I knew it was coming. There came a point in my life when I realized that the people around me might be zombies and I wouldn't know the difference. That's how my morning started out. The only difference, really, is they smell worse, want to eat me, and I can kill them without remorse.
So, I got up and walked to work. There's not a lot of people around this part of Seattle in the morning. Started getting the feeling that something was up when the only other one in the building was my manager, who also lives nearby. Internet was working fine, but all the phones were down. There's no TV with reception here, so I hit my work comp and checked BBC to see New York on fire, and "The Dead Walk," in huge red headline font.
So my manager and I started trying to get the word out. Most communication seemed fucked. Phones weren't going through, chat programs seemed to be crashed, and every e-mail I sent just bounced. Smaller sites and International sites all worked, but anything large and American was giving a 404.
Then the good news happened. Big Josh just crashed his car through my office front door to pick us up. He's raided the weapons shop, so we're good and armed now. The streets aren't too bad yet. There's a handful of zombies straggling around, but we've got sense enough to leave the city.
My manager's hanging back here to take care of his loved ones. Josh is giving him a good shot gun and some shells. He's got a shotgun for me, too, and a good metal rod. My adrenaline's on overflow at this point.
I just asked Big Josh about Seffinga and GLJeff. There's no sign of GLJeff anywhere. Seffinga is dead. Big Josh and Seffinga put up a huge fight to get to their weapons cache, and Seffinga got bit. The two holed up for a while, said their goodbyes, and when Seffinga started to turn, Big Josh did what he had to. The news just made me realize how real this is. It's not a video game, it's not a movie. The dead walk, and we're in the middle of it.
Hey, Q! Big Josh and I are Okay, we're heading to pick you up. Hope you're ready to learn how to drive and shoot.
Update, 4:50pm Pacific
We made it. It was fucking hell but we made it.
Here's the short story. Most of us are in one piece. I'm not. My left arm is gone at the elbow, and the wound is now cauterized. I'm not even going to waste time on profanity and adjectives to tell you how much pain I'm in. Just take my word for it that it's a lot.
Seattle is fucked. At about 11:00, survivors started lighting fires to seal off areas. Last I saw it, the space needle was standing like an obelisk against towers of inferno. Shame it was such a sunny day today, it would have been fitting that the pyre be set against our iconic gray skies. Farewell Emerald City, I was fond of you.
Traffic coming out of seatown wasn't as bad as one would think. Most of the casualties were on the floating bridges. Anyone stuck in rush hour this morning got sucker-zombied. The survivors we met on the way said rt 520 was a metal graveyard. Lake Washington has more zombies then fish now, funny thing about corpses is they float just fine.
I managed to dig up my old CB Radio before we hit the road. Best idea in the world, as communication was damn near screwed every other way. Five of us left Seattle, Me, Josh, Josh's wife, and our friends Kevin and Kim. We drove my Forester, figuring we'll likely have to drive through mud before this was all said and done.
The first clusterfuck was where rt 405 meets rt 5, but we knew there was no way we'd make it to Canada on rt 5. We went south on rt 405, opposite the traffic, so we could head up rt 9. Once there, we saw humanity at it's finest. People with dead cars were siphoning their gas into working ones. People with weapons were sharing with those without. People were forming teams to track down loved ones. No one was leaving anyone behind. The road was slow, but clear. Anyone who got disabled pushed their car off the road and shared their supplies with a team that was mobile. Basically, the panicked people took rt 5 while the smart ones took rt 9.
The going was good. A couple run-ins through the more residential areas, but we avoided fighting. The first big pinch was through Snohomish. Things got pretty close-for-comfort. I'll take a moment now to say this about zombies. We have one and only one advantage over them: range. They are as strong as us, as fast as us, and as determined as us. They want to eat you every bit as much as you want to live. Sure, swords and bats don't run out of ammo, but by that point, you are up close and personal. If you've got the ammo, use it. The only way to save ammo is to avoid the fight.
Snohomish, and everything up to Mt Vernon wasn't too bad. People were working together. We could see a dome of light from Lake Stevens that told us Everett was on fire, just like Seattle. No lost love there, Everett was a pit.
The CB united us with our friends east of Mt Vernon. We had two good cars and full tanks of gas at that point, but word was spreading that the Canadian border was hell on earth. We debated heading east into the mountains, but our Mt V. friends saw Q's posts just a half hour earlier on the internet, which meant she was still alive. We knew we couldn't leave our disabled crew-mate to die. We geared up and headed north.
We avoided Sedro-Woolley as best we could. Rt 5 was still not the way to go, it was teaming with traffic and undead. Survivors along rt 9 though had the genius idea of barricading the roads with broken down cars, so we actually made it through Sedro-Woolley with only firing a few shots.
Nooksack was a haven. One of our Mt. Vernon friends is a nurse, and we were able to barter medical supplies for ammo.
That left Sumas. After Nooksack, there was no road. Dead cars, some on fire. Total wasteland. We started driving across farms. More shots were fired, but nothing cataclysmic until the border itself. Hell on earth was an understatement. I've never seen anything more frightening in all my dreams, let alone life. The border was a solid hoard of zombies, hundreds of people thick. They were pushing against each other on each side, and it went on for miles. By the time we were in site of it, we were in site of them. This was it. We swore to meet up with our friend, and by god we were going to do so or die trying.
The first waves rushed us into live fire, they went down easy. We developed a pattern of driving cars into hoard to punch a hole, then driving out. There were plenty of working cars to waste, and it was my brother who taught me a car is a remarkably versatile weapon. Our first plan was to try and punch a path through. We avoided getting out of cars at all cost. The object was to use fodder cars to fend off the zombies while our good, fuel-filled all-terrain supply cars got through down the middle.
Disaster struck when Kevin's car caught fire. He dove out the door, into a small clearing of zombie free earth. Joe tried to get him into his fodder-car, but the undead started teaming. Josh and I were the best fighters, so we sprang into action to try and give him some room. Shotguns gave us breathing space, and Kev cleared out and took my seat in the Forester. My shotgun jammed, so I pulled the katana. Yes, range is our best friend, but there's a reason Katanas are such a popular sword, and with all the reports of people finding themselves stuck with aluminum knockoffs, I thanked my lucky stars that Josh was able to come through with true folded steal.
The caravan pressed on and we fought our way through to keep up. Josh ran out of shells, so we were both down to swords alone. We cut through the mass, and tore ass towards a fresh fodder-car. Josh went in first. The key was in the ignition just like 80% of the cars available. He started it up as I tried to clear enough room to open the door. Failing that, I climbed on the roof, and Josh floored it, catching us up with the caravan. We were nearly through, we could see the opposite clearing. But I fell off the roof of Josh's car and bowled directly into the mass of undead.
I panicked. All I could think about was keeping moving. I span with my katana, slicing frantically to get back to a clearing. I was bruised and exhausted. I found myself stumbling. I saw the headlights of Josh's fodder car coming to get me, but something struck me in the back of the head and I faltered. A team of zombies grabbed my off-hand and I felt the searing pain of dozens of teeth sinking into my flesh. In a flash, Josh's sword came down. I was separated from the zombies - and my arm.
We gunned it through the last of the hoard, and we were through. We piled into the supply vehicles and tore off west on Huntington Rd. I drank three Red Bulls to keep from passing out. After mowing past Abbotsford Airport, (took a few more shots) we pulled off the road to stop my bleeding.
We had some medical supplies as I mentioned, and I hadn't lost too much blood thanks to a hasty tourniquet by Josh. No amount of drugs and whiskey can prepare you for having a wound cauterized though.
Once I was patched up, despite being full of antibiotics, pain killers, alcohol, and taurine, I was ready to keep going. Big Josh said no. He said we wait. We wait 40 minutes. That's how long it took for Seffinga to turn.
It was the longest, most sober 40 minutes of my life. I don't know where all those chemicals went, but I was there, alert, awake, aware that I might die in 40 minutes. I looked at my friends over and over again. I said goodbye just incase. I cried.
Then I just thought. I thought long and hard. I thought about what I had to live for. I thought about what was left of the world. I thought about my family back in Virginia. Heh, there was a happy thought. I didn't have to wonder if they were okay. My dad is so resourceful, McGuiver used to call him up when he was stumped. My family was fine. Some of my best friends were dead. Others were alive and here with me now. They were ready to kill me if I turned zombie, but they were willing to wait every minute it took to know for damn sure. We were alive. That meant there was hope. Apocalypse? Balls to that. This was a test. We'd overpopulated mother earth. We'd gotten greedy, gluttonous, selfish, we were living in paradise and we didn't even realize it. All in all, I had lead a good life. An awesome one, in fact. I was ready. Ready to face oblivion, be it Josh's bullet, or the insurmountable task of living after all this. Both seemed about the same. I was ready for either.
41 minutes. 45. Still alive. Still me.
We hit the road after an hour. I was in pain and I didn't care. I didn't want any more drugs. The pain told me I was alive. I was human.
Canada wasn't nearly as bad as the states. It was a lot like rt 9... people teamed up quickly and acted smart. Lots died. The dead still roamed, but people were working together, and a few tiny safe-zones were building up.
We're with Q's family now. Most survivors are talking of heading into the mountains, and I'm all for it. There's no electricity up there, no people to speak of, but we're stocking supplies and we can hold out for quite a while.
This'll be our last transmission. From here, we either survive or become extinct. But when I think about it, it's not the worst way to go. We could have been baked by global warming, or vaporized in a nuclear war. Instead, we get to look our adversary in it's lifeless eyes and fight to the last breath to stay alive. If this is our end, I feel lucky that I can go down fighting, and luckier still I'm beside people I can trust. But I don't think we're doomed, and here's why. There's one, and only one type of person who I've seen survive today: the type who treat other people like people. We will survive, and we'll be more human for it.
Farewell, and peace. ~Jeremy Kayes, June 13th, 2007; Day one of the zombie uprising.
[The previous was a work of fiction in honor of "Blog Like It's The End Of The World" day. Read about it here.]