I set out at dawn. There was no phone service and I’d not been in contact with Sparkman since the night before. Hope alone persuaded me she was still alive.
I stood on my front porch and sniffed the air, ready to bolt indoors if I smelled the stench of rotting meat. The air was fresh. The only rotter in sight was shuffling across the slope of a nearby hill. It wasn’t moving toward me so I reasoned it was oblivious to my presence.
Presuming the roads would be obstructed with derelict vehicles, I left my car in the garage and took my bicycle instead. It’s funny how conspicuous I felt peddling through town with a 9mm Beretta strapped to one hip, a canvas sheathed machete hanging from the other, and a twelve gauge pump shotgun slung across my back. Flabby Rambo on a bicycle. I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d be in deep trouble if a cop caught sight of me. If only I’d been so lucky.
Fewer rotters wandered the streets than I’d expected. When too many were congregated on the street ahead, I backtracked until a vacant cross-street presented itself. I almost made it through town without a fight. Almost.
The water tower peeked above a stand of oaks beyond the edge of town. Seeing I was so close to my objective, I grew careless and raced between several cars and trucks abandoned in the road. I managed to perfectly time things so that I collided with a rotter when it stepped from behind a UPS truck and into my path.
The impact knocked down the rotter, and I smacked into the grille of a vintage yellow Cadillac. In case you don’t know, striking a wall of steel at thirty-plus mph hurts a lot. If the rotter hadn’t started crawling toward me with jaws a gnashing, I might have lay there for a good while, tragically bemoaning my aches and pains.
This was my first face to face with one of the hungry dead. The pictures and videos posted on the web had done nothing to prepare me for the reality. The look in its eyes—let’s just say I now know what it feels like to be a Big Mac.
The rotter was bloated and swollen. Three parallel gashes raked its face. Pink milky pus oozed from the maggot chocked wounds. Flies buzzed and swarmed in a dark cloud. The stench defied description. I retched and would have lost my breakfast, had I bothered to have eaten.
Pus-face lurched and grabbed my ankle. I forgot my pain and kicked. I think I might have screamed. I couldn’t shake its grip. It chomped down on the toe of my boot. My toes felt near to splintering under the pressure. I drove the heel of my other boot into its nose. The blow broke the hold on my boot and tore a swath of skin from pus-face’s cheek. I don’t even remember drawing the machete, though I do remember hacking off the hand clamped to my ankle.
My bike lay on its side, the front wheel bent and useless. I scrambled away as fast as…
My apologies. Something urgent requires my attention. I’m posting this partial blog in the event anyone out there gives a rat’s ass whether I survived my harebrained outing. I’ll finish this up when time permits.