Archive for January, 2012

I slept in my classroom for the past couple of days. I just wanted to be alone. This all is just crushing and everything that happens just makes me think it can’t get worse, but it does.

It is oddly warm now for this time of year. The snow is gone and everything is just wet and muddy. We have a lot of water now so we all got to have our first real bath in weeks. We also did haircuts. It took me four years to grow out my hair from that bob that never looks right on me and it took twenty minutes to cut it all off. I look like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane. I feel better though. I was even able to find new clothes and wash out my underwear. That’s all I’ve wanted to do was have clean underwear. You never know what you’ll miss until it’s gone and clean underwear was definitely one of those things.

We’re organizing the supplies that we do have and getting ready to load up the bus. Havier and I decided that we’re going to make a move to my house. We’re going to check and see if my mom is still there or if something happened to her. I told him about John’s farm and we agreed that that is probably the best place to be. It’s 30 minutes outside of the city so if we needed supplies we could always make a trip and since it is so isolated the chances of hordes are slimmer.

We’re setting out the first thing tomorrow morning. I have mixed feelings.

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Burial in the Night

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Alcott School
Tags: , , , ,

I wake up just as the sun is setting the following day. Havier is with me, but the kids aren’t. I shoot up scared that my own selfishness caused another fatality.

“They’re on the roof in the snow with Matilda and Bonnie.”

“Bonnie,” I barely get it out, my mouth is so dry.

“Yes. The teacher who read your log?”

I clear my throat. “You mean blog.”

He shrugs. “I guess.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“That’s fine.”

Several weighted moments float by. “Did you at least bury him?”

He looks at me again,wanting very badly to be the sardonic asshole that he is, but he stops mhimself ans says, “no. The ground is frozen. We put him in with Steinberg.”

I can feel my mouth literally drop to the floor. I’m stunned and disgusted that he’s in there with her. And that Havier had even thought that that was a viable option after he killed him right in front of me.

I push past him. I grab one of the shovels from the front and I storm out of the building. I can see the Undead in the distance, getting more restless as the night approaches, but at that moment in time, I just don’t give a damn. I’m already hacking into the kickball field when Havier comes out and stands on the far end, where the dirt ends and the grass begins.

“Have you gone completely loca,” he shouts. “The thombies are right there!” His inner Spainard is blazing at this point.

“Perhaps, but there is no way that he’s going to stay in the hole!”

“Leez, Leez – he’s gone! What is left -”

“Don’t even give me that bullshit.” I’m crying again. Yelling and crying, ugh. “This is the last thing that I can do for him so just shut the fuck up!”

He stares at me speechless for a moment. I can see the kids peeking out over the edge of the roof – Bonnie and Matilda included. Eventually Bonnie comes down with another shovel and begins to help me without so much as a word passing between us.

It goes faster with the help. She even helps me lift his body and move it outside. I covered the bloody stump where his head used to be with a rag. His head is in a garbage bag. Havier drove a screw driver through it just to make sure that nothing reanimated. I struggle to get his body down into the grave. Bonnie tries to help, but I am quick to wave her off.

Much like when I buried my students, I’m sobbing and struggling to find footing as I maneuver his body into the grave. I can feel the last real, tangible bit of my old life dying. There’s my mom and Ryan, but I haven’t seen them and though I might find my mom, my hope for Ryan never truly did exist. My hope is dying. I’m done.

I finally get his body in and it’s only after that I have him situated that I decide that I want his wallet. I want something of his to carry with me. After fumbling with him some more, I get it out. I leave him with his credit cards thinking that when this is finally all over and they start cleaning up, at least they’ll be able to identify him as John Reardon. I take off my once pink cardigan and I lay it over him. I’m not entirely sure why I do this, but at that moment I felt such comfort in doing it that I didn’t stop myself. I place his head beside him and together Bonnie and I begin to shovel the dirt back in.

One of the Undead had gotten past the fence again. I smack her straight in the face as Bonnie and I begin to walk back inside. She falls but doesn’t (re)die. I break away from Bonnie and now Havier. Matilda and the kids are all but leaning off the roof to see the commotion. Without a thought, I’m straddling the zombie I knocked down. I bare down and lodge the tip of my shovel into her mouth. I can hear and feel her bones and ligaments breaking and snapping as I push forward, severing her head in two. I stand up and spit on her.

Havier is watching me with that shocked expression again. More zombies are coming and at that moment, I’m just so pissed off that I want to take them all on, but Havier grabs me from behind and hoists me up. I drop the shovel. Matilda is getting the kids inside and Bonnie picks up my shovel and tries to help Havier get me inside. I’m strugging against him, waving both of my middle fingers furiously in the air and yelling…

“Fuck you, you fucking rotting parasitic flesh eating DOUCHE BAGS,” I whale at them. I reach down and rip off my flats and I throw them at the Undead. I hit one smack in the face while the other just falls to the cement. Regardless, it just me feel better even if no walker was hurt.

I don’t care who hears me. I don’t care that the kids can see all of this.

I’m just done.

You may take your apocalypse and shove it, Trebeck.

Lover’s Reunion

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Alcott School
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I confess to him in the dusky light of my classroom. He’s helping me cut the deep mats from my hair and clean the dirt and blood from my body. The man came with soap like some savior. His face is thick with a beard that I am not sure I could ever get used to, but his eyes though older still radiate that warm glow that turned my stomach into butterflies the first time I saw him.

I tell him about the lock down and the bombing and how we’ve been waiting here for him and for parents. I cry, sob actually when I get to the point where I’m telling him about how I got drunk and I let my kids gets killed. He draws me to him then, in his subtle way that lets me know that somewhere before all of this and after all of this we always were.

He’s holding me and I drift in and out of sleep as I listen to his breath and heart working systematically. I feel myself being lulled into such a softness, such a comfort, that I feel myself falling into a haze that I never quite want to come out of. He arrived with the teachers from the town over. They met on the main drag into town and decided to work together to get here. There had been five teachers at the beginning of their journey, but by the time they got here there were only two.

In the darkness I turn to him and ask him what he thinks we should do next.

“It’s terrible out there,” he says, as his free hand strokes my hair, well, what’s left of it. “The cities are completely overrun. They told everyone to get to New York or Philadelphia, but it all just fell apart. I don’t know what it’s like beyond here, but I can only imagine it being as horrible as the last few broadcasts were on TV.”

“We can’t stay here. It’s disgusting and we’ve turned it into a mass graveyard out there. We can’t…”

“I know.” He kisses my forehead. “You were saying something about a bus?” I nod. “Well, some of the roads are impassable, but there are other ways around it. We need to get to your mom and then we need to figure something else. To stay in the burbs or go to the city would be stupid. Too many Undead and too many oddball survivors.”

“The farm then,” I suggest, thinking of the farm that his parents had owned when they had still been alive.

“It’s our best bet.”

We grow quiet again and for a moment, I draw closer to him, almost as if I’m questioning again whether or not this is real. I turn softly and suddenly John feels different underneath my arms. He feels cold and has that scent about him, that decaying scent that the Undead are saturated in.

I hear myself screaming and thrashing and sitting up, yelling. I hear Havier in the background. He’s talking to a blond woman that I don’t know. We never got this far…

“We have to sedate her,” the woman says.

Havier shakes his head, running his hand through his hair. “We don’t have those things here. We don’t have.”

“She can’t go on like this, the kids are scared enough. We have to find something.”

Havier is digging through the boxes from the nurses office, trying to find something more potent then advil. He gets excited when he finds something. The blond is holding me down and I can taste that I think is Nyquil being poured down my throat.

It’s even cloudier now and I think of John again. I think of John walking towards me. I’m off the roof now and running through the school. I am all but before him when I realize John had been bitten, had been turning and when we reached each other for the last time, I saw the very last bit of his life draining from him. We embraced and he winced. The blond was with him, that was where I had seen her before. She had been helping him.

“We found him on the main road,” she explained. “He was bitten, but he had to get here, to you and we helped him because we read your blog and knew this was the John you were waiting for.”

I’m screaming again, but not as loud and John is fading, his eyes aging and fading rapidly. I stay with him and I watch him, he runs his hand down my face and that was it.

That was all that was left of him. He was gone and before anyone knew it, Havier came bolting out of the building and decapitated him before he had a chance to reanimate.

And at that moment all I remember is the blood and the screaming.

The story of what happened to our school nurse is probably one of the most vile things that has happened to us since this shit storm began only a few weeks ago. The day started out as normal as any day from now on can. It was absolutely freezing after the storm hit on Saturday. We spent much of the morning huddled together in the media center just trying to stay warm. By the afternoon, Havier and I decided that we needed to do something to at least keep out minds off of how cold it really was. We decide to open up the nurse’s room. Her supplies are invaluable and it really was time that we just did it already.

Our nurse, Mrs. Steinberg was a rather large lady with a never-ending appetite. I don’t think I had ever seen her without some sort of food in her hand. Hunger was not something that she ever really knew.

It took Havier a couple of swings with the axe before the door finally gave way. Once open, the most awful, foul, disgusting (stomach churning!) smell began to permeate the building.

Even Havier was gagging!

Once the shock of it subsided, we turned on our flashlights and began to shine them around the room. There were three dead students piled in the corner, literally picked clean of whatever soft-tissue they had once had. In the far corner was Mrs. Steinberg. At first we couldn’t tell anything about how she looked. I mean, she was Undead. That was obvious, but the full horror of what had been going on in this room wasn’t visible until she turned slightly as she noticed our flashlights.

The side of her that was immediately facing us was her usual rotund self, but the other side that she was working on was almost completely gone. There was just a thin glaze of rotten muscle tissue slightly holding in her organs. Havier and I watched in shocked horror as she pulled pieces of herself off of her arm and fed it to herself. It was almost as if with each piece of flesh she pulled from herself she was saying, “just a bite! Just a little bite.”

Her eyes were huge like giant saucers and were that bright, vivid yellow that you can only truly experience when you’ve seen fresh yellow snow first hand. She had absolutely no interest in us.

Her consumption of her own rotting flesh and probably of the three students put her into some sort of shock.

Zombie septic shock! (okay…not funny)

And now she only hungered for her own, vile flesh. Zom-Steinberg was taken out in .2 seconds once Havier came to his senses. Without so much as a word, we began to search through and grab whatever we could within the den of zombibalism. When we had finished, we didn’t even bother trying to bury Zom-Steinberg in the kids. We know we’re leaving the school soon, so we just sealed off the room and very matter-of-factly made our way back to the media center.

Somehow I found myself on the roof after that – desperate for some fresh air and a break from the zombie apocalypse. I was getting ready to go back inside when I say him.

John.

John and a small group of people.

Somehow they had made it.

Havier has been allowing us to use the back-up generators sparingly. It’s absolutely freezing. We’ve all been wearing our coats, gloves, hats – whatever we had or found all day. You can smell the snow in the air, that’s how much the temperature has dropped. I’ve moved back to my spot in the corner. It’s warmer if we’re all together and as Havier tells me, life has to gone despite the mistakes that we make.

And he’s right. I made a half-joke about making a fire in the courtyard, but Havier was quick to remind me how fast that would attract the Undead back to us. What I wouldn’t give for a little warmth. Havier and I have been taking turns on the roof. We watch and listen for the hordes, for John, for Havier’s sister, for my mom, for the kids’ moms and dads. So far no one has found us, but I still have hope that soon somebody will.

We emptied out crates and buckets and put them up there. We’re hoping to collect as much water as we can. We’d all like to bath and manually flush the toilets, it’s getting super gross again. As I sit up on the roof, looking for my friends and family, I can see my hands and how they are no longer pale and milky, but gritty and grimy and somewhere between a gray and brown color. I have dried blood from my students and from cleaning, wedged beneath my nails. I once had a manicure, but that was a lifetime ago now.

My hair is so matted from everything that tomorrow I’ve decided it’s time to cut it off completely. It’ll take some adjusting, but it’s more feasible than trying to hold onto an old life.

We’ve also begun thinking about an escape plan. Alcott School can not be the place that we stay forever. Too much has happened here and with the way the hordes have been moving, we’d always be a prime stop for them. We’re going to have to take what we can and prepare for the day that we will inevitably have to leave here. Havier says that the little kindergarten bus in the back is small enough to maneuver and big enough to hold all of us and supplies. It’s just figuring out where to go that’s stopping us. That and the fact that I know if we just wait it out for a few more days that John will be here and maybe some parents too.

I’m trying to hope as best I can and not freeze to death all at the same time.

Death Toll

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Alcott School
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It’s been a few days. It’s been a few hellish days wherein I just felt like the worst possible person on the planet. How could I have been so stupid? How could I have let myself get drunk when that much danger was around my kids? How…

Much of what happened, Havier later had to explain to me. We lost four kids in the attack. Gabe was among them. Vincent hasn’t said much to anyone, especially to me ever since. Once the hordes had moved past again and the halls became quiet, we were able to get out of the media center. It took two days. Shelby became eerily calm after everything that occurred and has glued herself to Vincent. I hear them whispering to each other at night, making plans of some sort.

I try not to worry about this now, but I can see this becoming a problem eventually.

I feel so at fault for everything that happened that I take it upon myself to go to my classroom and find the zippered storage bags that I used to keep pillows and things in. I come back with four. One for each of my students that I totally allowed to be killed because of my inability to handle this sort of life.

For the most part they are all torn to pieces. Gabe is the only one with half a face left. Havier took a pick to each of their skulls just in case. I thought that there had been too much of them eaten to allow for any kind of reanimation, but Havier is convinced that we need to be more careful.

Together, we bring each bag outside. We let the children come with us if they want to. I’ve agree with Havier that it’s time I stop shielding them and he’s agreed it’s time he stops babying me and mocking me for my suburban upbringing. We’re at a crossroads him and I.

Carefully, on the other side of the kickball field, we dig a hole for each. I’m hysterical as I help Havier lower each one into their own grave. We mark each with a piece of wood, adding their name on it with a black permanent marker. We say a few things about each student. I tell each of them what made them special and how I was sorry that they wouldn’t have a chance to be everything that they could have been.

The rest of the day is quite solemn. We take the kids back inside and clean up the mess from the last attack. We board up the rest of the school. Havier thinks we need to set up a post on the roof so that we can see when the hordes of Undead are coming or when those that are looking for us are on the horizon.

If the teachers and John aren’t here by tomorrow, I will be beside myself. There is only so much loss someone can take in such a short span of time. I’m surprised with how resilient the kids are being over all of this.

Tonight, I’m moving to my classroom. I need a night to myself and with the way I feel right now, I feel like I am more a danger to my kids than a help. Havier agrees. He stays in the media center with Matilda and the kids. He gives me the pistol and sleep overtakes me quicker than I’d like to admit.

…Which really is an understatement. Yesterday the kids should have been coming in with freaky outfits  and hair, but instead they spent it wearing a trash bag and rubber gloves as they shoveled bits and pieces of people, dumping them into bags and lugging them outside where another group was digging an enormous in the middle of the kickball field.

There are a few straggling Undead that paw at the fence. Havier found five in the teacher’s room when we opened it. Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Swan among them. Havier baited them to follow him outside where we both decapitated each one. I can’t lie and say that there wasn’t a small part of me that enjoyed taking out Zom-Swan. She was always dumping her work on the teachers and I think on more than one occasion came to our faculty meeting buzzed.

I was terrified to have all of us that spread out , but we had to do it. I had even armed the kids with tools and weapons so that if something happened, they would at least have a chance.

I am so obviously nervous and disgusted that Havier literally shoves the bottle of hooch in my face. He wants this done and over and for us all to be back in a safe space, not out there digging mass graves in the middle of a kickball field to buried what was left of their friends and teachers. I take two long drags. I’m fuzzy and warm-headed within moments. Breakfast had been pretzels and the last cans of apple sauce – I was hardly ready to be drinking big shots of Maker’s Mark, but it’s helping me push forward.

I keep thinking how we should have covered our mouths before we started this, but Havier was quick to point out that we both had been walking around the school without anything and neither one of us were zombified. We did tell the kids that they needed to be extra careful not to touch their faces until after we were done and cleaned up.

We spent much of the afternoon gathering, burying and bleaching the shit out of the school. We decide not to start sealing off the school until after the fumes subside. Havier starts at the back and works his way up. It’s night fall by the time he makes it around to the front. Thank God, we had Hurricane Irene over the summer because Havier had plywood for every window and for the entire front.

We work systematically from back to front. We’re hurried and worried and it’s crazy just how many of the Undead of beginning to crowd the fences with all the noise we’re making. This can not go fast enough, I just want to be back in the disgusting media center with all of my kids.

Somehow we do it though just as it’s getting too dark to see and the number is rising to near-horde proportion. I am pretty drunk at this point and I think some of the kids know that too. I begin to write myself off as the world’s most horrible post-apocalyptic teacher and it is at that moment that the fence finally gives, allowing a rush of groaning, smelly, Undead to come right for us. None of us are even thinking when we drop everything that we are doing and we run into the school. It’s chaos and no one is paying attention to anything other than getting themselves to the media center. The hallways are dark now that mostly everything is boarded up and it’s like I’m reliving the field trip to the Liberty Science Center and the touch-tunnel all over again.

We’re somewhere between the front of the building and the media center when the screams start, but it’s too dark to tell where it’s coming from or who it is or what’s the way to get out of danger. I just keep running and stumbling and oh my God, I’m just drunk and none of this at all seems real.

Then we’re bak in the media enter. Havier is yelling in broken Spanish. The only word I recognize is “Thombies! Thombies!” His accent is on and nothing is okay. I’m throwing up hooch and bits of apple sauce and it’s horrible. I have lost all control of everything, including myself.

I hear Armand breaking down and Matilda trying to restrain him. I see Vincent and can hear Shelby whaling. The room is spinning. Some of the kids are covered in sprays of blood, the Undead clearly have gotten some of us. It’s awful and in that moment I just collapse on the floor, staring up at the ceiling feeling the world around me spin until it’s almost unbearable.

If this had been a moment on The Walking Dead, I’d be yelling at the TV about how stupid she was for getting too drunk…for drinking at all! But, it’s not a she that did this, it was me and I’ve fucked up horribly and now kids are lost, dead and the rest are scared and I’m just too drunk to be able to bother.

I close my eyes and I float off into my inevitable blackout.