Alone with the Dead of Night
My memory slows,
and I can’t remember much.
But I know enough
-Ryan Mecum, Zombie Haiku
I wish I could forget that crazy night. If I could reach into my head and tear out the piece of brain that holds my memories I would.
I had been fleeing cross country for a couple of days. My plan? -- to survive on my own for as long as I could hoping that some group of friendly armed people would find me before it was too late. But I was out of food and water and excruciatingly exhausted. I remember sitting down to rest as the sun sank down behind the horizon. Despite what was happening to me, I was glad to be alive. I let myself close my eyes. It was so nice to soothe them for a few seconds. I was so tired...
I jumped awake. It was dark. I could barely see the fields -- but I now saw that they were spotted with the dark figures of people creeping towards me. Damn.
I pushed myself up and pressed on into the woods. After a few minutes I stumbled onto a small dirt path that led to the backyard of a big house. No lights were on. I scanned the yard but couldn’t tell if something was moving or if it was just the flicker of shadows. I could hear the crackle of the woods behind me. Across the yard to my left was a garage and shed. I started walking that way.
When I stepped into the field I felt exposed, conspicuous -- like I was doing something wrong and was about to get caught. Hurrying, I pushed the garage door open and discover an old mini car. It didn’t look like it had been used in years. There were a pair of garden shears on the wall. These might come in handy, I thought.
As I reached for them something lunged at me from the dark. I frantically swung the shears at the man and caught him on the side of the face. Strangely, the shears pierced his face quite easily. It was like he was made of lettuce. He fell back and slid off my shears. I could feel some cool liquid trickling down the handle onto my hand.
As I looked down at the rotting corpse, I wondered how many more zombies there might be. If there weren’t too many, maybe I could find a room in the house and barricade myself in until I was rescued. Maybe I’ll find a hammer and building supplies in the shed.
I snuck out of the garage and jumped in fright as I noticed in the distance a few figures standing still, looking at me. As I hurried to the shed I kicked something in the grass. I reached down and found a box of ammunition of some kind. Cool.
When I looked in the shed I found a flashlight and power tool but no hammer. I grabbed the flashlight and headed towards the house. As I approached I noticed a fuel canister resting against the shed. Maybe I can use this for the car! I felt eyes looking at me as I put my flashlight down and lifted the canister. The canister was full and quite heavy. I chucked my flashlight a few yards towards the house to free a hand and carry the canister. Once I got to the house, I pushed open a window, dropped the canister in what appeared to be an empty bedroom, retrieved my flashlight and scrambled inside. The figures creeped on.
"Hello! Anybody home!?" I yelled. No answer. No lights. There was a bathroom to my right and a door ahead to my left leading out to a hallway. With shears in one hand and flashlight in the other, I decided to scout the house to look for signs of life and anything that I might be able to use to barricade the windows before the corpses got here.
I went down a hallway and into another bedroom. I noticed a kid’s hockey stick leaning against the wall. I shuddered at the thought of a bunch of zombies clawing at the poor kid’s body. I hoped he was safe with his family somewhere far from here. I crossed the room and opened another door. A wall of putrid stench hit me in the face. Flies were buzzing. A rotting body was in the bed, and the gore was oozing through the bed sheets. I gripped my shears and flashlight and waited. Nothing moved. I took a step towards the bed and still nothing moved. Then I saw something: it looked like a teenage boy was crouching down in the corner next to the bed, his head tucked down, hiding. "Hi there," I said, shining my flashlight on him. "Are you okay?"
The boy looked up and stared at me. He was covered in blood and cradling something in his hands. Something bloody. He was eating it.
I gasped in shock as he lunged at me. I plunged my shears into him and pummelled him with my flashlight. The light in my hand jumped around like a strobe as I rained down blow after blow onto the disgusting little bastard until he stopped moving. Catching my breath, I stepped back from his mashed brain and looked around the room. I leapt for joy when I saw a hammer and bag of nails on the floor next to the sidetable. I also found a shotgun and another box of ammo under the bed. Thank God for those who take family defense into their own hands. I looked in an adjacent storage room and found a fire axe on the wall. Maybe I had a fighting chance after all.
I looked out the window and saw a bunch of zombies lumbering my way. They were getting close. I nailed dresser drawers and book shelves across the windows. This took a bit of work, but I wanted to make sure the barricade would hold.
As I hammered away, I wondered at the futility of my situation. I left the fuel canister in the other room down the hall, and that room had a bunch of windows that the zombies could easily break through if I didn’t get back there in time. But even if I do get there in time, what if the barricades don’t hold? There could be hundreds of zombies out there for all I knew. I couldn’t hold them off by myself. I needed a plan B.
After the last nail was in, I tied the shotgun and fire axe to my backpack. With the shears and hammer in my hands I rushed back to the bedroom where I left the gas canister. I looked out the window and saw that a massive crowd of zombies were inching across the yard towards me! There was no way I could get to the car now even if I wanted to. But nor was there enough time to barricade all the windows in this huge house. And even if I got some barricades up, what if they didn’t hold?
I didn’t know what else to do but start barricading these windows anyway with anything I could find. At least this would buy me more time. As I hammered away I saw that the sound I was making was attracting more zombies. I’m driving nails into my own fucking coffin, I thought. But then I had an idea: maybe I could lure the zombies away. If I went out the other side of the house and fired a few shots at them, they’d follow me. This might buy me a bit more time. I only had to remember to save one bullet for myself, just in case...
I stepped back and assessed my work on the windows. It looked pretty strong, but I remembered there were other windows on the same wall towards the front of the house. I left the room, entered the furnace room across the hall and started barricading windows there. The zombies were only a few yards away, so I worked frantically. I was on the verge of panic. As soon as I was done I quickly ran into the other wing of the house to see if I could make myself into zombie bait and distract them from testing the barricaded windows.
I entered a large bedroom and climbed out a window into the front yard of the house. I looked one way and could see the mob of zombies gathering outside the furnace room where I was just hammering. I looked the other way and saw another mob. I was between them, and each group turned towards me. I decided the best thing to do was a hit and run. Judging at how slow the zombies moved, I probably had enough time to barricade all but one window, do a hit, and run back into the house and close the last window behind me.
When all but one window was barricaded, I took a deep breath and stepped out. The groups were only a few yards away on both sides. Time to bust a few heads, I thought. My fire axe and shotgun were on my back, but I needed my hammer out so that I could hammer the last window closed after me. So, shears in one hand and hammer in the other, I let out a yell and rushed the closest zombie to my left, eager to pop open his rotting head.
I swung wildly but missed, and my momentum threw me right into him. He reached out and latched his stinking fingers onto my face, scratching my eye. I winced but managed to drive my shears through the bottom of his chin into his skull. I stepped towards two other zombies and hammered one square on the forehead. I drove my shears into the other one’s ear. I laughed in satisfaction despite the stinging pain in my bloody eye.
I didn’t want to get swarmed, so I veered around and ran the other way towards the other group. A few zombies were moving ahead of the rest. I struck one, but the bastard flailed its arms at me, tipped me off balance, and caused me to twist my ankle really badly. Ignoring the pain, I slashed back and sliced the top of his head open. As the zombie fell, I thought: this fighting is not going very well for me. The mobs of undead were almost upon me, and there was no way I could keep this up. I hobbled back to the window. I climbed in, and used my now reeking hammer to nail the opening closed. What the hell was I going to do now?
As I caught my breath I saw a set of car keys on the dresser in the bedroom. I hobbled over and grabbed them in case they were for the mini. Then I heard a smash coming from the furnace room. Shit. They broke in. I wasn’t going to take any chances this time, so I pulled out my shotgun and tucked my hammer away. I opened the door to the furnace. An unusually tall and scraggly zombie loomed in front of me.
I blew his fucking head off.
A few more were trying to crawl in. I shot one. Then another. Then another. I stuck my barrel out the window and fired away, dropping one zombie after another. By now I was covered in stinking gore. Once the area was clear, I took out my hammer and nailed closed the damaged barricade.
My ankle was hurting quite a bit, and my eye was watering and getting puffy from the filthy scratch. The number of zombies outside was probably growing. I had no idea what I was going to do. Maybe I should just suck on the barrel of my shotgun and fire.
I pulled myself together and decided that I’m not done yet. I remembered that there was a washroom attached to the bedroom where I left the fuel canister. Maybe I’ll find something there to tie my ankle up and clean my eye. I hobbled back to the room.
I was relieved to see that the barricades were still holding. I went into the washroom and searched but only found a couple of bottles. There was no first aid. I looked under the sink, in the cabinets, but all I could find were fancy bottles of hair products, body wash and perfume. I’m screwed, I thought.
I sat down on the toilet to rest and then noticed that the first aid box was hanging on the back of the washroom door. I opened it and found a tensor bandage, some eye wash, and bandages. I patched myself up a bit and felt much better. I’ve got to find a way to survive, I thought. I took out my fire axe.
Looking at all the bottles on the ground, it suddenly occurred to me that I could fill them with fuel to make Molotov cocktails. I put my axe down and went to work emptying the bottles. I heaved in disgust when the syrupy floral fragrance of the perfumes filled the room. And as if provoked, a couple of zombies burst through the barricaded window.
I grabbed my axe and split one head down the forehead to the nose. I swung at the other one, caught him in the neck, and saw his head tilt off as he fell. I grabbed the shotgun, pointed it out the window and exploded a few more heads. I realized at that moment that I had used my last bullet. I guess I decided not to give up. I put the gun down, grabbed the hammer, fixed the broken barricade and went back to making my bombs.
With my axe in hand, shotgun over my shoulder and two Molotovs in by backpack, I decided to go outside and clear a path to the car. I jogged down the hall to the bedroom at the far end of the house. I crossed the room, climbed out the window and circled around the back of the house. There were a few zombies dragging themselves towards me, but my axe sliced through them easily. Then I turned the corner near the shed where I could see the yard I crossed to get to the house. I stopped and looked.
I saw a nightmare I will never forget. It was a sea of gasping undead corpses reaching over each other like waves against rock, trying to get into the room I was just in. I put my axe down, took my backpack off and grabbed a Molotov. When I flicked my lighter, I felt a hundred vacant eyes turn towards me. The wick caught fire and I lobbed the bomb through the air. The explosion was massive. It engulfed dozens of undead in a blazing inferno. Ha! That’s how you clear a path!
Under the light of the flames I caught sight of a box of ammunition a few feet away from me. I picked it up and shoved it in my pocket. I took out the other Molotov and gently tossed it behind the shed near the garage. I’ll need that later. Axe in hand, I ran back to the barricaded window and started chopping it down to get back inside. I could hear the corpses sizzling in the fire right next to me. When I broke into the room, the perfume, now mixed with the stench of rotting zombie, wafted out. I threw my axe towards the garage to free my hands. I reached into the room and grabbed the shotgun and hurled it too. Finally, I pulled out the fuel canister.
I walked toward the garage and a couple of muddy corpses emerged from behind the shed. I put down the canister, picked up my axe which had landed nearby, and chopped each of them in the face with much satisfaction. About a dozen more zeds were outside the fire in front of the garage, so I found the other Molotov in the grass, set it alight and threw it at them. This made another spectacular explosion and up in flames they went. I stood in admiration of my work. Nearly the whole yard was smoking and flickering with flame, and dozens of corpses were cooking on the ground.
I filled the car with fuel, and tried the keys -- haha! the car worked! I put the axe and shotgun in the car and got in. I felt giddy being in the safety of a car with a full tank of gas and a shotgun full of ammo
I drove out of the garage and through the smouldering fire across the yard, crunching and skidding over dead bodies. When I got to the street three zombies were standing in my way, so I stopped the car and shot them down. A bump and crunch under the wheels later and I was on a smooth road with the house in flames behind me, laughing wildly at how long it will take them to catch up with me.
For miles I walk.
Day turns to night turns to day.
So hungry I walk.
-Ryan Mecum, Zombie Haiku
- Last edited Sun Mar 8, 2009 6:53 pm (Total Number of Edits: 7)
- Posted Sun Mar 1, 2009 5:26 am
This is the best session report I've read in a long, long time. In fact, I'm currently reading a zombie anthology called, "The Living Dead," and I think think this fiction is good enough to be a part of that book, if it were longer. Good read!!