreed and then we got back into the car.
...
    During the first hours in the car we had a chance to get to know each other. He seemed honest and sincere. He was from a small town not far from Orlando. He was a mechanic working in a garage with cars. We made our shifts of driving so that both of us would be rested and would have time to relax in the back of the car. Everything was going nice and smoothly, but once we got to a wider part of the motorway, that is where we faced a problem. In the distance we saw so many empty cars that it was difficult to count. We got cautious. At the time Dan was driving so I moved closer to the driver’s seat to see what is going on. We were so occupied with looking at the cars, that we did not notice that we drove over something which caught the bottom of the car.
- Oh damn it!- exclaimed Dan and hit the wheel with the hand.
- What was that?- I asked curiously looking around trying to understand what it was. And then the car started to slow down and it seemed like all the walkers spotted us from afar. Of course, when you are the only one vehicle around, it is impossible not to notice. We saw all walkers crawling and walking towards us. Dan was the only one who could check and fix the problem in the car because that car was the only way to survive and reach our destination. 
- Adeline, you will have to clear the way and keep them away from me while I am fixing the problem. I will have to hurry but it is the only way. Take the sword and the gun – Dan said heading to the trunk of the car and opening it. He passed me the gun, a rifle and my sword and then he looked at me trying probably to comfort me – and remember you should not be afraid of killing them because they are no longer human, and if they don’t die, then they will take you down. Be confident and I know you can do that - he touched my shoulder trying to motivate me, I guess. Of course I hesitated about the gun because it could attract more walkers, but at least I didn’t have to let them come close. I called Max and we both went up the front. First I decided to use the rifle because the sword would be as my last resort. I took cover behind the car. The dog was by my side. I stroked him, said “Good boy” and took a closer look at the walkers. They were snarling, sniffing and looking around. Their bodies were so ripped and sometimes half-eaten. What made it worse was the countless cars, things left outside the cars, which were covered in blood. The dead bodies I spotted in some cars and the scene really made me feel sick and dizzy.  There were around 10-15 of them approaching. I looked at them through the back windows of the car and decided to take aim. I knew I had to take only head shots. Suddenly Max started barking next to me and once I looked around, there was a walker attacking us. Max jumped towards the walker straight away, trying to chew through his arm. Because I was caught up in the moment, I pointed the gun at the walker trying to aim but everything was happening so fast that I wasn’t able to concentrate. I commanded Max to leave the walker alone so that I could have a clean shot. Unfortunately it took me 5 bullets to put the monster down. The parts of body and the drops of blood were spreading everywhere. Then I decided not to hide and carry on. I turned to the side and tried to aim at them. It was difficult considering the fact that my crazy heart was so close to exploding inside my chest. In these circumstances I simply couldn’t hold my breath and shoot just like during regular practice. Of course, I missed a couple of times. I had to hold the dog from running away but if someone was close to me, he would not stay still and let me deal with that. The most terrifying thing about the walkers was probably the sound which gives you the image of their nasty teeth digging in your skin trying to get some food out of your flesh. I didn’t want to use the gun all the time so I took the sword and just made my steps towards them. I was prepared, confident, determined and maybe angry in a way. My anger, pain and sadness could be finally released through the violent act of cutting their heads off. I was on my high pitch of the kill mode when Daniel called me, driving closer to the murder scene. 
...
- Aunt Luna? – I screamed out loud while searching for her in the house. I literally searched everywhere, even in the cellar and basement, but no trace of her, no sign that anyone was at home. Dan didn’tt want to interrupt and he was waiting outside. I was very worried about my aunt because I was sure that she would be there in a protected zone. The last shred of hope was wrung out of me when I finally realized that I had looked everywhere and was left with nothing. 
- I have no idea where they are. I was sure they would be here. - I was walking from side to side, next to the car. Dan felt sorry for me because after such a long trip it turned out there was no destination. If only it had all been a bad dream and we all could get back to the normal world! I would then probably have met the person who I would spend a great time with in Rosie Cafe, then I would have come back home, talked to my best friend who is probably now dead or al..
- Wait, what did you just say about the cafe? – Dan got serious and interrupted me. He looked very concerned.
-That I was supposed to meet a friend of a friend at university. Apparently he was good at shooting and I wanted to talk about the chance to have practice away from the city.
- Adeline – his voice made me feel anxious anew - I was coming to Rosie Cafe to meet a girl when all of this hell broke loose… And I was told that she was studying at the same university and was from abroad.
I was stunned. I didn’t believe what I had just heard. We were standing looking at each other, fully confused and shocked. We were supposed to have met before and somehow of all the people in the world, I met him on that road where he saved my life... Some people might not believe in destiny, but at the moment I realised that for some reason we were meant to stick together. I felt pressure in my chest and my hands started to sweat. I couldn’t say a word, and Daniel got it from my facial expression. He gently smiled at me as he opened his mouth to speak. 
- Well, since our first meeting didn’t materialise as planned, I am glad I found you on that road. Let’s stay together from now on. 
 

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