Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Running out of Options

Fuck…Leaving Chicago is out of the question. I might have been able to make it out if I had just jumped out of a moving train, or if I had just fallen off the EL platform. Those two injuries have slowed me down considerably. However it was after I got shot that I decided to stay downtown.

I started running on the top of the platform toward the Chicago Board Options Exchange building. It was several blocks away at that point, but all the trains had stopped moving. I ran past two on the way. They were completely abandoned except for two cars. I tried to keep myself from looking inside, but the creatures within slammed themselves up against the doors so hard I thought they would break down instantly. They didn’t make it out, and neither did any survivors in those cards. There were 10 to 20 zombies in each. I tried not to notice the two little girls in the bloodstained dresses and pigtails. I failed.

It was bedlam on the ground and I was glad to be up on the tracks. Cars we smashing into things, groups of people were being chased down the street by the undead. I saw one creature standing at a stoplight. He was an obviously blind human at one point, you could tell by the thick sunglasses on his face. And that his hand was wrapped in a Seeing Eye dog’s harness. The thing is that the dog was still holding him back out of traffic as if it were trying to save him. The creature just kept on trying to cross the street and the dog kept pulling back to make sure it wouldn’t. The creature never tried to attack the dog at all. It didn’t even look like it noticed it. I’m not sure why I focused on that, but looking back it had to be the most absurd thing I had seen all day.

When I got to the CBOE I knew I was in for it. The line for the train was out into the courtyard. People were scrambling and pushing to try to get up to the trains. I scanned the crowd and saw a ton of injured people. Several looked like they had been bitten. The thought of riding home packed in a train car with basically several time bombs in the seats chilled me. I really had no other choice.

As I got to the EL platform I made my way to the exit. It was crowded with hopeful people. You’d be surprised how my wounded wrapped leg and a bloody tire iron get the crowd to part. When I got off the EL I noticed a commotion, people were running from the train and trampling those in front of them. I heard popping, it had to be gunfire. I quickly jumped up on the planter to get out of the way of the crowd and to see what was happening. The crowd was running from a group of police officers. A few people were laying on the ground shot. The cops had their guns out and they were taking aim at people in the crowd. I ducked when I saw them pointing and shooting, even though a gun wasn’t pointed in my direction.

The cops were clearing out the courtyard pretty well. I knew this was my chance to make it to the train. I started heading into the courtyard, and at first it was nigh impossible. But as more people fled, the more room there was to go upstream. I headed along the wall, trying to stay out of sight. I noticed two more people go down. I couldn’t tell what they were doing, but I assumed they were shooting obvious undead. I kept on the wall, and held the tire iron in my hand. My thought process was that I hadn’t seen any undead creature holding anything and this might not make me a target.

It wasn’t until I started moving across the open space toward the escalator that I realized one of the cops was tracking me. I also for that split second got to look at 4 bodies on the ground in front of me and I knew I had made a grave error in trying to run past. My brain put the pattern of what each of these bodies had in common before I even realized it. They were all injured, with bloodstained clothes. They had not changed. The cops were shooting anyone with a noticeable injury. And that’s when I felt it, the bullet when right through my stomach.

It didn’t knock me down, but it spun me sideways. It also hit on the side, a couple of inches from the edge of my body. I was so spiked with adrenaline I didn’t think, I just ran. Lizard brain took over and by tire iron bashed the window of the CBOE and I dove in. I kept running full bore through the building and out the other side. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was running to my office. Everything from when I got shot until I got to my building is a blur. I don’t remember a bit of it. I snapped out of it because it felt like my side was on fire, that I fractured my shin and my ribs were broken. I tried to apply pressure to the wound to get it to stop bleeding.

I ran into my building downstairs and climbed up the stairwell to my floor. That was the toughest set of stairs I have ever climbed. When I got to the 8th floor it was all I could do to not pass out. I stumbled into my office and no one was in. The lights were either off or out. I went to the kitchen and got the first aid kit off the wall and walked back to my office. When I was inside with the door shut I started to dress the wound as best I could. It looked as if he just clipped me, and the bullet went all the way out. But it hurt like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I had no idea if he pierced anything vital or not. It did not want to stop bleeding though. I dressed my leg too, and then pulled out my phone.

There was no signal. I figure that the cell towers were down, but I texted Sarah anyway. Hopefully it would keep trying until it got through. I didn’t tell her anything the happened. I couldn’t fit a good summary in 188 characters. What was I going to say?

Zombies. Bedlam down here. Jumped out of moving train to escape. Fought off several. Fell off EL platform. No trains out tonight. Been shot. Might die of blood loss. Hope I don’t. Love you. Cecil

I settled on something simple and un-alarming. No point in worrying her unnecessarily. I said.

I can’t make it home tonight. The trains aren’t running. I will have to be up here for a day or two. I will be home as soon as I can. Be careful. Stay inside. Love you greatly. Cecil

As soon as I finished my eyes were so heavy I could barely keep them open. I had enough energy to lock my door and crawl under my desk before I passed out.

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