Posts Tagged ‘apocalypse’

I haven’t been able to update. There has been so much that has happened over the past few months that I don’t even know where to begin. The world is worse here then it ever was when we were at Alcott and then my home.

The internet went down sometime in February and so did my hope that the world was going to recover from everything that has happened. The internet (obviously) has eventually returned, but I fear that my hope for a life again – a real life outside of this bunker is gone and anything that is left in my life are just shattered pieces of a happy life lived by what now feels like a completely different woman.

I know that the children are safe. They live in a heavily guarded area outside of the bunker with the older women. My mom is there and sometimes when I am outside she steals a smile and lets me know tht things are as okay as they can be within this life.

I’d like to tell you that I killed McGrady. That I found someway to stab him or choke him to death or some other gruesome death by my own hands. I haven’t. It’s worse than having killed him. I’ve had to give into him. I pray every time that he comes to me that he will get tired of me, want another girl – something to free me from him.

But it hasn’t happened.

Instead, I pray each month that I get a period like I am some 15-year-old kid who’s too into her boyfriend to tell him no, but too scared of her mom to ask for birth control. I feel defiled each time he comes into my room. Afterwards, I can smell his breath on my skin and his cigarettes in my hair.

I have yet to find Javier and these days, he’s the one person I want to see. I dream about him. I dream about our talks and the times where we weren’t yet friends, but there were hints that one day we would be.

Has anyone seen that crazy Spaniard?

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I hate when you look back at things and wonder why you didn’t see any of the signs until you’re so stuck in a situation that you have absolutely not idea how you’re going to get yourself out of it.

McGrady used the facade of keeping us safe to lure us all into his trust. He waited for the perfect moment which happened to be the outright chaos of the hordes to get us into his prison. We’re all kept apart from one another. The men patrol us as some sort of sick prison guard type thing. The children, from what I can gather are with my mom and the older women that were with us.

I get to be the special “prize” for McGrady at the end of all of this. The women who are of child-bearing age are kept fed, healthy and made to walk for an hour a day under a heavy watch. We’re not allowed to speak to one another though Bonnie and I do seem to watch one another to check and see if we’re at least physically okay. We’re each assigned to a man. I think Bonnie has the eldest McGrady boy and it has been made abundantly clear that I am McGrady’s treasure.

Much like Javier used to visit me at night in the house, MCgrady now does. He tries to talk to me, to explain his reasoning, but I refuse to listen to him.

“The world must go on, Elizabeth,” he says in his hardened voice. He reminds me of my father when we calls me that. I cringe every time. “In order for the world to go on, we have to have more children. More able men to protect it and make it safe again.” He usually lights a cigarette and blows the smoke out of the side of his mouth. “Isn’t it easier this way? To just do it. To leave out the emotional commitment that complicates everything? It’s just business.”

I stare off at the wall, my hands in my lap. I beat myself up on the inside, wondering why we just didn’t stay at Alcott Elementary.

“I’m not going to force you, it’s never been my style. One day though and soon, you will surrender to me just like your friend did to her assignment and life will go on.”

Assignment? Are we cattle? Cattle to be bought, sold and impregnated for the purpose of “the future”…”the greater good.” I want to slap him, I want to reach across my little cell and claw out his eyes, but I go somewhere inside of myself that’s away from him and away from this world entirely.

He stubs out his cigarette on the wall, crosses the cell and kisses me on the forehead. “It’s just business,” he whispers into my ear.

I still feel my skin crawling even after he’s left. This is not how I want my life to go, not how I want it to end either. How the hell do I get out of this one?

Once we heard McGrady’s voice, Javier grabbed his weapon and was out the door. He yelled at me in broken spanglish to be careful and lock the doors. I wasn’t understanding the need to lock the doors. If this was an Undead threat, they would find a way in no matter what. Their thirst for flesh would drive them to their own death (again) if it meant that they might get one of us in trying.

I ran to the back of the house to let the family who sleeps in my yard in, but they’ve already gone to another house. Bonnie and I start locking everything even though we both know how stupid it is. Vincent and Shelby run upstairs and are glued to the window in the guest room that faces the street. Bonnie and I join them, feeling very vulnerable again. This is not like our little makeshift fortress at Alcott Elementary, this was a house with many easily broken windows and a crazy plethora of different ways for them to get in. We watched as the men emerged from McGrady’s house heavily armed with guns and mele weapons. We watched as the hordes came through the burning fields. The majority of them are runners – the thin, agile kind who are ruled by an even more potent never-ending hunger that surpasses the “normal ones.”

That was over a month ago. I haven’t seen any of them since. The Undead hit hard and fast, almost wave after wave. It seemed like it would never end. It took several hours of near-constant bombardment before McGrady’s lines began to fall.

It was then that they fell back and began to make a run for those of us in the houses. McGrady ran in, he grabbed us and we followed him without so much as a thought.

We ran to the cars that he kept prepared for this sort of thing . I got shoved in one with my mom. McGrady hopped in the front to drive. He took us deep into the surrounding woods, past the hordes of the Undead. We get out, he pulls on things and moves things and then suddenly we’re undergound in some sort of bunker. It’s longer than it is wide and reeks of damp, dank soil and mold.

I’m separated from my mom almost immediately. I can hear the others following in step behind me, but I’m not entirely sure. They start dividing us up and putting us into rooms. I’m in one before I realize it’s a cell rather than a room. I’m farthest away from everyone almost as if I got locked up in solitary confinement.

It takes this month to get my laptop back.

Happy friggin’ Birthday, Javier!

It’s been over a month since I last posted. So much has happened, so much has changed. I don’t know where to start or how to even explain everything. It started with Javier’s birthday….

I sat watching McGrady from the window for some time that day. He was going through another group of survivors that had turned up. I watched from my office window as he picked through the gore-covered car. Whoever they were they certainly must have been through hell to get here. He okays the younger men and women to come through, but stops at the older women in the group. They couldn’t be older than my mom, but he’s quick to separate them from the group and remove them from the compound. The younger group walks in clearly still in shock and almost unaware that a chunk of their group has been taken. Each are given a yard assignment and tents. They’re to stay in McGrady’s daughter’s yard.

I don’t see the older group after that. Sometime later, Nick, the oldest McGrady boy turns back up. I make a note of it, deciding to bring it up to Javier later that night. The entire morning just felt very strange.

I finished what I needed to do for Javier’s birthday party. Vincent and Shelby were bubbling over with excitement! We all were so eager to have a day that was filled with celebration other than gloom and doom. We decorated the living room with the construction paper chains we made.

I then finish making everyone a microwaved cake in a cup. Javier comes in around 3 and we all yelled surprise! He lit up when he realized that everything was for him. Vincent and Shelby give him his tool belt. Javier gushes over it, nearly being moved to tears over how we remembered and went through so much to give him his day. Bonnie brings out my cakes in a cup and we all try for our best “Happy Birthday” en espanol. Javier is completely overwhelmed and he laughs with honest joy at our horrible rendition.

We enthusiastically eat our cake in a cup, enjoying it more than we would have had this been a normal life. We used some of our generator time to plug in my CD player. We dance around to a mix of the Beatles and the Foo Fighters.

Javier eventually pulls me to him as we jokingly mimic the tango to Everlong and then Here Comes the Sun. Bonnie, Vincent and Shelby all stopped and laughed with us. There was a moment where the song ended and a weighted silence fell. For a moment I thought that Javier and I would kiss, but Shelby squealed instead – “look! We’re finally going to be a real family now, with a mom and a dad!”

Javier and I are quick to pull away from one another. Bonnie opens her mouth to interject, but she doesn’t have any time to. Just as she began to speak, we heard McGrady’s voice coming loudly and assertively through his bull horn.

“All meen need to assemble women and children are to seek shelter, lock your doors,” his voice boomed.

I am thankful that we had gotten here when we did. Winter has finally found us and I am glad that my fireplace is workable. We’re warm, fed and have books to read and games to play. As strange as this world has become, at least here, we have some sort of semblance of normalcy. I just want to hold onto this little piece of my old life for as long as I can. I know life here is fleeting just like everything else, but I still can’t help but hope, just like my mom hopes that Ryan will come to us.  In the meantime, she has taken Armand and has found happiness in having someone to take care of.

I’ve transitioned nicely into the more maternal role that I have to be now. It was something I hadn’t envisioned for myself for several more years, but need outweighed the plan.

During the day Shelby and Vincent go off with the other kids. There’s talk of starting a school for them. I’m having trouble wrapping my head around that. Sadly, they all have the amount of education that they would need in a world they this – they can read and write. My mom is quick to remind me, “what about when this is over,” she asks consistently.

And that’s where I get stuck. My mom holds onto such copius amounts of hope including the idea that things are not as bad out there. But I have to disagree.

The military bombed an entire development and a school to try and control the hordes and that was just some small suburb in New Jersey, I can only imagine what the cities are like. I wish I had my mother’s optimism, but I just don’t see how its possible that life will be restored anytime soon. At least, not life the way that we knew it.

I don’t argue with her though. I know her hope is one of the things that keeps her going. I don’t want to take that away from her as infuriating as I find it most days.

It’s Javier’s birthday tomorrow. I don’t think he realizes that I know. Bonnie and the kids have been working on a tool belt for him. I’ve been trying to get the ingredients together for some sort of microwaved cake. Javier is softening to life here, softening to me and to the kids. It’s amazing to see.

Javier kept driving. We only stopped when we saw cars that hadn’t been in the epicenter of the bombing. Most of them have already been picked clean. We look for one that hasn’t had its gasoline siphoned out. Our bus runs on diesel and we know that we can only sustain it for so long. Most of them are a no-go, but we eventually find a van that was a little bit off the street. It has half a tank of gas when we turn it on. I breathe a sigh of relief.

Bonnie and I lead the way out of the neighborhood with the van. I’m excited to be going home to see if my mom is there. If Ryan is there…I’m also scared that they both will be there, maimed or worse yet…Undead. We fall quiet. She’s anxious too. She walked most of the way that we’re driving to get to Alcott Elementary from her school. I can tell from her withdrawn demeanor that her adventure to us must have been just as horrifying as our time at Alcott was, burying students and cleaning up left over zombie-goo.

Once we’re out of town I think we all begin to calm down a little bit. There were fewer people out here so hopefully that means fewer zombies and no mega-hordes.I’m expecting my street to be dead. I’m expecting some damage and carnage, but what I am not expecting is a complete barricade at the beginning of my street.

I stop. Javier stops. We all get out except for the kids. Mr. McGrady, my seventy-something year old neighbor greeted us, brandishing an assault rifle.

“HAVE ANY OF YOU BEEN BIT,” he bellows. I can see his five grandsons pop up on the other side of the barricade complete with matching assault rifles.

We all instinctively put our hands up and stand still. “None of us have been bitten, Mr. McGrady.” I never could bring myself to call him by his first name.

“Who’s with you,” he barks.

“Two coworkers and the kids I  have left from my class.”

He nods and begins to walk over to us. He looks over each of us before he boards the bus. He takes stock of each kid and our supplies. After about fifteen minutes, he gets off the bus and comes to me.

“I believe you. We’ll let you in, but it will cost you the supplies.”

Javier and I look at each other and then back at McGrady.

“We’ve fortified the perimeter. We’ve made this work. We have food and running water. Your mom is here,” he adds.

At the mention of running water, Javier was ready to even throw in the bus as payment for our admission and I was already walking in once I heard that my mom was waiting for me.

Havier is cursing, somewhere between Spanish and English. Matilda is hysterical and trying to get off the bus while Bonnie ad I are oddly calm about this entire situation. The kids just don’t know what to do.

In a snap decision, I push Havier out of the driver’s sit and kick at the bottom of the steering column until the plate gives. The faster Undead are now closing in on the parking lot. I rip out everything that I need to.

Side Note: Mom, if you’re reading this, I would just like to remind you of Matt, the “bad boy” I dated in college. Remember how you had said that he was scum and had nothing to offer me, but a one way ticket to a record and the loss of my teaching career? Well, even though you were absolutely right, I feel that it is here that you should thank him for it was him who taught me how to hot-wire a car one boozey summer’s night.

And Matt would have been proud of me at that moment because I beat my best time from that summer. I did it in under two minutes just as the Undead were closing in on us. Matilda in her hysteria opened up one of the back windows and began swatting at the zombies with the broom that the driver kept there.

It only took several of the swarm to get at her. They grabbed her fleshy arms, gnawing at them as she screamed and thrashed around. The children moved away from her while Bonnie, Havier and I just watched in shocked horror as they pulled her through the window just as her arms gave out and completely severed from the rest of her body as it went crashing down to the pavement. The Undead became insane with the smell of a fresh kill in the air. They swarmed Matilda, ripping and biting at her until she finally stopped screaming all together.

Havier jumped back into the driver’s seat and floored it. He took the bus path through the back and out through the woods, completely bypassing the hordes. We spun out into the main street and that was when the reality of what was going on hit us in full force.

There was a collective gasp as our eyes fell on the burnt out houses and the burnt, decomposing bodies that littered the entire development. We drive in shocked silence, our eyes glued to the scenes of devastation and horror that we were so isolated from at Alcott Elementary.

We’re just down the street when I poke at Havier, eager to make some of this have some normalcy to it.

“Hey Havier,” I say, my chin resting on the top of the seat in front of me. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, Leez,” he answers, his nervous Spaniard side still not completely gone.

“Why did you always have us write your name with an H?”

He chuckles. “Because a J would have confused the kids.”

“But Javier is your name.”

“I know, but think about how many kids called you Miss B.”

“True.”

“Can I ask you something now,” he asks, somewhat calmer. I nod. “How did you know how to hot-wire a bus?”

I laugh. “Being 19 and thinking that I could change the “bad boy.”

“Did not treat you well?”

“Let’s just say that before all of this hit, he had a 10-year-old son that he could see once a month when his baby mama wanted to drive him to county and I’m still out the two grand that he stole from me.” Javier gives me that shock and awe look that I always get when I tell that story.

“You realize he must have been a sitting goose when all of this happened,” he finally manages to say.

“Sitting duck, yes.” I think for a moment. “You know as bad as it sounds, I kind of like that he was. Makes up for all the terror I felt for months after I left him.”

Hm. The apocalypse…at that moment, I found its likeability just a wee bit.

We’re alive. A bit worse for the wear, but somehow we are alive.

We left the morning after my last post. Bonnie and I did one final sweep of the school. I spent a good 20 minutes in my classroom. It was hard for me to leave it, after so many years of working to get to where I was, to be a teacher – a good teacher. That life is done now and I needed to be reminded of that. I took my pictures. The ones I kept framed on my desk were of my mom, my brother, my cat and even one of John and I. I took each of them out of their frames and slipped them into my purse.

That was when all hell broke loose.

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.