Survival Psych Story

  • My heart beats in my chest louder than any other noise in the forgotten city. I almost want to stop, but can I? Can I stop? What if my family and I are the the last ones? What if we are humanity? It’s been months since I’ve seen another person, another living person. It could be…

    A bird shrieks outside, it’s caw echoing through the city and no doubt waking the dead that have overtaken it. I need to hurry back.

    My eyes crawl across the overturned shelves that lay at my feet, cans and bottles were spilled across the floor. Some lay there broken while others were just as empty and barren as the rest of this world. My arms and legs feel heavy and weak as my stomach growls and gurgles. Two days now since I’ve eaten? I can’t even remember anymore.

    I see a door beyond the fallen shelf in front of me, closed tightly and without any sign of entry. A place left untouched, perhaps; maybe even a storage area for the stor? The prospect was too much for me. I step over the glass, unseen shards crunching under my boots as I move to push the shelf. As I do, however, my hand slips down the wet metal frame and instead of coming upright, it comes crashing down on the other side. A single white can rolls out from underneath the pile of rubble and to my feet. I stare for just a second before I lean down and pick it up, feeling a heavy weight in my grip as clear liquid drizzled out the bottom of the can.

    “Onions.” I say out loud to the empty room, scanning across the label with my tired eyes. The faintest smile comes across my face but it leaves just as fast and I put the can into the leather bag at my side. Food is food, and I have a family to feed, after all.

    My head came back up and my eyes met another’s. I know now why the shelf had been collapsed as the lifeless eyes of a man met my own. He groans a deep and throaty groan as he gnarls his teeth, biting at me preemptively. Immediately I shirk back and take my knife in hand, ready to grasp the neck and stab but to my surprise he did not move towards me; His hands were outstretched, desperately grabbing at me but his legs were trapped still underneath a large fridge unit once used to hold soda — now it held this zombie neatly in place as I ended his life, or unlife, perhaps.

    The body slumps back to the floor, the same place where he’d been waiting for weeks, maybe even months. Believe it or not, this chance meeting was a lucky break. All around the man’s corpse sat a treasure trove of unopened cans, mine for the taking.

    I grab what I can carry both in my bag and after that’s filled, my hands. Beans, carrots, cherries and even a can of baked brown bread; it was quite the haul. I make my way back to my haven where Dorothy waits with our young son James.

    “I’m back.” I say, met with nothing less than silence. I make my way to the kitchen, the same path I always take, and see my son motionless in his chair next to her. “Have you two been talking much?” I ask, putting down the cans and unloading my satchel onto the table. “I picked up the groceries you asked for.”

    I take a can in hand and use my knife to pry off the lid, stopping just before it cuts my thumb.

    “Do you want some?” I ask, watching my wife’s maroon-colored lips for a few seconds before plopping a piece of onion into my mouth. I pull myself from my chair and walk to my wife, her pearly white skin glistens of beauty. “Here, hun.” I whisper, placing a curl of onion in her mouth gently and brushing my fingers through her hair.

    “And you, James?” I take myself over to his plate and put a few morsels on it before sitting back down at the head of the table. The room is deathly quiet aside from the sound of me scraping my fork along the bottom of the tin. Through the thin onion juice I search in a failing attempt to find a single scrap leftover before opening the next can, all the while my family’s voices dancing in my head.