# Am I A Zombie?
You slowly open your eyes, and the world comes into focus.
It's hazy at first; mist covers your eyes, and you can only see thru a fog. But even as you blink, the view slowly becomes clear.
You are sitting on a chair, a table in front of you. There is a small lamp on the table, and it's providing the only illumination in the room. The room is otherwise dark, and you don't even know how big it is.
On the table is a note, and a gun.
The note says:
*Check your right arm, then turn over. Can you guess what bit you?*
You do so. There is a painful bite on your right arm, right above the wrist.
It looks fresh.
*It looks like human teeth made the mark.*
Your eyes go back to the paper.
[[Turn the paper over]]You turn the paper over.
There is just one small paragraph on it.
*You have been bitten by a zombie. Do us all a favour, and kill yourself, Royce.*
Royce. That name sounds familiar. Is it yours?
You look at the table. There is a gun there.
It only has one bullet in it.
You look at your right arm again. Memories come flooding back.
If they are correct, you will turn in, minutes, at most? How long ago were you bitten? The teeth marks are still fresh. They still hurt, and there is some dried blood sticking to the wound.
Five minutes. At most.
That's all you have.
What do you do?
[[Try to stand up and leave]]You put the gun to your head.
*Hasta La Vista, baby,* you say, as you pull the trigger.
Of course not. Go back and choose something else.You try to stand up.
There is a sound of a metallic clink, and you realise you are chained to the chair with metal handcuffs.
They bite into your left arm, drawing a gasp of pain.
You sit back and notice there is a small note taped to your left arm.
*Sorry, Royce. But it is for our safety. You would have done the same. You know what happens to those who have been bitten. Please do the right thing. For all our sakes. Love, J*
Who is J, you think to yourself.
The room is silent. The room is dark. The gun is calling out to you. Shouting, even.
You know what you should do.
The right thing.
[[Try to remember what happened.]]You shake your head and try to remember.
Your name is Royce. Someone called K has locked you in here. You have been bitten by a zombie.
How long ago?
And why haven't you turned yet?
You pull at the chain on your left arm again.
And it hits you.
Something is wrong.
You pick up the gun.
[[Shoot the handcuff tying you to the chair]]Taking aim, and care, you shoot at the handcuff.
Whether it's luck, or because you have done this before, you don't amputate your hand.
The steel link holding you to the chair breaks, and you are free.
But you are still in a dark room, in an unknown place, no idea where you are.
[[Explore the Room]]The room is tiny.
The room is dark, except for that tiny lamp illuminating a small part in the middle. It throws a weak yellow light that does nothing for you.
Using your hands, you find the nearest wall, and try to measure the room.
It is about 5 of your steps wide, and seven steps long. You have no idea how long your step is.
What worries you is: *There is no door; nothing like a handle*
But clearly you weren't born in this room. Someone brought you in here, so there must be a way out.
But what if the door can only open from the outside?
You supress that thought, and go back to looking for the way out.
[[Check the walls again]]
[[Check the middle of the room]]You walk around the walls, trying your best to find a door.
When you find nothing, you go down to the floor and check at that level.
Then you pull yourself tall and try to find if the door handle is up high somewhere.
You take a deep breath and try to suppress your panic.
[[Check the middle of the room]]You look under the table.
Within seconds, you hands touch something.
You must be in the attic.
Pushing the table aside, you pull at the bolt.
The trapdoor opens.
It's as dark as death down there.
You cannot see a single thing. Your hands can feel a ladder attached to the trap door, but you have no idea where it leads to.
[[Stay where you are]]
[[Go down, into the dark depths of the unknown, possibly putting your life at risk]]You stay where you are, and die of boredom and/or old age.
Try again, pops.Using only your hands and legs to feel, you go down the stairs.
If the attic had been a dark and lonely place, this is even worse.
Not a ray of light. Not a sound. Not even a breeze.
Only a smell.
The smell of rotting flesh.
There is a dead body around. You hope it's not the moving kind.
Slowing your breathing, you feel the bite wound on your hand. How long do you have?
And what do you do now?
[[Stay where you are]]Darkness covers your eyes. You move forward, like a blind person, taking each step gently.
The floor creaks under your feet. And you hear a moan.
An inhuman moan.
You shouldn't be scared, but you are.
You are walking down what looks like a long corridor. And with each creak, you scream inside.
*Quiet, quiet, quiet! Stop making so much noise*
And then, to your relief, you come to an open space. There is a bit of light here, coming from below you.
And also fresh air.
Air filled with the smell of a rotting corpse.
It seems your option is to go back to the attic, or go down the stairs, to whatever horror waits for you.
Not much of an option, is it?
[[Go down the stairs]]Of course the stairs creak.
But you are less scared now. Nothing is moving below you; at least, nothing you can hear.
The sooner you sort this mess, the sooner you can go home.
Where is that?
Why can't you remember?
You pause in the middle of the stairs. There is something you need to remember.
[[Push it out of your mind and continue]]
[[Stop. And try to remember]]
It's too important to push away.
You have to find out.
[[Stop. And try to remember]]Pain.
There is a sharp pain at the back of your head.
You gingerly touch it and wince in pain. It's wet. No doubt blood.
And the memory comes back.
[[The Memory]]You had been sitting in your office, your feet on the desk, doing nothing, basically. Business was slow. Being a private detective wasn't as glamourous as the movies made it out to be.
Not a single case in 3 months. Savings were running out, and you needed a case. Any case.
When your door opened, and this dame walked in.
No, she wasn't hot. Or sexy. In fact, she was really old, at least seventy, you guess. And she's not rich, not judging by those town stockings and well patched coat.
But she has a sort of quiet dignity about her.
"I need your help, Mr Royce," she says. "It's urgent. Do you have free time?"
Time is all you have, but you don't say it.
"Go on," you say.
"My husband. Well, he has been troubling me. He screams all night, keeps hitting the door."
You sit back. One of those cases.
"Listen lady, can't help you. You should go to the police, get a restraining order. I don't interfere in family affairs."
She shakes her head slowly. "You don't understand. My husband died last week. And yet, he won't go away. Someone told me you handled cases like these."
Of course you did.
[[The stairs creak]]The stairs creak as you fidget in place.
You remember now.
You had agreed to drop by her house that evening. But something had gone wrong.
That part was still unclear.
You had seen a girl. A beautiful blond. And then the world had gone dark.
Someone had attacked you and tied you to that chair.
One step at a time.
You go down the stairs one step at a time.
Finally, you reach the bottom. There is a light coming from your left. It's a room, door slightly closed.
To the right is another closed door.
The door with the light, on your left, will have the people who attacked you, and tried to kill you. Go in there, they'll try to do it again.
But the door on right is the one with the moaning noises. The inhuman growls. The thing you came to investigate.
Where do you go?
[[Go left, towards the people who attacked you]]
[[Go right, towards the inhuman noises]]You should just walk away.
But you can't.
For one, you don't know the layout of the house.
And second, you need to lay this case to rest. The old woman was your client, even if she hadn't paid you. She'd had a quiet dignity to her, a quiet determination.
She hadn't deserved what had happened to her.
For you remembered now.
You open the door.
[[Two faces stare back at you, full of hate and malice]]You are eaten by the zombie, with ketchup and french fries. Yum.
Also, you get the *I had to click this stupid button* award."Hello Jenny," you say again.
Jenny had been your college sweetheart, until you had broken up in final year. Blond, petite, she looked like the classical homecoming queen. Blond, very beautiful, every man's dream.
She wasn't very beautiful now. Disgust and hate will do that to your face.
And you had to guess the sleazy looking man with oily hair was her boyfriend.
"Won't you say hello to your friend, Jenny?"
"Why the hell are you still alive?" she asks with a sneer.
You sit yourself on the sofa. "You know, I didn't realise what you were carrying in that rolled up carpet. If your boyfriend had attacked me, I would never have guessed. But, you couldn't let me walk away after seeing that, could you?"
She just stares at you with hostility.
"You killed that old woman. I don't know why. You weren't planning on me being here, though. When you saw me, you were surprised and attacked me, even though I had no idea what you were up to. Am I right so far?"
Jenny just stares, but the sleazy boy laughs. "I knew I shouldn't have attacked you. But we couldn’t risk it. We had made sure her aunt's death would look like a suicide. But then you turned up."
Aunt. That explained it.
"Aunty doesn't look very rich. Why'd you kill her?"
"None of your business," she says.
"Come on, tell me."
"I'll tell you," says the boy. "Since you are a dead man anyway. You're right, she's not rich, but this land is. Especially with them building an amusement park nearby. Her aunt wouldn't sell the land, even though the builder doubled the price. Something had to be done."
"And what was that whole tie me up with a gun thing?"
Jenny answered now. "That was my idea. I remember how superstitious you are. Believing in zombies and such. I reckoned if you thought you were about to turn, you would shoot yourself. And save us the trouble and police attention. Why didn't you?"
The boy laughs. "I'm the one who bit you. You should have shot yourself, Royce. Because now, it will get worse. We will bury you alive."
[[The joy of being buried alive]]You are taken, at gun point, to a small garden outside.
And they make you carry the poor woman's corpse too. It was the one causing the stink earlier.
But not the sounds. Who was making the dead person sounds?
"That's enough," said Jenny. "Dig here."
"I guess you are not going for the suicide now?"
In reply, she hits me on the face with her gun, drawing blood.
There is a shovel by your feet. You put the old lady down gently and pick it up.
"Come on, tell me. How will you explain this to the police?"
"Simple," says Jenny. You killed aunty and were about to bury her when I found you."
She waves her gun around.
"If you dig like a good boy, I might even let you go. Who knows, the police might believe you."
But you don't believe her.
No way she's letting you live.
And then, she's distracted by something. Now's your chance.
[[Attack her with the shovel]]
[[Start digging]]You use the element of surprise to hit her with the shovel.
But you only get a few seconds of respite.
Her boyfriend, also carrying a gun, shoots you dead.You had seen her boyfriend hiding in the shadows behind her, also armed. They are taking no chances.
So you start digging.
The ground is hard; the ground is cold. Your shovel bounces off the ground like it's made of steel.
You have been digging for barely two minutes, and yet, you are covered in sweat from head to toe.
And you haven't even dug enough to bury your lab rat.
Jenny is getting impatient.
[[Try to attack her again. Throw some dirt in her face]]
[[ Keep digging]]
It would work if you were James Bond.
You're not, so it didn't.
Bang bang, one dead detective coming up.
Try again.You hit the shovel on the hard ground again, and it shocks your bones. Your arms sore and burning, you pause to look at Jenny.
"Know why your aunt hired me?"
"Keep diggin'" she says.
"She suspected there was a zombie around."
"Ain't no such thing as zombies, ghosts, witches, aliens or vampires. Keep digging. What do you take me for?"
You hit the shovel on the hard ground again. This isn't getting you anywhere.
You need to do something. And fast. But attacking Jenny or her boyfriend won't work. He's standing a few feet behind her, and even if you get her, he still shoots you.
That's when you hear the noise.
The sound you never wish to hear.
A low growling. An inhuman lust, lust for flesh, but not in the way your religions warn you about.
A lust for raw human flesh.
Only one thing makes that type of sound. That hunger for flesh, the mindless hunger that never goes away.
And it's coming for you.
[[What now?]]You look at Jenny. "Jenny, I know you don't believe in..."
She fires a shot over your head. "Keep digging!"
Unfortunately, they are attracted to sound.
[[Cold breath]]You let out a cold breath.
Time for a decision.
[[Run for it]]
You are shot in the back.You scream loudly.
"What the hell was that?" asks Jenny.
"Sshhhh," you say. "Listen."
Like one foot is being dragged behind the other.
[[Yell again]]"I swear to God, if you make another sound, I will shoot," screams Jenny at you.
But she should have been paying attention.
The moon comes out from behind the cloud. The silence is punctuated by sounds of inhuman footsteps.
Your breath turns to mist. It's gone cold.
Jenny is still screaming at you. But you aren't looking at her.
You are looking behind her.
Her boyfriend screams.
3 shots ring out.
Jenny runs to help him.
There is an inhuman scream. The scream of mortal pain. The scream of someone being eaten alive.
More shots. Both of them are shooting now.
But it's too late.
You stand there, frozen in fear, as you see the inevitability of what's about to happen.
Why can't you move?
[[Run, dammit!]]You finally find your strength and make a run for it.
It's dark, the moon has been covered again; but you keep running, you don't know where.
You can't see where you are going, but you can hear them.
You have to get away from them.
3 of them now.
Your lungs burn, your legs turn to rubber, your knees are giving way, but you keep running.
You have to open your mouth to breath, making wheezing noises, but at least you are getting away.
Because then you stop.
[[Why the hell?]]There are sounds in front of you too.
Of course there are.
The old lady took too long to come to you.
Her husband wasn't the first one bitten.
You can hear at least a dozen footsteps. All moving towards you. Of course they have heard you, tearing as you were down the forest.
And the 3 behind you are also catching up.
A lonely dark forest, the moon hidden behind clouds, no map or weapon in your hand, and facing at least a dozen or two zombies.
If you were a betting man, you wouldn't rate your chances high.
It all started when that dame walked into your office. You should have thrown her out then.
You start laughing.
Because you know what the worse part of whole this charade is?
You haven't even been paid for this job.