Posts Tagged ‘escape’

I moved in with Bonnie. Our first night together she told me about what happened after I killed McGrady. The place went nuts. The sons set fire to everything and killed most of the people. We were the lucky few that escaped before. Bonnie, though badly burned, survived because of Greg, the son that she had been given to. He was no supporter of his father and only had gone along with it so that he could help people get away from him.

With tear-filled eyes, Bonnie told me how Greg had protected and had even come to love her just as much as she did him. She had gotten pregnant after they had escaped. They had made a small encampment in the woods. He built her a tiny house and for them that was enough. They had wanted to have a family and grow old together. It was the simplest want she had ever had and the one she wanted most of all.

They were caught off-gaurd the day McGrady found them. Bonnie had been four months pregnant at the time. She was barely showing. Greg saw his father first. He acted quickly and got Bonnie out of sight and down to the ravine. The very ravine that The Maiden had found me in.

He doubled back just in time to meet his father. Bonnie found Greg several days later. He had turned. His father had stabbed him and let him to become one of the Undead, the sort of ultimate statement for what McGrady took as betrayal. Bonnie told me she wasn’t sure what was harder on her, the fact that she had to kill him, well the Undead him, or when she had to bury him.

After she had killed him, she bundled him into a blanket and dragged him down to the ravine. She buried him beside the water. She told me it took 107 arm fully of dirt to fully cover him. She had felt each one of them. We cried together.

When she finally fell asleep, I laid awake in my own bed, my eyes fixed to the ceiling. I had only two thoughts running through my head: I hadn’t killed McGrady and McGrady was still very much alive.

I’m laying in bed, staring at the ceiling. My head is still swimming from the beer I had with my friends earlier. My phone will not stop dinging. I know who it is, it’s John. It’s been John all night. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. He could have spent the night with me. We had plans to see a movie and go out to dinner, but just like he’s always done, he cancels on me about an hour before he was supposed to be here. Another lame excuse about a migraine or was it the drinking plans with his buddies that he had forgotten about?

I can’t remember. The beer has gone to my head. That last minute decision to go out instead of sitting home, wallowing in my hurt feelings…again is going to make tomorrow very long. I probably should have stayed home. It just made me drink too much and made my friends hate him even more, for blowing me off…again.

It’s a shitty feeling to constantly be pushed aside. How have I become one of those women that gets so wrapped up in a guy she rides it out even though she knows the inevitable outcome?

Because you love him, stupid. And because you think that one day it’ll be different and he’ll love you too.

I exhale, long and hard. I roll over and pick up my phone. I read the messages since I had stopped answering. His apologies and explanations and how it’s always someone else’s or some circumstance’s fault, not his. He’s worse than my students. And then he’s calling me and before I stop myself, I’m answering.

And then he’s saying something like, “Why do you always think I don’t want to be around you?”

Maybe because you never are. Or you makes plans with me but then blow me off all the time. Or you just push me aside like I don’t matter to you, like it’s everything else and then me and maybe I’m just to the point where I no longer believe this is all done because of baggage from an old relationship.

I close my eyes really tight. I don’t want to cry. I squeeze them until I see stars.

And then I open my eyes and in front of my stands another one of the Undead. I just keep swinging the branch I had picked up. I’m exhausted. My arms are covered in rotting blood and bodily goo. I’m just so sick of this shit. I know I’m surrounded, and alone. And I realize just how angry I am.

I’m angry for what I had to leave unfinished in my life before this. I’m angry for what’s happened to me since then and I’m sure as hell angry that I’m separated from everyone, in the woods and dealing with an endless swarm of these flesh eating assholes.

As I push on, each one of them begin to look like John or McGrady or some insane hybrid of them both. I just keep beating them the way that they had beat me down, each in their own way. I feel better each time my branch just rams one of them straight across the face. Each time, I feel as though I’m claiming a part of myself back, so I keep fighting because I know that I have to and because for the first time since I killed McGrady, I actually want to.

“What? What’s coming?”

My mom is already running around her room, throwing things into a bag. Armand’s screaming has gone down to a dull whimper.

“Mom!” I grabbed for her arm to stop her. She’s in a panic, that is clear. “What’s going on?”

My mom stops, bag in hand. “Armand did this when you were…away. He would do this with the hordes. It was almost like he knew, like he’s just that sensitive.” She goes back to throwing anything she can into her bag, grabbing Armand to do the same in the boys’ room.

Javier comes in, he has Shelby wrapped up like a package in his arms. Vincent is behind them.

“Who knew about Armand?! Who knew that he could do that?”

“We all did. We were all there when McGrady figured it out,” Vincent pipes up.

“And none of you could tell me? Just like your top secret experiments in the woods! Or even Shelby,” I turned on them both, angry for everything that has just happened. “Is that what we do in this family! Huh? Lie and hide shit!”

“Leez, calm down! You have’n t exactly been in the best mindset since we left your house. Things needed to happen and we made them happen. Don’t yell at the kids because of that.” Javier stares at me, clearly angry. Vincent leaves the room.

“Oh whatever! We have a fucking horde to deal with now, don’t we?”

Javier nods. He puts Shelby down on the bed my mom had. Burying her would require too much time and time was one thing we knew we didn’t have. We pack what we can carry. The clothes that we managed to find, the food that we had and we throw it all into the car that we stole from the road. I go back into the house to grab the warm, down comforter that was on my bed. It’s too good of a thing to leave behind. I’m grabbing it and rolling it up when I turn and look out the window.

In the distance, underneath the gray cast of the moon, I can see the first of the horde coming. I am stunned, it is probably the biggest one that I have ever seen and it is headed straight for our little encampment. In the back of my mind, I prayed that we all were going to survive this one. I grabbed the bag of guns we found in a cabin not far from our house and with the blanket, I begin the mad dash down the stairs and out of the front door, only glimpsing in on a still dead Shelby as I went.

Today. I killed a student. And now I’m running from a mob of hungry zombies.

I stood and waited for Javier. I stood by the lake, watching the Man in the Ice wiggle his bloated corpse-fingers through the growing hole in the ice. I half wondered if he was just going to fall apart with every movement. He had been in there for a long time.

It didn’t take long for Javier to return. He came back down from the woods, his secret place with Vincent, with a bag swung absent-mindedly over his shoulder. He almost seemed excited as he walked. When he reached me, he brushed a kiss across my forehead, setting the bag down at my feet.

“You will be so excited to see this, Liz.” He bent down and started to open what he brought as I awkwardly stood there with my hands in my coat pockets. “This was one of Vincent’s ideas. He is so smart. Was he good at science at school?”

School. I hadn’t really talked about school in forever. I nod. Vincent not only did well in science, but he also loved it. He loved every minute of that period of the day. It was where he thrived.

“We thought we could use a net to catch food. To see what was in the lake, you know, before we saw…him. But now I think this will work even better. If we can get it underneath him, we can pull him out and deal with it finally. Maybe he hasn’t poisoned the whole lake. Maybe we can save it.”

Javier was always an optimist. I watched as Javier untangled a net made out of plastic six-pack holders. It was a good idea, nothing could destroy those things. Together, we moved towards the Man in the Ice, his bloated finger still sticking out from the hole that it had made. The first thing we did was break the top layer of ice which agitated the Man in the Ice to no end. He wanted our fingers, in his mouth and he was fighting to gain some footing in his sloshy, slushy ice-cocoon.  Carefully, we manage to get the make-shift net underneath his bloated body. Javier wraps his side over the Man in the Ice and we put our ends together. We pull and pull and pull – the fucker is heavy, like super heavy.

Javier keeps pulling and I keep pulling. I can feel my footing slipping as the water that’s wetting the ice is making me lose my footing all together. The Man in the Ice is free, wrapped in a plastic net – kind of. I slip backwards, falling on my back, hitting my head on the ice. It’s throbbing. I’m blinking, but everything is doubled. Javier, the net, the Man in the Ice. I can’t make sense of anything and then suddenly I feel the bloated weight of the Man in the Ice on top of me.

I feel my arms go up to stop him. I feel myself pushing at him, but then all I can see is McGrady’s face. I keep blinking. McGrady is dead. I killed him. I killed him months ago with a shank. And I ran and ran to my house. And Javier found me and McGrady found me and there was a fight. There’s McGrady’s face though, hardened and terrifying, on top of me, forcing himself into me. I just can’t.

All I see is red now. Deep, pulsating red. I feel myself pushing back even more. I feel my hands wrap around his decaying wet arms. I feel my hands go into him. All I can see is red.

I push harder and I can feel the weight finally leave me. I can feel him off of me. I can hear myself screaming, but I don’t feel myself speaking. On the inside everything is just red and silent. I’m tearing at him, I’m tearing him to pieces. He’s coming off into my hands as of he were made of play dough. I just can’ t stop, I want to kill him. I want him to be nothing more than pieces of what he once was.

And I make him so, but he lives still. He’s in three distinct separate pieces on the ice, but his head still moans and moves, trying to bite at me until I take my foot and as hard as I possibly can, I drive my heel straight through it, almost enjoying the feeling as it crushes and shatters underneath my own weight.

Javier stands speechless. I am covered in the Man in the Ice. I stink of rot, of death, of old water, but none of that matters. I meet Javier’s eyes with mine and I shrug my shoulders. I don’t feel like there is much more to say than that. Javier goes to clean up the Man in the Ice from the ice and I go back into the house.

I sit in one of the chairs in the living room until I see the sunlight disappear from behind the trees.

I stood over him today, The Man in the Ice. I knew that the ice was thick, having frozen to a near solid. The Man in the Ice is almost cocooned down there with just enough room around him to allow him to move his arms and legs. I stared at him for what felt like hours, I watched him as he sensed me get closer. It was other worldly. The man is dead, has been dead for sometime and since the water is both destroying and helping preserve his purple bloated corpse, he has no eyes left. I doubt he has very much soft tissue left inside him at all, but there he was, bloated and floating, scratching and snarling at me through his ice tomb.

He doesn’t fight to breath because he no longer has to. He could stay under that ice until he rots to a point where his corpse can no longer be held together. And then he’ll just disintegrate and infect the lake. That is if his presence there has not already done that.

I wonder who The Man in the Ice was. I wonder if he was kind and good in life or if he was a horrible person missed by no one. Shelby came down and sat with me for awhile. We don’t say a lot to each other. We haven’t for months. She’s very close with Vincent now. They’ve bonded throughout this entire ordeal. Armand is glued to my mother. Javier and I struggle with whatever our relationship with one another is everyday. And if anyone knows what happened to Bonnie after the escape from…that place, we would all like to know.

I’m sure just like The Man in the Ice would like to know how he’s still alive without air or food and a rotting, purple almost grey tinged corpse.

We woke up this morning to a biting cold that seems to have gotten worse as the day has warn on. The snow started recently. We haven’t moved much, Javier and I have decided that it’s best we wait out the storm before we start moving again. The Undead are worse than we’ve ever seen them.

Yesterday, Javier and Vincent went out to see what could be salvaged from the few houses we haven’t picked through. I’m not sure how, but they got separated and somehow Vincent wound up face to face with a Walker. He was quick to put it down, but when he came back to camp we could all see how shaken he was. He told us how much more vicious the Walker was. He said it was slower than usual, probably because of the cold, but that it had been much more aggressive and agile once Vincent was within its reach.

Much like us, they are starving. We haven’t encountered anyone since the escape from the bunkers. Other survivors aren’t moving around which means the herds have less to pick off. We were lucky last year with such a soft winter, but it seems that this year will be cold, very cold and very difficult.

My mom and I were doing the wash. We finally talked about our lives in the bunkers. It’s something we have both avoided talking about. It hurts too much and it scares me how far I had to go in order to protect myself and my family.

“I am just thankful his plan didn’t work out,” my mom said absentmindedly.

I stopped soaking the kids’ shirts and looked at her. I swallowed hard, I often think about how different our circumstances would be if he had succeeded. “I am too,” is all I can manage.

“Javier came and sat with us everyday. He watched Vincent like a hawk. He was terrified that McGrady to turn him into one of his boys. I wanted to kill McGrady myself, but Javier told us it was best to wait so we could make sure you got out alive. I just never thought by waiting we would have put you in that position.”

My jaw was on the floor as I listened to my mom. She continued.

“Javier made me promise not to tell you, but he had a plan too. He had slowly been poisoning McGrady. Javier was his right hand man by the end and every night they would have a drink. It was easy for him to slip nightshade into it each time. He just wasn’t using enough because he wanted it to make it look like McGrady just got sick one day and died. Don’t say anything to Javier, but I think he will always blame himself much like I do for letting McGrady do what he did to you and then putting his blood on your hands.”

She put the last of the wash in a basket to hang in what used to be an upstairs bedroom. She kissed my forehead as she brushed passed me.

I walked out the back of the house we set up in, towards the farthest corner of the yard and I stood there crying for the first time since we got out. I cried for a good twenty minutes.

 

We were spoiled for months in the beginning of all of this shit. We had our school and then my home. Since I killed McGrady we have had nothing, but each other.

The internet has been down for months which scares Javier more than he is willing to admit at times. There hasn’t even been a blip on my computer until last night. My mom and I had put what is left of the kids to bed. Armand was right out, Shelby followed and Vincent stayed up too late with Javier as usual. We have had the roughest week yet.

A hurricane tore apart what was left of New Jersey and with it, the deep, bone-chilling cold has come with it. We stayed held up in an abandoned house in a neighborhood that I had never been to. That’s all we’ve done all summer, is move from house to house to neighborhood to neighborhood avoiding the herds of the Undead and any outside person. I don’t trust anyone anymore other than who is with us.

At night now, it gets so unbelievably cold again. What we had for clothes are torn and worn beyond repair. Nothing can keep out the coldness that sneaks up on your body like long, cold fingers eager to grip at your skin, your nerves and even your bones. Shelby wakes up crying at night because she is freezing.

We’re going to need to get moving again, but we have even more concerns now. The hurricane tore down already dilapidated buildings, homes, leveled woods and I am sure flooded other areas. It’s going to be even more difficult to move about now and I can only imagine how this has affected the Undead. I have seen how this week among us humans has made us irritable and mean, I can only imagine what it has done to a bunch of flesh-starved Walkers.

God help us.

  1.  Get pregnant. I have since willed my ovaries to just…STOP. For the love of all that is left in the world that is good, they just need to be old and shriveled until I find a way out of this entire cluster-fuck.
  2. Develop Stockholm Syndrome for McGrady. It’s just not going to happen…ever.
  3.  Begin to talk to inanimate objects. Think Tom Hanks a la Castaway. There will be no Wilson during my imprisonment.
  4.  Stop blogging. These past two months of nothing, no outlet whatsoever was the absolute worst.
  5. Forget my kids or Javier. I want my little makeshift family back.
  6. Allow myself to pretend as we did when we were at my house that life had not changed, that the world was not dangerous.
  7. Get bitten (duh). It could happen. I haven’t figured out why yet, but McGrady has been hoarding the Undead somewhere. During the night, I see the men leading them on leashes like some rabid dog. Their eyes glow, big and bright in the dark. It’s unnerving.
  8. Let Bonnie go over the edge. I know she’s teetering.
  9. Give in to being a prisoner for the rest of my life. I will find a way out of this.
  10. Forget those I’ve loved before. I don’t want to forget my old life, or the kids we lost or the people and of course, I want to always remember who John was.

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.