Richard Garfield had suffered many hardships throughout his life. Countless women he fell for sought only to use him, leaving him heartbroken. He had been the victim of corrupt employers who cheated him out of money. In time he barely had enough to live under a roof. It seemed as if poor Richard had been through it all. Of course, then there was the day his entire family had been consumed by zombies.
Once they took over Syracuse, Richard found himself holding out in the airport with most of the other survivors. Even then he was alone. He was a pale, skinny, young man who kept to himself. He wasn’t hated by the others, like he experienced in school, just an outsider. He hardly ever spoke unless the situation deemed it necessary. Whenever approached by others, Richard would avert his gaze and fumble with a gold cross that hung by his neck with a chain of matching metal.
Richard treasured that cross. His mother had given it to him after his father had left. She had received it from her mother who, in turn, received it from hers. It remained his only possession from his previous life. On the back, engraved horizontally, it read “Exsisto Validus.”
It was official. We were definitely in the ass end of nowhere which, contrary to popular belief, is the best part of nowhere. I had been collecting mushrooms off piles of cow shit for the better part of the day, while my attorney slept in the car and was now cruising down the Thruway dodging through an endless procession of abandoned and rusting vehicles. The Buick was a nice ride, real nice. We each had a ten strip of some really heady acid a couple hundred miles back and decided to hack off the roof with a Sawzall. We needed to travel in style, after all.
I spotted several figures lurching through a muddy field to the left and shouted to no one but myself, “Holy shit! Was that a fucking zombie? Shit!”
Then I paused to wonder to myself for several moments. Did I in fact see a band off the walking dead, or was it just the mescaline I had eaten with lunch kicking in? I almost hit a rolling trash can and looked in my rearview to watch it pass when I found my answer.
Taped to the mirror was a note in my own handwriting. Scrawled hastily it said, “Why yes, those are fucking zombies.”
Charlie Danton lay in the shadow of an overgrown overpass watching a wide and shallow stream. The road in between was cracked and looked sticky in the July sun. The burned out hulk of a tractor trailer lay on its side further down the road, the skeletal remains of a great beast from some other age. A twisted guard rail sat along the stream’s bank rusting into the earth. Across the stream a lone doe wandered out of the tree line and lowered her head to drink.
Amidst the hanging weeds and vines Danton raised his rifle. He thumbed off the safety and put his eye to the scope. The doe’s eyes drifted along the opposite shore while she drank. Danton stroked her fur with the crosshairs and watched. Birds twittered overhead.
The brush at the doe’s side rustled slightly. She straightened her neck and pricked up her ears. It rustled again, farther down the bank. She turned slightly to watch out of the corner of her eye. It rustled again and she turned to face it.
On the other side of the stream Danton saw her turn and caught sight of her full silhouette. He pulled the trigger. The doe reeled and fell in heap upon the smooth stones at the water’s edge. A small rabbit shot from the undergrowth and darted down the bank before diving into a corrugated drainage pipe. The birds abandoned their roosts and took to the sky.
I should have gone with the others. We heard about the evacuation, but I didn’t go. We had plenty of notice. I had time to barricade the doors and windows. I had to protect my home. It wasn’t the ghouls that I was afraid were coming: I’ve seen the movies and figured I could stop the zombies if it came to that. No, I had to stay and protect my house from looters. I wasn’t about to pack up and move and leave all of my things behind. I couldn’t take my 65 inch plasma with me, so I stayed behind to stand guard. That was the biggest mistake of my life. The rest of my friends all headed west. They figured that they would get away from the heavy population of the east coast. I hope they made it.
I quickly boarded up all possible entrances to my home. The only way in or out was through a second story window that was over the porch roof. As far as I knew, those ghouls couldn’t climb and I needed to be sure that I had an emergency escape route. Next, I had to make sure that I was ready for whatever may be coming. Whether they were trying to steal my PS3 or eat my brains, I was going to be ready. I quickly realized that I didn’t own many weapons; you just can’t kill a zombie with a stereo speaker. I had to improvise. The legs from my kitchen table would work nicely on both the living and undead. The table was one of the few pieces of furniture that I owned that wasn’t made of cheap particleboard. When you’re spending thousands on hi-tech toys, there’s just not much left to buy furniture. I kept two of the solid oak legs by my side at all times, never knowing when I would need to use them.