The alarm was really more of a screech than a beep. And no matter how many times it woke her up, Kate always came out of sleep as if she’d been slapped.
“What?! What? Cal?”
Kate reached for the snooze button, knocking the alarm clock to the floor where it continued shrieking.
“Dammit!” she felt along the floor, hoping to find the clock without having to get out of bed, or even open her eyes. Reaching farther and farther under the bed, she lost her balance and fell inelegantly out of bed and onto the floor where the the alarm clock lay on its back shrieking and blinking under the bed.
“Dammit dammit dammit! Why the fuck does this happen to me!” grabbing the clock, she shut off the alarm and slammed it back onto the bedside table. The alarm blessedly stopped beeping and the radio came on to the local news channel.
“…in Atlanta today. The Centers for Disease Control report that this new virus is spreading in China, but is not expected to spread beyond that. Experts believe the virus will be contained in China, unless there has been any international travel from that province. We’re here with Dr. Avery Fermi who is an infectious disease specialist. Dr. Fermi, do you think…”
Kate ignored the radio. Beside her, on his stomach with half his face buried in his pillow, Calvin snored softly.
“Cal?” She shoved his arm a little.
He mumbled a little and turned his head to face away from her and settled back into a soft snore.
“CAL!” She shoved his shoulder and his whole body jerked.
“What? I’m up, I’m up! What is it?”
“The alarm, why don’t you ever hear the alarm?”
“I do hear it when I have to get up for work. I don’t have to get up, though. It’s my day off, remember?”
Kate pouted, “Well I have to get up for work, why don’t you want to get up and make me coffee?”
Blinking sleep from his eyes and looking confused, Cal mumbled half to himself, “What? Why would I… Do you even drink coffee anymore?”
“Well no, but when we met you used to make me coffee in the morning. I don’t know why you stopped. I think I want to go back to coffee.”
“OK if you want, I’ll get up and make coffee. What time is it?” Calvin tripped on last night’s t-shirt as he got out of bed and stumbled hard into the bedroom door frame. “Ow, damn it!”
“What are you yelling for?”
“I’m not yelling!” Calvin yelled. “I tripped and hit my damn shoulder. It’s fine, I’m going to make coffee.”
“Well I don’t want you to do it if you’re going to be grumpy about it. Go back to bed, I guess I’ll just do without.”
“I wish you thought that before you got me up. It’s fine, I’m up now. I’ll make it. I’m delighted to.” He trudged out of the bedroom and into the hall.
Muttering grumpily to himself, Cal shuffled into the kitchen. Kate had given up coffee years before, claiming that it gave her mood swings. Cal wasn’t sure he could tell a difference but he’d lose his head before he’d say that to Kate. If she wanted coffee back, he’d make coffee. He was used to making it for himself, so other than having to keep his eyes open for basic navigation, he could have slept through the whole process. In a few minutes the water dripped slowly from the filter basket. Just a few drops starting the slow dribble of what would soon bring him fully into morning whether he liked it or not.
He was entirely unprepared for the crash when the front window shattered.
“Calvin! What the hell did you do?” Kate came out of the bedroom incensed at the same moment Calvin bolted out of the kitchen, full of adrenalin.
The window that faced the street was shattered and a body lay facedown across the sill, halfway in and halfway out. Kate, given the wide array of possible reactions, went for anger.
“Hey! What the fuck do you think you’re doing, are you DRUNK?”
Grabbing a small table lamp that she always said made the living room look homey, she brandished it like a battle axe.
“Hey, do you hear me?! What the FUCK?!”
Calvin edged closer to the still form simultaneously mucking up their boxwood hedge and their side table, which he wouldn’t have thought was simultaneously possible.
“Is that Mrs. Wembly?” Raising his voice he shouted, “Mrs. Wembly is that you?”
Calvin, holding a coffee cup shield and Kate with her battle lamp, edged closer to Mrs. Wembly. Calvin couldn’t help noticing that he could hear birds chirping outside the broken window. His brain, often not his greatest ally, took a moment to ask why chirping was called singing when there wasn’t anything melodic about it. When he thought about it, he wasn’t sure there were any birds that made any sound but a variation on a chirp. Although if he thought…
Mrs Wembly lurched sideways from where she lay across the sill and both Cal and Kate screamed. As the woman dragged her body agonizingly to one side, Cal could see a huge shard of glass from the window that had penetrated her stomach. He lurched back, holding the coffee cup in front of him.
“Kate, she’s impaled!”
“She’s what?!” Kate peered around where Calvin was looking and saw the shard of glass slowly revealed as Mrs. Wembly pulled herself up and off of it.
In an instant three things became horrifyingly clear. The first was that Mrs. Wembly was not bleeding even though she was impaled on a shard of glass. Secondly, Mrs. Wembly quite clearly intended to come further into the house and finally, zombies were real.