Monday, October 29, 2007

Finding my Sea Legs

Tom is alive.

I heard the man say that outside the door, but he is captive someplace and they are trying to test him for something… and he is fighting like hell.

Finn is not with him. Finn is not with me. My heart sinks, and I start to feel nauseous again, after all. They have taken my baby, and done something to me to make me sick, and now I am tied to a cot, nauseous, weak, and with a migraine the likes I’ve never felt before. They better not have hurt my child, or there will be hell to pay.

Beyond the throb of my head, and the swimming in my ears, I can hear shouts and voices from somewhere far away. Is that my Tom?

I start to work my legs to loosen the straps around my knees. Slow, methodical, isometric movements stretch the fabric that binds me.

I pray to someone I can’t name for his guidance and safety. I plead and I cry, and I wait. My breasts throb and swell with the unconsumed milk they have made for my son, and tears stream copiously down my face as I search for my strength reserves. How long have I been here? How long since Finn has eaten?

There is someone outside my door. She sounds upset. I think she is crying. Why would my captor be crying? She is not a hostage, I heard her talking to that man about Tom. I think I hear her walk away, but I can’t be sure.

The strap around my knees is loosened, and I start to work the one around my ankles.

I will not sit here and wait. I must get out. I must find Tom, and I MUST find my son. I will kill whoever took my son from us. with my hands. I will not flinch, and I will not waiver. It won’t be hard, and I won’t regret it. He is my blood, and my life, and I created him, and he is my responsibility. He is my everything, and I will not let him down, or I don’t know if I can live with myself.

Who the fuck are these people? As if the Zombies weren’t enough! Where am I, and why? What happened to me in that cornfield? Was I tranqued? Did they make me sick? Am I going to die?

They said Tom got in a fight, and I worry about his well being. I know he is tough. Strong, robust, and healthy. He has always had great strength and endurance, and I hope they serve him now. I hope they haven’t hurt him. I can’t live out there on my own. We’re Team Curry, and we need to get out of here together.

The fabric is slack around my ankles, and I am able to slip them through the strap. I arch my back and work at pulling my knees up to my chest to get them out, as well, but this is harder than it sounds. Every movement strikes searing pain into my head and back, and renews the feeling of impending vomit in the back of my throat.

I vomit, and I rest. I need a few moments to build up my strength so I can get out of these straps. With one giant push, I free my knees, and as I catch my breath, I start to scoot down on the cot to get my chest free of the strap that was thankfully, on top of my breasts, rather than under them. Thank God for small favors, right? If it didn’t hurt so much, I might have laughed.

I fall to the floor of the room. It is cold and feels like linoleum. My vision isn’t so good, and my glasses are missing. I scan for something I can use to cut the rope off of my hands.

I hear voices outside. There is no time for my hands. I crawl next to the cot near the door, and assume the position. IMPACT taught me to use my legs to their fullest. Sick or not, I am fighting for my life here, and someone’s groin is about to get the worst pounding of it’s life. I hope the mother fucker’s junk is severed.

The handle of the door starts to turn, and I see the blinding fluorescent light from outside. It’s go time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Mike knew they were nearly out of water. It was only a matter of time before they had to go out. He wanted to wait until the last minute. He tried to make sure that he had enough filled in buckets, but it hadn’t rained in a few days, and the supply that they had taken from the tap was dwindling. The taps had gone off shortly after the power, and the problem wasn’t with the building, the city ran a pumping station in the lake, and without power it was useless. He just wish he had some way to get water without leaving this building, or sending any his guys out. In any case, the decision to get more water had to come soon, or else people would start to dehydrate – then die. He had worked so hard to secure this place…


It was late afternoon when the panic struck the worksite. Mike was the foreman and saw the chaos unfold on the streets below. The building was evacuated a little after 1pm. Mike had seen enough to know that going outside was not a good idea. He gathered his crew together, 31 men working on the building.

“It’s fucked up out there, and I know a lot of you have families and want to leave. Any man that wants to walk out that door can do it. And you can take any of your tools with you. I just want to warn you, that your families may not be there when you get home. And as fucked as it is getting, you may never make it home. I don’t want to be a pessimist, I know a lot of you guys can take care of yourself, but we have a better chance to survive staying here and holing up. If you want to leave, do so, but we can’t promise that we will be able to let you in after you go. Anyone that is staying, meet me in the lowest level of this building in five minutes.”

None of the crew talked. The listened and waited until he was finished. When the five minutes was up only 14 of his crew remained. Mike had served in Gulf War I and was a natural leader. He utilized every man on his team at that moment. 3 of them left to get water and food. Everyone pitched in all they had and the three left to venture outside. They would buy what they could, and take whatever they had to. The others retreated to the second floor. His welders sealed the doors to the lower level. Any movement in or out had to be done from the sidewalk shield outside. The rest of his guys searched the building for anything that could be used. When the three came back from “shopping,” the ladder was lowered down into the street and then pulled back up. There was no way in or out.

Free people got the generators out, set buckets up to get all the water they could from the tap before it stopped, and continued to set up the building as a small fortress. A few people passing by asked to be let in, and were. But most of the people on the street had somewhere to go, and as far as Mike was concerned, it was probably to their early deaths.

Mike stopped his crew from communicating with the Marines when they came in. He knew they had a job to do, and when things started looking bad for them, he was glad he had dissuaded his men. The soldiers left in such a hurry, they left some of their own behind. There was no room for civilians. Mike and the construction crew from the East Wabash building knew they were alone here. The only thing they could do was hope for rain. And lots of it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Archive 7o-553-d >> Entry 6

Record Logging Protocol : Epsilon
Record # 7o-553-d
Chrono : Suffusion III

Descriptor : Communique
Classification : Siege

Region >> Chicago,greater

Type >> Audio ; Voice
Delivery >> Portable Digital Recording Device

Primary Principal >> Chris
Primary Assumptions >> Male ; 20-40 ; caucasian ;

Secondary Principal >> Jen (alias:"Babe")
Secondary Assumptions >> Female ; 20-40 ;
Involved(primary,shared residence)

Third Principal >>
Third Assumptions >> Male ; 18+ ; Widowed

Playback Source File >> 7o-553-d_AR_0+0006

Friday, October 12, 2007

To sleep... A chance to dream.

The ground shakes. I hear the megaphone outside.

A shrill almost mechanical voice shouts, “Come out of the pumping house. If you do not comply we will open fire.”

Gabe looks at me from by the controls. He doesn’t say anything, but I can tell from his face that he isn’t going anywhere. I shake my head and go towards the window. I pull up a pistol, break the window with the barrel and point it outside. I say nothing and pull the trigger four times in the direction of the Hummer below, then I drop the ground. Gabe continues to work the controls on the panel.

“We cannot let you leave the area. Come out with you’re hands up and the weapon visible.”

I respond by shooting out the window again, vaguely in their direction. I hear the pumps come on, and Gabe gives me a thumbs up. “You realize,” I say, “There is no way we can hold them off for the 20 minutes it’s going to take to lower the water.”

“You have a better idea?” His voice is shaking, he knows there is nothing else we can do.

“I’m not saying… I’m just saying…”

The air around us erupts. I can hear massive gunfire from outside. It thin steel that this shack is made out of is no match for armor piercing bullets. They fly around us and I can hear them zipping past. I lay as low as I can to the ground without sinking into it. I crawl to the back of the office, my stomach never leaves the floor.

I look back and see Gabe has been shot in the throat and chest. He convulses one last time as his body spews out his lifeblood. His eyes stay open, locked open in an unending stare. I have a strange feeling. I don’t mourn him as a person. I mourn his utility. I don’t care that he died, I just wanted him to live because he was useful. I am sad about him dying only in that his death could lead to mine. The thoughts are shocking and alien, and at the same time natural and instinctive.

I hear the gunfire die down and I stand up and fire the gun. I point it in the direction of the soldiers, but I know that I won’t hit them. I just want them to know that I am not only alive, but also that I don’t yield. I lay flat and reload. As soon as I finish I realize it is time to run for it. I can’t wait for the pump and I have to do the rest on foot. I run for the window on the opposite end of the shack. I start to climb halfway out the window when I hear a sound.


I leap out the window and run. The shack behind me explodes in a way only though possible in Hollywood. I am blasted off my feet landing on my face. The debris files past as another explosion rocks the platform where the small pumping station once stood. It’s so powerful I feel the ground shake so hard, I doubt I could have stayed standing if I were on my feet. Another explosion…


I wake. My side is burning. My mouth is parched. My head and back hurt intensely. I try to stand and immediately fall from both severe dizziness and shooting pain in my shin.

“That went well…”

I hear an explosion from outside. The building shakes. I steady myself, grab my tire iron and force myself to stand. I lean heavily on the desk and walk to the door. I sling it open, and look out into my hall. No one is there, the lights are off and I can hear shouts.

I limp down the hall to my boss’s office. I come to the door and it is locked. I bash the handle a few times and it falls off. The door opens easily when nothing holds it in place. I step inside and see his windows are blown out. I can hear shouts and gunfire below on the street. I walk cautiously to the window and look out.

Hundreds of soldiers hold Wabash Avenue below. There are sandbags and tanks. They look as if they are shooting hundreds of undead as the walk toward the barricades on the street. The waves of undead crash against the sandbags, and the soldiers continue firing. The corpses pile up. I have no idea if they will succeed and looking out at the street below and seeing the long line of creatures, I am more doubtful.

But it looks like my only way out…

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Turned Tables

The tip of the long triangular glass shard pressed against the base of the woman's throat, indenting the soft flesh, my shaking hand tracing a tiny cut back and forth as the first drops of blood begin to slowly well up from the shallow wound. Dimly, I could hear the young woman's panicked breathing, just as I was vaguely aware of the rise and fall of her chest as she struggled for enough air to calm her panic. My left forearm clamped tightly around the side of her neck, and I used as much pressure as I dared without choking her. Looking down at the hand that moments ago had punched its way through an observation window in the medical suite we now found ourselves in, the hand that, with its partner, had battered two members of this cult just hours earlier, I marveled at its effectiveness. My hand, already beginning to bleed from the press of the sharp glass against palm, knuckles grotesquely bruised, purple, and swollen, strips of thin pink flesh hanging limply in jagged tiger stripes from the tips of my fingers to the top of my elbow. Looking down at that great tool of our humanity, five fingers, a thumb, and, when necessary, a fist, I steadied my hand and my resolve. They took my wife. They took my son. If I had to take one or all of their lives to get them back, I was steadfastly determined to do so.

As we stood there, panting amid the upturned exam table, rolls of gauze and tape littering the floor, obscuring somewhere in their midst the syringe loaded with god knew what that had surely been meant for me, I considered my options. I didn't want to kill this woman, at least not yet. Over the past few days, my compunction about killing my fellow man had waned significantly, but I still didn't feel like a murderer inside. Besides, I needed this girl's heart to continue thumping in her chest for a least a while longer until I could figure out an angle and gain some real leverage in the situation.

I stood there thinking, the slim, older man who had accompanied this woman to the medical suite where I was locked, started to back slowly toward the door that led down the hallway. I locked eyes with him to let him know that I saw him, and he froze I realized that they must see me as a madman right now.I had hours earlier beaten two of them as badly as I was able until I realized they had taken Finn, and now I had another of their friends gasping for air with a shard of bloody window glass at her throat.Trying to regain some measure of sanity over an already insane situation, I looked hard at the man.

"Hey, buddy.What's your name?" The man started at the sound of my voice and I realized that I hadn't actually spoken until now.

"Your name buddy." I said, more forcefully and with growing anger, "What is your fucking NAME?” He gulped a bit, and stammered, "Hawthorne...what are you going to do to Ginger?"

I paused for a moment to calm down, then forced myself to speak as calmly and amiably as I could "I'm gonna kill her where we stand if you don't find a way to bring me my wife and my son, in one piece and in about two minutes Hawthorne." The girl, Ginger (I hated knowing her name) sobbed when she heard this, and I tightened my grip around her neck. Hawthorne stared stupidly at me for a moment, as if he couldn't believe what was happening. Then something in his eyes changed and he turned and ran down the hall. I heard his footsteps retreat as his shoes slapped the linoleum floor.

It's a long two minutes, holding a hostage. Not a lot to keep your thoughts at bay, and as each moment passes your mind oscillates wildly. You begin to wonder if you have the nerve to do this thing, to kill this person who has, reluctantly to be sure, protected you so far. You wonder if maybe you shouldn't just let go, make a break for it. Maybe kill the girl as a diversion. I tried to think of a story from the news or even a movie or television show where the hostage taker came out ahead. All that came to mind were murder suicides, police snipers, and swat teams. Not a lot of comforting thoughts.

I heard the sound of footsteps approaching. I am annoyed and a little unnerved that they sound so...casual, the footsteps of a Sunday stroll. When Hawthorne steps into the room, it is with a renewed confidence. Behind him, an older man, bald with a short cropped white beard. He had the look of a modern-day Freud without the pipe or pretension. I distrusted him immediately. I was clearly the only one. Upon his arrival into the room, I could feel Ginger relax a little and her ragged breath turned into even, steady gasps. This was a development I wasn't expecting. Clearly, this man was in charge around here, and he showed no outward sign of concern over the sight of one of his (followers?) friends clutched back to belly with an apparent lunatic. I sensed immediately that he would try and defuse me, to talk me down as it were. I immediately sought to defuse myself and thus foil his gambit by remaining calm and steady.

Who are you?" I demanded, striving to keep my voice in check.

"My name is Sage," the man spoke calmly, evenly, "who are you?"

I debated about giving him my real name for a moment before I answered, "Tom. Where's my family, Sage?"

"They're safe, just like you are, and just like I know Ginger is. You're not a killer Tom; I know that. So why don't you just let Ginger go, and we'll talk about this." He sounded comfortable, confident, like a man who was used to having people follow his lead. I tried to disappoint him.

"Why don't we talk about this right now, with Ginger here?"

He sighed as if my answer upset him and looked down for a moment. In a flash, his head snapped back up and he had a pistol aimed at us. I felt Ginger tense, and before I could do more than tighten my grip on her neck and twist, he fired. Instead of the sharp report I expected, there was a soft whoosh of gas escaping at speed. That small defensive twist was all I needed however and the dart hit Ginger in the shoulder. Almost immediately, she began to sag. As she fell, I was forced down with her until she lay passed out propped against me, both our butts solidly on the cool linoleum floor. Her unconscious body formed a near perfect shield, but completely pinned me to the ground. Getting up and running was out of the question. I decided to force my hand. I held up the shard of glass, now sticky with my own blood, and showed it to Sage. Slowly, deliberately, I lowered the tip to her throat and started to push. Almost immediately, blood began to run from her neck. So far, I knew the wound was superficial at best, but it wouldn't take much of a slip to end this poor girl's life. This was a bluff, but I had to make it look real. I pressed harder and the first couple of millimeters of the makeshift blade disappeared into Ginger's flesh. The blood began to flow a little more freely. Although not the rhythmic spurt of an arterial gush, it was a steady stream of crimson now.

"All right, all right," said Sage wearily, "I'll take you to them. Just let Ginger go."

"No deal. The girl comes with me.I want a wheelchair and I want it now.I'm done playing games here."

Sage nodded to the tall man who ran a short way down the hall.In the moment he was gone, Sage and I stared at one another, each desperately trying to find weakness in the other. Soon enough, Hawthorne returned with the wheelchair and made as if to push it toward me. Realizing I couldn't maintain my position and move the unconscious girl into the chair, I settled on a new ploy.

"No. Sage, you get in the chair." Hawthorne made as if to protest but was waved off by Sage, who sighed another world-weary sigh and sat reluctantly in the chair. Hawthorne looked confused and terrified. "Okay, now Hawthorne, turn the chair around and wheel him, back first to me." He turned the wheelchair around and pushed it to about three feet in front of me. "Closer Hawthorne, all the way to my feet." He obeyed, but stood there unsure what to do next. "Okay, now you go out into the hallway and stay turned away from me. I want to see your back. If you so much as twitch, I'll kill both of them, so this is on you, get it?" He nodded and began walking into the hallway. When he got about a dozen paces into the hallway he stopped. Slowly, carefully, I stood up, letting Ginger go for the first time in an eternity. I stepped forward to the back of the chair. "Put your arms behind your back." He did as he was told, and I watched those arms fixedly as I knelt down, heart in my throat, and pulled a shoelace as quickly as I could from my shoe. I tied his hands together and put the shard of glass to a new throat. "Time for us to take a little walk Sage. I'll drive, you navigate.Take me to my wife."