Weeks and months had passed. The weather was hot and humid which made the stench around the zombies even more foul. The uninfected were miserable and bored. There was no real leadership among them, just a lot of talk and finger-pointing. It took too much energy to destroy the walking dead; they were ineffective anyway so a sort of tolerance had built up.
Lucia’s strategy was to avoid or outrun them and only fight in self-defense. She began to roam in gradually widening circles from her home in Stepford. Carrying a backpack which held a water bottle, hand mirror, sandwich, chips and a few old cell phones she headed out with a knife at her belt and one of her ex-husbands expensive golf clubs in her hand.
Whacking a zombie with the golf club was the last line of defense, one she rarely had to resort to. The second-to-last defense was to hold the mirror up to the zombie in question who usually became mesmerized with it’s reflection and began to make awkward grooming motions.
The old useless cell phones were very effective in occupying the poor creatures for hours as they would mimic movements buried in what was left of their synapses. They would gaze down at the device, poking at it with rotting fingers while making low grunting and moaning sounds.
Lucia wasn’t at all up for skateboarding but she was great on a bike, making day trips from Stepford to forage for supplies. She often stalked small groups of the afflicted since they were great at rooting out objects that were valuable to her new way of life. As with time and anything done often enough, she had fallen into a routine.
One balmy day in May, she’d been on an extended bike trip, rode over a steep ridge and found herself looking down at what appeared to be a small village. It looked odd and unusual. Before the catastrophe, she’d taken pride in being a world traveler and was also regarded as being knowledgeable of the region in which she lived.
The structures didn’t seem to have suffered much damage and there were no bodies laying about as far as she could tell. The afflicted woman she’d been following for days was bumping about before plopping down on the stool in front of an easel.
Lucia recognized her because she seemed more curious than most of the infected and because of the paint on her arms and around her mouth.
As Lucia watched, the creature dipped a bony hand into a small opened paint bucket and gathered a handful of the now viscous substance and brought it to her mouth which was soon covered with an azure color. Next she began roughly splattering blobs of paint onto the canvas panel in front of her.
Taking a long swig from the water bottle, Lucia looked around for any signage and noticed a small marker that said LEA 23. Nearby was a wooden post with worded arrows pointing in different directions. The names meant nothing to her.
She looked at the sky; she’d have to turn back soon if she was to make it home before dark.