When a practical prank goes very, very wrong.
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Beginning: April the 1st
The five shadows were sitting around a barrel fire, inside a crumbling, old and leaking, sanatorium outside of town.
Around them laid rifles, knifes, hammers, bows and arrows. In the half-light the fire offered, one could see broken nails, worn-out clothes and tired faces.
– Well. Today was a bit brighter. – spoke a man- No one got infected or killed. And we found a new survivor. The others will be happy to hear that. How are you boy?
Four people, eight glimmering eyes looked at the fifth shadow. The boy moved closer to the barrel so they can see his face better. He still looked frightened.
– How do we name you? – asked a rusty, coughing voice.
– Name me? – shivered the boy, confused by the question.
– Aye son. We’ve all got nicknames.
– We’re no longer men with homes and families. Our previous lives exist no more. We’re shadows boy. No faces, no identity. But still we must remember. So we thought by adopting the names of sentimental to us items and moments belonging to the past we might keep the memory a bit alive. I am Jazz, the fellow over there is Spinning Top, to your right is Mexico ‘91 and this here is Crazy for his own personal reasons.
– She liked Patsy Cline – answered a drawn out voice.
– So what’s your name? – interrupted them Spinning Top.
The boy thought for a moment. His mind was blank. But in the darkness that surrounded his thoughts, there was one thing which brought good memories.
– Baseball. I’ll be Baseball.
– You seem more like a dog lover to me but… whatever you say – the four men laughed.
– I say we give him a proper welcoming. Today we have beans, beans and well… beans –Jazz handed over a can to Baseball.
– How long have you been on your own? – asked Mexico ‘91
– Couple of weeks I suppose. I didn’t realize what was happening until my uncle ran into the house, throwing up b-blood.
– ‘S okay boy. We all saw some horrible things.
– Do any of you know how…it all began? What caused it?
The four men looked at each other.
– Tell him Spin – said Mexico.
– We’ve heard it from Marlboro. He was a poor bastard. Smoking killed him. Helped those filthy monsters catch him. Anyways, he told us that two boys about your age did the whole thing. Story goes like this. These two guys, best friends or something, were proper pranksters. They did big and crazy stuff every year for April’s Fool. So two winters past one of them, think he was called Karl, came up with the idea to lie to everybody he’s dead. Stupid right? He called his best buddy Mike and told him to start writing condolences on his Facebook page, making everyone believe he died. They even made a dozen obituaries with a picture, year of birth and death and all. Karl’s parents were supposedly away for a week, some rich holiday, somewhere. So perfect timing for the prank ey? After the preparations were made, Karl was not to go out for a weekend, talk to anybody, open the door, and answer the phone. And after the weekend had passed, the ultimate prank would begin – he would go out, go to school, just smiling and saying “hi” to everybody freaking the hell out of them. Kids stuff. Unfortunately before the prank the little brat got unlucky. Bad joke turned on him; he slipped in the shower and broke his neck. Died on spot. His friend Mike was devastated. The little geek that he was, he had an even crazier idea then Karl’s. One year he worked on some secret project, down in his basement, not telling anyone. So a day before this year’s April the 1st dear old Mike goes to resurrect his dead friend, making his most wished prank come true. Really true. Only that the dead kid turns out to be a zombie. For one night the infection spreads like a bloody cancer. Mike goes down first. After that a chain reaction. The whole state in one week. Zombies. If you ask me, no one would have ever imagined that the Zombie Apocalypse would start with a silly thing like that.
– I still think its rubbish this story. Marlboro was nuts. I say it’s the government testing us. See who survives, then take them in and make tests on them to create a stronger human being.
– It doesn’t matter how it started. No one cares. There is no one left to care. We focus on surviving, not on fairy tales – Jazz put down the can of beans. The fire had faded away – We keep fighting. One day this whole thing will be nothing but a bedtime story.
They all kept a hidden hope, a sense of faith and believe that Jazz’s words would someday be true.