Vulture Point, that’s what the town-people call it. Called it. It ain’t much, but it’s home. A pile of rock in the middle of the prairie, that’s Vulture Point. A pile of wood on the pile of rock, that’s my home.
Where do I start? Okay.
It’s a journal, not a diary. I had to explain that to my dad a few times before he’d agree to buy me this book. Diaries are for girls, journals are for war heroes, that’s how I explained it to him. He was skeptical, but in the end, he bought it for me. My birthday rolled around, he opened my bedroom door, told me get up for chores, and tossed it down into my lap.
If I had been a girl, if it’d been a diary, I would’a hugged him and cried. Instead, I said, “Thank you, sir,” and I dressed, and I went out to do my chores.
I ain’t had much to write about since then, you want to know the truth. But now that the dead won’t stay dead, I guess that’s something worthy of marking up these pristine pages.
So that’s where the book you’re holdin’ in your hands comes from. I try not to think about who’s gonna be readin’ this. Will it be me, in twenty years, laughing at my silliness? Will it be talk-show hosts or news-people, reading the beginning words of a best-selling book by a guy who lived through it? Will it be people hundreds of years from now, wondering why this planet is empty, finding clues about the end of the world? Or—and this is the scariest scenario of all—will it only be a scrap of trash stepped on as the creatures march on, looking for anything alive to kill?
Sky’s clear, and beautiful. Living in the country, you can always see the stars so well—that’s one thing I’ve always loved about it. For a while, the smoke of the burning town caused a weird sort of haze, so when you looked up at the sky, all the white dots seemed slightly out of focus. But the sky’s cleaner now than I can ever remember it. There aren’t any artificial lights to dilute the night, and the air is so crisp and clear that you feel like you could reach out and touch the stars. And for a second, you forget that you’re all alone with these monsters…
I don’t know how it started—as far as I know, nobody does. Most of the world had been turned before anyone would even admit the truth, so there weren’t many people left to try to figure it out. You can watch movies about monsters all your life—vampires, werewolves, or creatures from the sea—but that’s just movies. That kind of thing doesn’t happen in real life, and it if seems like it is happening, there’s always someone around to say, “You’ve watched too many movies. There has to be a rational explanation.” Just like in the movies, nobody ever wants to believe the truth until it’s too late.
I never really watched zombie movies—I thought zombies were kind of stupid, really, just behind the mummy as the lamest monster in the make-believe world. Slow, shuffling, grunting pieces of shit that you can take out with anything from a single gunshot to a well-swung baseball bat.
What I never counted on was the numbers. I mean, you can watch the old Romero flicks, these things are wanderin’ out of the woodwork, they’re everywhere, right? But there’s like, ten of ‘em. Maybe twenty.
What I realize now is that Romero just didn’t have the kind of budget it would take to accurately convey the hordes. What I realize now is that when over half of the world turns into monsters, it no longer matters how slow they move or how easy it is to kill them. There’s just so many.
I saw a picture on the news shortly before the TV stations went off the air, it was in New York. Times Square, and it made the New Year’s thing look like a relaxing day in the middle of a meadow. These things, they were everywhere, man, not because they particularly enjoyed Times Square, but because there were so many of them changed there in such a short amount of time—it took them days to wander out looking for fresh victims.
Every zombie movie I’ve ever seen, they take place in small towns or deserted islands. They don’t show you what happens when zombies take over places like New York or L.A. It’s fucking chaos. People don’t make it out. Not alive, anyway.
If you’re wondering why I’m still alive to write this, it’s because I live in one of those small towns that’s always covered in the zombie flicks. Hell, not even in the small town, really—outside of town.
I lived out here with my dad, but he’s gone now. And they’re coming.
I looked at this book today, and I hated it. It seems so stupid. What did I plan on writing? What was so important in my life that I needed an actual book to write it in? My life, up until this, it could have been written on toilet paper, and used to wipe a shitty ass, that’s how little it mattered.
Not just me, either. I knew this girl, Cassie Yarnold, her family lived out east, a little over fifteen miles from here. We’d go out on dates sometimes, I’d take her to the show or whatever, and we’d fool around a little. She had this little diary, she used to show me parts of it. Like we’d make out for a while, do as much as she was willing to do, and then she’d pull out this little blue diary, and she’d say, “Read this,” and she’d point out some paragraph, and I’d read it, and it’d be all about her feelings and shit.
A lot of the passages were repetitive, all about how she was sad and alone, and how the future was always out of reach. I’d read what she wrote, and she’d ask me, “So, what’d you think,” and I’d tell her, “That was good. That was really good.”
And then she’d put out.
It was a ritual, a dance. Stupid kids in a stupid world of stupid innocence.
I killed her today.
Cassie Yarnold, the first girl I ever fingered, whose breath always tasted a little like pink Starbursts and whose lips always tasted like vanilla lip gloss. She came walking up the hill, naked but for a pair of panties that said “Monday” across the crotch. She had a tumbleweed caught on one leg, and her bare feet were bloody from walking from her house to mine.
Her left breast was gone, either ripped or bitten off. Blood stains all down her stomach, staining her panties, running down her leg. She got attacked, but must’ve made it to safety before changing into one of her attackers.
I put a bullet in her head, and then climbed down from my haven to look at her. I touched her remaining breast, just to see. It didn’t feel the same. It was cold and dead and repulsive. I washed my hands in the windmill tank and then climbed back up to safety.
I don’t know where to start.
I mean, I’ve already started, obviously, but I don’t know where to start tellin’ the actual story. The story of my life, I guess you could call it. I thought I’d just write a little about the zombies, but if I’m gonna call this the story of my life—and I guess I am—I should tell you a little about myself.
My mom met my dad in high school. He dropped out his junior year, and she dropped out two years later—her junior year—when he knocked her up. That’s kind of what the girls do around here, is get knocked up. The guys get drunk and get in fights and get the girls knocked up. Then the kids grow up a little and do the same thing. Life cycle of a small town.
She killed herself. My mom, I mean. I was three years old, so I don’t remember her too well. She didn’t leave a note or anything, but I think it’s safe to say that she just got too tired. Too tired of being nothing in a nothing town, too tired of getting beat around by my dad, too tired to live any longer. She went out to the machine shed and swallowed a double-barrel worth of buckshot. Used her toe to pull the trigger.
The only thing I really remember about the day she died is my dad coming in with the blood-spattered gun, and cleaning it. There was mud on the trigger—my mom never wore shoes.
My dad didn’t beat on me until he felt I was old enough to take it to heart. I got spanked as a kid, but around the time I was twelve or so, that’s when he’d pop me in the face when I did something wrong. A backhand if he was sober, a closed-fist punch if he was drunk. He was drunk a lot.
I learned to do my chores and stay the hell out of his way. I went to school until I was fifteen, and then he decided that my time was better spent at home. Nobody really gave a shit. I got all right grades in school but I was quiet. Nobody really liked me, not because I’m hard to like, but because I’m not really worth it, one way or the other. Quiet, poor kid from the country, I got no social skills to speak of—about the only time I talk to people is when I’m buyin’ feed or sellin’ pigs. Not hard to miss a kid like that, even in a small-town school.
The town itself is called Sand Skillet. Charming name, right? Not nearly as charming as the pile of rock stacked about ten miles south of it, though—Vulture Point. It isn’t man-made, but it kind of looks like it is. It isn’t a mountain by any means, and it isn’t a hill, either, exactly. Think like this: you have a giant flat rock, okay? Probably three miles long, maybe a mile and a half across. On top of that is a slightly smaller rock. And so on and so on, until you have something that kind of looks like a hill, but not exactly. Then you cover it with a layer of dirt, dust, and crab grass.
Carve out a road and throw a shitty farm on top, surround it with miles of flat prairie, and you’ve got Vulture Point. You look at it from far away, it looks like a moss-covered football that’s mostly sunk into the ground, just the end poking out. When the wind’s blowing just right, you can smell the pig shit for fifteen miles.
I’ve wanted to run away since I can remember, but I never knew where I would go, and I never knew how I’d get there, so here I am.
my thoughts There’re so many of them. There are just so damn many of them…
We came in from chores that day, dirty, thirsty, and smellin’ like sweat and pig shit. We have a TV with an antenna, so we get four static-infused local channels, when the weather’s bein’ agreeable. Because of the shitty reception, and because things on TV don’t much affect us, we never watched much of it. Dad’d come in and kick on the news sometimes, if he was in the mood, but usually the thing was off unless he wanted a little entertainment with his booze.
He grabbed a beer and went straight for the shower that day, while I grabbed a pack of ground beef out of the freezer and tossed it into the microwave to thaw. I washed my hands and cut up some toppings—lettuce, tomato, onion—and then grabbed the meat and went out to throw some burgers onto the grill.
I wasn’t paying much attention to anything—just standing there in front of the grill, zoning out, thinking of nothing—when I suddenly shivered. I realized the hair was standing up on the back of my neck and all along my arms.
I’m gonna tell you something about country living, and you can choose to believe it or not. When you live in the country, you learn how to feel the world around you, almost like it’s an extension of your body. Not the entire world, of course, but your world. For example: you’ll be walking along, doin’ your thing, and suddenly you know to stop. You’ll look around and see a rattlesnake or something, just hangin’ around, waitin’ for you to step on it. Or you can feel a storm comin’ on, even if there isn’t a cloud in the sky.
You can just feel things sometimes. Maybe it’s like that in the city, too, I don’t know. I see those places on TV, it seems like they’re all too caught up in making money or having sex with each other to pay attention to the how the world really feels.
I looked up from the grill to see what was wrong—something was wrong, for sure, I just wasn’t sure of what—and I saw someone walking towards our place. He was still about a half-mile away, so I couldn’t tell who it was, but I could tell that he was walkin’ real funny. It was like a limp, kind of.
You know when you sprain your ankle or somethin’? How you step real gently, so as to not make it hurt more? This wasn’t that kind of limp. The way that guy was limpin’, it was like his ankle was broken and he didn’t give a shit.
Which, as it turned out, was exactly the case.
I went in to get the binoculars and the keys to the truck, figuring if it was someone coming for help, I should go pick ‘em up. My dad was sitting in front of the TV, beer in hand. Outside again, I looked through the binoculars.
At first, I couldn’t figure out what I was lookin’ at. It kind of looked like Gainy Martin—our neighbor a couple miles down the road—but his face was grey to the point of almost being green, and he was dressed up in a dirty suit. He looked sick as hell, but also dazed, like maybe he’d been walking around in the sun for a day or two. I figured I better go out and pick him up, maybe take him into town to the doctor.
I opened the door and hollered in at my dad. “Old man Martin’s out in the prairie, wanderin’ around. Dressed up in a suit, for some reason. I’m gonna go get him, see if maybe he needs a ride into town.”
My dad was still sitting there in front of the TV, his beer still in his hand, and that’s when I realized it was still unopened. He turned and looked at me, and I saw an expression on his face that I had never, ever seen—fear.
I saw him get bit on the face by a rattler, one time. We were out workin’ on the truck, and he was under it. The snake dropped down out of the engine—it’d been up in there keepin’ out of the sun—and bit him right under his eye. He reached up and grabbed it just behind the head, and then smashed its skull in with a crescent wrench. Then he stood up, slowly, and walked across the yard to the barn. The whole time, he was explaining to me that you need to keep your pulse down to keep the venom from spreading so quick. He told me I was in charge of supper, and then he climbed up onto the tractor, started it up, and drove himself into town. They said he almost died that day—should have died, really.
My dad, he was a bastard, but he was a tough, fearless bastard.
I never saw him afraid until that day. “What’d you just say?”
“Gainy’s out in the pasture, wanderin’ around like a fool. Dressed up in a suit. I thought I’d go out to see if he’s okay, maybe run him into town.”
He stood up and walked over to me. “You mind the beef,” he said. “I’ll take care of Gainy.” He took the keys and the binoculars and walked outside.
I followed him out, and stood by as he looked through the binocs. Gainy was only about a hundred yards away by then, so I could see his weird gait and dirty suit with my naked eyes.
“I’ll be damned,” my dad muttered, and put the binoculars down by the grill. He walked across the yard, to the truck. Instead of getting in, he removed a rifle from the gun rack and then walked back over to where I was standing. “Look through those,” he told, me, indicating the binocs.
I lifted them to my face just as he raised the rifle to look through the scope. We stood that way for several moments, and I wondered what was so important that we both needed to look at the same time. Then he cocked the gun.
“What are you doin’?” I asked him.
“Just keep lookin’,” he said, and fired. I jumped, but didn’t look away. I saw the bullet hit Gainy in the stomach, and he staggered and fell backwards.
“What the hell did you do?” I yelled, turning to my dad. He was still looking through the scope.
“I hit ‘im?”
“You know damn well you did!”
I glanced in the direction he indicated, and saw that Gainy was back up, staggering towards us in the exact same manner as before. He didn’t look any healthier, but he didn’t look like a seventy year old man who just got gut-shot, either. I whipped the binoculars up to my face.
“Watch,” my dad said, and fired another shot. This one hit the old man in the arm, causing him to jerk to one side a bit, but other than that, he didn’t even seem to notice. My dad fired another shot, and that one got Gainy in the leg, knocking it out from under him. In seconds, he was back on his feet, staggering towards us, oblivious to his wounds.
“What’s going on here?” I asked.
“Well, accordin’ to the news, it’s the end of the world.” He snapped another round into the chamber. “Watch again.”
He fired, and Gainy’s head snapped back. He slumped to the ground, and stayed there.
“Dad?” I asked, lowering the binocs. My head was filled with questions, but I couldn’t ask a damn one. I had just stood by and watched my dad kill one of our neighbors. But even more bizarre than that was the fact that I had watched him shoot the guy three times before finishing him off.
“Gainy Martin died almost a week an’ a half ago—I stopped by his wake when I was in buyin’ grain.”
“What? What are you saying?”
“Zombies, boy.” He lowered his rifle and looked at me. Then he did a strange thing—he smiled. “And here I thought it’d be the Democrats that would be the end of us.”
my thoughts I got nothin’ to say today. Why try?
Gainy Martin was done walking around, but there were plenty that followed him out through that prairie, out towards our place. We slept in shifts. We strung up some work lights all around the place so that we could see ‘em coming at night. We sat out on the windmill tower and shot them. A headshot is the only way to kill ‘em, in case you were wondering. You shoot ‘em anywhere else, they barely notice, although the spine shots do tend to screw ‘em up a little.
We found that out on accident. I was climbin’ down from the windmill, about to go inside and wake up my old man after my night shift. My eyes and motor skills weren’t at their best, and I missed the second ladder rung from the top. It’s about twenty feet down, and if I had landed any other way than how I did, I probably would have busted myself up pretty good. As it was, I landed pretty much flat on my back, knocking myself out. When I came to, one of the bastards was about ten feet away, coming right for me. I looked around for my rifle, but it was hung up by the shoulder strap on one of the ladder rungs, about fifteen feet above my head. The zombie was between me and the windmill, so to go for my gun, I’d have to dash around him and scramble out of reach before he got me. They’re pretty slow, but they aren’t that slow. About like your average old person, I guess. Not too fast, but able to move when they want something.
I staggered to my feet, and the thing was already on me. I cried out, and shoved it down. I headed towards the windmill, but the creature was already up on its feet, following me, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to climb out of its reach in time. I would have tried to dodge it for a while, lead it out into the pasture twenty feet or so and then run back in for my gun, but that’s when I saw the other three coming up the driveway.
I started yelling for my dad. It was a tough decision to make—either call for him and alert him to the fact that I had failed my duty, or try to fight, unarmed, to the death with a bunch of zombies. In the end, what decided me was that I knew if I got bit during my scuffle, my dad would shoot me. He wouldn’t be subtle about it, either—probably just look at the wound and then blast me between the eyes. I didn’t want my last sight on earth being my dad aiming a gun at my face.
He busted out the door in a matter of seconds, wearing only his boots and a pair of boxers. He had his old .45 stuck in his waistband and his shotgun in his hands. Because they were closer to him, he blasted the ones coming up the driveway first. I mentioned before that my dad was pretty much fearless. He was also very pragmatic.
So instead of standing a safe distance back from the approaching zombies, he walked right up to them, until the end of the gun was almost touching the zombie forehead, and then he pulled the trigger. When I asked him about it later, he told me it was because he only had three shells in the shotgun, and he couldn’t chance it. The shotgun blasts were deafening, but the zombies didn’t even flinch.
My old man leveled the first one, then the second, then the third. Watching him destroy was mesmerizing. I know it sounds weird, but his cold, calculated manner of ending the creatures, it was almost like art—as close as I ever got to seeing art, anyway. The zombie that had been stalking me had no art appreciation, apparently, because while I was transfixed with my old man blowing the shit out of the other zombies, this one had closed the distance between the two of us. It launched itself at me, like a drunk falling, and pinned me against the windmill ladder. I screamed, and immediately wished I hadn’t—I sounded like a child, and I knew I would hear about it later from my old man.
I grabbed the zombie’s shoulders, trying to hold it back. It snapped at me, almost like a wild dog, but not quite. There was something human about the gesture—when wild dogs snap, it’s usually because they’re angry or afraid, but this was just hunger and madness. It tried to bite my wrist as I held it, and I felt the slight breeze caused by its teeth gnashing together.
And then my dad was there, his pistol jammed into the thing’s stomach, and the shot sounding like the song of an angel. He hadn’t wanted to put his gun against the back of the creature because that might either splatter me with the blood, or cause the bullet to travel all the way through and kill me, too. He wasn’t sure if the cause of the zombies was transmitted by blood, but he didn’t want to risk me getting a face full of the creature’s blood or brain matter, so he put the .45 between it and me.
The shot didn’t kill the zombie, but it rocked it. Something about severing the spinal cord caused the creature to lose control of itself. Instead of coming for me, it immediately turned and walked away. It roared, angry to be leaving its prey, its meal. It walked over and began bumping against the chicken coop, its right arm grasping violently at nothing but air.
My dad walked over, placed the gun against its head, and pulled the trigger. Most of the blood and brain that splattered against the wood was already solidified—instead of a liquid, it looked like someone had thrown a rotten, syrup-covered cake against the chipped white paint of the chicken coop.
“Yeah,” I said, expecting shouting or a beating or at least several minutes of insults.
“Don’t think so.” I stripped down to my boxers and turned, letting him inspect me.
“You’re cut up on your back.”
“Fell off the windmill. Knocked me out. Sorry about that.”
“Shit happens,” he said. “Just glad you didn’t break nothin’ when you fell. Go on in, get some rest.”
I was stunned. Not a beating; not even the threat of one. Hell, not even unkind words. I didn’t realize it then, but the end of the world brought out the humanity in my dad. It was nice, but not at all long enough.
There’s more of ‘em every day, seems like. I don’t know what I’m gonna do. What kind of person am I? I guess that’s the question. What kind of world is this? I guess that’s the better question.
We were pretty self-sufficient, so there wasn’t any need to go into town. Still, he decided to go. “I gotta go check an’ see if there’s survivors there,” he explained. Like I said before, the end of the world brought out the humanity in my dad.
He went during the day, figuring it would be safer. What he didn’t figure on was the numbers. A town of 2,700 doesn’t seem like that much, until 2,600 of them are trying to kill you.
He made it back out, but when he did, he had a pretty good-sized chunk out of his arm.
“There’s nothing in town worth saving,” he told me, stepping out of the truck. I glanced at the blood first, bright red and dirty brown on his white shirt. I saw the bandage next.
“Yep, they got me,” he said. “I was reaching toward a door handle, and they busted in on top of me, six or eight of ‘em. I took out most of ‘em, but the one on top, he bit me before I could get my first shot off. I took his head off, but it was too late. It is too late.”
“What’re you gonna do?” I asked, thinking about all the nights I prayed for God to strike him dead. Thinking about how, just recently, I had grown to love my father, about how he had shown me what kind of a person he could be. Thinking about how you have to be careful what you wish for.
“Gonna help you unload the supplies I brought back from town, first of all. And then I’m gonna tell you I’m sorry for the way I’ve acted. Then I’m gonna tell you that I love you, son. And that I’m proud of you. And then I’m gonna take a shit, because I ate some Vienna sausages on my way back out here, and I think they were bad. Then I’m prob’ly gonna go out and shoot myself in the head, because I got bit by one a’them damn things.”
“Too bad,” I told him. “I really like those Vienna sausages.”
He smiled, just for a second, and it was the smile of a nice guy. And then he was gone, out to unload the truck. He turned right before we finished unloading. One second, he was handing me a case of Batman-shaped Spagetti-O’s with meatballs; the next second, he was trying to tear my throat out with his teeth.
I knocked him back with a giant can of V-8, and as he staggered backwards, I pulled out the nine mil I got for my fourteenth birthday, I placed the barrel right between his eyebrows, and I pulled the trigger.
I cried, then, and I knew he’d scoff at me for that. But I’d killed him without hesitation, and I knew he’d proud of me for that. I unloaded the rest of the supplies, and climbed up onto the windmill so I could get some sleep.
I guess it’s all the story now. I climbed up the windmill that night, and when I woke up the next morning, I was surrounded. Twelve of ‘em, all just clawing at the windmill, grunting, moaning, looking up at me.
I pissed down on ‘em, and then I shot them, one by one. When I climbed down, the first thing I did was put together an emergency kit inside a foot locker and get it up on top of the windmill. About thirty feet up, there’s a wooden platform—that’s where I had slept, and that’s where I had kept a look out before my dad died. It was hard work getting stuff up there, and there wasn’t much room once I got it up there—the entire platform’s only about six feet by six feet, and the footlocker I hauled up took up over a quarter of that. I had enough space to lay down, parallel to the footlocker, and that was about it. I packed the locker full of stuff—extra rounds, first aid kit, food, bottled water. I planned on going down to the house every day, but in case I got stuck up in the windmill, I wanted to be prepared. I strung a tarp from each corner of the windmill, providing cover in case it started raining, and I brought up a couple sleeping bags.
I was set through spring, summer, and fall, but I didn’t even want to think about winter. It can get down to about ten degrees in the winter, and when the wind’s racing across the prairie, it feels like negative twenty. I decided not to worry about that until I had to.
Along with all that other stuff, I brought this book. I spent the first night writing in it, listening for approaching footsteps, or groans out in the darkness.
Four days I’ve been up here. Each morning, I shoot any zombies that have gathered at the base of the windmill, and then I climb down and get some food and do my chores—as hungry as the monsters seem to be for flesh, they’ll have nothing to do with the chickens or the pigs. I have to be careful when I’m walking around, but it generally isn’t too bad, because there’s so much flat land around, I can spot anything approaching long before it’s in biting distance.
But what’s bothering me is that every morning, there’s more of ‘em. I’m not sure where they’re coming from, exactly, but it’s not from around here. They’re migrating north, and I don’t know if they’re doing it because that’s just the direction they were pointed when they started walking, or if it’s because they ate all their food down there, and are headin’ up this way in search of more.
Sometimes I’ll just sit up here and watch ‘em walk across the plains. It’s flat for at least fifty miles in three directions, and in the fourth, there’s just Sand Skillet, which is really just a few houses and then another fifty miles of flat. They’ll lurk across the plains, and sometimes they’ll miss me altogether. But all it takes is one.
The ensuing gunshot usually attracts any other zombies in the area.
Every day, there’s more. Eventually, I’ll have to come up with a plan.
I woke up this morning because the windmill was rocking. I immediately visualized all of my stuff blowing off the platform, but as soon as I woke up a little, I realized that the wind wasn’t even blowing. Then I realized what was making the windmill sway. Them.
They were down there, stumbling all over each other, all grabbing the windmill, pulling it, pushing it, hitting it, biting it. At least a hundred of them, all crowded around, trying to tear down the windmill to get at me. If they had been a little more organized, they would have tipped it. But they were all fumbling, falling on each other, yanking mindlessly instead of together.
Still, it was only a matter of time.
I climbed up to the top of the windmill and looked down. The house was about ten feet away, and from the top of the windmill, probably a fifteen foot drop. It was dangerous, but I didn’t see any other choice. I jumped before I thought about it too much, and when I hit the angle of the roof, I heard something in my leg snap, and I was suddenly filled with pain from my feet up to my stomach. I screamed, and all of the zombies stopped what they were doing, for just a moment. Then, they started walking towards the house.
I climbed up to the peak of the roof, pain shooting through my leg, and rolled down the other side to the garage. I jumped into a pile of old hay and then ran/limped to the three-wheeler in the garage. We keep it full of gas and ready to go, and use it mostly for emergencies, like if an animal gets out, or whatever.
I turned the key and revved it up, just as the first zombie rounded the corner. And then I was outta there. The good thing about an off-road vehicle is that you don’t have to stay on the roads. You have to take it kind of easy when you’re taking the three-wheeler through the pasture—a washed-out hole will blow the tire right off the rim if you hit it too hard—but if you pay attention, you can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time.
Stopping and waiting for them was the hardest thing I ever had to do. If anything went wrong, they’d have me. I waited for them, this huge group of monsters, and when they were close enough, I took off again, another mile or so, and then stopped. I did that all the way to town.
It got a lot harder once I got to town, because I had to watch and make sure that nothin’ came at me from around the corner or out of a house. But once I had the whole group into the middle of town, where they were surrounded by buildings, I took off.
I took the highway back to my place, so that I could really get the three-wheeler going. There was only one creature at my place, banging on the door, grunting. I climbed up my perch and shot him. My leg was swollen, but it didn’t seem broken. Probably a really bad sprain. I swallowed down a bunch of ibuprofen and climbed back down, the .45 tucked in my waistband.
I parked the three-wheeler in the garage, and filled it up with the gas tank from the back of the truck. I brought out a ladder and a length of rope, and then climbed onto the roof of the house. I tied one end around the brick chimney and tossed the remainder up onto the platform. After putting away the ladder and grabbing a pair of gloves, I climbed back up the windmill. I tied the rope to the crossbars of the windmill and then shimmied across, making sure that I could get from the windmill to the house and back easily.
I grabbed a roll of baling wire and used it to fence myself in on top of the windmill—I didn’t want the bastards shaking me down while I was still asleep. Also, I figured it’d keep me from rolling off the platform in my sleep.
All that done, I’m going to bed.
Not so many this morning—I was able to shoot them all and be done in time for lunch. My leg’s feeling better. I don’t know what I’m going to do. This windmill obviously isn’t safe enough, but I can’t think of anything safer.
I didn’t sleep well last night. I kept thinking about the zombies I led into town. I keep wondering if there were still people living in the town, if I unleashed an army of monsters onto them. I keep wondering if they’re going to be coming back out for me.
If they truly are migrating, if it’s something all zombies do, it’s only a matter of time before I encounter more, probably larger groups. On the plus side, it might mean that eventually, they’ll all be north of me, going off to do whatever, and I won’t have to worry as much.
I’m not ready to be that optimistic, though.
It’s night now, and the floodlights went out. The moon’s full, and there aren’t any clouds, so I can see okay to write, although I’m guessing my words aren’t exactly on the lines. What I can’t see so well is what’s going on below me. I hear occasional grunts or groans, but I can’t tell where the noises are coming from—somewhere in the shadows.
I’m pretty sure there’re a couple roaming around on the other side of the house, and I think one’s behind the tool shed. A couple came stumbling out from the garage a little bit ago, and I shot them. That brought more, and I shot them, too. But that was a while ago, and the new ones that have arrived since then, they haven’t figured out I’m up here yet, I don’t guess.
I remember being out feeding cattle once, I got a flat on the truck, and was walking up from the pasture. It was night time, and I was probably only about ten or so—not very big—and there was this coyote came up out of the dark, his eyes gleaming in my flashlight. I looked around with my flashlight and saw that there were five of ‘em. The first one, the most aggressive, he kind of moved in on me, acting like he might jump on me. I had a .22 rifle that I had brought with me from the truck, and I shot him right in the eye. The rest of ‘em took off like bats outta hell.
These creatures don’t do that. You take one of ‘em out, the others don’t scatter. You show ‘em that you’re stronger, that you aren’t afraid, they don’t care. They just keep coming. Noise seems to draw them, in fact.
But not just noise. Something else, too, and I don’t know what. Sometimes I’ll see one wanderin’ across the pasture, and he’ll just stop and stand there for a second, and then make a line right for Vulture Point. They don’t seem to sniff me out, and they don’t see me, exactly, and I’m pretty sure they don’t hear me—unless I’m shooting them or something. Sometimes I get the feeling like they can taste me in the air, like a snake does. I don’t know, though.
Anyway, I gotta get some sleep.
I woke up this morning, picked a few of ‘em off, and then started to climb down the ladder. That’s when I noticed something out on the horizon. I climbed back up and squinted, trying to figure out what it was. Almost looked like clouds buildin’ out way south, which meant a big storm comin’. I picked up the binocs and saw that it was worse than any storm.
It was them, more than I ever imagined. Covering the entire horizon. I fainted dead away.
I woke up a couple hours later, and almost fell off the windmill. If I’d been any closer to the side, I would have fallen right off, and would’ve woken up as zombie food. There were a few of ‘em down there, looking up at me like a bunch of kids who lost their ball on top of the roof.
I ignored them for the time being, and looked back out to the horizon. They were closer, but I couldn’t tell how much closer. They looked like a shadow covering the land.
Coming for me.
I’m makin’ a break for it. Yesterday, after I got done writing, I killed off all the zombies around, filled the truck up with gas, and loaded it with supplies. The idea of heading out into the world, away from the security of my home, it scares the shit outta me. But I can’t wait here for them to kill me. So I’m goin’ to sleep now, and first thing in the morning, I’m headin’ out. The legion of zombies is still far away—thirty miles at least, so I think I’ll be outta here long before they arrive. I’d like to head off right now, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea to start out at night. I’m sure that pretty soon, I’ll have to drive day or night, but startin’ out, I’m going to try to stick to day. I don’t do much travellin’—in fact, I’ve never been more that two hours drive away from Vulture Point—so I’m sure I’ll have a hard enough time keepin’ myself calm even during the day. Add the jitters of the night into the equation, and I’ll probably end up wrecking the truck before I get further away than Sand Skillet.
I guess it’s technically the 23rd. It’s about three in the morning. They tipped the windmill. And they were so quiet about it. Usually, they’ll be all moanin’ and gruntin’, and unless I’m really tired, it’ll wake me right up. But today, even when they were shovin’ the windmill from side to side, they were dead silent (no pun intended). I woke up like before, swaying like I was in a heavy wind. I put on my gloves and slid down the rope that was tied to the chimney. I did my old trick about jumping down to the three-wheeler and leadin’ ‘em away, but this time, there were just too many. Everywhere I turned, more zombies. I finally managed to lure them far enough away from the truck so that I could circle back around and get in, but I barely made it in, and already, they were hammerin’ on the glass, surrounding me.
I started the truck and plowed through ‘em. I got stuck a couple of times because of all the bodies I was hitting, and I had to reverse and then gas it. I had the sick thought about how if the world ever recovers from this, that scene would make a helluva Ford commercial.
And then I was free of them, driving off into the darkness, and that’s when I realized I was bawling my ass off. I have never felt so scared and alone in all my life.
I don’t know where I’m goin’. I have extra gas packed in the back, and enough food to last me for a long time, but I have no idea where I’m going.
I guess I’m going to stop in town, pick up a map, and just pick some place that looks isolated enough. Maybe an island, isn’t that what they do in the movies? But do zombies drown? That’s the last thing I want, is to be trapped on an island where they can surround me on all sides and I can’t get away.
Maybe I’ll head down to Corpus Christi, steal myself a houseboat, and live out in the sea for the rest of my life. I don’t know. I don’t even know how to drive a boat.
Or sail it, or whatever.
I don’t know. I know I’m babbling. It’s just…I don’t know, I guess panic? I’m stopped right now, just to calm down. I keep expectin’ something to lunge out of the dark at me, though, and start banging on the windows. But I just have to calm down a bit, or I’ll crash.
The thought of getting trapped in a car accident and having to wait for those things to come and get me, it’s enough to almost make me piss my pants.
Okay, time to drive.
I guess even a plan thought up while terrified can be a good plan. I’m heading east, out towards Corpus. Hopefully I’ll be able to find a boat, and figure out how to work it without gettin’ myself killed. I don’t think I have balls enough to try to find an island just yet, but at least in a boat, I can float out where they can’t get me. They might be able to sink to the bottom of the water and walk to an island, but I don’t think they have the coordination to swim.
I couldn’t bring myself to go into Sand Skillet for the map, and since I knew the general direction to head, I just headed that way.
I’m at a rest stop now, one of those nice ones with a visitor center and soft drink machines and all that. I’ll probably go in and get a map, maybe clean out the vending machines. There aren’t any cars around, so I’m pretty sure it’s empty, but I’m taking the .45 with me just in case.
I got bit.