Archive for January, 2012

It is only now that I have stopped shaking and feel half-ready to write about what happened. All of it was so shocking and peace-shattering that I am unsure if I ever want to leave this room again. I feel stupid now for all the times that I left the media center without any form of protection. I feel even more stupid for having done that with a student, but I guess that goes to show you how unequipped I am to deal with all of this. I just didn’t think is what it all comes down to.

It started out simple enough, I told the kids that I was going out to get some fresh water and some more food. They were all pretty much ignoring me at this point. Carolyn had begun to share her Bratz doll with the other girls and Gabe had found a Wimpy Kid book that the boys were snickering with over in the corner. Vincent was by my side though, ready to get out of there and do something. I told him we had to be quick and quiet.

“What is this emergency,” he asked, his hazel eyes wide. I ushered him into the computer lab where we could be alone. I felt like I had to tell him something, after all, I was allowing him out there with me and what if he saw one of them?

“Before we were locked in here,” I began softly, using that teaching voice I perfected during that one year I taught first grade, “Mr. Gatsby (our principal) had told the teachers that there was some sort of virus that was spreading quickly. Then we went into lock down and we were trapped in here.” I exhaled, waiting for him to say something, anything – even if it was to question me, but he didn’t, he just stood there waiting for me to continue and so I did. “People started to act funny, not like themselves really and they became violent. Help is coming though, so we just have to do our best to stay safe until they do.” I ruffled his hair and he forced a smile, a big fake one that he often gave me when he knew he was doing something he shouldn’t be doing.

“So, are any of them out there?” I shook my head. He stood and stared at me for a moment before saying, “Well the, let’s just go quickly. I can help you carry more water and something other than those horrible peaches you keep bringing back.”

I laughed. Those canned peaches are pretty awful.

I set Matilda up by the door. I told her that we were going to be gone only ten minutes and that if we were gone any longer than that to come and check for us, but only so far as the multi-purpose room. The last thing I needed was that dingbat wandering around the school looking for us as Vincent and I were zombified and the rest of the kids were left alone to fend for themselves.

We pushed the small barricade aside and we bolted to the multi-purpose room. Vincent took most of what our school now looked like in. He didn’t say a word about it, but I could tell that he was beginning to realize the full-scale of what was going on around us. I only hoped that he could handle it.

We jogged into the multi-purpose room and made it to the kitchen without incident. I went into the storage to grab what I could of what was becoming a quickly diminishing supply. I grabbed applesauce this time, thinking that the kids would enjoy the change up. Vincent was just outside the door eagerly filling his backpack and a few other bags that we had brought with us with the fresh supplies. I had gone back in to grab one more jug of bottled water. I turned to hand it to Vincent when this wreaking, cold, gross thing grabbed my arm from around the corner of the storage closet. I began screaming. Suddenly Vincent was too, he was terrified as he looked at me and then at this creature that was once more like us than a walking, rotting bag of meat. It smelled worse than anything I could ever imagine and it took a good several minutes struggling with it to realize that this once was Mr. Gatsby. The same middle-aged man that shook my hand seven years ago and told me to head straight over to central administration so that they could begin the paperwork and that I could be set to begin my first teaching job that September.

With that realization absolute horror raced through my veins. I heard Vincent crying and screaming all at once. He hadn’t a clue what to do and I didn’t expect him to, what ten -year-old would? How could any ten-year-old even handle seeing their zombie principal attacking and seeking to bite off the face of their teacher?

My life was flashing before my eyes, I thought of when I was a little girl and my mom bought me a yellow bicycle for my birthday. I thought of how my dad taught me to ride it behind the abandoned house across the street and once he let go, I flew over the handle bars and scraped my entire face. I thought about how mad my mom was when she saw the state I was when I came home. Mad. MAD. That was the feeling that I needed right now. I needed to be fucking pissed off mad and ready to kill this fucking thing with my bare hands, even if he was once my boss who I admired completely.

With my senses back, I held him off as far as I could. It was at this moment that I realized that Vincent had pissed himself during this entire ordeal because I was now rolling around with Zom-Gatsby in a warm liquid that hadn’t been there before. I looked around and with nothing in sight, I did what I learned in a self-defense class that my sorority made me take years ago.

I kicked him where it should have hurt the most. Kicking him felt nothing like kneeing a Non-Zom. I could feel it crush with such a slight pressure. I could feel his brittle, fragile glass-like bones cracking as I pushed him off of me as he groaned louder. I stood back up, pulling a wet, trembling Vincent off of the floor as he grabbed our supplies. I looked around for something hard to kill Zom-Gatsby with, but before I could even do that, the most unexpected thing happened – a bullet landed straight between Zom-Gatsby’s eyes and the vile creature stopped trashing and groaning. It just lay there – a mound of vile flesh.

Vincent and I looked up in unison. We saw Mr. Havier, our building custodian standing there, pistol in hand. I ran over to him and I flung my arms around him, completely forgetting any kind of professionalism I once had towards him. I was surprised that he hugged me too.

“I’m glad you’re okay, Liz.” He pushed me off of him slightly. “He didn’t bite you, right?” I shook my head. “Thank God, I’ve been chasing after him for days now. He was the only one of them left.”

“So you mean….” I looked past him, towards the door where my co-workers and former students should have been.

“Most of them died in the bombing. Some got out afterwards and some, well,” he gestured towards Mr. Gatsby. “I was lucky, I was in the boiler room when we went into lock down. Is this the only on you got,” he asked, pointing to Vincent.

“No, I have most of my class and…Matilda. We were in the media center when it happened. I’ve kept them in there for the past several days. I felt it was the safest. Vincent only came with me because I needed an extra set of hands to carry things and I wanted to check on the bathrooms, it’s getting pretty gross in there.”

Havier nodded and walked over to Vincent to help him gather up the supplies. “The boys and girls rooms by the front would be your best bet. There hasn’t been any running water, but it’s better than shitting in a corner. I’ll help you bring these back and then we’ll take him to get cleaned up. We’re all dirty, but no one needs to know you couldn’t hold it?” He winked at Vincent and he half smiled, feeling relieved.

We took the supplies back. I brought them in and gave them to Matilda, then Havier and I took Vincent to get cleaned up after I made him promise not to look in any of the classrooms. Havier even gave him a few wet-naps he had found and a pair of pants from the lost and found.

We came back to the media center and we ate a feast of apple sauce and water. Havier and I took turns keeping watch over the computer room door with the pistol. Why he ever had it in school to begin with, I have yet to ask. He’s a crazy-ass Spaniard, I’m sure it would have been legal where he is from. I am so happy to have him here with us though. I was beginning to think that Matilda was going to be my only adult company for the rest of my life. Whose commentary on this entire adventure was simply, “Oh dear, maybe you need to be more careful.”

Head. Desk.

I’ve kept the kids quiet and subdued for the past several days. They ask me what’s happened, but I know telling them the complete truth would just cause mass chaos. I tell them that there was an emergency and that help is coming, that we just have to sit and wait for them to come to us. Some of my kids, like Shelby, cry most of the time. She wants her mother and I can only substitute for that for so long. Then there are kids like Vincent who wants to get out of here, find his loved ones and see what’s happened beyond the carefully crafted safe-haven that I’ve made for them here. I can control the kids who cry more easily than I can the kids like Vincent. I’m scared and Matilda is of little help.

Her main contribution to life here is her daily bitching about the bathroom situation. It’s simple: We don’t have one. I’ve told the kids that if they had to go that they would have to find a spot in Mrs. Swan’s office and that when they were through to clean themselves up with the stock pile of tissues she had in her closet. It is not the most sanitary solution and I knew that it would not last, but it kept the kids close enough to the group, gave them privacy and kept us from having to go out into the school to the bathrooms and see all of the bloodshed that occurred in our quiet, little neighborhood school. There will come a time and it will be soon that I will have to take them out there, but it is hard for me to face that. To have to take that ideal of safety and protection that the school has served them with is overwhelming for me and it is a big step out into this new world that I am slightly terrified to have to be living in while I have to protect my students.

I’m working on the bathroom thing, I know it’s an issue and that I have to be the adult and get us all safely to a better location. For now, the pressing issue is going to get more bottled water and canned food from the kitchen. I’m taking Vincent with me this time so we can stock up. Matilda has “volunteered” to stay back with the others. I’m pissed, but someone needs to and in reality she will just slow us down if she came with us. I want to push towards the front of the school and check things out. The bathrooms are there and though I am sure running water is a thing of the past, I do think that it would be etter for the kids to at least have a bathroom that I could maybe manually flush if we found enough water.

Here’s to hoping it’s out there!

We were in the media center when it happened. The Outbreak. There I was with Matilda, my ancient from another time all together aide, who was never much of any help to begin with but there we were, trying to get my 17 kids to log onto the main server so that we could start our social studies project on the American Revolution. You think I was asking them to solve world hunger with they way they complained and whined as they tried to drag it all out. Now, I think they would be happy to go back to that moment, eagerly put their winter break behind them and begin that project, given all that has happened since then.

I haven’t moved them since it happened…since the hordes reached us. I feel that here we are safe. We are at the farthest end of the school, in the only place that does not have any windows with only two ways in and out. There is the main door I barricaded with book shelves with the help of some of my bigger kids once the sirens overpowered the screaming…the screaming of my co-workers and students who weren’t as lucky as us. We’re connected to the computer lab. I let the kids play in there, but we sleep in the media center on the cushions from the sofas and various other make-shift things we could find in here. I use the door from the computer room to come and go. I half-barricaded it and move it away only when I have to get next door to the cafeteria.

The hallways are deserted and littered with glass from when the bombing happened. There are streams of dried blood and gore, marks of  death that connect somewhere to a victim that I surely know, but I refuse to follow those trails to find out just who it is. We had gone into lock-down shortly before we were overrun which left all of the classrooms as an easy mark. Thankfully though, for us, the hordes had reached us in the morning before any lunch period had begun, leaving the multipurpose room eerily vacant. I grabbed as many canned goods as I could carry. We’ve been living off canned peaches ever since. Gag. School peaches – not exactly what I ever thought I would have to survive on or truthfully ever eat.

I know that we will have to branch out of here soon, but I don’t know how to exactly move with the group of children I have left. At the time of The Outbreak, 12 of my students were with me and Matilda. I don’t know what happened to the five that were with other teachers or out in the building, I can only hope the best and that they got out with someone before shit really hit the fan.

The back-up generators are spotty and patchy at best, but I am thankful to still have them. The kids are scared enough as is and the power at least allows us to use the lights and computers sparingly. Somehow we have internet? I’m connected to MILTglobe. I’m assuming it’s some sort of government set-up, I only hope that it stays up.

Is anyone out there?