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My eyes fall open to the filtered brightness of the summer sun through the thick off-white curtains; I watch dust float through the rays of light that manage to penetrate them. The warmth of Jordan's arm across my chest and hair against my neck shoots an ecstasy through my body. The stinging in my eyes has dramatically subsided since the storm; the red haze which glazed my vision is gone entirely. A fragrance so sweet is doing backflips in my nose in the form of whatever product Jordan used in his hair; not taking away from the discordant sight of his facial abrasions. Distracted by the beauty of the moment, I hear birds outside singing their songs as if nothing's even happening. I hear a shuffle from beside me and turn my head to be immediately met with his lips on mine whilst he holds my face with his hand. We part.
"Morning." His voice is groggy. He stares into my eyes, unable to control his smile.
"Morning." I repeat back to him, not taking my eyes from his. "How'd you sleep?" He lifts himself up, sitting against the headboard and pulls my head into his chest; I extend my arm across his body.
"I didn't sleep this good even before all this shit." He laughs. "It was pretty fucking amazing." His smile begins to lower and his eyes shift toward the ceiling. "It would be better if we could tel-" I cut him off before he can finish.
"You know how I feel about that, J..." I remove myself form his chest and sit myself against the headboard beside him. "Besides, you seem to have someone else on your mind." Even under my breath he hears clearly what I'm saying.
"That's not fair!" His voice growing in volume. He looks me dead in the eyes once more. "You can't expect me to wait around while you make up your mind!" He pulls the sheets from himself and gets to his feet. His body writhing in upset while he stands there in nothing but his dark grey boxer briefs.
"You did it right in front of me!" I yell, not moving from the bed. He begins pacing back and forth three steps each time.
"It was..." He stops pacing and sits down on the edge of the bed, crumpling the sheets. "In the moment."
"Oh what, you forgot you're gay?" I hit back. I throw the sheets from myself and get to my feet, walking to the other side of the bed and sitting myself next to him. "You don't want her J, you just don't want to admit what you are." I move my hand to his much to his dismay; he pulls his hand away and places it on his lap.
"You're a hypocrite!" He glares at me with a tilted head. "You haven't told anyone either! I've been wanting to!" He stands up, picking up his stained white shirt and dark blue ripped jeans from the floor before heading to the door. He turns back to me. "I want you, Zack but I don't want to keep getting my hopes up." I flinch as the slam of the door sends shockwaves through the room. I drop my head between my legs and exhale deeply; the stress doesn't shift with my breath. I grab some clothes from the white creaky drawers; a black long sleeve t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of white socks, ankle high. I look around for anything I may have forgotten before leaving through the door.
A sour taste is left lingering in my mouth as I make my way down the laminated dark wooden stairs; to my left is a wall, plastered in memories in the form of pristine photographs encased in silver and black frames placed in an irregular order. In between them, small decals of black foliage bridge the gaps. To my right is a railing overseeing the entrance area, coated in sand from last night's storm. I hear joyous chatter filling the air as I walk closer to the kitchen; I peer in to see Sam rummaging around in the cupboards like a lost puppy looking for food whilst Jade has parked herself on a barstool with a clean glass of water sat on the counter as a single drip of water slowly slides down the side to form a ring at the glass' base. I take my eyes from the kitchen and to the almost empty hallway when I see Jordan make haste into a room down the end.
"Zack!" A cheerful voice with a distressed undertone emits from Jade's mouth. I look back at her to see a wide smile, an uncommon sight. I hesitantly step in, causing her to stand and parade toward me. She throws her arms around me; I can feel her breath brush through my hair and her heart beat with such anticipation.
"I'm glad you're alright." My voice carries the weight of a thousand burdens. I pull away and share a plastic smile.
"'Alright' isn't exactly the word I'd use." Her long brunette locks swish through the air as she turns back towards the counter top she was just sat at. "I've got a hell of a fucking headache." She laughs as she sits. Sam rests her hands atop the black marble and leans into it.
"Consider yourself lucky." Her face is almost identical to Jordan's, cuts and bruises paint her face to a slightly less degree. "You were sleeping when two infected attacked us." It's apparent that Sam is having a difficult time adjusting to whatever this is; She's vexed. I move toward the countertop opposite Sam and to the right of Jade, fixing myself into the same position as Sam.
"We need to figure out what to do from here..." My eyes are like a pinball, striking against Jade's then Sam's, back and forth. "We can't stay here, it's only a matter of time until we have our faces eaten off in our sleep." I can feel Jade staring into me in horror.
"Zack!" She scolds me for my directness.
"I hate to say it but he's right, Jade." Sam comes to my defense. "We have to stay on the move." Sam's voice is undercut by one of disconcertion and resentment.
"It doesn't matter..." Jordan stands like a shadow in the doorway, dark and brooding. We all move our heads to him in such confusion. I begin to open my mouth to allow a reply but am immediately cut off by him. "Chances are we're all going to die sooner rather than later..." In that first half of his sentence the memory of Lucy once again appears in my mind. "Why focus on 'safety'? Let's go wherever the hell we want!" I get a sense of thrill from him as he suggests we potentially throw our lives away for nothing.
"You're kidding, right?" Jade almost overpowers the conversation with a stern input. "We have to find somewhere to hole-up!" With her right hand she grasps her head and grimaces in deep discomfort; it lasts only a minute before she's back with us.
"Maybe..." Sam adds. "Maybe it's not such a bad idea?" Whilst Jordan looks at her in agreement, Jade looks on unsure. "Think about it, why should we spend what's possibly the last of our day's on earth wandering place to place just to try and 'survive'..."
"When we can 'live' instead." Jordan finishes off her sentence. Everyone looks around at everyone; confusion and tension build in the rooms heavy I feel it on my shoulders.
"I'm in." Sam says with no reluctance.
"Fuck it." I reply. If these are our last days, why fight them trying to survive for the sake of surviving. Suddenly everyone's eyes are on Jade; the doubt still lingers in her eyes.
"Fine!" She shouts. "But only because you'll get yourselves killed without me." The irony in that sentence says it all. Smiles all around the room burst the bubble of building tension and a few jokes are shared; bringing our outstretched morning to an end. "But I want one more night here!" Jade demands; our following laughter is a sign of agreement.
The brightness of the midday sun blankets the neighbourhood in a golden glow perfectly viewed from the well kept front yard of the suburban house; the view has drastically altered with our new perception without the storm. The shattered windows and stalled cars are but a distraction from the beauty of the cookie cutter houses dotted at perfect intervals in straight lines for as far as I can see from here. The air is more than fresh, it's sweet like cotton candy at my favourite carnival from my childhood; the light breeze intoxicating me more and more as it continues to supply me. From all around me I hear wildlife in all of its forms from birds to crickets chirping in the long grass that grows beside the artificial pond further back in the yard. I sense someone behind me but everything but fear goes through me. I turn my head to see Sam; Her hand is shielding her eyes from the sun as she looks on in amazement at the view. Her blonde hair is tied into a messy bun, parts of her hair are free, flowing in her face with no bother to her. The long sleeveless purple tank she has on hangs low enough to cover just below her waist so only a small portion of her denim shorts are visible. She sits beside me o the concrete walkway without taking her eyes off of it.
"It's only a suburb..." Her voice has changed tone since last we spoke. "But something about it is so..."
"Beautiful." I finish her sentence before she has the chance, drawing her eyes to mine. We sit in silence for a mere ten seconds.
"Why the fuck is this happening." It's not often Sam feels fear, but I can see it in her eyes in this moment; her desperation practically oozes.
"I don't know." The words escape my mind, I have nothing to say of relevance.
"That's the worst part isn't it." She let's out a passive aggressive chuckle at the world. "There's not even a fucking reason for it." I say nothing to her, I continue to look out in wonder; from my peripheral I watch as she gets back to her feet and disappears behind me, leaving me to my thoughts. To my memories.