Infected: A short story

by: Katie Ramirez

“How long are we supposed to wait for them to get back? They could be dead already or worse, infected,” Christine said, while she lit yet another cigarette.

“Wow, way to be an optimist. It’s only been three days since they left Christine, maybe if you listened once in a while you would know that we are supposed to wait here for at least a week before we move on,” said Drew. “Besides, we finally found a secure grocery store to stay in for once. I don’t know about you but I like the fact that we don’t have to worry about food shortage.” Drew was getting tired of having the same conversations over and over again with Christine. He couldn’t help but think about how much better off he would be with just him and his dog Picasso. It’s weird for him to think about, he used to only want to talk to Christine and would go out of his way just to say hi, but that was before everything changed. Back when he had never held a gun before and would put everyone before himself. When his parents were still alive and he didn’t have to worry about the infection that now plagues the earth.

“I think it is so great that you criticize me for not listening yet whenever I talk nowadays you just zone out into your own little world. ‘I’m Drew and it doesn’t matter what anyone else says just as long as I get my own point across,’” mocked Christine.

“I thought that if you were alone you were more likely to go insane but every time you open that black hole you call a mouth I feel my sanity slip away just a little bit more.” Drew was getting angry, but if someone was to ask him why he wouldn’t be able to give an answer.

“I didn’t know I was that much of a bother to you.” Christine was obviously holding back tears, her voice gave it away.

Drew didn’t have a chance to say anything else because Christine ran out of the room. He had more important things to worry about than his moody girlfriend though. Like the fact that Picasso needed to be fed and the only thing he will eat is the infected. Drew would do anything for Picasso though; he’s his best friend, the only one who he can talk to, the only one who doesn’t judge him. Picasso has been with him for eight years and he plans to keep him around until the day he dies.

“Picasso!” Drew called.

The fifty-five pound Husky came bounding into the room, already seeming to know he was going to be getting his favorite meal. Drew grabbed the sniper rifle and headed for the back exit. He wouldn’t be heading out into the city streets but he had to let Picasso out. Drew would just keep watch from the top of the store. It was oddly quiet when he got to the back door but he wasn’t going to worry about it too much. He slowly opened the door and once Picasso made it out he quickly closed the door and headed for the staircase leading to the roof. Drew found a nice place to sit and just let his mind wander.

“Drew, I think we should talk,” Christine said ruining the silence.

“About?”

“Well, mostly about how much you have changed, and I just think you need to vent to someone other than that dog of yours.”

“Okay, where do you want to start? When I had to shoot Cynthia because she became infected and I had never even held a gun before? How about we go even farther back and talk about everything that happened to lead to this moment right now?”

“I know things are hard right now Drew, but I need you to keep sane. Not only for me but for yourself too,” Christine said while she grabbed his hand.

“It’s hard Christine . . . I can’t help but think about what would happen if I couldn’t protect you, I . . . I would never be able to forgive myself. I let Cynthia get infected and even though I hated her guts, I still felt sick to my stomach when I shot her dead.” Drew was holding onto Christine now like his life depended on it. “I wouldn’t be able to kill you if it came down to it Christine.”

Picasso’s barking ended their conversation. Drew got up to go let his dog back into the store. When he saw the now full Picasso Drew felt a lot better, like maybe they would make it to the army base and everything would be fine in the end.

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