I recall passing out. When I awoke the channel that had the news bulletin now had an emergency broadcast message. I don’t know how long I was out for. The doctor was still there, staring. I knew that option two of waiting it out left me at a disadvantage, because the doctor never wavered, not once. It remained motivated by me. It wouldn’t get side-tracked, it wouldn’t take a break, and it wouldn’t let me leave.
My stump continued to throb so I rolled onto my side and pushed a spare pillow underneath, propping it up to avoid the wound chafing against the sheets, which meant I was now facing the Zombie. As I lay motionless with this creature staring me down, my line of sight captured movement at the left corner of the window. A hand, arm then head bobbed into view. A female doctor was crawling along the ground.
She appeared in her mid-20s, and with a facial expression of anguish – but one that was very much human. She wore a typical white surgical coat and was sliding tentatively along the floor, deliberately making as little noise as possible. The Zombie remained preoccupied with me and she seemed intent on sneaking down the corridor undiscovered.
It wasn’t immediately obvious to me why she was on the ground until her left leg came into view, with ankle quite clearly broken and bone emerging through the skin. A trail of red ran behind her.
Her eyes met mine. Tears streamed down her cheeks as she saw me, perched on my side, gazing helplessly at her, trying not to offer a hint that the Zombie could pick up on and give her away. She appeared to glance at the door, assessing whether it would be worth holing up in the room with me, but she made a quick decision to edge on. It’s unlikely that she could have stretched up to pull the handle and then haul herself inside without leaving both of us vulnerable to the Zombie getting in the room. She might have been better off, however, given what happened next.
She crawled forward, and I was falling to pieces inside; on the one hand, human contact, just eye contact, was welcome and reassuring. If she made it, perhaps she could send help for me. If she made it, I could wait it out. Option two. But despite her condition, she had concluded that her most successful means of escape was to crawl out of here and that didn’t bode well for the safety of the rest of the hospital.
Her movements were painstaking yet her eyes never left mine, as if pleading with me to pray for her. She inched just behind the Zombie, still looking intensely into me as her leg clattered into a discarded steel meal tray that had been strewn onto the ground. The tray struck the Zombie on the foot, causing her to let out an involuntary sob. For the first time in what felt like days, the undead doctor deviated from me and stumbled around to discover her lying there, staring upwards feebly.
I threw myself onto the tiles and dragged my body over to the glass window, screaming and banging my fists in an attempt to help her. My stump rattled the ground once again, firing a bolt of pain through my body. I scuttled up the glass on my one good knee, bloodying my hands on the floor and glass, but the Zombie had already shifted target.
I couldn’t help her. She managed to struggle briefly and get towards the window so that only the glass separated her face from mine. The Zombie sprawled across her back and, while she looked into my eyes for the last time, it gnawed a huge piece of flesh from her neck, just inches in front of me. The blood sprayed across the glass, causing me to flinch. It nestled into her throat and just started eating her, with such ferocity that within a short period her head barely hung onto her shoulders. And then, just as quickly as it had started, it decided it was done, returning its attention to me. The moan. The patter on the glass. The moan. The patter on the glass.