The Zombie King
The Zombie King
Author: Birdy Rivers

Chapter 1- Lacey

On the run. I never knew what that phrase meant till I had to be on the run to save my life. It’s never ending. No place to call home. Never knowing where your next meal will come from or where you will sleep. It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and it can drive a person mad. 

I wasn’t always on the run. Once upon a time, I was a normal girl living in the suburbs. I had parents, lived in a house, and went to school. I never thought I’d miss high school, but I’d rather endure hours of lectures and bullying than running for my life. 

Everything was normal. I had a crush who was also my friend, yet I also feared this person. Ryan was my protector from the bullies. He was three years older than me, but he made sure no one bothered me, and if they did. Let’s just say I don’t want to know what happened to them. Those bullies would often be found the next day with their own bruises, broken bones, and some flat out never made an appearance again. 

Ryan Adams was dark, scary, and intimidating. He didn’t care what people thought about him. He took what he wanted, and no one dared to stop him. Tall, black hair styled in choppy and full fringe emo hair cut, fair skin, dark blue eyes ready to pierce your soul. He was lean but toned. He was dreamy to me, but he also scared the shit out of me because I knew what he was capable of. 

I was surprised that Ryan came to my defense when the cheerleaders picked on me. I was quiet, a book nerd, good at school, and kept to myself. I was a prime target for the popular kids, especially because they thought they could bully me into doing their homework. They did for a while too, but Ryan came to my defense when I was a freshman in high school. He was a Junior, but even the Seniors didn’t mess with him. 

Once people realized I was protected by Ryan Adams, no one fucked with me again. Ryan slowly became my friend. He would take me to school and back home since it turned out we lived in the same neighborhood. 

I don’t know why I crushed so hard on the bad boy. Maybe it was because he saved me from my bullies. Maybe it was because he was sexy and mysterious. Maybe I just have a thing for bad boys. Either way, I fell hard for him, even if he scared me. 

When I was sixteen, everything changed. The entire world changed because we realized we weren’t alone. I’m not talking about aliens. Nope, crazy as it sounds, I’m talking about Zombies. Not the slow, dumb kind. It turns out zombies are fast, strong, intelligent, and vicious. Not only do they eat brains, but they will eat human flesh if brains are available. 

We didn’t get zombies from a virus, a vaccine, or any of the normal things in the books, movies, or TV shows. It turns out zombies come from a mutated human gene that activates after death. This mutated gene is inherited by one's father if he carries the mutation. 

Zombies have always been around; humans never knew it. Zombies stayed hidden from humans. They would take on jobs as undertakers, morticians, or anything that would get the near-dead people to eat their brains or flesh. They lived among us, and we never knew until they got tired of hiding. They decided to take over the humans. Decades of planning and plotting against the humans. 

It only took them two years to completely take over North America. Zombies like the cold, so they stick to what used to be Candid and the Northen United states. The southern regions are where the humans seek refuge even if it’s not safe because hungry zombie hordes find their way to us. They hunt us like humans would, dear. They capture us, and the rumors fly about what happens to us once we are. 

None of the rumors are pretty. If we aren’t killed and eaten on site, the rumor is we are sent to human farms where were are slaughtered and chopped into pieces, much like humans used to do to cows. Now, we are the damn cows going to the slaughterhouse. Gruesome? Yes, but it’s how things are. 

Humans try to fight, but zombies aren’t that hard to kill. You have to chop their head off. Fire might slow them down, but it normally doesn’t kill them. Oh, did I mention they can heal? Not fast, but faster than a human. Some call them Super Zombies as they are nothing we ever predicted. 

The rest of the world can’t help us as they have their own Zombie problem. Each content is on its own, and so far, humans haven’t been able to stop them. Zombies make up about little less than half the world's population as the mutation is rare, but they are immortal. With so many humans, they have an endless supply of food for years to come. They don’t have to consume food at a rapid rate either. A half brain or a pound of flesh will hold them over for several days, maybe even a week. 

Life for humans changed as we became the hunted. We are always on the run. It’s not safe to stay for too long in one place. Humans have tried to set up camps and fortress, but they never last as the zombies have thought all our moves out. They spent so long hiding and plotting against us that we can’t think of anything to save ourselves, not yet at least. Two years and so far, nothing. Nowhere in the world is safe. 

Governments have fallen, territories redone, no more countries, just contents divided up for the Zombie leaders to rule their hordes. In North America, humans are allowed to live in the southern warmer parts, but it’s not safe. Nothing is safe anymore. 

The rumors of Zombies started slowly. A whisper in the dark that came like a tornado destroying everything in its destroying path. People thought it was insane. Zombies were just a myth, but even those who believed were not prepared. Doomsday preppers didn’t see these types of zombies coming, and the zombies had counters to them. They countered everything we thought of. 

Ryan was nineteen, and I was sixteen. Fall was approaching quickly, and the entire summer was filled with rumors of a zombie apocalypse coming our way. I didn’t know what to think at the time. The pictures and videos on social media looked real enough, but like the rest of the humans, I thought it best to be in denial. 

Ryan, however, was not in denial. He believed, but I failed to realize at the time that he believed for a reason. I’ll never forget that day and night. The day before doomsday. 

The two of us were hanging out at my house. My parents were at work. We were on the porch sipping slushes from the gas station. It was our thing. Every day we would walk to the gas station located right outside our neighborhood. We’d grab our slushies, corn dogs, and candy, then walk back. The food was long gone, and all that was left was our slushies. 

“We need to get out of the suburbs tonight and get to the country. The Zombies will attack the cities at midnight. Then move on to the suburbs, but by then, people will be in a panic, and we won’t be able to get out safely.” Ryan stated. 

“Ryan, you don’t actually believe the Zombie rumors do you?”

“Yes, I know for a fact they are very real. I need to get you to safety. It’s our best chance at survival. If I’m wrong, then we end up with a fun camping trip. There are a group of humans preparing to leave at three in the afternoon. That’s two hours from now. Pack a bag of clothes. I have the camping gear. We leave with them.” Ryan commanded. 

“Fine. I don’t believe in this zombie stuff, but I rather avoid my parents tonight. They are still fighting and arguing. My dad’s affair is taking a toll on their marriage, and they love to put me in the middle.” I replied. 

“Good. I’ll come pick you up in an hour and a half.” Ryan said, getting up from his chair. 

I watched him leave and then went inside to pack a duffle bag of clothes. I didn’t believe in the zombie stuff then, but I would by the next day. Everyone would. I had no idea what was coming. I thought Ryan was losing his mind, but I didn’t care. I’d follow him anyway. 

We met up and left our town with a group of about fifty other humans looking to get to the country before the so called zombies were going to take over. I was looking to escape my parent's marital problems, not zombies. I didn’t even tell them where I was going, just that I was spending the night with Ryan. My parents hated Ryan. He was dark and gloomy to them. Not only that, but he was considered dangerous. 

We drove for hours till the leader of the group decided we were far enough away. It was about seven at night. We left our cars and lugged our camping gear further into the woods. Ryan set up our tent and built a fire for us to cook over. He even bought food with him. He had tons of canned food. 

After we ate, we curled up in our tent with blankets and our clothes bags. I started to notice Ryan was off and that he wasn’t entirely himself. I snuggled next to him, and he was colder. I thought it was the mountain air. What I failed to realize was that Ryan was in transition and that he would be leaving me to conquer the human world. He was just getting me to safety. 

That night, Ryan took my virginity; when I woke up the next morning, he was gone. He left sometime before midnight. I didn’t know where he had gone. I panicked, thinking something had happened to him and that he had fallen off a steep ledge and was hurt. 

The next morning I packed up our camp without him. I asked others at the camp, and they told me Ryan had left. He gave no explanation. He simply left. It made no sense. I didn’t understand why he would leave me, but he was saying weird things right before we had sex. He told me he would come back for me and wouldn’t be with me because it would be a while before we were together again. 

None of it made sense. Ryan's words, his actions, nor did that actual zombie attack that happened. Then several months after the initial attack, when the government started falling, rumors that the southern warmer parts were safe is when another I heard another rumor. The Adams were the main leaders of one of the largest zombie hordes leading attacks against the humans. It couldn’t possibly be my Ryan Adams. The name was a coincidence. 

However, it wasn’t. The rumors spread far and wide about Ryan and his father, Dorian, fastly overtaking human cities like it was nothing. That’s when it all clicked together. I realized he was in transition that night. His words suddenly made sense. Even if I doubted he would come back for me. 

It’s been two years, and to be honest, I don’t want him to find me. I’ve managed to stay alive. The original group I was with grew in numbers. At this rate, I’ve almost lost my life more times than I count. About a year ago, I started training in self-defense. I learned how to use a crossbow, gun, and bow and arrow. I have random white scars that mar my legs, stomach, and arms. Nothing gruesome, and they aren’t abundant like some of the other humans. I think all humans have scars of survival at this point. If it’s not from surviving zombie attacks, it’s from surviving the wilderness. Techknowledge belongs to the zombies now, while the humans are stuck with just about nothing. Even guns are hard to come by. Food is something we find here and there when we raid abandoned towns. Cities are never safe. We forage for berries and grow vegetables when we can. Sometimes we get a safe area where we can stay long enough to grow something. 

A lot of humans had stocked up on canned goods, and I was grateful for the massive amount of food Ryan had left me, along with the good camping gear. Maybe that was his way of attempting to atone for his lies. Unfortunately, the food is gone as I shared with others like others have shared with me. The camping gear was lost nine months ago when we had to scatter and leave everything behind because zombies found our camp. They captured and killed almost half of us. I barely made it out alive. 

I bathe in rivers or lakes when I can, but soap is a luxury that comes once in a blue moon. I have no idea what happened to my parents. I can’t contact them. Cell phones are useless technology as the zombies use them to track humans. They have turned everything against us and into their favor. 

My camp is slowly rebuilding, and we’ve made it pretty far south. Almost to what used to be Mexico. There is said to be a human fortress at the furthest point in Mexico that has survived any zombie attacks. Still, then again, the zombies don’t go that far unless they have to. We are heading to that fortress that offers hope. I’m not holding out hope, not at all. I’m not even sure what the hell I’m surviving for at this point. 

Eventually, the zombies will get me. I will end up dead. I know that. I guess I’m holding out for as long as possible, but for what, I don’t know. It’s not for Ryan. I don’t want him to come back for me. What would he do with me anyway? Probably eat me, so yeah, skip that. Even if he didn’t, I can’t imagine the person he’s become. He was a dark, bad boy before. Now, he’s a fucking zombie with power. I’m sure his a giant asshole. Once again, skip that bullshit. 

The humans I’m with have made camp near a lake. I’m grabbing my clothes to go bathe. I still have some of the clothes I originally left with, but definitely not as much. It’s going to be dark soon, and I don’t want to be caught alone in the dark. That never ends well. Heading to the lake, I start to strip. I’m completely naked, which doesn’t even phase me anymore. I used to be so shy about being naked out in the open, but who cares anymore about that? I sure don’t. I quickly wash the grim off as I trace the long white scar that goes from my elbow to my wrist. It’s the biggest scar I have. Most of them are small, but this fucker is not. A zombie was trying to tear open my arm to eat it, but I was saved from one of the guys in my camp. Jed is what they call a good old boy, and he’s a badass. He’s old enough to be my grandpa, but damn that man can kick ass. 

After I wash off, I step out of the lake to dry off with a shitty towel I have. I’m not even sure it’s really a towel anymore, more like a rag. I’m halfway through drying off when screams from the camp ring through the woods. Shit! They found us. 

I toss on my shirt, but a dart hits me in the thigh. Suddenly, I become woosy. I fall to my knees as two zombies approach. Two zombies approach me. “Is this her boss?” The one with pale blonde hair asks. 

“Yes, this is her.” Ryan's voice hits my ears. I look up to him, thinking the drugs are messing with me. Nope, it’s him. He looks almost the same, except the tips of his hair are white. A typical zombie trait. His fair skin is paler, almost white as snow. Another typical zombie trait. “Found you, Love.” Is the last thing I hear before everything goes black.

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