Carl sat with his back against the cold tile of the bathroom wall, looking down at the small bag of peanuts in his hand.
It was the type of bag you get for free when you fly coach on most airlines. In point of fact that’s exactly where he got them, on that flight he took with Brenda when they went for their second honeymoon last year. It was also the last of his food.
God he hoped she and the boys were OK. They hadn’t been home when it all started two weeks ago and he only had time to grab a few essentials and barricade himself in the bathroom before any of those things got into the house. How could the infection kill so many so fast? And why did they come back to life?
Carl studied the small packet sitting in his hand. There were only eight or ten peanuts in there, tops. He sighed. Breaking open the package he poured the contents onto his palm. He smiled. Nine. Whaddya know, I was right, he thought.
Well I can’t live off nine damn peanuts. So what other choices do I have?
He decided to eat the peanuts, weigh his options and come to a decision by the time his last meal was done.
One. God they’re stale. Salty too. Good thing the water’s still working. So Carl, what’s it gonna be? Sit here and starve? He glanced over at the gun sitting on the floor.
Two. Oh man I hope I can stomach all of these. Well, I don’t have to starve, I do have one bullet left. He tipped his head back and stared at the ceiling. I’m such an idiot. What the hell did I think I was going to accomplish trying to shoot them from the window up here?
Three. Geez these are disgusting. God I wish Brenda and the kids were here. Not knowing if they’re OK is driving me nuts.
Four. Man these things better not be my last meal. Say I leave, where to go? Find them of course. First things first though – down the stairs, grab the van keys off the wall, right through the kitchen into the garage and then… then… what? I don’t know where to start looking.
Five. Man how old are these anyway? OK, so I’m in the van, maybe she took the boys to her Mom’s? It’s not that far away. It’s a good place to start looking.
Six. Now I need a drink. Carl grabbed a much used plastic water bottle, unscrewed the lid and downed a gulp of water. Much better. What if they’re not at her Mom’s? What if I can’t find them at all? Then what? No, no, I can’t think like that. I’ll find them.
Seven. Man these are, what’s that word the kids use – oh yeah, raunchy. I bet the government or army has safe places set up, they would have gone to the nearest one. After her Mom’s that should be the next place I go.
Eight. This is it, I’m not eating the last one. That way I can say I still have some food left and this wasn’t my last meal. Who am I kidding – I have no choice, I have to leave. I need to find them, they’re not coming home.
Carl stood up and carefully put the last peanut in his pocket. He brushed the salt off his hands and, bending over, picked up the gun.
Time to roll the dice, he thought as he opened the bathroom door.
As he got to the top of the stairs, he could hear noises from the main floor. Turning the corner into the kitchen, Carl came face to face with his infected wife and kids.
The gunshot echoed throughout the house.