Doom had struck in a place far from home.
This thought stirred in Lucy’s mind, as she burst through the little door that led to an alley, some minutes ahead of a horde of zombies. She took calculated jumps every now and then as she avoided the dead bodies littered in this zombie-infested part of the Alley. Taking a glance at her back, there was no trace of Alex. He had forced her to continue running while he distracted the zombies.
Taking a sharp steer to the right, she began to belt down into a dark part of the Alley, reaching at the end before the zombies could see where she ducked. She took a deep breath, hoping it would soothe her but it seemed to fuel it the more, as her heart quacked beneath her chest. Groping on the floor with her hands held out, as she sought for a weapon. She felt something like a foot mat. Panicking, she took it up, but a flicker of light that rose from the spot to strike her eyes, gained her attention. It was a gateway to an underground. Gently, she pulled at it, making sure the squeak wasn’t loud enough and began to descend the rusty ladder and also made sure she closed the lid above her head with so much care.
Keeping a watchful eye, there was no sign that a single zombie had visited this place, but she trod carefully as she made into the hall. In no time, she got herself a seat, reached into her pocket and pulled out a photograph and a torch.
Her eyes began to mist as she stared down at Alex, her mom, dad, and her favorite sofa. Tracing Alex’s face, her heart sunk in emotions at the merry crinkle in his eyes, the soft smile that he allowed every time on his face and his curly blond hair trimmed to her taste. Now she imagined his face torn apart from the sharp crusty teeth of the zombies. She began to sob, longing for the cozy feel of her sofa, her mother’s pampering attitude, her dad’s mean face and the sweet gentle breeze of love that bellowed back home.
Something crashing at a distance pulled her out of those memories. She jerked and rose to her feet, slipping back the photograph and the torch. Seconds later, she heard a shuffle. The advancing shuffle increased the pace of her heartbeat, as she stood defenselessly. A silhouette of a man peeked out in the distance, the face becoming clearer with time.
“Who are you?” she asked, staring into the bulging eyes of the man, his head matted in gray hairs, with his ears sagging at the sides like an elf. “Stay back!” she warned an edge of fear in her voice.
When she reached the end of the hall that she could not move back any further, she crouched as she cowers, confused that her assailant was mute.
“Fear not,” the man finally said, as he held his hands out in an attempt to placate her. “I have come to take you home,” he said and stroked his long-white beards, with a sly smile dancing at the corners of his lips.
Wrinkles of surprise crept into her face, which lasted only for a moment before some bliss of hope blew to her face. Gaping at the man, she wondered how the old man intended to walk her through the horde of zombies uncut.
“You can take me home?” she asked, and watched the old man nodded, and somehow she believed him. She didn’t have any reason not to. He was her only ticket back home.
The man stretched out his hands, offering her hands to leap to her feet. She took it and they began to climb up the rusty ladder.
Finally, I’m going home.
“Dad and mom, I’m coming home, ” she whispered under her breath as they jolted through the horde of zombies, encircled in a thin white sheath that looked like a cloud.
Suddenly, she felt a bite at her feet. It was as if something had stung her. She felt the venom growing and it began to spread all over until the world before her began to fade and fizzle away.
“Wake up, Lucy! It’s time for morning prayers.”
She opened her eyes to find her mom staring back at her, waiting for her to clear off the remnant of the sleep still clouding her eyes.
“Jeez!” She jerked up. “So, it was all a dream?” she asked, more to herself than to her mom. “I’m home after all?” She smiled and fell into her mom’s opened arms.
- Chukwuebuka Harrison Aninze is a Medical Laboratory Scientist whose hobbies include reading and writing. He also loves writing flash fictions.