I Hate Erin McGraw

I hate Erin McGraw.

I hate her and her smiley-faced ZED.

I hate her and her smiley-faced ZED and that stupid nickname she gave me.

I hate her, her ZED, my nickname, and how she acts during missions.

I hate that I didn’t see that ghoul coming up from behind.

I hate how close to my head she swung that smiley-faced crowbar.

I hate that her ZED saved my life.

Continue reading ‘I Hate Erin McGraw’

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.

Continue reading ‘Come What May’

An Old Friend

Rose Butler was one of the oldest members of the zone. Her husband died a few years before the outbreak. Her son Lawrence was the only family that she had left. Rose and I were neighbors before the outbreak and again here in the Zone. When the word came to evacuate, I made her come with me. She didn’t want to. She insisted that her son was coming to get her, but I wanted to get out of the city as quickly as possible.

Lawrence and I were friends when we were younger. We grew up together, but after high school we grew apart. He spent a dozen or so years after graduation “finding himself”. I don’t know if he ever found what he was looking for. The last that I heard, he wanted to do something with animals.

Every morning when my squad would go out on patrol, Mrs. Butler would find me with the same request. “Find my Lawrence, and bring him back with you.” I always responded that I’d keep an eye out for him and she would smile. I knew that there was no way that I could ever find him, but she needed that hope to keep going.

Continue reading ‘An Old Friend’

Set for Life

It was only natural that hobbies would arise in the Zone. Once you got past the terror, the malnutrition, the lack of privacy, the cold, and the despair, there was the boredom. There was plenty of all six to go around. A few people tried knitting scarves and sweaters, some played cards, most just shivered around campfires and talked to pass the time. Only Nye played the Lotto.

Tickets were hard to come by, of course. They were one of the first things looted from the convenience stores in the early days of the Panic by people who had since either turned, starved, or frozen. Nye was smart enough to survive short term so that he could survive long term.

Nye savored his cards like a wine connoisseur treated his bottles. They were always arranged in neat stacks hanging in the dispenser that he’d liberated from a Hess gas station. Losing cards were filed by the hundred to “offset the taxes on the big one.” He was on his twenty-sixth stack in the box. That tax deduction would save him $910 one day. He knew he had to be careful: When he’d win, he couldn’t go all crazy like that hick from West Virginia who won the $300 million MegaBall. He’d have a plan.

Continue reading ‘Set for Life’

After Math

Christopher Avery went about his usual morning routine. He gathered his bag and headed off to work. He was a math teacher at a high school in the western suburbs. Chris walked out the door to his basement apartment and headed up the stairs. As he was leaving the building, one of his neighbors, Mrs. Oldlady turned around the landing on the first floor.

“Good morning, Mrs. Oldlady,” Chris called up to his elderly neighbor. She didn’t reply. She just slowly walked down the hall. Chris thought this was strange. She was usually so friendly.

Continue reading ‘After Math’