She was lost. The trees surrounded her, blocking her every turn, while the wind howled and moaned in her ears. The bitter cold pricked at her skin, which was mostly exposed, because she’d run out, without even her shoes or coat. There hadn’t been time.
Deciding the best thing to do would be to figure out where she was, Fran climbed a tree, scraping her leg on the bare branches. Cursing, she wiped the blood with her hands. On the horizon she saw them coming, the dead that now plagued her world. Already, the wind was carrying her scent to them.
Fran woke with a start, her heart pounding. The memory of the dream began to fade as she watched the snow fall, safe and warm in the confines of the house. She almost forgot about the disease infecting her world. Allowing herself to relax, she leaned her head back, sinking into the overstuffed leather seat. The apocalypse seemed ages ago and not just a few months. For a moment, lost in the magic of the winter wonderland outside the window, Fran closed her eyes again, pretending everything in her life was still normal. She must have drifted off, because when she opened her eyes, it was dark outside and a snarling baby was standing in front of her. Throwing herself backwards Fran tipped the chair over, rolling onto the floor as the toddler lunged for her. Fran scooted backwards, her ass sliding across the floor, backing away from the creature as quickly as she could. “What the fuck!”
The toddler sized zombie stumbled for her, his hands held out, reaching towards her like she were a piece of candy. His once cherub face now discolored by the plague, chunks of skin fell from his cheeks, revealing gore and maggots. He drew his lips back in a feral snarl, saliva dripping from his gums, as he gnashed his teeth, anxious to sink them into her skin and consume her flesh.
Oh my God, this is not happening, Fran thought. She had killed a lot of zombies to survive, some of them children, but none as young as this. Usually, children didn't survive the infection, a blessing Fran attributed to God's mercy. This abomination contradicted everything she understood about the disease. She had thought any child this young would have been consumed by the first wave of the undead creatures as the infection spread throughout the city. How this one had survived was beyond her. Of course this now created problem for her. Killing a baby, even one trying to eat her, went against everything her conscience dictated. Fran wanted so badly to wake from this nightmare and find herself once again in a world where babies didn’t resemble demons and her family and friends were still alive.
Struggling with her scruples, Fran rolled to the side as the child attempted to attack her again. Pulling herself to her feet, Fran kicked the un-dead baby in the face when he threw himself at her. The blow didn’t stop him. The child emitted a scream sure to bring others, bigger monstrosities, ones harder for her to deal with. Fran picked up a vase, tossing the container at the crazed tot. The vase shattered against his head, shards of glass cutting the already festering flesh and raining water and long dead flowers over him.
A growl from behind confirmed her worst fears; the nightmare toddler wasn’t who she needed to worry about. Turning, Fran sucked in her breath, Mama was there too, and apparently more protective than a mother bear. The older creature bared her teeth at Fran as she staggered into the room, placing herself between her child and the threat to his existence.