Besides cactus, the one thing Tucson had a lot of was apartment complexes. Many of the latter were of the three story variety. It hadn’t taken Max long to learn how to destroy the cement and steel staircases. And if he went to the smaller towers that only had two, he could usually take them both out before a sizable pack of walking corpses arrived.
If he took out the lowest stairwells, that left him with two floors to savage through. He had found a few duds and had been required to move on quickly, but usually as long as he had water, he could find enough food to make do for about a month and then he would repeat the process.
Max had quite a system going, but it came along with a lot of ups and downs. Boredom was a huge downside, but the apartments usually had a few things to distract him. But as the first anniversary of the zombie plague dawned, he’d grown tired of reading magazines and novels that covered situations that could never occur again. Games were little fun with no one to play them with.
He had come up with a new hobby, which provided some relief. His new hobby consisted of making zombie slaying weapons out of, well…anything. Toilet plunger into eye plunger. Pasta strainer into decapitator. In the end, almost anything could kill the sick pukes if you dropped in on their heads from high enough. He found the older televisions to be the most satisfying.
Still, as much as he tried to avoid thinking about it, his main issue remained loneliness. He’d been alone a whole year now. A whole fucking year. Not so much as a single conversation since the plague began. Sometimes he heard screams in the night and about three months ago he’d seen a small convoy of cars drive by, but not a single word had been exchanged with another human since the first zombie began to shuffle out of its grave.
If the weight of being alone wasn’t bad enough, at the back of his mind also nibbled the fact that he was still a virgin. High school had sucked for Max and he had never gotten lucky there. He had hoped that college would have been better, but before he’d had a chance to pop his cherry, the plague had begun.
In his darker moments, he wondered if he would end up dying a lonely virgin.
But there was something else in his current apartment that helped distract him from his plight, but not in a good way. It was the moan. He called it the moan, singular, because it was just the one. Sure the other undead lingered below, but a few well placed ear plugs helped him sleep through their noise.
No, this moan was different. It came from within the apartment complex.
Part of Max’s system was to clear the top two floors of the apartments once the lower staircases were destroyed. He had done so two days ago when he’d moved into the new place. But the first night he’d awoken to the sounds of a moan echoing through the wall. Using a flashlight he had, he searched through every apartment, sword in hand, but had found nothing.
The moaning would come and go. Just when he thought he drew close, it would stop. He’d turn around and it would start again. He had gotten very little sleep that first night and last night’s rest hadn’t been much better.
Upon awaking that morning, he had resided himself to look through every apartment, but after two hours of meticulous searching, he hadn’t found a thing. He had just sat down and mopped a sleeve over his sweat drenched brow when the moan started up again.
“Son of a bitch,” he said aloud and that seemed to make the moan grow louder. Below him, the other thirty zombies lingering around the complex joined in.
An idea came to him and he walked through the apartment rooms talking loudly. This seemed to stir the moaner up and he became pretty sure that the sound came from the third floor, which was also the floor he slept on.
Still, another search left him with finding no obvious sign of the zombie. He could, however, hear a scratching. He managed to narrow it down to two different apartments, but he couldn’t be sure which one it sounded louder in.
He was just about to try some more drastic measures, when he heard a panicked yell came from a block or more away. He couldn’t be sure of much other than it was female.
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