I had this dream the other night. It was worrying.
This is Christopher Kinniburgh. The date is September 15th, or at least that is what we think the date is. It has been forty-three days since the outbreak, forty three days since my family was killed.
Once anybody realized what was going on (though I am less than certain we know exactly what is going on even now), it was too late. We had no escape plan.
The day everything started, the day my parents died, I got a call from my father. He called me, he said my mother was sick. He said she had a fever and was foaming at the mouth, my first thought was mad cow and I told him to go to the hospital. He was always afraid of doctors, but I promised him it would be better to try the hospital. Better safe than sorry. He told me he was putting cold compresses on her forehead, and I could hear her moaning in pain. I reiterated my stance that he should go to the ER immediately, and then I heard him cry out in pain. He cursed my mother, yelled that she had bitten him, and then slammed the phone down. I tried calling back, I must have been on the phone for close to three hours dialing that same number again and again before I heard the alarm.
I was living out in the country when it happened. I was in college, a senior. None of that matters anymore. When the alarm went off in our dorm, we all went outside as usual (fire alarms were constantly going off in our school, a mix of smoking in dorm rooms and drunk students walking out emergency exits were to blame.) We were quickly told to proceed to the underground tornado shelters.
Once we were all down there, they said there had been an infection. Nobody knew exactly what it was, or where it came from, though the reports we heard on a few students Police Scanners (including my own,) there was an inexplicable amount of looting and violence. Apparently it had spread through most of the major North American cities in under twelve hours and we were going to stay in the shelter until we heard it was safe on the radio.
Most of the time we spent down there, we listened to HAM radio operators giving reports and talking amongst one another about what was going on. They seemed to know as little as we did, but we kept listening. Every hour one or two of the operators would end transmissions. Each time we would wonder what happened to them, and spend the next hour speculating amongst ourselves.
After two or three days we had heard the words ‘zombie,’ ‘monster,’ ‘ghouls,’ and ‘undead’ countless times. There was talk on the airwaves of walking dead, and God, and the Devil. Most of us assumed these were the rantings of uneducated men trying to explain that they did not understand through stories, just as Man had used religion to explain life and all existence. Most of us thought ourselves too educated to believe in such stories.
By the fifth day, we began to run low on food. Two friends of mine, Joey and Aaron, began to discuss leaving the shelter and heading out on our own to find some answers. We knew that if ‘the sickness,’ as we called it, was airborne sooner or later we would be dead anyways. We each had a car on campus, and we decided to syphon the gas from Joey’s hatchback and Aaron’s STI, and drive in my Jetta. We weren’t sure where we would go, but we had heard that the internet was down and we figured that our credit cards would be no good to us. The gas we had was all we would have for a while.
We were out there in that car for four days. After the first day we knew that the stories we had heard over the radio were far from fictional. The first time I met Joey, Aaron and I were watching Night of the Living Dead, by George A Romero in my dorm room. Joey knocked on the door and asked if he could watch with us. He said he liked zombie movies, especially George A Romero. That was our bond, and now we were in the middle of nowhere, in a car, during a zombie infestation; this irony was not lost on us.
By the fourth day we had a fairly steady routine. We would drive until we found a placid, undead-free location. Then one of us would try and get sleep while the other two kept lookout and kept eachother awake. After about four hours we would notice ten or twelve zombi closing in on us. At that point we would switch drivers quickly, and find a new location.
We were out there for five days before Joey died. He had to piss in the woods, we told him not to, we told him to piss in a bottle like Aaron and I did, but the fuck never listened. He was too uptight about things like that. He couldn’t go if anybody else could see or hear him. We heard the screams, and I moved the car slightly and turned on the headlights. Joey was covered in them. I wanted to help him, I wanted to kill every last one of them, but I knew I couldn’t. Aaron knew too.
On the sixth day in the car, the eleventh day of the outbreak, we were running low on gas. We didn’t want to leave the car, but we had no choice. There was an abandoned Honda Civic on the side of the road. We had nothing to defend ourselves with, but we knew that searching the car and siphoning gas were the only way we could survive. I chose to inspect the Civic while Aaron watched the surroundings from our Jetta. I quickly syphoned the gas from the car, and found it to be nearly full. I asked Aaron if there were ‘any’ in sight, and he said we had time to look through the car. I found a baseball bat, a number of AA batteries, an ipod that we thought might be useful at some point and a flashlight.
We drove through rural Minnesota, driving south on 35 and driving a few miles on each exit looking for cars to loot. Usually we didn’t find much, but every now and then we would find some food or an ad-hoc melee weapon. We would drive one or two exits south each day. By the fifteenth day of the infection, the tenth day we had spent in the car we were about to hit Iowa. That was the day we met Jess.
Jess was sleeping in a Prius we were about to loot. When we pulled over she jumped up and looked frightened. After a few seconds she regained her perspective and asked us who we were. We told her. She was blonde and wore torn jeans and a dirty white shirt. We invited her to join us. We knew she would die out here alone, and I think the thought of having a good looking blonde in the car would boost both of our morale.
Awoke with too much detail and too much emotion. I never dream in details, just deal in generalities.