Trying clothes was one of those things that Rebecca had never really liked about going out to a mall, whether it was with her friends or her family. She would always see something cute that she would love to wear herself, but wouldn’t be able to bring herself to try it on and least of all buy it. Something just prevented her from actually trying to change, even when she really wanted to make something for her that would maker her at least a little bit more interesting, not only for men but also for everyone in general.
She had never been the kind to talk to strangers or just initiate a conversation in the line of the grocery store. It was very difficult to find the right moment and the right words and apparently the right person to that with. And when she finally decided to do it, people would have moved on and she would already be out, walking home or something. Rebecca would always blame it on her being slow and not as smart as other people, but the reality of it was, and she knew it very well, that she was just too shy and insecure.
Her parents had tried for years to get her out of her shell, almost pushing her to do different extracurricular activities in order to discover things she could be good at or that could help her relate better with people. She tried cooking and playing various sports, as well as knitting and dancing and also horseback riding and even volunteering to help those in need. She did all of them for some time and then quit when she realize she wasn’t really getting anything out of any of those activities, only frustration.
After every single failure, she would go back home and stay in her room for hours and days, sometimes crying for being such a weird kid but then realizing she didn’t really care about other people and then taking on hobbies that could work with her being alone like drawing and writing. The only things she would ask her parents to buy for her would be pencils in every single color in existence, as well as notebooks and, once, a better laptop to keep a copy of everything she did just in case she needed it.
For a while, she was able to just to that and come to school almost running in order to keep drawing and writing. Her parents were busy most of the time so, even if they had been worried at first because of her lack of skills with others, they soon realized that they had to be grateful their daughter was having such safe and creative hobbies, rather than causing problems for others or for herself. So they were happy buying her whatever she said she needed for her arts and they never doubted her skills again. However, it would soon be all for nothing because of the big changes that happened afterwards.
As everyone knows, the Plague started its expansion about a year ago and in a matter of days, several millions had died suddenly and others had been severely deformed and turned into creatures without a proper mind. They had no thoughts of their own, nothing that could relate them to the people that had been before. They just lived, if that could be called living, to wander the world and attack those that the Plague had not killed in the first wave. The survivors moved around often, avoiding their former families and friends.
Rebecca had been one of the few survivors of that cataclysm. It was very strange but, for a long while, she had been completely oblivious about the whole thing. Not only because she spent her days in her room, drawing and writing about all the things that came into her mind, but also because the Plague had expanded at the beginning of summer, meaning she had less reasons to be outside or wander around town. Rebecca enjoyed the sun more when she could be as away from it as she possibly could.
She was already seventeen when everything happened. The day she heard shots outside and people screaming was the first one when she realized something was going on. She had been in her room for at least a week. Rebecca had learned to cook for herself a long time ago, as her parents would often be at work, so she had not missed them or needed them for anything. But the day the shots were fired, was the same day she ran out of pages on her favorite notebook, which had a beautiful Japanese design on the cover.
Normally, the girl would ask her mother or father to go to the shopping mall and buy a new one but she wasn’t able to find them at all that they. She waited at home all day but they never came in. So she looked for their offices phone numbers and then things got even stranger because the phone wasn’t working. It was obvious that something very bad had happened because when night came, the lights suddenly went out and they never came back again. She was very scared and decided to stay in her room.
She did so for a whole day until she heard shots again and then more screams and then silence. Rebecca was terrified and in need of her parents. It was true that she had never been really that good with people but she realized that her parents had been essential in her becoming at least a functional human being. She didn’t love being with them and she felt bad for that because she knew children were supposed to love their parents and she had never felt that. Until, she was alone. Until she had been forced to realize how dire her situation was without them. She cried herself to sleep that second night.
By the third day, she came down to the kitchen and decided to pack every single piece of food she could find on a bag. She would carry that bag to her room and then survive whatever was happening in there. As she put everything on a suitcase that her father would often use for business trips, she realized she had never thought on turning on the television or the radio in order to know what was happening. She was about to do so but then she felt stupid because the electricity had stopped working two days ago and she knew that.
Rebecca felt very stupid and realized filling a suitcase with crappy food was not going to save anyone from anything. If she wanted to know what was happening, and it was probably best that she did, it was imperative for her to step out of the house and confront the world, once again. She climbed the stairs fast and looked out the window, something she rarely did. There was no one on the street and no sounds could be heard. If there was a perfect time to come out of her house, that was it.
She emptied the backpack she used to go to school and packed in some clothes and things she would need outside like a flashlight and batteries, some of the crappy food from the kitchen, a Swiss army knife her father kept in a drawer and a tiny bottle of pepper spray that her mother had indicated her on how to use, in the eventuality that a man would try to do something inappropriate to her or someone mugged her on the street. Of course, she had never found use for any of those things, until now.
When ready, she slowly walked towards the front door of the house and opened the door with doubt. She was not as scared of what might have happened in the world, as she was from the exterior in general. She took a deep breath and slowly but surely walked beyond the front side of her house. Rebecca stopped for a moment and looked behind, wondering if she would ever go back there but she knew it was better not to ask too many questions, at least when she was so insecure about everything in the world.
Rebecca started walking again and, in minutes, she was deep inside her neighborhood. Contrary to a normal day of summer, the streets were very empty and the sun was only heating up the cars that had been left outside. There were no corpses to see, so she was optimistic.
She stopped being that when she got to the supermarket her family visited. A group of people was gathered in front of the door. She doubted for a minute but then, knowing she had to be brave, she yelled at them. She had vanquished part of her fears, just as a bunch of zombies looked at her, licking their dry lips.