Ten Things Sunil and I Forgot to Prepare for, When Preparing for the Apocalypse
by Shane Halbach
1. We didn't prepare for multiple contingencies
When Sunil and I made our plan, we always thought it would be zombies. I mean, we
literally imagined nothing else. It just made sense.
Now that I think about it, there are tons of other ways the world could end: aliens from
space, nuclear war, some kind of non-zombie disease, maybe nanobots or something. But even
then, I wouldn't have thought of portals to other worlds. I mean, I literally could not have
It's almost 4:00 and I've just been sitting here for like 30 minutes. From the kitchen
window, I can see up and down Dogwood Street. It's pretty sunny, so seeing is not a problem. I
can see from the Tolzien's stupid bird fountain all the way down to the hedges at Jeff's house.
I see a . . . thing. A monster. It's so big that I can't see above its knees, even if I put my
face right up to the window and look up. It's just walking along, maybe on Ash Street or
something, shuffling through houses. I'm not even sure that it knows the houses are there.
There are smaller ones, too, like rhinos or dinosaurs or something, bigger than an SUV.
They're walking around pissed off, like they want to hit something but they're literally so mad
they don't even know what to hit.
This one lowers its head and sort of roars and flips over the Sanchez's Odyssey. It's so
loud, I can't even hear if I'm screaming or not. All of it is so loud: booms and crashes and roars
and screams and glass breaking. I didn't think it would be so loud.
I kind of figure that, even though it's not zombies, the plan is all I've got. Mom and Dad
aren't home from work yet, and I don't want to be home alone right now. When I find Sunil, we'll
figure out what to do.
Even if our zombie apocalypse plan isn't a monsters-coming-out-of-portals plan, it is a
plan at least.
2. We never made a meeting place
Whenever Sunil and I talked about our plan, we always figured we'd be together. That
was kind of stupid because most of the time we're at home or whatever, so why would we think
we'd be together during the apocalypse?
I'm glad we have a plan. A lot of people probably haven't even thought about what they'd
do during the apocalypse, so they've got no reason to stop watching monsters crashing through
the Sanchez's house and stomping Mr. Sanchez into the driveway until he doesn't look like he
was ever human.
I grab my backpack and start tossing everything out. Books, notebooks, everything.
Looks like I don't have to worry about ninth grade anymore.
It's kind of hard because my hands are shaking so badly, but I start grabbing supplies.
This part is in the plan: two bottles of water and as many canned goods as my backpack can
hold. Peas, corn, and even some kidney beans. I grab the Tylenol from the medicine cabinet. I
almost forget to grab the can opener--rookie mistake.
Finally, I go up to my dad's room and get his gun. We thought we'd need the gun for
zombies. I'm not sure if we still need it, but it was supposed to be my big contribution to the
plan, so I'd better bring it.
I keep the trigger lock on so it doesn't accidentally go off, but I grab the key from on top
of the shelf in the closet. Dad only keeps one box of ammo because he's literally never fired even
a single bullet.
Since we don't have a meeting place, I'm going to go over to Sunil's house and meet him
I look around the house, but I don't see anything else from the plan. Just as I'm leaving, I
leave Mom and Dad a note so they don't worry when they come home:
Mom and Dad,
Stay here! Don't worry, Sunil and I have a plan. Once we get everything set up, we'll
come back and get you, so you can help with setting up the gardens, etc.
I open the front door. There's a sharp smell, like how a CFL light bulb smells when it
burns out. I guess the smell is what happens when one of the portals crackles to life.
It kind of looks how it's supposed to look outside and kind of doesn't, but I can't put my
finger on what feels different, exactly. It's like everything is not quite in the right place, like
when Mom cleans my room when I'm not home.
I don't see any monsters at the moment, but I can't make my foot step out of the house.
Then I think about all the times I was in a difficult situation, and how much better I felt when
Sunil was there, even if he didn't say or do anything.
Once I'm out the door, moving is easy. I run and get my bike. I know there are no
monsters over by the Sanchez's, so I don't need to look in that direction. I look straight ahead as I
go by their driveway.
The thing's legs I had seen earlier are over maybe by the park behind Sunil's house. I
can't--I don't want to look up any higher than its legs, and I have to go in that direction.
I am literally peddling my bike towards a six-story tall monster.