If you’ll remember, this story has no title. I explained why earlier, but let me briefly add to my reasoning. It’s just this: the purpose of a title is to intrigue the reader, to prompt them to read the next words. By refusing to use a title, I believe I am accomplishing that goal; but I guess I’ll let you decide that. Will you keep reading?
Here we go.
Rosa had always believed in the supernatural; a spiritual warfare being waged in the hearts and minds and even atmosphere of those earthly beings. However, her faith in a higher realm had never been personal to her… until now.
When she awoke from her state of unconscious, she was painfully aware of her feeling of uneasiness. It wasn’t only her throbbing head that was bothering her. There was a certain tension in the air, a negative force vying for her attention. She immediately identified it as the Devil, or at least a devil. Some ally of evil was present and powerful. And it scared her.
Where am I?
She almost immediately identified the building she was in. It was, in fact, the restaurant she worked at. However, it was the run-down, ransacked version of the restaurant. Tables and chairs were strewn across the floor, windows were cracked, if not missing entirely, and dust and dirt had settled in, nearly covering the entire floor. The air felt musty and stale, just like the outside air.
She reached to scratch her nose…
YIKES! I’m tied up!
She hadn’t noticed it a moment ago, as she was taking in her surroundings one piece at a time, but she was bound to a diner chair! Her legs were tied around the legs of the chair and her hands were tied behind the chair’s back. She was also gagged!
Why is it that when you physically can’t satisfy a bodily need, it grows in intensity? Rosa’s nose itched like no itch had ever itched before. She found a way to scratch it, but it took considerable energy and she made quite a racket in the process, not to mention she ended up lying sideways on the ground, unable to move further because of her restricted condition.
She heard indistinct voices from somewhere over there. She tried to turn to see who was coming, but she had no mobility and was forced to lie there quite vulnerably, wondering how she was going to be killed.
This is it. What will your final words be?
Rosa was so prone to fear that she blacked out again, but this time only for a few seconds. She awoke as her captor was lifting her chair to its rightful position on its four stable legs. This time fear took on a different reaction and she thrashed her head wildly, as her head was the only part of her body she had any sort of control over. It hurt and didn’t prove assuring to her captor.
“Ah, so you’re a feisty type, are ya? Well let me assure ya, lady, you’re not goin’ anywhere. You’re tied up pretty good, ya know. My knots are world famous!” Then turning to shout over his shoulder, he said, “Ay, boss! The girl’s awake!” He gave her a smug look before turning to leave.
The one who replaced him was much more evil than he.
She could sense it.
The man walked slowly, cockily. His face was confident, as one who is in complete control. His gaze sent shivers down her spine and shot blood to her face. He was terrifying. He was the personification of evil. He was the Devil. Rosa prayed to God for the second time in her life. Funny how knowledge of imminent doom makes you appeal to God, isn’t it?
“Hey sweetie. Have a good nap?” His words sent ice slipping down the back of her shirt. They were slow and smooth words, words coated in sugar to seem appealing. Rosa saw past his mouth and into his heart; it was black and disfigured, a burnt and withered chunk of limp meat.
You’re doomed now. You’re as good as dead.
“Don’t worry, girl. I won’t hurt you. My name is Sal.”
He untied the black t-shirt that acted as her gag and pulled it away from her mouth. This was normally the part of a movie where the hostage girl shoots a glare toward her captive and says something hostile and seemingly justified, to which the captor responds by laughing and inciting more fury on the captive’s behalf. Rosa wisely chose to say nothing.
“I’m going to untie you now. Do not run and do not try to attack me. Trust me, I will be forced to hurt you if you do and it will not be pleasant for you after that.”
With that, he untied her and she stood slowly.
“Walk with me.”
Hesitantly, Rosa followed Sal into the kitchen of the restaurant that she had spent so many hours in. He led her through the kitchen and into the very back of the building, where there was a ladder leading up to the roof. He motioned her up first, so she started climbing. She had only been up there once before and she wondered what business this man had with her on the roof.
This is it. He’s going to push you off the roof. Start thinking of iconic last words now.
She made it to the top and paused beside the entrance onto the roof to looked around, making sure no goons were waiting for her. Presently, Sal’s head popped up and he climbed the final few stairs to stand beside her.
“I want to show you something. Come to the edge, don’t be afraid.”
Despite his command, she was afraid. Terrified, actually.
She let him walk to the edge first before making the walk herself.
“Look around and tell me what you see.”
Rosa gazed down below at the buildings and concrete. The landscape was drab, like a western movie set. All that was missing was tumbleweeds.
Then she saw the people. Were they people?
“What do you see?”
“People,” she said softly.
Sal smirked. “They’re not people, honey.”
“Don’t call me that.” It came out of her mouth before passing through her brain. The man seemed unfazed by the comment.
“They’re not people,” he repeated. “Zombies.”
Rosa almost laughed. Not because she didn’t think it was possible, but because of the irony. How many times had her friends ridiculed her because of how seriously she took all those zombie shows and movies. Now it turned out she was right the whole time.
“What’s your name?” he asked after a pause.
The question caught Rosa off guard; it unsettled her. The idea of an obviously evil man calling her by name made her sick. Nevertheless, she couldn’t risk his wrath. It isn’t uncommon for evil folks to have a short fuse.
“Rosa,” she said rather shakily.
“Rosa, I need your help. The world needs your help. These zombies have wreaked havoc on the world as we know it. They walk around looking for a meal and if they see you or hear you, you’re as good as dead. You can imagine how fast the human population is dwindling. Something needs to be done and right now, nobody is doing anything about it but me. I’m assembling a team to make quick work of them. I want you on that team.”
Sal pulled a radio from his jacket pocket. “Give us a show, Vincent,” he said.
Beneath them, a door opened and footsteps were heard. Rosa looked down to see a large group of men and women wearing all black and carrying various weapons advance upon a group of zombies. Before Rosa could look away, the attackers had shot, sliced, and massacred the lifeless walkers and were advancing to others. Nearby zombies began to swarm the group of ninjas, but they effortlessly crushed them as well. They were clearing the entire area around the restaurant, and they were doing it quickly. They were all very skilled with their weapons.
Rosa couldn’t look away. She wanted to, but the grotesque curiosity of the scene held her gaze downward.
Soon, every zombie was lying motionless on the ground. Rosa had just witnessed a slaughter. Was it justified?
“Impressive, right?” Sal said. “With time and practice, you could be one of them. What do you say? You have a chance to help save humanity from the clutches of the undead.”
“Why me?” she asked, hoping she sounded more confident than she felt.
Sal looked over at her. “I am exceptionally talented at seeing the potential in people. It doesn’t take long for me to discern if somebody is right for a job. Rosa, you’re right for this job. You have more potential than maybe anybody else on my team.”
Rosa knew it was a lie. It was all a lie. Sal was a lie. The apocalypse was a lie.
For a moment, the reality of her situation overwhelmed her. She nearly blacked out again, but kept it together somehow. She pushed out all thoughts of her circumstances and focused on the next words that she would have to say.
In a moment of courage, she made eye contact with the devil and said “I’m in.”
“Excellent. I’ll introduce you to the team. You’ll start your training tomorrow morning.”
Rosa forced a smile.
As they descended the ladder back into the restaurant, one thought pierced Rosa’s mind: ESCAPE!