One Monday, the world ended. An infection was let loose globally, turning humans into mindless flesh eaters- you can call them Zombies if you like. Philip Ademola is an average Nigerian and he is unprepared- like every other Nigerians- for the new realities of the apocalypse. This is his story of survival.
And so it begins…
Mr. Oladeji murdered his wife two days ago. We lived in the same compound and they lived in the apartment next to mine. He had smashed her head with a pestle. I lost sleep because of this. Mrs Oladeji was a very nice woman and very beautiful too. The man loved his wife; the woman loved her husband and I have never seen them quarrel. How could their love turn sour? Was it because she had been unable to conceive after 3 years of marriage? Had he been bottling up anger within himself? Or did she have someone else and her husband had found out? My questions couldn’t get appropriate answers except speculations and theories.
I was sad. I could hear him screaming as the police whisked him away. He sounded evil and psychotic. I hated him for it. I wanted to hurt him for what he had done.
The world is evil and anything could happen. I knew the sky wouldn’t cringe at the brutality of man, it has seen the width and the depths of human cruelty.
Monday seemed dreary because of what had happened, the dark clouds also aggravated my gloom. I couldn’t concentrate. I worked at the customer service section of a courier company. One needed a clear head and a stable mind to work in the customer service section something I lacked at the moment.
The death of Mrs. Oladeji was reported in the news, Mr. Oladeji was said to be violent and rabid in the police custody biting anyone who came in contact with him and had been transferred to the psychiatric hospital at Yaba- the murder of his wife had probably turned him crazy. The story of Mrs. Oladeji’s murder trended on Facebook and Twitter; giving social media commentators something to chew. Online feminists wrote about the evils of the patriarchal system that had silenced and bounded women into subservience.
I took a break. I left my cubicle and headed for the mess room to get a cup of water. There I saw Cynthia of Accounts department and Hakeem of IT making out- lips locked. They separated as I stepped in. I ignored them as went to fetch water from the dispenser. Cynthia walk out of the room slightly embarrassed. It was the second time I was walking in on both of them. They’d be fired if the boss found out about the two of them. The boss was a staunch Christian- he made everyone believe that. And he’d probably axe me if he found out that I smoked two sticks of cigarette in the bathroom every day. He seemed to prefer morality to expertise.
“I hope my secret is safe with you, Phil.” Hakeem said pocketing his hands.
“We all have secrets; there is nothing to worry about.” I replied before putting the cup to my lips. I wasn’t a tattletale, I would have been hypocritical for me to rat him out.
“I’m going to resign very soon. Just for her.”
He was going to leave the job because of the big backside the chick had- damn Cynthia had a big arse, something to kill for not something to resign for. He was clearly not sensible though I couldn’t tell what connections he had because in a country like mine connections paved ways and opened doors.
“That’s interesting.” I smiled at him.
“Don’t you notice that some of our staffs are kinda sick today? Cough and catarrh… strange isn’t it.” Hakeem was the king of small talks and I didn’t feel like talking. I just came for a cup of water.
“No, I didn’t notice anything like that.” I replied before turning to leave. I could feel his gaze burn through my back.
A shrill cry from one of the cubicles startled me and slowed my long strides. The cry continued as I followed others towards the cubicle.
I couldn’t see what was happening; my colleagues had crowded the scene.
“What happened?” I asked Ifeanyi. His cubicle was beside mine.
“I know no o…” he answered in his usual annoying drawl.
There was another scream among the crowd. I caught a glimpse of blood on the face of someone.
“YEEE! My hand, he bit me.” A woman screamed. There was a struggle within the crowd.
I cursed under my breath as I hurried to get the HOD to report what was happening, Ifeanyi followed. There were more screams.
“What the hell is happening?”
There came another horrified scream.
I got to the HOD’s door, the secretary was absent from her desk. I knocked the door twice then opened. The HOD’s huge back was turned to us. He was clawing at the wall behind his desk, and it appeared as if he was snarling. He was an eccentric man and could act crazy sometimes. Ifeanyi stepped from behind me. He had no chill. Before Ifeanyi reached the HOD, the big man had turned his head. He looked pale and his eyes had no iris. His yellow teeth were snapping.
“Oga, something is…”
The HOD yanked Ifeanyi close clamping his teeth on Ifeanyi’s left cheek. He yelled in pains. I rushed over, I trying to pull Ifeanyi free. The HOD had pulled a chunk of flesh from Ifeanyi’s face. Blood poured from Ifeanyi’s lips as he screamed. My eyes widened in terror.
The HOD let go of Ifeanyi as he chomped on the piece of flesh. We both stumbled to the floor and scrambled for the door.
By the time we got to the passage, Ifeanyi’s blue shirt was already soaked with blood. I felt nauseous and dizzy for a moment. I had never seen so much blood.
“Something strange is happening.” I said as I peeled off my blazers. Ifeanyi collapsed to the floor jerking wildly sputtering blood from his mouth. I cautiously stepped away from him.
I moved quickly to the hallway, I turned to see Ifeanyi on his feet, he too had no iris, green veins were visible under his fair skin and his movements were jerky. Ifeanyi was no longer human. He was soon joined by the monstrous HOD. I ran for the cubicle city which looked like was in chaos.
Someone collided into me. I felt a sharp pain on my brow as I landed on my back. I groaned, several feet ran past me as I picked myself up. I hastily made for my cubicle rubbing my sore brow.
I heard several screams. I was 10 meters away from my cubicle; I could see Mr. Ayeni’s mouth clamping the throat of a woman- Aramide- at my cubicle. She couldn’t scream as blood splattered, she kicked but there was no stopping the assault. I backed away. I was confused; I didn’t know what to do. My keys were in my cubicle.
I was scared, for the second time in my life. My brain couldn’t process what was happening. Everything was escalating so fast. People were being mauled by other people. The horrified screams were chilling. I swallowed as my bowels threatened to give way.
I needed my keys. I needed to get out of the building. The stairs was definitely a bad idea because it seemed everyone escaped through it. And among them could be someone who had turned like I had seen Ifeanyi. I couldn’t risk being attacked by those things.
I made for the elevator at the end of the hall way pushing away one of the bloody faced assailants as she tried to grab me. Splashes of blood painted the floor and the walls. As I reached the elevator, power went out plunging me into deeper despair- oh my God, NEPA. There were people trapped in the elevator. I saw figures shuffling from the cubicle town about a dozen or more. I could hear several screams and cries for help from the stairwell. I dashed to the left towards the hallway that housed the Admin, Accounts, IT departments, the store as well as the boardroom and the MD’s office.
Cold sweat trickled down my temple. I moved towards the MD’s office, blood streamed out beneath the door. I moved away quickly turning to the boardroom as more blood cuddling screams followed. The door was unlocked; I stepped in quickly crouching as soon as I entered. I locked the door.
“Who’s that?” someone whispered. I crawled to the other side of the table to find the MD’s personal assistant Emeka, the lovers- Cynthia and Hakeem, Lanre and Banke of Admin, Ijeoma the cleaner and Peter also from customer service sitting on the carpeted floor of the boardroom. They were people I knew from a distance, except Hakeem and Peter with whom I had exchanged more than one word with.
“It’s me.” I whispered my reply. They all looked scared. I was frightened too. The ladies had tears in their eyes and the men were visibly shaken and confused.
“What is happening?” I asked. I wasn’t hoping to get any answer. Someone was scratching on the door.
Peter lifted a finger to his mouth.
The scratching continued for a minute before it stopped.
“They want to come in.” Peter whispered. “We are safe here, for the mean time. Let’s be silent.”
I looked over at Cynthia; she was sobbing as she frantically thumbed her phone frantically. Hakeem was staring at her with pity in his eyes as he held her hand whispering soothing words to her. Emeka was trying to make a call but it wasn’t going through. The networks were down. That moment I thought I should contact my family like everyone was doing. Then I realized that I left my phone in the cubicle. I was worried about my mother and my sister.
“Christ Jesus…” Emeka grunted. “I’ve tried calling the police… no answer.”
I looked over at Emeka, an obese man with a belly that shamed a pregnant woman’s. He mumbled something like a prayer. I scoffed. The police are a mess, I wasn’t too sure they could handle an issue like this. I had never seen them handling any issue except for collecting checkpoint ‘taxes’.
“You are bleeding.” Lanre said pointing to the cut on my left brow.
“It’s a small cut…” I said pressing a handkerchief on the spot.
“I- we need to get out of here… How do we get out of here?” Banke sniffled. “I just saw my best friend get bitten to… my son and my husband- they need to know I’m fine.”
She sobbed quietly.
The board room became stuffy, there was no light. I opened the window only to see plumes of dark smoke swirling into the sky from different parts of the Allen Avenue, the dark clouds were dissipating. We heard screams of helpless people, and sporadic gunshots. Two helicopters buzzed over our building, more gunshots followed. There was real trouble on the streets.
“It’s like a warzone down there.” Peter’s face became cloudy. His smiley face was gone. He was always happy- I mean I always see him happy and he was never depressed.
“We need to get out of here.” Banke sobbed her makeup was soiled from the tears.
“This is serious.” Lanre murmured cleaning his glasses. His hands were trembling.
“Here is what I know; those people that bite are no longer humans- they once were but not anymore.” Peter said quietly as he removed his black tie. “When you get bitten you become one of them, I’d seen it. Just like zombies in the movies.”
“Really?” Emeka scoffed rolling his eyes. “You guys are unbelievable.”
I also saw it. Ifeanyi turned in about a minutes after he was bitten. That was all we knew for now. My mind was unsettled and unprepared for unexpected situations such as this.
Of all horrors portrayed in Hollywood, zombie flicks were almost impossible. It couldn’t happen except in my dreams. In fact there was no scientific explanation for a zombie. Walking Dead’s explanation was limited, it only theorized about the reset of the brain after death. 28 weeks later, 28 days later and World War Z scenarios was not applicable in this case. I was lost… Nigerians like me never believed in the possibility of something like this happening. If this was a dream, I badly wanted to wake up.
I paced to and fro, craving a stick of cigarette to calm my nerves.
“wetin we go kon do now… my mama dey house, she no well.” Ijeoma sobbed wiping her tears with her sleeves. Blood stains were on the sole of her right slipper.
“Don’t worry Ijeoma…” Peter comforted her with a hand on her shoulder.
“It’s like you want to attract them here. Sit down now.” Emeka cautioned me. He was sweating. I glared at him momentarily, he cringed a little. He had forgotten that we were all equal and that for now, he was no longer the Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of CRYSTAL Courier Services.
“We need to find a way out of here.” I said bringing my voice low.
“You must be joking. Haven’t you seen what they are capable of?” Emeka retorted scoffing.
I crouched facing everyone.
“I know what they are capable of.” I replied, the images of Aramide and Ifeanyi flashed my mind. I was fucking scared.
“Then let’s stay here.” Hakeem finally spoke. “It’s dangerous outside this place. They are everywhere.”
“For how long… are we going to stay here till tomorrow?” Peter’s trembled. “We’ve got loved ones out there; we don’t even know what is happening out there.”
Another dim scream interrupted. I swallowed, people were dying.
“Jesus, save us.” Someone muttered.
Yes, we needed saving.
Author’s Note: Read, comment and review. Thank you.