Come What May

Shit, shit, shit! How the fuck could I do that?!

I threw my rifle to the ground as I fell to my knees and burst into tears. My hands covered my face, so all you could see were the X’s on my hands. Flea stood behind me and kicked my ass. She told me “you better get the fuck up, you dumb bitch.” She was rather comical, in that kind of sense, even after what I had just done. She was my Hetero-life-partner, the Jay to my Silent Bob, the Cheech to my Chong, the Robin to my Batman. Forever “gerlfrands” we were. But we were never like that. I didn’t realize I had known her my entire life until the invasion.

We were walking Bear Street by the Carousel Mall. We were walking down Bear Street with Eight other people. We were walking down Bear Street with Jeremy, Barf, Alfalfa, Spud, Tiny, Dino, Lardass, Millie, Flea and myself, X. We were walking down Bear Street with ten rifles and 50 shells. We were walking down Bear Street with Low expectations.

We were walking down Bear Street absolutely clueless.

We thought we had cleared the majority of the city out. Clipboard told us that the city should have been mostly cleared out… I remember the fear striking my veins harder and faster than a thousand knives piercing my torso in a pain so incredible.

We never walked in a line, or in any type of order. The only constant was Flea and I. We walked in the back, side by side. Her rife in her left hand, mine in my right. I was always on the right and she was on the left. Everyone walked in front of us, always. They were always scattered walking in scraggly, straight, randomly wild, fast and slow lines.

Then they came… I was so scared. I knew we wouldn’t have enough ammunition. We couldn’t call for backup, how would we? The ghouls kept coming closer, how slow they were moving built up the tension and fear of the mere thought of them getting closer and closer. I didn’t realize it, but I had fired my rifle about three times. I somehow had hit two Z, and there lay Dino with a rife in one hand and a crowbar in the other. There was a bullet hole in the back of his head… I feared the sight of his face.

I didn’t see it, but he bounced. He was a chubster, let me tell you. He used to be a cop, all of the donuts and coffee must’ve gotten to him. Before I knew it, eight people were running past me in hopes of getting back to the blue. Again, Flea kicked my ass and said; “if you become one of those fuckers, I’m going to make sure that I’m the one to pop a cap in your ass.” I stood, and started to follow. I tripped multiple times on my shoes, they didn’t fit me, and I had just taken them because everyone was leaving.

Flea fell. She couldn’t get up.

“You were just yelling at me to get my fat ass up, now you better.” I yelled. She didn’t respond. She just laid there on the blacktop. “Flea?” She moved a little bit. Everyone else was long gone. I ran back to her, and stood her up. Simultaneously, she screamed in murderous pain. I was so scared as to what was going on.

Zack grew closer.

“What is wrong?” I asked angrily.

“MY FUCKIN’ ANKLE, SON-OF-A-BITCH!” She screamed back.

Of course. She’s broken her ankles a million times, every time I had been there. She could never do it without me. Bitch. She must’ve slipped on the ice. I somehow found a way to throw her over my shoulder and I began walking with speed. Speed walking, six steps a second more than Z, well not six, but bigger steps counting as two. I did the math in my head, we were about thirty steps in front of them now, at this rate we would be 21600 steps ahead in an hour. A step was almost two feet for me, one for Z. There are 0.0001894 miles in a foot. 21600 times 0.0001894 is about four and a half miles. If I keep going at this rate I’ll be a little over four miles ahead of them in an hour. This is good. How did I remember how many miles are in a foot? I’m hanging around that dude Calc too much.

I kept my steady pace forward. I heard the moans getting more and more quiet. The sun was setting, and my shoulder was absolutely numb. When did Flea gain so much weight? She was so disgustingly skinny now. We both used to be really fat kids growing up; it seems like so long ago… She probably hadn’t eaten in a few days. She had a tendency of giving her food to the little kids, she meant well, but often forgot to feed herself. She forgets to sometimes.

“Flea, when did you eat last?”

“Well, Uh, I dunno.”

“Doesn’t your stomach hurt from not eating? You’re a moron.”

“Well, right now the only pain I can feel is my BROKEN ANKLE. Actually, I don’t notice stomach pains anymore I kind of block them out.”

“You’re going to starve yourself, you fucking idiot.”

“I’d rather starve to death than live another day here.” I couldn’t blame her. We’d all hated the blue. We were protected (or we protected), but nothing would compare to our cul-de-sac of home. North Main Street in Jordan, that’s where we wanted to be. Nothing else could ever come close to those houses. I don’t even remember how we got to the airport; it’s pretty far away… almost twenty-one miles… I think we drove. We were only fifteen but we often stole my father’s mini-van. When the invasion happened both our families had all gotten bitten and devoured. Well, my sister didn’t. Our neighbors rarely leave their house, so they hadn’t either. We forced them in the van and drove off… Yes, I remember very clearly now.

“I know Flea, but Fuck, we gotta live. I don’t know why exactly, but we gotta make it though this bullshit, One day at a time. We’re going to go back home safely one day, back to your house because my house is ugly.”

We continued down Bear Street without a Z in sight, and everything was calm for the first time in a while. I threw her to the ground and she got pissed, but I don’t care how pissed she gets anymore. Ha. I threw Casey’s coat that I was wearing under her ass and pulled her by the arm.

“Hey, you think Dino tasted good?” she asked.

“No, Too fatty. Did he really bounce?” I replied.

“HAHA! Yeah! That fatass fuckin’ flew!”

9 responses to “Come What May”

  1. About that: We used to have a post, written by Chris, called Post 182 that would describe how not to have this happen. It’s a side effect of writing in Microsoft Word, which makes the HTML all ugly.

    Unfortunately, someone seems to have deleted that post. We won’t try to play the blame game on that one because it was undoubtedly me.

    In the future, please use the “Paste from Word” button to strip out all the ugly HTML when you paste from your original document. ‘Cause I’ve got to clean it before I can read it. And I want to read it.

  2. When you wrote, “I’m hanging around with Calc too much,” I laughed. He also puts commas before a co-ordinating conjunction and a verb. See the last line of Writing Guidelines if you don’t know what that means.

    At first, I didn’t like the “get back to the blue,” but that makes sense when we have red and white zones that we’ve never mentioned. Most people use “Zone” in place of the blue.

    The swearing is gratuitous.

    When I publish “The Killing Frost” now, I’m going to have to re-write around the sprained ankle and fireman’s carry that I’d been relying on for the plot.

    Let’s not have Clipboard say that the city is cleared out. It would make things too safe. Bear Street is relatively close to the airport, so that would be more heavily traveled and tend to be more clear than other parts, but zombies travel, so nothing will ever be entirely clear. K has written a lot about how we can’t make things too easy.

    The end is too abrupt and seems to take too much joy in shooting a fellow member of the Corpse Corps. This doesn’t seem to be internally consistent with the Zone and the Corps overall. There is no reaction from anyone to Dino being shot in front of six witnesses except for laughter in the last line? That leaves a lingering bad taste in the reader’s mind in an otherwise good story.

  3. I really don’t have anything to add. I just wanted to express how much I dislike the new look of posts on the blog. I know its WordPress’fault but the sentiment stands.

    • Rob, you’re right.
      I got so panicky over the transition to 2.7 that I forgot to see what it looked like. Do you mean the front page font/color (which we can change) or the Dashboard (which like an arranged marriage, we will learn to love after much gnashing of teeth)?

      Kick a thread on this over to the forum, okay?

  4. Remember that one story I told you about that I was trying to write about the girl who was only in the Corps. In case they needed someone to throw so everyone else could run? Well, I changed it to him.. I forgot to put in those details of him, crap. I still don’t know how to use wordpress that well. I wrote it directly on the site, then copy and pasted it to word for spell check. Ha.
    Even without the details on hatred for Dino, don’t you think that the characters would be so used to death by now the only way to look at that situation was comically? With all of these ghouls all around you, the only thing a person can do is adapt to crap like that.
    And I wanted to leave kind of a mellow ending to mix with the title “Come What May” in a sense that “We’re ready for anything, so kiss my ass.”
    Sorry about the cursing, the characters were intended to be potty mouthed ladies (considering what they’d been through) and I generally can’t help but swear. >.< Sorry about the killing frost thing, I didn’t know that was going to have an escape similar to that.
    I am not a nerd, I don’t speak your language(“He also puts commas before a co-ordinating conjunction and a verb.”)
    Finally, I don’t know how to make the story shorter on the home page with the bar thingy. I feel greedy because everyone else has these Paragraph long intros on the main page.

    • You know, sometimes I tell my students to read something twice because it’s better the second time. A first reaction is often inaccurate. One day a wiseass (not that I have any) will tell me that if an author is good, his or her work will hold up to a first reading. I’m waiting to hear that one. Anyway, I’m pretty sure this will make more sense later.

      We did have some trouble a while back with an in-house murder that boiled over a bit into real-world acrimony. I didn’t want to go down that road again, and the fact that your victim was a policeman and your protagonist was X-handed was a flashback for me back to ’85 or so. I read a bit into it. The police would probably be very valuable around the Zone, but like with the case of food production, we haven’t really dealt with that internal issue sufficiently yet.

      Don’t worry about the twisted ankle. I forgot that I had used a sprained ACL.

      I’m totally in favor of female protagonists, and potty-mouthed is fun in real life, but we try to downplay it around here. Typing this made me wonder why–writing dialog like, “Gosh, a zombie is eating my intestine” just doesn’t come out sounding right. And I think it’s because we use World War Z as a model. Max Brooks was able to write most of a book about a world war without it. I wonder if Studs Turkel did the same thing in The Good War, which was oral histories of World War II. You can say that Gen X and later isn’t going to be against swearing–it’s like punctuation–which is why we try to avoid it when writing here. It makes no sense. Just try to elevate your writing past the easy route of swearing in it. Reading the word ‘fuck’ just does not have the same effect as hearing it. The word loses its effect in print.

      Second paragraph (laughing instead of crying) Amen to that. Again, another call to Voltaire’s Candide is in order.

      Third paragraph: there’s a sequel here.

      The bar thingy is a button on the post-writing page. It looks like two rectangles coming close to one another with a space between them. Plant your cursor where you want it chopped and it will insert a horizontal line with “More” somewhere on it. Try it yourself so you can figure out its use. We prefer to have it on its own line after hitting Enter, not on the same line as text.

      As far as co-ordinating conjunctions and verbs, it’s at the very end of the Writing Guidelines link at the top of the page. It boils down to this: Commas separate things that could exist on their own as sentences. They do not separate sentence fragments, where they are bad, bad mistakes.

      Can exist on its own: He went to the store. The zombies were moaning. The English teacher loves to talk about co-ordinating conjunctions.

      Cannot exist on its own: Bought a new pair of boots. Hit them in the head. The boy and the girl.

      The co-ordinating conjunctions: and or for nor but so yet

      Splice any two sentences together, and there’s a comma. Humans are smart, yet they do dumb things. He went to the store, and he bought a new pair of boots. The zombies were moaning, so she made them stop.

      But look at these examples where there are not two possible sentences, and thus, no comma:
      He went to the store and bought a new pair of boots. (bought a new pair of boots is not a full sentence.) The zombies were moaning and made everyone uncomfortable. (Made everyone uncomfortable is not a full sentence.) He wrote the post and went to dinner late. (Shelly is calling, and went to dinner late is still not a sentence.) Gotta split.

  5. “Reading the word ‘fuck’ just does not have the same effect as hearing it. The word loses its effect in print.” ~ Dave

    I don’t know Dave, even in print its still my favorite Fuckin word. =D

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