Mr. Journal I'm profoundly sorry for my outburst at the end of the last journal. Good sentence right there. I think a few of my English teachers just rolled over in their graves. Well actually a few of my English teachers probably just burped up the entrails of a few of my math teachers, but you get the idea. Sorry surviving English teachers, that was pretty tasteless.
Pun not intended.
I feel better about myself today. I think yesterday's journal entry was cathartic for me. Finally admitting out loud that I failed myself and Cass that day has relieved me of some guilt. I actually slept pretty good last night for the first time since my first journal entry. I've been restless for a long time, and it was really rejuvenating to get a full 8 hours of sleep. Otis can sense my troubles too, and it has had him on edge. Hes been largely avoiding me for a few days now, and finally this morning he actually came up to me as I woke up and looked for some attention. Apparently he can figure out when I'm emotionally capable of giving him some affection. I am so thankful hes still around.
After I gave him his love this morning I had a bit of a startle. The campus here is pretty fucking out of the way. We're at the end of a country dead end road in a small town, miles from anything even remotely looking like civilization. There are maybe fifteen houses along the five miles heading up the hills to get here. Our campus is surrounded by water. There is a lake all along one side of the property, and the lake has a river draining down the hill were on that skirts the other side of the property. Shit, you need to cross a bridge to get here. Its as close as you can get to an island without needing a boat. Hence part of its allure as a last ditch place to hold up. I parked two of the transport vans we used to use to get the kids around use on the far side of the bridge and there's no way anything can get across. Someone could climb across the top, but the zombies are far too stupid to put that plan together. Living people would need to get out and cross on foot if they were coming to visit.
I hate using my guns now. A: It's a waste of ammunition, B: we have an archery range here, and arrows are reusable if I do it right, and C: guns are loud, and could theoretically draw unwanted attention. Anyway, when I went out to check the campus for dead folk, lo and behold there were two zombies shuffling and milling about on the far side of the vans. I don't think they knew I was here, but honestly, I didn't ask them. It took me three arrows to hit both of them in the head and re-kill them, so to speak. My first shot just thunked right into the dry, empty eye socket of the first zombie. He dropped like a bag of wet laundry. My second shot sailed pretty wide right, not sure why, it felt good when I let it go. But, third times the charm, and I hit the other zombie squarely in his brainpan. I sat still for a bit, waiting to see if there were any other undead dudes on the other side of the bridge, and after a bit, I crossed carefully and retrieved all three arrows. All three were fine for use again.
I really didnt want to leave those bodies there, so I got my rubber gloves, my shitty overalls, and got the four wheeler with the little trailer on it, moved the vans, and drove the two corpses to the far back side of the campus, out where the faculty residences are. Or used to be. Not sure what the proper tense is on that. I mean technically, the residences are still there, but the faculty that used to live in them is long since gone. I guess it doesnt matter. Both of the bodies were heavy as hell, and smelled fucking awful. Not the sick, rotting putrid flesh smell, more of a rotting fecal matter and kelp odor. I know, charming.
Anyhoo moved the vans back, chilled out for a bit to make sure everything was quiet, and I hit the campus cafeteria and snagged some canned stuff to eat for the day. Im finally getting accustomed to moving about without the constant fear of being attacked around every corner. At first, right after all the shit started, I moved through life in a slow and smooth combat walk, gun at the ready. Every single door was breached like I was either a super secret sneaky spy, or like I was kicking in a door in a slum in Baghdad, looking for wahabi.
It's only been the last few days that I've felt safe enough to basically just live life like normal. Lol. Normal. What the fuck is that now? Normal is not being pretty okay with watching a dead human being gnawing away at the flesh of a slowly dying person. Normal is not reasoning with yourself that everything in that situation is okay, because the zombie is busy eating that person, and will thus not attack you for some time, ergo, you are safe. How fucked up is that?
So I'm feeling pretty good right now. I have some warmed up canned corned beef hash, a couple slices of canned brown bread, and some hot instant coffee. I'm feeling a little better about my utter scumbaggery re: leaving the love of my life to die a bitter, lonely death, and I actually feel like dropping more into this journal. Sound okay to you Mr. Journal?
I thought youd like the attention. Soon as I get Otis off the screen of the laptop, I'll tell you a story.
There we go. I'm sure hell be back up in my lap shortly anyway. I'll get done what I can in the meantime.
Where was I? So I had formulated a plan to get to what I felt was relative safety. Food, supplies, guns, check on friends and family, and get here to the school. Not necessarily in that order. I live about 2 miles from the local gun store. I could see and hear cars still driving by on main street outside the complex so I knew it wasn't total devastation. Probably panicked, probably fucked up a lot, but probably still, you know, held together.
After I got dressed, I grabbed a mess of shit and loaded my car. A suitcase and a duffel bag of clothes were first. I grabbed my two best swords, and strapped my dads old hunting knife to my belt. It's a badass knife my uncle made a long time ago out of a piece of heavy duty file. It looks like something straight out of horror movie. I use an old K-Bar sheathe for it for when I go hiking, so it looks even more badass. Like how badass I look is going to help when I am getting mauled by the undead, right? Very feminine of me to think about how I look at a time like that. Cass always said I was sensitive.
I snagged an old plastic milk crate and loaded all the food in the kitchen that would last into it. Everything canned, everything frozen, anything bottled. I filled every water bottle we had, and dumped out the milk jugs, and filled those with water too. No idea how long running water would be available, and I wanted as much as possible. I grabbed Cass' sewing kit, my dads old fishing rod and tackle box, our first aid kit, and my toolbox. I grabbed a few other odds and ends like boots and shoes, miscellaneous items that might come handy, books, some hobby oriented shit, and then I got Otis into his travel cage thingy. He fucking despises that thing with a passion. Some of worst scars have come from him fighting me when I try and get him in there. That day though, he was pretty good.
I remember vividly one of my last memories of my condo that day was seeing that nurses body in the parking lot again. Her blood wasnt anywhere near as red on the pavement anymore. It had already started to turn a muddy, rusty brown color, which is normal. Blood is bright red, especially when its arterial blood, which is what she had been squirting all over the place when I first saw her. I can remember still that seeing her body the second time around didn't weird me out at all. I think I can attribute that to two things; first, my natural sense of calm when the shit hits the fan, and second, I knew that the nurse was probably undead when she was shot. It kind of made me feel good to know that someone had the presence of mind to drop her quickly. Of course I also wonder today that maybe someone just blew her head off and was going to use the whole zombie thing as an excuse. The more I think about it, the more plausible some variation of that idea seems right. After all, when you kill a zombie, they don't really bleed, they just kinda ooze. She was totally squirting. Sounds totally dirty. Maybe she had just been bitten, was still alive, and then she got shot? Who knows.
My last memory from my place was seeing her body in the parking lot. I loaded Otis in the car, double checked that I had everything I would need, and we were off to Moores Sporting Goods. Moores was a scene straight out of an end of the world movie. There was a cop in the parking lot providing barely adequate security as like 30 cars filled with people stormed in and out of the shop, buying everything in sight. I remember being suddenly doubtful of me being able to get anything at all there, but I was there, and I had to go in.
I know all the cops in town on a first name basis, or at least by face, and the cop in the parking lot was one Ive known for years. Officer McGreevy. Big dude, bigger than me, and thats saying something. Bald as shit though, which is something Im not. He was struggling trying to talk to a few panicked older people and we exchanged glances. I knew just from the look on his face shit was bad all over. He had that no nonsense, shit was bad look on his face. You know the one.
There was almost a line to get into the shop. Luckily Moore's had extra people behind their counter, so they were ringing people up pretty quickly. I noticed a few big hastily scribbled signs taped up in conspicuous places around the shop, each said the same thing;
There is a one rifle, one handgun, and one shotgun limit per customer. Thank you, Moore's.
Good enough. If you couldnt figure out how to get through this with all that, you were fucked anyway I think. I waited patiently in the three deep crowd at the counter until one of the clerks finally motioned for me to come up. I can remember his nametag was crooked, like the little safety pin had come undone in the back. His name was Phil. Phil was overweight like I was, had salt and pepper hair, and the look of a person who had had fucking enough. I made my decision to keep it professional.
I calmly requested to Phil that I was interested in a Glock handgun, preferably a 9mm or .40 caliber, a pump or semi auto shotgun, preferably 12 or 16 gauge, and a semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle, one preferably with a magazine. He told me they were flat out of Glocks entirely, but they did have a few Sig 9mms left. I told him that was fine, and he got the rest of my order.
Now I'm not saying the fine folks of Moore's made a poor decision that day, or that our legal system failed our nation, but there was NO background check performed on anyone while I was there. Now I have a clean record, but some of the folks there were Shady as hell. Capital S added for extra emphasis on Shady.
Phil was nice enough to sell me 2,000 rounds of the .22 cal ammo, 200 rounds of 9mm, and 48 12 gauge double ought shells. He told me he was giving me the hook up and even sold me two spare magazines (thats a clip, for the uninformed) for both the rifle and the pistol. Those would be a big deal as youll see in later entries. I also got a few extra things of gun oil, a fresh gun cleaning kit, as well as a holster and a hunting vest to wear for the shotgun shells and supplies.
The line had died down pretty dramatically while Phil waited on me, and he and I chatted a bit. The folks here were in tight with the cops and they had a better local feel for what was up. Apparently there were no zombies from here, yet. The few zombies seen nearby were people who had come in from out of state already bitten, or already sick somehow. Of course, those few folks had bitten some other folks, and it was slowly spreading. The cops were doing a great job of containing shit from the sound of it, but even after hearing that, I wasn't fucking around. I had Phil charge it all on my credit card, and walked out more or less armed to the teeth.
Officer McGreevy was currently unimpeded by panicked customers when I walked out, so I waved hello, and he tiredly waved back. I loaded up my weapons, illegally, right in front of him in the parking lot, and we exchanged one last wave.
As I drove away down the road, I heard a few gunshots from behind me, back down where the shop was. I stomped the brakes, threw it in reverse, and backed down the road into the parking lot. A new car with out of state plates was in the lot, and McGreevy had his weapon drawn on the vehicle. One of the Moore's employees (not our intrepid hero clerk Phil) was in the doorway, handgun drawn as well. From inside my car I could see that the driver of the out of state sedan was face down on the ground, bleeding a circle out underneath him. The passenger of the car was a little boy, maybe 14 years old, brown hair, screaming bloody murder. McGreevy's pistol shot once more, caving in the back of the dudes head, splattering shit everywhere on the fender of the car. I noticed then that the guy had a huge red mark on the sleeve of his dress shirt. Looked an awful lot like a big fucking bite mark.
My guess was he looked sick, McGreevy saw the bite mark, and made a quick decision. I could see clearly from his face the cop was not cool with what had just happened. I could also see the Moore's guys coming out, practically celebrating that they had gotten one. McGreevy looked up at me in my car, sighed once, and nodded really slightly. The kid was still screaming.
I never saw any of them again.