Marcus awoke at the sound of the alarm. Waking quickly he hit the stop button and removed the batteries. Lying back down he checked his watch.10.40. He looked over at his wind-up alarm clock and saw the time showed 8.24. Damm. How drunk had he been last night? Drunk enough to forgot to wind his alarm clock but not so drunk that he had put batteries in his digital clock. Still, he had twenty minutes to spare.
He rose from his bed, rubbing his head and made his way to the bathroom. He pulled a few switches and climbed under the warm shower water. Apparently, after food and life, everyone who had stayed with him had always said a warm shower was the thing they missed the most. Being an engineer, it wasn’t difficult for him to have set up a container on the roof to catch rainwater and solar panels to heat the caught liquid. So the water wasn’t always hot, and it didn’t really get you clean, but the sensation of being under warm flowing water really made you feel that nothing had changed. After drying and dressing Marcus went back to check the time. 10.54. He’d left it late, but still on time. Putting his watch on his wrist, and picking up the alarm clock, he made his way through the empty house to the locked door, winding the clock as he hurriedly walked. He entered the correct code and pulled the now unlocked door open. The sunlight burnt his eyes for a few seconds until they slowly adjusted to the glow. Making his way up the small flight of stairs he made his way to the roof. Before he reached the top he heard the groans all around him. Stepping out onto roof he glanced around. Despite being several hundred meters away the groans were almost as loud as if the undead were right next to him. Were there more today, or less? He walked the short distance to the man made shack and stepped inside. Flicking a switch the generator started up. A row of little lights blinked into life on the console on the back wall of the shack. He had always been a bit of a radio fanatic. He had built his first short wave set at just 11 years old using various household appliances. That had got him in to a lot of trouble with his parents. Now instead of getting a smack round the back of the head it was, hopefully, saving his life. He picked up the mouthpiece and looked again at his watch. 11.00. He flicked a switch on the radio and took a deep breath.
“This is Marcus calling any and all listeners. As per the pre-recorded message it is now eleven o’clock and I’m beginning my daily transmission. My position is still secure. I have light, heat and water. If anyone has tuned in and is able, I’m offering sanctuary to anyone who can make his or her way here. The grounds are big enough for a helicopter to land, and if you have vehicles there is room to park at least a dozen. Of course you would need to make your way in first as the compound is surrounded by several hundred of the undead. I will be waiting for any response from now until thirteen hundred hours. Next personal transmission will be at seventeen hundred hours until nineteen hundred hours. Ending personal transmission.”
Sitting back down Marcus waited. Every day for the last, what was it now, nine months; he had gone through the same routine. Wake, broadcast, wait. At first he got a response at least once a week. Some came, others told him to come to them. He had never left, but always accepted those who came to him. They never lasted long though. Soon it became once month. Then even less often. It had been three weeks since the last lot. An old man who had had drove to the gate after hearing his broadcast, but unable to respond. He had been convinced that he knew of an island that was safe and tried to make him leave, but Marcus knew he was safe where he was. He knew the old man was no longer alive. And so every day he made the same two broadcasts. And every evening he put the automated transmission on, until around 1.00am, which sent his co-ordinates in case anyone was still listening.
Leaning back on his chair Marcus pulled open the cupboard to his right. He pulled out a can and opened it. No matter what everyone else said, Marcus always thought beer was the greatest thrill, not a warm shower. As he took a long swig, he wondered how long his supply would last. Oh, he had been prepared. Food to last several years, the ability to make sure he had power for as long as needed, but beer. Maybe he would have to look into brewing his own. Could it really be that hard? At least he didn’t smoke. There was no way he could grow tobacco plants. He finished his first can, opened his seconded and wondered if today would be the day.
The alarm went off at 12.55. Marcus jerked awake and looked at his watch. The time checked out. He knocked the empty beer can off his chest and sat up. Six empty cans lay on the floor. He really had to cut down on the drinking. Well, five minutes until transmission end. Then a long four hour wait until more nothing. Marcus considered what to do now. Drinking was probably a bad idea. Not only was he already a bit drunk, it would diminish his already dwindling beer supply.
Should he stay here? Maybe it was time to move on. See if there were others alive in the world. Was it worth it? Maybe he should just forget about others. Just give up on the transmissions. Go cold turkey on the beer until he could brew his own. No more early mornings. No more late nights.
How about just end it all? If he were the last man alive would it really matter? Or was that the beer and loneliness talking?
But why give up? Surly someone has to live on. There must be others out there.
“Hello? Is that Marcus?”
Marcus sat up suddenly. He stared at the basic two-way radio set up. Was he asleep and dreaming? Or maybe he was more drunk than he thought, and hearing things.
“Marcus? Hello. Is this transmission still on?
Marcus looked at his watch. 12.59. Less than one minute left. Could someone really cut it this fine? Was it real? Why wasn’t he responding? He picked up the mic, and held it to his lips.
“Oh thank the Lord, you’re real. As it was an automated transmission we weren’t sure there was anyone actually on the other end.”
“Erm, yes I’m here. And alive. Where are you? How many of you are there?
“My name is John. I’m here with my wife and three other survivors. We have a helicopter and I think enough fuel to make it to you. We’re currently in an abandoned airfield, that’s where we found the helicopter. ”
“That’s great. Are you planning on coming here? What’s your ETA?”
“Ermm, if we set off in the next few minutes, we’re looking at around two hours I guess.”
“That’s fine. I’ll get dinner on.”
“Sounds good. See you soon.”
With that the mic went dead. People, thought Marcus. After so long. As it was now after one o’clock it was time to shut down the transmission anyway. Two hours to get everything ready. Marcus stood up and walked back to the stairs. Even though the moaning was still there, he hardly noticed it. He walked as if through a dream. Walking back into his house he went to the door that lead to the basement. He opened the door and walked down the stairs, flicking on the lights. He stopped at the metal gate at the bottom. Staying away from the grasping hands he looked at the zombie in front of him.
“Don’t worry my dear,” he said to his wife, “dinner’s on the way!”
BIO: My name is Nick Lloyd and I live in Nottingham, England. Having been a zombie fan for as long as I can remember I enjoy writing the occasional short story on the subject, although mainly to bore my mates with, than to get them published. I enjoy most sports especially playing football (or soccer to the Americans!). I may take the zombie holocaust a bit too seriously as I already have several escape plans set into motion, and am ready to go rouge at a moments notice!