“Eh, what’s that Cheryl?” I make my last walkthrough of a warehouse on the outskirts of St. John’s where I am stationed. My shift is coming to an end, and the last thing I want to hear is that I am not going to get my paycheck this afternoon.
“Eh, the boss turn into a zombie and didn’t sign the checks and dem?” I return to the guard booth and fill out the log.” You not serious,” I shift my cell phone to the other ear. “What kind of zombie ‘e turn into?”
I sit down heavily on the piece a chair they say they giving us to sit on. “What you mean you don’t know?” I sigh, “Is ‘e walking about slow and clumsy or is ‘e rushing about?”
Hearing a shrill scream in the distance, I get to my feet and slam shut the door, locking it. Then I crouch down behind the desk, pulling the chair close to it.
“Okay, ‘e jumpin’ out ‘im skin?” I ask after Cheryl gives me a description of the zombie my cheapskate boss has became. “Alraight,” I ignore the scratching at the large plate glass window that looked into the warehouse. Most likely the guard stationed outside, but that’s his problem, not mine. “Now get a bunch of de men to ‘old ‘im down’ and make Mr. Browne sign de checks…. I very serious Cheryl.”
“Look Cheryl.” Now the fool guard banging on the door. “I don’t care if dere is a zombie whatever, I got to get paid. My rent due next week, I have to send money back ‘ome and de Migo man sure to come ’round on Sunday. I can set my clock on dat one.”
The banging stops and it gets real quiet. Too quiet. I’m tempted to take a peek but I know better than to let the guard outside know I’m in here. A loud explosion of something going through the window destroys the silence, glass skitters under the desk. Shit, when did zombies get so resourceful?
With a chupse, I tell Cheryl that I will call her later. Still, I don’t come out, if Mr. Resourceful was going to get me, he was going to have to come for me.
I listen as he lands on broken glass. He slowly walks around the office, glass crunching under spit shone shoes. But something is wrong. His stride is too purposeful, not hurried or wild. He comes around the desk and stands but inches away from me. It is now or never.
Pulling out a metal nail file from my shirt pocket, I raise my hand as high as the desk would allow. It is now or nev-
“Peaches?” it is just above a whisper. “Where you, Peaches?”
“Donovan?” I push the chair out, forcing my co-worker to step back. “Donovan, you not a zombie?”
“Do I look like a zombie?” he replies, watching me get out of my hiding place.
Looking him up and down, I say, “Is questionable.” Turning around, I take in the smashed window. “Now why you go and do dat for? Now anything can get in.”
“You not glad I come look for you?” Donovan has the heart to say. “I coulda left you ‘lone to face dem.”
“I woulda managed,” I turn back to face him. “Plus, I t’ink you de one ‘fraid being alone.” Not even waiting for a response, I pull out my phone and call back Cheryl.
“So you get him to sign the checks, Cheryl?” I ask when the phone is answered. “What?!? Mr. Browne get she? He’s gnawing pon she right now? Jesus…. but, hear nah, did y’all get Mr. Browne to sign de checks and dem? Okay, good good, I coming just now.”
Seeing the shocked expression on Donovan’s face, I ask, “What?” as I disconnect the call.
“You nuh ‘ear?” He responds. “Cheryl pregnant.”
At first, I was speechless. That little mite of a woman get herself with child for that cheating boy she call a man. I wanted the best for she but maybe it’s for the best she died early. She would not have survived anyway and then for her to be pregnant, too. She would have gotten in the way, but I don’t utter a word of this to Donovan as I heard he had feelings for Cheryl.
“Lets go,” I say at last. “We’ll give her a decent burial when we get a chance,” I lie.
“Where we going?” Donovan asks, not making a move to go. He isn’t the smartest man to put on a security uniform.
“Where else?” I say, walking over and removing the gun from the holster that hung at his side. I check the clip and remove the safety. “We’re going to the office to get our pay,” I look up at him.
A scream broke the silence that hung over us like a heavy blanket. It is closer, they are closer. There are miles between us and the office filled with unspeakable horrors and I am asking him to travel through them to get a piece of paper. But it is more than a piece of paper. We worked the week and we have to be paid. We have responsibilities to meet and it doesn’t matter that the world has gone to hell. I want my money.
“E safe,” Donovan says, his eyes veering to the gaping hole he made in the plate glass window that would have separated us from whatever gets into the warehouse.
Following his line of vision, I see a woman staring at my co-worker. She would have been beautiful if it wasn’t for the sunken eyes that seem see nothing, the slacken jaw from which dark blood leaks from the corners. A gaping wound on her arm has little maggots squirming as they consume her at their leisure. She doesn’t care, her attention solely on the man in the room.
I put a bullet in her head. The kick of the gun new to my small hands but I could get used to it.
Looking back at Donovan, I hear her drop to the floor like a sack of garbage. “You sure?”
He pulls his gaze away from the window and blinks at me. The gears in his mind moving ever so slowly as he tries to decide on what he should do. Should he come with me where he is sure to encounter more like the corpse on the floor beyond the window? Should he stay and deal with whatever gets into the warehouse?
With a chupse, I put a bullet in his head. He took too long to answer and a second’s hesitation means life or death in this new world. As I search his body for extra rounds for his gun, I rationalize my actions as a mercy kill. It is either I kill him now or later and I might be busy later.
Pocketing the extra rounds, my phone and a few odds and ends, I sneak out of the guard room. As I creep through the warehouse, I hear them, but I was prepared for when I see them.
Standing in the doorway of one of the exits, I can smell death in the faint breeze as it blows through the open door. In the distance a small group of undead walk slowly towards the warehouse.
If it was Monday, I would rethink what I am about to do. I would have hid out in the warehouse, surviving on dried goods and bottled water. But it’s Friday, pay day and I’m going for what is owed to me. I’m going to get paid and it’s going to take a whole lot more than a zombie outbreak to keep me from that pay check.