Posts Tagged ‘john’

I feel myself being almost weightlessly dragged. It should hurt me, but it doesn’t. It’s so effortless. He’s pulling me by my feet, my arms outstretched above my head. I can hear him mumbling.

“Jesus, of all the stupid fucking shit I have watched you do for other people, this has got to be an Elizabeth Burton best,” he grunts, as he pulls me deeper into the woods.

I know it’s John. I can feel the callouses on his hands. I remember how much they used to turn me on, but that was in life before. It’s been a wild shit show ever since. It’s been over two years since everything changed. Since the Walkers came. Since John died.

Since I died.

I can hear the water muffled in the background. I know we’re back by my old encampment. I can feel him, lifting me and putting my onto a make-shift hammock. Every inch of me is pounding, sending a new ache throughout my body. My throat is nearly completely dried out. He’s complaining as he builds a small fire. He’s angry that I died, that I’m here with him. I’m still angry with him for being a dismissive jerk more times than not.

“I always told you, focus on you. Worry about you. Take time for you, but you were always off doing one thing after another and never giving a shit about yourself. This though, this is just fucking fantastic. I mean–”

“Not like you knew much about giving of yourself, John,” I manage to say, hoarsely.

“Oh don’t even.” He doesn’t turn to look at me. “Don’t even give me that shit about me never being there for you. This has nothing to do with us. This has to do with your stupid need to save the God damn world. It’s not on you, Liz. It’s not your responsibility to make it better for everyone else, all the time!” He throws some wood onto the fire and stands up, in one sweeping movement as I slowly push myself back up into a sitting position.

“Dying wasn’t that bad. Though, we might be stuck together forever now, but at least we’ll have time together,” I add, with infused sarcasm adding the best doe-eyed eye bat that I could manage under the circumstances.

He just rolls his eyes at me, uninterested in taking the bait.

I stumble to get to my feet. The last thing I want is for him to take care of me. He stands and stares at me. I know I must look even worse than I already feel. My death wasn’t the easiest way to go. As I stand, I feel a shooting pain radiate from the top of my head all the way down to the middle of my stomach.

Before I can say anything, I feel a warm, red liquid come shooting out of my mouth. I’m throwing up blood, a lot of it. I’m covered in it within seconds. John is staring at my horrified. I feel my eyes roll to the back of my head and after that, I’m no longer sure of anything except the cold, hard ground.

I cleaned myself up as best I could, dropping the rest of my stuff by the stream. I knew the next thing I needed to do was find a place to sleep. I hadn’t slept in two days. It was what I had to do and once I got to sleep, I knew once I woke up that I needed to find food. I was beginning to border on delirium, something I figured out once I had begun to hallucinate.

It began as I worked to gather up some branches. I figured if I could just build a small fire to warm myself up for a bit that I could then work on sleeping. I walked along the stream, I was so terrified of losing water again. I found small branches and some twigs that I gathered. I bent down to get the best stick I had seen the whole way and when I stood back up again, I saw him. I saw him watching me from across the stream.

I dropped everything. I wanted to run back to my stuff and just keep running. He stood there, staring at me. Almost through me. I knew that look, he had had it so many times before. In my life before.

“You’re still mad at me,” he says as he digs his hands into his pockets.

I nearly fall backwards. I have lost my god damn mind. It has finally happened. It only took the Undead, killing my students and then getting kidnapped and raped almost daily for me to finally fucking lose my damn mind. Dealing with John’s indifference seemed like one of the easiest things I had ever done in life. But, he was right, I was still pretty fucking mad at him. I don’t respond, I just stare at him.

“Your man, he’s a good man. He loves you.” John takes a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket, lights one. He’s next to me suddenly, offering me one. I refuse in shock and fear. “Come on, we always used to smoke together.” He hands me the one he already lit. I take a long drag, letting it completely feel my lungs. I can taste the tobacco, smell it. It tastes so good. I exhale slowly. John lights another one and joins me.

We sit down next to one another. I feel like I’m in the middle of the fucking twilight zone. I keep taking long, slow drags of my cigarette, enjoying it more than I should. “I know he’s a good man,” I finally say.

“You deserve him, Lizzy.”

I feel my heart skip a beat at the sound of my name on his tongue. I breath in. God damn it. “Yeah,” I finally manage to say.

“You have to let me go. You have to let go of how fucking terribly I took you for granted.” He’s staring straight ahead at the water.

It’s taking every bit of me not to burst into tears. “I loved you,” I blurt out despite my best attempts to not go that route. “I loved you so much. And all I really wanted was your attention. That was it.” Fuck, now I am crying.

“I know.” He finally looks at me. His eyes are filled with regret. “I was stupid, I was young and there you were, this beautiful girl filled with so much love and kindness. And you wanted to give it all to me with no expectations.” He takes a long drag, exhales, letting the smoke billow out around him. “That was one thing I wasn’t used to. What I was used to were girls that always wanted something, my money, just the label, the image – whatever. You were the first girl that was in it, just for me. And that was scary, that was big and I didn’t know what to do with it so I fucked it up so bad that by the time you did ask me for something as simple as my time, the whole thing…us were already in pieces and I hadn’t even realized it.”

It took him dying…to realize this now. Fucking guys.

“So I did what any guy would do, I pushed you away. And I hurt you again and again.”

I nod, sucking hard of my cigarette. I’m scared if I try to talk I’ll just be a hot mess. He’s pressed every button and opened up every wound he gave me in the years that we had dated. I wanted to hate him, so badly.

“John, it’s another lifetime at this point.” I keep my gaze locked with his. “It doesn’t matter anymore.”

“But it does, Lizzy. I loved you too. I loved you so incredibly much that there were days that you were all that I thought about. And I need you to know that I mean that and that happened. You matter, Lizzy. You matter very much. And if nothing else, I need you to know that, believe that and when Javier finds you – which he will – I want you to stop dwelling on me.”

I look away to stub out my cigarette. When I turn back, he’s gone. I promptly burst into tears, big heaving sobs. I tuck my knees into my chest and I just want to die. I fucked it all up, I fucked up keeping my kids safe, I fucked up basic survival and I have been fucking up my relationship with Javier too.

John’s Story

6b82af4dabafb5aee868b1ffdcb206f9

John Reardon was what I thought going to be the love of my life. He liked beer, movies and cars. He used to drive me crazy with his indifference towards me and how it always seemed to be something else. He was born on November 8, 1983 and before he died he was working as a copywriter for a small PR firm in New Brunswick. What I loved most about him were those moments where he would show how kind he truly was like when he would lovingly talk Mouse down from her place atop my pillow. He ran hot and cold and I found a thrill in trying to figure that out. He died trying to get to my school the day that this shit all hit the fan. I buried him in the kickball field along with some of my students and my boss after Javier beheaded him.

I’ve been separated from the group for about a day and a half. I’m starving, but more so incredibly thirsty. All I want is a drink. I’m deep into the woods now. I think our old house is somewhere behind me.

The hordes have thinned out. It’s the strangest thing. At first there were what felt like hundreds and then the more I ran and the more I worked through, the thinner the groups got until I was back out into open ground. The family of deer that crossed my path may have had something to do with helping me get this far. Sorry, Bambi.

My legs are so sore and swollen. I just want to sit, but if I stop it means they can come back. I don’t have it in me to deal with a horde.

I have to find water and a place where I can rest. I’ve thought about tying the blanket up amongst the trees and sleeping for just a little bit, but then if I fall that will be the end of me. I need water.

I need to focus on the water. At least I’m focusing on me and survival now and not my crappy life I had before.

I never realized just how crappy my life really was before all of this. There have been nights since this all started where I used to lay awake and think about my perfect life before, but it was far from perfect. I actually had started to hate teaching. I hated every moment of it. And as much as I wanted to believe that my boyfriend loved me and was my happy, fairytale ending…in all reality my boyfriend didn’t even really like me and probably just used me for comfort and companionship when he needed it.

I don’t know what’s worse, having been secretly holding onto that behind Javier’s back this whole time. Romanticizing the whole thing. Or actually even missing that perfect life I never had.

God, I am so thirsty. I just want water. I would kill for water.

And as crappy as life had gotten after all of this happened, it actually got better in a lot of ways. I have Javier. I have kids. I have a life that I wanted.

And I’m not teaching, though now, I actually find myself missing it.

I’m so damn thirsty. I wish it was summer. If it were summer there would be leaves and even though there would be minuscule amounts of water in them, I would be pulling them off left and right until this super cotton mouth went away.

I feel like I used to feel after a very long night of binge drinking. Only at least before feeling this way, at least I got to have some fun and not have to fight for my life. This wouldn’t be so hard is this was up hill.

Damn it, I wish I listened to Javier all those times he tried to tell me how to find things out here. I wonder where he is. I wonder if he’s looking for me. Of course he is. And he’s probably worried too. I know Javier loves me. John would have left me out here to fend for myself, giving me some lame excuse about a hang nail stopping him from rescuing me.

Enough. I’m not doing the comparing men game now.

By the sun I know it’s past noon. I have to make it up over this hill. I need to find water. You can’t live without water after what, 3 days? Shit.

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.

With one sweeping movement, he had her pinned to him, his mouth completely covering hers. In her mind, she screamed for him to let her go, but her heart wouldn’t let her. It had been six months since she had left him the last time and she had missed him more than she had imagined.

Her head wins out in the end and she pushes herself from him.

“No! You don’t get to do this again,” she yells, on the verge of tears. She’s too proud though to let him see her cry. She chokes them back with elongated breaths.

“Baby, don’t,” his voice filled with tenderness and love, both endearments she knows are fleeting.  “I love you, I want you with me.”

“It’s never with you, it’s behind you, it’s under you, but it’s never with you.” She begins to walk away and he grabs her by the arm, pulling her back. “I know how this plays out. I’ve lived it be played out twice already.”

“It’s different this time!” She’s wrapped around him, his hands running through her hair, kissing her forehead and cheeks. “It’s different. Baby, I want you with me. Beside me, next to me.”

“Bullshit!” She fits against him, both wanting the comfort of being close to him, but at the same time hating him for even trying to offer it to her and hating herself for even wanting it. “Bullshit! This has been two years of the same shit! You can not just jerk me around and tell me all of this shit and confuse me again. You don’t get to hurt me again! I’m happy now. Not with you. I’ve lived through the excuses and the bullshit and everything else that never made me any real priority or obligation to you. Maybe I found someone who doesn’t do that. Who calls when he says he will, who takes me out and doesn’t cancel on me, who spends time with me, who never makes me feel like I am any less than I am!”

He let’s her go. He steps back from her, realizing that she hasn’t been waiting for him this time. “What’s his name?”

She stops. “ Just fuck you, John. Just, fuck you.”

She’s up by her front door now. She’s away from him. It’s tearing her apart to do this again, but she knows that staying with him isn’t for her. She knows coming in second or even a third between his failing career and friends is not what is going to make her happy.

She has lesson plans and stuff to do for work and dealing with his melodrama is not how she wants to spend her Saturday afternoon.

That was my life before though. That was nearly two years ago. John was dead now and I’m standing in someone’s front yard armed with an axe trying to fight my way to a car with my things strapped to my back.

Javier is yelling. The walkers are everywhere. If I don’t keep fighting, they will tear me to pieces. I need to focus, but right now all I can think of is my life before. The mistakes I made in my life before and I judge myself in that moment because there is no need to even be thinking about it.

I just need to keep fighting.

I was never good with writing about myself. I liked to write stories. I liked to record things, but when it came to writing a paragraph about myself I would freeze, but I want you to know who I was in my life before all of this happened to us. Before the world just fell to pieces, leaving us to pick up those pieces and try to move on as best we can.

Liz’s Story

Miss Burton

I was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on December 16, 1983. My brother Ryan followed me four years later. It was just us and my mom since I was a teenager. My parents had divorced after pretty much never getting along. We barely saw him after that. It didn’t matter though, we both had always been closer to our mother.

I always wanted to be a teacher, it was the one big dream that I had since childhood. I was hired right out of my masters program to work at Alcott Elementary. I started out as the kindergarten teacher, but after doing it for several years I found that I liked the older kids better. I was happily enjoying my time in fifth grade.

In my life before, I was looking forward to marrying my boyfriend John. Had things been different, I would probably be planning my wedding right now, but that was…life before.

  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.

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.

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.

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.