The next day my ankle was a bit more sensitive to bearing my weight. I spent time with it elevated while reading and watching outside. The Stand didn’t have quite the same appeal now. I ate cold meals.
Two more days passed in the same way. The bruise on my shoulder ached less and I began practicing with the machete. I tried using my bat in one hand and my machete in the other hand. I found swinging with my left awkward but having an extra weapon might come in handy so I kept practicing.
My previous trips to the superstore insured that I wouldn’t run out of food before my ankle had time to heal but I would need to ration a little. I considered breaking into the other apartments in the complex. Most of my neighbors had left in a hurry probably not taking the time to clear out their pantry. I had avoided breaking in before for much the same reason I had left my roommate’s food alone. I was becoming less concerned with seeming like a upstanding citizen and more concerned with survival.
I spent one more day resting my ankle, then I got dressed, strapped on my machete, and headed over to the apartment next door with the broken door. The door was half open still on its hinges but dented where the zombie had pounded on it until the frame split. I pushed the door all the way open and looked inside. Very little had been disturbed by the zombie. A single chair had been knocked over and the table was slightly out of line. Both probably happened when the zombie rushed in after the barking dog and then ran out.
I had barely known the people who lived here, just enough to wave and exchange a couple of pleasantries when we saw each other but I still felt like I was violating their privacy. I pushed those feeling down inside. The layout of the apartment was the same as mine so I quickly made my way into the kitchen. The apartment had a deathly quiet that I felt uncomfortable breaking so I walked silently.
In the kitchen I began opening cabinets looking for their pantry. I found it in the same place we stored our dishes. I began sorting the canned food onto the counter. A some soups, cans of tomato sauce, some can veggies, and several ravioli and spaghetti cans, mostly likely for their kid. They had a wide assortment of pastas, dried beans, and rice but I didn’t have the water to spare cooking them. I checked the fridge and found a veggie drawer full of what was once fresh produce and a defrosted freezer full of meats and unfrozen veggies.
I took a quick look around the rest of the apartment for anything immediately useful but didn’t find anything. I refrained from doing more than opening closet doors to feel less like an intruder than I already did. My ankle began to ache and I had found enough to extend my rations by a few days, so I packed everything in a reusable shopping bag I found on a hook and I returned home.
The apartment had been easy to scavenge since the door had been pre-broken by a zombie. Getting into the other apartments probably wouldn’t be too hard with my small tire iron or by simply breaking a window. I was concerned about making too much noise and attracting zombies to the complex, though.
The next day a zombie wandered into the apartment complex. I saw it as I sat down in my watch chair to eat my breakfast of granola bars. It was standing six feet from my door, still as a statue facing parallel to my window then it turned to face me. I froze in my seat. Could it see me through the boarded window? Had I made a noise? Slowly it began shuffling in a small circle.
I carefully got up from my chair and grabbed my machete. I checked on the zombie, still idle. Moving the sofas without making noise was maddeningly difficult but I managed it. Looking out the peephole I saw the zombie again standing still facing away from me. I slowly twisted the deadbolt knob. It creaked and scrapped open. The zombie twitched but didn’t turn. Oil, definitely needed to remember the oil next time.
The door knob turned without a sound. I pulled gently on the door and winced at the whomff of the insulating strips around the door. I peered through the peephole. The zombie had turned directly at my door. It had heard the door but couldn’t see me. I waited behind the partly open door watching it through the peephole for several minutes. My ankle began to hurt. I shifted my weight to the other leg and the door moved.
The zombie shuffled forward a few steps and stopped. Could I close the door and hope it went away? Instead I waited. And waited. Until something else caught it’s attention and it looked away from the door.
The door opened the rest of the way without a sound. I creeped up behind the zombie. This is too dangerous, go back inside, my cautious mind screamed. I took careful aim and chopped into its neck. The machete stuck in the zombie’s neck; it remained standing and began to turn. Chop through the neck not at it, I reminded myself. I jerked my machete out of its neck and hit it again. This time it fell to the ground.
I considered the lifeless body slumped in front of my door. I should move it, if not to remain undetected by random passersby then at least to avoid creating a tripping hazard. The machete sheath was inside the apartment, on the sofa where I dropped it. I looked around the apartment complex. No other zombies had wandered in. I couldn’t move the zombie while holding the machete but I didn’t want to walk around with a weapon.
I stepped back into my apartment and closed the door. Once back inside I sheathed my machete and strapped it on. My ankle ached with every step but I really did not want to leave the zombie outside my front door. I opened my door and stepped back outside.
There was less black blood splattered around than my first zombie kill. A little had squirted out when I pulled my machete out on the first hit and a little more had leaked out after it collapsed on the ground but that was all. If not for the gapping wound in it’s neck and grayish skin pallor you might think this “man” had just fallen down.
I grabbed the ends of it’s pants so I wouldn’t have to touch its skin and began dragging it toward the back of the apartment complex where I had stashed the other zombie I had killed in the complex. By the time I reached the end of my building my ankle was screaming at me. I stopped for a couple of minutes. There was no way I could drag the body the rest of the way today but the alley between my building and the next was just a few more feet. I forced myself to pull the body into the alley. I would come back tomorrow or the next day when my ankle had healed more and drag it the rest of the way.
I limped back to my apartment and secured the door after me. Nothing else happened that day.