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Still Alive
by Kelsey Harwood

Category: Young Adult
Description: Welcome to a world where your nightmares become reality. Two years after their parent's death, siblings Cassie and John Sullivan's lives are starting to get back to normal in their hometown of Hazelhurst, Georgia. Cassie goes to school with her friends and boyfriend while John works to put food on the table. But their world is turned upside down when a virus that is threatening civilization as we know it breaks out across America. When John hears of a place in California that is supposed to be protected from the infection, they take off with the one hope they have. While heading for their safe haven, John and Cassie's lives change forever.
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC/Featherweight Publishing,
eBookwise Release Date: September 2012

eBookeBook

Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [150 KB]
Words: 36213
Reading time: 103-144 min.


Prologue

My brother and I always talked about the zombie apocalypse. What would we do? Where would we go? We never thought it would happen.

These zombies aren't like what I saw in old horror movies. They are fast, strong, and intelligent. The worst part is they are still people, and they're not the undead, they're still breathing. The first outbreak was in Ohio, but no one knows how it happened or why it happened. All we know is that it happened, and we have to do whatever it takes to stay alive. So here I am, in a van, with my brother going to a place that we don't even know exists. Who knows if we will make it there? Who knows if we will even make it to tomorrow? All I know is my name is Cassie Sullivan and I'm still alive.

* * * *

Chapter One

Entry #357--It was 7:30 when we got the call. John and I were at home since Mom and Dad were off for a weekend to themselves. This weekend was just a normal weekend. John answered the phone when the cops called. I couldn't tell what they said to him but I knew something was wrong before he hung up the phone. He just had this look on his face, one I had never seen before. It was half 'I just watched someone run over the dog I've had when since I was five' and half 'what the hell are you talking about?' When he hung up the phone he just sat on the floor up against the wall and looked at me. That look was worse. "Cass," he said so quietly I almost couldn't hear him. "Mom and Dad are dead." First I couldn't even process what he said. I just kind of stood there. Next thing I knew I was on the ground crying. John slid over to me and hugged me. We both just cried. Living without them is going to be hard. John is all I have left

* * * *

My best friend, Jackie, and I were sitting around in her room talking about our vacation with my boyfriend when she came out with, "I think we should go to North Carolina instead of South. It's a farther drive but the beaches are better and the boys are cuter!"

"Jackie, I already told you we don't have enough money to get there, and besides, South Carolina is right next to North Carolina. I'm sure it's not too different."

Jackie sighed. "I guess you're right." Jackie was playing with her long dark hair in the mirror like she always does while I sat at her desk texting my boyfriend, Steve.

"Oh crap, I'm supposed to be home by midnight!" I jumped up and headed towards her bedroom door.

"You might want to hurry, Cass. Are you going to call Steve to find out what day we are leaving?"

"Yep, I will."

"Okay, call me tomorrow then and let me know."

"Can do!" I shouted as I ran out the door.

* * * *

When I got home I walked inside and my twenty year old brother John was lying on the couch watching T.V. "What are you watching?" I asked as I set my keys down. He looked like he was in a trance until his phone vibrated.

"The news. They're still finding random bodies all over Ohio."

"What? Like an animal attack?" I sat down on the couch next to him to see what the newscasters were saying.

"Yeah, the bodies are just ripped to shreds."

"Do they know what kind of animal it is?"

John shook his head. "No, they can't figure it out, but the attacks are starting up almost everywhere in the state and now in parts of Kentucky."

"Didn't this all just start two days ago?"

"Yeah, but they've found twenty bodies so far and a few people are still missing."

I got up to leave. The thought of something ripping someone apart was too much for me to handle. "Oh hey," John said. "Grandma called."

"What did she want?"

"Just checking up on us making sure we are okay. She wanted you to call her back because she hadn't heard from you in a while." She never liked the idea of me staying with John. After my parents died she said I should be with her and my grandpa because, even though she loved John, he wasn't ready to be responsible for another person. I headed upstairs to my room. The thought of calling Steve had already started pushing the animal attacks to the back of my mind.

* * * *

When I called Steve, we talked about the trip. It seemed to be the only thing on our minds lately. "Steve, you don't get it, we still need three hundred more dollars or we aren't going to be able to afford it."

"Well, babe, I don't know how to get it." Steve and I had been dating for over a year now. I was only seventeen but I was starting to think I might be in love with him.

"John can't give me any more money. Can you get some more shifts at the restaurant?" I had my laptop out looking for the cheapest hotels but they were all disgusting.

"I can try but we aren't the only ones who need money this summer," he replied.

"I know but we have had the trip planned for months now."

"I kn--bu--e arn--he only one--ho--"

"Steve, you're cutting out," I said. I checked my phone to make sure I had signal.

"I am sorr--vice sucks here."

"When are you coming back from Tennessee?"

"Ne--week I--ink."

"Hurry back."

"I will tr--"

"Steve? Steve? You there?" I sighed. "Guess not."

* * * *

It was Saturday so I got to sleep in. When I finally crawled out of bed at about eleven-thirty John was watching the news--again. I sat down to watch it with him but they were still talking about the animal attacks. It seemed like that was the only thing they talked about.

"Good morning." He didn't say anything. "I said, 'good morning'." Still no reply. "John?"

"Huh? What?" he finally responded.

"Are you really that interested in the animal attacks?"

"I'm not so sure they're animal attacks."

"What do you mean?"

"There are too many deaths and too many missing people in Ohio and Kentucky. I don't think one animal could kill that many people in two different states."

"So you think a person is doing all of this?"

"I don't think just one person could do this either."

"A group of people?"

"Maybe, I'm not sure. The people examining the bodies can't really tell what it is," he said quietly. I looked at the clock and saw it was time for both of us to go to work.

My job at the library wasn't the best job in the world but it was a job. I tried texting Steve all day but he wouldn't text me back. At first I figured he was just busy with family, but when it was around six and there was still nothing, I began to worry.

After work I went to Jackie's for a while to decide what we were going to do during our trip.

"I still think we should camp out on the beach," Jackie said while we sat in her kitchen cooking dinner.

"Well, if we can't come up with the money to stay somewhere, we might have to." We both laughed. "But we seriously do need money."

"It would just be easier and better, I mean when I wake up and want to go for a swim, the ocean is right there."

"I'll talk to Steve about it if he ever texts me back."

"He still hasn't texted you?" she questioned.

I shook my head. "Nope. I have to head out; I will talk to you tomorrow."

"See ya."

Walking home I saw people with signs outside of the church. The signs said "IT'S THE END OF DAYS!" and "GOD IS COMING TO TAKE US!" Strange since it's a normal church, not one of those crazy "cult" churches that normally say things like that. I don't understand why everyone is so scared. Was all of this because of the animal attacks? The police will catch whatever or whoever it is. It's not like this is the first time someone has been murdered. Could Steve be hurt? Is that why he isn't answering his phone?

"Snap out of it, Cassie. It's no big deal. You are over reacting," I told myself.

When I got home, John was watching the news again.

"Aren't you still supposed to be at the shop?" I asked

"We closed early, no business today. I made dinner, it's in the fridge."

"Are you still watching the news?"

"Yeah, they're still talking about the animal attacks."

"Anything changed?" I asked.

"Yeah, it is moving again. Now there are attacks in West Virginia, Virginia, and part of Tennessee."

"What? Tennessee? Are you kidding me?" I yelled. It felt like I couldn't catch my breath. John ran over to me, lifted up my head then put his hands on my shoulders.

"Cassie, calm down. There are only like three missing people in Tennessee. The chances of one of them being Steve are very, very slim."

"But he won't pick up his phone! I haven't talked to him since last night!" I cried.

"Cass, it will be okay. His family is probably just worried because they are so close to it and so they're keeping a close eye on him. Maybe his phone died. Try to get some sleep and when you wake up, I'm sure you'll have a text from him telling you he's on his way home."

I paced my room for a while trying to stay up in case Steve did text me, but there was nothing. When I finally lay down to go to sleep, I couldn't close my eyes. Maybe I was paranoid. I just wasn't used to not hearing from him for an entire day.


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