Thursday, July 12, 2007

Bus Stop

The boat sways. I stand on the deck, looking out. I can see a large fire in the distance. Not a house… It looks like a whole town on fire. The river is full of boats, as far as the eye can see. There is a great deal of smoke, but the pilot lights can be seen through the dense haze. Shouts can be heard in the distance. The boats communicate with one another as they all head down river. Some are going faster than we are, the wakes they produce rock our boat back and forth. I hear the moans coming from the bridge above. The pilot points as the zombies plummet off the side of the bridge. They fall as he weaves through them. An undead creature hitting our boat from that height would surely destroy the vessel. He guns the engine and we make it through just as one hits the water directly behind us. It is dragged below the surface and the water quickly turns red around the propeller. A boat behind us tries to squeeze past the bridge. It is a much bigger boat and a larger target. It is hit by two creatures. The zombies don’t do too much damage because it is much taller and the undead fell a much shorter distance. The crew is on them and the screams from the boat saturate the night. The boat passes us, we are in its wake and the rocking intensifies. The screams, however, sound as if they are coming from below deck. The boat rocks. The screams continue.

I shoot up with a start. I quickly stand and snatch the crowbar. No one has followed me down. I’m on top of a bus and I suddenly remember what happened. I lost my balance up there when the bus crashed into the support for the El. The bus is moving from side to side, but we aren’t moving. I can hear screams below. I look over the edge and see them, what looks like twenty undead pushing the bus from side to side.

I try to assess the situation. All the creatures are in somewhat regular intervals around this damn thing, so there is no quick and safe way off of it. I see that the bus has torn apart two parked cars below on its way to the support. Both are literally shredded. I do see a nice size tire iron down there in the wreckage. I see that there is a light pole a few feet from the side of the bus. I could easily leap to is and slide down; I would be outside the reach of the zombies and could make a break for it. But I decide on a different course of action.

Most people in this situation would let their morality fly right out the window, and to be honest, my morals about possessions were thrown out on the tracks above. But I’ve always been a firm believer that you really don’t know how moral you are until you are tested. It is easy to be good in theory; it is always much harder in action. I must admit though, while the screams below did tug at my heart a little, it was cold logic that made my decision for me. If I run, I might save myself for now, but I could create 30 undead in the process. I am not leaving these people to die, I am signing them up for the other side if I flee. I need to get these people out of the bus.

I try to pull on the emergency hatch, but it won’t open from the outside. Emergency workers have a key for these hatches, I have a large metal device for prying things open. I use it and start to wrench it open. It pops up and then shrieks erupt from inside. I dodge a purse thrown at my head, and as I lean back in I duck away just as an umbrella shoots up trying to stab me in the face.

“Hey! I’m not a fuckin zombie! Knock that shit off!” I scream inside. Someone in the bus screams at them to stop. They calm momentarily.

The undead keep rocking the bus so I have to kneel to keep my balance and I stick my head back inside. The bus has several people inside; all are in the middle isle. No one is left in their seats. I see the bus driver is not moving, the front of the bus is destroyed, but the glass and metal is still intact enough to keep the creatures out momentarily. A few windows are shattered, and some are cracking with each smash at the hands of the ghouls. The creatures reach in, but can’t climb up the steep side of the bus through the windows. This will not be the case for long. One woman looks she is going to pass out. She’s a fat black woman and is hyperventilating. She sounds like a siren her breathing is so audible.

“Whooooooo, Whoooooo, Whooooooo, Lord Have Mercy! Whoooo, Whhooooo.”

The situation is rapidly deteriorating and I know what I need to do. I see a guy, a big fella who looks like O.J. Simpson a bit. I call to him, “Hey Juice,” he chuckles, “Take this crowbar, I am going to try to get them away from the door. When I do, you get everyone out and cover them.”

Juice shakes his head. “Not me man. If that door opens I am out of here.” As soon as he says that a smaller man starts moving toward me, he is a black man with dreadlocks. He looks Rastafarian. He has on a while linen shirt, and linen pants. He’s got a hemp necklace on and sandals. He is smaller in stature than the other guy, but wiry.

“I’ll do it mon. I can swing dat ting.” He takes the crowbar from me. “What are you gonna use mon?”

“I see a tire iron down there. I’ll get that and try to lure these damn things out of the way. If they turn toward you, swing for the fences and aim for the head. I’m going to get them from the back door because it doesn’t look like the front one works anymore, get ready to go out that one.”

“Ok, Mon. Good luck.”

I normally respond with some snarky comment when someone wishes me luck – this didn’t seem like the time to give my opinion on the existence of providence.

“Line the women and children up first. Get them out then the men go.” I point at the guy who refused the crowbar. “And Juice goes last.”

Juice starts to say something, but he is drown out by the Jamaican, “If he even tinks about goin out I’ll treat him like one a dem.”

“Take it to em.” I say. “I’ll meet you in the middle.”

I stand and look below at the wreckage where the tire iron is. A streetlight is near the bus, about 3 feet out. I need to jump to it and slide down. Then I’ll be on the other side of the undead but only by a few feet. Then I need to sprint 20 feet or so to get the weapon.

I lean over the side and see them snapping below. I decide to dress my wound on my leg. I take my hoodie off and cut it with the multi tool. I make a bandage over the shin and tie it tight. I can’t feel it. Adrenaline is filling my body. The effects are deadening my pain sensors.

I take one step back. “Here goes everything…” I can feel the rush of adrenaline inside me. My stomach knots up and my mouth goes dry as my digestive system shuts down. My legs are energized by the chemical. Time starts to go slowly. I leap.

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