“Oh. My. God.” I say, quietly and slowly as I struggle to process what is going on. It doesn’t quite seem real, at first; it seems like a dream… come true.
“Coffee!” I nearly squeal with delight as I wrap my fingers around the warm ceramic cup set on the table in front of me. I pull it to my face and breath in the fumes, allowing its aroma to fill my lungs. “I love you guys. You guys, seriously. I love you all.” I tilt the cup against my lips and let the bitter-sweet fluid wash away the dryness in my mouth and the cold feeling in my skin as it trickles down the back of my throat. The caffeine runs up my spine and energizes my brain, pushing the incoming headache aside. I feel more clear. I don’t think the mice are after me.
Some of these results may be from the coffee, or the several hours of forced sleep I was subjected to, but the details are irrelevant. I feel better.
“Did you hear a single word I just said?” John asks, incredulously, from across the table.
“Yeah, Yeah,” I say. I take another sip, sigh, and wave a hand in circles dismissively. “Zombies have taken over the world. Massacres, angry mobs, human extinction. I’ve seen the movies.”
John stares at me in complete disbelief. He turns to look at the others, seeking some support from the young lady, or the young man. They shrug at him. Another man, I think he was introduced as Chase, does not seem to be paying any attention as he stares off at a spot on the wall. I follow his site curiously while John and the other two have a silent conversation, but I don’t see anything interesting where the man is looking.
“Look,” I say. I lean on my elbows on the table and look John in the eye. “I’ve seen the TV shows, I’ve watched the YouTubes, I know all that junk. You guys are good, you really went the extra mile. You had me scared. You Punkered me, or whatever the term is. Got me good!” I chuckle to let them know I am on to their game and I have no hard feelings about it, and sip my coffee again. “Seriously, I thought I was going to be murdered by a few overly enthusiastic joggers. Ha!” I let my laugh trail off. They continue to stare at me and I raise my coffee in a toast to their favor.
“This isn’t a joke,” the young lady, Claire, I think, says. “There really is a weird outbreak out there. There really are people dying, people murdering each other for no reason. For the last month there has been nothing but chaos, mayhem, and panic.”
“Redundant,” I mutter. She glares at me for the entire duration of my next sip. I smile at her and nod my head. She seems upset by this as she shakes her head and tosses her hands in their air to indicate she’s done with me; so done she can’t even look at me as she turns her back.