I’m usually found over at Newscoma but I wanted to see if I could do this project. I want you to know that much of this won’t be safe for work so beware.
Let’s see how this goes.
Added to stay just start with No. 1 and I will keep them in order for you here. Back to front as the blogging world goes.
Thanks for stopping by. This scares the crap out of me but I’m going to do it anyway.
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I was an idiot.
With Ben’s dramatics and the sound of gunfire in the distance, I didn’t hear the footsteps. I should have. I should have heard that we were in danger because I had forgotten that we were always going to be in danger. The world had shifted and I was making half-ass meals for a bungling former two-bit criminal instead of making sure we were safe.
Three fucking days and I’d already forgotten. Three days and Ben and I were living like we were at Boy Scout camp with our parents waiting just over the knoll if anything were to happen. I stared at a tall man in camouflage. He wasn’t one of them.
I wasn’t sure what he was.
I didn’t hear him though. There was no time to kick my ass and I reached for my gun for the second time that day. I stared stupidly like a cow, looking at man in army fatigue standing in front of us. His uniform dirty, covered in crimson patterns that were splattered from what I could think was the walkers, and his hand holding on to a gun of some kind.
Everything was in slow motion as we saw the first undead human in three days and Ben spun around facing the soldier holding his gun shakily in his hand.
He reacted more quickly than I did. I was going to have to learn to be better instead of thinking things through. Shit, I didn’t know what to do.
The man slowly lowered his gun, “Hold on. I’m not one of them.”
I had reached for my gun at this point. This man was one of them. The gunshots in the distance increased and Ben lost his focus just for a second.
That’s all the guy needed to jump him and take his gun away pointing it at him steadily.
“All I want to do is talk,” he said looking at me. “That’s it, Lucy. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“Take the gun off of Ben.”
“I’m not so sure about that,” he grinned. How the hell could he grin at me? I lifted my gun, slowly, remembering how Clint Eastwood was always so clever with his patience in Dirty Harry.
I repeated myself, “Move your gun away from Ben.”
Ben was staring at the ground. I couldn’t think of his emotional state at this moment, you could feel his failure wafting of him. He would have to deal with that himself. There was not time.
“Listen, I’m hungry,” the soldier said not moving his gun. “I’ve been without food for three days. I just need a shower and I need to talk to other people.”
“What do you know?” I said.
“I know we are in trouble,” he said.
I pointed my gun to the ground.
“What the fuck are you doing?” Ben howled.
“I’ll feed you and we will listen,” I said. I hoped I was making the right choice but I didn’t see anything else I could do. There were zombies walking around, army in the distance and we remained unhurt. Something was going on, and maybe this guy could provide some clues. It was a calculated risk and I knew it but I didn’t know what else to do.
“Will you let Ben up now?”
He let Ben go and I grabbed at the back of his shirt so he wouldn’t attack him.
“My name is Nick.” He said. He smiled with the whitest teeth I’ve ever seen.
We looked at each other for a moment, weighing out this new development.
“How the hell did you know her name?” Ben growled.
I was wondering the same thing myself but there would be a time without guns to discuss this later.
“Come inside,” I sighed. “Bathroom is at the end of the hall. When you are done, there is bread and sandwich meat in the refrigerator.”
He nodded and we followed him inside, Ben’s eyes sending laser beams of hate toward Nick. And me, for that matter as I could feel without him saying that I had betrayed him for deeds I did not know.
And then there were three.
I drink too much.
The local cops didn’t like it back in the day before the world died. I drank because I was bored. I drank because I failed not only as a man but also as a person. I wanted to be so much more than what I ended up being. I wanted to be a superhero for a woman by making her feel whole. I wanted to be the man that made her forget about other men forever. Not by money or influence, but because I fulfilled this one woman who could make me the man I wanted to be.
I failed. It just became confusing and weird. I thought that she would come out of nowhere, but most of the women I met were not what I needed or wanted.
I suck with women. I always did. Miller Lite built up my courage.
I couldn’t find what I was looking for so I found a group of people that felt as insignificant as I did. But together, we roared. We were amazing and we could do no wrong.
Until, of course, we left the bar.
That’s when the cops came in.
I drank too much. I still do. There is still a lot of beer around because there isn’t anyone to drink it.
Well, expect me, and I’m doing my part.
Back then; I would look for something that I wasn’t sure about. I needed the fellowship of others like me. I had trouble finding it so I went to the bar.
I guess that shit doesn’t matter anymore. I could tell you how hard I worked. I could tell you that the only time I felt real was at the bar, which wasn’t real at all. I could tell you what I needed, what I could give and what was available.
I had to give up my dreams before like a high-priced escort without her sugar daddies’ credit card. After the fall, I realized I knew I was going to need a new place to fall.
For three days, we just heard the gunshots. It was like deer season when I lived with my grandparents on their farm but as much as I tried to pretend that was what it was, it wasn’t.
They were killing the walkers so we wouldn’t get hurt.
And as Lucy said, why were they protecting us?
Luce just listened, as we were alone on the farm, because it passed the time so I talked as she did. She became more beautiful to me. Gray in the wisps of her hair above her brow became quite striking to me as did her tired, yet striking, blue eyes. The way she chuckled and smoked like a fiend, something I never knew about her. The way she talked about the paper and how she wanted so much more but was stepped on by the money people. How eyes welled up thinking of her family, knowing they were gone and trying to accept it. The look in her eyes when she was listening to me talk about my life before all this happened and how she understood to the point my whole body wanted to die a little bit. She understood. I got that.
She made us dinner twice and she wasn’t good at it but she tried. We talked about all the things she wanted. We talked about how she felt stuck here after she left the city. How she thought she was taking a break but then her mother got sick, and in many ways her dad abandoned her after he remarried but she came home to heal from something that wasn’t so much about them, but her and how that still embarrassed her. About how the locals didn’t like her because she was “different” but how they were so worried about what she called “ink by the barrels”.
She didn’t feel a part of the local landscape. She had loyal friends but she hated the falsehoods of those who needed her but didn’t want her.
And how that diminished her because she needed more. I wanted to let her know I understood but I didn’t know how.
And then the gunshots would go off and we would just listen. We knew what was happening but we didn’t have any control.
I tried one time to kiss her. I needed to feel a part of something but she turned away.
When I pushed it, she got up and smiled at me.
Made me feel less than a man and I hated her again. How many times did this bitch put me in the newspaper about my arrests? She didn’t even know who I fucking was.
“Enough!” I screamed.
Her head turned back in a jerk which, to me at least, she found me threatening, which was the last fucking thing I wanted, and she did this thing I will never forget. She reached for her gun, which was in the back of her jeans.
She looked at me with such pity and some fear that I wanted to die but I was so mad. So insane with rage that she didn’t respond. Not with lust or disgust but more it was about nothing.
I didn’t know, or I didn’t understand, that she was just empty. Why didn’t I see that? And then the gunfire went off again and we both looked.
I felt not shame, but anger at that moment. I was scared. I thought she was.
Did I want her? I did. I needed her.
That was my problem.
“People have died,” I howled. “It could just me you or me. I need you. Damn you!” And I did. At that moment, I needed her more than anything because for the first time I wanted to bury myself in another person. I wanted to smell her and know that I wasn’t alone. I reached for her again, and she moved away.
But did I need her but not want her? She had told me before, but I forgot. How in the past before the walkers there was a difference for her about being needed and wanted.
How Luce wanted so much to be wanted. I created a cardinal sin.
And it made me feel small.
She looked at me with a dead expression in her eyes. I look back and know that she wasn’t moving away really, but that my tantrum made her, and me, feel slighted. That she wanted to be won, not overtaken.
I’m an idiot in retrospect.
“Stop.” She said and her voice wavered, and I felt some hope although my anger was burning my retinas. I hated her and I loved her but for all the wrong reasons and she knew it. I know now that looking back. “I can’t right now …”
The gunshots went off again and my head spun around, looking for the distance of the sound.
When I looked up, she was gone and the patio door was open.
That’s when I knew that I had to protect her but my ego was tight and broken but it was my own fault.
It took me a few minutes, and then I followed her eyes to the fireworks in the sky.
Something was happening and we knew it.
That’s when he showed up.
Reading her diary is weird. I guess because so many people read her for so long that now I’m her audience now. Her ego is odd and real yet she is really insecure. I don’t write like her, I just put down here what I’m feeling. She needs her special pen and she told me later that she likes to write in a hat which I think is completely retarded.
But it’s her thing and I get that.
When we got to the house and she sat in a dead woman’s clothes, Lucy just became really quiet. We sat in the back on a patio that had been built 40 years ago. Dog pens with pets that had been dead for decades blocked our view but we listened.
We didn’t see any walkers (which I guess is better than deadies when I think about it) but we kept looking.
I busted open a beer and then another one. I wasn’t expecting to live and although she didn’t say it, I don’t think she was either.
After about six of them when I had a nice, depressing buzz going on, she finally spoke.
“Why didn’t they eat us?” she said. Luce had a bottle of water and a grimace on her face. The sky was dark. She was staring at the girl being torn apart by the walkers. I knew that. She didn’t hide it because she can’t hide anything.
I didn’t know what to say because hell, I don’t know.
“Wanna beer?” I said. “Those military people are watching us.”
“I know.” She muttered.
She grabbed a beer from the cooler, which I didn’t expect. Damn, I didn’t know it then but this chick could back some beer.
I thought about what I said. Why were they lingering so close behind us?
That’s when we heard the gunfire.
“Lucy, why are the protecting us?” I asked. It was the first time, but not nearly the last, that we heard the pops in the distance. We became used to it after time but in the beginning, it was scaring the shit out of me.
Luce didn’t say anything but she drained her beer. Then she grabbed another one of them and held onto it like it was the only thing she had ever held in her hands. It scared me. I kinda got used to her not reacting even though we’d only been together for a matter of hours.
You get used to things quick when shit like this happens.
“We are going to have to sleep together tonight,” she said after awhile. “Ben, for some reason that I can’t explain, they are protecting us and I don’t know why.”
She started crying in that way that girls do that makes you want to protect them and when I tried to touch her hand, she pushed away. It pissed me off but what do you say.
“They don’t kill us,” she said after she was finished and she wiped her hands on the sleeves of the stolen shirt. “And that’s what they are watching. We have become a science project and I don’t like it.”
I can’t get her to write or even talk about this right now, looking back.
It got better then it got worse.
I found her diary again.
More happened but I think I need to stick this in here.
We got to the house. No “walkers” or “deadies” were there so we moved the coolers in the house. Her uncle had some clothes for me to live through this dismal piece of shit but Lucy didn’t have any because her aunt was a size 4. Luce isn’t and although she beats the shit out of herself about it, she shouldn’t.
I don’t get women. I was just fucking pleased there wasn’t any of those melonheads walking around, but Luce was worried.
“I have to go up to the big house,” she said to me when I was so excited about having food and electricity and no damn dead people wandering around.
“You don’t have to go with me,” she was grabbing a gun that Grayson gave us. I noticed that Grayson was in the distance but I hadn’t told her that.
She’s a smarty-pants and all. And I was so damned tired. I can’t tell you how tired I was but I also knew she wasn’t being a cheerleader.
There was blood on her jacket and I knew, although she wasn’t mentioning it, it was freaking her out.
So we filled the kitchen and went down the street about a mile to whom she called Mrs. Sandy’s house.
There was a walker there but apparently it was the husband because the rest of them were dead. Dog ass dead.
He hid from us but she still shot him. And he howled.
He howled with a human’s scream,
She looked at me with such sadness that I can’t describe it. I hated her for so long and, then, for a moment, I wanted to comfort her.
She walked in the back of the house while I did look out and brought out two garbage bags.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
I wasn’t. She was wearing a dead woman’s clothes.
But she had no choice.
As we left, I noticed the hummers and tanks in the distance.
So did she.
We went back to her aunt’s house and I cracked my first beer.
What was usually a 20-minute drive to my aunt’s farm deep in the country took Ben and I more than two hours. Cars clogged the four-lane to the road that would take us to the isolated piece of heaven that was my place to go when life started to get me down.
A county maintenance truck was on its side, burning and it took us about a half an hour to figure out how to get around it.
We didn’t speak. We saw them eat the girl. What does one say after seeing the blood and hearing the screams of an agonizing death?
Ben said nothing. Neither did I because I thought if I made one sound, I would start screaming myself.
I’ll never forget that sound as long as I will live.
We stopped to get supplies and except for one of the “walkers” which I prefer to call them instead of Ben’s term of endearment that is “deadies” things went better than I thought although I realized that we were both in shock. I panicked but we dispatched her.
I think I’d bought smokes from her on occasion back when I was perpetually bored of the life I had chosen. Where smoking and a beer filled the afternoons with a fellowship of rednecks, farmers and people that didn’t give a damn what I did after long days dealing with some very judgmental folks, the idea that all of that was gone was daunting. Boredom is familiar. Watching people’s head explode is a totally different thing.
I can’t tell you how it feels. To tell you would be to lose control and I can’t afford that right now. All I can tell you is that the world has changed and it is the fault of those you, all of you who survived, followed like lemmings.
I digress again. We finally made it to the backroad that I sought and that I needed.
“Are we almost there?” he asked as quiet as I’ve ever heard him. It was almost a whisper and for a moment, I wanted to just hold him to let him know that the darkness wouldn’t swallow him alone. It would devour both of us, I feared.
“Just a few more minutes?’ I said as just as silently as he did.
“They eat people,” he blurted. “They ate that girl.”
He was so matter of fact that I wanted to cry.
“Yes,” I said after we went around the curves of the poorly asphalted roads. “But they didn’t eat us.”
We saw combines burning in the distance of brown fields recently filled with with soybeans and corn. Cars were not as prevalent as we saw on the bypass.
And then I saw the small ranch house sitting in the middle of fields that had feed thousands.
As I turned into the driveway, I turned to Ben.
“Get the guns,” I said as forcefully as I could manage.
I stopped the car and we went toward the bent wrought iron door that led into the very plain house that we hoped would become our sanctuary.
The streets were full of wrecked cars. I didn’t expect that but Ben didn’t seem to be too surprised by it all. There were a few of the “deadies” as he calls them rambling around as we ran from the church and some of them pursued us.
Then they would stop. I was so scared I didn’t really recognize that at the time but they didn’t get to terribly close to us. It was almost like they smelled something bad and would just continue going on some rampage that I couldn’t understand.
The worst part was the smell of blood as it was everywhere. Either the dead bodies of those who didn’t survive the first wave were lying bloated in the street to it oozing out of the mouth, eyes and the noses of the infected.
It was if they were rabid but without the white foam I’ve seen on dogs my grandfather used to shoot out on his farm when I was a kid. It only happened a couple of times but he would yell for us to get back into the house.
We did. Those dogs scared us.
This was a hundred times worse.
I saw my SUV in the distance setting behind the paper. The circulation director was lying dead in the alleyway and I paused.
“Keep going,” Ben screamed. “We are almost there.”
I didn’t though. I thought of her dogs that she loved so much, of how she nagged her daughter about being unmarried when we all knew she was gay but said nothing. We through her birthday parties when she claimed she didn’t want them although we knew she did. We teased her about so many things.
Her head was an exploded melon in front of me and I just stared.
“Dammit,” Ben grabbed my arm. “Come on.”
The deadies were wondering but keeping a distance and I wondered why. My only reference was George Romero and Richard Matheson. Why weren’t they attacking?
Then we saw the girl come out a closed out alley at the end of the street and they attacked.
“What the hell?” Ben’s voice sounded as if it was coming out of a grave.
“Run!” I said, my keys in my hands as they had been in my pocket throughout the night since the nightmare began.
With trembling hands, I opened the door. Ben looked away from the grisly sight from down the block.
But I didn’t.
They were eating her.
I threw the old SUV in reverse and squealed out of the parking lot. The deadies or zombies or whatever the hell they were didn’t even look up from their morning snack.
My name is Ben Taylor. I’m 31 years old. I’ve been to jail a bunch of times, usually because I was drunk. I don’t think I’m a bad guy. Luce says I just have moments of bad. I say so does she.
She don’t argue ‘bout that.
Luce won’t write right now. She says she has writer’s block. We are still in the apartment. She didn’t like I started writing in her diary.
She wasn’t telling it right.
After the gunshots went off, Grayson threw a bag at Luce (why the bastard didn’t give it to me, I’ll never know) and said, you know what to do. We are tracking you, so don’t go far.
Luce just looked at him, “What, I heard what you told Ben, you going to bleed us after we fight your war?”
He laughed and walked to the back. He was quick about it. Too quick if you ask me, stupid cop.
The gunshots kept going on and Luce dug in the bag.
“You know how to use a gun?” she said.
I hunted. Of course I do but she was getting all bossy like she does. I know better than she does. I’ve proved that to her a couple of times since that first day.
“Yeah,” I said.
She was breathing hard but so was I. She was all flushed and I liked it. I decided to go first, being a guy and all.
Luce, being Luce, wouldn’t let me. She edged out beside me, “Let’s go before they get the leeches out.”
I like her but I wasn’t in the mood for her being all bitchy.
She walked to the door and opened it.
There were a bunch of those bleeding assholes out there.
But not too many, so we shot them and they fell.
Her car was about two blocks away. We killed whom Luce called Lynn about halfway in as she was bleeding all over the place and she smelled like a sack of dead raccoon road kill.
Luce had an old SUV and it started it at the first try. The dead were walking the street.
They weren’t eating brains or nothing, but she ran over them anyway and we headed to the country.
“We are being followed,” she said.
“I figure,” I said.
“Who are you again,” she asked. I told her. I told her everything even when we stopped at an abandoned convenience store. Well, there was one of those deadies but we got rid of her.
We loaded the van up with supplies and we both grabbed a few cartoons of cigarettes. Who knew Luce was a smoker?
She didn’t say anything as she listened to the radio that she kept switching around like a madwoman and I was surprised to here music.
“Satellite,” she told me without me asking.
The back was full with food, water, juice, jerky and beer.
I reached in the back and grabbed a beer from the cooler we filled up. She grabbed all of them, which totaled about six, filled them with ice and we had a ton of stuff in ‘em.
She turned the radio off finally as we headed on a back road.
“You scared,” she said.
“No, primadonna, I’m as happy as a clam,” I retorted. “Of course I’m scared. They come out in the day too. We’ve seen that. What we gonna do?”
She looked at me and I liked her right then. She looked like a real person.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But we still don’t know why they want our blood, so they aren’t going to hurt us right now. They are testing us.”
I hadn’t thought about that but I knew at that moment, she was right.