We spent the majority of the day and night looking at the hot spots for John Does. We had called the Realtor and let her know to reschedule the viewings for the next day. We stayed at a different hotel last night, and when we awoke we felt refreshed. It was the best we had slept in a long time. We all jumped in the shower, and while the gals took turns showering I turned on the TV to watch the news.
“…has confirmed that the coined ‘meat virus’ alters the hosts digestive system to only permit meat in the system. Ingesting any other form of food results in projectile vomiting, stomach pains, and in rare cases, where people tried to overcome their virus by only ingesting vegetables and fruit, death. With the shortage of meat across America, we can only assume that livestock pricing will increase, importing livestock will increase, which in affect will cause tens of thousands of people to lose their jobs.” the news anchor said. He pressed his finger to his ear peace while cocking his head to the left and after a few seconds he looked back at the camera saying, “We just got a report that a mad man is down town and police are in route at the scene. This mad man is likely to be infected by the virus which we’ve been told can be transmitted through body fluid exchanges. There has been similar instances around the nation where mad men would bite people, and sometimes eat people. With the shortage of meat, some are assuming that the virus doesn’t only affect the digestive system, but the neurological system as well. Some are coining these mad men ‘Zombies’ as they’ll eat any kind of meat they can snatch up.”
The anchorman was replaced by a view of a man lunging at people, snapping at their limbs. There were bodies all around him some still screaming and trying to crawl away, while others lay twitching in the street. The camera zoomed in on the man and blood was smeared all over his face and clothes, the anchor man could be overheard saying “Oh my god…it IS a fucking zombie…look at all those…” the television went straight to commercial and the girls came out in their towels.
“What were you watching? I heard someone say something about Zombies.” Susan said toweling her hair dry. She looked at the TV and looked at me.
“Seriously…what were you watching?” Jasmine asked.
“The news…” and I explained what was shown on the television and what the news anchorman said. They both gasped, with their hands over their mouths. “Do we need to move already?!” Susan asked.
“No, I think we’re going to be okay. If they focus on the crazed ones they won’t be looking very hard for us. Are you okay Jasmine?” I said looking at her cautiously.
“Yeah…I just know how that man feels. Even while crazed you still have a deep part of your subconscious know what you did. If they don’t kill him, he will want to kill himself after what he did.” she said.
I nodded, not fully comprehending what he is going to go through but felt enough for him to feel bad. The news came back on with a new news anchor on camera saying “We’re sorry for any cross interference that came across our news channel. We were notified by the Sci-Fi channel that their satellite crossed ours and overrode our audio. The police was able to subdue the mad man, and he has been taken in custody. There were a total of 12 casualties, and 4 people were found to be in critical condition. The man was subdued easily because he was found eating one of the critically injured people. As we get more news, we’ll pass it along to you. Jane?”
I turned off the tv, and got in the shower. When I got out the girls were gone, but I knew they weren’t very far. I got dressed and gathered our things and put them in the car. I leaned against the car waiting for Jasmine and Susan. They came walking to the car talking quietly to each other.
“Ready?” Jasmine said.
“Yep, you gals already pay our bill?” I asked
“Yep we’re good to go. We gotta go down town to look at some apartments, so we better get a move on.” Susan replied.
The radio was full of chatter about the mad man people are calling a zombie. Seems the media was eating it up, and soon Jasmine reach over my shoulder to shut off the radio.
“I’m sick of hearing of the stupid zombie term already. We’re not zombies! We are just not like normal people.” she said.
We pulled up in front of the apartment complex and looked around. It wasn’t in the best part of town, but it was pretty secluded which meant we could move around a body if we needed to without raising suspicion. We met the landlord at the stairs as he was walking down them.
“You sure you want ground floor? It sometimes floods around here, and water will be right outside your door. Plus it’s more money per month.” he said.
“Yes sir, my knees aren’t as good as they used to be, had a football injury back in high school that ruined them.” I lied.
He nodded and turned off the stairs heading to apartment A. “Will you all be living together then?” he asked.
“Yeah, my brother and I had planned on moving in together before our parents died of cancer. Now that they’re gone we can move on. This is his fiancé Jane.” Susan said.
“Now if you are all on the lease, and one of you moves, it’s still your responsibility if the others don’t pay. You know that right?” he said to no one in particular.
We all nodded in agreement, and he nodded back opening the door to the apartment. We walked in, and the stench of cat pee hit us hard.
“Whoa man, this apartment smells like cat piss.” I said holding my nose and shaking my head.
“Hey man, it’s nothing a little TLC can’t handle. Plus, what do you expect for only $800 a month? The general rules are, no cops, no drugs, no l-ate rent, and no asking for me to fix anything. All upkeep is up to you, and I expect rent to be paid on time every time or you’re out the next day. Understood?”
We all looked at each other, and held up a finger while walking out the door to talk.
“I don’t know guys, this place is a dump.” Susan said.
“Like the guy said, no cops, we deal with everything. That’s not such a bad deal, that means he’ll leave us alone until rent comes due.” Jasmine said.
We all agreed, and walked back in to the apartment. He looked up and said “Oh, one more thing, no contract, no checks, no credit cards. Cash only and preferably in smaller bills, $20’s and $50’s.”
We all smiled and nodded our heads saying “Deal!”
“Good deal then, I require 2 months up front. I’ll have your keys ready for you in my apartment, it’s upstairs in the back, apartment H.” he said, putting the keys back in his pocket.
“Actually, if you don’t mind we’ll take them now.” Jasmine said reaching inside her coat pocket and pulled out a wad of cash. She counted it out for him and his jaw dropped.
As he handed us the keys and began walking out I could hear him say “God damn drug dealers. At least they pay on time, and in cash.”
We locked up the apartment and took a visit to the local department store. We purchased mounds of cleaning supplies and some basic necessities for the apartment. Jasmine complained about the smell, so we rented a carpet shampooer. We left there and headed to the butcher shop. We entered the same way as before, giving him a call while on the way. When we sat down at the small table, he stood over us and asked us if we could wait another day. His brother was finishing up some paperwork from the last stiff, and should be here tonight to be prepped for delivery tomorrow. We all looked at him like HE was the strange one.
“What? I saw that guy on TV this morning. That guy was crazy as hell. Eating people ALIVE! That just proves that you guys are dangerous, and I don’t want to piss you off. Whatever I can do to keep you happy I will. Just jot down your address and you’ll have it by morning.” he said.
I was suspicious about his change of attitude, and was hesitant about giving him our address. I looked at the gals and could see the hesitation on their face as well. I jotted down an address, one down the street from our apartment complex, on a napkin and gave it to him. If I saw he was alone, I’d drive up there and collect giving some kind of excuse as to why I wasn’t there.
He nodded, folded the napkin and saw us out. We went back to the apartment, and cleaned the place up. When we were finished, we gathered some blankets and pillows we’ve been stealing from the hotels and made cots on the floor. Before any of us could say good night, snores could be heard from all around.