Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hunger and Thirst

In life his name was Craig, but no one called him that. The all called him C-dog, or Crusty. In life he was a drug addict, meth was the drug of choice, but he would do any drugs that came into his possession. In life he was singularly focused, everything he did was leading towards one goal…scoring. He pan handled, did sexual favors, borrowed, and stole to get enough money to buy even the smallest amount of dope. He was no stranger to the hunger he felt now as the walking dead.

He had no recollection of the past, and no knowledge of what was to come, just like in life, he lived in the moment. His singular focus now was for flesh. In life he wandered these streets up and down, trying to score a few dollars either panhandling or pick pocketing. In death he roamed the same streets, around the same places, but just through instinct. He roamed the streets here, just like the other undead crowded around methadone clinics, restaurants, casinos, bingo halls, brothels, arcades, crack houses, tobacco shops, malls, and porn shops. If one were looking for a pattern, it could be seen. A keen observer would have noticed that the ebb and flow of zombies increased under the East Wabash Building just before 9am, around 12pm and just after 5pm, as the habits carried over into undeath and transformed into instinct.

Craig was severely injured at this point. His right leg was blown off; all that was left was a femur bone sticking out of a lump of meat under his hip. His other leg was badly mangled as his lower half had been run over by a tank. He dragged himself across the ground, crawling in hopes of coming across a meal to sate his hunger, if only for a moment.

His method of crawling was unique. He would drag his body forward on the ground, eventually getting his body close enough to where his hands were planted to lift his face up to look around. When he went to move again, his hands would lurch out and his face would slam against the ground, leaving bits of itself in a grim trail.

As he lifted himself up again he was suddenly excited. Flesh… He could see a door opening up and a cart being pushed down the handicapped ramp, it slowly gaining momentum as it headed for the street. Behind it a man ran, pushing it. Craig made his was as fast as he could toward the flesh, his arms grabbing at the ground, frantically pulling himself up and then lurching again, all the while his face slamming against the asphalt.

Creatures rushed from all sides to the man, moving in from each direction, the man pushing behind the cart and deftly maneuvering between them. On occasion the man would let the cart’s momentum take it forward while he attacked the creatures that surrounded him, then he would make his way back to it and push to get it moving faster.

Craig had worked his way across the street and was nearing the trajectory of the man. His path had led him directly next to the cart and with one hand he reached out for the man’s leg. His hand quickly grabbed the shoe and the startled man nearly fell backwards. The cart continuing on toward the curb as the man stumbled. Craig was rewarded with a sharp crack of his skull, as the makeshift machete the man carried made out of the arm of a paper cutter swung down and broke into Craig’s cranial cavity, releasing him from this world and his hunger.


I’m not much from planning. I never have been. Most times when a difficult situation raises its head, my first reaction is to tackle it head on. I don’t normally have the patience for meticulous planning. So when I decided to head across the street with the water, it was, as usual, by the seat of my pants.

I decided to bring the water along in hopes of trading something for it. During our conversations Mike and I had discussed leaving. He was hoping to hole up and ride out this situation; I was hoping to get out of town. He had a police officer in his building that offered his keys to me. His vehicle was on the next block, and he had no way of knowing if it was still there, but if I wanted, the keys were mine. They had told me to try to make a break for it and to come over a couple of times, every promise or suggestion had an air of absurdity and humor to it.

At first the idea of crossing the street seemed ludicrous. The road was teeming with undead. But as my days passed and I became isolated, I started looking down from my window thinking, “I think I can make it, it might not be that hard.”

I left my building to get home, but I wanted to help them too though. I didn’t just want to come over and expect to get resources for nothing. These people were struggling too, and I might be taking a resource that they might find useful in the future. I didn’t want to come empty handed. The problem is that five or ten gallons of water aren’t going to last fourteen men very long. My only choice was to load up and head out.

I made it to the center of the street easily enough, stumbling once as a crawler grabbed my ankle. My shoe was still on and the grabber went down with one shot, but that moment of hesitation let all the others gain on me. I saw they were closer and I pushed the cart with everything I had. The whole time motivating myself:

“Come on, you fucking pussy! Push this Goddamn thing! Push you fucking weakling! You got to want it.. Come on…come on….come on. Dig your fucking legs in a push!”

I was closer to the east Wabash building but I still had a short distance to go, and the cart was getting heavier. My legs were exhausted and even though my body was spiked with adrenaline, I was running out of gas. I was near the door on the bottom of the building, my mind screaming now:

“You can make it! Push! You can do this! You’ve got it in you, just a few more yards! You can make it! You can make it! You can make it. You can do this…”

It took only a brief moment for the cart to shift a little on the way up the sloping area by the curb. The water sloshed to one side, its own momentum taking it down. It fell and scattered, one of the containers shattering and letting lose all the precious cargo from inside. I stood there shaking my head in realization…I’m not going to make it.

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