Hazia wondered when her Netflix subscription would run out. She should have enough money on her account to last for a few years. Maybe for the rest of her life, if her pay was automated. She didn’t know how much of the world was automated by now. She’d run out of shows to watch eventually though. It won’t be updating anymore. Is it optimistic to think she’d reach that point? How long could she hole up in here? She’s plundered the nearby supermarket for all it’s worth. But that food is gonna go bad eventually. She lived in the middle of Berlin, so there won’t be any wildlife to hunt for food anytime soon. A garden it is then. Could she build that? She got seeds for all kinds of stuff from the hardware store. She hadn’t taken any bags of dirt with her. And by now, she’s gotten used to not having to go out there. Let’s see how long she could put it off.
This room had a nice view. For some reason she made a hotel room on the 30th floor her home. It felt safe. The elevator still worked and probably will keep working. The… the Monids did not know how to open doors, so she could put off clearing the building so far. She’s only emptied out her floor. Helped her sleep at night. It’s easier to kill when it’s a fight for your life. It’s harder to not see them as human anymore. If they were rotten corpses, that’d help, but no. The bodies are kept fresh by whatever is living in them now. Maybe even kept alive.
When she wasn’t watching videos on the internet, Hazia was working on a website. She did not expect the internet to go out anytime soon. Things like that can run unsupervised these days. She really was lucky the zombie apocalypse hadn’t come in, say, 2010. Shit would be much more dire then.
Her website collected information and guides for other survivors. Kept track of who’s survived. She was working on a counter of how many Monids were killed too. By the time the apocalypse hit, about six billion people were left on Earth. It was hard to tell at this point how many have survived, but it’s probably in the single digits percent. But people that died after surviving the initial hit did not turn to Monids, so their numbers were finite. If they kept killing them, one day they’d be gone. It’s a long-term goal, but maybe it’d help people keep up hope if they saw the progress they made.
Hazia took a break to take a breath on the balcony. She really missed her friends. Her family. She had yet to meet another survivor in person. Her older sister likely survived. Chehrazadi was an astronaut and safe and sound on the Mars base. To think we were in the middle of preparing that planet to become inhabitable. The terraforming mission could be done independently from Earth at this point. Did one of the NASA people manage to send them a not on what happened here? Maybe one day Raza would come down with a rocket to pick up the survivors to bring them to a Mars utopia. What a reunion that would be.
The silence of the night provided little comfort. She went back inside. Maybe she should start figuring out the garden before she needed it. There had to be guides on the internet. Maybe she could scrounge up enough dirt from flower pots in the neighboring rooms.
There was a light clicking noise. Hazia saw the door knob turn, but not give way. She had locked the door. It was tried again. Hazia approached the door.
The knob turned again.
“If you’re a human, knock on the door.”
The knob was tried again. Whoever tried it hasn’t gotten frustrated with it. Confused maybe. Before it could be tried again, Hazia held the knob in place. The other side grew more confused. She could feel a weak force try to turn it. She let go and knelt down to try and see through the keyhole, but it was too small to see anything.
No way in hell would she unlock that door. But the zombies didn’t know how to open doors. Why would one try the door? Did they learn to do that too? Hazia did not expect them to get the hang of something this complex. So far they’ve only learned how to climb stairs.
Her heart sank. This was bad. Why did she talk to it? It knew she was in here now. These things had no reason to give up a hunt. This thing would call more zombies here to break the door down. There was no way around it, her best shot at surviving this was to kill it and get out of here. These things, they somehow can communicate with others over long distance, like a sort of telepathy. One learned how to climb stairs somewhere and soon all in the country knew too. It’s like they had an internet of their own. Hazia packed her laptop in a bag and as much food as she could fit. All the seed bags, toothbrush and all that shit. Stuffed a pillow between her back and backpack. Her preferred weapon was a fire poker. It’s tip was sharp enough to stab and it was long enough not to get too close to the zombies. Their bite did not kill, but you should still stay out of their grasp. She had modified the thing with a strap to her wrist. Wouldn’t wanna be disarmed.
Alright, time to open this door. Maybe it was just a mute person. Who also didn’t speak german. And wasn’t particularly bothered trying to get in here. Hazia put the key in the lock, twisted it and jumped back. The door clicked open. A middle-aged woman took a stiff-legged stride inside. Or at least her body did. She was alone. For now. Hazia rammed the poker through her face. These things didn’t know how to dodge. Add that one to the count. Now should she take the elevator or thirty stairs? If a crowd has entered the first floor, they’d tear her apart in the elevator before she could close the doors again. Stairs it would be. The Monids would expect her in the top floor. Unless they could predict her intent to leave the building.
She found the stairwell. She heard shuffling on the lower floors. Hard to tell how many, but less than ten. Let’s see how far down she could go. She went down four flights before hiding in the hallway. It was best not to be seen again. She called the elevator. It was empty when it arrived. She sent it to the first floor, then jumped out before it closed. Afterwards she called it back up, waiting for it a safe distance away. She saw a zombie make his way up in the stairwell.
The elevator came back up empty. That was better than it being filled to the brim with Monids. Could she assume that the first floor was mostly empty? She contemplated that, but then the doors closed again. The elevator was called back to the first floor. Did she teach them that? Shit. She was curious though, so she pushed the button to stop the elevator on this floor. She checked the doors to the rooms while waiting for it. None stood ajar. If a Monid had stepped out of these, it’d leave it open. So there probably were none on this floor. The one on the top floor would’ve called them out of their rooms.
The elevator arrived. Hazia gripped the poker tight. A single person stood at the back of it.
“Oh thank God.” she said as she saw Hazia.
Hazia lowered her poker and smiled. “Fucking finally someone alive.”
“I saw the Monids suddenly being attracted to this place. Figured they found someone alive inside.”
The girl took her in her arms. It was so nice to feel the warmth of another human again.
“I’m Nisha.” she was thin and a head taller than Hazia. Her short black hair was tied up into tiny pigtails on the back of her head.
“I’m Hazia. Nice to meet you.”
Nisha shook her head. “So formal. Let’s get out of here.”
Hazia followed her into the elevator and she ordered it down a last time.
“Did you come unarmed?” Hazia asked.
“Oh, no.” Nisha pulled two knives from her hoodie pouch.
“Used to have one of those spiked bats, but they’re so slow. When you’re getting swarmed, you need something quick that doesn’t need much force behind it. Good choice though.” Nisha nodded at her poker.
When the doors open, a Monid fell towards them. Nisha jammed a knife through its neck.
“The spine is what does them in, you know that?”
“Good. Their bites also don’t infect, so don’t go around chopping your limbs off.”
“Just making sure. Some girl on the internet collected all this info. Kept me from chopping my leg off. Really gotta find a pair of jeans that fit me.”
Hazia saw a faint bite mark on her thigh.
“Was jogging when it happened.”
“Did your family...?”
“Died before this.”
“I dunno if that’s better.”
“Kept me from having to put them down myself.”
From the parking lot in front of the hotel, they could see a greater mass of Monids approach the building. The street up north was clear though.
“Let’s hide in there, Maybe once they’ve all climbed up, we could block the entrance and trap them… let’s not risk it.” Nisha skipped towards a McDonalds. Big open room, good to gain a quick foothold.
“My place is a bit away, let’s wait for the street to clear. They usually disperse after a while to cover more ground. Easier to get past that way.”
“Is your place nice?”
Nisha smiled as she checked behind the counter. “Now it will be.”