The Good, The Bad and The Writing
I am sitting with a bunch of aspiring writers at the Yardhouse. I am spending too much time talking ABOUT writing and not enough time actually writing.
Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck. That was some fucked up shit. I went through the wall. What a mess. First of all, it was WAY easier than I figured it would be to get through. One full forced whack with a hammer and I had the hole I needed. Yanking chunks of drywall with the claw of the hammer until I was left with a hole from the floor to just above my head. And from stud to stud on either side. So I would have to fit through sideways, since I am broader than sixteen inches. As I was yanking drywall, I was also yanking the pink insulation shit out as well. No wonder I could hear my neighbors fucking all the time. The walls really do consist of drywall, insulation, drywall. Time to get a house. Oh wait, I might be able to take my pick now.
After I cleared out the space between the drywall, I hit the back of the other wall with the hammer. It went through like it did on my side, but then it hit something on the other side. I was worried it was going to be a big ass bureau or something. It wound up being just a mirror on the wall. My second hit apparently broke the mirror from behind and sprayed shards of glass all over the room. I guess I don’t know my own strength. I started to pull chucks of drywall like I had on my side. At first from behind the mirror, and then down the wall.
Well, I had no warning. Here I am breaking off chunk after chunk of drywall and all of a sudden the mirror fell away and my neighbor’s little boy appeared and jumped through the whole. The little fucker moved faster than any of the others I’d seen. He jumped though the hole in the wall and onto me. I slipped on a bit of drywall and fell to my back. His teeth gnashed at me. He tried to take a bite out of my arm. I rammed the hammer sideways into his mouth like a horse bit. I heard a crunch, but he didn’t register any pain. He just kept trying to take a chunk of flesh from me. I managed to throw him off to the side against my bed. He was up in a flash, intent on making me his breakfast. He was covered in blood already. He looked similar to the rest of them. Pale skin, with dark shadows around his eyes. He didn’t look as emaciated as the ones outside. Of course I didn’t have time to register that at the time. Because that was when his head caved in and he crumpled to the floor. Then I noticed that Jessica was standing there with a softball bat in a batter’s stance. She just hit one out of the park as far as I’m concerned. The boy began to move again. Jess swung the bat over her head and brought it full force on the boy’s forehead with a grunt of effort. There was a loud crunch and I could see his head cave in from the force of the blow.
“Jess, thank you. I owe you one for sure.”
“No, I call it even now. You got me out of my apartment. Now let’s see if there is anything worth this over there. I don’t think I want to be here anymore.”
I just gawked at her. I pulled myself together and stood up. I looked from her to the remains of the boy on the floor, to the hole in the wall and back to her. “That is actually what I wanted to talk to you about. Let’s get this over with, see if we can find any weapons or anything that makes this,” I motioned to the mess on my bedroom floor, “worth it.”
She nodded and motioned to the hole in the wall. I went back to work on the drywall. This time, more cautiously. I was taking my time to listen to the room on the other side. This turned out to be a waste of time. There was no one left alive. And no one returned as a member of the flesh eating undead. I finished the man sized hole and moved the mirror to the side and peered into the room. What a gory sight. My neighbors in bed. Blood everywhere. The little boy had apparently been munching on them for a couple days now. They weren’t really recognizable as my neighbors. I am just assuming it was them.
I surveyed the room quickly and saw no movement. I fully entered the room, my heart racing with fear and adrenaline. I can’t believe their little kid did this. The little monster I corrected myself immediately following this thought. Jess really stepped up and probably saved my life.
Phil and Maggie were on the bed with their insides strewn all about the bed. They were naked as far as I could tell through the blood and chunks of meat. That little shit really did all that. I walked closer to them to make sure they weren’t going to get up and come after me. That wasn’t going to be an issue. As I got closer I noticed the two blood and brain splatters on the wall behind and above them. I couldn’t understand this at first and I may never fully comprehend it. My best guess is that when their son died they offed themselves? I always thought his macho show was just that. A show. What a weakling. No sense of duty beyond his own self.
Ok, one piece of information known so far this morning. Braining them works to put them down. Now to see what there is to pillage from this apartment. First, to find the gun they used. It took a little searching. I found it in the bloody mess between the two of them. I’ve never been squeamish around blood, but the blood and the smell combination was too much. I don’t know how long they had been dead, but the stench was bad. I don’t even know how to describe it. I’ve never wondered what the smell was like, but have seen a lot of actors trying to portray the smell on film. It was worse than I could have ever imagined. There was the coppery smell of the blood as well as the smell of shit. I can only assume that is from their colons being ripped open. That thought did it. Picturing that little boy ripping into flesh tubes full of shit caused my stomach to clench and empty its contents onto the floor. Adding to the bloody mess already there.
“Are you alright,” came Jessica’s voice from behind the mirror.
“Yeah, just losing my breakfast. It’s bad in here. My neighbors killed themselves. Let’s try to keep our voices down. Everything sounds so much louder now. Have you noticed that?” I asked in low hoarse tones after my stomach finished convulsing.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed. Do you need my help?”
“No, I think I can get out of here in ten minutes. I’ll bring everything I find back to you.”
“Ok Steve, please be careful. I don’t want to lose you.”
There was a touch of compassion in her tone and it did a lot to lift my heart. Maybe I can be the hero in this after all – eventually.
I saw the butt of the gun laying sticking out of the blood and guts between the Hernandez’. I reached down and grabbed it with my thumb and forefinger. I lifted it and went to the foot of the bed. I have never held a gun before – I know, I’m probably the only male over the age of 10 in Texas that hasn’t – and it was not nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. I bent down at the end of the bed and used the comforter to wipe it off as best I could. Note to self – look up whether you can get this kind of gun, whatever it is, wet. I need to thoroughly clean it. It is still quite sticky.
I went to the closet first and found exactly what I was hoping for in there. And in exactly the condition I was hoping to find it. A gun safe standing open. My bloody lucky day. Inside, it wasn’t the national guard armory I was hoping for, but it was more than I had for sure. There was another handgun, I think it’s called a glock – I have to look it up. A shotgun – that one I am sure of. And standing next to the shotgun were two rifles with big looking scopes on them. There were two shelves at the back of the safe that were full of ammunition for these guns. At the bottom of the safe there was a large bag. I pulled this out first and opened it on the floor. There were a couple of tools in it. I have no idea what they are for – more to research. I left them in and added to them the three large guns. I also set the bloody gun in it as well. I kept the clean gun in my hand and shoved all the boxes of shells into the bag.
Holy shit that bag is heavy. Good thing the adrenaline hadn’t fully subsided in my system. I lugged it over to the mirror and slid it to the side and peered into my bedroom. First I saw the bloody mess of the boy and then Jess sitting on my mattress with her face in her hands. She was crying.
“Jess, you ok?” I knew it was a stupid question as soon as it came out of my mouth. And when she raised her head out of her hands and glared at me, I knew not to ask that question again.
“Steve, I’m not going to answer that one. I can’t stay here tonight. I don’t feel safe here anymore.” The tears were streaming down her face, but there was a hardness that overshadowed the tear streaked exterior. “Steve, we have to go today. I don’t care where, but we have to go.”
“My thoughts exactly. It isn’t going to be fun or easy, but I agree completely! Here.” I struggled to get the duffle bag through the hole in the wall. Do you think you can drag this over to where the other ones are? We are at least armed now.”
Her face unsunk and the hardness shone through all the more. “What did you find?”
“I don’t know what they all are, but I think I can figure out how to use them.” I looked at her apologetically, “I’ve never held a gun before. I am going to look for more supplies now. Ten, fifteen minutes tops and we can start figuring out how to get out of here.” I tried to give her a smile, but I’m sure it came across as a grimace.
She got off the bed and came over to the hole, put her hands on both sides of it and leaned in and to my amazement, planted a kiss on my mouth. I barely had time to respond in kind when she pulled away, reaching down to grab the bag and begin half dragging and half carrying it back across the room toward the living room. Not a word. But my spirits soared.
I was crouching there for a second to watch her move from the room and admire her ass as she did it. I’m still a guy, no matter what is going on around me right? I turned and was brought back down from the cloud of lust in an instant when I again saw the room around me.
Back to the closet. I wasn’t interested in the clothes so shoved them to the side as best I could. These two had a ton of clothes. Odd since I only ever saw him in uniform and her, being a housewife, in sweats ninety percent of the time. There was another duffle bag on the floor. My lucky day so far for sure. I grabbed it and opened it. Empty. Damn! I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but I figured a miracle could very well be in order. I looked for a couple more seconds and found nothing else of interest in the closet so surveyed the room again.
I had to get out of there. The blood and stench was too much. My euphoria was wearing off being in there. Beyond the mirror I could hear the duffle bag full of guns being shuffled. The sound was way too loud. I didn’t have time to marvel at how sound is relative. Not at that moment at least. Now I do. When silence is pretty absolute, it is amazing how loud every little sound that breaks that silence is amplified.
I walked to the bedroom door that was ajar and opened it with my foot. I had the gun raised and ready for anything. Nothing, just their living room. It would appear that their apartment was the mirror image of my own. That helped. I went straight to their pantry and found a ton of canned goods. Too heavy. We already had five heavy bags. There were a few food items that I had to take. Mostly comfort food like a package of Nestle Tollhouse Chewy chocolate Chip Cookies. Those will be awesome later. Into the bag. Peanut butter, check – into the bag. Unopened grape jelly – into the bag. Saltines – into the bag since we have no bread. There were a couple other things that I tossed in as well, but we had enough food essentials to last us awhile.
As I was walking through the living room I heard a sound that stopped me in my tracks and sent a shiver of ice through my veins. The front doorknob jiggled. Fuck, please be locked. Please be locked. Please be locked. I stood at the top of the stairs looking down at the handle moving. The door didn’t open. That was encouraging. Hopefully it was locked and not just their inability to turn it fully. Looking back, I probably should have gone down there to double check. Hindsight being 20/20 and all.
Encouraged yet scared into action I went on to the second bedroom. Nope, that was the kid’s room. I skipped that one. And went into the bedroom at the end of the hall. Phil’s office was immaculate. He probably didn’t allow Maggie of the boy in there at all with threats of a beating. There was a computer desk, like any that sits in a million office depot shopper’s study’s around the nation. There was a monitor on top and a place for the PC in a cabinet next to the place where he would sit. There wasn’t so much as a piece of paper on the desk.
There were maps on the wall, the US, a world map, and a map of Europe. There were push pins all over these. There were pictures of Maggie and Charlie – that’s the boy’s name – on the wall above the desk. I had to wonder if he put them up there or if Maggie had done it to remind him that he had a family. He struck me as the type of guy that completely neglects his family, feeling that bringing home a paycheck and keeping the family fed, clothed and housed was enough family duty for him.
There wasn’t much else in this room, so I went to the closet. I opened it and found an anally organized wall of shelves. Computer parts and tools for the most part were housed on the shelves. Most of which I already had in our bug out bags. There were a few items I saw that I had to have. I tossed in four rolls of duct tape, two cans of WD-40 and riot helmet. What the fuck?! Oh well. It was definitely something that would be handy. And it made me think of something else to look for in their closest.
As I was stuffing the helmet into the bag, I heard a noise behind me. I stood and whirled and pulled the trigger on the gun all at once. And all that happened was an empty click. And thank god! Standing in front of me was Jessica.
“Fuck!” I exclaimed and threw my arms around her, “I’m so sorry. You scared the shit out of me.”
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t be alone any more. You could have killed me.” Her voice was quavering with fear and anger all at once.
“Thank god it isn’t loaded.”
She pulled back from me and slapped me square in the face. “That’s for almost killing me. We aren’t even anymore. You owe me now big time.”
“Yes. I am done in here now. Let’s go figure out how we are going to get out of here.” I put my hand on my face and felt the heat from the slap coming off it onto my hand. I also felt the sting of it all the way to my teeth. This girl packs a wallop.
“I wanted to tell you, there are more of them out there now. I don’t know if they heard us or what, but there are about fifteen or twenty of them trying to get into our apartment and this one as well as the downstairs neighbors. They are already in down below here. The door was open I guess. What are we going to do?” Her eyes were pleading with me for an answer.
“Let’s go have a look. I’m sure we can figure something out.” I said it, but I wasn’t sure of anything anymore. I could have killed this girl. I followed her out of the room and through the living room, stopping to look down the stairs where the doorknob was being worked more earnestly. Or maybe that was just my imagination. Who knows.
Into the bloody bedroom we went. Moving the mirror aside and into my (our? Did she say our?) apartment.
“Wait a second, One more thing I need to check for.” I popped back into the bedroom and ran to the closet and grabbed what I had hoped to find and almost ran back to through the hole in the wall.
When I got through it, I held out the flak jacket to Jess.
We now have 6 bags on the stairs by the front door. I have prioritized them mentally, and now we are getting read to get the fuck outta dodge.
Status changed from “Available for chat” to “Jake, read my blog, we’ll be there before dark with any luck at all.”
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7pm (hand written into a spiral notebook)
Holy shit, it’s been a decade(?) or more since I have written my blog (used to call it a journal) by hand. Not sure I can do this. My pencil can’t keep up with my thoughts. But I have to try. What an incredible 8 hours! I can barely believe we made it out of San Antonio alive. It was close a couple of times. Especially getting out of the apartment. Here is where this get’s really geeky, but I think it kept me alive at least.
I wanted us to have the best chance possible to get into the car with as many of our supplies as possible. First thing I did was shave my head completely bald. I don’t want them grabbing onto my hair as I run by them. That would suck. I had been growing my hair out for the past year and a half, and it hurt to shave it off in one fell swoop, but I’m taking no chances. If I hadn’t found the helmet, I would have insisted that she do the same. That would have been a shame. Her blond hair fell down to the middle of her back. But I made sure that she could tuck all of it into the helmet and it still fasten. I changed into a long sleeve turtleneck and commenced with the duct tape. All the way down to the wrists. I kept wrapping until the entire shirt was covered. There is no way to bite through that. I made sure not to wrap it too tight, however. I don’t want movement restricted. And I wanted to be able to take it off and put it back on as needed. I did the same with a pair of sweat pants as well.
After I made the duct tape suit for myself (with a little help from Jess when it was impossible for me to reach certain spots), I helped Jess into the flak jacket. She had no hesitation, nor embarrassment to strip her shirt off and stand there and let me help her into the jacket in just her bra. I must admit right here and now, it was agony. Her skin is so soft. And that is after a few days of showers with only my men’s soaps and products. I can imagine how she feels when she is using her girlie stuff. I digress. I helped her into the flak jacket and another of my turtlenecks, and commenced duct taping her as well. The same with another pair of my sweats. I won’t get sidetracked with a description of the lower half of her body, but rest assured it is burned into my brain like a fine painting that would have made Leonardo da Vinci proud.
I found a couple pairs of leather gloves that we could use as well. I surveyed Jess in her full “zombie battle armor” and realized that the chivalry must not be completely dead in me. I noticed that she was covered from head to toe. I however would be exposed from the midneck on up. Jessica looked like an alien invader in her own right. Hopefully if we run into anyone else they won’t be as afraid of aliens as they are obviously going to be of zombies.
When we were all decked out in out zombie battle armor, we surveyed outside again. Not good. There were still about 20 shamblors within view. Most had given up trying to get into the apartments. That was one good thing. I was hoping that would be the case. I was worried about getting the bags into the car. I prioritized them. The first trip I was going to get the guns into the back and she was going to throw the camping bag in. If it looked like we could make another trip we were going to get the rest of the bags in a second trip. But only if it looked like we could do it safely. Too bad looks can be deceiving right?
While we were making the suits, we discussed plans to get out of there. Now we were ready to enact them. Jessica took up her place at my window and peered through the blinds and I started to walk toward my bedroom.
“Steve?” I turned and Jess was right in front of me and she threw her arms around me and kissed me deeply. “Be careful, I’ll do my part, you be careful with your part and hurry safe.”
“Hurry safe?” But her lips crushed the question away. Then she pulled away and walked back to the window.
If that wasn’t motivation to succeed, I don’t know what is. I turned and walked into my bedroom. I stepped over (neighbor boy name) and to the hole in the wall. I stepped through it with only the bloody handgun on me. I emerged into the neighbor’s bedroom like a silver cat burglar. Everything was as it had been a couple hours before. I went through the bedroom door and into the living room. The knot of fear in my stomach tightening with each step I took toward the top of the stairs. My courage was hanging by a thread at that moment. It probably would have snapped if I had heard the doorknob move.
That didn’t happen though and the plan moved ahead almost as planned. I got to the top of the steps and peered down to the front door. My stomach clenched wanting to wretch again. The feeling passed and I took the first step down before it could try to sabotage me again. I got to the bottom of the stairs and looked out the peephole. There were only two of them in the line of sight of the fish eye. That worked for me, especially since the closest one was about ten feet away, and the other two were facing the other direction, one of these was actually at my front door, pawing at the doorknob. I reached for the blinds that covered the window on the wall to the right of the door. I took a deep breath and pulled the drawstring all the way down. The blinds shot up and I opened the front door all the way against the wall. I wrapped the string around the doorknob as quickly as I could while I watched in slow motion as the three zombies I saw from the peephole and four others that I didn’t all turned toward me at the sound of the door opening.
As I wrapped the cord around the doorknob I stole a glance up at my living room window. There was a gap a lot wider than there had been before and I could clearly see Jessica’s face staring down at me. She looked as terrified as I felt. My eyes went back to the zombies and it was time to retreat. The closest was shambling toward me. Ten feet can be made up really fast, even if you can only walk stiff legged. He was only a step from the doorway. And with if I had stuck my arm out I could have grabbed his outstretched hands. That wasn’t part of the plan, so I turned and ran up the stairs.
Well, I ran up one step and then tripped. That was not part of the plan! I tripped on the second carpeted step and slid down to the floor again. I turned and looked at the ghoul looking down at me and scrambled up the steps on my hands and knees. And almost made it out of reach. I felt the hand clamp around my ankle and looked down between my arms and legs in time to see it bite into my silvery calf. And the pain was excruciating. I kicked out with my other foot and it flew back against the tied open door. I saw another of them step through the door and completely ignoring the one I just kicked began to come at me. This time I scrambled out of reach and up to the top of the stairs in a flash.
When I got to the top I looked back down the stairs. If the pain in my leg hadn’t been so blinding, the sight of three zombies trying to climb stairs would have been extremely comical. They were tripping over each other and falling down, and making absolutely no headway. That wasn’t in the plan either, but we might be able to use that to our advantage. Maybe.
I limped to the bedroom and closed and locked it. I stood with my back against it for a second before calling out, “Jess, come help me, please.”
She had apparently been right on the other side of the mirror, because before I finished my request the mirror was moving aside and she was jumping though.
“Are you ok? What happened?” she was near panic.
“I think I’m ok. One of them bit my leg, but I don’t think they got through the tape. Those fuckers are strong! How can they possibly be so strong? Fuck how can they even be? Help me get this dresser in front of the door.”
We moved the enormous twelve drawer dresser in front of the door. While we were shoving it in place I was wondering how the hell they got it in here in the first place. After it was in place we went through the mirror again.
“Get on the bed,” Jess told me sternly as soon as we were both through the wall.
“Huh?” I uttered, bewildered.
“I’m going to check your leg.”
“Ah,” and I lay on my face on the bed and felt her raise my duct pant’s leg. I heard the sharp intake of breath when she looked at the injury, and then I felt her fingers on my leg. And finally I heard her sigh. It was clearly the sigh of relief of someone who had been holding their breath.
“It didn’t break the skin. You are going to have one fuck of a bruise and it’s going to hurt for a while, but you’ll be fine. You’re a genius with your duct tape idea. Can you walk on it enough to get us the fuck out of here now? Now that we’ve let them in over there, it is only a matter of time before they get in here.” She looked at me pleading with me to be ok.
I wasn’t lying to her when I said, “Yeah, I’ll be fine, let’s get the fuck out of here. Let’s see if they are all going in.”
We both went to the living room window and looked out. Of the twenty that were out there earlier, we could only see three. One was just inside the front door of the neighbor. The other two were hot one his heels. If you could call how they moved “hot”.
While we watched the one inside the door stumbled and bumped into the door. It continued up the steps and out of sight, but not just because it was up the steps, but also because it had bumped the door one final time and the cord had come completely undone and slammed shut. That complicated things slightly. But, two was better than twenty.
Jessica must have been thinking the same thing. “We can outrun two of them right? Look how slow they are?”
“No sweat, hun.” I think we will even have time to get all the bags. Look how slow they are. It will take them awhile to cover the sixty feet from that door to ours. And if we are off and running before they even hear the sound of the door opening, we’ll have no problem at all.”So we went for it. I got my keys in hand and we went down the stairs to the front door. I removed the boards that turned out to be not needed at all except for my peace of mind. And I took one last look out the peephole and saw both of them pawing at the neighbor’s front door. I reached down and picked up the gun bag and flung it over my shoulder. Jessica had the backpack over her shoulder and a smaller bag of clothes in her hand.
Long post today. This is what I wrote yesterday and this morning.
Stay scared my friends,
My Little Demon