Monday, July 21, 2014

Part 2

Finally.  Three days of running this time.  I betcha another horde is building up.  They do that sometimes when so many get into an area.  They get like this hive thing going on.  They get smarter or more focused on the hunt when they get together like that.  Dad used to complain that one or two bad guys could be handled but when too many got together in the same place at the same time with the same purpose it made for a whole lot bigger mess to deal with.  Toddie used to say stupid stuff like, "The whole is greater than the sum of the parts."  But I think it might actually make sense about this stuff.  Kinda like the gangsta' kids at school.  Dealing with them one on one wasn't so bad.  You didn't want to deal with them when they got into a group because it was like they fed off each other’s bad energy and it made them worse together than they would have been separately.  So bottom line, if there is a horde you want to be someplace else and someplace else quickly.

I'm so tired I should be sleeping while I can.  But I can't.  I'm too hungry.  The men split the last of the food we had up between them and now if you want to eat you have to ask one of the guys for something.  Only you know what they want, what you'll have to sell to buy a little sustenance to keep you going.  Doc acts like it is only a matter of time before he can persuade me to let him examine me.  He said if I let him he'll feed me up good.  No way in H E double hockey sticks.  Even if I was desperate I sure wouldn't give myself to some druggie.  Two days ago I caught him popping pills during the run.  I thought that might be what he was doing before but now I know for sure.  If Moses finds out he'll drop Doc over the side of a building.  Head first.  Drunks and druggies are like the absolute worst.  They'd rather be high than alive.  They always seem to be doing things that attract the puss brains' attention.

Lucky for me everyone else is just as tired as I am and they're all sleeping.  All of them.  No guards tonight.  If we had them you can bet they'd fall asleep on duty.  So we barricade ourselves in and do the best we can.  We've had to do it before and it worked out ok.  Just doesn't feel right this time.  That's another reason why I can't sleep.  It feels like bugs are crawling all over me.

There is enough moonlight tonight that I'm going to write as long as it lasts.  Try and settle my nerves.  And then I'm going to decide.

First off how did this whole mess start?  Don't know.  Don't care right now either.  Don't have the time or energy to care.  All I know is that whatever this mess is, it took my family away and left me running for my life.  I do know it seemed to pop up all around the world at the same time.  Doc - before he got really creepy and weird - used to talk about how impossible the odds were that something like that would occur naturally.

In other words a lot of people think - not that there are a lot of people left to think it -  that it was some kind of bio-terrorism.  And maybe by that totally punked up eco-terrorist group, the ones that think (or thought) that humans were like a plague on the planet and that there were way too many of us around.  If that's the truth bet they didn't expect for things to go quite like they have.  Instead of people plaguing the planet we have zombies plaguing the people.  Yeah, yeah.  I know they aren't real zombies but close enough all things considered.  They have heart beats and all that but the infecteds are way strange, like mutants or something.

I was out shopping with Mom when everything went to pieces.  We'd come to the city to try and find a thrift store that had a "modest" homecoming dress; or at least one modest enough that it wouldn't give Dad a heart attack and have him following me to the dance in his cruiser with the lights flashing and the siren going off.  He wasn't real happy about me dating to begin with but I told him it wasn't like I was dating, that it was only one date; one date was not dating.  He didn't appreciate the difference.  But it was also hard to say anything because the boy that had asked me to the dance was Kingsley "for Pete sake call me Lee before someone hears you" Berio who just happened to be the sheriff's son.

Lee wasn't a bad guy.  Actually he was one of the good guys.  But I know for a fact the only reason he asked me out was because he could say that he had to, that his dad had made him.  It would have been a lie; the sheriff may have suggested it but he would not have made him. But it kept Lee out of hot water with the three popular girls that had been fighting over him since the year before.  Of course being a guy he didn't realize getting him out of hot water only got me into it.  Wow they were awful and I got backed up in the bathroom a few times by those nasty she-cats.  I didn't care - well I did but not enough to tell Lee no when he asked me.  No one had ever asked me to a dance before and Lee was one of the older, popular guys in school.  I was a freshman and it would have been so cool to go to the dance with a junior.

Never got the chance which sucks.  And I suppose they're all dead now.  That would make me sad if I didn't think they were the lucky ones.  So long as they aren't you know, stumbling around like puss brains and stuff.  Better to get chewed up completely and get it over with.  Sometimes when you are fighting one off you can tell they aren't far enough gone that they've stopped feeling pain.  That's harsh.  So you try and do what you gotta do as quickly as possible.  Just don't look in their eyes.  Makes for fewer nightmares that way.

Anyway Mom and I had gone to the city that day.  It had to be a thrift store because dresses were expensive and Toddie's grant had ended and if he worked more than twenty hours a week his grades nose-dived.  Dad and Mom had agreed to help him for one more year but after that he was either going to have to find another way ... like another grant or scholarship or internship or something ... or he was going to have to come home, sit out a semester or two, and save up the money on his own.  He was the one that had chosen to go away to university instead of doing his first two years at the community college so Dad figured he was going to have to be responsible for what the savings account my grandparents left him didn't cover.

I had found THE perfect dress.  It fit all the parameters Dad had said it had to.  It wasn't too expensive.  It covered all the vital bits both top and bottom, front and back.  It was age appropriate without making me look like a little girl ... not like that was likely because my boobs had finally come in over the summer ... or making me feel like someone's granny which was actually a bigger worry for me.  And it wasn't skin tight or made from animal print.  It also couldn't be hooker red or funeral black or hoochie momma orange.  Yeah, my dad really said that.  He didn't just say it, he wrote it down so I couldn't possibly pretend to forget any of it.  I still have the note in a little bag I carry around my neck.  It also says "Love Dad" which is more important to me than the other stuff.  Dad was a good hugger but saying the mushy stuff was hard for him so when he did you really remembered it.  I'm glad I have that part to actually see.  My dad loved me and I'm totally cool with that.

The dress was a couple of seasons out of date and had been worn by more than one person but I didn't care.  I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it on the hanger.  And it was the perfect color too.  Mint.  I'd always wanted a mint colored party dress.  Of course Mom hated the color but had to admit that Dad would probably approve.  Then again he was the man that didn't think there was anything wrong with wearing one black sock and one navy colored sock so long as neither one had holes in the toes or heels; used to drive Mom up the wall.  The only thing about the dress was it was asymmetrical and only had a strap across one shoulder.  That meant trying the dress on just to be on the safe side.

The cubicle they called a fitting room wasn't much bigger than my school locker but at least it had a door and not just a curtain like most places.  I was in there when there was this huge explosion.  I was thrown against the mirror and cracked it with my forehead.  As I saw stars and was still figuring out if I should be scared or hacked off that the shopping day had been ruined the lights started to flicker.  I must have been in shock because all I could think about was getting blood on the dress and having to wear stitches on my face to the dance.  Then I heard a lot of screaming and then a lot more screaming of a different type.  I tried to open the door but it wouldn't budge.  I screamed for my mother.  She screamed back, "Don't you dare come out of there Deandra Dawn Phillips.  Don't you dare!"

Mom only called me by my full name when I was in serious trouble.  Most of the time people just call me Dee Dee.  I was wondering what I had done when there was some breaking glass kind of noises and something hit the door hard enough to make dust fall from the funky acoustic ceiling.  Then there was more screaming that went on and on and on but then a door slammed and things got quiet which was somehow worse.  Then the growling started and I got scared.  Really, really scared.    I nearly wet myself but Mom had told me not to come out.  She'd specifically ordered me.  I kept waiting and waiting for her to say something else, to tell me I could open the door.  Then I got smart and tried to call Dad and when I couldn't reach him I tried to call Toddie.

I did get a hold of him but he wasn't himself.  Apparently there had been some kind of riot on campus and he'd been taken to the infirmary because some guy had bitten him.  The nurse put him on the line but he didn't seem to understand what was going on.  Then the nurse took over and I guess I freaked her out and then we lost connection.  I'm pretty sure if my brother is still in this world he isn't my brother anymore.  It usually takes less than twelve hours from a bite and you're just another infected puss brain.  Toddie was always a pain as a big brother, he gave me absolutely zero respect, but not even he deserved to be a puss brain.

After a while I tried to open that door and it wouldn't budge.  I kicked it and hit it with my shoulder.  Nothing worked.  That's when I kind of turned off.  I remember the feeling and it was pretty spooky; not something I want to do again because it leaves you too vulnerable.  Sherry is actually the one that found me in that stupid dressing room.  My mom or somebody had shoved a chair up under the door knob and then a clothing rack had really jammed it up and the door frame was all warped.  Sherry told me she almost gave up budging it.  If she hadn't found me and let me out I would have probably died in there.  She's the one that made me change out of the dress and back into my street clothes.  She also made me get two more changes of clothing off the racks of the store and stuff them in one of those reusable grocery bags.  She's also the one that said it was gonna be ok when I found my mom's purse, but not Mom, and started crying again.  It wasn't gonna be ok but it's what I needed to hear at the time so I don't hold the lie against her.

I looked and looked for Mom.  The one place Sherry wouldn't let me look was the manager's office.  She said it was really bad in there.  I know it sounds awful but I kinda hope Mom bit the bullet and isn't wandering around someplace for me to run into and have to put her out of her misery.  I have no clue about Dad but he was a cop.  From what I've seen since that day almost all of the cops and soldiers died fast and hard trying to protect people; so chewed up or tore up that they didn't go the way of the infecteds.  That was my Dad's job.  He protected people.

Not the kind of protection Doc and the other men want to give me though. I ...  Oh crap, not again .... Time to run.

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