Broken light streams in through shuttered windows as a solitary figure sits, sipping coffee, in an otherwise darkened room. The newscast from the television above casts an ominous glow on the worn wooden counter in front of her. Her mind begins to wander as she sips reflectively.
Suddenly, something the news anchor said caught her attention and she started to listen more intently. "A state of emergency has been declared as widespread reports of the outbreak of the H2N2 virus come in from around the globe. The virus has become commonly known as the zombie virus, or zombie plague, due to the effects of the infection on its victims. While the first reports of the virus came from farmers claiming pigs and cattle had become zombies, it quickly spread to the human population and has officially become an epidemic. There is no known cure at this time. Residents are advised..."
"Nothing new," she thought. "It's been the same story on every channel for weeks now."
She began to listen again on the off chance the news anchor might say something original, "The victims of this plague, which the general public are referring to as zombies, differ greatly from the zombies of film. Despite the fact that once the disease runs its course the victims are effectively dead with their bodies in a state of delayed yet constant deterioration, they are amazingly unaltered from their appearance and personalities prior to contracting the disease."
Bored with the lack of originality in the broadcast, she returned her attention to her coffee and once again became lost in her own thoughts. The plague caused an overwhelming craving for grains and vegetables, especially heads of lettuce. Those infected could often be heard requesting grains in a cry that to many sounded like a moan. She wondered if perhaps, in the past, there had been isolated cases of infections prior to the widespread outbreak. The cry for grains could have easily been misheard as brains and overzealous zombie hunters would have killed them without asking any questions. Thus began the widespread misunderstanding and unnecessary fear of zombies.
From behind her came the sound of a door opening, then closing with a thud. She barely noticed, but found herself thinking how the illness had felt like a door closing her off from many of her friends, as various members of her circle fell ill.
A young man, in his mid-20's walked through the door and was immediately drawn to the woman sitting at the counter. Her dark hair fell in ringlets past her shoulders. He thought to himself how much it reminded him of the twisted ribbon on a present. "Twisted, ha! Yeah, that's pretty fitting," he continued to think and smirked as he approached her.
Suddenly she heard a voice over her shoulder, jerking her back to reality. "Lyn?"
"Seth!" She smiled as she noticed how his chin length dark hair still fell over his dark, brooding eyes as it always had. Her eyes darted over his pale skin, sharp angular features, and strong jaw. Even with his skin a lighter shade of pale than usual and dark, almost purple, circles under his eyes, he still had an air about him that would get almost anyone's attention.
She jumped down out of her seat. "Do you want to grab a table?"
He nodded and they walked across the room together toward the many empty tables along the opposite wall. Suddenly, he looked at her as if he was seeing her for the first time and gasped as he noticed how pale her skin was. "You okay?"
"As good as can be expected," she said as they sat down at the table. "You know, I always pretty much take the good with the bad, but I never expected the bad to include decomposition."