Going against the oncoming Z-disease was like a race against the clock, and every little minute was precious. It was like watching a hurricane inching closer and closer each time we turned on the news. The casualties, the aftermath, the utter wastelands it left behind. There was nothing you could do about it but prepare.
Once the virus left the cities and hit the rural areas, it slowed down considerably, and for a moment, we were able to breathe a sigh of relief, but only for a moment.
Lex made me run every day for both distance and speed. Running was usually something I took up if I wanted to shed a couple pounds to fit into a dress, but it wasn't something I regularly did or enjoyed. I have that sort of self-consciousness about running that everyone has. I think I look like an idiot. Legs flailing weirdly, my hands doing I don't know what, and the sweating... I read somewhere that sweating is supposed to be good for your complexion.
But still, ew.
I guess I couldn't look at it that way anymore. The people that drove by in their cars pointing at my ridiculously big, frizzy hair tied into a bun, the assholes catcalling as I tried to contain my misery, they would probably be gone soon, and so would I if I didn't get over my own stupid hang-ups.
Another mile to go, and then weight training. My body was screaming from the strict regime, but when I came home after a week of this, and stripped down for a shower, I could see everything in my body was starting to tighten and harden. I couldn't help but stare at myself in the mirror. I could see the outline of my muscles on my thighs, my calves and my stomach. My eyebrows raised in surprise at this. If nothing else, if there was any possibility of Z-Disease or death, I would be the hottest zombie around... or the most ripped corpse.
I tried to shrug off both possibilities as I got into the shower to scrub off the sweat from my skin.
That night, Lex came by with a stack of books for me. All of them were as thick as dictionaries, but they varied on survival and foraging tips.
I huffed, buckling slightly under the weight, "Ugh, isn't this a little much?"
"You said you would--"
"I know, listen to you, and I am, but the Z-Disease is slowing down in the north east."
"Which means the time we have to prepare you is crucial," he said curtly, "I've marked everything I want you to read."
I pursed my lips because I knew better than to complain or argue.
He turned to leave, but stopped, "And by the way, you may want to get used to getting rid of your hair and those long nails of yours."
My hand went up to the towel, protectively holding my curls while my eyes went to the nails I spend so much time primping and manicuring.
"W-What?" I nearly choked on the words, "What do you mean 'get rid of'?!"
"Hair and nails get filthy, and in this situation can hold disease. When you're on the run, you're better off without them."
I felt my heart pounding in my throat that he would even suggest such a thing, "I'll go through your training, but I refuse to do that!"
Lex shrugged, "Suit yourself, but when a zombie's yanking you back by those precious locks of yours, it'll be too late to say I told you so."
I glared at him before I went to my room with the books and slammed the door.
I pressed my back against the cool wood and closed my eyes, silently praying to whatever God was listening that the whole 'zombie thing' would go away, leaving me with my hair, nails, and hot new body.