The New World (Prologue)

This is the prologue for The New World, if (or hopefully when) it gets published, this would be the first thing you’d read; well, aside from the title page and the dedication page, or am I the only one who ever really reads those?

Prologue

He could see the hospital in front of him from his place amid the charred casings of what had once been cars.   Random debris, lay strewn about; ejected from buildings that had surrounded the city street during the fiery chaos of the apocalypse.  Decomposing bodies layered the street so completely that in places it was hard to make out the black asphalt underneath them.

Seifer shuddered.

It was incredibly eerie to be surrounded by so much death; although it wasn’t so much the death itself, he was used to that by now, but the overwhelming concentration of it.

Something is very wrong here, Seifer thought as he huddled behind the nearest blackened shell of what may have once been a Honda Civic.

“What are we waiting for?” A man behind Seifer fidgeted impatiently, “The hospital is right there, why don’t we just-“

Seifer brought a hand up to silence him, “I don’t like this.”

“Who put you in charge anyway?” The man stood up and walked further into the street.

Seifer called after the man but he was already halfway to the lobby.

The blonde man stepped gingerly through the mass of dead bodies that blanketed the city street.  After he gone more than thirty steps, Jake turned to wave the other members of the party to join him.

A woman with a pale sickly face leaned against Seifer, looking as though she was constantly fighting sleep.  She was putting pressure on a wound somewhere on her stomach and her blood soaked clothes around her torso denoted that she needed to get inside, fast.  Seifer looked past the injured woman and into the eyes of the redhead beside him; the final member of their expedition party.

“Don’t,” He shook his head.

Her face was covered in dirt, and her once lustrous, fiery red hair was dull and matted.   Her piercing grey eyes that had once shone with a brilliant exuberance were now murky and listless.   Experiencing what they had, and seeing what they’d witnessed, Seifer was sure that his eyes had also lost whatever semblance of soul they may have once had.

“Are you coming or what?” Jake yelled to them.

Seifer turned to glare at him.

Didn’t he know that there were others out here? He gritted his teeth.  Others who wouldn’t hesitate to murder them for whatever supplies they thought they had on them.  Had he so soon forgotten the man at the convenience store, naked and decapitated with his meager belongings strewn out beside him.

Is that what he wanted to happen?

The redheaded woman stepped out from behind the Honda Civic and carefully navigated through the morbid obstacle course towards Jake.

“Come back,” Seifer whispered sternly.

She kept stepping closer to Jake, closer to the Hospital and, hopefully, the medicine she so desperately needed.  She felt a weird consistency underneath her feet and realized that she was standing on one of the bodies hands.  She could feel the clamminess of the upwards facing palm on her bare foot and it made her entire body erupt in a violent shudder.  As she anxiously tried to reposition herself, she caught her ankle in the crook of a heavily decomposed elbow and she fell face down into the heap of rotting bodies.  She touched them with her slender fingers and a foul sensation tore through her.  She moved her arm, but wherever else she managed put it she still made contact with cold, dead skin.

She screamed and flailed around, madly.

“Jake,” Seifer called over to him, as quietly as he could while still being able to be heard, “Go help her.”

Jake turned away and continued towards the hospital.

Seifer muttered and obscenity under his breath and began to stand up to go out into the field of bodies after the redheaded woman screaming among the dead.

She tried to calm herself down.  She took in deep breaths and tried not to think of the dead bodies as once having been alive.

Mannequins. She tried to make herself believe. Yes, these were only mannequins.

Something in her brain clicked over and she was suddenly able to see everything at once.  All the bodies, all the wounds, and then something became instantly obvious to her.

“Go back,” She shouted.

The bullet tore through her head snapping it forward with a force that threw her to the ground.  Bits of bone, brain and clumps of matted red hair spayed the bodies behind her as she landed; another body added to the collection amassed in front of the Hospital.

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