Dare to explore. Visit Martin Grist’s alter-ego at: http://rwgoldsmith.me
Thank you and don’t let the living-dead virus spreading bed-bugs bite,
Dare to explore. Visit Martin Grist’s alter-ego at: http://rwgoldsmith.me
Thank you and don’t let the living-dead virus spreading bed-bugs bite,
Just when things couldn’t get any worse, Rod shows up. He doesn’t just show up, he appears like some asshole out of a harlequin novel. Lock of hair falling over an eye that makes my eyes look like they belong to a jellyfish. Blood splattered wife beater T barely covering his Hollywood physique. You know the type.
I hate guys like that. They’re so full of themselves. On his own, Rod couldn’t level past ten in WOW without forking out cash for Asian gold.
And no, I’m not afraid he’ll read my blog and know what I’m thinking. If my blog isn’t about him, I doubt he’ll pay it any interest.
All right, maybe I am insecure. Sue me.
Play nice, that’s my motto. This post isn’t to rail on Rod. Allow me to move on.
How’d Rod chance upon our humble abode you ask? Goes back to this morning when I went to check on Shelly and asked her to turn off Dr. Strangelove on the TV so we could talk. She about took my head off at the suggestion and it was then I noticed her not-quite-right look, sort of what I imagine Gollum would look like on LSD. Interesting but not pretty.
What did she do? Nothing all that strange by today’s standards, I suppose. She vacated the den–where she could have easily locked me out–and set up the TV and DVD player in the living room and declared it her personal space. Death to all trespassers, i.e. me. End of story.
Or it would have been, had there not been a fireplace. Shelly decided that the furniture in the living room—which I must mention, was willed to me by my beloved, deceased mother—was more suitable for burning than for sitting on or setting things on as was my bent.
Seriously, I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but this is California. I sleep with only a sheet over me 364 days out of the year. The 365th night, the sheet is in the wash.
So long story short–fire, smoke, signal, hello, somebody lives here, hi my name is Rod and I just happened to be in the neighborhood and saw your smoke, I hope you don’t mind.
Asshole. At least he cleaned up the zombie mess he made around the house before he came to steal my woman.
I wish he were a rapist. I find rapists are so much easier to deal with.
I need to stop being like this. Put on a happy face.
I wonder if Rod likes Beethoven?
I love Shelly. Yes, it’s true. She’s as fun as one of those old sitcom heroines, always ready with a new adventure that’s sure to get her in deep doo-doo. I’m being harsh. Shelly’s not all that funny, but that’s okay because I’m not with her for the laughs. Unlike those cit-com husbands, I’ll do what Shelly wants, if it will buy her time from her depression.
So here’s the low-down. Thanksgiving is only a few days away. For my friends living outside the USA who don’t know about our American Thanksgiving holiday, it’s one of our more nationalistic and less alcoholic driven celebrations. (Despite what you might think of Americans, ugly is primarily what we become when you try to deny us our freedom or booze)
To move on, Thanksgiving is basically a celebration of the birth of capitalism in the New World, although it’s politically incorrect to speak of this these days.
Here’s the History of Thanksgiving in a nutshell: Some early English settlers, known as the Pilgrims, were essentially amazingly daring socialist hippies who made the new world their home in 1620. These people should not be confused with the Puritans. The difference between the two groups is immense. The Pilgrims were driven by spirit; the Puritans, by religion.
The Pilgrims, finding that their communal system produced less than was necessary to support the community, made an extraordinary transition and gave up socialism in favor of capitalism. Due to that decision, the community survived. They not only survived, they thrived. In celebration of their new found bounty, they threw a feast which came to be known as Thanksgiving.
Central to the feast is a cooked turkey. For those who don’t know, a turkey is a large bird that tastes wonderful when it’s baked with bread crumbs crammed up its ass.
So where am I going with this post? Here goes. In a couple days, Thanksgiving day will be on us. Do I care? Absolutely not. Does it matter what I think? Absolutely not. So who does matter? Shelly.
Shelly wants a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving diner. Says she’s going to leave tomorrow morning and will return by Thanksgiving day with a turkey, cook it and serve it or die trying.
As you’ve probably guessed, I’ll not be letting her go on her wild turkey chase by herself. I’ll take my cell phone. In case I find a spare moment, I’ll keep you informed as to our progress. Don’t count on it though. If I know Shelly, she’ll probably have me build her a Taj Mahal with any free time I might find.
I have to admit I feel like an idiot. I’m going to die for a stupid turkey. Heck, I’ve never seen a wild turkey around here in my entire life. I’m a loon for going along with this. I really truly don’t expect to return home this time. I mean it. I’m only doing this because I love Shelly. I guess I’ll do anything for her.
God save me.
Life has been growing darker by the day for both Shelly and me. To snap myself out of my funk, I was going through some video files I’d archived during better times. It was there I came across a You Tube video I’d saved. I played it for Shelly and it seemed to raise our spirits somewhat.
At first, she found it depressing and refused to watch. She was disturbed by the thought that most of the people in the film are now dead. I finally got her to view it by reminding her that movie classics like her favorite, Gone With The Wind, were filled with dead actors by the time she first watched them. It’s the nature of art to outlive its creator.
This video was a hit before the world came to an end. This is the last in a series of three films I know of. I wonder where the hell Matt is these days. I’d like to believe he’s out there still, this time getting zombies from around the world to dance. Now that would be a video.
I witnessed something yesterday that moved me like nothing else I’ve yet experienced. It literally brought me to my knees.
Perhaps you’ve noticed the lack of emotion on my part since the apocalypse began. I certainly have. Not that it bothered me. I thought I was merely facing hard times with hard logic. After all, why dwell on what you can’t change? What’s the point in crying over spilt milk? No need to be human. Sever your emotions. Live like one of the living dead––just don’t eat anyone. Let’s call it the spilt milk syndrome. I know I’m boring you with all this talk about emotions so let me tell you what happened before you turn the channel.
Yesterday morning, Shelly and I set out to forage for cigarettes and other basic essentials. Our destination was a small market/liquor store a mile and a half away. Shelly insisted she carry the 9mm which left me with the machete––I’d broken my shotgun and left it behind during my botched rescue attempt. And no, I didn’t let Shelly finagle the pistol from me. The truth is I’m just not a very good shot, and I can’t waste ammunition with a machete.
Our plan was to enter the store, clear out any rotters loitering about, then loot and vamoose. We made it there with only one incident. A dead teenager began to follow us down the road. Although she wore the pallor of death, she was in much better shape than most of her kind. She had a bite mark on her upper arm and her bloody hands told the tale of her suicide. Poor kid, she must have believed she’d truly die if she took her own life. Although we could easily outpace her, Shelly insisted I dispose of the girl. She was right, of course. Once a rotter catches the scent, they’re relentless. Nevertheless, there was enough left of the young girl that her decapitation shook me up a lot more than you’d think. Perhaps that’s what helped pry open the door to my emotions.
We came into sight of the store. Rotters were scattered about, sprawled over the street, twitching and crawling, broken, mangled, crushed. Further down the street, a throng of dead swarmed over and feasted on something large, which I at first took to be a horse or cow. Whatever it was had drawn every rotter in sight, leaving us free and clear to accomplish our mission. I’m sure I would have been fine if I hadn’t suddenly realized that the thing in the road was not common livestock, but an honest-to-God rhinoceros.
The rhino jerked and tossed off several rotters who picked themselves up and resumed with their repast. The creature was still alive, though beyond any hope. It seemed absurd to me that such an extraordinary and powerful animal should die in such a manner. Without warning, I envisioned mankind as that dying beast, and everything I’d bottled up inside me over the last few weeks poured out. If Shelly hadn’t pistol whipped some sense into me, I’d probably have drawn the entire pack of living dead down on us.
For the rest of the day and far into the night, I continued to mourn the people I’ve lost and the world that’s crumbling around us. Shelly, I should say, got her smokes and joined me in my grief when we returned home. I’ll also mention how much my jaw hurts from where she hit me with the gun. I’ll give her this. Whatever she does, it’s never half-assed.
Note: As much as I could really go for a genuine miracle about now, the rhinoceros most likely walked here from the San Diego Wild Animal Park, which is located about thirty miles away.
It seems Shelly and I fight about nearly everything. She says it’s because I won’t go on a cigarette run with her. Says she wishes she was back with her husband. Apparently, he beat her at the drop of a hat, but was better than me in the fact he bought her smokes when she was out. If that’s her idea of an ideal relationship, who am I to judge?
Be grateful you didn’t hear her when she read my last post. She may only be 5’ 4” but she’s got a vocabulary that would make the editors of the Urban Dictionary blush. I’m quite certain I never want to meet the guy who married her. I’m also certain there will be hell to pay, if I find the nerve to post this blog, which brings me to my point.
Shelly says I’m a %*&@ idiot to believe anyone would be interested in reading about my pathetic existence. She says the only thing interesting about me is her. So here’s the clincher. I find myself agreeing with her. This despite the strange fact that Z has become a central focal point of the apocalyptic web community. So is this my farewell post?
Not on your life. I will continue with my mundane posts as usual. However, after scathing hours of discourse with Shelly, I’ve decided to sift the direction of Z.
In the last few weeks, we as a people have lost vastly more than we can fully fathom. With death literally prowling outside our doors, we can no longer casually visit our neighbors as we once did, even if they live next door. Why did we visit like we use to? What was it we did when we visited? I think what we did was exchange stories. “I did this. My wife told me that. Can you believe how so and so lost the football game yesterday.” Isn’t that about how it went?
So I ask you, isn’t the swapping of stories an essential part of being human? Shelly and I believe this to be true, and by that we mean we believe it’s absolutely essential to our nature. Do you? If your answer is yes, send me your story.
Why so many survivors have focused on this site is a mystery. What matters more is that whoever posts here will have an audience. Think of Z as the blazing fire-pit where the last tribesmen of humankind gather at night to enthrall each other with their tales of woe, warning, and enlightenment.
Step into the light and tell your tale.
Visit http://zotale.blogspot.com/ for guest survivor guidelines.
I’m beginning to question my judgment. After my nearly disastrous rescue attempt, I swore that, as long as I had food and water, I would never again step foot outside my castle. Of course, I was slightly delirious at the time, and naively left Shelly out of my reckoning.
I’m reminded of the old saying about women: Can’t live with them; can’t live without them. Only in Shelly’s case, the saying is literal. If I let her stay, she’s going to get me killed. I swear, the next time she tries talking me into scavenging for “feminine supplies,” I’ll let her go alone. Why can’t she just be grateful for what she’s got? I’ll bet there are plenty of you out there who don’t even have running water. So what’s so life or death important about ‘salon’ shampoo? Why can’t she just wash her hair with dish soap like I do? Soap’s soap, isn’t it?
It looks like Shelly and I will live. She’s getting some color in her cheeks, and the yellow has cleared from her eyes. This morning, I removed the handcuffs I’d used to bind her to the bed. No, it’s not what it sounds like. I just didn’t want her dying during the night and then taking a bite out of me. She’s currently sitting up in bed and eating soup.
I’m now convinced the living dead bug is contracted through the zombie bite. I got rotter blood in my eyes and mouth. They lacerated Shelly’s upper back with their fingernails–I know this for a fact, having removed a nail from her wounds. That neither of us has developed a taste for human flesh seems, therefore, to single out the zombies’ choppers as the true zombification agent.
Not that you need worry solely about being bit. The living dead are walking breeding grounds of pestilence. Any contact with the dead might well spell your death through infection or disease. As your mother would have told you, “Don’t touch the zombie. You don’t know where it’s been.”
I wish to end this brief post on a bright note. Think of this. If not for the apocalypse, right now we(USA) would all be buried under tons of political campaign ads.
I, for one, feel like celebrating.
I scrambled away as fast as I could with the severed hand clinging to my ankle. Pus-face crawled after me, though he was slow as any other rotter. Now that I was free, I was in little real danger.
Hacking off the hand had sickened me. I wanted my stomach to settle before I did any more hacking. I couldn’t help Sparkman with pus-face hounding my steps. A bullet to his head might have done the trick, but I wasn’t willing to draw attention with the noise.
It turned out the solution was simple. I climbed inside the Cadillac and, leaving the door open, slid across the seat to the passenger side. When pus-face crawled in after me, I exited and closed the door behind me. I then ran around the car and slammed the driver side door. Gnashing his teeth, the rotter pressed his face and hands against the window, fouling the glass with maggot laced ichor. Problem solved.
I’d learned my lesson and took my time from then on. I moved from the road to the trees. The air was foul. I took advantage of the cover and made my way to a clearing where the water tower resided. Sparkman had not exaggerated her predicament. I estimated no less than two hundred rotters lumbered about the clearing.
“Sparkman’s screwed.” That’s the first thing that went through my head when I saw the situation. She’d told me there were too many rotters to handle on her own. Who did she think I was, Bruce Campbell? Sure, I’d done pretty well with pus-face—though his stupid hand was still latched to my ankle. But two hundred? What’d she expect me to do, whistle Dixie and lead them away like some Pied Piper of the living dead?
Ends up that’s pretty much what happened. What I’d forgotten was the rotters sense of smell. They smell the living as well as the living smell them. Even worse, I didn’t realize what was happening as more and more of the gathering appeared disoriented and turned in my direction. By the time I fully registered my peril, I had a horde of zombies surging my way.
Did I mention I’m out of shape? Well, let me tell you, it’s amazing how fast you can run when two hundred rotters are after your ass—and liver and spleen and intestines and—you get the idea. Problem was I ran out of steam. My side cramped up and hurt like hell. The bruising I’d taken from crashing into the Cadillac protested with every step.
I limped into town and saw my doom. Slow though they are, rotters have the virtue of perseverance. From every direction, the dead were merging my way. Although I‘d avoided them on my way through town, I could only assume they’d caught my scent and followed me at their tortoise pace.
If could not outdistance them, I was screwed. I thought of shutting myself inside one of the cars and blowing my brains out. Lucky for me, I’m too much the coward for that.
I climbed onto the roof of the BMW and unslung the shotgun from my back. I’ve always been a “live and let live” sort of guy, but I was discovering there’s something about the living dead that sort of makes you want to blow them to kingdom come.
If I told you how I held my own until I ran out of ammunition, you’d say I was telling a big-fish story or tooting my own horn, so I won’t.
Screw it. I’m too tired to lie. I was magnificent. I was John Wayne on the ramparts of the Alamo. It was amazing. I knew I was about to die, but it didn’t matter. All my pains evaporated. I literally broke the wood stock of the shotgun when I smashed it into an umpteenth skull.
Blood rained. I have no idea how much of the shit I swallowed. I just know it’s the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.
I’ve been sick for days, running the gammit between fever and chills. I presume it’s from the blood I swallowed.
It was Sparkman who saved me, though the memory of her screaming at me to get on the back of her motorcycle is no more than a colorless blur. She didn’t escape unscathed. Her back is lacerated with deep scratches, and she’s suffered far more than I from infection. Up until today, I didn’t believe she’d pull through. Had I not stockpiled a supply of antibiotics, I’m certain neither of us would. Her name is Shelly, by the way.
On the downside, The Lord of the Rings Online expansion was due to be released about now. Damn. I’d been really looking forward to exploring Rohan. The end of the world really sucks.
I’m too weak to write any more. I need to check on Shelly and get some rest. Hopefully, I’ll feel up to removing this damn hand from my ankle come tomorrow.
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.
Rumors are going round it’s the military that’s maintaining the civilian communication systems. I’m going along with this explanation until a better rumor comes along. My gratitude goes out to whomever is responsible. Despite the fact that the service windows are random and fleeting, I’m still thankful for what we have. Life will be far darker when we lose all contact with each other.
A short while ago, I received a text from Sparkman. A distress call, actually. Blundered into a nest of rotters and escaped by climbing a water tower on the edge of town about three miles from here. If what I’ve heard about the dead’s inability to grasp the fundamentals of ladder climbing is true, Sparkman should be safe for now. Problem is that without a distraction, there’s no way down. Although the view is probably very nice from up there, food and water are in short supply. (The tower hasn’t held water in years)
I’m a coward by nature. The last thing in the world I want to do is leave my cozy sanctuary. I like things the way they are, with me on one side of the door and the rotters on the other. I can’t believe I volunteered to help. If on the chance I carry off the rescue and make it back in one piece, I expect I’ll have a thing or two worth writing about.
If I find the nerve, I’ll leave at first light.
One last thing. Sparkman, it turns out, isn’t a he.
Sparkman’s alive! He texted me not two hours ago. Says he was worried the ones doing the shooting in Moulder would home in on his cell signal, so he removed the battery. He stayed until he saw the helicopters leave the area and figured it was time to split. Good figuring on his part. He missed his own cremation by a few ticks of the clock. He didn’t risk texting me until everything went to hell.
All to Hell. Have you stopped to think just how much the end of the world messes with your plans. I’ve prepared for this day for three years. I saw myself, all righteous and alone, weathering an alien invasion, or a civil war, nuclear holocaust, or a pandemic of Biblical proportions. I guess number four is what we got. Funny, the one scenario I never believed could happen was a stupid Zombie Apocalypse. Damn, I wish they weren’t dead. That’s what makes the whole end of the world thing seem so unreal, like it’s just some really bad Hollywood dream. I mean, if E.T. were wiping us out, that would make sense. But with these walking chum-buckets, how do you make sense of anything?
Not that it matters a rat’s ass, but I’m getting off track. Maybe that’s my point. Solitude sucks. I’ve been holed up here for what, five or six days? Hell, I’m pretty sure it’s only been a couple of days. Just seems like forever. Losing my mind. Where was I going with this?
Sparkman! That’s where I was going. He’s got nowhere safe to go. Hard to believe, right? He pulls off this James Bond spy shit, and yet he has no place to stay? I know, right?
So I invited him to stay here. The reason being I hate being here alone with those things wandering outside the door. For the first time in my life, solitude is creeping me out.
Here’s the kicker.He took me up on my offer. So the question now is can he make it here without gettin’ et? I promised I’d break out the Jack Daniels if he did.
As you probably can tell from my writing, I sort of jumped the gun on the whiskey.