Posts Tagged ‘hordes’

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.

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?

My mom was waiting for me on her front porch. Her face light up when she saw me. We hugged for what seemed like hours. She ran her hand over my G.I. Jane look and laughed.

“Is Ryan with you,” I ask.

She shakes her head. “I hold out hope,” is all that she says.

We go inside where I get my first shower in a month. There is even hot water. My mom makes me lunch and it is warm and good.

“How do you have all of this?” I don’t even look up from my food.

“We always knew Mr. McGrady was a nut. He’s been prepared for this for years. Once the hordes hit, he wiped them out. We spent the next several days burning the bodies in the field and barricading ourselves in. Then he set us up with generators and running water. The food has come from his stockpile and from the people who have found us and chose to stay.”

I’m nodding as I eat. I can’t believe McGrady was able to do everything the military failed at doing. Thank God for bat-shit neighbors is all I can think.

I spend the rest of the day with my mom. Eventually I venture outside. Several of the kids have found their parents here, however Vincent and Shelby stay with me. Bonnie and Javier join us too. We go to my house where Mouse greets me happily at the door. I sweep him up into my arms and nuzzle my face into his soft tangerine fur.

Bonnie and Shelby claim the guest room. Javier and Vincent take the office while Mouse and I take my bedroom. We get to lay in my bed for the first time in weeks and feel normal if only for a little bit. Javier comes in sometime later. We sit in my bed and talk about life and how much everything has changed. We agree that for now this is where we are going to stay and that if we were to leave Bonnie, Vincent, Shelby, Armand and my mom were all to come with us. Mouse too if we could feed him.

In the morning my mom comes over with our box of rations for the week. All of us bask in the heaven that is powdered eggs after having lived on school preserves for a month.

We begin our life here as some sort of patchwork family.

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 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.

…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.