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March 29th Tags: 102nd entry

March 29th.

                I desperately needed a pleasant surprise today. 

                I got one!  If you can imagine that Mr. Journal.  Melancholy Adrian takes a vacation with Negative Nancy, and reasonably optimistic Adrian moves in for a bit.  We had been planning on making a trip to Westfield on the 31st to do another one of our social trade days, but early this morning our radio lit up with traffic, and our plans have since changed.

                Gavin was about five miles away, and was asking for permission to come onto campus.  When the call came in, Patty, Abby and I were making a mediocre breakfast out of our mediocre breakfast supplies and we all exchanged wtf looks.  Abby lit up like the sun busted through the roof directly onto her.  You could feel her barely restrained joy.

                Patty gave Gavin the green light to head onto campus, and we headed out to move the vans off the bridge so he could come in.  Gavin drove onto campus a few minutes later in a beat up Dodge pickup truck.  He waved at us, and parked the truck over near Hall A.

                I instantly knew what he was here for the moment he got out of the truck.  Guys can speak to this.  Mr. Journal, if you’ve ever had a girl in your life you really liked, then you know what I’m talking about here.

                Gavin got out of the truck and looked nervous, and sheepish.  He looked quickly at Abby and smiled, then immediately walked over to Patty and I.  I think patty knew what was up too, because out of the corner of my eye I caught her smiling.  Gavin dragged both of his feet the entire twenty feet to us, and we waited for him to get to us.  Abby stood frozen solid on the sidewalk near Hall A, and watched the whole thing go down.

                Here’s a basic account of the conversation:

                “Mrs. Williams, Mr. Ring, I was wondering if I could talk to you today for a bit?”  Gavin looked like he had stolen our bicycles, and then shit on our doorstep.  Guilty, and nervous as balls.

                I smiled and nodded, and Patty simply said, “sure thing Gavin.”

                He smiled again, and asked if we’d mind going somewhere private.  I gestured to the foyer of the school building right near us.  Gavin pulled open the big glass door and we ducked inside to escape the chilly morning air.

                Gavin shuffled his feet for a bit and swallowed hard, then did his man’s deed.  “I would like to move here to campus so I can ask Abigail to be my girlfriend.”  He exhaled a deep sigh after saying it.  His relief was palpable.

                My heart damn near popped for joy.  I’ve been there Mr. Journal.  I’ve been the guy asking the dad for a date.  I’ve been the guy who couldn’t sleep because he was worried his girlfriend’s dad wouldn’t let her go to the prom with you.  I’ve had that nervous flutter in my chest as I wondered what would happen between me and the girl I thought I loved.  The moment brought me back twenty years in the span of a breath.  I could see that it did the same for Patty. Her eyes were glossy by the time Gavin was done talking.  I wondered how Charles would have reacted were he standing in my place.  I was a little honored to have been included in this exchange.  Made me feel like family.  I waited for Patty to gather herself while Gavin looked at her with eyes filled with the fear of rejection.

                Gavin spoke before Patty did, “I really like her.  And I know she really likes me.  We’ve talked already, and we know we’re young, and living together would be weird, but we want to be close, and we want to try to make it work, and we understa-.”

                Patty cut him off, “Gavin shush.  She’s head over heels for you.”

                Gavin’s eyes almost filled with his own tears when she said that.  His chest puffed up and he looked so much like the scared 20 year old he was.  We’ve all become so hard that we forget how vulnerable we can be when our emotions are revealed again.

                “Son, you seem like a good young man.  And If Abby likes you as much as I think she does, I’m sure I’ll feel the same in short order.  But you understand this, things aren’t the same as they were in high school.  You can’t be causing drama and fighting.  If you want to be in love, you need to work at it, and never give up.”  Patty’s tone was serious, but gentle.  She wanted her daughter to be happy, and she wanted Gavin to understand the seriousness of the matter.  A broken heart in today’s world had much larger consequences than a year ago.  Gavin nodded at her, intently listening.

                Patty looked to me, “Adrian, Charles isn’t here to speak for his daughter, you have anything to say to our poor defenseless young man here?”

                I seriously debated dropping the “I’ve got a shotgun son, and I’m not afraid to go back to jail” speech, but elected not to go that route.  I kept it simple.

                “Gavin, I’ve been your age before, and Patty’s been Abby’s age before, and did all the stuff you two want to do right now.  Believe me, we understand exactly what’s going through your minds.  I need to know that you two are going to be smart about this.  We can’t have Abby pregnant.  If you two are fooling around, you need to use protection.  We’ve got plenty of it, no sense risking the alternative until we’re very ready.  And also, if you two don’t work out, we need to keep the drama to a minimum.”

                Gavin blushed something fierce and nodded emphatically, “Yessir.  I understand.  I’m sorry about all that too.”

                “Sorry for what?  For being human and wanting to spend the best kind of time you can with the girl you love?  There’s nothing to apologize for there.”

                Patty hit me in the arm, but she was smiling.  She knew.  Gavin looked pretty sheepish after the whole exchange, and wound up shuffling his feet some more.  Obviously he had only thought his plan out this far. 

                “So you’re saying you want to move here to campus Gavin?”  I asked him.

                “Oh yeah, totally.  I’ll live wherever man.”  Gavin was stoked at the question.  His eyes lit up with excitement as soon as I asked him the question.

                “Well, you’re certainly not gonna room with Abby just yet buster.”  Patty pointed a finger at him with a sly smile.  Gavin grinned, then made a sad face.

                “We can stash you in one of the spare bedrooms on the top floor of Hall E I think.  That way we’re all in the same building.  Or if Ollie and Melissa wind up coming out here for sure, they can all shack up in Hall B that way he and Abby can have little dates.”  I winked at him.  He blushed some more.

                “I’d prefer to live in the same building as you guys if that’s okay.  We’re not gonna do anything if you know what I mean.  We’ll be good.  I promise.”  Gavin seemed sincere.

                “Said that before.”  Patty smirked. 

                I nodded in agreement, “I’ve also made that promise too.  Well mom, she’s your little girl.  It’s your call.”

                Patty thought long and hard about it then answered him just as he looked like he was about to explode from the wait, “well Gavin, if we’re gonna start trusting each other, we might as well start doing it now.  Let’s get you set up in Hall E, and we’ll see what happens.  But you gotta agree that if we say you gotta move, then you move no questions asked.”

                 Gavin cracked a smile that damn near showed every last one of his teeth, “you bet Mrs. Williams, I can’t thank you enough.  I promise I’ll take good care of your daughter.”

                 “You better.  You think life is bad now?  Hell hath no fury buster.”

                 I patted him on the back, and we left the small glassed in foyer of the school building.


                 How funny is all that shit, right?  Ahhh.. it makes me sort of giddy like a schoolgirl.  I can almost feel the affection coming off them like rays of sunshine.  It literally warms the heart to be around the two of them.  I’m very happy for them, and I hope they wind up lasting for a good long time.  I know the odds are stacked against them, but I think the little smidge of hope they represent for me does my sanity good.

                 We left Gavin and Abby to their devices outside for an hour or two, and they wound up walking around, doing what young kids do.  Suck face.  Patty kept going to the windows to look and see what they were doing, and every time she went, she made a gagging noise and pretended to throw up.  I think she was appalled at the resolve the kids put forth in their kissing.  She kept rambling on incessantly, “did you ever kiss that much?  I don’t remember kissing that much?  Do all girls look like whores when they kiss?  He looks like he’s going to eat her face!  Oh God what have I done?  My poor little girl.”

                 Let it not go unsaid that Patty was far more worried about Gavin kissing her, than the chances that they’d get attacked by a wandering zombie here on campus.  There’s something ironic and hilarious about that fact. 

                 You’d think this was Abby’s first boyfriend judging by Patty’s reactions.  You know actually, that’s a fairly legit question.  Abby was cute, but she was a little bitchy, and a little nerdy, and I know she was not a huge hit with the boys here when they were alive.  (they love her now, but mostly they’re just interested in trying to kill her and eat her)  It is actually possible she’s still a virgin.  Go Gavin, I suppose.

                 I’m sure Patty was missing Charles right then too.  I know if I were in her shoes I’d want my husband or wife with me to deal with such a momentous situation with our child.  I hope this gives Patty the hope it has given me too.

                 After the two lovebirds got done with their tonsil hockey they came back in and Patty managed to compose herself.  I busted out laughing at her just as the kids came in, and they turned the color of tomatoes.  The beans had been spilled. 

                 After they composed themselves (again), Gavin sat down and filled us in on news from Westfield.  Things there were very good.  Life post-Sean had been good thus far, and Lisa Goldman has been what Gavin described as a “kick ass leader.”  She’s organized training for folks so skills are shared that way no one is the only person who knows anything.  She’s also made good safety decisions, puts everyone else before her, and seems like she actually cares.  These are all exciting traits for a leader to h have.

                 They staged a mission a few days ago to a local construction company’s yard to obtain something we’ve needed.  I know I thought of the idea of getting a milk truck to haul water, and I still maintain that’d work just fine, but Lenny had his reservations apparently.  Something to do with the weight of water versus milk.  Lenny instead realized that the local paving company had water trucks that they used to keep the dust down during hot, dry days.  These trucks were about the size of the trucks that deliver your home heating oil.  If the interior of the tank was cleaned and sterilized, then the water truck would serve admirably as a transportation device.

                 Their operation went smoothly, and they encountered minimal zombie resistance.  Gavin said they had something around 50 to deal with the entire operation.  He went on to explain that they took longer to find the keys to the truck than they did to kill all the zombies near where the truck was parked.  Personally, I’m not sure if hearing that they encountered 50 zombies was a good thing, or a bad thing.  I was under the impression they’d already largely cleared the area, and if they found 50 all in the same vicinity, then that means they haven’t cleared the area well, or the zombies have migrated in from elsewhere.

                 Apparently they’ve cleaned and prepped the truck already, and instead of us going there on the 31st, they’re coming here so we can fill the water tank.  With the garden hoses we have... We’re looking at it taking hours to fill.  Gavin felt like that truck was either a 2,000 gallon tank, or a 2,500 gallon tank.  Either way, that could be as much as 6-10 hours to completely fill, depending on how fast we can get the water going, and how many hoses we can get going simultaneously.

                 Either way you cut it that totally solves our issue of supplying them with too little water, or wasting fuel making constant water runs.  The rate of water consumption for drinking is like what? A gallon a day or something like that?  If they have 40 people there (and that’s high) and they each consume a gallon a day over a week that adds up to 280 gallons a week.  Triple that for bathing and washing dishes and whatnot, and we’re looking at having a 2,000 gallon tank being just about perfect to cover all their needs every week.

                 Very exciting news.  It’s also pleasing to note that they did this on their own, and for once, one of my problems was solved by someone else.  Yay Westfield friends, and hooray for not having to be the muscle, yet again.

                 Gavin said Mike and company would be arriving on campus at about 9am to facilitate the water loading on the truck.  He also thought Ollie and Melissa would be coming to double check that they were still welcome here.  Gavin felt that they were still very much excited to move here.  Ollie especially, if only to get free of his dad’s farm, and to strike out on his own.

                 So yeah.  All good news.  Gavin dropped off a short list of things that they need in Westfield, and we can fill most of their order with no problem.  Mostly they continue to need hygiene oriented supplies.  Bleach, detergent, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, etc.  We’ve got that in spades, especially after getting the stuff from STIG.

                 Mike’s note also mentioned he has two ACOG scopes for us, as well as more ammo, more of Lenny’s wares, and diesel fuel if needed.  I think it’s funny that we are now giving them more than they need, and for the longest time, I thought it’d be the opposite.  I’m pleased that they are now scrounging for items to trade to us for our resource(s).  I’m sure when summer and fall rolls around and our crops are being harvested, we’ll have a more interesting set of trades.  Until then, water is our oil, and we can trade it strong with them.  I think we’re being fair to everyone right now too, which makes me happy.

                 Yesterday I ripped out the wall in my bedroom that adjoined the bedroom next to mine.  Patty and Abby helped me, and surprisingly it didn’t take long at all to get the whole wall taken down, and the holes patched up with the bits of drywall lingering around in the basements on campus. Pleasantly, I found several full sheets in a bunch of places, which means we’ve got some decent interior finishing supplies should we need to do some work.  I had the spackle applied, and we were cleaned up and drinking a beer after about six hours.  As everyone was going to bed, I slapped a coat of the paint from the basement over the new stuff we put up, and I moved everything into my room an hour or two after that. Paint fumes for the win!

                  I slept downstairs last night lol.  I couldn’t deal with the fresh paint smell.  I cracked a window and blacked out down here on my two beer buzz.  Huzzah for being a lightweight.

                  I am in a good place right now.  I feel positive, almost invigorated.   I have started to look at my life less in the light of my failings, and more in the light of my successes.  I know I’m not perfect, and I know I will make mistakes, but I can’t murder myself over that anymore.  I need to keep trying to be a better person, and to help others.  I can be defined by more than my past.  I can choose my legacy and make my future.

                  Something Gilbert said to me strikes me now as being particularly sagely.  One day he and I were talking, I forget when, and he said something about how we now had to earn our salvation now. 

                  That small concept has really sat with me and resonated, especially after having shot Steve.  On paper… HOLY SHIT.  I shot my friend Steve.  Granted, he was dead at the time, but shit, I shot him in the face, and killed him again.  Then I threw his body into a fire, and burnt it into ash.

                  And I’m totally okay with that, because I genuinely believe I brought him peace.  I don’t know if I sent him to heaven, or to hell, or to wherever we get to go when our ticket is punched nowadays, but I feel down in the pit of my stomach that I brought him peace. 

                  And that brings me peace.  And I feel grateful that I am still here, able to bring some kind of release to the dead, and to help the living survive as long as possible, and to help them live the best lives that they can.

                  Now I know I’m not perfect.  And I know I swear, and burp, and fart, and when I need to, I’ll push a turd down the drain of a shower.

                  But I think the world needs someone like that.  Someone who is imperfect, but trying to be the best person they can, rising above life’s challenges, and rising above all the turds circling the drain.


                  Maybe someone like me.





March 27th Tags: 101st entry

March 27th.

                A decent, uninterrupted night of sleep has given me the focus needed to gather my thoughts.  As your parents always tell you Mr. Journal; sleep on it.  Sage advice given the events of yesterday.

                I’m writing this in the morning.  I wanted to get this out of my skull before I go off gallivanting about here on campus getting things done, and reassuring my comrades that I am indeed of sound mind.  Some of my day will likely be spent reassuring myself that I am of sound mind.  It might take some serious convincing.

                I didn’t have the mental fortitude to go over what I took from my house yesterday in last night’s entry.  I think if I can get that out and on “paper” here real quick before I eat breakfast I’ll have a great day, and I’ll be able to move forward more effectively.

                Steve’s body came back to campus with us.  I took him to the funeral pyre we have out near staff housing, and I cremated him.  I couldn’t leave his body behind in my house.  Not only was it gross to leave a dead body in my own home, but I needed to do something for him.  I couldn’t just... leave him there.  I am debating doing something about my mother’s body if I ever get back to the senior home she died in.  That’s a problem for a different day I suppose.

                Steve had eaten every last morsel of food in my house, which frankly doesn’t surprise me in the least.  He also ate the bag of cat food hidden deep in the pantry.  Steve was the type of guy who ate constantly, and never put any weight on.  Smoking weed all the time, eating Doritos, and making macaroni and cheese was what he considered exercise too.  Lucky bastard.  Obviously, not finding my own food was a letdown.  I did manage to reclaim a few bottles of my own liquor from the closet.  From the looks of it, he drank a bunch of that as well before he died.  However, I did take most of my worldly possessions from before…  the end.

                Seeing the pictures of Cassie and I on the fireplace mantle was rough.  I have never been the kind of person who kept pictures in his wallet, and seeing the folders of pictures here on the laptop just isn’t the same as seeing the pictures in frames, on the walls in my house.  After sending Steve’s brains out the back of his head, looking at those pictures left me a little shook up.  A lot shook up.  Abby and Patty cleared the house of any danger while I started to pack shit up in the banana boxes we brought.

                Only fitting right?  After all this time, the banana boxes come home with me.

                I took all the pictures on the walls and mantle.  Everything I tell the girls to leave behind when we clear houses came back with me.  I even took the curtains.  So funny. 

                I am very pleased to have replaced my borrowed wardrobe with all of my own clothes.  Much of them are large on me now, but it feels nice to wear the shirts I used to wear when things were normal.  I am happy to support all my local athletics teams, and favorite bands, despite the fact that the members of them are likely all dead, and will never take to the field/court/pitch/stage again.  It gives me comfort to trick my mind by wearing their shirts and hats.

                I took much of my book collection.  I’ve always been an avid reader, especially having a job where I had a lot of downtime.  I used to buy books by the bag.  Cassie used to tell me to buy a Kindle to save on space in the condo, but it’d be pretty useless now.  I’m glad I bought all these books now.  I’ve got entertainment for... a long time.  If I ever find downtime to sit and read that is.

                I grabbed all my movies and video games.  I also grabbed my own PS3, because I’ve got save data on that motherfucker for games I haven’t beaten yet. 

Fuck you apocalypse, I’ve still got a video game agenda.

                I grabbed batteries, flashlights, shoes, boots, jackets, sheets, my remaining melee weapon collection, and even some furniture.  Cassie and I have got a great living room set, and that fucker fit perfectly in the back of the Chevy.  Mind you the entire interior of the HRT was filled to the ceiling with boxes and whatnot, but at the time, I didn’t want to leave anything I knew I wanted behind.  I also grabbed my television.  We had a widescreen HDTV too, and despite already having one in Hall E, two is always better than one, and while in Rome…  Get a big television to watch porn in your bedroom on.  Cross that off the list of things to do.

                The vicinity of my place remained clear of danger the entire time we were extricating my shit.  You can’t tell me that’s just good luck.  Pretty frigging obvious we had some kind of a truce running for a bit with the powers that be.  I’m thankful they gave us some time to get it done, because at the time, I would’ve made for a pretty shitty combatant.

                The drive home was clear of undead until we got about a quarter mile away from my place.  Ironically, we were right near Steve’s place when we saw the zombies reappear magically from the surroundings.  Almost as if they were plucked away long enough for us to do what we needed to do, and then returned once we were done.  Every one of us exchanged strange looks and radio messages. 

                I didn’t do any of the driving home.  They wouldn’t let me. Probably a good decision. 

                When we finally made it back to campus I was not in any shape to unload everything, so we got the furniture inside Hall E, I dealt with Steve’s body and then I turned vegetative.  Everyone else stepped up for me though, and made sure I was taken care of.

                Yesterday really taught me that I can lean on these people.  Hard if I have to.  They’re far more than just fellow survivors, they are my family now.  My parents are long gone, and I don’t know where my brothers and sister are, and I don’t know if I’ll ever see them again.  Even if they do come back into my life, Abby, Patty, and Gilbert are now permanent fixtures in the book of Adrian.  I can’t imagine trying to survive all of this without them here.

                Today we are unpacking my stuff, and getting it into my room here.  I’ve got so much crap now that I need to take up a second room.  In fact, after I get everything inside, I’m going to ask if anyone minds if I knock out the wall that adjoins the small dorm room next to mine.  It’s peanuts to get it knocked out and fixed up, and it’d almost double my bedroom size.  Then I will actually have room to walk around in here.  My new bed is quite literally taking up all the space.  Fucking dorm rooms, always too small.  I swear morons or Halflings design them.

                After today…  We might take tomorrow off to plan for the future.  I think I am ready to move forward with our plans to clear more houses in the town.  We need the supplies as well as trade bait for the Westfield people, and we’ll be putting more dead folks to rest as we go.  I am also positive that somewhere in town we will find more survivors.  I know my original plan to build safe houses is still a good one, but I think we might find enough people in town that are continuing to hide that we can re-establish a town. 

                I am starting to feel a call to duty in this regard.  Saving people is a noble duty.  Every zombie we put down isn’t just a threat removed, it’s a soul saved.


                I’m not sure if I’m talking about their souls, or mine.


                Otis sends his regards.







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March 26th Tags: 100th entry

March 26th.

                We’re about to leave to go downtown to check out my place.  I normally don’t get nervous, but right now, I’m so puckered only a dog could hear me fart.

                Before I go, I wanted to mention that I’ve had some pretty fucked up dreams the past few days.  I don’t know why, but I’ve dreamt of Steve. 

                I’ve had almost the exact same dream two nights running now.  The night of the 24th, and the night of the 25th.   Yesterday morning and today I awoke with vivid memories of seeing Steve in my home.  He was living off what I left behind in my place.  It seemed like he survived several weeks sneaking from condo to condo at night, taking what he could, but he was limited because he was hurt somehow.  Something wrong with his leg I think.  Maybe it was his foot?  At the end of the dream I saw Steve sitting on my couch, putting a weapon in his mouth, and killing himself.  I don’t know why he did it, but I know he killed himself.

                This morning’s dream went further than the night before.  After Steve killed himself, there was a passage of time.  I remember seeing the snow fall, and I can recall it piling up high enough to block all the windows on the first floor of my place.  The interior of the condo turned bluish and muted from the light slipping through the snow, and I can remember… feeling Steve moving around in the condo.  He was dead.  Undead.

                The dream this morning ended with the snow melting, and light outside my home gently growing in intensity until it was like a spring day.  I can recall the distinct smell of death inside the condo.  The very last moment of this morning’s dream was the front door opening, and Steve lurching to the door, trying to get at whatever had opened it.

                We’re off in a few minutes.  All the preparations are made, and the vehicles are running outside to warm up.  I’m gonna hit save, and close the laptop, and finally go home.

                I hope for once, my dreams don’t come true.








March 26th.  (2nd entry)

                I can’t sleep.  I’m afraid to dream.  I’m afraid they’ll come true on me again.

                I don’t know how to wrap my feeble soldier brain around this bullshit anymore.  I’m fucking done with trying to figure this out.  I’m fucking done with cryptic messages, and indecipherable nightmares.  I want to wake up tomorrow next to Cassie and realize this was all just the worst dream anyone has ever had.

                But that’s not in the cards eh?  Nope.  Not for me.

                It’s almost 11pm.  Abby and Patty are downstairs, fighting to stay awake in case I do something stupid.  Gilbert came back here to the campus with us to make sure I didn’t kill anyone, or myself.  I’m not feeling suicidal, but I’m glad he’s here.  I feel like if something happened, I could not give a shit, and still be okay for tonight. 

                Not giving a shit is about all I’ve got left in me anyway tonight.  I’m struggling enough to give a shit about writing this.  I need to write this.  I NEED to write this.

                I’ve sat here for fifteen minutes trying to figure out how to write what happened today in a manner that does it justice.  I’ve started it five times, and erased it five times.  I’ve said nice things, I’ve said mean things, I’ve said some insulting things, but the more I think about it, I just need to say it as simply as possible, and then deal with whatever comes out of me.

                Deep breath in.  Enter.  Tab.  Type it.

                I shot Steve in the face today.

                Once more for the people in the back row.

                My best friend Steve.  I shot him in the face today.  He was already dead.  But I shot him anyway.  He was going to eat me.  I don’t think he wanted to either. 

                That’s not fair.  I KNOW he didn’t want to eat me.  I’ll explain how I KNOW that in a second.

                Town was empty again today.  I don’t know why.  We’ve left plenty of undead behind on our previous jaunts.  Just going by population there should still be thousands of them in the vicinity.  There’s no rational reason for them to have disappeared, unless someone else, somewhere else is making a LOT of noise, and has attracted them away.  I guess that’s a pretty fucking rational possibility.

                I get the impression that’s not the case.  I get the feeling the “powers that be” are orchestrating events every now and again.  I think the past few days they’ve purposefully parted the “dead sea” for us to make this little pilgrimage.  The more I think about it, the more that seems like the most rational thing that could be happening.  The books?  Gotta be something up above (or down below) that’s making this happen.

                Why I am less scared of that reality, than I am of this being some virus, or radiation, or government experiment?  Maybe it’s because knowing that there is some kind of higher power out there somewhere makes me think that there is some kind of real and true chance that we can pull out of this.  We can appease a higher power, but can’t talk our way out of the plague.

                I think today is the day I finally start believing in faith.  Really. 

                And here’s why;

                We arrived at my house at about 9am.  The sunlight was exactly like I envisioned in my dream last night.  It was a sunny spring-esque day, and the air outside was cool and a little damp from all the melting snow.  You know that faintly earthy smell of spring?  When the grass starts digging down into the earth to grow?  It smelled like that this morning.  We backed the trucks into the parking lot and set them up so we could jump in and drive out in a hurry if need be.

                All four of us got out of the vehicles and checked the lower level of the complex to ensure that there were no undead about.  Abby and Patty checked the windows of the units on the lower level of condos and spotted a few undead milling about inside here and there, but they were lucky enough to not get their attention.  Well, at the time we thought we were lucky, but in retrospect, it’s pretty damn obvious that they should’ve noticed us pull the trucks in.  Two large trucks running, the air brakes on the HRT, plus all the truck doors shutting…  Zombies have heard that much noise from a tenth of a mile away, let alone fifty feet.

                Something was pulling the wool over their eyes long enough for us to do what we had to do.

                Once we’d checked the surrounding area for danger, Patty and Abby volunteered to go inside and clear the house in case there was something inside I shouldn’t see.  I thanked them, but I said this was something I had to do.  I wanted them with me, but I had to be first in, finger on the trigger.

                I laugh now.  Stupid things amuse me.  I have kept my keys all this time.  My key rings have all the keys for campus here as well as my car keys and my house key.  I’ve also still got the key to Cassie’s car.  It has never occurred to me to throw the keys I don’t need any more away.  I’ve added keys to the rings, but I haven’t taken any off.  How strange we are.

                I walked up the steps to my front door and pulled open the storm door.  The screen was still in the window from last summer.  Seeing it made me remember how I used to leave the door open to get fresh air moving through the place.  If I left the front door open with the storm door screen open, then went to the back and opened the kitchen slider, we got this wonderful cross breeze that aired the place out perfectly.  I used to sit on the couch with Cassie and we’d watch television together with Otis sandwiched in the middle and…


                I pushed my key in the lock and gave it a twist.  I did it with my left hand so I had the Glock up and dangerous.  I had this odd path of logic that using a shotgun was a bad idea in my own home.  If I had to shoot something, I wanted to use my pistol so the collateral damage was mitigated.  I know, strange eh?

                Just as I was about to push the door in I had a strong flashback to my dream this morning.  It all played out in my mind’s eye as I pressed the door inward.  I saw Steve’s undead body turn towards the door as it swung in.  I clearly recalled the angle of the golden sunlight streaming in through the window, and hitting his rotting face, illuminating the grey and blue flesh.  I watched as he stumbled past the edge of my couch, and towards the open entrance, straight towards where I was now standing.

                The flashback ran in my mind like I was watching an old 8mm film strip.  When the yellowing, grainy film ran dry, my point of view had reversed, and instead of being inside, watching Steve shuffle away towards the opening door, I was seeing through my own eyes, bright and clear, into my living room.

                I saw Steve coming at me, precisely as my dream had shown he would.  He was wearing one of my old white tee shirts.  It hung on him like a drape.  I was always much larger than he, and his body had shrunk dramatically from starvation.  He was gaunt, haunting, and the combination of yellowing shirt and bright white sunlight almost made him look like a ghost.

                His jaw was shattered.  One side of it hung down, scraping against the collar of the shirt.  His left eye socket was ruptured, and the decayed brown eye hung loose and deflated on his cheek.  It swung like a desiccated pendulum as he dragged his bad foot behind him.  I instantly knew he’d tried to blow his head off by putting a gun to his chin.  He’d gotten the angle wrong and managed to shoot his own face off instead.  His death must’ve been slow, and terrible in every way imaginable.

                So much pain.  My heart broke apart for him knowing he’d probably come here to find me, to survive with me, and I’d ran off to make my own future, and save my ass.

                I slowly brought up the Glock and leveled it off at the bridge of his nose.  From behind me I heard Patty and Abby gasp.  I don’t know how they knew, but they realized that the person in front of me was familiar to me.

                As I started to squeeze the trigger gently, I locked my gaze with the one milky eye Steve still had left, and I swear on all that I have ever loved, or held dear, he looked relieved to see me.

                I can’t believe I shot my best friend today.  I’m sobbing.  I can’t fucking believe I did it.  I don’t even know what to say.  I don’t even know if I should apologize, or beg for forgiveness, or thank him for warning me he was going to kill me.

                And make no mistake Mr. Journal.  My dreams were a warning from Steve.  Somehow he knew I was coming.  He reached out somehow, from far beyond whatever it is that life means, and he told me exactly how his undead body was going to try and kill me. 

                He saved my life, and unless everything I’m feeling is wrong, I think I repaid the favor by putting his mortal form to rest.

                I don’t know if I saved his soul, but I think killing his body for him gave him some peace.  At least now, wherever he is, he knows that he didn’t kill me, and he is no longer a danger to anyone.

                The regret of having not been at home for him eats at me.  It seems the more time passes, the more regret I find for myself.  I failed to save my mother.  I failed to get to Dorothy and John’s home.  I don’t even know if they’re dead or not.  I failed to get to Steve’s place before he left town, and I failed to return home to be here for him when he returned.  I failed to look for my local siblings.

                I failed when Dan Haggerty tried to save his son, and instead killed Mrs. Goodell and those students.  I failed when I met that young couple with the young boy at the gas station.  I failed when I forgot to close the door at that farm on Jones Road.  I failed when Sean and his goons came here and I didn’t kill him.  Lt. Daniels and a slew of innocents died because of that failure. 

                And we can’t forget my greatest failure of all, Cassie. 

                I feel like there is so much blood on my hands now.  All I wanted to do is help people, but it seems I’m not very good at doing that.

                Humbling to sit here and evaluate myself.  The truth really does hurt.  It makes me realize just how shitty I am at being a hero. 

                After today’s events, and the events of March 3rd, and the dreams we all seem to be sharing, I am convinced that what is happening is far more than just a virus, or a plague, or a mind controlling fungus, or some toxic chemical the military made.

                I can say this with absolute certainty; this is happening for a reason.  I do NOT mean that there is a definite cause.  I mean there is a REASON WHY this is happening.  This is an event that is being controlled, or orchestrated by a power that is not rooted in science. 

                As if I had to explain that.  Fucking hell.  There are ZOMBIES walking around in my hometown.  I watched the world implode and eat itself on YoufuckingTube before the internet died.  I’ve watched the undead rip the flesh from the living with gnashing teeth.  Obviously science is missing something.

                As I said before; I’m comforted by this epiphany.  I sit here, almost happily, imagining that we are being punished for our misdeeds.  I think of this as a great test, a final judgment day where we are tried for our misdeeds. 


                And I think to myself this lone thought; I would rather try to be a hero and fail, than live as a successful coward.


                I hope that the blood on my hands as a result of my efforts is not an indication of my failures, past, present, and future.  I now have supreme faith that whoever, or whatever is watching knows that I am trying to do the right thing now.  I just hope my good intentions don’t the pave the road to hell.


                Steve, from the bottom of my heart, I miss you, I love you, and I thank you.





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