Monday, November 17, 2008

The sound of Silo

At the top of the silo, after hours of running, I leaned over the wall, and peered into a massive pile of grain. Wheat likely, but it was at least 20 feet below.

The undead scratched, grunted, clawed and moaned from below. They weren't getting up, and I sure as hell wasn't getting down. So our choices were grain, suicide, or stand as long as possible on the tiny iron rungs we had been climbing to get to the top.

Tom was talking, but all I could hear were words. I don't know how long since we'd eaten. It had been at least a week since we had any protein. I was hungry, I was thirsty, and I was afraid for Finn. He was sleeping too long now. I never put him down to develop his own mobility skills unless we were sleeping, and my breasts grew more dry with each day. He had eaten all my body had to give him, and I had nothing to nourish myself and make anymore milk. I feared he was starving.

My ears were ringing, my feet and hands bleeding and throbbing, and my vision was swimming. I clung to the wall. Tom stood next to me, still talking, and I still lacked the ability to focus. I just needed to rest.

To dive into the grain was uncertain.... can you drown in grain? It's not solid, so how deep in it would we go, and would be able to swim out? What about my poor, beautiful Finn? And once inside, do we just die? There is no one to come for us, and nowhere else to go.

I can't hold on forever. I can't hold on for an hour. I need to rest. Finn needs food, and things look grim.

Then I heard the boom and whiz of... well.... was it a bullet? Were we being shot at? Fed to the Zombies? I look to the farm house, and see movement behind the partially closed shutters.


Hillbillies, perhaps, and maybe no better than hippies, but they have a fortified home, and perhaps food and water. It is unclear as to whether we were being shot down, or the zombies were being shot at, but with nothing to lose, I untied Finn from my back and held him toward the house.

I shook him in the air and screamed, 'HELP MY BABY! PLEASE HELP MY BABY! We're thirsty, and we're tired, but PLEASE help my BOY!'.

Tom was yelling as well, but not at them. He was telling me to hide Finn, to protect him. 'He thinks they're shooting at us...' I thought. And I wonder, what difference does it make? Finn is nearly dead, and I can't save him from up here. We don't have long, either. Maybe a gunshot is better than being torn asunder by eternally starving teeth and rotting flesh.

Tom reaches past me to get Finn, and in our struggle, I tumble backwards.... into the silo, still holding an unconscious Finn by his arm... and I feel the wheat move past my body, and Tom's muffled cries from above.

Monday, November 10, 2008


I awake shivering. It can’t be but maybe 5:00am and the moans from below my treehouse pyre softly rumble into a background noise. There are other noises; the first twitterings of Mourning Doves and an owl hooting in a distant tree.

The throb in my punctured arm is nothing compared to the throb in my head – a dehydration headache perhaps. Or maybe from lack of daily caffeine. I carefully and slowly roll over and look through the cracks in the rotten wood at the nemeses below. The Damned. Nothing changed overnight; still two rotting children, two rotting men – circling the tree, moaning. I need to get out.

My chest tightens signaling a long overdue panic attack. I slowly sit up causing the wood underneath me to groan. My breathing gets quicker and my chest hurts. I close my eyes and try and meditate on The Five Precious Wounds. A little residual Catechesis. It takes me about twenty minutes to calm myself and breathe regularly and by that time the morning light is creeping in to brighten the sky. I put dawn at about 5:50am. I look around to see if there is anything I can use to help myself out of here. Nothing. No hidden Indiana Jones rope tucked away in the corner, no matches, no gun, no miracle, nothing.

My parents’ house is about a football field’s length away. If I start screaming when I think they’ll be awake, I might have a chance to get out my S.O.S. Maybe someone will come running in on a steed of metal to save me.

At about 7:00am when I think my family would be awake I clear my throat and start my screaming:


I space out my screams so it sounds intentional and not like I am actually being killed. I do this for about an hour and forty-five minutes straight and with every moment of silence that follows I lose more and more hope. My dry throat burns and my vocal cords, strained and abused, refuse me any further service. A raspy cigaretty sexy voice of desperation. I give in to a good five minute crying session. In my fit, my hand claws at the end of a rotten wood floor plank and unconsciously pulls… the edge tears off in a long splintered piece. I hold it up in front of my dirty tear-streaked face and touch the surprisingly dense yet splintery sharp tip. Oak was always reliable, even when dead. Maybe it would work. It could penetrate skull, maybe. I didn’t have a choice now. Do or die. Or both. I hope the internal rot of these freaks has mushened their bones.

Like a madwoman I start ripping at the edge of the rotten floorboards, yanking up yard-stick long pieces to use as weapons, embedding many nasty splinters into my own skin. When I had about six good sized pieces I took my shirt off and wrapped it around the bunch and tied it to my back like a rigged bundle. A she-MacGuyver in a white Wal-Mart bra. The hard part would be gingerly climbing down the makeshift and crumbling ladder to get just within reach to plant the spear-sticks into their rotting heads. To do this without putting myself in jeopardy would be a trick.

My hands were moist with sweat and shaking I lower myself to the first step. Moaning continues below and gradually loudens when the beasts realize I am coming down the ladder. Another step. This one feels a bit more shaky. I pray the nails don’t give up their duties. One more, honey, come on. My chest and stomach scrape desperately against the bark of the oak, sending small dead pieces of wood shrapnel and dust raining down. My hands are not doing me any favors by sweating so profusely. My fear of heights does not help. Then I get to the magic step. It seems firm enough. I trust this piece of wood and it could be my doom, but I balance both feet as I twist my body sideways. My feet are just out of clawing reach and I cling to the trunk with all my shaking might. I reach back into my makeshift shirt-bundle and – OUCH! I stick myself with an end of a spear. Stupid! Ignoring the pain, I manage to grope and grab the first oak spear, balancing and clinging to the tree with one hand like a spider monkey. A scared one. I hover and wait with my spear upraised for the best opportunity to nail the first one through the top of the skull…