Monthly Archives: October 2012

Part 3: End Times

Happy Halloween, everybody!

A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist. ~ Stewart Alsop

If you haven’t read part 1, After The Lights Went Out, or part 2, Dystopia? Or Something Else?, you should do that before you read this.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It has become impossible to find out what is going on within the city of Baltimore. Without television or internet, we are limited to radio, and the only stations still broadcasting are located outside the city. We don’t know which areas have been affected, and we’re afraid to venture outside to determine the state of things for ourselves. The house is hot and stuffy, we’re running low on food, and without news to assure us that the reservoirs are still safe we’re afraid to drink any water that isn’t what we stockpiled days ago. Worse than that, tempers are running high — where a week ago we were all laughing and drinking wine while we watched our babies play together happily, we are now snapping at each other over nothing. When Sausage trips and hits his head on a table edge, C and Loving Husband nearly come to blows over baby-proofing. We can’t live like this much longer.

And it’s starting to look like we won’t have to. It’s mid-day, and for the first time in days, the eerie silence outside has been broken by the sound of breaking glass and muffled screams. C is the tallest of us, and he leans out an upstairs window to see what is going on.

They’ve come.

The noise we heard was a gang of zombies, maybe thirty of them, methodically breaking into houses at the end of the street, dragging people from their homes and devouring them under the hot sun. They are moving in our direction.

We gather the children and as much of food and diapers as we can carry and hurry to the basement. This is where we will make our stand, with only one access point. It is our hope, though a faint one, that the zombies will find the basement too difficult to access, and will therefore pass us by in favor of easier targets.

By the time we’ve moved, we can smell them. As sealed up as we are in this hot and airless house, the stench of thirty animated corpses rotting in the record-breaking heat has crept under the door, around the windows, down the antique chimney. What had been horrifying and terrible is now also intensely immediate.

Loving Husband and C assemble the weapons they found — hedge clippers, a baseball bat, a heavy spade, assorted cooking knives. It doesn’t look like much, and it really isn’t. They plan to defend the narrow stairwell with the knives and clippers, leaving B and I to fight with the longer ‘weapons’ at the bottom of the stairs, should the zombies make it through that far. We are the last line of defense.

Photo by bigsampson

Now all we can do is wait. This is the hardest thing we’ve faced so far — the tension of waiting for our killers. The men murmur in the stairwell, quietly discussing strategy as if they stand a chance of saving us. In my mind, I kiss my Loving Husband goodbye, hoping that he knows how much I love him without my having to say it. I stand, spade in hand, next to B and her baseball bat, both of us ready to defend our babies with our last breaths. We wait for the sound of glass breaking, wood splintering, barricades crashing from above.

Finally, from behind me, comes an unexpected sound: metal grating on stone.

The zombies, so much stronger in death than they ever could have been in life, have torn the metal bars off of the basement windows and are breaking into the house from a completely unexpected direction. The thick, frosted glass breaks, smashed by graying, rotting fists. Snarls and grunts accompany the sounds of crashing glass and crumbling brick.

There is nothing between the zombies and the babies.

B shouts to the men, and they come running. I step around the playpen and attempt to hack at the blank-eyed, rabid faces that are pushing their way through the window casings. My spade is able to slow a couple of them down, knocking out some teeth, slicing open some faces, but nothing seems to stop them.

“This is it,” I think. “We can’t do it. We’re going to die here.” I turn my head a little, trying to see my beautiful child one last time, knowing my death to be immanent. My guard drops a bit, I hear a crack, and as I fall to the floor, I think I hear a far off wail. Then all goes black.

Next Time: The Conclusion

Part 2: Dystopia? Or Something Else?

We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you haven’t read part 1 of the saga, After The Lights Went Out, you should do that before you read this.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Seventeen more bodies were found during the night. The National Guard has been called in, police are on double shifts, and all citizens have been asked to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary. Checkpoints have been established throughout the city, where all cars are being searched in an effort to smoke out the killers, or at least to find clues to their identities. We huddle in the house, watching the news and feeding the children from a rapidly dwindling supply of food. The babies can sense our fear, and are on edge, wanting to be held and carried rather than playing. We have no choice but to wait and see what will happen.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Groceries need to be bought. Loving Husband goes to the store along with C, while B and I stay at home with the little ones. The men return too quickly — there are crowds outside the Supermarket and all the convenience stores, and tempers are running high: delivery trucks have been unable to get into the city and supplies are running low. Reports of riots and looting are coming in from different parts of the city. We barricade the doors after we hear shouts from the end of the street — it’s better to be safe than sorry. An increasingly tired-looking news anchorwoman reports that more bodies have been found, and word has leaked anonymously from the police department that many of the bodies that have been found had their skulls torn open and their brains missing. Official police spokesmen refuse to comment. We start stockpiling water in jugs and pitchers, and we begin rationing our food. The men search through the basement storage room for things to use as weapons, should the need for them arise.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Where we heard shouts yesterday, there is now silence. No car doors slam, there are no sounds of traffic from the street. I’ve never heard the city this quiet. Television and internet went down at some point during the night — we listen to a radio for news, which only echoes what was said yesterday but with a higher body count. The only sounds we hear from outside the house are occasional sirens and the rapid thwack-thwack-thwack of rotor blades overhead. Even the babies are quiet, watching us with big eyes and demanding to be held all day. In the late afternoon, the power flicks off, leaving us terrified in the silent dark of the city.

Photo by vjeran2001

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The radio tells us that something we never would have believed, something we had joked about amongst ourselves, has in fact come to pass — Baltimore is being eaten from the inside by a zombie horde. These zombies aren’t like the old movies: slow, cumbersome bodies barely animated enough to move; these are strong, fast, and intelligent enough to have hidden from authorities for nearly a week. Estimates place the size of the horde at several thousand, no longer needing to hide, now rampaging through the poorer parts of the city, cutting power lines and killing with abandon. The President has deployed the Army units stationed at Fort Meade in an attempt to cordon off the parts of the city most seriously affected, though a local scientist gave small hope, saying that they’ve found bullets to have little effect on the zombies. In fact, he claimed, it’s remarkable how little is actually known about them — clearly they do eat brains, they are more intelligent than previously believed possible, and conventional firearms are ineffective. Nobody seems to know where they came from or how to stop them. We are advised to barricade all doors and windows, even if we don’t live in the parts of the city so far affected — the horde has been moving, spreading, and there’s no way of knowing when or if they might get to us.

Next Time: End Times

Part 1: After The Lights Went Out

In honor of Halloween and the Werefrankenstorm of the Apocalypse, here is a story that I wrote last summer but which seems particularly appropriate just now. Enjoy!

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. ~ Helen Keller

Friday, June 29, 2012

Loving Husband and I have been asleep for nearly an hour, little Sausage tucked into his crib in the next room. I wake to the first claps of thunder, and notice that the white noise machine in Sausage’s room has stopped running. I turn it back on, noting that the power must have fluctuated and caused the machine to turn itself off. Loving Husband and I sit in our bed watching the window flash — the lightning is like an irregular strobe light, more rapid and constant than I’ve ever experienced before. Over the next ten minutes or so, the power flickers repeatedly before finally going out altogether. We break out the battery-powered noise maker for the baby, fearing that without it the thunder will wake him.  We hold each other close, listening to the storm batter the windows as we drift back to sleep. We’re confident that power will be restored by the next day, at the latest. After all, it is just a summer storm.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The power still being out in the morning, Loving Husband goes out to get us some breakfast. From the car’s radio, he finds that power is out throughout the entire region, affecting some 2.1 million people. Based on our experience with losing power last summer, for the three days after Hurricane Irene, we have a terrible feeling that this could be a long, miserable experience. We watch as our (battery-powered) clocks register higher and higher inside temperatures, and our baby’s face grows more and more flushed. We all sleep downstairs, where it is marginally cooler than in the bedrooms.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The power is still out. The inside temperature of our house is above 80°, and outside … well, it’s a lot hotter than that. We go to stay with some friends, B and C, who live a few blocks away and (for whatever reason) never lost power. There we hear a newscaster announce that at least seven people have died so far, from the storm and the heat. We don’t worry, since we are now comfortably air conditioned, ensconced in a cool basement. Sausage is excited about the extended play date with his friend S, B and C’s little girl. It’s like camping, only better!

Monday, July 2, 2012

There has been word of more deaths. Some are heat-related, though others are violent, the bodies mutilated. We laughingly speculate that the epidemic of bath-salts users is continuing, aided and abetted by the irrationality of overheated brains. We feel terribly sorry for those who haven’t managed to find themselves cool basements to sleep in, and are stranded in ever-heating houses, or who are out on the streets. I watch my child play with S, both of them shrieking with delight, and think how very lucky we are.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The police are advising that citizens stay indoors as much as possible — it appears that, in the wake of the storm, and with so many people displaced, there may be a serial killer on the loose. Six more bodies have been found mutilated. For the first time, our crowding into our friends’ house seems less like a fun slumber party and more like safety in numbers. We drink blood-red wine and talk of dark doings, double- and triple-checking the locks on the door.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fear is mounting. Thirty bodies have been found since the power outage began. Police think that there may be a group of killers working together, though they can’t find any links between the victims, which seems to rule out a gang war. Independence Day celebrations are muted, fireworks displays cancelled by order of the mayor. The city is both dark and eerily quiet. Instead of celebrating, we are all filled with feelings of foreboding.

Next time: Dystopia? Or Something Else?