Tomorrow is the winter solstice. According to the Mayan calendar, tomorrow will also bring about the end of an age. I’m afraid that particular fat lady’s already sang and taken her curtain call as the zombie apocalypse qualifies quite nicely as the end of an age. The Mayans did get the year right, however, and were only off by a few months. Not bad really, considering their obsession with separating people from their beating hearts. At least we lived in a time when the government only wanted to separate us from our money.
Here’s something new to chew on. Seems there’s still a strain of the original plague going around. Rod was kind enough to contract it and bring it into my home.
His behavior became erratic, tilting toward insane. At first we attributed his mood swings to the meth.
As I’d locked myself inside my home alone when the plague first began, I’d never actually witnessed the disease’s process before. Shelly, on the other hand, had been in the thick of it from the start. Hell, she’d been in Moulder, Arizona on Z-Day—that’s ground zero in my book. Anyhow, it was she who recognized what was happening to Rod. If not for her, I’d probably be a walking piece of mindless flesh by now.
Once we realized what was happening to Rod (I feel bad about calling him Rodney. He was adamant about being called Rod), we had to decide what to do with him. Basically it came down to casting him outside to join the rest of the ravenous dead, or simply kill him. Usually we’d opt for a shot to the head, but Shelly felt a debt of gratitude for all the cleaning he’d done. Rod, himself, in a moment of lucidity, requested exile.
Before the end came, we tried to gather from Rod what had happened. It’s the world consensus that the initial phase of the disease transformed everyone without natural immunity within three days of contact. Rod told us of something strange that happened to him when he went foraging in town. He’d cleared out a number of living dead inside a supermarket, but due to the automatic doors, he expected more dead to at any time. He was hurrying to fill his shopping cart when all the lights went out, and the entire store began to tremble and then shake. Believing it was an earthquake, he ran for the exit and stopped. Outside, something unprecedented was taking place. Zombie was attacking zombie.
Rod was too mesmerized to move and watched as they tore each other to shreds. This is weird enough for me, and I’m someone who thrives on weird, but what else he saw goes beyond weird. Rippling invisible humanoid figures flitted among the ravaging dead, pausing beside them momentarily before moving on to the next. He likened them to the shimmering air of thermal mirage.
The shaking stopped and the lights came back on. The shimmering figures were gone and the living dead lay on the ground, still as death. I guess that would make them the unliving dead. In any caser, I have to hand it to Rod, he finished his shopping and then head back. Even remembered my booze.
Who or what were these shimmering creatures? Had Rod made the whole thing up? I don’t believe so. They bring to mind the question I keep asking: who’s keeping the power on? I can think of no Earthly reason why we still have internet, cellphone, or any other electrical service after this much time.
So I’ve a new question. Are these shimmer beings friend or foe?
Are they here to help us, or are they the ones responsible for the plague? Somehow, I don’t feel all that optimistic. Not when Rod somehow contracted a phase of the plague he should have been immune to.
Happy thought of the day: Maybe we simply haven’t yet seen the last stage of the plague.
As for Rod, I find it hard to believe, but I think I’m going miss him. It would have been nice having someone around willing to go on a liquor run when asked.
Oh well, water under the bridge. Friend or not, if he doesn’t find another house to hang around in the next couple days, I’m going outside and putting a bullet in his rotting skull.
Rodney isn’t the natural born clean freak we thought he was. Turns out he’s a speed freak instead––as in methamphetamine. He returned with the cleaning supplies as promised, even brought me my JD. Decked out in new clothes, he talked ceaselessly about his jaunt into town. I doubt anyone could singlehandedly kill as many living dead as he claimed, but who knows? Maybe the drugs gave him the necessary edge.
I had my suspicions even before he left for town, and I removed the lampshade from the desk light in den. When he entered the room, I positioned myself so the light shone directly in his eyes. They remained dilated as he rambled on about all the cockroaches and spiders in the house. (I’ve never found a cockroach in my home) I confronted him about the drugs, and he came clean. (sorry about the pun)
Seems he’d been living across the street from a meth lab before the plague. He had nothing to do with drugs at the time and minded his own business. After most of mankind went belly-up and started eating the living, Rodney found himself alone. Convinced the dead would find a way into his home when he slept, he killed his first zombies when he broke into the meth house and stocked up on the drug.
Shelly and I will decide what to do with Rodney tomorrow. We’re concerned where his frazzled brain will take him once the house is spick and span clean. The world’s gone Looney Tunes enough without Rodney going Daffy Duck on us. Think I’ll hide the cutlery tonight.
It’s difficult to get any writing done with Rodney puttering around the house, what with his vacuuming, dusting, and meticulous cleaning. How am I supposed to get any work done when he’s constantly popping into the den with rants such as, “Where do you keep the mop. What, no mop? That’s barbaric. Sponges? You must have sponges. Oh my Lord, you’re impossible.”
He’s been gone for several hours and I’ve written almost an entire chapter in that time. Who in their right mind would make a run to zombie central just to get some cleaning supplies? I hope he doesn’t forget to pick up the Jack Daniels I asked for.
Here’s the big question: Who’s he think he is, barging into my home and deciding it’s not up to government standards. Maybe I like my home the way it is. Shelly doesn’t complain. Since when did a little dirt ever hurt someone? Dirt gives a place character, if you ask me. And my house was rich in character before Rodney showed up, if I do say so myself.
Oh well. He did dispose of the zombies milling about the house. Plus he hasn’t shown any real interest in Shelly. Thank God for small favors. If only he’d stop pestering me so I could get some writing done.
All in all, I suppose there’s worse things than a clean home.
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?
Stupid turkey had the last laugh. Shelly and I suffered from food poisoning for two days after Thanksgiving.
I was so stoked over our success. Almost like a miracle, it seemed as though God had smiled on us and offered up the bird as a peace offering. Like Lucy offering to hold the football for Charlie Brown, it seems he only wished to set us up.
Shelly says she’s over it, and she has taken to watching Doctor Strangelove over and over. I suppose I’m not able to cope with things as well as she is, so to deal with my depression, I’ve returned to writing my novel. Why, you ask, am I writing something that no one will ever read? The truth is, had the world not ended, it’s just as likely no one would read it. But what the hell, I’ve got nothing better to do with my time. Besides, writing about zombies is so much better than actually living among them.
Wednesday morning, we arrived back where we’d heard the turkey. Shelly had the bright idea that I should make turkey sounds in the hope it would lure the bird to us. I protested
vehemently until she kicked me in the shin and threatened to aim higher with her next shot. I grasped the logic of her argument, and we continued wandering around the area as I gobble-gobbled like an idiot.
Shelly told me to keep my ears peeled and my eyes on the lookout for clues. She didn’t say what clues she hoped to find—an arrow scratched in the dirt pointing to the picture of a turkey, I suppose. With no real plan, we randomly widened our search to wherever we could walk unhindered by the live oak, sagebrush, and wild buckwheat that grows around here like rust on iron.
My throat had grown horse by the time we smelled trouble. Quite literally, we smelled rotter stench wafting in the air, my turkey calls having undoubtedly alerted them to our presence.
We realized our options for flight were severely limited by the dense brush that nearly surrounded us, and we took the only route that led away from the smell. The narrow clearing took us uphill. We had to backtrack several times when, upon choosing a wrong fork, we found ourselves at a dead end.
Progress was slow, and I was getting tired. The only reason we were fleeing was because we didn’t know how many had caught our scent. So far, I’d managed to spot two through the tall brush, a number we could easily manage. We came to an oak tree with branches low enough for me to scale. I didn’t have to climb very high to see the trouble we were in. Rotters were advancing on us from every direction. Just beyond the rise a couple hundred yards off, a tile roof poked up. The brush thinned out somewhat in that direction. It seemed our best bet.
I dispatched two rotters in our path with the machete, and we slid down an embankment to a cement driveway that extended past the side of the house. We found the front door locked, and I wasted precious time fruitlessly trying to kick it in.
A rotter tumbled down the embankment, and landed with a sickening crunch on the driveway. A broken bone had torn through her thigh, and she hobbled toward us with gnashing teeth and grasping arms. Shelly smashed a large ceramic pot containing a dead geranium down on the rotter’s head and laid her out flat. I finished her off with the machete, and we ran to the back of the house.
The back yard consisted of an expansive patio with an empty swimming pool in the center and a wrought iron fence along the back and far side of the house where the hillside sloped steeply away. A sliding glass door offered a way inside the house. I found it locked and rattled the handle and glass in frustration. I would have preferred to close the door behind me once I got inside, but beggars can’t be choosers. I threw a lawn chair at the glass. It bounced harmlessly off.
Several dead rounded the corner of the house and made straight for us. I picked the chair up, determined to break into the house. I struck the glass one blow and froze. From within the house, rotters emerged from unseen rooms and pressed upon the glass door. Luckily, I’d not managed to break the glass.
Shelly shot two rotters in the head at point blank. It was too late to worry about drawing attention with the noise. I looked around. What with the embankment and the drop-off, Shelly and I were effectively cornered.
“Try to find a way onto the roof.” It seemed our only hope.
“If we had time, we could pile furniture up and climb.” Shelly sounded as scared as I felt.
Something brown streaked from the top of the embankment and vanished from sight into the pool. Three rotters followed and fell from the top of the embankment. Two landed on their heads and did not move from where they hit the cement. The third was messed up pretty bad and crawled our way by the movement off one leg.
“Something’s in the pool. Check it out while I put this one out of its misery.” I ran to the rotter as Shelly inched toward the pool, leaning forward to glimpse what was there. It took but a moment to carry out my chore, and I turned in time to see Shelly jump back and scream as the brown thing lept out of the pool and shoot past her.
The words erupted from Shelly and me simultaneously. “It’s the #%$@ing turkey.”
The turkey ran to the far end of the house and disappeared. We raced after it and found a door, ajar and concealed behind a wall of wisteria. We ducked inside, found a light switch, and were relieved to find ourselves in a garage, unoccupied but for the turkey and a late model Camaro. We locked ourselves inside and were safe for the time being.
Inside the garage was another door that led into the house. After a search of the car failed to turn up a key, I was designated the group’s key finder. Luckily, the door to the house was unlocked and I was able to slip quietly inside. I could hear the rotters rustling about the room with the sliding glass door, and I literally tip-toed into the kitchen. Luck was with me, and I found the keys on the counter.
I snatched them up and turned to make my exit. Had I paid more attention to my nose, I probably would have smelled the rotter that had entered the kitchen before I heard it groan. I hadn’t enough room to swing the machete, and hurled myself over a kitchen island, scattering food crusted dishes and pans clashing and clattering across the floor.
I made it into the garage and slammed the door closed behind me. Shelly sat in the driver’s seat with door open. I tossed her the keys. “I guess you’re driving.” I scrambled into the passenger seat, as the Camaro roared to life. Shelly pressed the remote control device clipped to the visor, and the garage door rolled open on its tracks.
We arrived home in short order. Shelly popped open the trunk and stuffed the turkey under her arm. She’d zip tied the bird’s feet together and had no difficulty making it cooperate. I hooked the horn for several seconds while Shelly took cover behind a large pepper tree. The noise created enough distraction for us to climb to the roof and reenter the house.
That’s enough adventure to last me for a good long time. Funny thing how the big hunters were saved by the very turkey they meant to eat. There’s no telling if we’d have found the garage door on our own before overrun by rotters.
In conclusion, this promises to be a most wonderful Thanksgiving, if the smell coming from the kitchen is any indication. I truly never expected to taste turkey ever again.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.