Unfortunate Part 2

** Read part 1 here: Unfortunate Part 1**

Jonah climbed three flights of stairs to get back to his room. He was wheezing and breathing heavily thanks to the palpitations in his chest. He sat down on one of the steps and cradled his head in his hands. It had only been two days ago that his girlfriend, Shauna, had shown signs of the disease Aniah was talking about. She’d called Jonah over to her dorm but he was busy with homework and instead asked a mutual friend to go over and make sure she was alright. After no text updates or calls for several hours, he went over to check on them. The room was destroyed. Deep claw marks dug into the walls and garbage was strewn over the beds; it was a disaster. Worst of all, the glass in the window was broken and dripping blood; they were gone. It was his fault this horrible disease had spread, his fault there were now more infected students and faculty.

Jonah began to hyperventilate, tears falling from his eyes and his cheeks bright red and burning from the pressure he put on himself. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand touch his shoulder. It was Garrett.

“Dude, are you okay?” he asked. Jonah didn’t reply, but rather bent forward and tucked his knees to his chest, still crying and straining to breathe. Garrett sat down next to his friend. The two had been close since high school. They’d made a pact to come to the same school and room together. When they got their acceptance letters, they were overjoyed. After Jonah’s father passed in a house fire, Garrett helped ground him. This was not the first panic attack Jonah has had, but it was one of the worst for sure.

“You can tell me man, it’s alright,” Garrett said, resting a hand on Jonah’s shoulder, reminding him that he was there, present, and listening.

“It’s my fault,” Jonah managed. “She got sick and I didn’t help.”

“Who? Shauna? There’s no way this is related, dude. You’re fine.” Jonah rested his head on Garrett’s shoulder and continued to cry in silence. Garrett was unsure what to do, but stayed strong for his best friend.

The door to the stairwell on the platform above them suddenly swung open and smashed into the wall. The two looked up to see a haggard student with mussed hair and blood dripping from their mouth. They stood sentient, cocking their head this way and that, sniffing the air. They let out a piercing scream made louder by the acoustics in the stairwell. Jonah, and Garrett stood, maintaining eye contact with the thing. They backed up slowly across the platform at the bottom of the staircase they were sitting on. The zombified student lunged and they both flinched. A sickly smile spread across the student’s face. It outstretched its arms and sprinted down the staircase that separated them. In a moment of panic and without thinking, Garrett shoved Jonah in front of him into the waiting arms of their decomposing classmate.

They eagerly ripped into his flesh as Jonah cried and screamed for help. Chunks of hair and scalp fell to the floor. Garrett simply stood there and watched his friend’s head cave in. The zombified student scooped out the brains like a toddler eating cake. Jonah’s eyes followed Garrett as he ran down the stairs to the common room door then went blank as he breathed his last breath.

Garrett closed the door behind him and saw a cluster of zombies huddled over something near the supply closet. Squelching and crunching noises could be heard over satiated moaning and deep growls. One glanced up and spied him as he was attempting to catch his breath. He darted back through the door and through another set of doors that led outside. To his right he saw his English professor wearing a torn dress and only one shoe foaming at the mouth and pounding on the door to the girls dorm. To his left was relatively clear so he hid behind decorative bushes and trees, silently making his way to the safest place he could think; the woods.

There was a large swath of thick woods behind the dorms. It led to the underside of a mountain that students would often hike on weekends. Some would even camp out there and it was rumored that the drifters from the small town would make shacks and forts in these woods. Between the dorm and the wooded area, there was a roadway and parking lot. Squatting behind a bush, Garrett looked down the road. He struggled to hear amid the screams from the school grounds behind him. He couldn’t see anything from either direction and knew his chances would be better as soon as he cleared the woods. Garrett took a deep breath and blew it out as he shook his hands and stretched his neck from side to side. He readied himself, then sprinted across the large parking lot, exposed and prepared to run for his life. A root tripped him and landed him on a patch of soft grass. His face slammed into the ground and his nose began bleeding heavily.

He rose, bright red blood falling down his shirt and covering the hands he had over his nose. Looking around, Garrett spied a ramshackle shack about ten feet away. He darted towards it and closed the thin sheet metal door immediately. The stench of B.O. inside was overwhelming. It was clear someone was living here or at least had lived here recently. The small space was floored with a tarp. On that laid a dank mattress and a small cardboard box used to hold a toothbrush and a grimy cup. Garrett sat on the mattress and removed his shirt. He held the clean part up to his nose as it continued to bleed. He knew he would have to stop it before those monsters could track him down by it’s smell. He cried without tears; simply moaning softly into his shirt, his eyes wide. He mourned the loss of his friends and begged whatever gods were out there to live for one more day.

Last Week’s Story: Unfortunate Part 1

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