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.