William Daniels is successful author of children’s books, a loving husband and a caring father. His normal, happy life is turned upside down when an infection turns normal people into bloodthirsty animals who want only one thing, human flesh.
William learns a lot about himself and his fellow man in this bleak and deadly new world.
This is his diary.
This is The Final Diary.
My wife tried to kill me last night.
It’s not what you think; there was… is… something very wrong with her.
When Holly (my wife) came home from work yesterday evening with tears streaming down her face and her skin looking pale and clammy, I hugged her, sat her down on the couch and asked her what was wrong. I have to tell you that I did not fully believe what I heard next, even as I begin to explain it to you, diary, it seems like a nightmare that I can’t wake up from.
As she walked home from work, actually, let me just stop there, as I would like to add that Holly working is a bone of contention for me. I’m a successful writer of children’s fiction and she doesn’t need to work in the first place. It’s caused many arguments, most of which were Holly trying to explain that she wanted independence and most of all; she wanted something to do rather than sit around the house constantly bored. She had a point and so she kept her job at the local travel agents. Right now though, I hate that she has a job, I hate that she walks home and I hate that she’s a genuinely nice and helpful person.
So then, there she was, walking home from work.
“I heard a scream coming from the churchyard.” She told me. I knew before she even continued that she had gone over to help.
“So I walked over to see if I could help”
Oh, my stupid, wonderful, brave, Holly.
She sobbed again and looked into my eyes, her gaze full of sadness and horror.
“There was a man, he was homeless, I think. He looked very dirty and very drunk.” The church she was talking about was a well-known drinking, drug using spot for the dregs of society, but my Holly wanted to walk right in there and help.
“He was attacking a woman, that’s who was screaming” More sobbing and a fresh flood of tears streamed sad rivulets down her cheeks.
I asked if the woman was also dirty and very drunk. Holly shot me a look that seemed to ask, “Why the fuck would that make a difference?” and shook her head.
“No, she was well dressed, a little older than me.” At this point Holly threw herself into my arms.
“Oh God, William!” She buried her face into my chest and screamed. Even though my chunky brown sweater muffled the screams, it was still so loud that I was starting to worry what the neighbours would think. To be perfectly honest here, diary, I did not have a clue what to do next so I just sat there and held her.
After a few minutes had passed, she lifted her head and looked at me. Snot and tears were plastered across her face and her skin was so pale now that it seemed like some kind of ethereal porcelain. Something was very wrong with her.
“He killed her, William.” She stammered the words out between sobs and I stared down at her incredulously.
“He bit her throat out.” Holly continued. “Right there in front of me. He just ripped her neck apart with his teeth and groaned like a perverted maniac while he was doing it.”
I really didn’t know how to respond. This was without a doubt the strangest “Guess what happened to me today” story I had ever heard. I didn’t believe it. How could I? It all sounded like something from a bad horror movie. She hadn’t finished yet though.
“I threw my shoe at him.” She said, nodding her head as though affirming her bravery. I looked down and sure enough, her left shoe was missing and her slender foot looked beaten and bloody.
My foolish, brave, shoeless Holly.
“It just made him angry, William. He came right at me but,” She paused to choke back more tears before continuing.
“Something was wrong with him, his eyes were glazed as though all the life had been sucked out of them and his skin was grey.”
Now it was really sounding like a bad horror movie. She must have seen the doubt in my eyes because she suddenly pulled away from me and rested her head in her hands. That was when I spotted blood seeping through the sleeve of her jacket. I reached out to touch it but she jerked her arm away.
“It hurts.” She told me. “He bit me when I tried to run past him. He grabbed my arm and took a fucking bite.”
With a questioning look she added, “Who does that, William? Who does that?”
I was now even more interested in the bite and asked her to take off her jacket. It was a struggle for her but she let me help. Underneath, she was wearing her short-sleeved, royal blue travel agent uniform blouse, with the words “Come fly with us” proudly emblazoned in yellow just below her right shoulder. I looked down at the wound.
It was bad. It was very bad.
Teeth indentations were clearly visible in the angry red wound and I could see what looked like black veins spidering their way up her arm. I rushed into the kitchen and grabbed the first aid kit from the cupboard under the sink. I then poured some warm water into a bright blue breakfast bowl and scowled at the yellow smiley face staring up at me from the bottom of the bowl. I hurried back to Holly. She looked as though she were about to pass out, and an insane amount of heat was starting to radiate from the bite.
She didn’t even seem to notice me cleaning and bandaging her wound. Her eyes were open but she looked vacant, dazed. “The lights are on but nobody’s home” as my Father used to say. I needed to call for help.
I dialled the number for our local doctor but it was busy. I then dialled the number for the hospital. After cursing at the ringing tone for what seemed like an eternity but was in truth, only a couple of minutes, I finally got an answer. I should transcribe this word for word so that you, dear, all knowing, diary, might understand it better that I can right now.
H is the woman who answered for the hospital and WD is me, William Daniels.
H: “Royal County Hospital, how can I help?”
WD: “My wife has been bitten by some crazy guy. She’s in a really bad way. We need help.”
H: “Have you been bitten or scratched in any way, Sir?”
WD: “No, no. I’m fine. My wife saw the man kill another woman though, in St. Peter’s churchyard”
H: “Where is your wife now, Sir?”
WD: “She’s sitting on the couch. Look, should I just bring her to A & E or will you send someone out?”
H: “Sir we have been told to advise that all bite victims be placed in local quarantine. Is there somewhere that you can safely lock your wife until the
military can get to you and assess the situation?”
WD: “Lock her up… Military? What the fuck is going on? She needs medical attention.”
H: “I’m very sorry, Sir, that’s all I can tell you right now. I strongly suggest that you restrain your wife as soon as possible and keep her away from any
other family members.”
It was at this point that I realised Gemma hadn’t come home from school yet.
WD: “Oh, shit. Gemma.”
WD: “Gemma, our daughter. She should have been home from school by now. She’s only fifteen.”
H: “Sir, I must advise that you do not leave your home until further notice. The government will be keeping everyone updated on TV and radio so make sure that you have one on at all times.”
I was almost afraid to ask. Almost.
WD: “Updated on what? What’s going on?”
H: “You need to restrain your wife immediately, Sir. Promise me that you will do that right now.”
WD: “I… okay.”
H: “Thank-you. Help will come, Sir. We are working as hard as we can.”
The line went dead.
I looked over at the couch. Holly had gone.
I shouted out her name and heard footsteps going up the stairs. I shouted her name again whilst making my way to the bottom of the stairs. There she was, halfway up and looking like someone who had just dropped a boatload of acid. I asked if she was feeling okay and my heart sank when she turned to face me.
She looked like a corpse.
Her skin was grey; her lips were dry, cracked and discoloured. Worst of all though, was that the bright blue eyes that I had fallen in love with were drained of all colour. I rushed up the stairs, grabbed her by the shoulders and yelled her name but there was nothing.
No recognition, no answer, no life, nothing.
What happened next is blurred but I’ll do my best to recount it for you, diary. I’m certain that your blank pages are aching to be filled with this sick, awful tale.
Holly was looking down at the carpet when her head suddenly snapped up and her colourless eyes gazed hungrily at me. She took a step forward and lunged at me, snapping with her teeth. My wife was trying to bite me, and not in a sexy way. I stepped back to avoid her teeth and lost my balance, but kept my grip on her shoulders so that as I fell down the stairs she came with me. The noises she made were terrifying, like the snarls of an angry dog but even more feral, more primal.
We twisted and turned, our combined weight smashed into each step heavily and painfully (for me, at least) until we both hit the white marble floor with a sickening thump. I’m pretty sure that I heard Holly’s arm snap but it didn’t seem to faze her. I was trying to regain my senses when she leapt on top of me, with her teeth chomping, snapping at me, a low guttural growling reverberating in her throat.
I managed to shift my weight and push her off; I scrambled to my feet, ran past the stairs and through the door that opened into the garage, quickly hiding myself behind the now open door. I heard Holly jump to her feet and then the unmistakeable sound of one shoe click-clacking on the marble floor, closer and closer until I could hear her breath. She walked through the doorway and just stood there. I needed her to go further into the garage and remembered the car-key in my pocket. I moved my arm slowly and silently and reached into my jeans but Holly must have sensed or heard something as she grunted and her breathing got faster, more excited.
The sound of her shoe echoed around my head and froze my blood. I held my breath. Her face must have been just inches from mine with nothing but a door between us.
She stepped away from the entrance and a little further into the garage. I breathed again. What the hell is wrong with her?
Deep down I think I know, but that can’t be, it’s just not possible.
Fear gripped my belly with icy fingers and squeezed, urging me to choose flight over fight. I thrust my hand into my jeans pocket, pulled out the car-key and smashed my thumb on the ‘unlock’ button. Our red Ford SUV made its familiar boop-beep noise, the lights flashed and the doors unlocked. Holly growled and ran towards the SUV, as she did so I jumped out from behind the door, rushed back into the house, slammed the door closed and locked it.
“It won’t be for long, Holly.” I remember telling her from the safety of my side while she scratched, punched and kicked the door. “Just until help arrives.”
I crumpled to the floor in an exhausted heap and cried like a baby until the sweet arms of sleep embraced me.
This morning I awoke with a startle to the sounds of Holly scraping and snarling at the door.
Gemma still hasn’t come home and isn’t answering her mobile phone.
I’ve tried calling her three times so far and just get her annoying,
“Hello?” Followed by a pause long enough for the caller to say who they are and then the timeless, “Ahhhhhhh got ya! Leave a message, muppet!” answer service message.
I looked out of the window just before writing this but there are no signs of life, although that’s hardly surprising considering the cul-de-sac we live on is populated by elderly people for the most part, it’s why we bought the house. We like the quiet.
I can hear sirens in the distance, diary.
I hope Gemma is okay. Should I go find her?
The hospital woman told me not to leave the house. That help would come. I don’t know what to do other than hope and wait, so here I sit, scribbling in a diary instead of taking decisive action. Maybe I should put the television on, see if it can tell me what to do.