“It’ll all be different after the zombie plague,” Old Joe used to tell me. He used to talk about it as if it was inevitable, and damned if he wasn’t right, the old coot.
Too bad he never lived to see it, though.
But I have to say, he gave the bastards a run for their money. Knocked this one little shit-head right off her feet and snatched her up by the ankles, swung her into about three more of them (grown-ups, though, not creepy-ass kids like her.)
They kept coming, more and more of them. Old Joe didn’t have a chance, not after he was surrounded. I tried picking off as many as I could with my trusty old deer rifle, but it was no use. Had to plug Old Joe right between the eyes like I’d promised to do many times, if those dirty bastards ever got the best of him.
After Old Joe was gone, I sat in our hideout wanting to die myself. In fact, I had the Glock 9 in my mouth more than once, ready to do it, but something always held me back.
God, you say?
I’m not saying there ain’t one; all’s I’m saying is, if there is a God, what the hell was he doing, letting loose the walking dead? I mean, I can’t think of nothing I’ve ever done to deserve that.
I ain’t no saint or anything, but still.
Well, I’m not here to argue the existence of God. I’m here to tell you what happened.
It was a day like any other. Cold as hell and raining, but normal for that time of year, you know what I mean? I was brewing a pot of coffee and frying up some sausage while Old Joe had a smoke when the announcement came over the old kitchen radio, something about some kind of commotion over at the city, something about a riot or something. Some kind of bullshit that didn’t affect us.
“Bunch of hop-heads,” Old Joe said, taking a drag off that cigarette and all.
“Hah!” I says, “maybe it’s that zombie plague you’re always blabbing about.”
We both had a good laugh about that. I thought he was going to cough his head off. I mean, even though he believed it would come some day, believed it with all his heart, even he couldn’t have guessed it’d happen right then.
I guess no one else did, either, ‘cause things got way out of hand way too fast for the government or anybody to suppress.
Makes sense in a way. I mean, once they get you, you come back as one of them, right? Stands to reason they’d take over and outnumber us pretty fast. It’s kind of like, what does my niece say? Exponential growth?
Poor kid. Wonder what she’s doing now, if she even made it. I hope so. Maybe one of you guys can find out for me. There’s got to be a list or something.
Anyway, back to the story.
Here’s Old Joe and me, eating our breakfast not knowing a thing when another announcement interrupts our oldies.
Now they’re talking about stocking up on food and water, locking yourself in, and not just in the city, either. Even we were supposed to be careful, “just in case.”
Five minutes later, they were hollering about not trying to go out, not letting anyone else in, either, even if you knew them. Even if they were your best friend or your grandma.
“What the hell is this crap? Has to be some kind of joke,” Old Joe said, getting up to change the station.
It was the same on every channel.
Suddenly a zombie plague didn’t sound so funny.
Suddenly we were getting up to check the locks, check the supplies, the generator, all that stuff.
Now, Old Joe, (he wasn’t really all that old, just older’n me) he was the one who was prepared for all this stuff. I mean, he’s not a crackpot like you’re probably thinking, but he did plan ahead for stuff, like a big earthquake or something. We had a big chest freezer full of food, lots of water, and the generator and all. We had the wood stove and lots of wood cut up. We had lots of ammo for our guns and Old Joe even had his crossbow and a good hand-crank radio.
When we finally got the news, once the stupid government finally came clean about what we were dealing with, we had a long discussion, him and me.
What kind of zombies were we going to get? The fast kind like on some of them movies, or the slow, easy-to-outrun kind?
We sat there talking about it, planning what we would do if we got the fast kind, but we really lucked out when we realized they were slow as hell. I mean, even so, once you’re outnumbered it’s pretty scary, pretty tough to kill ‘em all, but at least they were slow and didn’t know shit about climbing anything or figuring anything out.
We kept the shades closed, since they were too stupid to reason out that we were home if they couldn’t see us.
For a while, that is.
Not that they got any smarter, I guess they just got desperate as their food source ran out and there were so many of them that they could break through most large windows and most of those cheap doors they made nowadays.
Good thing we had those thick wooden doors, reinforced with iron straps, kind of like castle doors in old movies. We did have three big plate glass windows in the living room, but we boarded them up pronto, once we knew what was going down.
Still, with so many.
We did have this one back room with windows way up high and rhododendron bushes so thick there was no way to get in that way. We also had the same kind of wooden door into the room, with a big bar we could use to barricade ourselves in. This was the same room with the attic access and a little hatch to the roof for spying on the bastards.
We dragged all the wood into the middle of the pool-table room where the wood stove was, and heaved the chest freezer in, too. We figured it’d be better to have this stuff close to us, so we could grab it and run back into our hideout if we had to. We armed ourselves to the teeth, making sure we had weapons of some kind in every room, in case they got in.
Take it from me, a good aluminum bat will take out quite a few zombies before it gets too messed up to use. The dumb sons of bitches will also walk right into a bear trap if you got one set up, and believe me, we had more than one; rusty old things that‘ve been stored up in that attic since God-knows-when. You bolt the traps down to the floor before you set ‘em and you got you some zombies who can’t go nowhere.
And I mean nowhere.
They can’t come get you, they can’t even run away. They’ll just stand right there until they rot away.
Once the skin goes, it’s not long before the muscles and tendons deteriorate to the point that they’re useless. The whole process takes about eight months, though, so you’re stuck with all that chain-clanking and wailing they’re going to do.
Gets on your nerves sometimes, trust me.
Not to mention the stink.
That’s probably the worst part, is the stink.