So, I watched World War Z the other night. It terrified me and as I predicted, I had creepy, survivalist dreams the entire night. I never figured myself for a zombie-holic. Sure, I saw Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Sean of the Dead and Micheal Jackson's Thriller. But it wasn't until Walking Dead that I was forced to face my addiction.
I suppose we could learn something from Zombies. Just watch one of the examples above. They seem content milling around by themselves but will happily congregate in groups and share dinner. (Nearly every scene if all of those examples.) They work together to reach a common goal. (The zombie ladder/waterfall in WWZ.) They are not particularly fond of guns, or deep wells, or swords,or hillbillies. (Walking Dead) They like to go to malls. (Sean of the Dead) They can dance. (Really? I need to point out where this example comes from?)
But there is something about the scenario – not being chased by rotting undead people who dress badly – but the bigger, more cosmic scenario – what would I do? what could I do? in that situation. It totally freaks me out.
So, as it is Halloween month and as I am spending the better part of October off on some adventures which should result in more blogs typical of me, I thought it might be fun to re-institute an old tradition: The Installment Story.
At the end of this blog you will get the first installment of my take on a zombie story. Come back on Sundays and Wednesdays in October for a new installment. I will link each new entry to the previous ones in case you want to re-read or share.
Now it's time for the disclaimer. This is a real honest to goodness horror story. Its a little gory. I hope a little creepy and a lot scary. And there are zombies.
So now, without further adieu I give you:
Snow. It billowed around her in swirls, making delicate spirals, changing into tiny puffs. She moved further into the darkness, headlights illuminating the way as the snow became a vortex for her to pass through. Swirling shapes formed, random at first and then faces. Tiny features – eyes, a nose, and a laughing mouth. One, then more until a choir of snow faces, mouths open in song, surrounded her. The path of light changed suddenly, making a sharp turn and the faces dissolved. The snow parted briefly only to return thicker and heavier. She pressed her face against the cold glass of the car window hoping to find the beautiful snow choir.
But, as the moon broke through the clouds, the choir was devoured by a larger face. This one with blank eyes lit by flames, elongated jaw, a slack mouth and teeth, glinting silver snow teeth …and one large drop of blood.
In her mind she screamed but the sound was muffled by sleep and instead, Debra awoke gasping. She raised head, neck stiff and arms tingly from resting on the desk of Mary’s room. Late afternoon sunlight filtered in through the partially closed blinds. Debra sat still, listening. It was important to listen these days. The silence of the room was not reassuring. Instead, it hung over her like a pall, pushing her mood deeper down allowing the dream to stay too near the surface of her consciousness.
She closed her eyes in an attempt to collect herself but the snow face was lying in wait behind her eyelids. There was no sanctuary anywhere, not even in sleep. The horror of the drive up to Spring Green, the whirling snowstorm and the face of the man, the real man in the overalls and Sinclair Gas cap chewing nonchalantly on the bit of human remains had invaded every neuron.
She and David left Chicago as soon as Jake called. They drove without stopping, keeping daylight with them, until the storm began to blow harder. There were no signs of the sickness. No signs of the previous humans – Zoms – as the Underground had taken to calling them. Who would have thought all that zombie nonsense would turn out to be true.
The trip began to feel like ones taken back in college, driving all night to stay at the lodge, to ski and hike and commune with friends. No sign until David had stopped just outside Spring Green to fill up the car. The gas station displayed the safe house flag of the day – orange background with a green number four. The Underground had devised a series of signals to use for travel. It was a flawed system – members overtaken shortly after hanging their flags – but it was all they had.
The man in the Sinclair cap had remained seated behind the counter until Debra reached the door. His sudden twisting motion caught her off guard and as she pulled open the door he lurched from his seat, knocking over a display of Hostess cupcakes in his attempt to attack. She screamed for David as she ran to the car, slamming the door as the man crashed into the window, blood dripping from his mouth. In his raised hand he held what may have been an arm, or maybe a lower leg. It didn’t matter. All that mattered at that moment was escape. David jumped into the driver’s seat as Debra slammed her door shut. Pressing the gas pedal to the floor, the car fishtailed from the snowy lot. The pump handle ripped from the tank, still pumping; spraying the man in the cap and his lunch with gasoline. As they reached the road, David slowed the vehicle and opening his door threw a road flare towards the station. Debra watched in the rear view mirror as sparks from the flare ignited the fuel. She was surprised to see that the flame was translucent at first, chasing the fumes towards the pump handle. Even as the flames crossed the first pools of gas, they remained wispy, lighting the falling snow with flickering sparks. She was mesmerized, watching the beauty of the fire until at last, it exploded and the man in the Sinclair cap ran towards their car as it drove away. He made it five full steps until his body, wrapped in a blanket of red and yellow flames, collapsed in the snow.