This Land We Once Knew
Gracie Brown lives with her family in California. She enjoys writing in her spare time and is currently working on a new novel.
This Land We Once Knew
Sparrow Jacobs looked down at the body beneath her feet.
It was a woman, a woman with raven black hair and beautiful sea glass eyes. Or at least they had been sea glass eyes. Film had gathered around the edges and they stared up at her, unseeing. A little pocketknife lay atop her hand, thrown behind her; blood pooled underneath her head.
Sparrow blew out a breath and, trying not to breathe in, reached down and snagged the pocketknife from the corpse. Wiping it on her jeans, she tossed it into her backpack and slung it back over her shoulder. She stepped over the body carefully and continued down the street, gripping her shotgun tightly in her hands.
Chicago was completely deserted. Pieces of building were chipping away, streetlights were out or completely gone, cars clogged the streets and sidewalks, and worse of all, it smelled. Awful. She tried not to gag as she weaved in and out among the cars, some still containing the poor souls who had gotten trapped or had frozen in fear. Well, at least that's not me , she thought as she past one such car, its driver slumped over the wheel.
Eight months. That's how long those bodies had been sitting there. Eight months since this disease had turned most of the population into disgusting, flesh eating... things . During the initial onslaught, the reporters had called them zombies for five minutes before the satellites went out, but Sparrow had come up with a different name: Hybrids. It was more appropriate; they weren't decaying or anything, and she could kill them any way she could think of. But she hadn't seen any since entering Chicago (any live ones, at least), and that was making her nervous. She glanced around anxiously for any signs of movement, but there was none. She swallowed.
Squish! Sparrow looked down and swore heavily; she had trodden right on one of those dead Hybrids that were lying around. Her boot was covered in all sorts of gross matter and she kicked the tire of a nearby truck, trying to get it off. She eyed the Hybrid as she worked. It looked like it had been shot in the chest; it shirt was stained red. Its eyes were closed, but Sparrow knew what they really looked like, all veined with a red tinge. Its skin was dusty from lying in the road for so long and blue veins snaked their way from the tips of its toes all the way to its cheekbones. A discolored blouse and shredded slacks partially covered its body. Sparrow stopped her task, having gotten off most of the filth, and bent down. A little lighter was nestled between the folds of the blouse near its waist. She grabbed it quickly and threw it into her pack.
"Don't think you'll be needing this," she said, glaring at it; it didn't respond. She hurried around it and continued on her way.
She was lucky her sister, brother, and sister's boyfriend had been with her when the disease had spread. Her father was already dead, having drank too much one day, and her mother was on a business trip, and she didn't know what had happened to her. True, her sister was a wimp, boyfriend a jerk, and brother only three, but it was better than no one. But now she had no one; her sister and her boyfriend had changed into Hybrids and attacked her. She was forced to kill them, but they had already gotten her brother, she couldn't save him. That was two months ago.
She whirled around to her left, shotgun up, sure she had heard something. A few minutes passed, but there was no sound. She lowered her gun and started walking again.
"C'mon Jacobs, loosen up. Not a great place to start hearing things," she scolded herself. A sharp wind coasted down the street and she shivered, pulling her black zip up closer to her. She had managed to lift it from a local Macy's back in South Bend, along with her jeans