I Survived Shadow District

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If you are reading this, then you are reading the journal of an individual once stranded in chaos. I am not a refugee like you would expect, nor am I one of the soldiers that was drafted to retake the Infected Lands. I am Droden, one of the very things that they tried to rid this land of. But then, how have I written this letter? Droden is a strain of infection that turns its victims into zombies, isn't it? So if I'm Droden, and Drodens are zombies, then I must be a zombie.

                So I am a mindless people eating monster; I come out at night, and tear flesh like a ravenous dog; I lost my mind when the infection first hit, and there has been no hope since, right? Wrong. The stereotypes are not entirely accurate. I am afraid of the light. I am afraid of noise. But it does not harm me in any other way, so I do come out during the day on occasion. I do not eat people. Some of us do. But the taste is dry and gross, and I hate looking for tender meat in the pile of skin and blood vessels on the surface. This sounds morbid to the civilian, doesn't it? We are not mindless. But our minds have changed. 'Irrational Fear' is the term I use to describe it. We fear the things that we once experienced on a daily basis. And death and violence and the darkness of the unknown do not affect us the same way. In fact, I see shadows on a deserted street in the dead of night, and I am curious, not afraid. I remember being afraid once. I remember what it was like to be a civilian. I was a different creature altogether for the ten years I lived without infection. Age ten was the year it came to our town.

                I remember cowering in a corner, unable to breath in terror. My father was bleeding from his side, and his eyes were black and solid, like any Droden's. But in hindsight, I had nothing to be afraid of.  He just wanted to hold his son, to tell him it was going to be okay. "Come here, son. I don't want you to be afraid of me," he kept saying. He stepped towards me, and I shrank back. He looked hurt when I did. But I was so afraid; I could not shrink back any more. Instead, I cried. I cried for a few hours, and he held me. But I stopped. I stopped fearing him. I was Droden.

                Then the shots came. The shots of the Raiders, as they became called, were the same shots that killed him where he held me. They killed my father, and the rest of my family. I hid in his arms whole time. And as the house burned to the ground, I protected myself in the refuge of a dead man. That was six years ago. Ever since, I've been fighting for my life, trying to escape the Shadow District.

                Shadow District is the core of Droden society, though the Raiders would call it a nest. Most of us keep to ourselves. Some of us form small self-protective groups. Some of them attack each other, not out of aggression, but for food. And none of us know who is dangerous and who is an ally. Food is difficult to find, and a safe location is even more difficult to find. And there are also periodic skirmishes between Raider hunting parties and Droden rebels. Those are usually followed by ravenous feedings on the dead and injured. I try to avoid those. I've tried to avoid a lot of things. But I don't have to anymore.

                If you are reading this, you know the truth about us. You know that violence spawns violence, and poverty spawns desperation, and desperation combined with violence yields something altogether worse. And if you are reading this, then you know that I am gone. I have left all of that behind with the Shadow District.

So if I am not there, then where am I?

                If you see solid black eyes in the face of the person you've brushed shoulders with, then you know the answer to that question.

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