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    All The Dead Are Here - Pete Bevan's zombie tales collection


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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    OF MICE AND RABBITS by WPM
    January 5, 2012  Short stories   Tags: ,   

    Mommy says I have to always be quiet like a mouse so they won’t find me.

    David remained quiet and still as he surveyed the dark aisles of the long abandoned grocery store. Sunlight filtered through the still intact wire clad glass at the front of the store allowing David to confirm that nothing moved. He silently climbed down from the hole in the ceiling and glided down the aisles pausing every so often to listen. The only bodies in the store were the dry long decayed jumbles of bone and clothing that posed no threat.

    Mommy says I have to eat vegetables to keep strong.

    David stopped in front of the rows of canned vegetables that stood in ranks on the store shelves. He unslung the pack from his back and pulled from it a fistful of thick cotton socks. He carefully selected cans of vegetables from the shelves, placing each can into a sock before placing them snuggly into the backpack. David tested his pack to make sure it made no sound when he moved, then satisfied moved down the row and did the same thing with two jars of peanut butter. As he moved to the exit something caught his eye. He stopped in front of a display of boxes at the end of an aisle.

    Poptarts!! David’s mouth watered. He loved poptarts. Several boxes disappeared into his pack. He mentally marked this place as a place to visit again.

    David shrugged on his backpack. It was heavy on his back but not unbearable. He left the store and began the slow halting journey back to his sleeping place. Only a couple of times did David see “them” but he was quiet and able to keep far away.

    The noise from a falling trashcan lid echoed loud from a nearby alley. David ducked into the shadow of a crumpled police cruiser. He banged his leg on the open door, a jagged edge of metal drawing a thin red line on his shin. He winced in pain and froze, scanning the area for the source of the sound. Several minutes passed.

    David waited and watched. Slowly a large grey cat emerged from the shadows of the alley, a freshly dead mouse held firmly in its jaws. The cat jumped silently to the stoop and then disappeared through a half open window in the tenement building across the street from where David watched.

    “Poor mouse”, thought David, “I guess he was not quiet enough”.

    After a few more minutes David resumed his journey to the safety of his sleeping place.

    David’s sleeping place was in the crawlspace above his empty apartment in a tall four story tenement building. A louvered vent allowed in enough sunlight to see. In one corner was a jumble of blankets and a worn blue and red Spiderman sleeping bag. Peeking out from under the blankets was a ragged brown stuffed toy rabbit. Nearby the sleeping bag stacked in neat rows were cans of food, bottles of water, soda, and sports drinks, and boxes of other odds and ends David had collected.

    He sat near the vent placing the last of ten multicolored bandaids on the cut in his shin. “Mommy would be proud of me” David thought, “Even though it hurt real bad I didn’t even cry.”. His leg ached. The bandaids did nothing for the pain but their bright colors made him feel better anyway.

    After retrieving his rabbit and a tattered book from the blankets David sat down close to the vent. With “Mr. Moppet” perched in a place where he could “see” David opened the book. Colorful characters told their stories as David flipped through the pages. Pink and blue butterflies danced in the fading light. Sad bears in trousers, dashing capeclad cats, and pigs with hats and petticoats played across the pages. He remembered his mother speaking the words that went with the pictures. He remembered her warm presence as she read to him out of the book of bedtime stories.

    He sat in the crawlspace above his apartment by the vent looking at the pictures in the book until the setting sun cut off his only source of light.

    David awoke to the sound of rain. Eagerly he fumbled in his stack of supplies then sped quickly but quietly to the flat roof of the apartment building. He stopped and made sure the area was safe before he walked out in the open to the large tub slowly filling with rainwater.

    Mommy says I have to get clean when I can.

    David stripped off his clothes and threw them casually off the side of the building to the growing pile of clothes in the alley below. He opened the bar of soap and after allowing the warm rain to soak his naked body stepped into the tub and began to scrub his skin. The rain washed away layers of dirt and sweat. The water in the tub darkened to a murky brown as he bathed. David made sure to wash “all” the places just like his mother showed him.

    After washing David ghosted through several apartments looking for fresh clean clothes. He was familiar with the area and knew the apartments that were occupied and the ones that were empty. Even with this information he still took time to check out each place before entering. He found clothes neatly folded on a shelf in a closet waiting for a child that would never again need them. They were a little big on him but otherwise OK. He chose a blue shirt with the picture of Mickey Mouse and shorts with pockets in case he found something. It was not long before he was once again clothed, the fresh clean clothes feeling good on his clean skin. By the time he had returned to his sleeping place the rain had stopped.

    Mommy says never to talk out loud when I am away from my safe place.

    Days later David again made his way into the unfamiliar neighborhood of the abandoned grocery. He crouched on the fire escape peeking into the open window of an apartment. He could see part of the living room and the entire kitchen. He waited, listening for the telltale shuffling that signaled danger.

    Suddenly he saw her. She moved silently and tentatively down the hall and into the kitchen, stopping to look and listen for several minutes before going to the kitchen cabinets. David watched fascinated as she wrapped several cans in cloth before putting them in a bag. His heart beat fast within his chest. “She is not one of them” he thought. He made a decision.

    Carefully he climbed in the window and glided over to her. Suddenly she turned on him, her body tensed in preparation to flee. His eyes met hers, round, white and full of fear, two large orbs in a dirty face. David raised his finger to his lips and gently said “Shhh.” They remained looking at each other for several long minutes.

    David broke his mother’s rule, leaned forward slightly and softly whispered, “Come with me”. He turned and padded back to the open window. He looked back to see her hesitate with indecision, then slowly follow him.

    The journey to David’s’ sleeping place took longer than before. David moved tentatively making sure she could follow, stopping and waiting for her or encouraging her with follow me hand gestures when she showed reluctance. During the journey he marveled at the way she moved, her steps nimble and silent. She always stopped to listen at all the right times. “She plays the quiet game really good” he thought.

    They arrived at David’s sleeping place just as the sun was going down. Safe in his crawlspace David relaxed and saw her relax a little as well.

    “We are safe here” he said in a soft voice, “I’m David, what’s your name?”

    “Amy.” She replied in a small still voice.

    “Do you want a poptart, I have lots” David said offering her a package labeled cherry.

    Amy quickly devoured the offered treat then licked her fingers. David gave her another which Amy made disappear as quickly as the first.

    “Is anybody with you?” asked David handing her a bottle of water. It felt good to watch her accept the things he gave her.

    “My mommy is downstairs in my house” Amy said, “She can’t come up the stairs because of her legs. Only she is different now so I can’t be with her. I still see her sometimes through the window.”

    “Yeah, My Daddy is like that” said David in commiseration, “I used to see him sometimes when I went out, but I haven’t seen him in a while. My mommy says he is not my Daddy anymore and I should run away if I see him.”

    “Is your mommy here?” asked Amy with just a hint of hope in her little voice.

    “No” replied David, “She got hurt and had to go away.”

    They sat in silence for a while as the sun went down, the light in the crawlspace slowly fading.

    “Do you want a sleepover?” asked David hopefully, “It’s almost dark outside and I’ll let you sleep with Mr. Moppet” he said holding out his stuffed rabbit for her to take. “You can have poptarts and peanut butter for breakfast.”

    Amy took the offered bunny and after deliberating for a moment said “OK”.

    David smiled. It was his first ever sleepover.

    Amy was soon asleep on a pile of blankets, Mr. Moppet clutched tightly to her chest. David listened to her soft measured breathing in the dark. His nose twitched as he realized she smelled. He felt himself happy that she was here, even if she smelled. “Maybe her Mommy did not tell her the clean rule” he thought, “Maybe I could teach her the clean rule.” That thought made him feel good.

    One last thought drifted through his head before sleep overtook him.

    “Maybe she is not the only one out there” he thought, “Maybe there are others.”

    “Quiet.”

    “Like me.”

    53 Comments

    1. That was a very good read! Incredibly touching and very vibrant. I could “see” it all. More would be much appreciated. Great job!

      Comment by Scott on January 5, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    2. I’ve always had a soft spot for kids. This story touched me very deeply. Well done.

      Comment by T.J. McFadden on January 5, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    3. Having two children of my own I am always touched at stories involving kids. I did find myself wondering how old David is and how long he has been on his own. Good read!

      Comment by Rich on January 5, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    4. ” It was his first ever sleepover. ”
      I’m frickin’ crying at my desk at work.

      Comment by zombob on January 5, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    5. Very good. I find these ones difficult to read especially as my daughters favourite cuddly is floppy rabbit…..

      Comment by Pete Bevan on January 5, 2012 @ 2:04 pm

    6. Ripped my heart out. It’s really really good.

      Comment by Joe from Philly on January 5, 2012 @ 3:31 pm

    7. Nice. Simple and very touching. Well done.

      Comment by BarrettS on January 5, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

    8. Thank you for a great story! I’m glad he found a friend and hope we’ll be seeing more of them.

      Comment by Angel on January 5, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

    9. What a great read. Gets to the heart of survival and still trying to live and hope and want more. Wow.

      Comment by hijinxjeep on January 6, 2012 @ 1:00 am

    10. I cant say much that hasnt been said already. Loved it, more please!

      Comment by gunldesnapper on January 6, 2012 @ 8:28 am

    11. I just wanted to add to the compliments and encouragements. Great little story! Would love to see more.

      Comment by Scottbp on January 6, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    12. . . . Its absolutely beautiful

      Comment by Jomando on January 7, 2012 @ 12:29 am

    13. A wonderful note of hope and innocence here, all too rare in zombie stories. Paternal instincts kick in just reading it. You want to help these kids and take care of them so damn bad!

      Comment by Retrobuck on January 7, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    14. Nice, simple and touching. I liked this. Thank you.

      Comment by KevinF on January 7, 2012 @ 12:46 pm

    15. agreed Retrobuck.

      Comment by Pete Bevan on January 7, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

    16. definitely a great read. i don’t want to imagine it happening to my kids although they’re very much “zombie-educated” LOL…i hope to read more stories on TOTZW…the writers here are all fantastic!:)

      Comment by Hilda on January 8, 2012 @ 3:06 am

    17. Having read many works on the spectrum of survival from The Gulag to SAS Selection to the Siege of Vukovar and Papillon, I can tell you that this kid has got it much more realistic than toting around a sniper rifle.

      Silence, Shadows and Situational Awareness trump firepower.

      Brilliantly written.

      Comment by Max Rockastansky on January 9, 2012 @ 3:36 am

    18. Thank you all for your kind comments. This story was born out of listening to my own children play in the livingroom. I did not realize how short it was until I read it on this site. I am not real happy about the meeting of David and Amy … I feel that there should have been more to it but could not come up with anything else that satisfied me. I also think the ending was a little weak. Not quite what I was going for … but in the end it is what it is.

      Comment by WPM on January 10, 2012 @ 12:50 am

    19. Don’t do yourself down WPM, the fact I found it difficult to read is testament to its effectiveness. Longer =/= better.

      If I was being ultra picky I thought the start needed a bit of proofreading but my stories always start poorly so I can’t comment really.

      Comment by Pete Bevan on January 10, 2012 @ 7:19 am

    20. Great read! I loved the fact that you didn’t give a specific age. The hints you gave throughout the story intrigued me even more. “How old is this kid?” I must admit, I’m a sucker for ambiguity. My favorite part was the dialouge at the end between the children. Kids are always easy to make friends with each other. Reminds me of my seven year old son and how he can go up to any kid his age at the playground make instant friends.

      Waiting on part 2!

      Comment by angryscreenwriter on January 10, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

    21. Terrific read with a bit of hope at the end. Very well done.

      Comment by AJ Brown on January 11, 2012 @ 7:58 am

    22. Heart-wrenching. Wonderful perspective. Love to see more.

      Comment by neecey on January 12, 2012 @ 12:16 am

    23. Simple like the children in the story but
      full of the quiet values of home, family, friendship, sharing and of hope.
      It’s heartbreaking yet full of hope at the same time.
      More about them please!

      Comment by bong on January 12, 2012 @ 2:06 am

    24. Leave a comment
      Very fun start and I agree with many of the folks here and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

      Comment by Jedya on January 13, 2012 @ 1:14 am

    25. Shorter can be better especially in a stand alone story like this. There are two characters without a lot of back story and it’s a glimpse into their lives. It also leaves it open if you choose to continue their stories
      Very well done.

      Comment by Terry Schultz on January 13, 2012 @ 1:42 am

    26. This was a really great story, I hope there’s going to be a second one! 🙂

      Comment by Caitlin on January 13, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    27. Really well written….you definately found the “voice” for a child’s perspective. Don’t sweat the ending…I think it was pretty solid. Besides, you made someone cry at work, not too shabby.
      Make’s me wonder if my kids would make it like David….I’d sure like to see them eat their veggies. There are ZERO picky eaters after the Z apocalypse.

      Comment by HalfBakedMcBride on January 13, 2012 @ 1:47 pm

    28. That was a beautiful story, I’d like to see it expanded.

      Comment by Jasmine on January 15, 2012 @ 10:18 am

    29. Absolutely loved it! Very well written! Please write again!

      Comment by Floyd on January 17, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    30. I’m such a sucker for kids. Having two young ones, I would hope they are that clever.

      Comment by Lou on January 18, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    31. Damn fine job,WPM.
      I would like to see more!

      Comment by DrRubberfingers on January 18, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    32. i often think if it happened would my nephew servive it. i dont think im the only one plaing the zombie chase game and cap gun to the head. Good story thanks

      Comment by Ben on January 18, 2012 @ 2:48 pm

    33. This one got me in the gut. Mine is only 3, so after reading this story, I told my husband that the zombie apocalpyse can’t start until he is AT LEAST 6 or 7 so he has a fighting chance. It was a great story and I look forward to reading more.

      Comment by Linda on January 19, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

    34. Hopefully there will be more, seems like it could be a good series.

      Comment by Don Hunter on January 21, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

    35. A very delicate and “quiet” piece. Well done.

      Comment by rjspears on January 23, 2012 @ 7:40 am

    36. Well crafted, original piece. The narrow focus of survival, the simple routine foraging with specific rules and the inside view of David made it a more compelling environment than the more common “shoot/slash/ouch I’m bit and my face is falling off” stories.

      Comment by Bellowligosi on January 23, 2012 @ 11:56 am

    37. Wow, short, sweet and right to the heart of it. I am a relatively new dad (my son is only 15 mos.) and this was almost too much for me to take. It is quite possible I misted up at work. Possibly… I definitely did.

      Comment by VJ on January 23, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

    38. awwwww…
      i would love to hear more on this story but narly and very well written

      Comment by Makayla on February 5, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

    39. Touching. Almost like a post zombie apocalypse adam and eve sorta thing only kids. A good beginning to what adventures these two could have.

      Comment by Oppressed1 on February 9, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

    40. Outstanding read. I can’t wait to read more about David and Amy.

      Comment by Clarence on February 12, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

    41. Leave a comment WPM loved the story, felt a little silly when it took me a little to figure out he was a child haha. I think you should continue;)

      Comment by ronimay on February 16, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

    42. For some reason in my head I “see” David as a Mentally Challenged adult like a kid stuck in a man’s body. Mayhaps its because I have an Eleven Y/O girl and Eight Y/O boy that I couldn’t imagine any kid stuck alone in this kind of world.

      Comment by LLMF on February 22, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    43. Loved it, it was such a good read

      Comment by Deborah on February 23, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    44. I love this story very much!!! It pulled at the right emotions !!!!!

      Comment by Mixeng on February 28, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

    45. I loved the atmosphere of this story, and the tight, descriptive language used to convey it. I don’t know exactly how you did it but you made such a quiet, still world out of one that is traditionally violent and chaotic. Love your characters and eagerly await more on them.

      Comment by Chris on March 11, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    46. AWESOME! Part 2 will be looked forward to 🙂 keep up the great work

      Comment by TehKoala on March 24, 2012 @ 11:35 am

    47. Riveting read, I’d love to see a prequal with their stories of how it came to be in this tale.

      Comment by JMo on April 22, 2012 @ 9:13 am

    48. Now that its a contest winner, will we ever find out whatever happened to the kids after this story?
      Please make a sequel

      Comment by bong on June 2, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    49. Makes you wonder what happens when the peanut butter and pop tarts run out at the store…..

      Comment by James Orrell on June 6, 2012 @ 4:36 pm

    50. That’s part of the horror, isn’t it? The knowledge that this little spark of hope is probably doomed. WPM’s real accomplishment in this story is making the children so real, even if by reading the story we have to accept that, in this story, millions of children like him have already died, we want this one to live. Like Stalin said, one death is a tragedy. A million deaths are a statistic.

      Comment by T.J. McFadden on June 6, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

    51. Wow. Possible start of a true page turner. Fantastic work. Keep it going!!

      Comment by dag282003 on July 6, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

    52. Oh my goodness, that is an amazing story, you put yourself right into the childs eyes and mentality, you even worded it how a little kid would and how they see the new world through their inexperienced eyes and the adults trying to hide them from the evils that are being committed right outside of the “sleeping place” I absolutely love the story by the by, keep it up and id love to see this turned into a novel i would buy it hands down and be proud to have this on my shelf, the binding being worn down after reading it hundreds of times over.

      Comment by Raven Delatare on July 28, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

    53. Interesting.

      Comment by Ike on October 5, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

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