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Mechanical Failure, Chap. 2a

June 18, 2013

~Chapter Two~

I was pulled from my sleep when the sky began to lighten outside. I’d been an early riser for most of my adult life, but I always used to wake to an alarm clock. These days my body was more in tune with nature and I always woke automatically when it started to grow light. It was something about Melatonin in the brain, if I remembered correctly. It worked out pretty well, because I made maximum use of sunlight this way, which was especially important now that it was November and the days were short. I had to use the lights after it got dark, but I always kept the blinds closed so I wouldn’t attract the attention of the dead outside. I also was sleeping more than I ever used to do in the old days. I figured that would change when summer came and the days grew long again . . . if I lived that long. Things weren’t looking real great at the moment.

I stayed in bed a while longer, not ready to face the day. I was wide awake, but I was trapped in the attic while a bunch of zombies trashed my house. It kind of reminded me of my college days after my roommates would have a party. I always dreaded leaving my room to check the house the next day. It was never pretty.

I sat up with a sigh and tried to figure out a plan. When I couldn’t come up with anything, I dragged out the camp stove and heated some water in a small metal pot. This was a morning ritual for me. I always made my first cup of coffee in the attic, to make sure I was alert before venturing down to the first floor of the house. I had learned early that I had to watch my back at all times and that meant not climbing down the stairs half-awake because I could find myself stumbling into something very nasty. Today, there was no doubt as to what I’d find down there.

I had my coffee and used my port-a-potty and then decided that I couldn’t stall any longer. I was getting antsy and I needed to get out of the house. The attic had two small windows, both covered with horizontal strips of wood that would have to be removed if I wanted to escape. Climbing out the window on the west side of the house was not an option because there was a two story drop and a yard full of zombies. I went to the other window and it looked a little more hopeful. The window was dead center between the front and back of the house, and so was the cinder block wall that ran from our place to the house next door. I tried to peek into the Thompson’s yard to see if it was zombie-free and I really couldn’t tell. The parts of it that I could see looked fine so I decided to risk it.

I looked around the attic, trying to figure out what I should take with me. Anything I carried could affect my balance while I walked across the narrow wall, so it would have to be something that I just couldn’t live without. I didn’t see anything like that except for the knife . . . and the coffee. I tucked my sweatshirt into my jeans then stuffed the zip-lock bag full of coffee into my shirt. The knife and sheath went into the waistband of my jeans again.

If I hung out of the window and tried to land on the wall, odds were pretty good that I’d fall. I just wasn’t that graceful. I needed to be able to lower myself to the top of the wall then walk across the narrow blocks, while avoiding being pulled into the yard by zombies. Tightrope walking across the wall was going to be a problem, and since it was only six feet tall, most of the dead would probably be able to reach me. Once my feet hit the wall, I would have to move fast. Not liking heights, I wouldn’t have wanted to do this even without zombies in the equation.

I quietly broke away the slats of wood then got a better look toward the front of the house and the street. It appeared to be clear so if I had to fall, I’d try to lean that way and hope for the best. I really didn’t see any other options.

I braided a clothesline into a thicker rope and even gave myself a couple of loops for hand and foot holds. If I changed my mind about this plan, I thought I’d even be able to climb back up. Fastening one end to a beam in the attic, I pulled as hard as I could. It held. Returning to the window again, I tossed the rope out, cursing when I saw that the movement attracted the attention of one of the yard-zombies. I’d have to move fast or forget the whole thing. I got out the window and made my way down the rope as quickly as possible. When I felt the block beneath my bare foot, I turned to face the neighbor’s yard. I was shocked to see that two of the rotting creatures were already there, just a few feet away from me. That wasn’t even the bad news. There was one coming from the front yard now as well, ruining my option of falling that way if I had to. Not that I was looking forward to that anyway, since the yard was full of small, sharp rocks and I was barefoot. I either had to go back up the rope or make a run for the neighbor’s yard. I’m normally not super-impulsive, but I didn’t have a lot of time to think it over. I let go of the rope and prayed as I began to move, one foot after the other, trying not to see the dead hands that were now grabbing for my feet.

After the first step, I was sure that I’d made a huge mistake, but there was no chance of me turning around on the narrow wall. I was committed to the course I’d chosen. The dead things were lined up on both sides of the wall and most of them were easily tall enough to grab my leg. The only good thing was that they were moving toward where I was at the moment, not where I planned to be in the next few seconds. Because of this, I was able to stay one step ahead of them . . . literally. It worked until I made it to the ‘T’ in the wall that divided the two yards. One of them must have been faster than the others because I felt it’s cold, dead hand wrap tightly around my right ankle.

 ~to be continued~

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