Dear Sam,

I shot someone a few days ago, I don’t mean one of them, I mean an actual person, a live one. I don’t know what happened, but I suppose I should explain so you will understand. I’m not one of them, I’m not a monster.

I was trying to get out of the white zone around Raleigh after all of us separated. I know what you said but I can’t go and find them, not yet anyways, I need more time. I was on the outskirts when I saw another group, they had about 10 people in all. I had been out of food for nearly two weeks. I couldn’t even find a dog left, all of them had already been eaten or fled the city themselves. I had to approach them.

I put my hands up and approached slowly, I didn’t want to startle them, like Jennifer did when she got shot. Even weak with hunger I could remember the way she kept trying to put her intestines back inside her torso, the way her hands kept slipping because of the blood. I didn’t want to die like that; die laughing trying to stuff myself back together.

They motioned for me to stay still, pointing their weapons at me. We were standing on road that ran down a hill, I was at the bottom, they were above me. There were trees on either side, of them. The only building around was a small gas station on my right surrounded by dilapidated cars.

That was when it happened; a horde appeared out of the forest and started down the hill. I tried to scream, but my voice was weak, I couldn’t even whisper. I even tried to walk towards them, but they just brandished their guns at me and kept deliberating. They were being idiotic, I couldn’t waste time on them anymore.

I knew I couldn’t make it to the gas station. I looked to my right and saw what was left of a deer carcass. It had been picked clean, but someone had left the skin and inedible bits in a ditch. I waited, I had to wait until they were overcome or they would shoot me. It didn’t take long.

Soon, they realized their mistake. I dove into the ditch as they sprinted to the gas station. It stank, but I covered myself as best I could in the skin and rubbed myself down with anything with blood still on it trying to hide my scent. That was all I could do, that 30 seconds zapped what was left of my energy, now all I could do was watch.

A couple of the group members had succumbed to the horde as they ran. The rest had tried to fortify the gas station, but from the screams it sounded like they hadn’t checked the inside thoroughly. However, they managed to hold off for a long while. Nightfall came, all I could hear were screams and shooting after that.

It was a night of terror, a few times I could feel something near me, but I couldn’t do anything; to fight would be to attract the rest of the horde. As I heard them fighting for their lives, I had to suppress the urge to laugh, to laugh at the stupidity of it all. To hear the thing that people joked about tearing the limbs off of a person who ceaselessly fought, ceaselessly screamed, knowing that they had no chance .I think I understand Jennifer now.

I must have passed out sometime during the night, the next thing I remember was the sun was glaring in my face. I waited for a few hours, slowly surveying the landscape, the horde was dead. I still couldn’t move, I was too weak, exhaustion would kill me before a horde did.

As I looked back at the gas station, I saw him. A young man, about 20 or 30, perched on top of a gas pump. He was one of the group from before. He must have survived. He was eating, in his hand he had a can of Vienna sausages, a whole can of Vienna sausages. I don’t know how, but I managed to pull myself out of the ditch and on to the road.

He watched me, as he continued to eat. I started pulling myself across the road. The pavement was scalding, my hands and my arms started burning, but still I didn’t stop. He watched me; he watched me with his piercing blue eyes. He pulled out another can from a bag on the ground. The skin on my hands peeled off in chunks, loose rocks dug into the flesh. He watched me slowly die.

Somehow I made it, I was a few feet away from him, he was still perched upon his pump. He looked down at me, chewing his food. I noticed his eyes were beautiful. And then I shot him.

I don’t know how, or why; I didn’t mean to. I was just looking at his eyes, and then I heard the shot. Blood poured from his chest, spurts covered the ground in crimson. I had my pistol in my hand, I hadn’t even known it had a bullet in it. He teetered for a minute and then he fell forward onto the ground before me. Still he looked at me. He still looks at me. I crawled forward and ate what was left of the can of Vienna sausages.

Now I am on the run again. I am going back to Charlotte, you were right. I am turning into an animal, I can’t do this anymore. I can’t run from point to point hoping to survive. We need a place with order, somewhere we can afford to be human. If the colony really is there, I will try to join. I will try to live like a human again. I will bury you while I am there. You will rest in peace soon.

Forever Yours,

-Dani

Dear Sam,I shot…