Waiting for the End, Zombie things
Warning: Death, maiming, swearing. Overall creep I guess?
33 rules of Zombieland.
33 rules of Zombieland.
Rule 01: Cardio
Tala needed to get out of the wizarding world. She just needed to get out of a castle teeming with teenagers who didn’t know here and onto the streets of London teeming with adults who didn’t know her. Regardless of whether she was running away from the magical or the muggle, she simply needed complete anonymity. At Hogwarts at least several people knew her by name, and a few knew her by who she had been. This new person, angry and bitter at the sicknesses and unfairness of the world that had claimed her parents was not really known by anyone. She was a festering wound and she needed to get out onto streets polluted from the smog of cars and the millions upon billions of human breaths. It was the kind of air her rot needed to breathe and survive, otherwise she might be suffocated under the caring gaze of her cousin Una or Tati’s worried expression. Sometimes a girl just needed to be raw, broken and jagged.
Beneath her feet the bus rocked along the streets, the city passed her by in slow and fast flashes of gray buildings and some cramped red, blue and white ones moved along quickly depending on the bus’ speed. The music blaring from her headphones was contained solely to her ears, the sounds of people around her drowned out by the vicious cacophony she was subjecting herself to. The volume wasn’t even that high up, but the sound proof cuffs around her ears helped prevent any sound from finding its way out and diluting. Raindrops vibrated against the clean glass and Tala’s breath fogged the area beneath her mouth when she exhaled. Beyond the rooftops of the city’s buildings the sky was a cloudy gray and it was sprinkling more than actually raining. All seemed in order until the bus drove past a street and she noticed police patrol cars closing the street down with barriers. It might not have been something to worry about had the people on the streets not started running in a panic away from the direction the bus was headed.
Soon the cars start showing up. They appear to have just stopped, their doors flung wide open, their passengers long fled. One tried to drive up and over the cement divider, the front sunken in from where another car hit it before letting it teeter like a strange metal see-saw. Emergency vehicles line the sides of the road and Tala scrunches her eyes shut. Not real. Not real, the words are a mantra, she’s pretty sure she took her medication that morning. Or maybe she just imagined she had? But she didn’t see her mother wandering near the foot of her bed, of sitting down against the mattress without creating an indent; so it must not be real. Before she knows whether she’s hallucinating or not the bus comes to a stop and Tala bolts to her feet. The doors hiss as they swing open and the bus driver seemed to have been saying something because his mouth had been moving, but the young witch was already out the doors with her sneakers hitting the road; knees absorbing the impact as they bent slightly.
One hand moves up to pull head headphones off and the sounds from outside finally breach her ears. The music is still going without refrain and it’s the panic on everyone else’s faces that makes Tala realize this is real. It’s the first time she’s seeing the panic and her basic instinct driving her towards survival begin to rear their heads as the second wave of panic sweeps through her. There’s a painful hammering in her chest but she shoved her hands into the pockets of her jacket and looks around, seemingly calm, as she tries to find a place where she can access the local news. The only thing nearby appears to be a school campus and instead of running towards places with emergency services like hospitals, fire stations or police stations she heads for the campus. They’re bound to have some kind of emergency protocol and with all of the chaos they’ll more than likely overlook her or mistake her for a student.
The campus is oddly empty as she enters and the emergency sirens are wailing in the distance. More ambulances, police cars and fire trucks make their way towards whatever is happening past the stopped bus. Some primal instinct screams at Tala to run and before she’s had a chance to make sense of it her feet are off the ground one at a time, propelling her towards the entrance and to safety. She slams the front door with her palms, slowing down from the impact but not stopping as she darts inside. Her feet skid to a halt at what lays beyond. There’s an overturned couch shoved back against the far wall. One of the small coffee tables is smashed and there is debris all across the floor. A creak has her eyes darting up towards the flat screen hanging limply from the wall by a cord. Its screen is completely shattered and a large dark brown smear lies across its jagged surface.
The only other sound Tala hears if the harsh breath coming from her mouth and the echoes of whatever is happening outside. “I have to hide…” even her breathy voice is harsh against her ears in the eerie silence. There’s a complete lack of human sound as she walks over shattered glass, wincing when it crackles and cracks under her weight. Her fingers fly absently to the spot where she keeps her wand in the back pocket of her jeans but it’s strangely absent. “Fuck…” she left the thing behind in Hogwarts because it was supposed to be a magic free day. She’s so focused on her steps that it takes her a minute to hear the insistent tip-tap.Tiptip-tap. Tip-taptiptap. Tap-tap-taptaptap. For a split second Tala freezes, her head slowly turning to look behind her, every hair on the nape of her neck rising in alarm. Then she’s racing up the stairs, taking them two at a time and heading straight up two flights before anything or anyone can get to her. She’s not quite sure why she’s panicking but there is just something strange going on and every animal instinct in her is telling her to run.
She spent plenty of time watching coyotes chasing rabbits to know what that animal fear is. Where it comes from. It stems from suddenly finding yourself on the prey end of the spectrum. Her hands are shaking as she fumbles for the first doorknob she finds, never registering that the hallway she’s landed in is full of doors leading to rooms. It occurs to her suddenly that the smear on the television was probably blood and that whatever happened was violent. When the door finally opens she stumbles inside and does a quick scan of the open space before turning around and slamming the door shut. Wincing, she turned every lock and bolts every bolt before backing away from the door. “Fuck…” she mutters, doing a more thorough look around only to find there’s no one there that she can see but she has the feeling that she’s not alone. It might be her paranoia, she should have stopped to ask someone if they were seeing the same things she was but she’d been afraid.
Instead, Tala walks down the small hallway and knocks quietly on the doors as she goes. “Hello?” she calls out softly since she has no idea what’s going on and she’s scared to raised her voice and call out in case whatever crazy shooter or murderer prowling the building can hear her. “Is there anyone in here?” she asks at the second door, her fingers feel like she’s dipped them in ice and they grow clumsy with the growing sense of dread. It’s the music that cuts into the silence, music Tala forgot to turn off. She reaches back into her pocket and yanks on the cord, snapping the plug-in out of the socket carelessly. There’s no time for her to worry about breaking the last thing her father gave her before he died, the adrenaline is making her too jittery and she can barely think above the sound of her own heartbeat.
In the sudden silence, she hears it. There’s a loud bang coming from the closed door at the end of the hall, as though someone has stumbled against a wall.
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