Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Teaser Tuesday - Fourth Hour Zombies (A Teen Prompt)

In Small Town Oklahoma the Zombie Apocalypse hits in the middle of English class...


Mrs. Warden’s lecture about the proper punctuation for a compound sentence faded away like a movie transition. My mind instead focused on the image of Aria’s smile. My niece Aria was born three months ago and ever since I found myself in a constant state of distracted. Her laugh, her smile, the way her eyes gleamed in unknown amusement when she looked at me would randomly pop into my mind at the most inconvenient times. I never thought being an Uncle would be such a huge deal. 

“Zack,” I jumped at the sound of my name. The images slipping away. “Zack Romine are you with us?”

“Yeah,” I said, straightening my back in the hard chair. “Yeah, I’m here. For compound sentences, you use a comma before coordinating conjunction connecting two independent clauses.”

“Did you memorize that from Google?”

“Yep.”

“That’s great,” she smiled, and I felt vindicated. “So now let’s move on to the current topic of dangling participles. What does Google have to say about them?”

 Crap. Vindication gone, swept away like a dried leaf in the wind.
“Dangling participles are adjectives that—” the feedback from the school loudspeaker shook the room and we all winced. 

“All Students and Faculty, this is Principle Garroutte. A national emergency has been declared as 2:15 PM today.” I looked at the clock on the wall it read 2:27 PM. That was quick. “An epidemic has hit the United States. The CDC has asked all residents to return home immediately. You are to lock your doors and board up your windows. The zombie epidemic is upon us.”

I started laughing at the absurdity of the statement. Wow, nice joke. Principle Garroutte always did have a great sense of humor. I wondered if coach Key was in on it as well. Then like a siren in the middle of a tornado our cell phones started blaring with shocking unity. I grabbed my phone out of my pocket. Before I even had a chance to look at the message chaos erupted. Students were rushing to the door, shoving each other to the side in an attempt to get through it first. Mrs. Warden had her oversized purse laid out on the top of her desk tossing the contents of her top drawer into the bag. 

The thought of asking for the cannabis baseball cap she confiscated at the beginning of the year ran through my head, chased by the what the hell are you thinking! The Zombie apocalypse is starting. You don’t need to ask, just grab it!
Immediately going back in my thoughts, I need to get home to Aria and Mom. Make sure they are safe. Mom takes care of Aria during the day while my brother and his wife work. 

I dumped out my backpack into the garbage debating the usefulness of the contents. Nothing worth saving. I looked around scanned the contents of the now empty room. My eye landed on the meter stick laid across the bottom of the whiteboard. Grabbing it I headed to the doorway. I stepped into the hallway and stood in awe. A typhoon swirl of red and black filled the hall. Tonight, was the pep rally for the launch of football season and the students and faculty were dressed accordingly, wearing red sweatshirts with huge Zebras on the front, ballcaps, girls with their hair tied up neatly in Zebra striped ribbons.  Now students and teachers pushed, slammed and clamored toward their freedom or safety depending on their frame of mind. The celebration of the day fizzled away into panic, anger, tears, and hysteria. As I walked, I saw more and more discarded hats, limp ribbons, and torn Zebra memorabilia littering the floors.
My mind went into hyperdrive, like the millennium falcon navigating the universe with the Empire hot on its tail. I headed to the common area, my mind still buzzing. The quickest way out and the quickest way home. Wait. If the Zombie apocalypse had truly begun that meant there were people already infected. Who knew how many and where? I need weapons and armor.  

Watching the Walking Dead had taught me a few things and the hundreds of hours watching and re-watching the series was now a useful encyclopedia of knowledge imprinted in my brain. The biggest variable in the equation now was how intelligent and or fast these real Zombies were. 

Reaching the common area, I searched for anyone I knew. I see no one. All my friends no doubt had plans to get home and to their families. I would no doubt meet up again with them soon.  Making a beeline to the kitchen I see my band buddy Shane rummaging through the utensil drawer. 

“You find anything?”

“Serving spoons, tongs, and a few spatulas nothing useful.”

“I’m gonna check the fridge.”

“Dude, you can eat later,” Shane mocked.

“The first thing people are going to do is clean out the stores. Guarantee Walmart, Reasors and the five Dollar Generals are empty by dinner time tonight.”

“You’re point?”

“My point is why go to the grocery store,” I open the walk-in freezer to reveal a plethora of food. Bags of chicken nuggets, stacks of frozen pizza, frozen hamburger patties, bread, buns, corndogs and every other kind of lunch or breakfast item a high school could serve. “When you can feed your family for months on free cafeteria food?”

“Wow.”

“And this is just the freezer. The fridge is stocked as well.”

“What happens when the power goes out. You know it’s going to happen.” Shane cocked his head.

“Let’s deal with reality as we know it right now. Right now, we have power – wait doesn’t the chem lab have dry ice?”

“Nice.”

“First things first. I’m gonna load up my backpack. Wait –” a thought occurs to me and I walk out of the kitchen and into the common area seeing several discarded backpacks laying on the floor. “Hey Shane, how much can you carry?”
Shane stood beside me his eyes scanning the area. “As much as humanly possible.”

***


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