When the steaming water first hit my skin, I jumped. I hadn’t felt hot water in the longest time. Ever since the zombie apocalypse happened, I haven’t had a shower. If I’ve counted right, it’s been four months. Yeah, I smelled pretty bad, so did my clothes. But the people who let us stay here gave me some new clothes. I wanted the shower to last forever. I can’t remember the last I felt this clean and I didn’t want it to stop. But they’d probably kick me out if I stayed here any longer. I turned the smooth and shiney metal shower knob. I stepped out of the shower and grabbed my towel. I dried off and put on the new and fresh smelling clothes. They were pretty similar to the ones I had before. A pair of dark blue jeans and a white T-shirt. They even gave me a new pair of boots. Too good to be true. I walked out of my room and downstairs to the kitchen. I had been running what felt like for days and once I found this house, it seemed like a dream. My body finally gave out on me and I lost consciousness. When I woke up I was laying on their living room floor. They saved me from whatever it was I was running from.
“Wow, you look like a different person without all that dirt and gunk on you,” said a woman. She looked like she was a little bit older than me. She wore an apron. People still cook during this?
I smiled, “Thank you again. This means a lot to me.”
“No need to thank us. We’ll take in anyone who looks like that. Oh, sorry.” He got up from his chair and walked towards me. “The name’s Jim.” he shook my hand. Tight grip. “This is my wife, Nancy.” pointing to the woman wearing the apron.
“It’s nice to meet someone new.” She said smiling.
“It’s nice to meet you two. My name’s Charlie.”
“There’s a couple who you haven’t met either. Jimmy, Brandt, come out here and meet Charlie.” After that, I saw two boys. One of them looked like he was my age, about 27 or 28. The other one looked a few years younger. They both had a bigger built, but I was probably bigger than them.
“How old are you, Charlie?” Jim asked.
“You and Jimmy are the same age. Brandt is 24.”
“Dinner is almost done. Why don’t we sit down and talk about all of this.” Nancy said while getting a big glass pan from the oven. We all sit down. I sit at the opposite end of Jim. Nancy scooped out what looked like some type of casserole onto all of our plates.
“Thank you, ma’am,” I said.
“You’re very welcome.” Once that was done, they said a prayer and we dug in.
“So where did you come from?” Jim asked.
“I lived in a small town in Iowa.”
“Yeah. Do you mind me asking where I am right now?”
“Boy, you’re in good o’l Alabama. You’re far away from home. What made you come all the way down here?”
“Honestly, I didn’t know where I was going, sir. I went back to my home and…” I drifted off. I remembered that day, seeing my parents and siblings lying on the floor lifeless.
“Charlie, are you alright?” Nancy asked.
I looked back up, “Yes, sorry.”
“Bad memories?” Brandt asked. I looked at him.
“Brandt, manners.” Nancy scolded him.
“It’s okay ma’am. Yes, my family died.” Everyone turned silent. After a few moments of the quiet, we made small conversations and they told me stories of what they used to do. They lived on a farm, so most of them were ones of farming. I didn’t mind that, I did all of that stuff too once. We all helped clear the table and sat there to talk.
“What’s your plan now?” Jim asked.
“You know, I’m not really sure at the moment. I don’t know what there is to do.”
“It’s been said on the radio that there’s a safe haven up in Washington and California area. We’ve seen our fair share of what’s out there. We’re not going to last for very much longer here.”
“You really think there’s something there?” I asked.
“It’s the only hope we have at the moment, so yes.”
“What are you saying then?”
“I’m saying that having another person with us would help a lot. We’ve been sorting this out for a few months and now that you’re here, it would be a good advantage. You don’t seem like any other guy out on the streets. What’s your story?”
“After high school, I joined the Marines. I saw some bad stuff, but I served my four years. Since then I’ve been helping my parents on their farm.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” I said softly.
“You don’t have to come with us, but if you do, we’ll take care of you as long as you do the same for us.” At that moment, I felt like I was with my own family. Jim reminded me of my father. If there was a God, he meant for us to meet.