My stupid little zombie story
Probably not the most creative use of writing effort but apocalypse is pretty easy to get published these days and I've always had a soft spot for the walking dead. Please read and review/criticize/flame/etc...
P.S. This was done in MS Word but because I uploaded from a different PC it was in OpenOffice so please try to ignore the paragraph errors, I know about them.
Through my relative perception of time, there was a blink and the sun has come up. Shining through taped up beer boxes in blinding slivers, though making the shadows darker, it is the only light source for the small building. The muscles of my back and neck are wrenched into morning soreness. I am glazed in sweat from the morning humidity leaking through the doors. In a perfect world the physical strains and discomfort would be forgotten the instant I realize I slept. This being the world it is, I need an asprin.
My body has been in this gas station for just over thirty-six hours now. During that time I have put every bit of effort into keeping my mind elsewhere. Earlier, I was experiencing total disconnection from the intense fatigue stacked up over the last few days. My brain had started acting up. The hours and days all blurred together, making my cell phone the only reliable way to keep track. Seemingly random memories were brought from the darkness of memory into the light of my conscious; things I haven't thought about in years. The name of that one song, the lyrics from another, problems with my first car, the first time a girl cheated on me. I remembered my friend Chris telling me, “You have to make time to have time to waste. Time that you are only borrowing anyway.” We were both on acid at the time, so only he knew what he was talking about for maybe five seconds. Thinking about it now, the words make more sense than I’d like. Thankfully, my mind didn't have the energy to do anything with these thoughts. I was thankful, then just as I am now, to not have mental trash festering into another mental illness. I assume I just passed out after that.
Now that I am half-awake and bored, I don’t have anything to keep my mind on. My focus immediately returns to the rotting corpse outside. It is the only thing I can see through the viewport I left in the window (it seemed like a good thing to have at the time). The new meal has surely brought about twenty or thirty more of those rotting bastards with them. He or she had shown up a few hours after my arrival. I was asleep when whomever-it-was got here. However, I was never woken up by banging on the door or the horrible scream/gurgle that one makes while being torn apart. I knew that sound well and every instance of it came flooding back to me all of a sudden. On some level I hate the corpse for reminding me of that sound. The last person I heard make that sound had been my roommate. After pushing the memory out, I am definitely awake.
Since there are more cigarettes here than I could ever smoke, the first one of the day goes up without a second thought. I have burned through four packs in a day and a half out of sheer boredom (or morphine/stress, not sure). Prying my weak body off the linoleum is harder to do every time but I need the coffee. ‘I need to exercise,’ I note mentally. My body didn’t feel any better, but my mind didn’t feel so exhausted. In reality, that physical ache is the only true way I know that I got real sleep. The power is down on this side of town so the coffee is bitter no matter how much sugar I add. I have already learned to ignore it just like all the other pallid shit that used to drive me crazy.
The first few sips are the most disgusting but there is, literally, nothing I can do about it. The flavor of coffee is maddeningly trivial compared to being held prisoner in my former place of employment by flesh starved, reanimated corpses; this is bullshit. The thought alone is making me tired again so I sit down by the door. Sitting there, I can’t help but look out the viewport; looking at the corpse. The real corpse is starting draw flies. Its close proximity to the door allows its thick stench of rot through the unsealed door. Until this point I have either been too panicked or too stoned to worry about it. But now it is enough to make me gag if I quit concentrating.
When I was twelve, I cut the tip of my right index finger most of the way off. In the days following that incident, the skin from my last knuckle to the tip started to turn. It took on a bluish black color and began to smell rancid. The doctor eventually told me the smell was from several layers of skin dying. None of my friends would even come within ten feet of me. On top of that, the older girls that were teachers’ assistants got to know me only by that smell. Later, my dad started helping a family friend prepare bodies for burial. When they would go get the body, there had been no prep-work done, so from time to time my dad would come home literally smelling like death. Even if I wanted to, I could never have forgotten that smell.
But the walking corpses didn’t seem to follow the normal rules of death. Their stench wasn’t as thick or as pungent as it should be. Comparatively they had no smell at all. Their skin turns a life-less pallid or varying shades of blue/gray and remains that way until the total gray sets in. Also, they’d seem to deflate from their normal living human size. That doesn’t seem that peculiar of the dead bodies most people see. On the other hand most of the deflation is normally due to removing the organs during the embalming process. If the body isn’t embalmed it will start to swell. The swelling is the gases being excreted by the bacteria eating the organ tissue; enough sometimes to the point that the body will “explode”. This wasn’t the case with “them”. ‘Jesus Christ,’ I thought. ‘Why the hell am I thinking about this?’
“Because I’ve woken up on the floor of a gas station, still stoned and half crazed from being five feet away from certain death.” I say aloud to no one at all.
While I am thinking about it, that is another curious thing about them. They mostly just wander from place to place until they find something they want to eat. That’s when the ravenous berserker comes out. But that personal change follows their evolution directly. The first few I ever saw couldn’t run or use any agility what-so-ever. After about a week it seemed like I was panic running more than just carefully navigating past them. How the hell do they go from stumbling, disjointed movement, to track stars? ‘Okay… enough of that.’
Over the last three weeks, death has presented itself in a plethora of different ways. There are a myriad more to show I am sure. By now my opiate soaked brain had desensitized and learned to process these things. There is wide-spread malevolence; (mass) murders, (mass) suicides, rapes, looting and individual acts of depravity that would make Ed Gein squeamish. Now, all of that is simply the horrid detail of the end times. The most disconcerting thing to me personally is how well I have adapted to it. But this corpse represented something else entirely. What is bothering me is how I never heard anything out of the person that dead body used to be. Most would have been screaming and pounding on the door in a desperate, adrenaline-fueled panic. This person did nothing of the sort. It was as though they just walked out of where ever they were hiding, relinquishing themselves to a common, yet nearly avoidable fate. This corpse represented something I didn’t want to face. It represented the darkest and most macabre of all sins; the complete loss and utter destruction of all hope. Strangely enough, I can still live with that.
I didn't notice at first but, I truly didn’t give one gleaming fuck. Is my conscious mind finally realizing how horrible I am? Or is it how much worse I am to become? After a moment I decide the answer is better left buried deep in my subconscious. Right this second, I could give a fuck less than the one before. I just don’t want to feel this way any more. Every minute I spend looking at that ripped up cadaver outside, makes the urge to kick open the door and take my chances that much worse. 'I want to go home.' I think to myself. My brain knows that particular thought is a set up. A setup that will knock me further down into my depression than I already am. 'What else can I do?' I ask myself. How else can I remain any semblance of human? The answer is simple: take the plunge. And that is exactly what I am going to do.
The positioning of everything in my spread has been planned for quickness and prevention of spillage. Since “home cooked” morphine tended to coagulate in the syringe, speed is key. Within a few seconds of drawing up the milky white liquid, I found the puffy blue highway of my vein. At the last eighth of an inch, the plunger stuck. “Screw it,” I muttered removing the needle. Aiming the needle head at the wall, I depressed the plunger as hard as I could. The clot of dried blood and coagulated morphine popped out, splatering against the wall. Suddenly, out in the ether of my body, something started to build. After a second the sensation sped up my spinal cord and finally rushing into my brain as pins and needles across the top of my skull. As it dispersed into the rest of my body, a Zen calm came over me. For a few beautiful fleeting seconds there is absolutely nothing wrong. The world is still a fractured mess instead of a torn down, barron wasteland, most of my friends and family are still alive, and I still live in a shitty little house with an asshole friend, three blocks from this very spot. My vision begins to tunnel but my mind steels itself, my body becomes bulletproof and confidence fires through my veins. Sitting there in the deep narcotic faux-paradise, something occured to me: I didn’t want to be here another day.
Of course after a few minutes it become apparent that I wasn’t just going to walk out of here. What was I going to do now? Plan, I guess but there are questions before that. First and foremost, how many are out there? Figuring that is easy guess work, except for the fact that I have to look out the window. If one of them sees me it will lead to a retard panic. As I light my second cigarette of the day, I slide over to the small viewport at the right-hand door again. There are still two or three walkers gnoshing on the abs and thighs of the “real corpse”. Otherwise I can’t see any others. If there is one thing I can be absolutely sure of, it’s that there are exponentally more out there than two. The second question is, how am I going to get them away from me long enough to get all this stuff to my car? There is an idea for that taking shape in my brain but I’m pretty sure what I need isn’t here. Finally, what else do I need from this godforsaken place?
Over the next thirty minutes I do as many stretching positions as I can remember. The heightened blood pressure makes me feel lighter, supplementing the slight tug at my brain from the morphine. Shaking my head back and forth, I try to get my head to clear. I need to be as loose and focused as I can for this. My movements were going to have to be quick and accurate to avoid unwanted attention too soon. Also, I need to be able to quickly get away from that attention when it inevitably comes my way
The urge to smoke comes, so I sit down and light another. Sitting there, my my mind begins to wonder; a random part of a random thought starts to push me. A quiet voice or forgotten feeling in a dark recess of my mind made me want to leave here more than anything. I am tired of stewing in my own filth. My tongue rakes over my teeth feeling four days of accumulated grime. I can almost choke on the rock solid smell of stale farts and cigarette smoke. Thinking about my personal hygiene is strange for some reason; it feels like I haven’t had a chance to give a shit. A slight physical anxiety comes over me when the number of Kaidians comes to mind. Picturing the big bottle of green capsules sends that junkie tingle through my spine but, truthfully, I feel disconnected from that usual anxiety. Or am I just too focused on the corpse gazing at me through the viewport at the angle I’m looking at it? The same cold, surprised stare every human skull takes on when it doesn’t have skin. That must be the one because I don’t want to admit to myself that it is screwing with my head. Honestly it doesn’t make one fucking difference what the motivation is. This is a place to die. That’s why the guy/girl outside staining the sidewalk is doing just that.
Suddenly, my car is right outside the left-side door, full of gas. Of course it has been there the entire time but now it is a golden shining catalyst for escape. First, standing up, I pop and crack the two days of disuse from my various joints. Next, I rake my right thumb across my teeth bringing back a lump of off white paste made from old food and dried saliva. Then, my other hand rubs over my face feeling the weeks of unshaven, greasy facial hair. Finally, ‘Fuck it,’ I thought. The rush of confidence is like a hard shot of adrenaline to a carotid artery. ‘This is the last time I will ever feel sorry for myself.’ Now, all I need to do is avoid the thoughts of what has happened to my little camp in my three day absence.
After stacking all my lootings next to left side door by my car, I started working on my distraction. Something that makes noise shouldn’t be that hard to come by. I thought any way. After scouring the store for an hour, my frustration is reaching a peak. Putting that frustration aside, I searched for another thirty minutes. Thinking ‘Well, I got frustrated and might’ve overlooked something.’ Wrong. At this point it is getting hard not to start tearing the place apart in an uncontrolled fury. “Goddammit,” I mutter, taking a deep breath and a seat, all in the same motion. This is incredibly stupid and disheartening. One small piece of “whatever” could be the deciding factor between “free to go” and “imprisonment till death with possibility of execution by consumption” Checking my phone, it is 8:32 a.m.
The anger that I feel is opening different parts of my brain. Suddenly, I remember I can hear them. I’d never even notice I stopped paying attention. Even as I sat there thinking about all these logistics (how many walkers that corpse brought, how many were there before, how many now, how do I get them where I want them), I never once registered any noise. I’d been simply too distracted or stoned to let those horrid gurgles and moans process. Now it isn’t only the sounds that come out of them, it is the sounds they are making. Shuffling around, dragging their feet, the scraping noise. Bumping into the side of the building; some of it is that thin steel they make “throw-up” buildings with so it sounds like it echoes for miles. The first place all of that sound goes, though, is inside.
The sound waves coming through the walls and glass doors are muted by the time they reach my ears but they stick there. The knocks and scuffles loop over and over, making a horrific playback. Some that would rival the Barney theme song played by The Sex Pistols through blown-out speakers. With each knock or thump, the tension grew inside of me geometrically. Finally, after all that I sat there and took it some more; it felt like hours, waiting for it to stop so I can concentrate. I look at my cell phone again. 8:37 a.m.
As I yelled it, I knew that I was and still am, an idiot and I would be fucked. Everything goes quiet very briefly. To me it is a silence so powerful and serene, that I choke on my own breath. It can only be described as the quiet of the grave. Immediately the silence is broken ten-fold, like a PA system broadcasting the psychosis and anxiety of everyone left alive. Only, the reality I am facing is worse. They know I am here and the rotting fuckers are out for every piece of me they can get. When I put my hands over my ears, it makes it seem like I can externally hear my own fears:
“You are going to die here and you know it don’t you? Just like your exact first thought the day you took this job. The glass is cracking. You are going to die here because you are stupid. How loud did you yell ‘fuck’? They are going to rip into you like meat loaf. I hate meat loaf. I should’ve written that down. Maybe when my bladder and bowel release, it spoil their meal. I doubt they’d even notice.”
What seems like one of my last good ideas goes through my head. Reaching over for my backpack, a dirty shoe kicks its way through the bottom of the shatter-proof glass panel of the door. The owner must have not expected that because the foot became vertical, sticking straight through the door. It doesn’t necessarily bother me as much as it should. It is just vindicating what I am about to do. Turning my head quickly, I try not to take in too much detail. ‘Fuck that, the last thing I see isn’t going to be those scummy fuckers,’ I think sitting back down in the exact same spot I had been.
That last thought caught me by surprise: “The last thing I’ll ever see.” What about the last thing I’ll ever feel? Will it be the bullet shredding out through the back of my skull or the pain in my ass from sitting on this tile floor? Who gives a fuck?
Circumstances aside, that is the most calming thought I have ever had. Now, there is nothing on my mind. Closing my eyes, I say a low apology to my friends, family, and whatever deity may be out there. “Sorry I was such an idiot. Sorry I didn’t make it further. Sorry for the way I had to end it. Hope you all understand.” There’s a few more cracks and breaks so I know the stuck foot to the left is a little farther in. The noise brings me back to what I was doing. I eject the clip from the gun and put it back in the pocket of my back pack. If somebody finds this place they’ll need the ammo, and prying the gun out of a dead man’s hand has a new social acceptability attached.
“Time to go,” I say to myself. A little flat as far as last words go but there’s no one to know. Putting the pistol in my mouth, I immediately taste the sour retort of gun oil and gun shot residue. Laughing to myself, I remember that line from “Fight Club” about how clean the gun was. Part of me wondered why I am not more scared but the notion is dismissed immediately. To my right there is more destruction done with the grizzled peal of glass separating from the door frame. They are getting closer to their meal and its making them crazy. The guy that had his foot stuck in the door has now rearranged himself to try and crawl through the glass. His head and left arm were pushing through the glass squirming, growling, and salivating for me. To my right the entire glass panel of the door is webbed with splintered glass, two arms and a leg have made their way through. My eyes set front at the drink cooler at the back of the store. Moving up to the neutral colors of the off-white ceiling, my finger begins the tug of the trigger. Then I notice a noise.
Removing the gun barrel from my mouth, I listen closely. There’s an approaching sound that causes another revolting calm over the crowd. At first, I would’ve told you I couldn’t recognize it. Within a second of that, I realize it’s the violent whirring of a big block engine, a Silverado or F-150, with loud pipes. Something I used to hear everyday if I was listening or not. Now it is about as rare to hear as a Dodo bird’s mating call. Suddenly I am on my feet, jumping over the grabbing dead guy to get behind the counter.
Outside the window through the forest of walking dead there’s a big red Chevy hauling ass down Harbinger Lane that intersects a main traffic vein, 14th Ave. Coming through the intersection, he knocks two cars out of his way sending lightening bolts of sound through the air. ‘That’s a pretty damn good distraction.’ I think absently to myself. This slows him a little but regains his pace quick enough. He blazes down Harbinger like a ham-fisted plot device in a poorly thought out horror story, with a crowd already in tow. Looking around the store, all of the limbs have removed themselves from the doors with the exception of “dog door man” still growling and grabbing in my general direction. I hop back over the counter when I see the ones in the parking lot take off after the truck. After waiting another few seconds for the plodding foot falls to deplete, I take aim at “dog door”. As I squeeze the trigger I can tell I am a better shot these days. The perfectly aligned sights don’t lose any focus in my eye until the movement stops. I am not looking to see if I hit anything, I am just shooting. Just doing what I had to do.
To get the door open I have to shove “dog door” out with the rest of the door. This takes almost all of the grit that I can muster. “Son of a bitch, you’re even causing me problems in real death,” I say kicking him. Finally, I get the door open as it needs to be and take a look around outside. There’s nothing that I can see so I need to make my move. Pushing a little more the door sticks. A strange laugh comes up when the corpse actually holds it in place for me. That is when I take notice of how he became what he is now. Whoever he was, he died on his stomach. A lot of skin and muscle tissue has been ripped away, along with his left cheek, revealing teeth and organs alike. I picture a scene of him running in terror, only to be run-down or trip, and them surrounding him, taking their pound of flesh apiece until he returned. That certainly wiped the smile from my face. ‘You happy up there, brain?’ I think to myself cursing my own train of thought. After that I am tired of looking at him and am wasting precious seconds. It takes another few seconds before I register the smell of shit, rot, and disease. “There it is.” I say taking my last breath for a minute.
Sliding out of the narrow doorway, I look for something to cover my hands. The very idea of handling this fluid covered, diseased bastard freaks me out much less grabbing him with my bare hands. All I have are a few hang nails but to hell with it. I take off my shirt and wrap it around my hands. It’s only a white undershirt but I hate to part with it none-the-less. Shopping is definitely a fool’s errand now. I grab his ankles and decide this is too important to be lazy about. Jerking the weight of the body against all of my weight and momentum not only removes him but pulls him out in to the parking lot on top of me. My reaction is one of immediate disgust and bitchery. Kicking, moving and cursing all together gets me out from under the body, even kicking the shirt away like it has caught fire. Now it’s time to worry about what fluids are on me. There is a wet spot on the ankle of my pant leg but otherwise nothing. “Fuck,” I mutter angrily.
Suddenly, I get a very paranoid feeling about how long this is taking. Conventional wisdom would tell me this had taken about a minute so far but it is weighing on me. Like being involved in a robbery and knowing there is a CCTV camera looking at you from some where. Fear is a powerful motivator. I pop the trunk on the way into the store, grab three cases of bottled water like they are pillows and hurl them into my trunk. All that’s left is a box full of junk food and over priced “Necessity” products that are non-food and my back pack. Going back in the store I choose to ignore the corpse completely. Jamming the box into the trunk and carrying my pack back to the front seat with me, I move quicker with each step. As I am climbing into the front seat and closing the door, I swear I can hear more plodding in the parking lot. At that point I probably could’ve heard them across town but I wasn’t taking chances. I kept moving and peeled out of the parking lot in the same direction as the truck, making it a point not to look back. Part of me regrets not being able to just burn that place to the fucking ground.
The only difference between a religion and a cult is a popularity contest.