Happy Halloween Mr. Journal.
It’s weird. I’m sitting here in the afternoon of October 31st, aka Halloween, and there isn’t a single iota of me that wishes things were normal today. Is it wrong of me to think that way? I guess the little kid inside me is kind of stoked that there isn’t anyone around to tell me what to do. I don’t have to go to work tonight, I don’t have any bills to pay anymore, and I can eat more or less whatever I want, whenever I want. Of course if I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, I will run out of food very quickly. It’s like a one person, adult Lord of the Flies here.
That’s not entirely true. I love kids, and I used to love giving out candy on Halloween to see the kids in their cool costumes. I can remember this one kid a few years ago that came to our door dressed in a green dragon costume. He had this plastic cybernetic arm on one hand as well, and after he said “trick or treat” he presented his cybernetic arm to me proudly and belched out, “I AM A ROBOT DRAGON!”
That kid, I miss. I never saw him again to my knowledge, but I hope that kid is okay. For the sake of all future robot dragons.
Tonight, I am missing Cassie. She always liked dressing up on Slut-o-ween and I miss the trampy outfits. They always led to good sex. I don’t think I miss the sex yet though. Just being with her. As long as I don’t reminisce I’m okay. When I start to think about things that we did together, or things that happened between the two of us, I get emotional. Gotta keep off that subject as much as I can to try and stay together.
So it’s Halloween, and I sit here at the dorm kitchen table, gas generator humming below me in the basement, laptop plugged into the wall, all alone save for Otis my cat, a world filled with flesh eating zombies, and starving survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Granted, things could be better, but I’m not starving, I’m warm, and I’m holed up in a pretty safe place I think. Enhance the positives someone once told me.
Daily update portion of the diary: Weather is cool, seasonably so, but not cold. It’s been damp and drizzly since my last entry. Incidentally, I have come to fucking HATE fog. I believe I mentioned that I do two checks on the campus every day to check for straggler people or zombies. Fog makes that patrol amazingly difficult. Vision is almost totally hampered, and I can’t hear shit through the fog. It really scares me about snowstorms in winter later on. Anyone who’s been outside while it’s snowing knows the dead silence caused by the falling snow, and I can’t imagine it’ll make my life any fucking easier. Fuck mother nature, fuck her in her foggy, stupid ass.
Luckily I haven’t encountered anything in the past few foggy days. Well to be more technically accurate, I haven’t noticed that I’ve encountered anything. For all I know I walked right by a horde of the undead bastards every time I stepped outside and just don’t know it. Whatever I guess. From the inside of Hall E here, everything is quiet, and I feel pretty safe tonight. Safe enough to eat one of my candy bars.
Safe enough to write at length about my first night here on campus. I like to call that night “Night of the Living Dead Private School Students.” You’ll see why.
So I arrived on campus to a disorganized mess. Amy, one of the admissions chicks, had filled me in on the day’s events on campus which were all bad. They had locked down classrooms, paranoid and or crazy parents, car accidents, one seizure, staff running away screaming, one diabetic reaction, a few assaults, etc etc. Not a safe place to be and it was where I had chosen to make my nest to ride this thing out. You could say with relative safety that I had some doubt at that moment. I mean, I could walk right then and there. Just fucking get back in my car, and go somewhere else. Kick in the door of some rural farmhouse and board that shit up. Aka Plan B, turtle it up somewhere else.
But noooooo. I stick to my guns. I never walk away from a fight I think I can win. And strangely enough, I think I can win just about every fight. Cassie said my confidence bordered on arrogance. I think it turned her on.
So after checking in with Amy and the eight paranoid parents trying to find their children, I decided to go find the crazy ass parent that was going to go “rescue” the kids from Mrs. Goodell’s classroom. I thanked Amy and tried to reassure the parents right before I told them to huddle up in the admissions house. I needed more firepower for this. I had grabbed the pistol and the .22, but this struck me a shotgun kind of situation. I went back to the car, switched the rifle for the gauge, and started to head south towards the main classroom building. Just as I headed that way, I heard the distinct sound of gunfire coming from inside the building. Not good right?
I picked up some speed and got to the front of the building. All of our doors are either glass industrial doors, or steel fire doors. The school had the glass kind. I looked through, yanked the door open, and headed inside. The halls were lit by the emergency lights that are on at night normally. They’re on a timer and kick on automatically at 8pm. Two lights are in each major hallway, one at each end, flooding towards the center of the corridor. They aren’t the brightest bulbs in the building, but they suitably keep it lit. That’s not a joke or a pun about the students or staff or anything, I’m actually talking about the lights there..
So the school building is three floors. Shaped like a rectangle running the long way. Four classrooms were on each side of the central hallway with some offices in the front and back. The staircase was in the middle of the hall, on the left side. I remember feeling very out of place here. Normally I’m never in the main classroom building. I work (read: worked) in the residential program at night, so there’s no reason to be in that building. It was weird just being in there, let alone being in there specifically to find a gun-toting lunatic, and to liberate eight kids being held captive by a granola crunchy English teacher. Weirdness abounds.
I combat-cleared the lower floor in about 4 minutes. I did it silently so as not to arouse any suspicion, or to let the dude upstairs know I was here. The bottom floor was all clear. You could tell from the clutter in the classrooms that it had been a bad day. The rooms smelled… sweaty. Plus the kid’s book bags were tossed about, and there were snack food wrappers all over the place. You could tell they had been holed up in the rooms for awhile earlier. Right as I was getting to the back office for the guidance counselors, I heard some yelling coming from upstairs. It was distant, coming from the third floor.
I couldn’t afford to move much faster though. My safety would be at risk. That’s a debate you have a lot in situations like that. You weigh your safety with the potential outcomes and at some point you realize that your safety is not worth any potential outcome. I was willing to go in the building to try and rescue the kids, but I wasn’t willing to die for them. Not today at least. I wanted to survive this.
I remember tripping slightly going up the stairs. One of those times when your toe catches the lip of a stair. I didn’t fall, but I did put a hand down to catch myself. I made it to the 2ndfloor after that with no problem. The second floor is largely wide open, save for the bookcases in the library. There are some floor to ceiling support posts, but otherwise, its bookcases and tables. I swept down the aisles in between the bookcases and quickly made sure the floor was clear of students, staff, and the undead.
I made it back to the main staircase and took the steps up to the 3rdfloor a little more carefully. I could hear a man yelling, but couldn’t make out exactly what was being said. I could also just barely hear someone else talking, but it was really muffled, like they were in a closet or something. I made my way to the top of the stairs and lay down on my belly. I slid my body up the last couple feet and poked my head into the hall at floor level. People generally don’t look for threats at floor level. It’s a pretty safe way to check out a situation around a corner. (Although I don’t know if this would work on the undead. Caveat emptor)
Backlit by one of the emergency floodlights I could make out a guy, about six feet tall, holding a gun and looking into the small window of the classroom at the end of the hall. Classroom doors are sturdy fire class doors with the small rectangular window with the chicken wire glass in it. Strong doors for sure. He was banging on the door pretty solidly in between trying to look through the window. I took it in for a bit, then slowly got to my feet and came out into the hallway.
“Freeze!” I barked out like a cop. I hoped his reaction would be instant compliance. Luckily, he froze. I think I told him to identify himself, and without turning or moving an inch, he said he was “Dan Haggerty.” I knew his kid, Dale. Jock, prick, womanizer, prized football talent. Huge sense of entitlement. I was just fucking thrilled to meet the guy that spawned that MTV castoff. He sputtered out a few sentences and I pieced together that his son was in the room, and that “something was wrong with the teacher.”
That struck a chord.
I told him to calm down, and that I was staff, and I was here to help. He turned and looked at me and even in the shitty light of the emergency lamps I could see he went pale. Evidently my appearance was… disturbing. I remember forcing a chuckle to lighten the moment up a bit. He laughed with me after I told him things were “messy out there.” Even after we sort of had our bonding moment, you could see he was pained. You could also see he had a huge shotgun, and a handgun stuck in the waistband of his Dockers. I asked him what the problem was.
To sum up, Mrs. Goodell had secured her classroom according to safety procedures. To keep the kids occupied all day, she had turned on the television in the classroom, and had them watch the news networks to learn about this “historic” day. Not sure that was a good idea. From what I gathered from Dan, a couple of the kids started to panic, eventually freaked out, and together with a few of the calm students, they had restrained them. That was hours ago. In the meantime, Mrs Goodell had put some cloth over the small window to obscure the view into the corner classroom.
Mrs. Goodell was concerned for the health of the two restrained kids. One was a boy, one a girl. Dan explained that apparently the kids had gone limp in their restraints hours ago, but had started to move again, and were struggling against the hob-cobbled bonds. That line totally set me off. First they went limp, then “woke up” and were struggling? Immediately I was sure they had died, and were now reanimated.
I motioned for Dan to get away and let me try and talk to her. I rapped on the window and yelled in to her that it was me, and I was here to help. I could hear some of the kids whimpering through the door, and even heard one yell out my name. I had pretty good relationships with a few of the kids in the dorm. I could hear the tension in their voices straight through the door.
After a maybe a minute I saw the cloth get pulled back a bit and Mrs. Goodell’s face appear. Like I said she was a bit off-beat. She was about 5 feet even, a bit chunky, and had a giant poofy afro puff of grey hair. Her black rimmed glasses looked straight out of the 60’s, and she generally dressed like she was headed to Woodstock. Amusing lady to talk to for sure. Not that night though. Her eyes were bloodshot, and she was pasty white from stress. I remember when she appeared she didn’t say anything, she just looked at me silently through the door. I could tell from the look in her eye things were bad inside the room. She mouthed and pointed that Dan had to leave for her to talk, so I asked Dan for some privacy. As soon as he was 20 feet away or so, she finally whispered to me.
“The Haggerty boy was one of the kids who had to be restrained Adrian.” I can remember everything she said word for word. “He’s dead Adrian, I didn’t mean to, the kids didn’t mean to, but he was so strong we had to tie him down extra tight. Except now he’s not really dead anymore, and we’ve got him in the closet, but I think he’s free now, and we don’t know what to do Adrian. I don’t want to lose my job, and I don’t want his Dad to find out his son is dead, and,” I cut her off.
“Erica,” that was her first name, “I’m sure everything that has happened was an accident or was absolutely necessary. A lot of people have been hurt today by accidents and things are not good everywhere. We need to stick together right now, and these kids need to get to their parents. Can we at least get the kids who are being safe out, and down to their parents so they can go home? We’ll deal with the two tied up kids afterwards?” I said it all as quietly as I could. I didn’t want to alert Dan that his kid was one of the two that were restrained, and likely dead.
Mrs. Goodell swallowed and nodded, “Keep him away.” I nodded at her and asked for a moment. She waited as I walked down the hall to the armed father.
I’ll never forget this discussion either. The banality of it in retrospect haunts me.
“Dan, in order for her to let the kids out, you need to be safe, and stay away from the classroom, okay?”
His response was a little sullen, introspective even, “Yeah, yeah. I get it. I suppose if it were MY kid in there I wouldn’t want you guys to let them out with a guy with a gun the hall right?” He sort of laughed, realizing the absurdity of it all.
“Exactly. Can you hang back here at the stairs for me while we get the kids out? There are still two that need to be calmed down before they can be let out, okay?” I remember he nodded emphatically.
I walked back to the classroom and nodded to Mrs. Goodell. She turned, addressed the class quickly, letting them know what was up. They absolutely leapt off their desks and chairs to get out. I can’t blame them either, they had been locked up in there since morning. It was now nearly nine.
Once they were up and calmed down enough to exit safely, she unlocked the door, and they started streaming out. I didn’t notice that Dan had made his way right back up behind me. As soon as the first kid was through the door, he shoved me out of the way, and pushed past the exiting students and into the classroom.
Chaos ensued. The kids all backed away, deeper into the room. They knew who it was. Father and son looked too familiar. One of the girls at the end of the line in the classroom started sobbing, and simply pointed at the closet door next to Mrs. Goodell’s desk. Most of the kids were paralyzed as I entered the room and started to physically shove the kids out the door. Mrs. Goodell herself put her body in the path of the kids and Mr. Haggerty. Valiant, really.
Dan ripped the closet door open and saw his son for the first time that day, and for the last time in his life. Dale was standing, freed from the make shift bonds that had held him most of the day. My bet is he suffocated, or maybe had a heart attack or seizure. Who knows. But he was dead for sure, really dead. And he was a foot away from his Dad. Dan had no chance or ability to defend himself from his son. Dan’s breath escaped him, the look of shock and pain on his face was epic.
Dale lunged at him and bit him savagely on the shoulder. I remember Dan letting out a low howl in pain as he had a chunk torn from him. Everything else happened so fast. I was almost frozen, watching, and had stopped pushing the kids out. Mrs. Goodell had just gone stone faced witnessing the events unfold. Dan backpedaled away from his son, clutched his shoulder, and turned to the rest of us.
All he said was, “You fucking bitch.” He really choked it out through a mess of pain. Must’ve taken tremendous effort to say it. Then he started shooting. I only saw his first two shots. Shot number one went at his son Dale, hitting him center mass, and throwing him back inside the closet. Shot number two went right at Erica, hitting her flush, and hitting a bunch of the kids. Remember folks, close with a shotgun is usually good enough. As soon as I saw him wheeling towards the kids I dove away. I don’t know exactly what happened next. Well, I don’t know what happened while I was unconscious. I’ve pieced it together a little since that night, but essentially when I dove, I just went on pure instinct, I didn’t look where I was going. It would seem that I went headfirst into a desk and took the corner right to the temple.
I don’t know how long I was out, but it wasn’t that long. Five minutes maybe? Easily the luckiest five minutes of my life. As I came to I remember just blinking a few times, and realizing my head was throbbing like I’d been hit with a jackhammer. I stayed very still, as I could hear some movement in the room with me. Scratching, chewing, slurping. The floodlights were not giving me a lot of light to see by, so I was a little off kilter. Being blind is no fucking fun. See: hatred for fog.
I rolled over slowly and my eyes adjusted to the level of light. I could see bodies all over the front of the classroom where the kids had been, and where Erica and Dan had been standing. Some of the bodies were down, clearly down, and a few of them were either sitting up, or moving to stand up. I counted four kids, plus the two bodies of the adults. I reached around slowly for the shotgun but couldn’t find it. Plan B was the pistol, which I drew as slowly as I could. I knew I had to get out of the room. Third floor window wasn’t a jumping option, and this room didn’t have a fire escape. Across the hall was Dr. Potter’s classroom, which did have a fire escape. It was also empty, so that was viable.
I very slowly sat up and assessed things. This was one of the moments where I really learned and appreciated how quiet these fucking things were. I was in a room that was for all intents and purposes filled with the motherfuckers and I could barely hear anything. Four kids were dead in the room and getting back up to do the whole “undead thing” that was all the rage today. Erica was dead too, nearly blown in half by Dan’s shotgun blast. She was starting to sit up presently. Well, as much as someone bisected by a shotgun can at least. Dan and Dale were nowhere to be found. I could hear struggling coming from the closet, which had to be the second student restrained earlier.
I lifted the pistol, drew a bead on the kid closet to me, and shot. She flung sideways on top of another kid. Erica turned towards me immediately, as did the other zombies. I started shooting from the hip as fast as I could squeeze the trigger. I shot until the slide locked back and the gun clicked empty. In retrospect, it was a huge waste of ammunition. I don’t even know how many I killed with my spray and pray tactics, but it caused enough commotion and sent their bodies around enough for me to bolt out of the room. I didn’t find the shotgun when I jumped up, so I was down to just the pistol. Once in the hall I found three more kids. They were dead too. Well, dead-ish. Dale was there as well, finishing a meal of one of his classmates. He found me much more interesting though, and came at me. Luckily the hall was pretty wide, and I just side stepped him and the other two and bolted for the stairway.
I fucking FLEW down those stairs. Two or three at a time in giant leaps. I got to the ground floor in maybe 20 seconds. I blasted my way out through the glass doors and reloaded the pistol, which was empty. I had the presence of mind to slip the empty clip into my cargo pocket too, go me. By then the throbbing in my head was starting to fade, which was about the only good thing that had happened to me in some time.
I hoofed it back towards my car as fast as I could go. That too turned out to be a pretty shitty idea. The couple of kids who had actually made it out of the classroom went there too, and they were both badly wounded I guess. They made it to the admissions office, and made things much worse. I think they bled out from shotgun wounds. That or they were bitten by Dale on their way out. Either way the two kids had died, had come back, and had killed more people here. As I stopped my run towards admissions I nearly got ran over by one of the parent’s leaving the campus at top speed. I could hear them screaming in grief as they drove by.
I could see several of the zombies feasting in the yard of the admissions house. There was at least half a dozen dead there now, and my car was right there next to them. My other gun was in the car, as well as the extra 9mm ammo. I did a quick check around campus and in the dim light of the few street lamps we have, I could see more shambling forms headed my way. It was more of the dead from earlier in the day, congregating to the noise.
I needed a place to hole up for the night. Shit at that point I needed a place to hole up for five minutes to catch my damn breath. At that point I had no idea where anyone was, or where to go. My plan had crashed and fucking burned all in a heartbeat. Fuck Dan Haggerty.
I started jogging towards some of the maintenance buildings, away from the bulk of the zombies I saw moving my way. I went into my pocket for my facilities keys and that’s when I realized they were gone. I found them much later in Mrs. Goodell’s classroom, but for the moment, I was sans-keys.
Anything else God? Getting pretty sick of these pop-quizzes here dude. Way to test faith bro.
I remember getting really pissed, and actually screaming out “What the fuck?!” I’ll grant you that wasn’t a good idea at all, but I was really angry and pissed, and was starting to feel a little helpless. I started jogging again, this time around the back of the maintenance buildings near the water. I didn’t see anything of use. I did however see a ladder laying on the ground behind the last out building. I remember looking, and saw the back of the admissions building. The admissions building had a steeply sloped roof for the main structure, but an addition they put on two years ago was almost flat roofed. It took me a minute or two, but I got the ladder free of some shit on it, and ran with it to the admissions house. My heart was pounding bad.
Zombies aren’t smart at all. They can’t plan ahead. The ones in the yard not minutes before had followed me all the way around all the maintenance buildings and were now coming up behind me, leaving the yard empty again. I leaned the ladder against admissions, and started to run around to my now largely wide open car, but I saw a bunch of the kids from the school house coming right at me. Ten feet away from my car at most. Scrap that idea.
I spun, realized that the zombies following me from around the out buildings were damn near on top of me and dashed for the ladder. I climbed like never before. Despite moving like my life actually depended on it, several of my kids actually got close enough to grab my pants legs as I pulled myself up higher. I kicked at them to get them off my ankles. I scrambled to the top, rolled onto the roof, and wrestled the ladder away from the growing throng of zombie children and parents gathering at the base of the admissions house.
I think it was half past nine or so by then, maybe even ten, and I was hungry, kind of cold, mildly concussed, surrounded by dozens of quietly hungry zombies, trapped in the dark on a rooftop with 15 rounds of 9mm ammo, a sword, and no keys to get inside anywhere.
And that was just the beginning of the worst night of my life.
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