It started out with a zombie apocalypse,
It started out with a zombie apocalypse, I didn’t see any zombies I just knew it. I’m out in the hot summer run in a lush green forest, looking for food and shelter. There’s a rustle behind me and I turn, hunter’s knife in hand and it’s an older man with a little kid hiding behind him. They look hungry, hungrier than me. I ask him why dosent he try out for our district’s competition. Sure it’s a zombie apocalypse but we still had a form of government. And this one held a competition twice a year for the common people to live in the capital if they won, runner ups get food. We travel to the compound where it’s being held. Like a metal auditorium, small and the steel is surprisingly not boiling hot. I trained the little girl in preparation for the competition, I’ve grown close with her and her dad. Revealing I had competed when I was 16 and won. But now I was living as an outsider. The compound soon fills with families also competing. We get sat next to a redhead family, I can tell something is off with the dad by the way he sighs as he watches his young twin daughter play. We fill out paperwork as the 13 or so judges come in and take their seats. I recognized a few but one knew me. He smiles and tilts his head in a respectful way. I turn away feeling my face go red. First is the kids spouting off facts about our government. Next to compete are the fathers. They’re made to kill zombies, the red head father almost died. A zombie aiming for his neck, I kicked it away from me and the girls and the guy I’m with kills it. The night ends, the judges leave but we are made to sleep on the steel benches and dirt floor. There’s a small lamp, I remember someone once telling me the capital uses these little lamps to signal for electricity. Turning it off is considered a crime. I’ve competed before, I know what comes the next day. I know I’m the only one awake, I turned it off to give me an extra leg up in tomorrow’s competition. Then it’s tomorrow, everyone wakes. No one notices the lamp. The judges come back, the one I know personally gives me a smile as he sits. I hear whispers. The capital holds this event twice a year because they’re struggling to keep people alive in their secluded area. It’s true. I used to live there so I know it is true. I say nothing, no one can know I competed before. I need to help the little girl and her father, they’re my friends. It’s time to complete. I look over at the tired red headed father and know immediately what he is thinking. I whisper to him, don’t kill yourself, your daughters and wife need you. He looks surprised, I shrug and get down from my seat and stand near his wife. There’s a song we are meant to sing but the tablet with the lyrics isn’t working. There’s no electricity, I made sure of that. I know the default song, it’s the district’s anthem. They have us sing it while they wrote our scores. I sing soft for the parts I know I won’t get right and belt out the parts I know I can nail. This is how I was taught to sing. By the judge that I know. He looks proud I remembered his teachings from when I was younger. I hold back a grimace. They give us our scores, we have to add them together. There’s comments left next to the scores. I notice the judge I know left me a x8. I can multiply my entire score by 8 to get the highest score and win. He leaves me a flirty compliment. The dream ends before I can get my final score.