Waking up to a post-apocalyptic society causes a rising curiosity in Alicia as she strives to discover how the new society that’s formed governs itself, and what happened to the world she knew. Then the bodies of mutilated bodies of humans begin showing up, and she and the other supernaturals must discover the root of the problem before it starts affecting them as well.
You’ve been sleeping for two decades. You awaken briefly every now and again, decide you’re still tired, roll over and go back to sleep. The timing never feels right. But now it does.
By now you’ve been ‘alive’ for forty years, properly alive for twenty and undead for the other twenty. You got accidentally turned into a vampire by a fellow confused vampire who thought you were his friend. Apparently you looked like someone he used to know. Weird, right?
So you invested what little money you had in your bank account in shares - small shares in small companies that you saw potential in. Then you caught the train to Sydney, went to Ikea and invested in some heavy duty sun-blocking drapery for your bedroom.
Then you napped. For two decades.
Rubbing your eyes, you sit up slowly and glance around at the dusty room. You cough. Your nose is blocked already. Maybe being immortal isn’t all fun and games after all.
You take your phone from where it’s been charging under your pillow for twenty years. You wonder if it will still connect to the internet, if it’s processor will be capable of accessing the modern internet. Does the internet even still exist? Maybe you missed the impending WWIII while you were napping? Maybe you wasted all your remaining money on nothing?
You scroll through your notifications. Texts from friends, wondering where and how you are. So, so, many of them, before they eventually gave up. You search yourself on Google and find that you’ve been declared dead - first missing, then dead. They’d searched for you, oddly enough, and yet hadn’t found you. Even though you were right here, still in the campus accommodation you’d lived in when you were still technically alive. How had they not found you?
Maybe they’d forgotten you, maybe you had secret vampire mind powers. Maybe it’s magic, maybe it’s Maybelline.
You stumble out of bed and lurch for the door. Maybe some of your questions will be answered in the unit beyond. It creaks with disuse and you cringe. Even after all this time, unexpected noises still frighten you in ways you can hardly explain to the uninitiated. Poking your head out of the door, all you see is bricks.
They’ve been repainted since the last time you were here, now they’re a soft shade of blue instead of the ugly shade they’d been before. The other four doors that lead to separate bedrooms like yours are all closed, painted a darker blue than the walls. The colour works well with the overall aesthetic of the unit, and was a vast improvement over the previous bruise-like shade.
Accepting that in your immortal form you’re about as safe as you can get, you step out of your room and walk down the hallway. You want a cup of tea. Nothing changes. You always want tea, even if this time you’d rather a more bloody blend than before.
You settle for rooibos tea in the absence of anything raw. The thought of chai instead makes you gag and anything else just seems like it will be flavourless and therefore worthless.
You glance out the window when a glint of light catches your eye. the building opposite yours is gone, an empty husk of twisted metal and crumbled brick dust in its place. You wonder if you’re still asleep, but even your vividest dreams haven’t been this vivid.
In shock, you turn to drink your tea and barely notice the scalding hot water blister your mouth and throat in your contemplation of the new world before you. Suppose that flawless plan of investing in stocks didn’t work out so well after all!
Cup in hand, you grab your key—even though you’re pretty sure it won’t work—and head out of the unit to investigate the outside world. You’re still in your pyjamas, but you figure it’s not that big of a deal since you used to go pick up your mail in your dressing gown. That, and there’s probably no one around anyway.
The sun is shining through the leaves on the trees that have reclaimed the once-urban landscape yet it is still cold as you begin to navigate your way through them towards the ruin of the building opposite your unit. You’re curious about what happened here for such a drastic change in landscaping.
The loneliness starts to kick in then, and you wonder if you’ll be all alone here for eternity. A wailing wind begins to pick up speed from behind you and you turn towards it to prevent any further damage to your already sleep-ruffled hair only to see the silvery figure of a person wafting towards you.
Is it a ghost? The one that was rumoured to haunt your building and had you convinced that your old unit was haunted? If so, why is it that you aren’t afraid in the slightest?
Tentatively, you wave and splutter a greeting. You ask what happened here and why no one else is around. Where have they all gone?
The ghost doesn’t reply. It doesn’t move for a good minute, so you wave goodbye, turn around, and begin your trek towards the other building which is made difficult by all the wild shrubbery. Eventually, you make it to the door.
You realise it doesn’t matter whether or not your key still works on the electronic readers on the doors when there isn’t any glass in the doors anymore, so you just climb right on in while brushing away some errant vines barring your way.
From the inside, the building is little more than a skeleton of what it used to be. There are dark areas where once light used to shine and areas that used to be dark as pitch that now glow with natural light. Half of the stairwell has crumbled away, though the next landing remains intact. You wonder if you could clamber up it anyway just to see what else is intact and if anyone still lives here. Or even anywhere nearby. Would a smoke signal be an effective form of communication?
Clambering up the stairs to the next landing, you see that most of the rest of the building is completely destroyed. All that remains is rubble and the half-walls that allowed you to think some of it might still be intact. Wishful thinking, as usual.
Your unit seems oddly flawless now that you’ve seen the reality of the world outside. It feels like a real-life version of a spot-the-difference puzzle you used to do when you were a kid. Except you know that the only reward you’ll get at the end of solving this puzzle is more questions.
For instance, what happened? Where did all the people go who used to live here? Why is this unit perfect and yet you’re the only one here? Shouldn’t there be other survivor’s holed up here in this perfect shelter?
Shrugging, you head down the hallway while trying to figure out if whatever magic kept this place intact also kept the hot water running after all this time. Because you seriously need to shower and get all that sleep-funk off your skin ASAP! Pyjamas also probably aren’t a good apocalyptic look, not that there’s anyone here to judge your taste in fashion aside from the ghost, who’s quiet enough anyway.
Shower and fresh clothes out of the way, you set out into the wilderness outside your apartment feeling relatively prepared with your glasses perched on your face, your sunnies tucked down the front of your shirt and your backpack stuffed full of essentials. These mostly include snacks, a half-empty bottle of vodka and a battery pack for when your phone dies. Who needs a compass anyway? You already know your way around campus, so you figure you’ll be fine.
Trekking your way through the trees proves more difficult than expected, as the shrubbery forces you to take detours that find you quickly disoriented but continuing on anyway out of sheer curiosity and determination. The sun beats down upon you and if it were summer you know you’d have found some shade and given up by now, but instead you appreciate the warmth in the cold wintery weather.
You stumble upon a light-post and realise you’ve gone in the wrong direction at some point, but you’ve decided that you don’t care. You’re going to keep pushing forward no matter what until you find something interesting to investigate what happened while you were napping. You want to know whether or not your friends are ok and if they’ll mind that you’re a vampire now. You’re pretty sure they won’t because when you were alive they were pretty accepting people, but who can tell with these things?
Your skin prickles and you wonder if you’re beginning to burn in the sunlight. You’ve reached the road, now covered in a carpet of grass and wildflowers leading off into the horizon. You set off down the road, appreciating the soft texture of the grass under your feet and the sweet scent of the flowers wafting up your nose.
The hill slopes away from you gently as you set off down it, catching a small glimpse of the ocean in the distance before the ruined buildings of the university take precedence to your vision of the landscape. If you were a painter, you’d stop and set up your easel to paint this vista to immortalise the view.
Under normal circumstances, you know it’d take you an hour to walk the whole way into town from here, but with all these trees and nature getting in the way, who knows how long it’ll end up taking? You set off, determined. This is your home now and you’re damn well going to get acquainted with it if you’re going to be stuck with it for the rest of your immortal life.
Ten minutes later and you’ve just made it to the main area of campus, where you can see the wrecks of burnt out cars and buses strewn across the road with trees growing out of their metallic corpses. Whatever went wrong here involved a lot of fire—enough to reduce an entire bus to a skeleton of metal—melted and twisted out of shape so that it’s barely recognisable as a bus at all.
Deciding not to venture too close despite your ravenous curiosity, you sidle on past the wreckage and into the chaos of Northfield’s Avenue. You reckon you’ll see how long it’ll take you to get into town to investigate the food situation, since you’re pretty sure all the food you had prior to your nap has long gone out of date. You also need to determine how you’re going to handle this whole vampire thing with regards to food. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around, so you won’t be able to feed off anyone in the immediate vicinity, with or without their consent. There might still be some blood at the donation centre in town, which might tide you over for a while. If you’re lucky.
So far you haven’t been very lucky, though.
Something about the landscape around you is reminiscent of Pompeii, skeletons scattered about the place in contorted positions. You wonder who they were; if you knew any of them. When the archaeologists arrive, will there be anyone left to tell the tales of these people?
A scritching noise from your left makes your hackles rise in fear. It is an unfamiliar noise and it’s making you distinctly uncomfortable. Though you do not wish to be alone, you are glad of it in this moment as it is better than the alternative. You’re hoping it’s just a possum or a wallaby and not something weird and violent and scary. You aren’t prepared to deal with any of that today. You just want to explore in peace!
A shadow falls over you and you’re too afraid to look at what it is so you just keep right on walking, picking your way through the debris as you near the roundabout.
An hour later finds you exhausted by the public hospital—what little remains of it! You wonder if there’s any blood stored inside and if it will be edible—drinkable—even? You struggle to find a discernible entrance through the corpse of a building, but eventually head inside only to find screeching echo your steps. You deliberately slow your steps so as to avoid running. You’re terrible at it anyway. You figure that if whatever creature resides here sees that you aren’t a threat to it that it will leave you alone to refresh yourself with some nice juicy blood. You begin to hallucinate people long-dead around you, filled with pumping, red-hot cardio-vascular goodies.
A thumping noise shocks you out of your reverie. You swear that you jump at least a foot into the air, somehow landing on your feet without jarring your knees. You have never felt more like a cat than in this moment.
Panicked, you glance around to find nothing but the empty corridors strewn with medical paraphernalia. You wonder why you don’t have a shadow. You could see yourself in the mirror earlier this morning, but apparently vampires don’t have shadows?
‘Is that you, Alicia?’