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Mechanical Failure, Chap. 6b (zombie apocalypse novel in progress)

September 28, 2014



I edged closer, having a general idea where the zombie was now. Listening carefully, I was able to pinpoint his location after he took another step. When he moaned again, the sound seemed to come from an area in front of me but a little higher, which made sense. I was short. Could I possibly kill him with the knife without being able to see him? No, I decided, taking a step back. That was just plain stupid. I’d have to get close enough for him to grab me, and that would likely not end well, at least for me. If I could get to the car, there was a tire iron in the trunk, but that wasn’t going to happen in the dark. I thought about it for a moment and remembered that there was an iron fireplace poker inside the house, if I could get to it.

It felt like it took forever, but I edged my way toward the house. The stupid dead thing kept moaning, getting the attention of the others before long. I could hear some of them banging on the car and the RV. Every time I heard the crunch of dead grass beneath my foot, I heard the same sound echoed a moment later as the zombie mimicked my movements. I finally reached the road and was able to cross it silently, putting some space between us. I found the driveway and followed it back to the house, but when I opened the door, that got my dead friend moving again. I made my way over to the fireplace as quickly as possible and grabbed the poker before going back to the door.

I had no idea where he was now, but I was hoping he wasn’t right outside. I opened the door and stepped out, already imagining the dead hands grabbing for me. Nothing.

Easing the door shut, I listened. He wasn’t giving me any indication of his location, and that just wouldn’t do. I made my way to the driveway and quietly said, “Hey, over here.”

That got his attention. He began moving straight for me, and I got ready. When I was sure he was right in front of me, I swung at where I thought his head should be. Imagine my surprise when I hit only air. To make it worse, as I followed through on the swing I felt his hand graze my head. I stumbled backward, trying to get my balance again. This time I listened to his footsteps again and waited a second longer than I had the last time. I was rewarded with a loud crunch as the metal poker bit into his skull. A thud followed as he dropped to the ground.

Now the question was, was he alone? Had I somehow just missed the dead guy when scanning the neighborhood? He obviously hadn’t been a crawler, so I’m not sure why he wouldn’t have made his presence known earlier. It made me think that the makeshift gate must have been breached. If so, had one zombie just managed to climb over or was the neighborhood filled with them now? I struggled with myself, knowing the smart thing to do would be to go inside, watch the neighborhood the next day and if it was clear, retrieve the rest of my stuff the next night. I just couldn’t do it. I’m one of those type-A people who wants to get things done when I want to get them done. And I wanted to bring in the rest of my stuff now. The thought terrified me, but I also reminded myself that they probably couldn’t see me any better than I could see them. Still, if there were enough of them, they could corral me. I stood on the front porch for a long time, listening, but I couldn’t hear anything moving nearby. Against my better judgment, I walked across to the park again through the inky darkness of the night. It took me almost an hour to retrieve the rest of my supplies, but I was careful, stopping often to listen and taking care with each step I took. I justified my foolish actions by calling it “training.” Who knew when I might need to move through the dark around a bunch of ghouls? This skill could be invaluable. It also allowed me to face my fear of running into the creatures in the dark.

Once inside, I stacked my loot against the locked door so that if anything got in, I’d probably hear the sound as my pile of supplies fell. Just to be sure, I added a couple of empty tin cans to the top. I locked myself in the master bedroom with a dresser in front of the door that night. I had found a thick blanket earlier and had nailed it up over the window so that I could put a light on in that room after dark, but only in that room. Even the slightest light seemed to draw the dead like moths, I had found. I wasn’t sure why they were attracted to the light but not to smoke or the smell of a barbecue. I had so many questions that would probably never be answered.

Once I was ready for bed, I took the blanket off the window so I’d wake when it grew light out.

~to be continued~

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