Thursday, October 30, 2008


“Which side?” I say to Rick, the police officer of the now defunct Chicago PD. We walk across the top of the roof of the building, dried tar and gravel crunching as we head to the edge. 

“West, by the red line,” he says. He is letting me know where is abandoned vehicle is. Everyone in the building is sure I am insane, leaving the security for the unknown. Their leader, Mike, made a less than convincing plea for me to stay. He asked why I wanted to leave, and the first thing I said was that I needed to make sure my wife was ok. His response was coarse but possibly true, “Look man, she is probably already dead.”

“Let me tell you about my wife,” I say sharply, “If our roles were reversed and she was down here – she’d be fucking home by now.”

Our conversation is thankfully short and his protests are quick. He can tell I won’t change my mind, and the psychological drain I could inflict on the group could be too great for moral so he acquiesces. 

Rick and I peer over the edge of the building and look at the street. From 20 floors up they look like figurines below, placed her by some malevolent child in a sick game. The creatures march no where, all of them circling but at different arcs. It looks like grind of sharks, all clambering on top of one another to get a taste of the latest catch, but in this case there is nothing to grab. They all cycle in toward the buildings, only to be pushed away by the others behind in a never ending cycle.

Rick points, “you see it out over by the corner?”

“That’s a fucking segway.” I say to him, amusement drained from my voice.

He laughs, “man I’m just fucking with you. It’s over there, behind that truck that's embedded in Walgreen’s."

“That’s a quad…”

This time he doesn’t laugh. “Seriously… That’s what you have?" I say, "A 4 wheeler? You realize it has neither roof nor doors.”

“Look. That’s what I got. I know that it isn’t a full car, but it might be better in some respects. If you come to a clog in the road or something, you can always go around.” I start to protest and he holds up his hand, indicating he isn’t done. “It doesn’t use much gas, and that is a police model, it goes about 65 if you need it to.”

I shake my head, “I guess I have no choice.”

“You could always just stay here.”

“Gimme the keys”


The goodbye isn’t long. I gather what I can carry, take both my makeshift machete and a small crowbar they happily give me. Rick is the one who comes to say goodbye last. 

“You should take this.” He says pulling his revolver out of the holster.

“No, I can’t…” I start.

“Look, I won’t need this here. We can handle all this with the makeshift weapons. Besides, I only have 12 rounds. It can get you out of a jam if you need to, but this isn’t anything I can use. And..." He pauses,  "if you feel the change coming on, at least you can end your misery…” The last statement hangs in the air as I quietly take the gun.

We find a spot closest to my destination, that is surrounded by the least ghouls. The guys pike them as I climb down the ladder and I quickly jog through the street. The ghouls are packed into places, and in other parts of the street there are none. The ones nearby start moving toward me, but I am able to maneuver around them and I don’t have to engage.  I arrive at the ATV with some space to spare. They are closing in, but not so fast that I don’t have time to get the key in the ignition. It starts immediately and I put it in gear and drive. I move past the major center of creatures quickly. Keep distance from the packs as I zig zag over streets and sidewalks. 

I know which way I should go and I head that direction. The train tracks lead to near my home. I can follow them and hopefully avoid crowds of creatures. And with this vehicle it might not be that bad of a ride.

I make my way past the buildings and veer off into the grass. The buildings end and the train yard begins. I drive through the surrounding deserted prairie, and head to the tracks. My car awaits at the station, miles from here. My goal is to make it there by nightfall.

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