Nothing that had happened before today matters anymore. This is day one of our new reality. I have only one purpose, to get my children somewhere safe.
I thought it was a hoax at first, of course. Fighting zombies has been a favourite game for my kids to play online for years. Now president Trump is on Fox News telling everyone they are real. Outbreaks in all 50 states, though mostly on the coasts and highly populated areas. I checked the local channels and they were reporting cases here in Grand Island. Scenes of dead people, literally eating people alive.
Still not believing it was true, I grabbed my purse and left work without a word to anyone. My only thought was to get to the school and pick up my youngest kids. During the 20 minute drive to our small hometown, I called my husband but the call went to voicemail. I called my oldest 2 and thank God, they both answered. JJ didn't believe me. I told him to turn on the TV, but to start packing all the canned food he had into his car . "Do not to leave your apartment without your gun!" Again mentally thanking God, this time for giving my son a love of guns. After a couple minutes of watching the news reports, he believed me and was willing to listen.
"Pack all your guns and ammo, all the food and bottled water you have, an axe or gas can if you have them.""Clothes and blankets too, but be out of there 30 minutes even if you have to leave things behind"
"But Mom, what if this isn't real?" He asked me.
"Then we have a mini vacation and feel a little stupid" I told him " now head to Grandpa's in the hills and don't stop for gas until you get to St Paul, too many people already infected where you are."
" I love you little boy, see you there tonight, whatever it takes get yourself there"
The call to Lois was similar though she had all ready heard and was headed to get my granddaughter from school, she didn't own a gun but told me she had a baseball bat with her and that nothing was standing in her way of getting to her daughter.
Another call to my husband Joe with only voicemail, I didn't tell him where we were going only said I loved him. What if those monsters still had intelligence? What if he was infected? What if he would hunt us down?
I was surprised that there weren't more parents at the school, only a handful of cars in the circle drive. I slipped my .38 from my glove box, to my jacket pocket, before I walked to the office. There was looks of confusion on everyone's faces, but no issue was made when I asked for them to call both of my kids out of their classes. I think I held my breath as I waited. Lynn was the first to sign out and then a full 3 minutes later Scott. They were both looked scared, " we will talk in the car" I told them, s we rushed out of the school.
I explained what was happening as best I could, on the short drive to our house. I sent Scott to the garage for the gas can and Lynn to the basement for the coolers I grabbed all of the cash I had, about 600 dollars, that I had been saving for our vacation later this year. Once we had everything we felt was essential and would fit in our little car, we left our home, hoping to be able to return someday.
I went to the bank, planning to withdraw all of my savings. There were 2 armed guards at the door, threatening to shoot anyone who came close. "I guess the bank is closed today" I thought sarcastically.
We drove to the Casey's on the edge of town, to fill the gas tank and the small gas can from the garage. I was almost surprised, everything looked normal there.
I was relieved that the credit card still worked, when I swiped it at the pump. I was afraid to go inside, afraid of what I might find. But we didn't have any trouble.
Back in the car I had a text from Lois that she was through Central City, and driving on highway 92 towards St Paul, so far they were safe. Then a frantic voicemail from JJ. "Mom, I just killed someone!! Something? I don't fucking know, it was human once but .... Damn! They aren't slow like on TV! It rushed at me as I was getting gas, I had my gun like you told me Mom, I shot it twice in the head before it dropped. I got gas though and I am ok, HURRY MOM!"
I called Lois and told her not to stop unless she had to, I was afraid her bat wasn't enough.
I called Joe again, voicemail again. I hung up and prayed.
I called JJ back, but no answer, I tried to stay calm, by now he would probably be in the "Polish Alps" where cell reception sucked, so I just drove faster, he asked me to hurry so that's what I would do.
The radio news on 98.1 out of lincoln was announcing the President had declared Martial Law and everyone was told to go to their homes immediately. Interstate 80 was closed both direction through Lincoln, the outbreak was bad there and they were hoping to stop the spread, " I think it's too late for that" I said out loud as we drove through the little town of Central City. There was walking dead everywhere. We turned off the main. Street and sped through town, Lynn started to scream from the passenger seat." MOM! They are chasing that baby!"
I looked to the side walk and there was a little girl about 4, running from two obviously dead people. Without thinking I turned the wheel forcing my speeding car over the curb and crashing into the creatures. Throwing the car in park, I jumped out and grabbed the child who was still screaming, tossed her on my daughters lap and put the car back in drive. We were to the edge of town when the terror hit me, "oh my fuck! What have I done?" " I have just infected us!" Lynn looked up from the little blonde girl, whom she was attempting to calm. "What are you talking about mom?"
Trying to stay calm I asked if she was hurt. Lynn asked her and she shock her little head.
"Did those things touch you? " I asked her a little too sternly, again she shook her head but began to cry. "I hid under my bed when mommy started to scream" Lynn held her tight and let her cry.
I had to drive through St Paul even though I had been warned it was infected, there wasn't another place to cross the river for 10 miles. There was already a military presence along the highway there. We watched the soldiers with automatic rifles and counted 17 bodies of things that had once been human. I wish I had a tank and machine gun. It was hard to feel very safe in my Fiat. It looked as though we made it through there just in time cause it looked like they were starting to put up road blocks. We had another 50 miles to go but we could use gravel from here.
We were starting to lose our radio reception, last thing we heard was that in the largest city's anyone outside was assumed to be infected and would be shot without warning.
We finally made it to Grandpa's and had seen no walking dead since St Paul. JJ and Lois were safely there. The old farmhouse is in a small valley out in the Sandhills. It was in a sad state of disrepair, from standing empty for 30 years. The windmill had been maintained a few years ago when there was cattle in the pasture. So we will have water. The orchard was very overgrown and tomorrow maybe we will look at the trees and see if there would be fruit. We unpacked all of our belongings into the root cellar instead of the house, somehow it seemed safer. Then we sat together and ate lunch meat sandwiches, knowing that without electricity, as soon as the little ice that was left melted it would spoil. Lois handed me a Dew, "you get the last one Mom" maybe I should have shared but I enjoyed every drop. "I guess I will be starting that diet I have been avoiding " I said trying to be light hearted.
We sat quietly, still in disbelieve. I looked around at my little family, which now included the tiny blonde girl who still clung to Lynn as though her life depended on it, and Amy, the girlfriend that I didn't know JJ had.
JJ broke the silence with "We need a plan. Those things are tortured. If I become infected someone has to kill me. I can't become one!" Remembering the pain and hunger on the faces of the Zombies I had ran over, I shivered "same here" " we have to make a pack" everyone nodded "We have to do everything we can to stay safe, but we know our souls are safe if die"
Scotty looked up with terror in his eyes "Mom! I have never been baptized! Am I safe?"
"Yes" I assured him, " But let's just do it now"
We all walked down to the small pond on the other side of the orchard. I was glad it was still spring, since it dries up and becomes just mud hole, in the summer. Tonight it was chest deep in the center. I held Scott close after he repeated those precious words " I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God" and was dunked under. His brother and sisters clapped and cheered his decision. In the midst of this horror we found a moment of joy.
Tonight we sleep in shifts, in the cellar. I hope I will sleep soon. I miss Joe. I hope there is some joy to be found in day two.