Fear is mostly in your head. Mostly.

Jamie stepped out of the garage sliding the bolts home with a long, tired sigh. He slipped the chunky padlock into the loop and closed it with a satisfying click then rubbed his face with both hands. ‘I’ve really got to stop with these long nights,’ he thought tugging on the door. Content that it secure, well as secure as a rundown garage/office could be he dropped his keys in his pocket and headed for the home.

He rounded the corner onto the main road leading home just as the fat yellow moon disappeared behind a bank of thick, dark clouds. ‘It’s like something out of a horror movie,’ he thought to himself with a shudder. He stood there for a moment looking up at the eerie sky until the silence and the dark started to rub at him then he turned up the collar on his jacket and started back off down the street.

He hated walking home alone at night, he wasn’t scared, he was a grown man after all but he did have a quite excellent imagination and the world looked like a whole different place at – he checked his watch – ‘Four in the morning? Bloody hell it was a late one tonight; it’s no wonder the streets are totally deserted,’ he thought. He stopped and looked all around him. He was on the main road from Burnley town centre out towards the motorway and there was not a person in sight; there weren’t even any lights on in the windows of the rows and rows of terraced houses he could see from the road. ‘I could be the only one alive in the whole world,’ he thought to himself.

The hair on the back of Jamie’s neck stood up as he realised quite how alone he was, if something were to happen to him there would be nobody around to help. The images ran through his mind as his imagination kicked into overdrive.

A voice coming from a nearby sewer drain, he leans in to take a look and then pow! a creepy clown dude pulls of his arm.

A lonely car pulls up alongside as he walks down the road and then pow! a knife wielding maniac jumps out and slits his throat.

No, it would be nothing so sudden. Then it hit him, he saw it clear as day like the movie had cut away from the writer walking down the lonely road to the main story. While he’d been writing in his garage office the T-virus had been released. It was slowly drifting around the country, an invisible mist of pure evil infecting the populace and turning them into flesh eating zombies.

‘This is why you can’t watch horror movies Jamie old boy,’ he thought trying to dismiss the fantasy, but his imagination would not be denied.

Somewhere lurking in the dark were zombies; foul rotting creatures that knew nothing only a relentless hunger. His eyes darted from side to side, he couldn’t see anything but he knew with every fibre of his being; knew that they were out there, they could taste him in the air, sense his pulse beating in his throat and their mouths watered in anticipation.

Each alley he passed became populated with the imaginary undead. Behind each darkened window grotesque monsters watched with cold dead eyes. The rational part of his mind knew they weren’t really there but somehow he could still feel their blank, soulless eyes burning into his back.

His heart beat faster and casting anxious glances around he stepped up the pace, he wasn’t running per se, he told himself just walking a little faster than usual so he could get home before the damn birds came out.

He ate up the road and was just nearing the end of the row of menacing terraced houses when as if on cue the streetlight above him flickered and went out dumping him into darkness. He stopped dead looking around his hackles rising, the street was silent as the grave, not a soul stirred.

“It’s just a coincidence Jamie,” muttered to himself trying to calm his racing heart. “Street lights must fail all the time, I’ve never seen one but it must happen right?” He looked up at the now dark street light with a frown like he could see the broken bulb from 8 feet away. “Besides, zombies can’t turn out individual street lights if this was them all of the lights would have gone out.”

Up ahead the lights at the underpass cast a warm glow. “See Jamie, it’s just a bulb going, nothing to worry about.” He took a deep breath feeling better now he’d gotten to the bottom of the broken light situation and headed towards the light and the promise of safety.

He was maybe six feet from the underpass when the warm amber glow cut off, the lights flickering and going out. His heart lurched in his chest and he ground to a halt again. His hands started to shake as his body dumped adrenaline into his system; fight or flight. His heart beat so fast he thought it might leap out of his chest and make a break for it without waiting for him to make a decision.

Fighting down panic Jamie turned to face the darkness. “You’re not scaring anyone you know,” he squeaked his voice breaking slightly. In the distance he thought he heard a child laugh. His heart rate jumped up another notch, his chest felt tight and he could feel his blood pounding in his ears. He took a faltering step backwards his eyes wide, face pale. “Look this isn’t funny,” he called his voice shaking. “It’s… it’s… just downright dangerous. Look, look, there’s a road here, now turn the lights back on immediately, someone could get hurt.”

“Only you,” whispered a voice so close he could feel their warm breath on his cheek.

Before he could react he felt a sharp pain in his neck and then his legs were giving way, his vision narrowing and he plunged head first into a deep, cold darkness.


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