Eric woke the next morning to a text message from Jadrien. It read:
"Bro, when you wake up, check your email. I sent you the list of people that are really into the whole zombie apocalypse bid and I think we could have some real fun with this. I talked to Ethan about it and he agrees the three of us should admin the group. Text me when you read the list so we can agree on who to invite."
Eric rubbed his eyes and checked his alarm clock. It read 11:30. "Well I'm already late for class, might as well check it out," he thought. He clambered out of bed and went to his laptop. He read the list to himself: Jazmyn Parker, Robbie Parker, Dillon Robinson, Sarah Mack, Alisha Taylor, and Derek Burkholder, admins- Jadrien Roberts, Eric Allen, and Ethan Peake. Feel free to invite anyone else you know."
Eric texted Jadrien that all of the names he had mentioned were good, and that he would keep an ear out for anyone else interested. Upon sending the text, he received one from Thomas, inviting him to lunch with him, Rob, and three other friends, Stephanie Donald, William McClaine, and Collin Mattison in an hour. He replied that he would meet them in the cafeteria.
3 hours away, in the large, rural county of Caroline county, Virginia, lived the family of Jazmyn, Robbie, and baby Elijah Parker. The family lived in a small house just outside of Ladysmith, Virginia. As Robbie was fine tuning his guitar strings, much to the amusement of his son, a loud knock on the door broke his concentration. He rose to answer, revealing him and Jazmyn's longtime friend Dillon Robinson.
"What's up Dillon? Been a while since you came by." Robbie stated
"Yeah, I have been meaning to come by and see you three, but my schedule has been crazy." Dillon replied.
"Trust me, I understand. Between work and little man here, I barely have time to spend just me and Jazmyn right now."
"Speaking of her, where is she?"
"She sent me a text saying she would be running late at work. Kept going on about how a freak accident at work could keep her out until late into the night."
"That's upsetting. Well give me a call tomorrow, so we can all get together and grab dinner. My treat."
"Ha! If you're offering I really don't think she's going to argue. See you tomorrow then, my friend." With that Dillon left. Robbie closed the door behind him and turned to his son, who had begun to cry. "Getting tired, aren't you little man?" He said as he picked up his son and carried him into his room. As he set him in his crib, he began to think about his wife.
Jazmyn had been working at a government facility that was extremely top secret. All she could tell Robbie was that it was holding the possible cure to thousands of diseases that currently had little to no known cure. No matter how hard Robbie pleaded, she would never tell him anything about her career, or even the location of the facility. All she would say was that "it was top secret honey, please respect that." Every time he asked, he was given the same banter, so Robbie learned to just accept the fact that his wife would work random hours, sometimes deep in to the dark hours of the night. As he returned to his sofa, he turned on his laptop and went to his email. As he glanced through notifications regarding surveys, iTunes notifications, and a random email regarding Viagra, he noticed one that was sent by Jadrien H. Roberts. He clicked it and read the invitation to the group he and Eric had begun. It read:
Dear Jazmyn and Robbie,
I went ahead and sent this exact same email to both of you, for obvious reasons, one being that I am lazy and do not feel like personalizing each email. Get over it. Now ever since high school, we have always joked about what we would do if a zombie apocalypse ever happened, right? Well Ethan, Eric, and I have decided to create a social media group dedicated to posting and sharing any zombie related topics that we can find, whether they are pictures, websites, forums, whatever catches your eye. Keep in touch,
From California with love (the straight kind for Jazmyn, the gay kind for Robbie, because…. I love you man….
Robbie laughed at Jadrien's odd, sarcastic humor as he followed the link Jadrien had posted that lead to the group. Robbie began to read what others had posted: one girl had posted a forum that listed the 7 main ways to survive a zombie outbreak, another had shared some comical picture of a house surrounded by treadmills titled "zombie proofed", among others. He glanced around the page, ever article enticing his fancy for the supernatural. He raised his eyebrows and nodded in approval as he read the title of the group: ZAAKUA: Zombie Apocalypse Association for Kicking Undead Ass.
Robbie laughed, thinking "just another example of Jadrien's insane humor." As he laughed to himself, the front door opened and Jazmyn walked in.
"So sorry I'm late, we had a major scare today."
"Anything I should be worried about? No evil brain mushing disease is going to go rampant and infect the world is it?" Robbie jokingly replied. Jazmyn's face dropped in disapproval at her husband's joke
"Robbie please, don't joke like that. If Elijah hears, you might scare him."
"If a year old child can understand what that means, we might have given birth to a genius." At that, the unmistakable cry of the infant began to echo about the house. Robbie threw back his head and outstretched his arms. "I'll call the news, a genius has been born!"
Jazmyn hit him in his exposed chest, bending him over. "Oh shut up." She jokingly said, rubbing his head and kissing his forehead. "I'll go see my baby boy. I haven't seen my Elijah all day after all."
"Alright babe. Oh, by the way, Dillon came by. He said he wanted to get dinner with us tomorrow night. He said to give him a call in the morning." Robbie called to his wife.
"Alright, just remind me tomorrow" Jazmyn yelled from the other room. The faint laugh of Elijah could be heard coming from the room.
"Oh and Jadrien invited us to some zombie survival group. He said something about it being a joke, but since we used to talk about it all the time, he thought we would like to join."
Jazmyn entered the room, carrying her son in her arms. "Sure! Sounds like fun. By the way, I have been meaning to call him. I haven't heard from him ever since he moved to California last November." She grabbed the bottle from the counter and walked back down the hall with Elijah.
"Yeah alright. Well I'm going to bed babe. Come on it when you get done." Robbie set his guitar back on its stand and went into the bedroom, the sound of his wife singing a lullaby to her son could be heard from the room right next to their bedroom. Jazmyn laid her son down as he began to fall asleep. She stepped out of the room, leaving the door open so that she would hear him if he woke up during the night. She stepped into the kitchen to fix herself something to eat, when she heard her phone began to ring. She checked the caller id to see Jadrien was the one calling her. She answered.
"Hello?" she asked.
"Hey! Long time no see! How's everything been?" Jadrien replied.
"About as good as it gets, honestly. We were planning on moving to Georgia, but after I landed this government job, we decided that it was more financially sound to stay put."
"ohhh, government job, huh? Sounds all secretive and stuff."
"It is highly classified. Hell I could get in trouble if they ever even found out I told you I had the job in the first place."
"What are you harboring zombies or something? Hahaha"
"What?! Of course not Jadrien! Goodness, you know your imagination surprises even me sometimes."
"Well, you people love me for a reason. Anyway I called to see if you and Robbie got my email."
"Yeah he mentioned it to me, but I haven't seen it yet."
"Well go ahead and join! It's just a joke group, but hey if the zombie infection ever turns up, we can always work on a 'if shit gets real' plan, ya know, just in case."
"haha ok Jadrien, I accepted. But its late, Robbie is in bed, and I think I finally got Elijah to pass out. I'll talk to you later when I have more time."
"Oh that's right, the whole three hour time zone stuff. Well I'll see you later!" With that, Jadrien hung up and Jazmyn walked to the bedroom, and fell asleep next to Robbie. As she slept, she found herself dreaming about the day her and Robbie started dating. The dream time lapsed to the day he asked her to marry him, outside of her parents' house on her 18th birthday in front of Eric, Jadrien, Ethan, and Dillon. She dreamed about the cheers they all had, the hugs, the laughter, the enjoyment. She dreamed about her wedding day, and the day she gave birth to the loving angel she called her son. Then the dream turned dark. She dreamed of walking into a room, broken glass littered the floor, and as she turned the corner, she saw Eric, kneeling next to man who resembled Robbie. Blood covered his face, as Eric stood up to tell her the horrible news, that the man she loved the most had left this world. She snapped herself awake; a pool of sweat had built around her. She heard the sound of birds chirping outside. Robbie could be heard in the kitchen fixing breakfast. It was just a nightmare, a horrifying nightmare, one that seemed far too real for comfort.