Holy Hell in a Hand Basket
Helloooo old friend, it's been a while. Mom was too "disturbed" by my entries so she stopped forcing me to write. Sorry. But OH MY GOD, guess the fuck what?
Okay, so this morning, I hear a noise. It woke me up, right? And it's like "garble garble garble" like some kind of demented turkey or something, right? It's coming from the hallway, and so I open my door to see because I figure it's just Cody being a jackass again, and I was going to shove my foot up his ass, but NOPE.
It was Mom. And she was chowing the fuck down on Dad's face. Like literally, on her hands and knees like an animal, eating his nose. And I was like, "Mom?" And she was like, "ehhhh." And I was like, "Jesus Christ!!!!!"
So, I slammed my door, and I was like, "what the fu-----?" And then mom starts making that weird "ehhhh" sound, you know, and trying to scratch her way in.
Diary, I have been waiting for this day since I was like five years old. Not just Mom killing Dad, but it's A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.
Seriously! I'm totally serious.
So anyway, I was like, "this is AMAZEBALLS, but what the hell am I going to do?" And then I thought, 'okay, I will trap her in the bathroom and go to the attic.' But it didn't really work, so I hit her over the head with my softball bat. I grabbed it just in case. It wasn't THAT hard, but I had to hit her like five times before she fell down. She was like, reaching in the air like an infant like, "ooooghhh," and I just rammed it into her forehead. It was so funny.
And dad was totes dead, but pretty sure he'd come back to life, so I bashed his head in, too. To be safe.
Cody, man. That little fucker started it. I bet it was the vaccines he got yesterday or maybe he caught it at daycare or something, I dunno. But mom had left him in his crib, and there was blood EVERYWHERE, like all over the rocking chair cushions and the side of his crib and all over his face. He must have gnawed the crap out of Mom's boob. I totally told her it was weird as shit to be breastfeeding a three-year-old, but she didn't listen.
He was just in there like, "argghhh, ehhh, garble." It was HILARIOUS, dude. Just stuck in there like an idiot. I went ahead and smashed him up, too, to be careful, because he started climbing out last week and I couldn't chance it.
So anyway, we have all this furniture and shit up here in the attic. I grabbed some Cheetos and you and I figured I would write about this as it goes along, because this is going to make an awesome novel, and when this crap is over, I'm gonna be famous for living through it.
I mean, I don't know if there are more, but I assume there are. I hear sirens and stuff like that. I've got the door locked, when it quiets down I'll go grab some more food, but OH MY GOD! Yes!!!
I think I'm going to find a motorcycle or something cool as balls like that. I will look so f'in hot on a bike! Ahhh! I'm so excited!!
Okay, I'm gonna go now. Think Dad keeps his old bow up here and some fishing stuff and shit, so I better gear up. I will be a BAD ASS MUTHA. Yeah. So f'n PUMPED!!
K, see ya later!! Toodaloodelies!!!!
If you’re reading this, you might consider yourself somewhat fortunate. Of the 3000 houses in the immediate suburb, you have broken into my house, you’ve found a bunker full of food and water. That’s not the fortunate part. The fortunate part is that you’re reading my diary, and it might just save your life.
I have limited time. I can’t include everything, so here are the essentials.
They call them ‘Night Lights’.
The sky erupts in colour, spurred on with the lightning and thunder. The light bursts through cloud cover as if clawing through it. Like it has a life of its own. It’s a terrible, unnatural beauty.
The lights are commonly believed to be caused by seismic activity. The truth seekers have many theories. Tests have been conducted sporadically for over a century, normally during earthquakes (hence the connection). The idea is that coverage for the earthquake will wash out the few raving spectators. To aid the government, sceptics have even been planted in the scientific community to dispute victims claiming they’ve seen the phenomenon. They provide the reasonable doubt necessary for the governments to do their job.
Yes, you read correctly.
Though these lights can appear during earthquakes, the earthquakes do not cause them. The government does. The Night Lights we’re seeing tonight act as a warning system. Technology co-created by the government induces these lights. They have extraterrestrial origins, but much more than that, I don’t know. That’s above my security clearance. What I do know is that they have a vested interest in this experiment, and they’ll be watching closely.
The colour of the lights signal clearance agents. Tonight is Status BLUE. Day Zero. Call to action. 24 hours to be underground. There are deep tunnels with train systems that run on magnetic fields. I can be in Europe from New York in under an hour and that’s base of operations for the foreseeable future.
Status YELLOW, you should stay inside and away from open areas. Z Force will begin eradicating the infected. YELLOW acts as a pheromone lure. They will centralise within extermination fields – large blocks of land outside of major cities.
Status GREEN is all clear. The termination quota has been met. When you see that, you’ve made it.
Pray to whatever you believe in you don’t see Status RED. Trust me on this. If you see RED Night Lights, bright flaming crimson - kill yourself.
At the time of writing, you will need to survive at least 12 months before Status GREEN. Those are the present estimates. 12 months to remove more than half of the world’s population via controlled infection.
Stranger, whoever you are, know that at the very highest level, this was planned. This was a highly strategic, systematic cull. There’s nothing more you can do but look to the sky. I wish you the best of luck.
I know - this unusual for me. Keep a diary? I don't keep a diary, but I feel I need to write to keep some semblance of sanity.
What is happening? How could this happen? Everything that I knew, is no more and nothing that I had planned, will come to be. I don't even want to think about it, but I need to... I need to figure out a way to get my wife and kids to safety. How do we get out of this? Maybe we can make it to the old hunting cabin, but I don't even know if it's safe there. Is this the end? STOP IT! I can't think that way. I need to be smart and BE STRONG for the kids. Oh Lord, help me through this! I'm praying for strength, mental clarity and protection. Tomorrow is a new day, but I know it won't be any easier.
Dear Diary, The Apocalypse is Here
Dear whoever finds this diary,
I am writing this as a way to let the future people know what happened to us.
We all joked about this day coming. This day has been in a countless number of movies, TV shows, and video games. Some even said they hoped that this day would come. Well guess what? It did.
It started as random attacks in different cities across the United States. A mysterious illness would strike a person which would cause them to become violent and attack another person. Anyone who came into contact with the infected person's fluid (blood, spit, etc.) would also become infected. At first, people weren't too concerned with the attacks. They thought that everything would be okay. But then the hospitals quickly became overrun and cities became quarantined in just a matter of days. I live in the rural mountains far from any city, so we've been pretty safe so far. But yesterday my cousins went out to hunt for food, and they came running back saying there were infected in the woods. We've gathered up all the food and weapons we could find, secured every door and every window, and are hiding out in the house.
No one is coming to save us.
Dear Donald Trump:
This is the letter that you'll never read.
Because it's in my diary, and this is a fucking zombie apocalypse. The culprit?
Why, you, of course.
You are a great zombie. No seriously, I mean that. You have accomplished some great things, including the job title "President-elect" on your resume. And here's my hopeless attempt to unzombify you, despite that this is my diary and that we are in your zombie apocalypse. (Sorry; I saw Dr. Strange last week and it reminded me anything is possible so...magic.) And here goes my unzombification spell, that has or could have the power to transform this apocalypse into cornucopia or utopia or not-this-opia.
You desire more than your most recent, said resume asset? But of course you do. Greatest U.S. President ever? No, you want something bigger than that. I can feel your tanha. The media has made you powerful and the Freudian id has taught thee well. But you want to go down as the greatest leader and quite possibly greatest person who ever lived. Sad fact is, you are, or at least seem to be, a perverted version of that because of your damn ego.
You want people everywhere, for generations to come, to love and respect you as much as any of the truly greatest characters in history? Then put aside the Magnate, rid yourself of your Gollum, your Sauron, your Ring, and become who you could (to an infinitely superior degree of spontaneity and surprise than your latest achievement) be born to be. Right now you are a fool, a zombie, or again at least seem, in the global public eye, to be. That's holding you back from being the truly greatest.
How to lose your ego? Remember that you aren't so small and petty.
Remember that you are God, as there is only God, or any infinitely-positively-connoted signifier you wish to summon, and that you have everything. You are everything. Meditate every day. Minimize the ripples in your mindpool; you'll find it results in exponentially greater cognitive efficiency and firepower. Shift down a level from your headspace to your heart. Feel your heart, physically and energetically. Be in this space more often. Do some yoga. Love your body a little more, you will in turn love everybody and everybody will love you a lot more. One level lower in this enervator, if you will, and we're in the gut. Hara. You are very, very great in this floor of Soul Tower, Mr. Zombie President-elect. I don't need to give you any diary advice when it comes to gutspace.
Anyway, that's all folks, if you're reading this letter, then the apocalypse isn't as bad as I'd thought. Donald, if you're reading this, that is great, very great, but there is such a tiny chance the unzombification spell shall justify its intent that I won't even mention it.
I’m turning. It’s been going on for a few hours now. Three fingers on my left hand have turned black and I’m having a hard time breathing. It’s like I’m underwater or someone is sitting on my chest. But really it’s death creeping up on me slow. Not that different than a normal death I guess except that I know what’s coming.
Really, today is the first day that I can officially call it a Zombie Apocalypse. Before today we had it under control. Or at least we thought we did. But today all hell broke loose. Lana, that dope, set the perimeter too close to the hospital. We are well past the “I told you so” stage, but damn if I didn’t tell her so. Anyway, we were burning folks that started to creep, but the work was piling up and supplies were scarce. The decision was made to build closer in and just keep a tighter reign on the sick. So, because Lana didn’t build us enough standoff distance, some asshole actually catapulted over the Q fence and hit tent city at 6am.
To be fair to Lana, I’m not sure how you could predict the catapult. I mean, it’s a goddamned catapult for christsake! But the hospital has (or had I guess is more accurate) a library. And in that library was a book on Roman warfare and sure enough this Dudley guy scrapped together a freaking catapult from a swivel chair, a bookshelf, two mattresses and a shit-ton of plastic tubing. Incredible really. But devastating. So he overcalculated his arc and smacked into Mess Hall B like a human missile.
It should have killed him and I would still be going about my day in relative safety. But alas, Dudley do-wrong had the audacity to smack his grape sideways in such a way as to die and resurrect himself lickety split because his brain stem was still mostly intact. He stood up and went creep-running all zigzag nutso biting at random through a wave of staff that were almost zombies themselves before their first coffee of the day.
He took out six nurses and four doctors before someone (maybe Rose?) smashed him with a fire extinguisher, evening up the other side of his head. But once he was down for the count, we had a problem. Gina Rodriguez, the head nurse, was overly fond of Dr. Sawyer (aren’t we all) and didn’t want to put him down even though he was missing a hand (currently in Dudley’s gullet) and was turning fast.
So, she stood there patching him up and arguing with the rest of us long enough for Sawyer to take out an additional three nurses. During this shit storm, we lost track of one of the original nurses, who’s ear Dudley had also ingested. That nurse (Chase I think his name was) went and chowed down half of our night shift who were hotbunking adjacent to the mess. You can probably guess the rest.
I got sideswiped as I was running for “de hills” as it were. I was halfway to the outer lot and had avoided most of the melee by using my trusted Louisville Slugger on two of my Wednesday night poker crew and then slipping north, cutting through the supply tents. But Murphy’s Law being what it is, I didn’t see that the original commando nurse Chase had slipped free from the main event and was creeping outside of the breezeway when I came running through. He got one glancing rip before I kicked him off.
It barely broke the surface, but it was enough. So now I’m dying and watching tent city get literally ripped to shreds from the hardpack on the mesa above the fence. The cat is out of the proverbial bag. It is the first day of the end of the world. I’m hoping to make it long enough so that I can see the ocean again. Why? No idea. I just want to die with my eyes facing the water and the waves crashing over my feet. I probably won’t make it though. Because of a catapult.
Zuburbia. Day One.
You know when you just know, right?
You do, right? Well, I don’t need to turn on the radio, gogglebox, or even open a bloody curtain to know something’s wrong out there. Weird shit is happening. It’s way too quiet. Well, you know, that general people-going-about-their-business noise isn’t happening when it normally would. Like New Year’s Day rolled into Christmas Day, when that stunned hush lay like a blanket, muffling civilisation; all life being played out behind closed doors, and webs of lies being spun to cover misdemeanours.
It feels a bit like that, but without the guilt or the gifts. Well, a bit of guilt. I had a few last night, marinating my morose mood in Gentleman Jack as I watched the news unfold on a shocking loop. I deserved to numb the outrage I felt seeing the world unravel. The world was dying in front of my eyes. Little did I realise how much truth there was in that, or would be, come this morning.
Anyway, it’s Saturday morning and it is dead, for want of a better word. Hangover or not, I know something ain’t right.
They say that way, way back we all had a fully developed sixth sense, that our pineal glands told us something was amiss before our eyes, ears and even smell could stumble into action to warn us. Animals still have theirs in full glorious effect, I mean they know shit. And I can’t hear any of them, either, now I think about it. No birds, dogs, cats, whatever. They’ve listened to their senses and gone away somewhere, and I know darn well my pineal gland is tugging insistently on my subconscious.
Let’s analyse this. No human noise, no animal noises. No, wait…I hear a scream start, high pitched and rising until it is abruptly cut short. I think it was human. Another, a man’s voice roaring no, no, no over and over. That stops too, just as swiftly. It feels portentous. This shit is creepy.
Impatience takes the helm, resulting in me risking a peek through the curtains still pulled across the lounge windows that span half of my house front. Sunlight slices into the room, eliciting a dance from the dust motes in front of my adjusting eyes. I blink out at a scene of almost standard suburbia.
Almost, because it looks like suburbia was having a party last night after all. Strewn among the manicured lawns, and neatly paved driveways is the detritus of family lives, cast asunder as if no longer needed. A tricycle here, an overturned wheelbarrow there, a car in the middle of someone’s front garden hither, a pile of discarded clothes thither.
Fuck. Those aren’t clothes. I think that’s the woman that lives opposite me and she is definitely convulsing. Flipping like a landed fish, in fact. I can see gushes of scarlet coming from her throat and pooling around her as she flails. She is creating a blood angel on the perfectly smooth tarmac of the road she lies upon.
I know I should help. But that niggling feeling is telling me to stay right here. And so I watch, feeling like a 24 carat douchebag as her tremors change to nothing at all. She’s still. The realisation that I just watched my neighbour die, and no I don’t know her name, makes me want a drink already. That’s not healthy at 10am. But I fear today normal rules do not apply.
I plump for a strong tea instead, and gaze out through the half opened kitchen blinds offering a partial view through the window that looks out the other half of the front of my house; sipping from my mug. The tea is strong and sweet and enlivens me slightly. An injection of normality.
I muse on how the tea is metaphorically bringing me back to life as I watch my dead neighbour struggle to her feet, with her semi decapitated head lolling like an errant balloon on a string; and begin to shuffle down our quiet little street. I take another glug of tea as her corpse shuffles towards her neighbour’s house, muffled cries greet her through their door. I can hear those from over here, too.
If this was the movies, I’d probably pour some JD into my mug, or scream and run.
Possibly, I’d do both. What really happens is a cold and very real realisation of what I’m seeing unfold. It’s here. We’ve been fed this shit for decades in the movies and on TV. Zombies. I know how this pans out. Or at least I think I know how this pans out.
I finish my tea, and click the kettle on for another one. You know, to think with. I need to get my shit together. I need to sort out provisions and weapons and plans. I need to barricade myself in. Hell, I need to prepare for the end of the world.
After I’ve had another cup of tea.
Today, we crossed a field of grass bordered by the black-and-yellow bark of Ponderosa pine, and we stopped and took it in. The sun-through-the-clouds coated us in a bluefire, and when I looked at my friends, at Jo and his plate-mail, at Lobard and his mad beard, and they at me, in my deep cloak with a celtic braid, holding a longbow, we had to laugh. It seemed exactly like we were a fellowship for some quest, maybe to steal from a gluttonous dragon, or to stop a cult from resurrecting their dead god, not a couple of Ren Rats surveying the clump of trees behind the parking lot.
"I don't see any signs," said Lobard, plucking some fern. "Don't smell them, either."
I remember taking a sweet breath, feeling the wetness in the air and the aged-wood and butterscotch of pine. Relishing in the thought: the dead aren't here yet.
Luckily, they avoid the mountains, or maybe the crevices and roots tear off their feet, slow their advance. In any case, we barely encounter them, only hear the reports on the radio (neither WIFI or TV work anymore) or from the dirty, scared families that claw at our gates, screaming, "let us in, let us in," despite the fields behind them devoid of monsters. We do, too, after a few jests. It's the cruelest thing we do. I often participate.
I know I'm supposed to be depressed, or scrounging for survival, or finding life's little moments denied by overwhelming misery and chaos. But the plague has been a blessing in disguise for the Renaissance Faire. Without the glazed donuts of American capitalism, without weekends selling ourselves to abused parents and abusive children high on kennel popcorn and soda, without weeks spent in workshops painting wooden shields and hammering metal roses, without eye-rolls and mean laughs at monks pushing cheesecake carts and knights reciting poetry, without the most common, most stupid questions, like "Do people really buy this shit?" and "Why is this shit so expensive?"
Without the normal, we are free to be weird. And it is free to be weird. All our concerns have taken on the technical difficulties once held by a fifteenth-century European village. Food production, justice, border security, tradition. The exact concerns most of my people dreamed about in the first place, and had put aside to sell dragon-egg earrings to Game of Thrones fans.
Naturally, we don't toss our poop in the streets. But we don't use the restrooms, either. Things have become economical in a tightened, smart kind of way, and beyond economy, we are an extended version of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's lovely.
We came back through the gates, and after Roderick (not his birth name) checked us for bites and wrote down our report, Jo gave Lombard a kiss on the cheek, they're cute like that, and we went our separate ways. Would it be bad if I told you that as I headed for the shop I started to have depressing thoughts? I know how unoriginal this sounds but: Winter is Coming. In what, less than half a year? What will we do then? Jo seems to think the dead will follow the fur-scent of coyotes and deer, and find it easier to climb the deep, compact snow. And I keep having this pitiful image of a bear who was sleeping peacefully in her cave waking up to a rotten human feeding on her leg. Maybe happening a few times, until the bear rolls her eyes and dies.
Until then, we will salt our meat and play pretend and laugh at the small-mindedness of the dead. We won't let them in until they come crawling over the walls.
Can’t believe this shit.
I was the center of media’s attention ’til these illiterate piss moaning blood-drunk flesh bags showed up. What makes them so special anyway? What are they doing that hasn't been done before? They're sloppy, careless. No real effort or drive other than brute instinct.
I'm an artist. I deserve the spotlight. I've saved so many people from turning into those tasteless creatures, transformed them into masterpieces instead. If they were still alive, they'd thank me. The way I sliced the skin around their scalps, the precision, the steadiness of my hand. Slowly, gently, like a lover's caress. Can a zombie appreciate its prey, the way they rip, shred and devour? I doubt it. No… this is my art. I am an artist.
I'm a fucking God.
I'm about to create something masterful tonight. Maybe it'll get their attention. The Zombie Killer strikes again! The victim? Officer Ortiz. Stupid pig… thought she had me. Thought she had it all figured out. Poking around, asking her questions, tracing her steps back and forth, back and forth. I still don't know what gave me away and at this point, I don't care. It's not like she could do anything now. Idiot went out and got herself bit. I can hear her screaming as I write, gurgling, gagging on her own rot and spit. She won't stop clawing on the basement door. Gonna have to get it replaced soon. Something more sturdy than wood; I'm thinking steel.
Claw that, bitch.
She's turned now, I'm sure of it. This will be my first taste of ‘undead’ brain. Kind of ironic, considering the name I made for myself when the world was still… well, human. The Zombie Killer: 22 missing, 13 found. Blood drained, victims scalped, brains removed, believed to be consumed. They never even found my best works. What a shame. I’m no longer the scariest monster, but that's gonna change tonight. It's time to create the most monumental masterpiece this shit-stain of a world has ever seen. Number 23. People will bow to it. Bow to me.
Zombies... what a joke.
I'll give them an apocalypse they'll really fear.
ZOMBIE BOMBERS INCORPORATED
Just call me ZombBomb! You’ve probably heard about my company, Zombie Bombers by now because there is such a need for what I do! I’m a luscious babe and have been training for this mission for most of my life. When you see me in my red leather miniskirt and black knee boots, you would never know that I am a zombie killer for hire. What I lack in upper body strength, I have in devious and dastardly ways to kill a zombie. There is not an ounce of fat on my body, due to my intense training for the zombie invasion that I knew was coming. People laughed when I told them I was preparing for the apocalypse but now that dark day is finally upon us.
I wanted to shove “I told you so’s” in their faces but instead I decided to rake in the big bucks when I heard the desperate poundings on my door of hapless people begging for my help. “I charge ten thousand dollars per zombie killed,” I told them, smirking as I realized I would be able to put my skills to good use.
“How do we know you can do it?” the hordes questioned.
“You’ll just have to take a chance on me,” I answered, “but if I’m not successful, I will be the first person to go!” I really wasn’t too worried. I had no emotional responses to killing. It gave me a sense of power and, believe it or not, sexual arousal. You might call me a narcissistic psychopath or you might just think I was just shortsighted and unfeeling. Take your pick. I am what I am!
I gathered up my supplies in a large net bag and headed out the door to my destiny. What was in the bag, you ask? Well, I carried a chain saw, a machete, a small caliber gun (I would have to get close to shoot a zombie so a small caliber gun would work best at close range), a sledgehammer, an ax, shovels, rakes and had access to a riding lawn mower in the shed behind my house, if necessary. Why did I need a riding lawn mower? Well, if push came to shove, I could ride over the zombies, shredding their heads to use as fertilizer for my lawn.
I knew that zombies were the undead who roamed the streets in a catatonic state, looking for live human brains to feed on after being infected. The surefire way to kill a zombie was to lop off the cranium with a sharp implement. If I could either include the temple on the right side of the forehead, the top or back of the skull, the sides of the head, eyes or ears or the crux of the neck, I would be more successful.
I was absolutely thrilled at the anticipation of ridding my world of zombies and could hardly wait to get started. Where did I get the experience, you wonder? Well, I had already killed my entire human family, my neighbors and all the proprietors on Main Street. No, they weren’t zombies but where else would I get the experience I needed? And I killed them over time so no one would suspect that I was responsible.
I smiled as I strode down the street with my bag slung over my shoulder, eager and willing to do what I must. How else could I make a living? What is a poor girl, alone in the world with no family, to do? Sing my refrain along with me:
Who you wanna call?
If you’re all by yourself
Pick up your cell
and call Zombie Bombers.