Antologia - Orbite vuote

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Marco Candida - Il mostro della piscina

Marco Candida

Il mostro della piscina








titolo horror
RADIO STAR
Proprietario
Daniel P. Schweitzer, studente di Creative Writing presso University of North Dakota


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Radio Star
di Daniel P. Schweitzer

Deep thoughts circulate my mind, thoughts of the future. What’s going to happen to mankind? We stare into the eyes of extinction. These creatures snuck up on us. None of us saw it coming. None of us believed it would happen.
It was time to address the U.S.A. I don’t know if anyone was listening, but my broadcast single is strong. It should reach across of the country, or across the state. For all I know it reaches across the desert and stopped there.
I put my earphones on and switched the radio on. With high hopes that someone is listening I spoke. “Three more walked on the Alamo Highway at two P.M. That time I didn’t hide and let them walk by. I caught them easily. All day I put theories to the test. We like to believe plagues like this only happen in the movies. But now that it happened it’s hard to determine between reality and Hollywood lore. One thing that the soldiers already know: shooting them in the head does not kill, shooting in the head several times will only slow them down.
“I did find a way to kill them. Cut their oxygen. Apparently the virus, parasite or whatever is causing this need oxygen. On that note, shooting them in the lungs doesn’t work. I suspect as long as a few bronchiole tubes hold together the thing is still active. So if you’re faced with one, don’t try to kill it, just run. If you’re trapped and you have no way out shoot them in the eyes. Without their eyes than they follow sound and that gives you the advantage.
“I’m running out of food and ammunition, but I’ll keep reaching out to you as long as I’m alive. Soon I’ll be forced to travel out of this safe area to find food and ammunition. I’m located a few miles from the Alamo road in the middle of nowhere. I’m afraid to travel outside this area. Many towns surround this place. To the west is Lake Havasu City. To the east there’s Phoenix, Scottsdale, Mesa, and so on. So if I travel I’m as good as dead. My only chance is to head north and avoid any major cities. When I do I’ll notify you. For now I’m leaving the airwaves temporarily. This is Ethan Jones reaching out to you from Arizona. Take care.”
I grab my shotgun, walk outside, and pick up the live rattraps lying around. There is only one rat caught. I dump it into the metal snake tank I made. I keep several vipers in it, certainly not as pets but as experiments with their venom to create weapons. I tried to inject venom, tweaking bullets with it, and they act as if nothing happen to them. The venom makes them swell, and become more grotesque, but has no other effect on them. Out back there are rotting corpses of them. I experimented on them too. The only reason they died is because they starved to death.
Three more is chained up in the distance. One died from suffocation. I held a plastic bag over its head. If its hands were free than it could flip me over. For an unexplained reason once people become these things their strength seems to enhance.
The two alive are women. One seem to be in her early twenties, the other is an older heavy woman. The man must have been a sluggish person.
In the distance a rattlesnake slither on the loose sand. I aim up my shotgun and shot the animal. It’s time to cook and eat my typical meal.
The entrails of my silver RV are small and shambolic. My radio post is in the cockpit. My dinner table can fold into a bed. It took some time to prepare the snake for a meal. After the dinner of an old taste I push the table down and put a mattress on it.
No toothpaste or mouthwash. I ran out a while ago. In the mirror a skinny man stared back at me begging to shave with a dull razor. The only pleasant thing is the shower. It stormed a few days before today and I built a precipitation collector so I have a constant source of water.

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Vibrations stir me. The sound of a vehicle comes from the distance. I tiredly open my window to see what’s going on. A van that looked like it got spray painted black with a white skull on the side. It pulled up next to my RV. I opened the door to see a large man in black synthetic leather clothing. His long hair and beard is tied into dreadlocks. He carries a large gun with one hand. It leaned against his shoulder.
He speaks in a Jamaican accent. “Ethan Jones?” I nod my head. A smile grows across his face. “I found you, man. I can’t believe it’s actually you. I’m here to save you. I brought food, clothing, and ammunition. And I have to say you are hidden well. I was searching on these roads for three days strait.”
This man seem particular to me. I have to admit I’m exultant to see him, and yet I stand apprehensively because the man’s image is intimidating. “Thank you for bringing me food.” I move out of his way to indicate to come in but he waved his hand in his direction. He wants me to follow him.
“You can call me Dagger.” the man says. “Up in Wyoming there is a safe place in Yellowstone Park. We have crops, cattle, the whole works. There’s a large community of survivors there. We put barriers around of us to keep those things out. First we used a fence, they began to climb. Electric barbed wire doesn’t do a thing. So we had to put wood walls up.”
I follow him outside with curiosity. I rub my short dark hair. “So the community gets my radio singles?”
“Yeah, everyone knows you and followed every word you said. I was supposed to lead a rescue group down here. There were five of them. I lost them all.” Dagger open his van and grab an additional large gun. He hand it to me.
“I’m sorry.”
He hand a pair of custom made black boots, pants, and jacket. “You heard of rattlesnake bite proof clothing, right?” I nodded my head as he continued to speak. “Well this is zombie bite proof boots, pants, and jacket. And the gun, well it’s a highly effective weapon. Blow their heads off and their up for a few more minutes. Even without their heads they still can rip your limbs off.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” This man speaks to me like we knew each other for years. He gave the impression of being trustworthy but, I don’t have confidence in him.
“I can give you a lift out of here, or give you food, ammo, and whisky and go on my way. It’s up to you.”
I am suspicious that he is hiding something from me. What choice do I have but to trust him? “I will go to your community. Set up a two way radio communication there. But I can’t stay long. I have to be out in the world like I was.” This is the safest place I found after I ran low on ammunition, lost my girlfriend and radio partner. Three months before that time I broadcast from the center of the quote unquote ‘Zombie Holocaust’.
Another thing about this man, he claims that he lost the entire rescue group. I see a smile, not a tear in his eye. Not a spark of vengeance in him. I’ve seen a lot of people with great losses. They showed paranoia, hate, and some wanted to get revenge, they attacked those creatures and got themselves killed.
It is possible this man didn’t personally know his team mates, depending on how large the community he comes from is.

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Dagger has an extraordinary CB radio system set up. He tells me to do my radio show while we are on the road. He sits in the driver’s seat. We’ve been on the highway for a while.
Now it’s time to speak to whoever’s listening.
“This is Ethan Jones speaking to you from the Alamo Highway. Earlier a guy up called Dagger offered me a ride out of here. His van is loaded with food, beverages, and fuel canisters. Of course I took his offer.
“It’s nearly mid-day and we are stopping by Wikieup, by the gas station, what is it?”
“It’s called Alisha’s,” Dagger says.
“Hopefully there will be some gas left. If there are survivors in the town meet us at Alisha’s. I’m signing out for now. Keep your ears open, I’ll try to gather some more useful information”
Time move by slowly as we drive closer to the gas station. I feel more apprehensive as we move closer to the town. I’m not prepared for what may come. Even though we are going to park at the edge of town only the maker knows what could be there. He move the vehicle by the gas pumps which are right by the highway. Very small buildings stand on both sides of the highway but the town is small. It’s time to put my synthetic leather clothing on.
“We have enough gas to make it back to Yellowstone, but if survivors do call us we’ll need the extra gas. I hope there’s enough gas left to fill the remaining cans,” Dagger says.
“No one travels this road; there’ll either be plenty or nothing.” I carefully step out of the vehicle and slowly walk towards the building holding my gun in front of me. There could be dozens of these creatures inside or none. I slowly open the door with my gun ready to shoot. It’s a large building filled with snacks, drinks, and a liquor store.
Walking around the counter to turn the gas pump on something grabs my foot. Something strong. It pulls my foot outward causing me to fall backwards. My head slammed against the hard floor knocking me into a daze. My sight is blurry, I don’t know where I’m at, and I feel a crushing pain against my leg.
My sight slowly restore back to normal. There is one of those creatures on top of me. It was once a young male. Now he turned into one of these things. It’s like an aggressive animal in a mechanic outfit.
I try to push my gun up but the creature’s hand is on the barrel, and one is on the rear. It’s looking down in my eyes, hissing violently. I’m trying to push it off, but its strength is overwhelming.
Suddenly Dagger grabs this creature and threw it to the side. Aim his gun up and pulled the trigger. He says, “You have to be careful, man. These zombies can pop up anywhere.”
“I think it bit my leg, oh god.” Now the only thing that’s in my mind is my leg. What will happen to me? Am I done in this life?
“Relax man. You feel the bite, but it can’t bite through that material. No saliva in your blood means that you won’t turn into those filthy things.”
Looking down at my leg I see no holes in the material where this thing bit me. With a reassuring feeling I struggle to my feet. “It hurts. It feels like the bite is bleeding.” The pain is almost unbearable. I bend over to pull my pant leg up.
“Wait!” Dagger yell running over to the liquor store. “We have to sanitize the area where the zombie bit you.” He grabs a whisky bottle. “We have to make sure this virus is dead before we play with your wound,” he says dashing back to me. Dagger pours the alcohol over the bite area on my leg like he did this before. He probably has. “The alcohol will kill the virus.” He pour some over my hands. “Now let’s see the damage.” I lift my pant leg up. I’m bleeding but the wound wasn’t as bad as I thought.

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We are lucky there was enough gas to fill all containers. It’s nearly dark and I didn’t turn into one of those monsters. My distrust for Dagger faded. Now I know the face of trust shouldn’t be judged by the way it looks, but rather the way it acts.
The reason he wants extra gas so we could venture out of our way to rescue any survivors. In a time like this who is seriously going to risk their own lives to save strangers?
A distress call comes from the CB radio. “Anyone out there, we need help, I repeat, we need help. I’m calling from Utah’s Asylum, calling out to anyone for help.”
In that moment my instant connection to people in distress kicked in.
“We are less than a mile from your position,” Dagger said into the radio.

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“Utah’s Asylum Institute for Women, is that a nut house. Like women thinking they are animals, or something,” Dagger said. He reads the title from the gate that for some reason is open. Perhaps they can open the gate from inside.
“No. It’s for the criminally insane.” We drive past the gate and over a large bridge. The building is a large, white, two stories high stretching a mile across. A dead tree stands not too far from the building.
When we got out I move my head around gazing on the setting. It’s in the center of an enclosed area. A fence, it must be ten feet tall, topped with barbed wire. A large river is behind us. The front door is open. I led Dagger in. “Hello! We got a distress call.” The dim lights flicker. “Could this be any more creepy?”
“Look.” Dagger points to a cell door window. I know what I am going to see, nevertheless I am completely unprepared.
I peek through the window. A dead burnet girl is slowly pacing back and forth. It slowly turns its head towards me. It walks slowly toward the locked door hissing violently. Now the mystery of this illness deepens. “How did she get infected? There is no way one of those things walked through this door, bit her, and walked back out locking the door behind it.”
“They fall, they die, they rise.” The voice is coming from the across the hall. The voice sent chills down my spine. “That’s what happened to Kate you know. The dead girl you stared at. These things, these zombies gave a whole new meaning to the saying, ‘dead man walking’.”
Now I found myself questioning the theory this insane woman is telling me. Could this be true? If it is than we can forget about the virus theory. For each step I take a new question forms in my mind. I ask, “Well lady, if that’s true than why do you become one of these things once you get bit?”
The tattoo girl says, “God works in mysterious ways, and the devil works in a more mysterious way.” I look in the cell door window to see a young blond woman. Her lips are black as if she wore black lipstick. The same color is surrounding her eyes with trails leading halfway down her cheek. There’s no way she could have gotten cosmetics here, is there? But that is not cosmetics, its tattoos. “The bible says that the dead will rise from the grave in the end. I never thought it’d be like this. True demons do walk the land. So maybe the devil is making his mark.”
A sound of shuffling is coming from the distance. Cries for help are coming from around the corner. It is walking around the corner. It looks like all the guards somehow melted together on a body of a large demonic beast.
The girl’s laugh, so eerie, so high-pitch is echoing through the halls. “Welcome to hell boys.”
The image of this beast is enough to shatter all emotions. Live people scream for help, the guards’ bodies are still alive reaching out from the beast’s body. Tears fell off their cheeks. A few of them cried out loud. I can feel their terror just from the echoes of their voice. I know there is nothing I can do for them. Their skin looks like melted wax stuck to this thing with the upper body, one arm, and head free. They know there’s nothing we can do for them.
This creature’s head is simply a larger than normal skull with rotting flesh covering it. No eyelids or lips. Very long arms and legs begin to move as this thing walks quickly after me.
No time to think, only react. I turn and run at a very fast pace. Dagger shoots his gun at this creature while I run past him. “Run!”
He joins me as he says, “I have an idea. Ethan, I’ll distract it, you run behind that tree.”
I do as he says. I can hear the gun fires. Around the tree there’s nothing to see but grass and the river curving around the asylum. In that moment, all my thoughts rush back. I feel unhappy for the guards. Just hearing them cry and scream for help is crushing my spirits. Another gunshot. Now I am worried about Dagger as well. Moments pass with the sound of cries and screams. What if this thing got him?
“Ethan, come here!” Dagger’s voice is a sound of relief. “You will not believe what just happened.”
Cries from the beast cause me to hesitate to look. What if it is hiding behind this tree ready to attack? But the cries and Dagger’s voice is coming from the distance. I moved from the tree. Dagger was standing by the cliff by the bridge that leads to the river.
I walk to his position. I look down the cliff. The monster is holding on to a branch. Its feet are not too far from the strong currant of the river. “It charged me and I jumped out of the way.” Tears and sore throats from live people that are stuck inside of this demonic thing reached out for help. Cries from the deformation this thing cause to them, sore throats from crying heavily.
Dagger points his gun at the monster. But I can’t take seeing all the live people demise just to stop one monster. “Jesus Christ. Those people are still alive.”
Dagger says, “There is nothing we can do for them now.” I cover my eyes and turn around.
Maybe it’s my instant connection to most people I have, or maybe it’s my sentiments I have for human life. Every time I see a live person die I can feel their fear, their feelings. And saying ‘a live person die’ is appropriate for these times.
As I walk away the blast from the gun echoes through the night, follows by lightning and a crack of thunder.

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We searched the whole asylum and don’t find one other living person. Now a decision about this tattooed girl has to be complete.
Dagger holds the document of the prisoners. “Here name is Sara McFalen. She committed three murders a year ago. Her parents and a man she went to high school with. She’s twenty-six years old.”
He is giving me a sarcastic look. “You can’t be serious. We can’t take her with us.”
“We can’t just leave her here to die.”
“I don’t trust her. She murdered her parents.”
The girl speaks peeking at us from the window. “In my defense I didn’t like those people.” Her words became her laughter.
“What were her parents like?” I ask looking at Dagger.
“It says here that her mom severely emotionally and physically abused her. Her father wasn’t any better. And the boy she killed sexually mutilated her little sister.”
This is where my instant connection to people dies. Not with Sara but the people who harmed her. People who do this type of impairment to others deserve the worst. “Sounds like a fair punishment for those people. We can’t leave her here.” I look into the window of Sara’s cell. “What happened here?”
She says, “When food and water became scarce not all of us were fed. We started to die.”
I say, “Don’t worry I’m going to take you with us. We have food and water.”
Dagger grabs my arm. “Are you sure man? She’s in a criminally insane asylum.”
“Someone like her is created by the treatment others are giving her. She’s just traumatized from her past experience.”
Sara laughs eerily. She says, “You boys have no idea what I am. I am nature. I play it to the river. I play it to the wind.”
Perhaps she is insane. As confusing her words are she still needs to come with us if she wants to survive. I look in her eyes to see something beyond human. A girl who smiles in the depths of these times is abnormal, untrustworthy, someone I wouldn’t turn my back on. Never the less she has the choice of her own fate.

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We continue our journey across Utah. They walk slowly by the roadside. If one of these things walk out in front of us, then we run it over. I put the earphones on and speak into the radio.
“Our journey is back on course. We are carrying a survivor. Today a terrifying creature rose against us. It’s not slow paced like these so called zombies. It was large, demonic like, and quick. Live people reached out for help from that monster, but sadly we couldn’t do anything about that. It looked like this creature melted the skin of those people like wax.”

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This is such a predicament. The engine is smoking. The vehicle is slowing down. Hordes of these slow paced things are closing in on us. I’m terrified. Dagger aim his gun out the window and starts to fire. I do the same.
Sara laughs loudly. She says, “We’re going to die. It’s about time. I’ve been waiting for years for this to happen.”
The most terrifying thing you can hear from a fellow survivor, even if it’s from the most psychotic person in the ruins of humanity. Her hands are tied behind her back, I don’t trust her more than a Rottweiler with rabies.
Dagger yell, “Roll up your windows!”
They are enclosing in on us. Thousands surround the vehicle. They hiss violently. A few are crawling onto the hood of the vehicle. An older man with his left cheek bitten off looks at me through the windshield. This wasn’t an old man since he turned into one of these things. Blood literally flow out of its mouth as it opens up.
A loud blast echoes as the creature staring at me like I’m dinner fell on its side like it took impact from something. It looks like it, there’s a big wound in its side. Another blast took its head off. Now machine guns are blasting and these things are dropping like flies. We are being rescued by the National Guards I assume. They wear the same synthetic leather we are, just a different color, military color. But wait, these people are not a part of National Guards. These men aren’t even from America. From the look of their flags stitched to their jackets, they are from England.
These men aim their guns at us after they kill all the creatures. “Get out of the vehicle and put your hands on your head!”
As ordered we open the door and put our hands on our heads. Sara laugh as she slowly moves out of the vehicle, “You saved us from death, and yet I feel like you’re going to force us into hell.”
I am afraid but I must hide my fear. It’s hard when you’re facing the un-expected. When those things were trying to get in the vehicle I was irrational. But now we face a possible enemy that thinks, and can understand.
A man with dark hair in a uniform walks out into sight. A man who’s slim. He speaks in an English accent. “Now what do we have here? Americans, the same Americans that we came across the world to help. The same Americans that betrayed the English army.”
Dagger says, “Man I’m not an American, I’m from Jamaica.”
“I see. Did these Americans betray you too?”
I’ve been living in a hostile environment for a long time. Other than the infected people slowly moving, I have never faced a different threat, but now I’m facing an antagonistic person. I say, “Listen, I don’t know what the Americans did to you, but I assure…”
The man says, “Wait a minute…I know that voice.” The unsettling tone he is using frightens me. I expect him to kill me. “Ethan Jones.” He turns to me. “You are helping us in this plague. You’re helping all people.”
I can sense his hostility dying. “I try to inform the people since all other communications fell. I was a part of the only media that lived through the, well, modern day Black Death.”
“Indeed. This infection is only in the United States. They blocked off all borders leading out. They are shooting planes down that try to cross. It was Americans that told us we can’t leave. I wanted to.” He wave his hand to signal the gunmen to stand down. “Especially I have a daughter here in the states. When we came over here I got a beautiful American woman pregnant. Eight years ago the pandemic started. A month before it started the American woman gave birth.”
That must mean he has a girlfriend in the US. But I gave little care. I just wanted to get out of here. A person who shoves guns in your face in the next moment they open up to you has mental issues. “Ethan, you are well known for your radio personality. My daughter loves you, she listens to you every day. You entertain her. Put your hands down.”
Suddenly I feel uncomfortable. “I’m not trying to be a radio personality. It is the only method of communication that still stands. I try to give useful information, survival tips and to keep the world update to the events that are happing.”
“Indeed, come with us momentarily to the base. We’ll give you a van with enough gas to make it to Yellowstone. But I offer this, you can stay.”
It is an offer that I don’t wish to take. Furthermore I need to be traveling. I started in Arizona and traveled to Utah, and now I must make it to Wyoming.

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It’s eight A.M. and the base is located in a mountain peak where the sun barely caresses the fence, at least at this time of the day. There is a golden outline from the sun on a twenty foot electric fence attached to four tall watching posts. Charred people, most likely the infected , stuck to the base of the fence. The large gate opens. They take us in. All buildings, short and tall, are cloaked in shadow.
They lead us into a one story building and into a room with snacks and beverages and chairs around a circular table. Once alone with Dagger in that room I speak quietly, “Do you notice anything bizarre about this?”
“I could tell you, but I want to hear what you’re thinking.”
“The English General, Sargent, or whatever he is, he gives me the creeps.” As disturbing as that man is, my mind is mainly on Sara. Why did they take her to a separate room?
“I know what you mean. The way he talks seems more insane than Sara.”
The English man walks in with a few soldiers behind him. “I’m sorry, I never properly introduced myself.” He shook our hands. “John Hamnel the third at your disposal.”
“Hi, listen John, what did you do with Sara?”
“She has her hands tied behind back so that means the woman is dangerous. On your last radio show you said you went to a criminally insane asylum, which means she is an insane woman. But she’s your prisoner, so she will be returned to you unharmed. But for right now I must leave. Your van, gas, and food will be ready in fifteen minutes.”
He leaves with the other soldiers. Dagger asks me, “Did you say we went to the asylum on the radio?”
“I don’t think so.” I turn my head to the large window in the back. A large radio tower is extending from a small building. “It’s possible that they overheard us when we got the distress call from the asylum.” All feelings are distressed. When the plague happened the English man’s mind could have snapped. Paranoia, disbelief, on top of overwhelming stress can affect the mind. I saw it happen before to a few of the people I used to work with. It happened to me in the beginning of the plague. Those who stayed traumatized were the first ones to go. Those who were in the state of disbelief were the next ones to go. But I got over it. I’m still alive, so that’s saying something about my mind stability.

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This English man leads us to a large black van. Sara is standing by the van with her hands still tied behind her back. She says, “Hello my two brothers. I guess it’s about time we continue on our mystical journey.” She laughs freakishly.
I lean over and whisper, “Now let’s get the hell out of here,” in Daggers ear.
The English man says, “As I promised, food, gas, and a van. But before you go my daughter wants to meet you. She loves you so much.” Meeting a little girl as an entertainer is uncanny because I am the furthest from an entertainer. But to get out of here I must humor him.
“Ok, I’ll meet her.” Dagger is speechless, Sara is smiling.
A few soldiers reel a large tank, or something, with a tarp over it into sight. “Now you must stay back. She is a little ill, but once we find a cure she will be back to her old self.” I know what I am about to see, but at the same time I am completely unprepared. They tear the tarp off to reveal a little blond girl, maybe eight or nine, that stand leaning to the right. Her head is hanging to right side. Her skin is bluish pale, her hair is shoulder length, and her eyes are white. There’s a big hole in her left cheek, most likely got chewed off by the dead people. The English man says, “Isn’t she beautiful.” He’s looking at the little girl with a smile on his face that seems more like pedophilic than a father’s smile.
“Jesus Christ,” I whisper. Now I know this man is traumatized. My stomach is in knots seeing this dead little girl in a cage. I don’t know what to think. As disturbing as this is I have to continue to humor the man. I force a smile on my face and wave my hand. “Hello.”
Dagger says, “Are you ready to get out of here?”
Sara laughs loudly. “Oh my god, I hope you know your precious little girl is a zombie.” She switches her tone of voice to violent. “She’s dead! Why the hell would you keep a dead person in a cage?”
The English man yells, “Does she look dead to you? Are you a stupid woman who thinks that zombies are real? That’s preposterous! This isn’t some Hollywood movie. These people are infected with something, something they can live with. They are ill and a cure will be found! Take her away.”
“You will be at the zombie world’s feet, they will consume you! You are nothing more than a dinner meal to them!”
The soldiers force her to the ground. She laughs hysterically. I grab and threw them off of her. They slam me against the ground. My head hit the hard ground with a heavy impact on… My vision is now blurry. I can’t comprehend anything right now. I don’t know… Why… Everything is…getting...

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“Ethan. Ethan. Come back. I need you friend.” Those faint words are becoming louder. I open my eyes. A man in dreadlocks is snapping his fingers in front of my face. His words are still hard to understand.
“Ethan.” Everything is coming back. The zombie holocaust, running out of gas in the middle of Arizona, Sara, the English man who calls himself John, and Dagger, the man who is in front of my eyes. “Sit up man.”
There’s an excruciating pain in my head. Looking around I see we’re in a prison cell. I lift my head. There’s a bunk bed in the back of the small cell with no pillows or blankets and a toilet beside the beds. I push against the concrete floor to lift myself into a sitting position. I noticed a dimly lit hallway. The walls are decorated with paintings of the English man who calls himself John. Hanging up on the wall not too far from our cell is a plaque with two civil war swords in an x position.
“Oh man,” I say. “My head hurts.” I find myself struggling with words.
“Ethan, relax, you must have a small concussion.”
“What is this, my eighth one?”
“From what I count; your second one.” He laughs. “You were out for a long time, hours at end. I thought I lost you.”
The pain in my head is still agonizing. I know it won’t go away for a while. “What happened?” I can speak a little better now.
“The men over powered us, threw us in a prison and took Sara god knows where.”
“Shit.” I quietly say.
“Man, why do you worry about that woman? She’s insane,” Dagger says.
It’s hard to think, especially when my head hurts this bad. “Because she’s human. These Englishmen are not human. They have no right to treat us like this.” I only can hope. Some people are fueled to move forward just by hope. Hope, that’s the only legit word in these times. Dagger continued to speak. “I was thinking about what John said about these things. Could it be only an illness and zombies are only Hollywood monsters?”
“Well, if you shoot these things in the head and they don’t fall you only can assume they are already dead.” Honestly, I kept wondering about that, until now. These things are zombies, nothing else can define these walking dead people that just strive to feed on flesh.
Four soldiers approach the cell. “John wants you two to join us for supper.

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A long rectangular table stand in the middle of the room. The room is decorated with fine art on the wall. A silk carpet covers the entire floor of the room. Lit candles, masterpieces of woven baskets, all kinds of food on the top of a silk tablecloth decorates the table. It is beautifully set. The soldiers pull out chairs for me and Dagger. We have no choice but to sit. All the men sitting around the table have guns by their side.
The English man wheels a wheelchair with his daughter chained to it with a chain around her neck so she can’t move her head. He gently caresses her hair. “My little girl, I want you to know daddy loves you.” His daughter is not a she, but an it. And he loves it badly. It once was alive, it once was his little girl. If people lose their loved ones, sometimes they won’t accept the truth for years at end. This man’s little girl is breathing, standing, sitting right in front of his eyes. So it is almost impossible for him to accept the fact that she’s dead. He already denied the fact that she’s, well, the walking dead. “Let’s fix you up so you’re more presentable.” He wips a napkin, presumably wet, across her face. I can see that it wants to bite the man’s fingers off. If he moves his hand to close too her mouth, that could happen.
The Englishman said, “Tomorrow the girl is going to be publicly executed.” This man is truly a psychopath. “And you two, I’ll feed you to the ones who are infected with the cannibalistic illness.” The zombie hisses when they bring a raw, bloody steak on a plate for it and set it on the table in front of the zombie.
“I don’t understand our crimes. But you can’t execute the girl. She’s crazy, her hand’s are tied behind her back. You have to understand she doesn’t know what she talks about. She can’t be guilty if she doesn’t know what she does.”
He just looked at me with a ruthless look on his face.

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I pace around in the cell, Dagger is sitting on the bed. We have to figure a way out of here. There’s nothing more to it.
Dagger says, “You see those swords, if I can get to them than that would give us a slight advantage.”
“There is no advantage with a couple of swords. Even if we just happen to get a few guns, they have dozens upon dozens of men. We wouldn’t stand a chance. Even if we get out of this cell then we’ll have to find a way around the electric fence. It’s so powerful not even these zombies can climb it. It fries them like… I don’t know.”
In the distance three people are coming up to the cell. Two soldiers drag another person by the shoulders. That person is Sara. They open the cell and throw Sara on the floor and locked the door behind them.
Sara, beaten and weak, can hardly move. Blood on her face is dripping across her tattoos. They took her black jacket away. My emotions are overwhelmed with anger. I kneel down by her, rub her blond hair. She weakly looks up to me. All the pain she went through is said in her eyes. “How do you feel?” Nothing else can make my eyes water more than what she went through. What can I say, I’m a sympathetic person, and yet I believe in an eye for an eye.
She smiles and says, “You know, I’ve had better days.” It’s time this man reaps what he sews, I just don’t know how to give the payback. Once again Sara speaks. “I think there is a way to fight these asses.” There’s not much hope left for us, but I’m willing to listen to what this woman is going to say. “Sometimes when a threat is too great to face you must seek help from your enemies.” I don’t know what she is talking about, but I’m intrigued. “Down the hallway is room. You can turn off the fence and open the gate. That’ll let all the zombies in. And for the people that’ll hide inside, I know where he keeps his daughter locked away.”
“How do you know all this?” This is suddenly falling together. My main concern now is how we are going to get to that room. They took all those zombies out by our vehicle easily. But if we open the gates not just one horde of zombies will come through, but millions upon millions. I know they’re out there, I saw them when we drove here.
“The psycho showed me around, and in each room he beat me up. Then he showed me his daughter telling me tomorrow I will become her personal friend.” That’s how he plans to execute her, to feed her to that thing.
I say, “That’s a perfect plan. Those monsters can distract the soldiers while we escape. Now we have to brainstorm a plan how to escape.”
Sara started to laugh weakly as she opens her hand. A key is in her palm. “Every soldier has the keys to everything.” I feel instant adrenalin. Now we have a way to get to the room, but it won’t be easy. It’s the only chance we have.
Dagger says, “My arm won’t fit through the bars. Sara, are you strong enough to stand and try to unlock this door?”
Sara says, “I guess, we’ll find out.” She struggles to her feet with my help, reaches through the bars, and unlocks the door. “Well that was easy.”
Dagger runs over to the swords hanging on the wall, grabs both of them off and runs down the hall. “What’s that?” the soldiers say. Dagger is quick to run over to the soldiers, swiped the swords across their throats. I help Sara to quickly move down the hall. Dagger stand in place waiting for us by a corner. Two more soldiers run around the corner to see what is going on. Quick with the swords he slashes them before they know we are out. Around the corner a small room with a single chair in-front of a control panel.
Dagger says, “Sara, I need you to show me where the little zombie bitch is at.”
She says, “Gladly.”
He lifts her with one arm telling me, “Turn that electric off and open the gate.”
I say, “Gladly.”
“Stay here until we return.”
There’s nothing more to it than pulling a lever. Dagger closes the door. I wait for a few seconds. A loud buzzing noise with red flashing comes as I pull the lever quickly and switch the power off to everything. Moments pass before I hear explosions and guns firing.
The door opens. I turn expecting to see Dagger and Sara. The English man is aiming a gun at me. I didn’t see any other soldiers then the man who calls himself John. He says, “Do you know what you have done? You probably infected the whole base!” I see something moving behind him. It’s hard to see what it is. In the now dark hallways I can see only a shadow of a short person slowly moving towards the English man. I know it’s his daughter. “Are there any words before I put a hole in your head?”
I must think of something to keep him distracted. There is something to ask, something I give little care for. “Could you tell me your daughter’s name? When you introduced me to her you didn’t say her name.”
“What? Why do you want to know her name?”
I have to make up something from the top of my head. “It’s important to me. I met her, I must know her name.”
“Why is that so important to you?”
“She’s your own daughter, don’t you know her name? All fathers know their daughter’s names.” His daughter, now creature hisses violently. He turns to see the girl bite into his stomach. Dagger jumps around the corner taking John’s head off with one of the swords.
The man’s own daughter eats the very corpse of her father.

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The three of us drive away with the van. Plenty of gas, food, ammunition, and a two way radio system. Dagger drives, Sara sleeps in the back. If a person got bitten turned into a zombie moments later. I put my earphones on and spoke into the radio.
“This is Ethan Jones speaking to you from the land of violence and death. I learned that people who die turn into these things, these zombies in about fifteen minutes. We’ve been using the term zombies to describe them for years, but the fact is they are zombies. They are dead, not infected. They pass on their parasitic mystique through bites. These things eat and breath to keep active, and yet they won’t fall if they get shot in the head. Why God, what’s your plan? That alone is a question we’ll never know until we meet the maker. Today I learned that human beings are more dangerous than the walking dead. People can be trustworthy but misleading. I’m not saying don’t trust strangers, just keep your guard up.
“When the zombie bends down to feast, humanity will weep. And when humanity weeps it’s hard to hang on. And if we lose our site then humanity lost. Now we are on our way to Yellowstone, but I won’t stay. I will set out to into the world.”
Dagger says, “I’m with you brother, all the way.”
I nod my head with a smile. “We will set out to try and solve the riddle of the zombie.”


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