Cherry Vanilla, Part 6

Cherry Vanilla #6

Solo felt the zombie grab his left shoulder. He waited for the bite on his neck to happen. He was prepared to spend the rest of his life a zombie, wandering the streets looking for ice cream that was sugar free and brains. The hand squeezed his shoulder before patting him on the head.

“Solo,” said the supposed zombie.

Solo stood up and turned around slowly to find Travis standing there, completely covered in zombie blood. It was a frightening sight, but it was a lot better than a zombie that knew his name. That was something he just wasn’t ready for. He was happy to see his friend was still alive. Now that the ice cream was gone, he could concentrate on the people he loved.

“I think I killed most of the zombies in this area,” Travis said, wiping remnants of zombie flesh off of his face. “We need to hurry up and get out of here. Did you get the ice cream?”

“No, I missed the rush,” Solo admitted. “I’m sorry I risked our lives for some stupid ice cream.

“I can forgive in time, but right we need to get out of here.” Travis looked down at Neil, who was still looking fearful. “Where’s your work mates?”

“We’re up here!” Becky and Stacy climbed down from the tops of the freezers. “We hoped that zombie couldn’t climb,” Becky said, wiping the dust off her clothes. “Take us out of here.”

“Where’s Jamie?” Stacy asked.

“Aisle 3… Aisle 2… the front lobby,” Solo listed. Travis hit Solo for his insensitivity.

The Walmart employees made their way to the front sliding doors and unlocked them. They thought it best to leave from the front because they had a better view of the now lit parking lot. There was a reduced chance of an ambush, or at least that is what they reasoned.

Solo and Travis pulled the doors open and allowed the employees to pass through. Simultaneously, they all took their name tags off and threw them back inside the store. They quit. Solo and Travis closed the doors and led the way towards The Shelter, a martini bar that probably once was a real shelter.

They were about half way through the parking lot when they started to hear moaning and groaning coming from behind them. Solo looked out onto the street and saw a swarm of zombies parading towards them. They were coming for the all you could eat buffet at the Walmart. Solo wondered if the zombies had some kind of app that allowed them to hunt humans, some kind of shadow network.

“I think the time has come to run,” Solo suggested.

“Agreed,” Travis said.

On the count of three, all five of them booked it for the bar which was only a block or two down the street. The zombies saw that their dinner was getting away and they picked up the pace. Solo and Travis didn’t dare look back to see how close the zombies were gaining on them. They stared straight ahead at the multicoloured marquee of the Shelter. It read, “Happy Zombie Day. Safe haven and $2 You-Call-Its!” Solo hoped that the zombies couldn’t read.

“We’re almost there!” Stacy called out.

This excited Neil. Unfortunately, like Lot’s wife, he turned back to see just how close the zombies were. That was when he tripped at the place where the sidewalk gave way to desert landscaping. He cried out for help, but it was too late. The zombies tackled him and quickly started to devour his man flesh.

“Neil!” Becky screamed! “Neil, no!”

Solo stopped and pulled Becky away from the gruesome scene. The four of them finally made it to The Shelter. They frantically pounded on the door to be let in. Solo looked back and saw that the zombies were making quick work of Neil and were coming for them.

“Come on! Open the door! Open the door!” Solo and Travis shouted.

The lock clicked and the door opened. A man escorted them inside and locked the door behind them. The bar was lit in blood red, it reminded them of the zombies. They saw that there were other survivors gathered at the bar, drinking their cares away, distancing themselves from the carnage that was happening outside. They were watching the news on TV. Apparently, the U.S. Government had developed a gas that would be able to kill the zombies on contact and planes were on their way throughout the country to deliver it. They all breathed a sigh of relief. They just had to survive until then.

Upon entering the bar, Solo immediately started looking for Gwen. “Gwen? Gwen?” He scanned the faces in the room and couldn’t see her. He blamed the red lighting. Panic started to well in his stomach. What if she wasn’t there? What if his quest for ice cream caused her to worry about him and she left on her own to find him?

The bartender looked over at Solo and said, “If you’re looking for Gwen, she’s down in the basement helping other survivors.”

Solo dropped his bloody shovel on the floor and searched for the basement entrance. When he found it, he ran his way down the slim, concrete staircase. “Gwen?”

“Solo?” He heard her voice.

He finally arrived at the bottom of the stairs and saw that he was in a dimly lit room. There were cots laid out with injured people on them. Gwen was acting as a caretaker to them. She looked up from a patient and saw Solo standing there, splattered in so much zombie blood. She stood up and ran to him. She was about to hug him, but thought better of it. She didn’t want what was happening on his clothes happening on hers.

“Solo! It’s about damned time! Where have you been? I sent Travis for you hours ago!” Gwen stood before him unsure of which emotion to display. “I thought that you had been torn apart by the zombies.”

“Almost,” Solo admitted. “I’m so happy to see you! I’m sorry I made you worried. I went to the Walmart looking for you!” He didn’t want to tell her that he was in fact looking for ice cream. He came for the ice cream, but found clarity. “I’m just glad that you’re alright.”

Gwen smiled at him . If he wasn’t so bloody she would have kissed him. Then she got a mischevious look on her face. “I got you something, speaking of Walmart.” She turned her back on him and walked to the end of the room. She picked up a Walmart plastic bag full of items in it. She looked to him as she pulled out a small carton. “I know how much you like sugar free ice cream and when I saw this, I instantly thought it was so you!” She revealed it to be a carton of Blue Bunny sugar free Cherry Vanilla ice cream.

Solo gasped and dropped to his knees. Tears of joy came to his eyes. Next to Gwen, it was the most beautiful he had ever seen. He beckoned to her to bring it near. She approached him cautiously. She handed him the carton and with it, he grabbed her and planted kiss on her lips. “You just fucking made my day!” Gwen wiped the blood from her face. With two of his favourite things in hand, Solo concluded that it was the perfect end to what had truly been a marvelous day.

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Cherry Vanilla, Part 5

Cherry Vanilla #5
Travis didn’t waste any time shooting the first zombie that walked in. He shot it right in the middle of its face and the entire thing exploded in a large bloody mess. The sound of splatter brought a smile to Travis’s lips. He took a step back as he tried to reload.

“Ladies, get behind me,” Solo said. He heard a frustrated sigh from Neil. “You, too, Neil!” The Walmart employees got behind Solo as he attacked the next available zombie. He smacked the zombie in the face with the spade. The zombie lost its jaw. They both watched as it slid across the floor until it hit a box of bananas. Solo looked back at the zombie and shrugged his shoulders before he decapitated it. The body fell to the floor and bled at their feet.

Travis finished reloading and shot the next zombie square in the face, thusly exploding the entire head. Everyone was sprayed with the pus and blood for the zombie was quite large. He looked up and watched Solo tear apart another zombie. That was four dead zombies that he counted, but when he looked up, there were four more that had just come in. He surmised that the zombies must have heard him shoot the door and made their way over. Another one of Solo’s ideas that turned out to be a bad one. If he survived this, he was going to have a word with him.

“There’s too many of them!” Solo stated the obvious. “We need to fall back!”

The Walmart employees took this instruction to heart and ran away into the main part of the store. Solo and Travis tried to keep the zombies from wandering past them, but it was difficult because it seemed that every zombie that was in the neighbourhood was coming through.

The zombies knew that there were more of them than there were humans and used this to their advantage. They jumped Solo and tackled him onto the floor. They tried to rip his abdomen open with their claws. When do zombies have claws, Solo thought. He grabbed his shovel and kicked the zombie off of him. He sat up and spun the shovel above his head and sliced the zombies’ throats open, covering him in thick, gooey blood. This made Solo gag.

“Solo!” Travis was pinned under three zombies; his gun out of reach. Solo stood up and smacked them with his shovel. He swung and lopped off two of their heads. Their bodies fell limp against Travis. The third lively zombie was trying hard to sink its teeth into Travis’s neck. Solo reached down and pulled the zombie away. Travis shoved the bodies off of him, grabbed his shotgun and blew the zombie away. He got up and high fived Solo.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” Travis said. “Though I’m still mad at you!”

“Mad at me for what?” Solo asked.

They heard screams coming from inside the store. Solo turned to see what the matter was. That was when he saw the bloody footprints leading from the back stock room to the store proper. He was aching to get in there anyway. He turned to leave, but then he stopped to look at Travis. More zombies were coming in through the door.

Travis saw Solo’s indecision and smiled. “Go, help them. I’ll be fine.”

“How many bullets do you have?” Solo asked.

“Enough.”

Solo could tell that he was lying, but there wasn’t enough time to argue. He turned and entered the store. He immediately ran to where he heard the scream, the produce section. It was there that he saw that Jamie had fallen victim to a zombie. Her guts now decorated the guavas, the watermelons, and the grapes. The zombie was still chewing on her face when Solo arrived. He braced his bloody shovel for impact. The zombie growled at him as he approached. When he got close enough, the zombie jumped up and ran at him. Solo was swift in exacting his revenge. The head flew and joined the ranks of the cantaloupes, leaving another corpse to collapse on the floor.

“Clean up in Aisle 3,” Solo cheered.

With no other sign of zombies, he remembered why he was there in the first place. He quickly ran to the frozen food aisles and searched frantically for the ice cream he desired. He found the Breyer’s, the Dreyer’s, and the Haagen-Dazs, but he couldn’t find the Blue Bunny.

“No, it has to be here!” Solo said out loud.

“Can I help you find anything?”

Solo was startled and instinctively swung his shovel. Neil dove out of the way and crawled to a safe distance. “Holy shit, Neil, I almost took your head off.”

“I noticed.”

“Where’s the Blue Bunny?” Solo pointed to the freezers and wanted answers. Neil stood up and walked over to him. He looked further down and found it next to the Blue Bell ice cream. Solo inspected the goods and found that there was only one tub left, but it was Banana Split flavoured. The section where the Cherry Vanilla was supposed to be was empty. Solo felt that he, too, was empty.

“I’m sorry, man,” Neil said. “When the Zombie Apocalypse happened, we had a big rush and we sold out of a lot of stuff!”

“Who the hell buys 18 tubs of sugar free Cherry Vanilla ice cream in the middle of a Zombie fucking Apocalypse?”

Solo fell to his knees. He had suddenly lost the will to move, the will to fight, the will to live. His whole day was ruined. His whole life was ruined. There was nothing else to do, but die. From the frightened look on Neil’s face, Solo surmised that there was probably a zombie coming for him. He closed his eyes and decided to just let it come. His life had become forfeit the moment he saw that the ice cream was gone. He wished that he could have seen Gwen one last time so that they could have shared the deliciousness that was Blue Bunny’s sugar free Cherry Vanilla ice cream.

“Gwen!”

Solo’s mood brightened. He supposed he could take comfort that as long as he had Gwen, he would be happy for the rest of the week if they survived the apocalypse. He felt rather silly about wanting to die because he didn’t get the ice cream he wanted. His life now had purpose; he wanted to live again. Then he remembered the frightened look on Neil’s face and realized that he had waited too long. A firm grip on his shoulder confirmed this.

Cherry Vanilla, Part 4

Cherry Vanilla #4

Solo could feel that the people in the laundromat were anxious for him to leave. Their hateful gazes bore into his skull like a high intensity laser beam. He patted his pocket and felt his cell phone against his side. He had half a mind to just toss it in with the laundry. He didn’t know what he was going to do without his cell phone. Would he be able to use it once the Zombie Apocalypse ends?

“So, how do you suggest we get to the store?” Solo asked, trying to ignore the other people in the laundromat. “There’s got to be an emergency exit, right?”

Margaret shook her head. “Not one that you can use. We lost the key to the emergency exit door years ago.”

“You’re not supposed to lock emergency exits!” Solo shouted.

He was starting to go crazy. He was so close to getting his beloved ice cream, yet so far. If the emergency exit was locked, then he would have to leave the same way he came in. The agitated zombies were still banging on the door to get in. How was he going to manage this feat?

“Looks like your only method would be to wait them out,” Margaret said. “They’ll figure out eventually that they can’t get to us and they’ll leave.”

Travis looked over to Solo and nodded his head in agreement. “That sounds like a plan, right, Solo?”

Solo was not impressed. “I guess we’ll have to do that.”

So, they waited for a half hour before the zombies finally gave up the ghost and walked away. They spotted someone crossing the street and thought that they were easier prey. Solo did not waste any time in mobilizing.

“Trav, it’s time to go! The zombies are distracted!” He stood up from his third game of Uno and raced to the door. He patted Travis on the back and urged him to get up. “This is perfect! We should be able to make it to the grocery store now.”

“Alright, let’s do it.” Travis stood up and grabbed his shotgun. “Margaret, it’s been a pleasure. Thanks for taking us in.”

“You boys take care now!” Margaret hugged Travis for good luck. “Don’t get dead.” She unlocked the door and slowly opened it for them. She watched them march out of the laundromat heading towards what she thought was certain doom.

Solo wondered what the Laundromat people were going to do. Were they really content to just sit there and do laundry while the apocalypse went down? If that’s how they want to spend their final hours, so be it. Who needs clean clothes when the world is ending?

Exposed, Solo and Travis quickly ran across the parking lot towards the Walmart Grocery store. Travis ventured a look to where the zombies went. They were eviscerating a poor survivor. The guy’s guts were all over the intersection of Grant and Alvernon. Travis knew that this would not keep them occupied for very long. The guy had stopped screaming. The zombies would soon grow tired of him and move on.

Solo was irritated that the sliding double doors were not, in fact, sliding. He wanted to bang on the door, but he was sure that the people inside would think he was a zombie and would stay away from the door. He placed his fingers between the doors and tried his best to pull them open himself. He knew it was a futile effort, but he had to try something. Tried as he might, the doors would not move.

“Travis, come shoot this door open,” Solo commanded.

“I told you that I’m not going to waste my bullets on a door,” Travis said.

“For the love of God and all that is cream filled and puffy, just shoot the fucking door!” Solo was sure he looked crazed, but he was willing to take the risk. If Travis saw how passionate he was about getting inside, maybe he’d finally do what he asked.

Travis looked Solo up and down cautiously. Solo was acting kind of crazy, but crises can do that to a person. He thought that maybe there was something really important inside the store that they couldn’t live without. If Solo was willing to risk life and limb for it, who was he to stand in the way?

“Fine, but we can’t do it here,” Travis said, giving in. “We’ll go to the back door. Come on.”

As they ran to the back of the store, Solo saw that the zombies were just about done with the survivor they found. One of them looked up and watched them run. It looked like it thought about pursuing them, but then returned to the feast. Solo knew that the zombie was making a mental note to come back for them later.

Travis was the first to reach the back door of the grocery store. He tried the door knob to see if the door was open. It was locked, of course. He looked to Solo, who was grinning and rubbing his hands together. Travis was beginning to question Solo’s sanity, but if this would help him, he was prepared to do what he needed. He aimed his shotgun at the door knob and pulled the trigger. There was a loud echoing bang and the door knob fell to the ground. The door swung open, begrudgingly inviting them in.

Solo couldn’t wait anymore. He ran inside, but didn’t make it too far before he ran into some Walmart employees with box cutters and staple guns. Solo held his shovel out in front of him, daring them to make an attack.

“Come at me, bro!” Solo said. Travis came in with his shotgun and the employees dropped their weapons. “That’s right, bitches. Back on up!” He read the name tags on the four employees that came to greet them: Becky, Jamie, Stacy, and Neil. They looked very frightened and Solo felt bad about himself. He lowered his shovel as a sign of good faith.

“Please, don’t hurt us,” Jamie said, holding her hands up.

“Take anything you want!” Becky pleaded.

“Spare me my life,” Neil cried.

“We’re not here to hurt anyone,” Solo said. “I just came for the ice cream.”

“Yeah, we’re just here for the ice cream,” Travis repeated. He put down his gun and in that time, he realized what Solo had said. “Wait, what? What ice cream?”

Before Travis could start in on Solo, the back door opened and five zombies wandered in.

Cherry Vanilla, Part 3

“So what the hell happened?” Solo asked quietly as he and Travis wandered the North Dodge neighbourhood. They kept an active eye on their surroundings. There were a couple of zombies roaming the street to the south of them, but they weren’t close enough to engage them.

“I don’t really know,” Travis replied, clutching his shotgun. “I heard that the Colombia Militia released the zombies somewhere near the Tucson Mall early this afternoon and then the shit hit the fan as they say.”

“What the hell are Colombians doing here?” It just didn’t make sense. How did they manage to create zombies? Was the T-Virus real? Were they experimenting with the dead and engineering dead soldiers to rise up overthrow the government? Or were people given bath salts and things got out of hand? He supposed that he would never know. The most important thing was that he got to the grocery store and quick.

“Zombies at 12:00.” Travis readied his shotgun as a group of seven zombies wandered out into the street. Their clothes were bloody and ready to fall off their dilapidated bodies. They all turned and looked at them, studied them. They grunted amongst themselves as if they were weighing the pros and cons of attacking them. On one hand, they could get some more brains, even though they just had some. On the other hand, most of them didn’t have stomaches anymore and therefore, weren’t really full. All in favour of attacking? No one grunted. It was a unanimous decision to leave the two kids alone and go about their way.

“What the hell just happened?” Solo asked.

“Let’s just get to the grocery store,” Travis said, a little disappointed that he didn’t have a chance to use his shotgun.

They contined to Alvernon Way and met no resistance. The nearest grocery store was two blocks away from their current location. They would make it there in about five minutes tops. Solo was excited by this. His pace quickened the closer they got. His vision was tunnel. He wasn’t paying attention to anything that was around him. The streets were empty and any people still around had barricaded themselves inside as if a hurricane was coming.

Solo and Travis crossed the street when they reached the back of the grocery store. It was in that back alley where the loading trucks usually come and deliver goods that Travis spotted some movement. There were three zombies ambling about amongst the shipping boxes. They stopped what they were doing and turned to look at them. Travis could see the bloody drool leaking from their lips, if they had them. They started sprinting to reach them.

“Zombies at 11:45!” Travis shouted. He readied his shotgun, but the zombies were quickly approaching. He and Solo decided that running was a much better option. They ran to the front of the store. The sliding double doors were closed and didn’t open when Solo ran to them.

“Come on! Open!” Solo shouted. He peered in through the glass to see if there was anyone else inside the store. He swore he saw someone by one of the cash registers. “Hey! Let me in!” The person shook his head and then slinked out of view. “No, wait! Come back!”

Travis came running around the corner and joined Solo. “They’re right behind us! Let’s go!”

“But… we’re right here!” Solo said. “Shoot the door open!”

“I am not wasting bullets on a door!” Travis grabbed Solo by the arm and pulled him away from the door. “Let’s go!”

“Over here!” shouted a faint female voice.

Solo located the voice coming from the laundromat in the plaza. He and Travis immediately started running in that direction. The zombies turned the corner and were right on their tail. Solo ventured to look back and saw that they were about two arm’s length away. He turned around and hoped that he wouldn’t do the stupid thing and trip. He pushed himself forward and beat Travis to the laundromat. The short, plump woman held the door open for him.

“Come on in, boys!” she said as Travis caught up with them. Once they were both inside safely, the woman closed the door and locked it. The zombies hit the door and smeared their bloody mess on the glass. They right away started pounding on the door. “I’d like to see them get through that.”

“I wouldn’t,” Solo said, setting his shovel down on a couple of washing machines. He looked around and saw that there were several people holed up in the laundromat. One woman was actively folding her clothes as she pulled them from the dryer. A man was pouring detergent into a washer and closed the lid. They were completely ignoring what was happening on the outside.

“Thanks for having us,” Travis said, remembering his manners. “We were just about done for.”

The woman smiled at him and shook his hand. “You’re very welcome. I didn’t want to see you die needlessly. The name’s Margaret.”

“I’m Travis and this is Solo.” Solo waved his hand at her. “We’re trying to make it to the Shelter, but this one needs to get to the store.”

Solo stared at the zombies standing at the front door and wished that they would go the hell away. They were literally standing between him and his creamy goal. “We were so close. We have to find a way to get in.”

“Whatever is in that store isn’t worth getting your throat ripped out,” Margaret said.

“But I need it!” Solo said. “And I am prepared to do whatever it takes to get in there!”

“You’ll have to get past them.” Margaret pointed to the three zombies salivating outside.

Travis turned to Solo and his eyes pleaded for him to give up the quest. “We’re so close to the Shelter. Let’s just go there. Gwen is waiting for us. If we don’t return soon, she’ll worry about us.”

“That won’t be a problem,” Solo said. He pulled out his cell phone and proceeded to find her number on speed dial. “I’ll just give her a call.”

“Solo, no!” Travis called out, but it was too late.

Solo placed the phone to his ear as it tried to dial Gwen’s number. Then the zombies outside suddenly grew more agitated. While they hadn’t wholeheartedly tried to enter the laundromat in the past two minutes, they were slamming themselves against the glass.

“Hello. You’ve reached the phone of Gwen Harper…”

“Again with the voice mail,” Solo said, irritated. “Why won’t she answer her phone?”

“The zombies can detect the cell phones when they are being used,” Travis informed. “Now they won’t stop until they get all of us.”

Solo saw that everyone in the laundromat was glaring at him. He placed his cell phone back into his pocket and sheepishly raised his hands. “Oops? My bad.”

Cherry Vanilla, Part 2

Cherry Vanilla #2
Solo watched in terror as the zombie continued to tear down the door. He didn’t want to die helplessly in a bathroom decorated in baby blue wallpaper with ducks on it. It would be a very embarrassing obituary. Solomon Reed, aged 23 died of multiple zombie bites to the face in a baby duck bathroom. Fuck that noise. Solo wanted to fight back. He needed a weapon of some kind. He frantically searched the bathroom for anything he could use to defend himself. Since this was the guest bathroom, there weren’t any toothbrushes he could use to gouge the zombie’s eyes out. Q-Tips? No. Rubbing alcohol? Maybe. If he decided to rush the zombie, he could use it to blind it and push past it. He was beginning to like this plan. He grabbed the bottle of rubbing alcohol and opened it. He took a big whiff of it before he poured the contents on the zombie’s face.

The zombie let out a scream that he had never heard come from a living being. Its right cheek promptly slid to the bathroom floor with a sickening plop. The zombie was more determined to get at Solo, not because it was hungry, it was the principle of the thing now. Solo must die.

Solo dropped the empty bottle and looked for something else to use. It was then that his gaze landed on the shower. Yes, he could hide in the shower and hope the zombie wouldn’t look for him there. No, that was a lame idea. He looked at the horrible duck themed shower curtain. If he ripped it off the shower rod, he could blame it on the zombie and Gwen would be none the wiser. The shower rod… it was detachable! He reached up and pulled the rod down from the wall. He allowed the shower curtain to slide to the floor. He then returned his attention to the zombie who was 75% through the door.

Solo wasted no time in using the rod to stab the zombie in the face. The rod went through the zombie’s left eye socket. The eye exploded with a soft squish. The zombie moaned, but otherwise seemed unfazed. It still had another eye. Solo pulled the rod out of its eyes and went for the second eye, but the zombie reached up and grabbed it. They both struggled for control of the rod.

“If you want it, you can have it!” Solo took his end of the rod and shoved it at the zombie, sending the zombie’s end into its skull. The zombie fell against the wall and pulled the rod out. “What the hell!” Would nothing kill this thing?

“Solo, get down!” said a familiar male voice.

Solo fell to the floor. He heard a loud bang, a gunshot, and then a pop. He felt something wet spray his body. There was no use in pretending he didn’t know what it was. The bloody zombie’s head exploded. When he thought it was safe to look up, he saw a friendly face spattered with blood looking in at him.

“Travis?”

“Yup! Come with me if you want to live.”

Solo stood up and tried to wipe the blood off his exposed arms. He reached underneath the sink and pulled out a towel and wiped himself clean. There were a few zombie fragments in his curly brown hair. He picked them out one by one. It was easy to assume that he was a bit vain.

“Stop preening yourself, you queen! Let’s move!” Travis opened the bathroom door and reached in and pulled Solo out. There was a rather large shotgun in Travis’s left hand. Solo was rather surprised to see this considering how well mannered Travis is. “What, you never seen a queer with a gun before? I may not have the right to marry, but I’ll be damned if they take my guns!”

“Where are we going?” Solo asked, stepping over the re-dead zombie. “Is Gwen here?” He walked into the living room and looked for her. She was not among the furniture.

“Gwen isn’t here, but she’s not far from here,” Travis said. “We met up with a bunch of other survivors at The Shelter down the street. We should get going right away.” He made his way to the front door and checked outside for any signs of zombies. There did not appear to be any at the moment.

“You might want to pick up something to use to defend yourself.”

“I suppose I can’t very well use a shower rod.” Solo knew just the thing. He went to the patio door and opened it. He half expected to see a zombie stumbling around in the backyard, but there wasn’t one. He stepped outside and saw that the sun was setting. He was never one to admire the sunset, but this one seemed special somehow. The sky was the perfect shade of orange and purple, but there was a large pillar of smoke off in the distance. He surmised that it was the origin of the apocalypse.

“Solo,” Travis said urgently.

Solo quickly went to the side of the house where he had left the shovel. Gwen wanted him to dig up the weeds and he spent about two hours doing so that morning. He picked up the shovel and spun it around a few times, trying to imitate what he saw in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. When he felt confident he could kill some fucking zombies with it, he left the backyard and locked the patio door.

“Let’s get this show on the road,” Solo said. The two of them finally left the house. Solo locked the door behind them. He didn’t want to take the chance of someone using the apocalypse as an excuse to steal his shit. “So, on the way to the Shelter, can we stop by the grocery store?”

“Sure, why?” Travis asked.

“I need to pick up something,” Solo replied. He hadn’t forgotten about how badly he wanted that ice cream. His near death experience made it all the more important. He was one step closer to obtaining his goal, victory was going to be delicious.

Cherry Vanilla, Part 1

It was about 6:30pm when Solomon Reed woke up from his nap. The first thing he noticed was that the house was silent. Usually, the living room was alive with the sounds of video games being played on the Xbox 360, but now, there was nothing. He was slightly puzzled by this, but he didn’t think too much of it. His girlfriend Gwen must have been reading a book downstairs or something. Solo sat up in the bed and realized that he had been sweating in his sleep. He found it impossible to sleep without the full cover of a blanket, regardless of the 100 degree desert weather outside. He decided that a shower was in order.

Solo stripped out of his pajama wear and hopped into the tub for a nice cool shower. As he lathered himself in Old Spice body wash, he started to think of other options for cooling down he could utilize. He thought about maybe going to the neighbourhood pool; it was the perfect summer day for it. Then he could top the night off with an iced tea and a nice bowl of sugar free cherry vanilla ice cream. This must happen!

After his shower, he put back on his pajama wear (a wife beater and Captain Morgan pajama pants) and headed downstairs to alert Gwen of his decision. When he arrived, he found that she was not down there. Maybe she was on the patio. He walked through the dining room and opened the vertical blinds that stood between him and the patio. There was no one in the hammock outside. He closed the blinds and headed to the kitchen where he found a note stuck to the refrigerator under a banana magnet.

“Solo, I went to the grocery store. Call me if you there’s something that you want,” the note read. Solo saw that the note was dated and the time listed was as 2:45pm. He looked at the time on the microwave and saw that it was about 6:50pm. She left the house four hours ago and had not returned, this worried him. Maybe she had some other errands to run. At any rate, he thought it would be a good idea to give her a call.

He placed the note on the kitchen counter and went to find his cell phone. It was lying on the coffee table in the living room, next to his Xbox 360 controller. He picked it up and saw that he had three missed calls and two messages. He saw that the missed calls were from Gwen. Instead of listening to the messages, he just called her back. The line rang. He wanted to make sure that he mentioned the ice cream to her for his heart was set on it. The line continued to ring. It finally picked up.

“Hello!”

“Gwen! Hey, it’s me.”

“You’ve reached the phone of Gwen Harper. I’m not able to answer the phone right now, but if you leave your name and number, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. K, thanks, bye!”

Solo hung up the phone before the beep. He immediately called her back and let the line ring. It picked up and went straight to voicemail. Solo decided to leave a message this time.

“Hey Gwen, it’s Solo. I’m not sure if you’re still grocery shopping, but I really want some ice cream for dessert! I want the Blue Bunny sugar free Cherry Vanilla kind. Give me a call back as soon as you can. Alright, I love you. Bye.” He hung up the phone and placed it in his pocket.

He sat down on the couch and turned on the TV. The news came on briefly. The news anchor mentioned that ‘they’ came out of nowhere and that people were to stay indoors before Solo turned on the Xbox 360. He felt like playing a game of Castle Crashers. When the game console booted up, he made his way through the menu and selected Castle Crashers.

Just as the game was about to start, there was a knock on the door. “Oh, that’s Gwen with the groceries.” Solo set his controller down and hopped up to answer the door. He unlocked the chain lock and twisted the deadbolt. He quickly opened the door and was ready to assist with the bringing of groceries. He was stunned when he saw that the person standing in the door way wasn’t Gwen. It was a man with a bloodied face, wearing a tattered blue button up shirt and bloodied dress slacks. The man had lost a shoe. Solo stared at the man’s face and saw that it was mostly missing and dripping with pus.

“Holy shit!” Having played Left 4 Dead, he knew immediately what was darkening his doorstep. “Zombie!” He went to shut the door, but the zombie overpowered him and shoved the door open. It invited itself inside and stomped towards Solo, who had stumbled backwards and tripped. Solo crawled back until he reached the wall. He stood up and swiftly ran into the bathroom. He locked the door and backed away. He watched the door knob jiggle as the zombie struggled to gain access to the tasty morsel inside. Solo hoped that the door knob would hold. It wasn’t exactly a trustworthy knob; it had the propensity to fall off under duress.

The door knob stopped jiggling. Solo stared at the bottom of the door and tried to determine if the zombie had given up. The carpet underneath the door stopped him from seeing if there was a shadow there. After a minute, the door knob did not jiggle again. Solo breathed a sigh of relief. He ventured a few steps towards the door. As he reached for the knob, there was a loud slam against the door. Solo cried out and backed away.
The zombie must have found something heavy and was continually banging it against the door. Cracks were beginning to form. It was a flimsy one ply wooded door. It wouldn’t keep the zombie out for very long. Solo knew he needed help. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed 911, but there was a busy signal. The zombie growled angrily on the other side of the door. Solo felt its frustration.

The zombie punched a hole in the door and was able to see its prey. This encouraged it to try dismantling the door much quicker. It grunted hungrily as pieces of the door fell to the floor.

Solo had always hoped that if the Zombie Apocalypse ever happened, that he would go out in a blaze of glory. There was nothing glorious about cowering in a bathroom while being eaten by a flesh hungry zombie. He sighed because he knew there was little chance of him getting his ice cream now.