Tuesday, March 6, 2012

New site

Please visit my new site http://indaysweend.com for following updates. Not that you have a choice as this will be redirecting to it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 57

I woke to gun shots. Soon after there is a knock on my door and Dan comes in.

"Did you hear those?" he whispers.


"They came from somewhere out side. I think someone is out there."

Dawn is stirring, barely awake and I quickly tell her that I need to go. She turns over to hear my explanation but I can tell she is not really hearing it. I kiss her and go. It's probably better that she doesn't know.

I grab my machete that had been under the bed and we walk out of the room. No one else is awake. It is close to Ann's shift and so we wake her. We explain what we heard and that we're going to look into it.

Down stairs we have our weapons laying out. I grab my M21 and Dan grabs a pistol after tucking his machete in his belt, unable to hold a rifle with on hand. I had Ann a pistol and ask her to stay down here to keep an eye out. She looks at the pistol as she agrees. I throw my back pack with the ammunition on, cock the rifle and stick the machete in its place.

There are more gun shots. Probably about a block or so away. I open the door and walk out into the cool air. I look around but see nothing. The waxing moon give enough light to see around us but I am not able to see anybody or anything down the street. The door opens behind us and Dean comes out.

"I heard the shots and Ann said you were out here." He is holding Josh's M4 and has a pistol tucked in his pants. "Thought I could help."

"Sounds good," Dan says.

There are gunshots again, coming from our right and we turn, running down the street. I hold the rifle in front of me as I run. The clinking of the clips sounds abnormally loud and so I do my best to run with little bounce. We come to an intersection as more shots are fired. This time, we see a flash from down the street, just around a corner on the right. We run towards it and as we do two zombies jump out at us, one in front and the other behind.

Forgetting caution I fire one round into the zombies head, killing it instantly. It crumples to the ground without a twitch. I hear several shots from behind me to see the one behind get shot three times. More start to filter out of seemingly no where. They sprint towards us at alarming rates and many I only just kill before they reach is. I look towards Dean and he is without a mask.

"Dean!" I yell, and he looks at me. "I'll cover you. Tie your shirt around your mouth and nose."

"Oh shit!" he says, scrambling to put his gun down and take off his t-shirt. "Damn it, damn it," he repeats as he starts to tie it around his mouth. I fire at several zombies nearing him and spin around to kill more. Dean picks his rifle up and we continue towards the sound of the near shots. There are no zombies near us as we get to the intersection where we had seen the flashes from the gun. Down a ways. Limping, trying to run, is a man firing a rifle down the road. Aiming at zombies, hitting them occasionally. He seems to be an older man, maybe in his forties or fifties. I run behind the homes that share backyard to avoid his stray bullets and soon come out behind him. I raise my rifle as Dean steps up beside me. We start to fire rounds into the oncoming zombies.

The man, startled by our gun fire stumbles and falls to the ground. I look over at him and see his pant leg. There is blood soaked into the cloth. It shines in the moonlight. I can see the zombies starting to surround us as we fire rounds through their skulls. They are unrelenting. I swing my gun around and pull out my machete. Dean is scrambling through my bag for more ammo as he lifts his pistol and fire several rounds. There is a break in the zombies and Dan runs over to him and helps him up. We walk over to a nearby house and Dean kicks the door open. I turn as I walk in and swing my machete down at a zombie, still at a dead sprint. I strike its head, but its momentum knocks me over. I scramble up as Dean fires at two others nearby. I stand, rush into the house and close the door, dead bolting it quickly.

The man grunts as Dan lays him down on an old seventies looking couch with pink flowers on it.

"They got my leg," he says, trying to reach for it. "Those bastards got my leg. . . I, I tried to get away, but . . ." he grunts again, grasping for it. Dean backs up from the man.

"Dean," Dan says, "go look for some type of pain killer. Maybe they have something that can help him.

"Am I," he starts but winces. "Am I going to turn into one of them?"

I don't know what to say. I look at him, and I know that I betray what I know will happen.

"Damn it," he says. "Shit! I can't be one of them. Please!" He tries to sit up, but thinks better of it. "Please, you need to make sure I don't turn."

"I--I can't. I, can't do that." I look at Dan for support, but he is unable to look at me or the man. I know that he doesn't want that option to be presented to him. I turn back to the pleading man. "I'm sorry. I . . ." There are no words that I can say. I keep silent and look at him. He is crying now. Begging for me to not let him turn into a zombie. I get closer to him and grab his hand. It is rough. Hands of someone use to physical labor.

"What is your name?" I ask him.

"Heath," he says. "It's Heath."

"Heath. What did you do in life? Before all of this."

"I--" in inhales sharply, "I was a carpenter."

"You married?"

"Yes. When I was twenty four. Her name was--it was Jezabell." Tears are rolling down his cheeks, and I find that I too am crying. Dean and Dan stand behind me, watching, unmoving.

"Sounds like a beautiful name," I say.

"She was beautiful. I loved her with all of my heart."

"Heath," I say, and pull a pistol from my bag that is on the floor, silently. "Remember your wedding day. Can you see it?"

He looks at me and chuckles slightly, "we eloped in Las Vegas." I laugh with him. "It was such a beautiful day in August." I put the gun up to his head, out of his sight. "She looked like a dream. I can still remember her kiss. She was everything and I loved her."

I pull the trigger and pull away from him quickly. Blood litters the couch to his side and I collapse on his chest, sobbing, crying out. I throw the gun towards the door. The door that until I hadn't noticed Dean is leaning against as zombies push and bang against the dead lock and hinges.

* * *

We go out the back ten minutes later and run silently back to my uncles house. I have my machete out and only need to use it once. Back at my uncles I sit down at the table with a piece of paper and pen and write down what Heath had told me. I then write about the others that have died. Only a little bit. I fold the paper and place it in the small, unused pocket in my bag.

I go up and hug Dawn, telling her that I love her and thanking her for being my wife. I hug my kids, kissing them on their heads. Connor tells me he loves me and says he missed me while I was gone. I tell him I missed him too. Seeley rests his head on my shoulder for a second and then squirms away, but it was enough.

Dan, nor Dean feel much like talking about what happened. We three simply sit on the couch as the sun rises and after a breakfast we pack up the van with the little things we pulled out. We are unable to leave until mid afternoon and know that it will take until tomorrow to weave our way through the parked and abandoned cars that litter the streets and highways. But we leave, and I am glad of it. I will never want to come to this place again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Day 56

It is mid afternoon when we find my uncles house. It looked familiar from the outside, but upon entering it we were sure. We searched the thing, Dean and McKay downstairs and Josh and Dan went  up. The rest of us looked through the remainder and out back. It was Josh who had found a note on the bathroom mirror.

We have gone to Moab to camp out in the La Sal's. 
There is some dry food and water downstairs. To find us, 
go to Gemini Bridges. We'll be near the big hole.

Good luck.

The letter is not addressed to anyone in particular but I assume it was for us. I can tell there is frustration from everyone. And I feel the same. We have been in this dead, empty city for three days only to find a note saying look elsewhere. It feels pointless. Dawn and Josh go down stairs to look into the food they had left while the rest of us go through the house, looking for anything that may be useful. It does not look like there were any zombie attacks in the house, and so, after Charlotte spends nearly an hour sanitizing many of the surfaces, she and the others remove their masks and breath freely.

There is no power, however, out back there is a grill with a tank of propane and Dawn and I prepare a meal for everyone. A hot meal, a type of vegetable soup made from dry vegetables and rice. It turns out to be pretty good. Dawn was always good at making soups.

We tell stories around the table. Stories of back home before all of this. Stories of crazy boyfriends and girlfriends. Of work and school and growing up. I told a story about how Chad and I had gotten into one physical fight that I can remember. It was back when the internet was just starting to take off. Still using dial-up Chad played a game while I came down stairs telling him I needed on to check my email. He did not and I turned the computer off. He punched me in the stomach then. He as so much stronger than I was. I told them how I was scared and so picked up a stool that was near the computer and hit him in the side with it, just before scrambling up stairs and away from any other harm.

We laughed. I laughed and for a moment there was a silence and it felt as though it was meant for Chad. No one indicated it as such, but it was known. He was a great older brother to all of us, and a great husband and father.

It was Dan who finally broke the silence. "I miss disc-golf," he said.

I smiled and agreed with him. We'd go, me and him, every weekend to UVU to play the course. That is, until they got rid of it in lieu of a new science building.

Suddenly Connor stands up on his chair and says, "I am Super Why!" holding his fists up in the air.

We all laugh, and Dawn asks him, "you miss Super Why?" A TV show meant to teach kids reading.

"Uh-huh," he says and smiles as we all continue to laugh. "I'm just kidding, mom."

"Are you being silly?" she asks.


We continue talking, eating the warm soup and drinking soda's they had had down stairs. They were a bit warm but we didn't care. Some time soon after Josh and I went to each bedroom made sure everything was locked and secure. Checked the doors and dead bolted everything. When we got back we gave shifts for watch. Josh volunteered first, the Charlotte, Dawn, myself, Dan and then Ann. Dean got out of it for this night. Each would only have an hour of watch.

We continued to talk. Josh and I about science fiction books. Dan said that Anathem was the best sci-fi book written, and I defended Hyperion. Others spoke of life before all of this and we each without noticing it began to smile and forget the world in which we now lived. We remembered the simplicity of living only months ago, and yearned for it to return.

We went to bed that night laughing at a story Dawn told about her room mates and a cat. I held Dawn that night and felt happy, as if, I was finally accepting this new life style we all were forced into. Coping with it and coming to a subtle realization that there will never be anything different.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Day 55

Charlotte is in front of me, her face close to mine as she dabs some ointment on the scratches for the fifth time sense I got them. She cleans each one and then moves to my left hand ring finger and right leg. She tries to be gentle, but it doesn't matter since all we have is alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. It stings but I grit my teeth and bare it.

"Do you think the zombies are aware of what they are doing?" She asks suddenly, dabbing at my leg. "I mean, do you think they have a choice, or maybe fight what they are doing but are unable to?"

"I don't know," I say honestly. "I would guess that they are not aware at all. I mean . . . the original person died, right, and that is when this infection, bacterial, or whatever, revives them. I would say that whatever was there before is gone after they die."

"What? Like their spirit?"

"That's one way of looking at it. Have you heard of conscious theories?"

"A little, but nothing in detail."

"That," I start, "is one of the biggest questions within science and philosophy. Where do we get our consciousness, what it meant by consciousness, and why is it important, if we even have it. I think the more important question is are these creatures conscious beings? Do they have in themselves a separate consciousness that drives them and gives them cause to attack? Or are they literally zombies, a term that, in philosophy, refers to one who is without consciousness."

"And it would matter because we are killing them," Charlotte continues, catching on to my train of thought. "We kill them to survive, but would it be ethical to kill them just to kill them?"

"Exactly. I had a hard time at first coping with having to kill them. I think more so because they looked human. Many mangled, but still human. But then I thought, what makes a human human. I'm not talking about biological; not, what makes a Homo sapien a Homo sapien, but what exactly makes us humane? What is different between the violence that I take part of when killing zombies and the violence they show towards us? Because violence is violence, right?" I wince as she dabs hydrogen peroxide on my leg again.

"I guess, right," Charlotte says, "but isn't ours more in self defense? To protect us. You ran at a zombie with no weapons to protect us. In most context that would be suicide, but you did what you needed to do." She pauses, "so maybe that is the distinguishing factor in our violence. We are doing it because we have to."

"I don't think it can be that cut and dry. All things wish to survive. I've been watching them, you see, and I think they are evolving rapidly. Not physically, but behaviorally. They are alone and feed, then they are in groups and are migrating. They don't attack cars if we're just driving by and now they are stalking. To me, this seems like classic survival skills. Which makes me thing that whatever is infecting them needs them to be violent. Whether that is for their own survival, or just a side effect of the infection, it seems like a necessary part of the zombie process.

"I think what makes us human is something deeper, more primal than violence. It is our willingness to survive. To survive in a way that will give us happiness. That is why we have religion, because with out it things seemed bleak. Whether you believe in God or not, that belief brings about hope. And I think only a conscious being could think of something as grand as hope. Without it, what is all of this for? Why am I letting you clean me--which is painful--if I didn't have hope that gave me this instinctive survival motive."

"So do you believe in God?" She asks, now wrapping gauze around my leg.

"Yeah. I do."

"Did he give you consciousness?"

"Probably not. I think some version of me has always had it. I think maybe he helps it grow. How about you? Do you believe in a God?"

"No. I don't think so. And if I ever did I think that belief left when all of this shit started happening."

"But who says that this is God's work or will?" I ask. I wait to see if she will respond but she doesn't. "I think the biggest problem with religions is people feeling as though everything is ruled by God. A tornado touches down and kills dozens and all of the sudden people are questioning how this fits into God's ultimate plan, or how can God allow something like this. And there are many building up attributes to my believe, evolution, progression and freewill, mainly, but the basis behind it all is that God has nothing to do with it.

"I think there is no difference--when it comes to God's responsibilities and actions--between me cutting my finger on a knife, and a zombie apocalypse wiping out most of the world. I think what matters is what we do with ourselves during these times, and how we cope with them. God won't interfere with our pain, because that is an aspect of being human. But he will give us, by default of religion and belief, opportunity after the fact to gain this hope that makes us humane."

She finishes wrapping up my leg and hand, obviously in deep thought. She stands and thanks me, hugging me as she does.

"I don't know if I'll ever believe in God, but thanks all the same. I think I needed this conversation."

I smile and hug her back and think to my self that this . . . this connection that we have between us, our connection in loneliness that makes living important. We are all alone, every second of every day, and the only thing that can help is that acknowledgement of the loneliness and taking comfort through others joint loneliness, knowing that they can feel the same as you.

* * *

The search is fruitless and we end early, arriving back at the house we'd slept in the night before. Tomorrow we will go out again, at least this one last time, and look for my family who may be dead, and all I can do is hope that they are still alive, somewhere, hoping to see us again.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Day 54

St. George is an awkwardly quiet place. Nothing moves. There is not even a breeze coming from the western mountains. It is still and silent. The red rock surrounding the city is bright in the cloudless sky and it is much warmer. I strip off my coat after we park and get out of the car. I hold Connor as we walk around the van, resting and stretching out aching bones. Seeley is walking on the ground with Dawn watching him, smiling and excited to not be in the van. I think we all are.

Again, looking down some streets I can see zombies wandering around, unsure of what to do when not hunting and I keep an eye on them. I get the odd sensation of being in the safari, surrounded by dangerous animals, but as long as we do not make ourselves know we are safe. However, while these thoughts go through my head I hear Charlotte yell for everybody to get into the car. Without hesitating I put Connor on a seat, help Dawn with Seeley, and get in after them, closing the door behind me. Moments after it is closed a bloody smear streaks across the window from the hands of a zombie. It bangs the windows and door as more crowd around. Dean, who had jumped in to drive, throws the car into drive and speeds away, the zombies slowly following after us.

* * *

We drive through St. George for some time looking for signs that my family may still be alive without any luck. It isn't for some time that Dan reminds us that they lived in Washington, a suburb of St. George and so we make our way there. We search for hours. None of us knowing where they live and only vaguely remembering what their house looks like. I remember a park being nearby, and so with every park we pass I feel like we are near the house, but each time we are unable to find the house a road or two down.

At one of the parks, after making sure there were no zombies in sight we drove onto the grass, in the middle of the field and got out. Connor and Seeley played in the grass, running after their uncles, or me or Dawn, or any of the others. They were, for a beautifully shining moment, the center of everyones attention. We chased and rolled around, making noise and having a good time. We were not disturbed, to my surprise, and as the sun lowered in the sky we each laid on the grass, looking at the clouds.

I hear something behind me. A low moan. I sit up from where I lay next to Dawn and turn my head just in time to see a zombie bolt towards us from a playground. It had been waiting, it seemed. If it had not made that small moan I would never of heard it. I scramble to my feet and look for a weapon. There are none. They're all in the car, and in the time it takes me to notice this the zombie is very near us. I run towards it, yelling at someone, anyone to grab a weapon. It is only twenty or so feet away from everyone when I tackle it, or rather, we collide and collapse to the ground, I on top of it. It is clawing at me and trying to bite me when I punch it hard in the face. It is almost unaffected by it and claws at my face, tearing skin on my forehead and cheek. I scream from the pain and punch the thing again. I wrestle away from it and, taking a step kick it hard in the head. I feel my big toe break and so revert to stamping on its head as it spins around and tries to get up. It falls down as my foot lands on it.

I look around and see that there are more running towards the others, who are all--all but Dan, that is--running towards the van. He runs towards me with my machete, holding his own under his arm and as he nears he throws mine to me, sheathed, and I catch it, but trip as the zombie grabs my leg. I pull the blade out as I fall and drop it on the things head as it is opening its mouth for my leg. I will not let another chunk of my leg taken out. The blade sinks in and kills the zombie where it lay.

I spin to look towards the van that is now reversing towards us. There are two zombies close to Dan and I and as they near he turns towards them and with a swing decapitates one while I thrust my blade forward and half stab, half allow the zombie to run face first into the pointed end. Hurriedly we both get into the van and close the door.

Charlotte presses the gas down and peels out on the grass before the van lurches forward and speeds away. I sit in my seat, leaning back while everyone looks back towards the chaos, All but me, Josh, Dan and Connor have masks on. Charlotte announces after getting back on the road that she is going to find a house for us to stay the night and we drive on as the sun sets.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Day 53

Josh and Charlotte, early this morning, found a large van that would fit all of us. We move all of the supplies from the Hummer to the van, taking only a few minutes, and are soon on our way. In a way, I miss the Hummer. It was a good vehicle that had been through a lot. The van, stolen from an auto dealership, seemed clunky. It bounced harshly making it hard to do anything except watch the road in front of us.

The freeway is filled with cars. Not so many as to block our bath, but enough to make it slow going for a few hours. Once past Springville we were able to pick up the speed a bit, but still could not as fast as we would like.

And so, for much of the day I am resigned to sit and think and look out the window. I see some zombies wandering in fields far from the freeway. The seem to wander aimlessly and many, from what I can tell, do not ever look up from the sound of our revving engine. 

I am left thinking about the zombies and what would cause the disease. I have figured all along that the disease is bacterial, which would explain the immunity in the most easiest possible way. But what is it that kills the person and brings them back as a zombie. A brain infection? I remember learning of a zombie fungus that would kill an ant. The then zombie ant would walk mindlessly to an optimal location for the fungus to grow easily and at its best. I doubt, however, that the infection that it taking over our bodies is fungal, but it is likely that it is utilizing the same survival techniques as the fungus. That would then explain why the zombies seem to migrate, moving south. Maybe the bacteria, or whatever it is, is moving humanity south as a method.

I find the idea fascinating and talk with Josh and Dawn for sometime about it. Dawn wasn't convinced, but then again, neither am I. There is simply no way for me to know.

Some time in the early afternoon hours Dan starts his story after being asked about it once again.

"After the news of the outbreak in China the quarantined Finland. No body in or out. The borders were guarded and fortified, however, it is impossible to completely isolate a country now-a-days. And so to get out, you would have to face the wilderness areas and cross the border. I stayed, content for a little while. I think I was naive at the time, thinking this was nothing different than the H1N1 virus--swine flu--but soon grew to know that it was going to last a long time.

"About a week and a half into the quarantine I tried to get out, make a run for it across the border. I got caught. Detained for a night and then sent back into society with a tag." He held up his wrist and there was a dot on it. "Three dots and you're imprisoned for ninety days or until the quarantine is lifted. It wasn't for another two weeks that I was able to get out. I net some people while I ate alone on a street corner table. They saw the dot and that was the buy in for me. They let me join them.

"They smuggled me out in boats. I will not bore you with the details, but it was a long arduous process. I was alone with two sandwiches and a walkie talkie that ended up not working half way through for three days. . .

"Anyways. We were attacked first in England, near York. I froze when I saw the first zombie and was tackled. They got it off of me and one handed me a machete. He said to never let it leave my side. Our group was of about ten at this point and we were all Americans, accept for Bob and Rose, who were Canadian. We were determined to make it across the sea. Near the West coast we were attacked again. One got my arm. Bit it. It kept biting it. Over and over. I was so weak . . . Bob, the Canadian chopped my arm off and killed the thing. He thought it would save me from turning and I spent days waiting for the infection to take hold, but it never did. I thought Bob had saved me.

"Three of us made it back to the states in the end. Bob knew boats and so, after commandeering a large yacht (it's odd how things just sit there, how everything is free) we sailed over. I cannot describe the difficulty of this. But Bob kept us going. He pushed us and we made it in eight days--eight long days.

"For days we fought through massive amounts of zombies, hordes of zombies until I was the only one left. I realized then, after watching five of the ten get sick and change without a single bite, and the others change after having been dead for a short time that I was immune. It was the only explanation.

"It took a week to get to Mom and Dad's. I drove and walked and drove again. Not stopping for anything until I got there. But you were all gone. Finally, after two or so days I saw a flyer stating that there was food and shelter at UVU, so I went . . . and that's it."

* * *

We stop for gas in the city, Nephi, filling quickly, watching a few zombies wander down a street, not seeing us. I stare at one, a once young woman, as she wanders from one side of the street to the other. There is nothing human about her. However, there are animalistic qualities or instincts That seem to be embedded in the thing. I stand there and wonder, pumping gas.

Soon, I am back in and we are on the freeway again. The cars have built back up and so we slowly drive around them. The congestion is not as bad as before, but still annoying. I stay awake for sometime as I watch the others and the view outside. Dan is driving while Josh and Charlotte lean together in the last seat, sleeping, holding hands. I am happy for them, for Josh. I don't know how you would get through something like this without someone. Someone you can rest and lean on. Someone you can rely on. Dean and Ann sit next to each other. Both trying to sleep and both failing at it, much like I am failing at it. And so I watch out the window, look at the rocky mountains and think of better times.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day 52

I know before we park the car that no one is at UVU. However, Ann and Dean are insistent and so Josh and I leave with them to check it out while the others run to the Wal-Mart near by to hopefully grab some provisions and supplies.

* * *

We walk in through the administration buildings. The lights are all out and the dim light coming from the windows only adds to the eeriness of the atmosphere. I have my M21 pointing down the hall that would lead to the hall of flags and Josh is pointing his M4 the other direction. Dean and Ann both have pistols we'd grabbed from the back of the Hummer. We turn left, and walk down the long hall way filled with chairs, lining the walls, and flags from around the globe hanging above from the ceiling. The large windows bring light into the hall allowing us to see easily what is before us.

"I really don't  think anyone is here," Josh says to me as we walk down the hall. "I mean . . . we would see someone, or something."

"Yeah, I think so too." I can tell that Dean and Ann are feeling the same way but are unwilling to admit it. Maybe the stubbornness comes in part because of the death of their friend.

"I think we should look in the UCCU Center," Ann says, pointing in its general direction. "That seems the most likely place. We agree and move on.

I look through the hall that leads to the science rooms. The large pendulum that swung back and forth since I can remember, knocking over wooden dowels as it rotated slowly around now hung perfectly still. The library was open and dark inside. I walk over to it and peer in. There is no sound. I walk further in and the others stop, looking at me. I disappear into the darkness for a minute or two and emerge with a new black coat on. It is slender and fit as well as having the UVU emblem on the left.

"I needed a new coat," I say, shrugging. Ann rolls her eyes.

We walk outside, walking between buildings as we make our way to the events center. There is no movement that I can see outside, however I have a feeling that we are being watched. By who or what, I do not know. Josh and I have now separated further to keep a better eye out for any zombies. I see movement down towards the library, near the doors there is a zombie, wandering, seemingly aimlessly. It is looking the other direction and so we hurry into the Liberal Arts building and out of sight. It is dark and hard to see down the long hallway, passing by dance studio's, English studies as well as math and philosophy. I can see the doors at the end, but what is between is more or less a mystery.

We do not need to go down this hall, however. We walk strait and, crossing an in-closed bridge, we arrive at the double doors that will lead to the UCCU Center. We try the door but it is locked. It would be almost impossible to kick in as it is an outward swinging door and so we decided to try another door.

We walk back, and then turn left to go down the LA building long hall which would lead us outside and then to another entrance. Soon, after walking down the hall for nearly a minute, there is a crash from in front of us. There is nothing there, but could have easily come from one of the rooms. We four stop and stair down the hall, trying to see if there was anything there. Soon, there is another crash and a zombie tumbles out of a stair well. It is laying on its back and trying to scramble up. It yells and runs back towards the stairs only to fall back out again. I pull my machete out but Josh is ahead of me. He katana already swinging around and soon slicing the things head open. I swing my gun around and pull my machete out, ready for any other to appear out of the stairs. None come.

We begin to continue walking when a man steps out of the stairwell. He is tall and looks older. He is missing his left arm from the elbow down, and it is heavily bandaged, and holds a machete, not too dissimilar to mine, in his right hand. He is wearing a suit, and this is the oddest thing about him. A suit and tie, albeit, it being very heavily torn up. There are holes in both knees and one of the shoulder seems are coming severely undone.

"Aaron?" the man says, "Josh?"

I recognize the voice immediately and Josh and I both run towards him. Dan, is standing in front of us, mangles and scared, but there, nonetheless. I slap him on the back as I hug him and he grimaces. I apologize quickly and grin at mine and Josh's little brother, who, up until now, we had thought in Finland, where he had lived over the last two years.

"How?" I ask, but he interrupts me.

"It's a long story," he says, waving his stub. He winces. "I think we need to leave, though. If any of the zombies," Josh cuts him off.

"You call them zombies, too!" He looks at me, nodding in approval, "nice!"

"Uh, I think more will come soon. If any heard that racket."

"Have you seen any survivors here?" Dean asks, obviously already knowing the answer.

"No. I'm sorry." It occurs to me then that maybe they were hoping to find family here. Or friends. I can see their disappointment.

"C'mon," I say to them. "We better get going." I grab Dean by the arm and look at him significantly. I intend to ask him who he was hoping to find but out of an open door, as we walk past a zombie leaps out and tackles Ann.

"Ann!" Dean yells and he kicks the thing off of his friend. It does not go far and I run over, pulling my machete out and stabbing its head. The blade goes into its ear and brain. I hear a yell from somewhere and know that we need to move.

"Let's go," Dan yells, "Dean helps Ann up and, just before me they start to run. I sheath my machete before running and pull my gun in front of me. I cannot hear anything, only our breathing and footsteps. As we near the dance rooms and lockers the hallway grows darker and I have a hard time seeing anything in front of me well enough to know if I'll need to fire. I hear the yell again and turn to see a single zombie running after us. The yell, I realize at that moment, is calling other zombies, for more join him and I am forced to fire several loud bursts at the oncoming things. I drop them but know more will be coming. More from all over the school.

I get outside and watch as Dean shoots one dead, hitting it directly in the head. Dan is running with his machete towards a group of zombies all running towards us. I am amazed as I watch him kill no less then five zombies. This is not the same person I know when he left, in several ways he seems . . . dangerous. I hear fires from Josh as well. He is a ways before us, moving towards the doors that would lead to the science building, urging us to hurry. We follow him through the doors where there are several zombies running towards us from within the science department, from down the hall of flags and food courts around the side. They are everywhere, and gathering around us. I open fire on them, making us a path to move through. Josh fires at those nearest us, keeping them off. Once makes it through and grabs Josh, clawing at tearing up his arm as he struggles free, dropping his gun to catch on its strap and unsheathing his machete, stabbing it into the mouth of the creature.

"Wow," says Dan. Josh smiles weakly looking at his mangled arm. Dean and Ann pass then and they follow behind. More and more zombies file into the hall, making it impossible to get through. I spin and fire at the window to our side, shattering the glass.

We climb through and walk along the thick brush down to a field. We are followed, but are able to give some distance between us and the zombies. I can see the Hummer driving up the road and I fire several rounds to get their attention. They wheel the Hummer around and pull up onto the grass, meeting us soon after.

We climb in and Dawns excitement rises as she sees Dan.

"You were in there!?" she asks as we pull out, Charlotte driving, Dawn wheeled around in the passenger seat looking at Dan. They had been close before he had left.

"We need something bigger," Charlotte says, speaking of a new vehicle. He did not fit in the Hummer any more.

I sigh and lay back in my seat with Seeley on my lap, squirming to get off. "Good to see you Dan! I can't tell you how good it is to see you."