Erik sings parts of a song long past it’s prime. He recalled his life as the music flowed through his ears… but he brushed it away and swallowed the rest of the whiskey he found.

“The world was different,” he thought as a zombie stumbled through the aisles of an abandoned grocery. “At least it’s the only zombie in here.”

Erik stood, he stared through grime-covered glass at an abandoned grocery he had been calling home for two months.

“Gary!” Erik shouted, opening the glass doors of a defunct refrigerator.

Startled, the zombie leapt. It turned its grotesque head then returned to it’s aimless search for the living.

“You freak”, he shouted. “The only other creature here and I still can’t get attention.”

Erik reached for a gallon of solidified milk, he opened the door wide and threw the jug at the zombie.

“Hey, stink-face. Eat me.”

The solidified milk burst from the jug, covering the zombie in white.

Erik laughed… coughed… then laughed again.

The zombie turned and growled. It then marched toward Erik.

“Gary is mad.. Gary is mad…” Erik taunted between fits of laughter. “Ha…”

A noise within the dark store warehouse changed his mood.

Did he lock the back door? Did someone figure out his traps and walk inside?

A crash. Several human voices. A curse followed by several others. The noise within the darkness confirms Erik’s fear. He attempts the close the glass refrigerator door but it will not move.

Erik stared into the pale, dead eyes of a mid-sized zombified human. The creature grasp the glass door. His right arm outstretched. His hand holding the glass door. Erik moved his hand backward. The zombie took in a deep breath to reveal it’s perfect teeth. Erik paused. The zombie had teeth polished and healthy.

“What the hell,” Erik said to himself as he withdrew his hand. Gary, the zombie, shoved the door and the glass shattered. The creature squared it’s body with the frame of the open doorway, bared it’s teeth and stepped forward.

“Gary!” Erik shouted. “Gary, have you been brushing your teeth? I lost my teeth six months ago and you have thirty-some tighty-whities. What the hell… I thought we were friends. You know we can’t be friends anymore.”

Erik stepped back. A shelf of empty bottles of liquor fell. They crashed upon the dirty floor. Gary pushed through the doorway and into the disabled refrigeration unit. Gary snapped.

Erik grabbed the left side of the zombie’s head. Attempted to push it sideways. Gary turned it’s face and Erik’s left arm came within inches of those perfect teeth.

Erik shook with fear. He withdrew his arm, held the zombie with his right and shoved the zombie backward. Erik stepped forward pushed Gary backward with his right foot. The zombie flailed, tripped and fell into a store aisle. The dusty products cascaded to the floor.

“Christ,” shouted the human stranger. “Who has time to string up all this rope.”

“It sounds to me like someone else, non dead, is here.”

“Get out of my home!” Erik shouted.

“Listen dude,” said one of the men. “We need shelter. You look to be smart. We don’t mean to cause any issue.”

“I don’t have time for this,” Erik growled.

Erik looked to his left. He found Gary struggling to stand with a long piece of aluminum thrust through his thin chest. Erik stumbled into the darkness of the warehouse.

A new scent waft within the darkness. It was a very uncomfortable scent, familiar. Erik knew the smell immediately.

“You left the door open! You let them in!”

The invading zombies growled. The scent coming closer.

“Light switch… Light switch.. where did I put you,” Erik sang.

The zombies approached. He heard the other human strangers struggle. A string struck Erik’s face. He paused, smiled and pulled. A sheet of aluminum fell from the ceiling. Erik leapt forward. His shoulder struck a large steel shelf. Pain screamed from his shoulder to his hands. The sheet of aluminum rocked within the stale air of the warehouse. Light from a skylight flooded a small section of the darkness.

Erik rolled to his back, holding his shoulder. He watched as the thin silver sheet struck a black steel shelf, causing it to ring. The sheet fell forward and into a small zombie woman approaching. The sheet shoved the undead woman and knocked her over.

The light illuminated a large circular pattern in the center of a warehouse of neglected store stock. Near the open back door Erik saw another zombie stumble in.

“Close the damn door!” He ordered.

The woman zombie moaned then stood. The sheet of aluminum fell from her shoulder leaving a view of the bone beneath the rotten skin.

The sheet fell forward…

Erik twisted and turned to free himself. The creature bled a thick putrid liquid. Erik shoved the creature up and away. The sheet of aluminum slipped from the wound and thundered to the ground.

Erik stumbled backward. He removed his shirt and pants. He skirted back and hid within the darkness. He fell asleep.

The sound of hammers, multiple hammers woke Erik from his sleep. The voices echo through the warehouse-sized back room.

“This is a stupid place to hide. Have you seen the large picture windows. Dude, find some large sheets of wood or something.”

“Shut up yo.. This is the only thing close we could find. Don’t criticize.”

Erik grumbled. He stood and the room spun.

“Get out!” He shouted from the darkness.

“What the hell was that,” said one of the voices.

“There is someone in here, you idiot.” Replied the other. “It’s likely a survivor.”

“Get out!” Erik repeated. Stepped forward and stumbled over several boxes of back stock. He fell and the crash echoed through the room.

“What if he is a zombie?”

“He is not, Sean. Zombies don’t talk.”

“How am I supposed to know that Anthony. We have been here thirty minutes.”

“Just hold on.”

“We are not here to harm you, brother. We are here for shelter. We were captured and tossed into the walls of the city. This is the closest safe shelter, replied the voice.

“You’ll see how safe it is when you fall into my traps,” Erik replied.

“What traps,” replied one of others. “Those stupid-ass wires we cut with the weights?”

Erik stood, shoved a sheet of plywood forward. It slipped under the metal shelves, then slid into his ankles. He swore and found himself trapped against the back wall.

The human intruders approached with flashlights searching.

“Sir, don’t be frightened we will not hurt you,” a voice added.

“I’m not frightened you idiot. I don’t want you here in my shelter.” Erik shot back.

“Maybe we should just leave him… no then he would bitch too much. Let’s just kill him.”

“No Sean,” said Andrew.

Erik’s attempted to lift the plywood trap but the space between him and the wall restricted his movements. Erik watched as the light came closer. The light highlighted an image of Erik within a nearby mirror.

“You know they are after you,” said his doppleganger. They are hunters. They are looking for Erik, the horrible.”

“I did not do what they accused me of,” Erik shouted. The image disappeared.

“Hey, bro… We ain’t judging you,” said Sean. “They got us too. Hell if it was trumped up.”

“Ha…” laughed Andrew.

“Just help me,” Erik pleaded.

The lights converged on Erik revealing a fifty year old disheveled man. Half of Erik’s face was covered in curly black and grey hair.

“Just help me out.” Erik snapped.

Andrew and Sean begin to pull wood and debris to free Erik.

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