This is the third issue of the Uma Nova Vida series.
I drove through the chaos that was the city for a solid hour, at least. It was Hell on Earth, people robbing stories, robbing each other, people getting killed by the "zombies", people getting killed by other people... I drove as fast as I could, without stopping a second.
Stopping, even for a split second would not only lower our chances in saving that kid's parents and getting our guns, but would be certain death.
The wounded man on the truck moaned in pain audibly, and then started to cough. I looked at him through the rear-view mirror. He was getting paler by seconds. If he got any more paler he'd be pure white.
"Is he alright? What happened to him?" Clara asked the giant bouncer, concerned. "If... you don't mind me asking, of course." she added, when he bowed down his head.
"Just give the man some space..." I said. "We just met him, this is probably messing up his head and shit."
"Yeah, you're right... Sorry I asked, okay?" she apologized, touching his shoulder. The man quietly nodded.
"Take a turn right there, it should save us some time." Jhefferson said, pointing.
Is this kid trying to teach me how to drive? Really, now? Meh, what the hell, he does live there, he should be right about this. I took the turn, and drove for about fifteen more minutes, before we got to the Peacock Hill favela.
"Alright, the rest of the way is on foot. I don't want to risk my car, leaving it inside of a favela in the end of the world." I said, pulling out. "Okay kid so, where is your house?" I asked, turning around.
"Not far from here... About two or three blocks." Jhefferson replied.
"Good. I am the one who's fucked, then. I'm going to need someone to go with me, I'm not climbing the hill all the way to the top alone." I said.
"I'll go with you." the bouncer said.
"No, you stay here with everyone else. I'll take Pedro with me."
"What? Why me?" Pedro asked, surprised and afraid at the same time.
"Why? " the bouncer asked. " I'm the strongest here, it would be obvious to take me with you here. Instead you're taking the scrawny kid? Excuse me, but are you retarded or something?"
"First of all, rude. Secondly, look around you for a second. You are the only full-grown adult in the middle of a bunch of teenagers. You're the only one here who can drive, other than me. And, as you said, you're the strongest too. I need you to stay here and protect the car and the girls. Make sure nothing happens and, if shit happens, get the fuck out of here as quick as possible."
"This still doesn't explain why you have to take ME with you, though." Pedro said, visibly afraid of going with me. Man, what a pussy.
"Shut up, Pedro." I replied. "Then, this is it. Me and Pedro are going up the hill to meet Chacal while Jhefferson goes and gets his parents. Any objections?"
"Wait, are you seriously talking about letting a 5 feet tall, sixteen years old wander around in the outbreaking of an apocalypse, alone and unarmed?" Giovanni said, getting himself on something that wasn't of his business. Again.
"What's your problem, dude?" I said, tired of his shit. "If you think this is such a bad idea, go with him yourself, then."
"Bitch, I might go." he said, before turning to Jhefferson. "Come on kid, open the door. We're getting your parents, something a certain someone seems to not care about."
Jhefferson and Giovanni jumped out of the car.
"Be careful." Agatha said, grabbing Giovanni's hand as he exited the car. "Don't go and get yourself killed out there, okay?"
"Yeah, yeah I know that." Giovanni said, yanking his hand from hers and closing the door.
The two left in the direction of Jhefferson's house and soon, disappeared at the distance. I opened the driver's seat door and called Pedro. The bouncer got out of the car too, but to take his seat at the wheel. I called him to a private talk.
"Listen, if we take more than an hour to get back, you get the car and get the hell out of here, understand?" I said. He opened his mouth to protest, but I continued. "You get the car and leave. And if anything or anyone tries to get to the car or to those girls inside, you kill them. Copy?"
"Yeah, I copy." he replied. "I got this, man. Don't worry. Name's Marcos by the way."
"Lucas. Pleasure to meet you." I said, sarcastically as I walked away.
I went to Clara, who rolled down her window and pulled me by my jacket, almost choking me, and gave me a long kiss without letting go of it. I could barely breathe when she let me go.
"Don't you dare to die, you hear me?" she told me.
"I hear you." I said, caressing her chin. I went to Pedro and hit him in the left arm with a light punch. "Come on, scared pants." I said, and we started to walk up the hill.
Me and Jhefferson walked hurriedly to his house. I looked around the other houses, finding strange that the whole place was that quiet. Nearly all the houses had the windows shut and the curtains closed, the ones that had open windows seemed abandoned.
It gave me a strange feeling. It looked like while some people were already fleeing the area, others just didn't know that something was going on. Well, it was pretty damn late so I guess they're just heavy sleepers or something.
We got to his house. Jhefferson looked up to the window in the second floor and sighed in worry.
"Stay here man, this is something I gotta do alone." he said.
"Hey, wait up. You can't just go up there alone and without anything to protect yourself, man!" I stopped him, and started looking around something we could use as a weapon.
"Think there might be someone else inside?" he asked, concerned.
"That's not exactly what I have in mind..." I replied. "Perfect!" I said, grabbing two glass bottles that were tossed on the ground. I hit the wall with them to break them and gave one to Jhefferson. He hesitated for a second before grabbing it. "Now this is going to kill one of them just fine."
He thanked me awkwardly and headed upstairs, with me right behind. When we got to his house's door, it was wide open, with a trail of blood on the floor.
"Oh God..." Jhefferson said to himself, before he ran inside carelessly.
"Hey, Jhefferson! Jhefferson! You can't just go running inside like that, ma-" I said, following him. However, I couldn't finish my sentence, I was too shocked.
On the ground, a dead zombie, shot in the head. By the couch, on the other side of the room, on a pool of his own blood, a dying man holding a pistol. Tall, strong black man. "Must be his father", I thought to myself.
"Dad! Dad!" Jhefferson called him. "Oh my God, dad! Please don't be dead, please don't be dead... Dad!"
"J-Jheff...?" his father asked, weakly. He opened his eyes and opened a wide smile of relief, seeing his son alive. "Thank God almighty you're okay, son..."
"Dad, what happened? Where's mom?" Jheff asked, unable to hold his tears. "Where's mom, dad? Where's mom?"
Jhefferson's dad gave him a sorry look and shook his head weakly. The kid broke down in even more tears. When the father moved his head, I could see that a piece of his neck was bit off. I left the two to themselves and went to the kitchen, trying to find a better weapon than some fucking broken bottles.
I couldn't believe it. My dad was right there, in front of me, slowly bleeding to death. My father was dying in front of me and my mother was already dead. I panicked, I didn't know what to do anymore, I couldn't live without my mom and dad.
"It's my fault..." I cried. "This is my fault, I shouldn't have left you alone in here... I should have been here... I should have..."
"Don't... Don't talk like that." my dad said, sadly. "This isn't your fault... It isn't anybody's fault. This is all part... of God's plan, son. He planned this... to happen to me... since the beginning. And there was nothing me or you could do to stop it..."
"You shouldn't be angry at yourself... because you weren't here... And you shouldn't be sad about me either... I'm going to a better place, son... I can finally rest..." he smiled and put his hand on my cheeks.
"Please dad, don't go..." I said, crying heavily and holding his hand.
He closed his eyes and his hand felt softer inside mine, and I let go of it, knowing what it meant. I got up and looked around the living room, a mess. A struggle definitely happened in there. I walked around, not knowing what to do before letting myself fall on the couch, head on my hands, crying non-stop.
"Hey." I heard Giovanni say. "I'm really sorry for your parents, man. I really do. I know what you're feeling, man. I lost my dad too when I was younger."
He kneeled next to my father with a sad expression on his face, with a knife on his hands that I didn't notice. He hesitated before raising it against my dad's head.
"Hey, what the fuck are you doing? HEY!" I yelled at him. "WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING, MAN? GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY DAD, YOU HEAR ME?!"
"Hey, hey, hey! Easy man, I'm sorry!" he said, backing away. "But your dad was bitten, okay? That's how it works, that's how it spreads! You get bit, you die and you come back. Gotta destroy the brain, or he'll turn. You don't want to see your father as one of... THEM, do you?" he pointed at the dead zombie on the floor.
I stayed in silence for a couple of seconds, trying to process it. Then I asked him: "Really?"
"Yeah, man. Trust me, I know about this stuff. Your mom... She had a bite mark too. I already took care of her, she won't come back. Now it's your dad... We have to do it fast, before he comes back."
"Okay..." I finally said, letting him. He kneeled again and raised his knife, but I stopped him again. "No, wait... He's my father. I have to do it."
"Come on man, you don't need to do it..." Giovanni said, trying to help me.
"No, I do. I can't ask you to do this, man. It's my responsibility." I said, grabbing the knife.
I gave my dad a last look of sorrow, before kneeling next to him, knife on my hand, ready to stab his brains to prevent him from becoming a monster.
"I love you, dad..." I cried, as I raised the knife and gently pressed it against his temple.
The sound of the knife breaking his skull bone and hitting his brain was something I'll never forget. It was horrible, disgusting... But I had done it.
"I'm sorry for you dad... I'm sorry I wasn't here... But I'll try not to be sad about it, like you told me... Like you said, you're in a better place now." I said, wiping away my tears.
"Is that a gun on his hand?" Giovanni asked, picking it up. "It is... It's a revolver... And it's just missing one bullet... Did you know your father had a gun?"
"No, he never told us about it..." I said, checking the gun out. "He probably bought it to defend the house from robbers or something... My mom would kill him if she knew about it."
"I don't know how to shoot this shit, do you?" he asked me.
"No." I replied. "But I bet that guy Lucas knows. He can teach us, can't he?"
"Urgh, I rather not know than having to learn from that guy." he said, with disgust.
I heard noises coming from outside. A few zombies had appeared, but didn't notice that we were inside. Well if they could notice us on the second floor, I'd be amazed.
"I think is time for us to leave." I said. "I feel bad about just leaving my parent's bodies here, but we can't exactly bury them right now..."
"I hear you. Come on, we gotta go." Giovanni said, hearing even more zombies, this time on the house next door.
I sat there, on the driver's seat, waiting for the four guys that left to come back, like I was told to. I checked my watch, they were gone for twenty minutes by now. I started to get impatient and anxious. I started to drum my fingers on the steering wheel.
"Why are they taking so long?" the girl with the black hair asked. "Do you think they're okay?"
"I'm sure they're fine..." the other girl, with the blonde hair replied, not so sure. "They said it would take some time, didn't they? They're probably fine... Right?"
"Right..." I said, still preoccupied.
Silence followed for quite some time, until Davi started coughing again. I turned around and I saw that he had weakly raised his hand from the trunk. I heard mumbling coming from him.
"P... Please... Thirsty..." he said, begging for some water.
"Oh my God, he's burning like a furnace!" the blonde girl said, putting her hand on his forehead and testing his temperature.
"Dammit... Wait inside." I said, getting out of the car and walking around it, to the trunk. I opened the trunk door and saw him there, sweating heavily, barely awake. "Hey man, how you're feeling?"
"I wish I was dead..." he replied, weakly. He coughed up some blood on his red jacket, and I could feel that even talking hurt him. "W-Why?"
"What do you mean 'why'?" I asked, confused.
"Why are you doing this?" he asked me, looking into my eyes. "We don't even know each other... Why are you so worried about me?"
"You were suffering... You are suffering, man." I said. "Can't turn my back on someone that's in need of help..."
"You can't help me, you know that, right?" he said. "I'm done, Marcos. I'm going to die here... And there's nothing you can about it."
"I need to try." I said, trying to comfort him. "I'll see if I can get you something to drink, a'ight?"
"Cool." he replied, with a weak smile, trying to pretend being okay.
I went back inside and found a water bottle. It was hot, but it was something. I went back to the trunk and gave some to Davi. He coughed up some of it, but thanked me. I then went back inside, back to waiting for the others again for more solid fifteen minutes.
"Okay, now I'm getting really worried about this..." Agatha, the black-haired girl said. "Shouldn't at least Giovanni and Jhefferson be back by now? I thought all they had to do was to get Jheff's parents?"
"I'm getting worried about Lucas and Pedro too." said the blonde girl, Clara. "Lucas never mentioned to me that he knew someone from here... This area can be dangerous, I don't even want to think in exactly who is this guns guy."
A tense and awkward silence followed, and the air was filled with worry. It was broken by more of Davi's moans. I opened the door, ready to go check on him, when suddenly, something grabbed Clara by her long hair.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" she screamed in terror, trying to break free.
I looked to her and I saw that what grabbed her was actually the pale hand of Davi. He should have died and turned into a monster and we didn't even notice.
"Shit!" I exclaimed, as I jumped from the car and bolted to the trunk. I opened it as fast as I could and grabbed him by his shoulders, trying to break Clara free from him. "Come on, come on!"
I was pulling him with all my strength, and then I heard cracking sounds. I put my foot on the trunk and pulled, and before I could react, I ripped off Davi's rotten arms, sending both him and myself back, and I fell to the ground on my ass.
I heard the snapping sounds of his jaws biting the air, trying to reach for me, and I looked to the side. He was so close to my legs that if he still had his arms, he would've easily grabbed it and taken a bite of it already. I got up quickly and kicked him on the head.
The strength of the kick turned him around to face the sky, but he was still alive, if you could call zombies alive. The adrenaline ran through my blood, and I knew I had to do it. I stomped on his face, and stomped again, and again. On the third stomp, I heard the sound of cracking skull as my foot went through his face and crushed his head in.
The hissing and growling stopped, as I fell to the ground again, breathing heavily. He turned into one of them when he died... But why? Was it because of the bite he had on his arm? I looked back inside the car, both girls looking at me with a horrified expression. And then, on the trunk, both of his arms stood on a pool of rotten blood.
While I was trying to get up, still out of breath, I startled them. I tried to apologize, but I got distracted from it when I saw something at the distance. Giovanni and Jhefferson came running down the street. Giovanni looked like he was about to cough his lungs out.
"Did we lose them?" Jhefferson asked when they got close to the car and finally slowed down.
"I... I think so..." Giovanni said, out of breath. "They... They're pretty slow, so..."
"Thank God you're okay!" Agatha said, opening the door and running to hug her brother. "Jesus Christ, don't ever do that, you worried me!"
"Get away from me you maniac!" he protested, trying to get free.
"Hey man, where are the other two?" Jhefferson asked me. "Are they back ye- WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT?" he said, pointing to the dead body of Davi on the floor.
"Not what, who." I said.
"The guy that was with him, the one who was wounded..." Clara said from inside the car. "He died and came back. Tried to grab me."
"What?" Giovanni let out, surprised. "Hey, wait up. Was he bitten?"
"Excuse me?" Clara asked.
"Was. He. Bitten?" he asked, coming to me.
"Yes." I said, simply.
"And you didn't tell anyone?" he raged at me. However, when I fixed my posture and it became clear that I was over a foot taller, he backed off.
"I didn't know it was important, okay?" I said. "Maybe if you, the so-called 'specialist'... Had just told us that was important, this wouldn't have happened!"
"I... uh... Shit, I'm sorry, okay? Shit was so intense; everyone was busy with everything... I forgot not everyone knows how zombies work." he apologized. "I just assumed everyone knew that a zombie bite is something bad."
"Uh... I don't want to interrupt the fight but..." Jhefferson said, interrupting the fight. "Where are Lucas and Pedro? Are they back yet?"
"No..." Clara replied.
"What? Still not back? It's been like half an hour since they left!" Jhefferson said.
"He told me to wait one hour. I'm waiting one hour." I replied. "I'm not going to question him, the guy knows what he's doing. You all just need to trust him on this."
- Giovanni Rocha
- Agatha Rocha
- Lucas Rodrigues
- Clara de Souza
- Jhefferson da Silva
- Marcos Andrade
- Davi Dias
- Jhefferson's mother (Alive and Before Reanimation, Off-Page) - Killed by a zombie, put down before reanimation by Giovanni.
- Jhefferson's father (Alive and Before Reanimation) - Bitten by a zombie, died of blood loss. Put down by Jhefferson before reanimation.
- Davi Dias (Alive and Zombified) - Died of infection, face stomped in by Marcos after reanimation.
- Last appearance of Davi Dias.
- Last appearance of Jhefferson's father.
- It is interesting to note that this is the first issue where the first POV segment is not from Giovanni's perspective, rather being from Lucas'.