I walked alone, dreaming of my iPod, fried chicken, and the internet. My mind set adrift in the mundane dance of my feet, everyday more of the same. Dodge the abandoned cars, step over the discarded bodies, and hide from the cities. It was there amongst the danger, the dreams subsided. Muscle memory made fast use of my two handguns and if necessary the shotgun. No, the cities were for fools and the demented.

There in the wilderness, guided only by the sun and the stars, I strayed. The chance I’d find one of them would be very slight and the odds of finding one of me much higher. Survivors were the ones who were smart, stubborn, and strong enough not to die during the initial years.

I sucked on the plastic tube attached to my pack, bringing necessary nutrients to my body. Some days I neglect, letting the dreams become more real. The dreams pull me back to my wife and little girl. There I would stay, in the log cabin surrounded by high metal gates and the “danger they’re inside” signs. Shayla would be there, running her fingers through my dreads with my little girl Kia at our feet playing with her crayons.

We were the lucky ones. It had taken many years to convince Shayla that a life of solidarity and outdoors would be better than a wall of concrete and noise. She was a city girl but she loved me anyway. Even without the dreams I can smell her perfume, see her slender face, thick lips, and green eyes.

I raised my left hand up to my face. It was there I wrote in ink the number of days I had been away from them. Every sunset I reminded myself not to look at it. Anxiety sets in every time. They needed me. The crops had failed and the animals scarce. It seemed even they had enough sense to get away.

A noise brought me out of it all. My handgun was drawn and I moved closer to a large tree. They sense fear and smell blood, I reminded myself. I am confident. I will survive. They will die. The mantra repeated itself. I scanned and listened. The worst thing you could do is get surrounded or backed into a corner. That’s when I saw it…Him…It’s face a decomposed mix of skeleton and falling flesh.

They move slow like the Romero movies of the past. Some groaned, others screamed, this one was silent. I moved from tree to tree making sure to keep it in front of me. The instinct is to shoot it but it’s not the smartest response. Like moths to a flame they had adapted to the sounds of guns. Guns meant food…I had to be sure.

I circled it. Patience paid for itself when I saw the other. A child, no taller than three feet, with hair that hung from patches of skin atop her exposed skull. She trailed the other with unsure movement. They claimed during the broadcasts that they weren’t intelligent. Any semblance of such was residual brain waves and accidental neuron fire. I didn’t believe them. Never trusted them, they had brought this upon us. What had they called it? “A terrorist attempt at racial genocide.”

The girl’s hand moved in my direction. Her small arms reached for me, her upper torso moving before her lower. The man did the same. In times like this, rule number two is always hit them in the head. Any other place would just be a waste of bullets. The man was first, his head popped, spinning his body around. The girl turned to him, her sunken eyes seemed to widen. There was a memory there…an emotion. Maybe it was just my mind’s need to rationalize it all. I hesitated. She had forgotten about me and moved towards him.

“What you waiting for?” called a voice behind me.

I swung around to meet a tall baldheaded bull of a man. He had his rifle trained on me.

“You can’t let them get away…shoot them and shoot fast.”

He fired and the girl fell face first onto the ground. A large hole leaked green and brown liquid onto her back. My emotions were mixed, sadness and relief rushed over me.

“Thanks,” I said lowering my weapon.

He smiled and made his way over to me.

“Don’t mention it,” he said then shook my hand. “Will.”

“Nathaniel,” I replied.

He eyed my weapons and the sixty pound pack on my back.

“Not from around here?” said Will.

“It’s been twenty days since I seen another soul,” I replied.

He forced a smile. He would have to test me. Strangers are never to be trusted, especially those alone.

“It’s tough out there by yourself.”

I nodded and drew another drink from the straw, “Got to go. If there’s more around, the shots will attract them.”

I turned my back to him and started off in my original direction. I hadn’t asked for anything and I didn’t attack him. I was safe to bring back to the camp; all I had to do was wait for it.

“Wait,” he called. “I’m sure you could use some food and sleep. God knows how you’ve been managing.”

“Scout out a fifteen minute perimeter based on how fast they move and sleep in the middle for ten minutes…”

He raised his eyebrows; the question had been rhetorical,

“Uh…sure. Just come on…The camp’s this way.”

We kept our distance along the way. My mind being my companion for so long it was hard to transition back to being “normal”. Shayla’s voice tickled my ear.

“When are you coming home?”

I looked over to Will who had begun to ramble.

“Fucking assholes thought they could get one over on us…shit, all they did was made it easier to see who the real enemy is…”

Shayla frowned. Things were still the same. They still hated, hunted, and strove to kill us.

“Soon babe,” I whispered.

“Huh?” questioned Will with a sideways glance.

I’m not alone anymore, I reminded myself. I shrugged and he picked up the pace.

“Not too far now.”

A few minutes later the trees opened up on a brown and white RV surrounded by two dark green tents. A skinny man in a faded I Love New York t-shirt waved at us from the roof. He sat Indian style in the middle with a scoped rifle attached to a makeshift stand. So far, they were smart. Will noticed, “We take turns…those of us who can shoot…”

“A headshot the best way,” I added.

He nodded.

“Yo, who’s the new guy?” said a teenage girl emerging from one of the tents.

Her round Asian face contrasted well with her smooth caramel skin. Her T-shirt read “Hate” and had an angel halo in the middle of it. Her brown eyes looked me up and down.

“He’s with me…calm down. He helped killed a few,” said Will as he handed her his gun. “Where’s the food? Get him a plate.”

She cut her eyes from me to him.

“I hope you like rotten deer,” she said as she trailed off.

Will chuckled. “She’s kidding. Kid sister, we call her Angie. Pain in my side…these are the years. You know what I mean.”

I didn’t, my daughter was barely six.

“Who’s the new guy?” called the man on the roof.

“What’s this I hear about a new guy? Boy, you bring home strays again?” called a strained voice from the other tent. “We barely have enough food to go around.”

Will winced as he looked at me.

“Shut up ma…not like you help with the hunting anyways. Go back to sleep. That’s ma…and the guy up there’s Jake.”

Her tent shook from left to right but no one came out. Jake went back to the gun and his search.

“I won’t take up much of your time. The sleep and food sounded good. It’s been a while.”

Will smiled and pointed to the RV. “There’s a bed in there. Take as much time as you need. We could use the help.”

The night came and I laid in the R.V. unable to sleep. Will had taken tonight’s watch, giving Jake time with Angie, his apparent girl. I sat up, throwing the blanket off of me. My mind wondered how Shayla was holding up. How could I sleep when she was at home alone with Kia? Her perfume hung thick and suffocating. Kia’s brown eyes appeared like large pools of sadness. I jumped out of the makeshift bed bumping into an old TV then the door. Will shuffled around on the roof.

I opened the door slow letting the night slip in. I reached for my shotgun, slinging it over my shoulder. Out of habit I scanned left and right, the ladder to the roof was next to me and I proceeded to climb up.

“Can’t sleep?” said Will without looking up.

“It’s not home…no offense,” I replied.

“Tell me about it,” he said. “Shit’s just not the same.”

“I dream sometimes,” I whispered as I removed the blade from my boot.


“Yea…things never happened…it’s all the same…this is the dream and I’m asleep at home with my wife and kid…”

“I think we all do that.”

I moved close to him. My hand grabbed the back of his head and before he could cry, I slid my knife across his throat. Blood gurgled out and splattered the roof. His body struggled underneath me. A drowned cry finally escaped. I waited until he stopped trembling to move back to the ladder towards Jake’s tent.

“Jake,” I whispered.

There was no response so I clapped my hands and called again. Someone stirred and out popped his head, his gun in his right hand.

“Hey, new guy?”

I didn’t waste time; the knife went across his wrist then up across his face. I pushed it into his eye and he cried out, falling back into the tent. I followed landing on top of him and the sleeping girl. She woke up fast but I was faster. She didn’t have the time. Her life ended with her half awake.

“Boy, what are you doing up there? What’s all that noise?”

The mother chose now to get out of her tent? She wasn’t a threat. I slipped out of the tent.

“He’s dead…”

Although she was a large woman with the weight our ancestors used to survive, she leapt away from me like a rabbit.

“What the hell you mean dead? Seriously… I ain’t got no time for games…Where’s Will? William get down here now. What’d I tell you about these strays?”

I showed her my bloodied knife.

“I don’t want to hurt you,” I said as I looked for unusual bulges under her blue dress. “I want you to run and run fast.”

She didn’t move. The anger had dissipated and replaced with shock and fear. Even after it all the fact that someone could still feel anything surprised me. I stomped my feet towards her.

“I…I…” she stammered.

I danced the knife in circles in front of her face.

“I said run…Now!”

A slash across her wrist made her run. They smell blood and sense fear. Her run was slow, almost comical. I watched for a little while before heading back up the ladder. Will’s body was still face down.

“The real enemy is us,” I said, while I kicked his carcass off the roof.

From my pack I retrieved my tools, a hatchet, knives, and other things necessary to remove the meat. It wasn’t personal…I didn’t know them. Laughter…a bad joke…The virus had claimed those who were melanin deficient…It didn’t know them either. It had changed us from the minority to the majority but things stayed the same. Shayla had always claimed to be different. There was too much love to hate.

I went for the organs first. The heart, liver, lungs, and brain were cut away then washed with water from their container. I rubbed salt into them, then applied another layer before wrapping them in plastic wrap.

“Don’t forget some of the fat.”

I smiled and scooped a little, salted it, and dropped it in a zip lock bag. Shayla was happy for that. By the time I was done, Will, Jake, and Angie were nothing but limbs amassed in a pile of unusable waste. They would eat well tonight, giving me the time I needed to start home.

My body was on auto pilot. I dreamed of them and they were happy. I was almost home. Shayla’s face smiled wide. Trees separated and the dark dull grey gates sat on the horizon. My heart fluttered and my pace quickened. I knocked on the gate. It was locked from the inside. More protection needed from the outsiders. I heard shuffling, she had to be sure.


I smiled, “Yes baby. It’s me. Open the hole.”

A small slot opened and I stuck my hand inside. She would have to look at my skin; the hands were the first to go.

“I thought you’d never come home. Mom’s been a hand full.”

The gate opened and I slipped inside. My little girl kept the gun up trained on the outside world. I stared at her face, was she real? How did she survive all this? Was I right to let her?

“I know, baby. It’s getting harder every day,” I said, as I closed the gate.

She threw her arms around me. Her tears soaked into my chest. I missed her, I loved her, and I didn’t want her to let go. We cried together both of us not wanting to go inside the house. But soon we would have to. A few minutes passed and I finally said, “Let’s go feed your Mother.”


# # #

The Long Walk by Steven Jermaine Saint Aubin Jones
originally published April 21, 2010



Steven Jermaine Saint Aubin Jones was born in Jamaica in 1983. At the age of eight, he moved to the United States at his parents dreams of him having a better life. Since he was young he has written fiction, writing his first short story at the age of ten. He and his friends would play role playing games and write stories about the characters they created. In efforts to be a better writer, he writes every day and reads a lot of books. In addition, he completed Nanowrimo for the first time in 2009. His favorite authors are Neil Gaiman, Charlie Huston, Stephen King, Issac Assimov, Keith Brooke, Kay Kenyon, Stephen Hunt, and many more. His favorite genres to work in are Fantasy, Science Fiction, Crime Fiction, Steampunk, or a mix of them all. In the end, he hopes to write fiction that he can be proud of that lasts beyond his passing.

Big Pulp credits:
The Long Walk


Purchase books and subscriptions
in the Big Pulp book store!


Store ø Blog ø Authors ø Supporters ø Submissions ø About ø Exter Press ø Home
Art gallery ø Movies ø Fantasy ø Mystery ø Adventure ø Horror ø Science Fiction ø Romance

All fiction, poems and artwork © the authors. Big Pulp © 2012 Exter Press