The dawn of May twenty first marked the end of the incubation period for the Virus BJ-3125. One quarter of my city woke up insatiably hungry for meat. The priorities and affectations we held prior to this became unimportant. We woke, and we promptly ate all the meat in our house. Nobody cooked, and later most of us suffered from “severe gastrointestinal distress.” Most of us went to work after that, hoping that we would get less hungry, but we all showed up at walmart anyway. It was 10:30. There was no meat.
Because of my broken leg, when everyone went out to the chicken farms, I got left behind. So, I saw the truck come into the parking lot, and the men get out and loot the store. I saw them load the truck and when the shots began, I saw the shooter. When he killed the men loading the truck, I saw that too. When he went to open the door of the truck, I saw him take the bullet. The truck drove away, leaving the shooter nearly dead.
I crawled up to him. He smelled good, and as I chewed him, I could see his memories and hear his screams.
He woke up. He had caught a whiff of himself and knew he needed a shower. He also knew it would be some time before he galvanized himself into moving the dirty laundry out of his bedroom and into the washer. He knew he should wash what he could.
There wasn't much in his apartment that was clean. He had long ago switched to disposable cutlery and dishes, which helped, but he still had the old dirty dishes stacked in the sink.
There was only one properly clean thing in the entire apartment: an expensive russian rifle. He bought it to feel powerful, and it worked sometimes, especially when he was cleaning it or practicing loading it. So pleasurable was the escape from hopelessness and regret of his everyday life that he spent so much time polishing his gun.
He liked the idea of civil unrest, the idea of making a name and place for himself in a chaotic and perverted society, but that reality wasn’t hopeful. He occasionally watched the news, and always came away feeling that despite the threats to society, the army could handle anything. He should have realized that it was just propaganda.
As he lay in bed, he peered slowly out of the greasy window into the gray streets. He could already tell I t would rain tomorrow. He rose and washed his hands, and looked in the refrigerator for food. There was none.
He approached the local supermarket and saw the crowds. He recognized civil unrest. He knew he needed food and did not know where else to get it.
So he returned home and got his gun and a backpack, as well as some ammunition. He went back to the store with a vague idea about looting some supplies and heading for his parents' house, which was fifty miles to the west. He would need a vehicle with large tires to get out to the farm over the rough county dirt roads and scrub brush.
When he returned to the store, the crowds were gone and the parking lot was mostly empty, except for a black pickup truck and a few men loading food into the bed.
He grinned and knew what he would do.
He loaded his rifle from his position of the parking lot and peeked under the bushes that grew around the edges of the curb. He fired and hit every single one of them, not one having a chance to escape. At the truck, the last man was still moving. He fired again and saw the man’s head jerk back and bleed onto the ground.
He got up off of the cold pavement (which was impressive for someone who rarely got out of bed) and ran swiftly towards the truck, like his idea of what a soldier would do. He was complete in doing something actually profound for the first time in his life. He had sniped, and killed four people. Amazing. Absolutely amazing.
As he ran, he looked at the food heaped in the bed and at those gorgeous tires. He knew that he now owned enough food to live for a while and a truck that would get him out of the city.
At the driver's door, he put out his hand, and opened it.
The guard in the drivers seat smiled, pointed his pistol, and shot him in the throat. He fell and met the pavement once again. This time, he wouldn't get back up.