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An infected's screams shatter the still air, and then an answering cry. I'm running as fast as I can, but I know I'm not going to make it, I can't move fast enough, they're going to catch me. The naked branches of the trees surrounding me whip my face as I sprint through them, the thigh high grass attempting to catch me, tripping me up....I hear another scream, behind me, and then another to my right....more screams rising up around me. The night is freezing, my breath frosting the air, freezing my skin as soon
As I dash through the woods, fear coursing through my veins, shame rises in me, making me sick to my stomach with disgust, it curdles quickly, anger racing through me. How dare these fucking diseased freaks chase me, hunting me like a bloodhound treeing a coon and I realize my vision is going red and my teeth are bared back in a snarl and I skid through the leaves and turn just in time to see an infected burst from the tree line. I bolt towards the infected, a spindly old lady wearing a house dress covered in dried brown liquid. We slam into one another and I growl as her teeth snap together in the air near my face. Her pupils glow red as I duck my head underneath hers, headbutting upwards, slamming her jaw shut and then ripping her throat out with my teeth, her blood spraying into my mouth and across my face.
I freeze in fear and shock as a middle aged infected, shrieking in rage slams into me, knocking the wind out of me, and as I slam onto the ground my vision goes blank and then stars. The man, face covered in boils, slams his fists into my chest again and again, stunning me...
and then coughing I wake up to Sam nudging me in my chest with his foot.
"Ash, it's time to wake up buddy, you were having a nightmare"
I grab my bat as I come to, swinging it around me as Sam jumps away. My heart is pounding a million miles a minute, lungs bellowing, unable to catch my breath.
"Wah, wha, huh, Who is it? What's going on?"
"Ash it's me! Sam! You're having a bad dream buddy"
I hold my sides, pain flashing up and down my body, my aches from the last couple of days magnified. It hurts so much. Cold shivers run through me, making it feel like I'm taking a bath in ice water....I wrap blankets around me and then no sooner am I fully wrapped in them then it's too hot and I'm drenched in sweat.
"Ash, buddy, are you ok? You don't look like you're feeling so good"
Sam's hand on my forehead is so hot, and then it's freezing.
"So cold, can't stop shaking, I'm sorry, go ahead without me. I'll only slow you down."
"Sorry mate, we're in this together. Let's get you some aspirin and cold water"
He walks away to get the water and meds and stops, turning back at me for a second, staring into my face...
"What's wrong with your eyes?"
"Huh? What do you mean"
"One of them looked red for a couple seconds there"
"Is it it still red? Is there anything in it?"
"No, not anymore. Must of been a trick of the light"
Once I've got some aspirin into me I start to feel a little better....still worn out and tired,, but more human. We decide to take showers, one of us standing guard while the other cleans up. When it's my turn I close the bathroom door, strip down, and turn the shower onto my favorite setting....boiling. As I wait for the water to heat up I check myself for wounds in the mirror and my eyes fall upon my dog bite....it's still inflamed, oozing a little pus from a couple of the punctures, and the skin is cracking where it's starting to heal over and where it isn't healing, it's bruised as can be.
All in all it doesn't look very good.
I call out to Sam, asking him to bring the Highland Park 40 into the bathroom, which he does for me, and I douse my wound, letting the high abv spirit seep into the puncture, burning like hell as I do so. In the mirror my reflections goes waxy and pale, ashen and I grunt in pain.
I turn the shower on, put it onto boiling and step into the water....I soap up, and swig from the bottle, drenching my wound in between swigs, until the fluid oozing from it goes from milky white to clear. The spray turns my skin lobster red, and I stay in, until I'm hot, and then until I'm boiling, every so often thrusting my wound directly into the spray.
I feel woozy, unsteady, but we can't afford to delay, we need to get to the city, to find our families, to get to the evacuation drop points so as quickly as we can, so I finish up.
When I get out of the shower Sam asks how I'm feeling, and I lie, telling him I'm fine, that I'm ready to go. A quick breakfast of scrambled eggs and we pack up, gathering knives, bandages and bats, along with bottles of fresh water. Sam and I peer through the window blinds of the house, sides, front and back, then after glancing at one another and shrugging, take deep breaths and head out the front door.
The sun is boiling outside and the air hangs heavy with humidity. Sam and I make our way into the city, it's a straight shot from Niska's house, if we go by the freeway. Sam and I have decided the freeway is the safest route as while there won't be any cover, it's only a couple of miles into the city and my sister in laws apartment. If we decide to hike it via the suburbs there's cover, but it's about twice as far, and there's sure to be plenty of infected in the houses. If luck holds out the freeway will be clear, even better there might be a car we can safely borrow if there's no infected around. We will only have to cover 100 yards or so to hit the on ramp, so we decide to get out of suburbia as quickly as we can.
As we hike onto the overpass leading to the on ramp Sam and I can see smoke rising from several places over Perth and in the distance can hear what sounds like a huge volley of fireworks....gunfire.
We make our way onto the freeway, cars are in all the lanes, in most cases with the doors thrown open, but the area is pretty open. We decide to give the idea of finding a car to get us into the city a shot. I'm feeling sluggish and slow as I approach the car, moving like I'm in slow motion, until I grab the door handle and a dirty hand slams against the window. It's an infected, but this one looks to have passed, it's covered in blood with a gaping wound in it's neck and it leaves a smear of blood as it's hands slide down the closed window.
I just about piss myself in shock, my heart racing a mile a minute as Sam can't decide whether to die laughing or comfort me. He decides to go halfway, chucking as he pats my shoulder. We decide to move further down the freeway, but checking the cars more carefully to make sure there's no infected inside.
We see more infected in cars and trucks as we head towards the city, but we catch a break about half a mile into our journey, a little Honda Civic with the keys still in the ignition, and the doors closed. The car starts on Sam's first attempt and I collapse into the passenger seat as he slowly steers us towards the city. The heat's beating down on me and Sam can tell I'm not feeling so flash so he cranks the AC up.
The car gets us almost into the city before the pile of dead cars becomes too much and we have to hoof it. I've never been more scared in my life.
Buildings have scorch marks around them from where fires have been started and died out, there's thousands of broken windows, glass shards sparkling in the sunlight. In the far off distance we can hear a car horn blaring and from different directions radios, some with repeating messages, some just static. Dead bodies lay around all over the streets, and there's more blood stains even where there are no bodies. The gunfire is constant along with screams.
I've never seen an area more thrashed, more devastated. More destroyed. But there are no infected, which scares me even more.
We're only about six blocks away from my sister in laws, which is great. There's tens of thousands of the infected in between us. There's got to be. Perth's population is like 1.5 million and even if a majority of them survived which is doubtful, that still means that the odds are very good that Sam and myself will die before we get to my sister in laws, to my wife and brother, Niska.
The gunfire dies down and disappears as we slowly make our way to the apartment and while in everything in me screams to just run the six blocks, to see Squidgy and Niska and my family again I know that way leads to death, so we move slow, cautiously.
It's still, nothing is moving but debris in the wind, and Sam and I make our way through the next four blocks this way, bats at the ready, knives in our belts, waiting for what we know must be coming, what has to occur.
Four blocks in silence, until we hear a groan....and then a scream, that god damned infected scream. Rending the air and making our bowels clench we turn around and there standing in the middle of the street is an infected, head back in a howl of rage,
And then the flood comes, first in twos and threes, then dozens, and then a hundred the infected come, screaming, bolting to us and we run. We run faster then I could ever believe. Sam grabbing my free hand and pulling me along, keeping me moving. We turn the corner at one block, run down a narrow alley with a stench coming off of it that turns our stomachs, down another alley and onto the main thoroughfare of the next block over, the infected screaming their rage at us the entire way.
My lungs bellow, my legs are rubbery and I know that I'm going to die any minute. As we burst into street we hear voices and then I'm flying through a broken glass window, as Sam throws me out of the way of the hail of bullets.
"We're uninfected!" And that's all he's able to get out to the soldiers as they open fire on us and the infected following behind. I see him take three bullets to the chest and then one to the face as I'm struggling to get to my feet. Right after he goes down I see four infected go down to the soldiers. We would have been dead in another thirty seconds, but Sam is still dead and I'm left with a hollow in my gut as I drag myself to my feet and I start hunting for an exit. There's no way I can survive by leaving the way I came in.
I wander through the remains of a bank, cash strewn all over the floor until I find a back office with a door leading into an alleyway....It doesnt strike me as very safe but there's nothing to do. I'm bleeding heavily from cuts to my legs and head and I can see a small, but noticeable blood trail behind me.
The gunfire goes on and on and now I can hear screams as I turn away from the street we were on, limping heavily, ducking into doorways, behind dumpsters full of rotting garbage as I slowly make my way around the block to my sister in law's apartment.
It's a fancy apartment building and she lives on one of the top floors, which as I stand in the courtyard, bat dragging along the ground, looking up into the open sky, eighteen stories up, I groan. The elevators will be out, I'm going to have to hike up eighteen flights of stairs.....
I crack open the door to the stairwell, pitch black and start the long way up. It takes me forever, groping my way in the dark, dragging myself up, stopping to listen for the sounds of pursuit, hearing first nothing but the sounds of my labored breathing and then the sounds of infected crying, groaning as they wander around the floors where they last were rational thinking beings.
I finally make it to the eighteenth floor and my sister in law's apartment. The building has infected in it, but it seems to only be on a few floors. If the gods are good, I'll find my family there. I crack open the door as quietly as I can, but it still makes a large bang as it flies open and I lurch into the hallway. Thank god there's only three apartments on her floor.
I head straight towards it and as I turn the corner to get to her door I sigh. It's ajar.
I make my way into the apartment, to find it deserted. Things have obviously been packed up in a hurry, with clothing on the floor. I find my wife's jacket on the counter along with a half eaten meal starting to grow mold. On the floor near the door is a note written to me, but only halfway completed....
It's from my sister in law and says that they had to leave due to the infected, but her, Niska, my brother in law and my wife were being evacuated out. It cuts out on just where they're being evacuated to...
My bat falls to the floor as I lose my grip on it and tears spring to my eyes as I wander the apartment, making my way up into the loft. The view of the city, with the sun starting to set, with smoke in the background, buildings with windows broken at twenty stories, and the waterfront over it is lost on me at this moment in time....I've lost my family again.
I sit/collapse onto the bed, head in my hands, trying to figure out where to go next when I hear the noise....a groan....a sigh.....there's someone in the apartment with me. I peak over the stairs leading into the bottom of the apartment and there's a morbidly obese infected standing there, drooling, sniffing, growling.
I have no weapon, I can see my bat on the floor near him, I've lost my knives in the chase, I'm defenseless!
Thinking fast I crawl into the closet and slide the doors shut. On the floor of the closet are bottles of whisky, including a bottle of 20 year old Talisker, from 1981, my birth year! A cask strength sherried Talisker, considered to be one of the best Taliskers ever made....this is where my wife has been hiding my anniversary present.
The sight of this bottle pulls tears from my eyes as I hold it in my hands, touched by her gesture. The whisky is worth almost $1500 US a bottle, and is a whisky I've hunted for years to buy....
Tears are streaming down my face with how much I miss my family when I hear thumping outside the closet doors...the infected is standing in the bedroom now, sniffing the air, saliva slowly dripping and then it looks at the closet and myself....As it's mouth open to scream I feel the red rage from the dream strike me again and I burst from the closet, screaming, swearing, shrieking, raging.
I may not have a weapon, you may kill me you fucking infected, but I'm going to fucking kill you as well. I slam into the fat man as hard as I can, and it flies across the room, my rage carrying us through the glass window overlooking the city. The fat man flies out into space and down through the air screaming his hate the entire way down as I manage to grab the ledge as I fly out the window.
Broken glass is embedded in my cheek, shards of glass are cutting into my hands as I look down eighteen stories to see the fat man dead below, with figures moving around near his corpse....the fat man made a huge mess when he landed, blood spraying out from him....And I sit there and think how easy it would be to join him....
Glass digging deeper into my hands, blood pouring down my arms I drag myself into the bedroom, ruining the carpet and sit there panting on the floor.
I head over to the closet, grab the Talisker and rip it open, getting blood over the bottle.
I sit there on the floor, watching the sun set over the dying city, gunfire ringing out with the occasional scream of infected and their victims and take a swig out of the bottle.
I've lost one of my best friends today, due to him saving my life. I'm wounded, bleeding like a stuck pig. I cant find my sister in law, brother in law, brother or wife. I have no idea on how to go about finding them now. I'm low on weapons, I'm stuck in a city with thousands upon thousands of infected.
I might as well enjoy myself while I'm fucked. One bottle out of nine thousand bottles, cask strength. Twenty years in a sherry cask. Distilled the year I was born, bottled right after I got out of high school, the end of the world only happens once, you might as well enjoy a whisky worthy of it.
Nose: Stupidly complex for a whisky of this age. Savory, fruity, sweet, malty, spicy, everything is coming through this. Dark chocolate, smoke, cinnamon, nutmeg, black pepper, cardamon, white pepper, burning, smoldering embers, caramel, big oak, little salty. The nose begs you to come back again and again.
Palate: The cask strength of 62% comes through immediately, but it doesn't overwhelm me, just rich, luscious flavors coming through. Dark fruits, sultanas, plums, ash, charred oak, chocolate, mocha, honey soaked cherries, peat, white pepper, black pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, beautiful. I could drink a cask of this.
As the whisky hits me the sun is bleeding down over the horizon and I'm feeling exhausted, wiped out, dead tired.
The finish goes forever. The smokey fruit and spice continuing on and on. Indeed the best Talisker I have ever been lucky enough to try, I just wish the world wasn't ending for me to get to try it....I feel the tears start up again as I become drunk and then a hear the rush of feet behind me and as I turn to get up I see a shadow, pain and then....
It all goes black.