Sunday, December 30, 2007

There will be time, there will be time, to murder and create

I have no idea what the hell is wrong with Colleen. As if it isn't enough that the goddamn world seems to have been infested (infected maybe?) with the un-fucking-dead, now I've got the damn wife passed out and muttering about hippies and quarantines and god knows what else. She passed out after we kicked down the first wall; a time that seems so long ago, but that I know (think, I don't really “know” anything these days) was still part of today. What does a day even mean anymore? There's no natural light down here (and while we're at that, can someone tell me just how in the hell we have power ?) and all of the other markers of a sane and routine existence have long since ceased to be. Its funny how so often my days have been defined by the proximity to a meal. In real life, I remember thinking, it's lunchtime, or almost time for dinner, or, my favorite, time for a midnight snack. Time was so closely tied to the normalcy of everyday things, of eating and sleeping and obligations like work and home, bath time for the kiddo, nap times. All the parts of a normal day had their own special time. So when the hell is drag-your-unconscious-muttering-wife-on-a-makeshift-hammock-
compound-that's-been-overrun-by-zombies-time? Huh? Just when the fuck is it time to look startled at a man whose become a leader of a sequestered people when he suggests that the only way to get out of the room currently besieged by dead accountants and high school students is to kick a hole through the plaster walls and hope that what lies on the other side is a room moderately more safe than the one we are in? And who in the jumping jesus christ on a crutch is going to tell me when its time to hand your infant son to some stranger and ask another to help you drag your wife through the tiny gaps in the walls even as the door behind you begins to crumble, splinter, and give in from the terrible weight of the hungry dead? I wonder, as I put my aching foot into and through the next wall only to feel my foot immediately gripped by cold iron hands that pull me off my feet, knocking me to the ground, just what the clock for these times looks like. Do we meet for lunch when the big hand reaches ghouls and the little hand is resting on the image of a small band of deliciously named strangers pulling on my shoulders to haul me back through and out of the reach of the hungry hands that are trying to rip and pull my leg through the gap I created in the wall? I'm hardly even surprised when they succeed, and I tumble backward into the room we are now trying to escape, the seventh such room, the seventh safe wall we've kicked through, and I hardly even feel anything anymore as I brush myself off, and turn to a different wall at a right angle to the one that is now alive with grasping hands and stupid hungry faces. It's time, I think a little crazily, to try a different wall. Without any real thought, without a plan, knowing that when all the options are equally unknowable, any attempt at knowing is a fruitless waste of what seemed to be very precious time, Sage and I wordlessly begin to kick at the plaster interior wall at a right angle to the wall we came through and also perpendicular to the wall of new threats, the pandoras box I just kicked open. We were hoping to use this method to avoid hallways and corridors, open passage areas, and so we had to be conscious as we navigated of where we thought the hallways would be. I imagined briefly what that moment would be, the first kick from my now wobbly legs noisily breaking the plaster, announcing like a dinner bell to the streaming, meandering undead that dinner was served. I could almost hear their moans growing louder as we inadvertently opened our tiny world up to the threat just a few inches of plaster away. All of these thoughts, these images (I never used to be a visual person, but when presented with horrors, my mind seems to have kicked itself into horror overdrive) flashed through my torn and exhausted imagination without registering an emotional response. At this point, I almost didn't care what happened. I was becoming a machine, reduced to fighting only because fighting was what was next. There it was again, I thought, hauling Colleen's unconscious form none too graciously over the powdered gypsum and between two wooden studs (wooden studs, this was an old facility) and into the next room, grateful for its interiority and silence. Next. Next room, next time, the time that follows or will follow this time. I felt myself becoming somewhat punchdrunk with the exhaustion of it all and didn't care. I looked around this new room, this room of now, and stopped thinking all together, gaping stupidly. We stood in a huge commercial kitchen, gleaming of stainless steel workspaces and industrial cook tops and ranges. A massive steel door revealed a walk in freezer or cooler, and I could hear the almost insanely comforting and familiar hum of its compressors. Dinner time I thought both sarcastically and with total seriousness. I was hungry. Very very hungry. I tried to remember when I had last eaten and realized I didn't know, couldn't remember, didn't care. What I cared about was eating now, eating next, and eating a lot. I became aware a moment later of Finn's screaming and realized he'd been crying, bawling really, for who knew how long. Who could blame him. This wasn't a baby's world, hell it wasn't an adults world. This was a world where only the mad felt safe, and they were wrong to feel it. This was the place, I realized. This was where we had to make a stand. This kitchen, these freezers, all of it was ours to claim, and our only chance to survive. We had to eat now, or be eaten. Even as I realized this, I saw the same thing flash across Sage's eyes and we looked to each other grimly. Something terrible was going to happen here. He knew it; I knew it, and we both knew, even as we began to slide a huge stainless steel freezer to block the hole in the wall we had just climbed though, that it was time.

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