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  • Writer's pictureJulia Roscoe

It's a new day



Lisa opened her eyes, the soft morning light filled her bedroom with a magical glow. This was it, the so awaited day was finally here. Time to grow, time to let the past behind and move forward.

She wasn’t ready, but no one truly is, we become ready when we are right in the middle of the mess: opening up our own path and finding out things are not as we had expected. Of course, that didn’t stop her from preparing herself, from searching and planning as best as she could.

Her belongings were already packed. In her handbag, were the objects she would need the most or were most dear to her: her phone and charger, her wallet with a picture of her and her family along with her ID and some change, her lucky keychain, a small bottle of sanitizing gel, her favorite book, and her dad’s old gun with a spare loaded clip.

Lisa placed her backpack’s strips on her shoulders like Indiana Jones adjusting his whip and heading towards the jungle. Next, she picked up her wheel bag and carried everything downstairs.

It would have been nice having someone to say goodbye to. She supposed the house was her last living relative. So many memories… As much as she wanted to remember only the good times spent in that house (Sunday pancakes, birthday parties, Christmas dinner), the last moments with her family there weren’t so happy.

“Lisa!” Her father yelled as he got in, kicking the door.

She rushed downstairs, gun in hand.

“Get the saw”, he said, dragging a body with him from the hall and into the kitchen.

For a split second, she froze. Although freezing was the opposite of what she had been taught the last months, she couldn’t help herself. That was her mother. Covered in dirt, blood dripping from her right arm: she looked already dead.

And she would be if Lisa didn’t hurry. Shaking her head, Lisa forced her feet to move. She followed her dad to the kitchen and got the electric saw from the cupboard below the sink.

“Where is Mike?” She asked while turning the equipment on.

“Still out there”.

She turned to hand the saw to her father, but his hands were shaking too much, and they didn’t have time.

“Hold her still”, Lisa swallowed hard, took a deep breath and stared into her mom’s eyes.

“Do it”, her mom managed to say. Her voice was weak, probably fighting the fear and the pain.

“Wait! Here, bite this”. Lisa’s dad put a piece of leather between his wife’s teeth, it was his belt.

“I’m sorry”, Lisa choked.

And, the next moment, she was back into focus, pressing the metallic saw against her mother’s arm, as close to the shoulder as possible. Though the wound was on her forearm, Lisa couldn’t take any chances, the virus could have spread already.

The girl would always remember the sound of metal against bone.

“You can go now. Go get Mike”, she told her father, bandaging the arm stub. Her mother had passed out in the middle of the procedure, thankfully.

“I’ll be right back”, he promised, though they both knew this it was not something either of them could assure.

Almost an hour later, Lisa’s father and brother returned home safely.

“I got the supplies”, Mike showed the bag full of food cans and packages.

“That’s my boy”, their dad hugged them both, and they waited for mom to wake up.

Mike had fallen asleep on the armchair, but Lisa was still awake, watching her mother lying down in bed. Father had carried her upstairs, they wanted her to be comfortable.

Lisa paid attention to any sign of change. Color returning to her mother’s cheeks or vanishing all together. A twitch of a finger, an accelerated breathing, anything.

Finally, it happened: she moved her head to the left, blinked a little and said, “Hey, warrior”.

Lisa jumped to her mother’s side, covering her face with kisses. Her father joined them shortly and then Mike was on the bed as well.

“I’m so glad you didn’t become a monster”, Mike said, making everyone laugh nervously.

“I’ll go make you some soup”, Lisa, as the eldest child, prompted to take care of everybody.

She was in the kitchen, heating the canned tomato soup, when she heard the scream.

By the time she got to the master suite, it was too late. Mike was lying on the floor, not moving, and her father was reaching for the gun on the other side of the room.

Lisa’s hand went for her jeans’ waistband, but the gun wasn’t there. She had left it on the kitchen counter.

And her mom, no, that monster in her mother’s body, was too fast. It jumped on Lisa’s dad back before he could get a hold of his gun.

Moving as fast as she could, Lisa hurried to the pistol on the dressing cabinet. She grabbed it, aimed, and pulled the trigger.

The undead monster fell on the floor, not moving. But Lisa didn’t waste a second to look at it, she kneeled on her father’s side, trying to see what she could do.

But the opened wound was on his chest, too close to the heart, impossible to be removed.

“You know what to do”, he said, gasping for air. “I love you, honey. Now hurry”.

Once more, Lisa fired the gun.

Standing in the hall, she looked at the photographs on the walls. A glimpse of another life, a better one. She had made sure the house was as it once were, before the virus had spread and made monsters of half the population.

Someone knocked four times on the door. That was the code. Lisa opened it, gun in hand, just in case.

“Is that all?” The woman pointed at her bags, taking a quick look at the house, probably just checking if it was safe.

The girl nodded.

“Then let’s go”, the woman didn’t help Lisa with her stuff, but she glanced at both sides of the sidewalk before getting into a black Escalade.

That was it. Time to let the past go, to step into the future. Lisa had been studying the possibilities ever since her family was killed, two of them by her own hands. Going to The Camp, as survivors were calling the city behind the barricade, was her best chance to have a normal life – though normal was now a relative term – and it was weird the house she had lived in no longer fit in the concept.

So she took one last glance at her old life, said goodbye in her head, and rushed into the car.

Funny, she thought, this was the day she was supposed to go to college.

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