Priti was excited as she looked around the departure lounge. She smiled as she saw the excited faces of families and couples, all checking and then double checking their passports and documentation. Priti looked at her husband, her husband of 24 hours, this time yesterday they were standing in the church exchanging their wedding vows, with their families watching.
Arin hadn’t wanted to go on a cruise for their honeymoon, he wanted to go to The Maldives, in an all -inclusive hotel with the rooms nestling in the ocean’s water. But Priti had convinced him to stray further into the ocean and so they had booked this cruise, sailing from Southampton to the Mediterranean.
They boarded the ship and Arin had to admit he was impressed with the elegance of the atrium and before heading down to their stateroom, they decided to buy a cocktail. After a quick look at the drink’s menu, Priti decided on a Zombie: white and dark rum with lime juice, pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine, garnished with cherries and mint. Arin chose a Pina Colada, also with rum, coconut cream and pineapple juice.
“Wow, this is the life,” said Priti as she sipped her cocktail, “I can feel the stress of the wedding leaving me with every sip of my cocktail.” Arin agreed, his cocktail was hitting the spot and he unbuttoned his jacket.
“What’s going on over there?” Priti asked Arin, “It looks like that lady has had too much to drink already.” They looked over at the woman, who was doubled over and being sick, a waiter was helping her, leading her towards the ladies restroom and a cleaner appeared from nowhere and proceeded to clean up the vomit on the floor.
“Some people just can’t handle their drink,” mused Priti and as the smell of the vomit was quite strong, they decided to go down to their stateroom and get unpacked.
Their stateroom was on deck 10 and had a balcony, Priti walked out to see the view, not much to look at, just the docks, but it was full of activity, people seemed to be rushing around, she couldn’t make out what was happening as they were up quite high, but she did see that the walkways had been taken up, so she assumed they would be sailing soon.
“Shall we get ready for dinner? We’ve a reservation for six o’clock, and it’s already five,” she said to Arin, “Yeah, good idea,” he agreed.
An hour later, they were walking towards the restaurant, Priti had her new dress on, she was hungry and she was looking forward to her meal. “I think I’ll have a steak tonight,” she thought and asked Arin what he was going to have? “A steak I think,” he said and Priti laughed, they were very well matched.
When they arrived at the restaurant, it was deserted, just a couple of waiters were hovering, waiting for the guests to arrive. “Table for two,” requested Arin and they were led to a table. “Where is everybody, I thought it would be busier than this,” Arin asked the waiter, whose badge said his name was Enrique, “There seems to be a bug going round the ship, a lot of passengers and crew have been feeling sick,” Enrique replied as he handed them the menus.
They were both pleased to see that steak was on the menu and so that’s what they ordered with a bottle of Malbec red wine to go with it. The wine was poured by Enrique and as they drank it while waiting for their steak, they noticed their waiter was doubled up in pain, he was groaning and clutching his stomach. Priti went over to him, his face was contorted and he was foaming at the mouth. “I think you’d better go to your cabin,” she said concerned for him, “You must have caught what everybody else has got.” He made a noise, a sort of groan and walked towards the exit of the restaurant.
Priti looked around, there was nobody else to serve them, so she went to the kitchen to see if their steak was in there ready for collection. As she walked through the swing door to the kitchen, there were a couple of chefs leaning over somebody who had seemingly fainted. “I think this bug is worse than people are saying to us,” she thought and went over to see if she could help in any way.
When she approached the chefs, they turned to look at her, Priti couldn’t believe what she was seeing, they weren’t helping the person laying on the ground, THEY WERE EATING HER!
She screamed, they were covered in blood and the poor woman was motionless on the ground, her intestines strewn around her and her heart was on show, pumping blood onto the floor. Priti was paralysed, they were moving closer to her, making blood chilling noises from their throats, gurgling and reaching out to grab Priti.
She stepped back and ran back towards the swing doors, but Enrique was there in the way, she knew that he wasn’t there to serve the steak to her, he was moaning and lurched at her, she jumped out of the way and managed to go through the swing door without him reaching her. She ran over to Arin, he was still sat at the table drinking his wine, “Hadn’t he heard what was going on in the kitchen?” she asked herself, “Arin,” she shrieked, “We have to leave, I’m not sure what’s going on, but people are eating other people in there!” She was sure that would cause some sort of reaction, but no, nothing.
She walked up to him and he turned round startled, he had put his earplugs in and was listening to music, oblivious to anything happening around him. Priti heard the sound of the swing doors and saw the two chefs and the waiter entering the restaurant, their hands were outstretched, and they were heading directly towards them. She pulled out Arin’s earplugs, “Ow,” he complained, “That hurt, what did you do that for?”
Priti gestured behind her and Arin looked behind her, he saw the chefs and Enrique approaching them, only the day before he had promised to look after her till death do us part and looking at these…. zombies approaching, he hoped that wasn’t sooner rather than later.
Arin took her hand and they ran towards the exit. The atrium which only hours earlier was an excited hub of expectation of a wonderful holiday, was now filled with screams of pain, horrible groaning and glass smashing. A barman was smashing bottles of drinks over a zombie’s head, which had no effect until the barman seized a shard of glass and stabbed it in the zombie’s skull.
Arin wished that he had watched The Walking Dead, he could have picked up some tips on how to survive an apocalypse. As they ran along the atrium, a zombie guest dressed in an Hawaiian shirt made a grab for his legs, he was a portly man who was now hungry for his human buffet, but Priti was determined Arin wasn’t gonna be his first course. She aimed a kick at his stomach, which floored him and whilst he was writhing on the floor, she grabbed a steak knife that was on the floor and plunged it into his skull. Arin looked in amazement at his new wife, he didn’t know she was capable of these types of moves. Priti looked at him and winked, “I’ve seen The Walking Dead,” she told him.
Their cabin was three floors below the restaurant, they both knew their best chance of survival was to get there as quickly as possible. They reached the lifts and pressed the button, most of the lifts were on floor 14, but one was making its way down. They stood outside and willed the lift to go quicker, a few zombies had seen them standing there and were making their way towards them, the lift number hung tantalizingly at the floor above them.
Arin looked around for a weapon, Priti had removed the steak knife from Hawaiian zombie’s head and was brandishing it like an apocalypse warrior, all he could find was an abandoned walking stick with a duck head sculpted at the top. He joined Priti alongside her, waiting in anticipation for the advancing zombies.
The ding of the lift sounded like a chime from heaven, the lift door opened and out shot a couple of zombie cleaners, this took Arin by surprise and he was attacked from behind. He managed to flip the zombie over his shoulder and strike him several times with the walking stick, in the meantime, Priti was in the lift and fervently pressing the lift button for their floor after having quickly disposed of the second zombie cleaner.
Arin stepped into the lift and the doors shut with a satisfying clunk. The silence was deafening and they both looked at each other in disbelief, what exactly had just happened? They assumed their positions as the lift doors opened and were pleasantly surprised when they weren’t met by any zombies.
They turned into the narrow corridor which led to their cabin, to be confronted by a zombie housekeeper, she wasn’t very tall but she was snapping and snarling at them. “I’ll deal with this,” Arin told Priti, “Stay back,” and he rushed at the zombie, picked her up and dumped her in the housekeeping trolley along with the towels and dressing gowns. Her arms and legs flailed as she tried to get out, but to no avail. As they rushed past, Priti took a handful of toiletries, you never know when they’re gonna come in handy.
They entered their cabin and quickly shut the door, “What on earth is going on?” Priti said, not really expecting an answer from Arin, “What are we gonna do? We’re trapped on this cruise ship.” She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror, her dress was torn and it was covered in blood, she looked at Arin, his shirt was covered in blood and his jacket was ripped at the seams, he had never looked sexier!
She changed into her leisure suit and Arin put on some jeans and a t-shirt, this was much better zombie fighting gear. Priti opened the sliding doors onto the balcony and stepped out, she took a look over and could see passengers running along the deck screaming, being chased by zombie crew members and passengers, it was like a scene out of The Living Dead. The ship was still sailing though, heading out towards the ocean, breaking through the waves without a care in the world.
Then they heard the communication system fire up, it was a little crackly, but a voice resounded through their cabin, “This is your Captain speaking, as you are probably aware we are experiencing a few problems on board today, so we have made the decision to abandon ship. We are going to load up the lifeboats on deck 7 in 20 minutes, so those who are living can you please try and make your way to them. Godspeed and be safe.”
So, they had to make it down to deck 7 in 20 minutes, could they manage that? Well, it was their only chance, they had no choice, they had to do it.
“I think we should go down the stairs,” suggested Arin, “We can’t afford the time to wait for the lifts, they might not even be working now.” Priti agreed, it was only three decks to the lifeboats, surely they could do this. A quick drink from the mini bar, well, they don’t have to pay for it now and they were ready for the fight of their lives.
Arin opened the cabin door and peered outside, he could see that the housekeeping zombie was still in the trolley with her legs flailing up in the air, but apart from her, all was quiet. He turned round and quietly signalled to Priti that all was clear. She nodded and they both left the sanctity of their cabin.
The corridors were long and narrow, not ideal if you meet a crowd of zombies stumbling in the opposite direction, so they made their way quickly to the opening where the lifts and stairs were and immediately heard a commotion on the floor below. Priti stooped down and tried to see what was going on, there were zombies, of course, but she could also make out another couple who were fighting the zombies and were fighting a losing battle.
“We have to help them,” she said to Arin, “They need our help.” Arin wasn’t too keen, why should they risk their lives to help people they don’t even know? Priti could see him hesitating, “If we were in that position, we would be very grateful is someone helped us out.” Arin had to agree, so on the count of three, they raced down the stairs and started attacking the zombies.
They were outnumbered two to one, but between them they eventually put down all the zombies, it looked like a bloodbath, all the zombies were strewn over each other. The woman looked at Priti, “Thanks so much for that, I’m Kate and this is Paul.” They greeted each other and decided to go to the lifeboats as a group and proceeded to descend the staircase, quietly and stealthily.
The next floor down looked quiet, they couldn’t see any zombies, but then they heard the ping of the lift, the lift doors opened and a lift full of zombies stumbled out. The survivors carried on down the staircase, zombies can’t do stairs, right? The zombies all turned towards them and as they reached the stairs, they started to fall down them, falling all around, one of them landing on Paul. Kate screamed, “Get them off him, quickly,” and Arin sprang over and dragged the zombie of of him, finishing the zombie off with a blow to the head.
“Thanks dude,” said Paul, “No problem,” replied Arin, “Let’s get going, we’ve only got one more floor to go.”
They arrived at deck 7 and looked for the door to go out onto the deck. “There it is,” Kate shouted, but between them and this door was what seemed like hundreds of zombies. “How on earth are we gonna get past them?” asked Priti, looking around for an alternative route. They all stood there, contemplating their next course of action when Arin suddenly had an idea…
“We could distract them somehow, make them move towards the other side of the ship, so we could then get to the doors,” he suggested, “How about getting some bottles of alcohol from the bar, put a rag in it, then set it alight and throw it over there,” said Priti. “Yes, that’s a great idea, come on, we can get to the bar over there,” Kate replied.
They made their way behind the bar and began plugging the bottles with serviettes. “Where can we get matches from?” whispered Paul, “There’s an office there, have a look in the drawers,” Arin said, “I’ll keep a watch out for you.”
They watched as Paul made his way to the office, one zombie had strayed over in that direction, but Paul took care of him and proceeded to search the drawers. He stood up smiling with a box of matches in his hand, the others heaved a big sigh of relief and beckoned him to come back to them as quickly as possible.
They lit up some of the serviettes and starting throwing the bottles over in the opposite direction of the lifeboats, the explosions they made was enough to wake the dead, only they were dead! The zombies immediately stopping milling around and started shuffling towards the explosions.
“Come on, now’s our chance,” Arin shouted and they ran out towards the deck and towards the salvation of the lifeboats.
They saw the Captain and some of the crew, who were standing next to the lifeboat and fending off zombies, the group helped despatch the zombies, but by now, the ones they had distracted were walking through the door which they had left open to the deck, “Come on, it’s time to go,” the Captain told them, and they all agreed it was time.
They jumped into the lifeboat and a member of the crew pressed the button for the lifeboat to automatically lower. They all sank into the seats, not quite knowing how they had survived, “I’m sorry to have to do this,” the Captain said, “But I need to check you all for bites.”
Paul was reluctant to comply, which immediately made the Captain suspicious. “Come on, I need to see,” he insisted, but Paul just sat in the lifeboat staring into space. “Paul, have you been bitten?” asked Kate, “Please tell me the truth.” “No, no, I haven’t,” he replied, “But I know that you have been.”
Kate took a sharp intake of breath and looked around at the others, it was true, she had been bitten whilst she was fighting a zombie. She pulled up her shirt, there were teeth marks on her stomach and the wound was pulsating. “I’m sorry,” she apologised, “But I love Paul and I wanted to be with him.”
“You need to get off the lifeboat,” the Captain told her and signalled for the crew member to stop the lifeboat lowering, “Yes, I understand,” she replied, “Goodbye Paul, I will love you forever.” “Yeah, whatever,” Paul said without any emotion and Kate alighted from the lifeboat which was next to deck five by now. She was immediately engulfed by zombies, but she didn’t utter a sound.
“I’m so sorry, Paul,” Priti said, “How long had you been married?” “Married?” questioned Paul, “We’re not married, I’d only just met her a couple of hours ago at the bar, I hardly knew her.”
Priti, Arin, Paul and the Captain and his crew members were the only survivors of the ship and as the lifeboat floated on the sea, the ship carried on towards the open ocean, probably only stopping either if it runs out of fuel or runs aground.
“Right, where are we going?” asked the Captain, “Straight on or are we turning back?” “Straight on,” they all said as one, “Maybe this virus is only here, maybe the rest of the world is okay?” said Priti hopefully.
And maybe it’s not…