The Zombie Plagues Book One Created by Dell Sweet
PUBLISHED BY: Geo Dell and independAntwriters Publishing
The Zombie Plagues Book One
Additional Copyrights 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013, 2015, 2017 Wendell Sweet & his assignee Andrea Scroggs All rights reserved
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This material is NOT edited for content and is rated 18+
Journals and Diaries
Mike ~ March 8th
I debated with myself about how to start this. Isn’t that stupid? Not whether I should start it. I guess that means that I have some hope that I am not the only one.
Actually, I know that I’m not the only one. I’ve heard gunshots more than once. I’ve heard a dog barking as well. And I’ve seen several dogs, cats, squirrels, etc… I’ve also heard what sounded like a car or a truck, but I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. Everything is so quiet; it could be anywhere.
The sound of the river drowns things out. Even so, I haven’t seen any other people. None. And, I’m getting ahead of myself again.
I have no idea what has happened, even here in this town. It doesn’t really matter either, except to tell you, whoever you may end up being, what happened from my point of view, I guess. Maybe it’s the same for you. Maybe writing this out is a waste of time. But, it keeps my mind off shit, you know?
So, I wondered where to start? Today? Last week? Just start, I guess…
I have heat, food, fire. And I’ve finally gotten myself moved into this cave, so my mind is more at ease. But, again, I’m getting ahead of myself. It started for me last week on the 2nd of March. Only six days, but everything here has changed.
I was having a few beers, watching the coverage of the world countdown party; hey, it was supposed to be a joke, right? And, supposedly, we had a few months to go. It was supposed to be one long countdown party. One minute everything was fine, and the next the power was out.
Then the first quake hit…
I made it through that night and… two more quakes? Aftershocks? Who knows? I was just trying to get through to the morning. Phones were out; Sirens everywhere; No power. But, the closer it got to dawn the less noise there was. The sirens fell off. The rain started hard, and then the lightning came. A thunder and lightning storm in the middle of winter!
It was spooky, and when morning finally came, it didn’t make much sense at all. Almost everything I could see in every direction was flattened. The streets had cracked open and had become rivers. The temperature was higher than it should have been. But that didn’t last.
By noon the rain stopped, and I kept expecting to see someone. Emergency workers… Power Company… Somebody. Even a neighbor. But I saw no one at all that day.
I guess as serious as it was, I wasn’t taking it seriously. At least not the first day. I was still thinking rescue, help, it’s on the way. This is the most powerful country in the entire world. Help is coming. So I sat on my ass and drank beer and ate bologna sandwiches and chips, staring out at the street from my front porch, which was perched on the edge of a twenty foot rain gully.
Just before dark, the real quake hit. It had to have been stronger than the previous ones. It felt like it anyway.
I barely jumped off the porch before it fell into the gully. Scared the hell out of me. It wasn’t long after that when darkness settled in and I knew I was in trouble. Something in the whole structure of the house was damaged. Every aftershock made it dance, sway around me. It was also now a two foot drop down to the ground since my porch was gone. And I didn’t dare leave, because I had no idea what it was like outside. No Streetlights. No Moon. No starlight. No starlight, none! Then the storms came back, and the air turned back to cold.
Every time the lightning flashed I could see the street, or what had been the street. There was no more street, not really. It was a river; wide, and it looked pretty deep, all the opposite side of the street was gone now. No houses, cars, telephone poles, satellite dishes. Nothing. It seemed like the entire side of the street had washed away right down to the river. The water roared past me – just a few feet from where my porch had been – flattened out, and then turned into rapids breaking away to crash into the Black river further down the hill. That was when I realized it wasn’t just the other side of the street that was gone. The other two blocks that had been between me and the river were also gone.
Later on, the rain turned to snow, but the lightning kept up. Lightning in a snow storm. How crazy is that? By the morning of March 4th, the river running past my house was down to a trickle, but the snow was piling up. Down the hill the Black was over her banks. There was nothing else to see, a few solitary houses still standing as my own was. But there was no one around anywhere. That’s when I got into the hard stuff.
I drank myself to sleep, and when I woke up I’d lost several hours. My watch still worked at that point. When I walked to the front door, the first thing I noticed was footprints in the snow. Three sets, two small, maybe kids or women, one big, going just past my house, no more than three feet from my house, where once upon a time in some other world my porch had been, and I had slept through it. I yelled and screamed for a half hour hoping that someone would hear me, but no one came. No one yelled back and told me to shut up either. Just absolute silence. No birds, just the roar of the swollen Black. Nothing else.
I’ve thought about the day, the fourth, a couple of times. Was it the fourth? The fifth? Did I sleep more than a few hours? I don’t know. And that was the day my watch stopped working, so I don’t know. One minute it was working, the next it wasn’t. The face was blank.
There were a couple of more aftershocks that day, and I began to wonder if my house would be standing much longer. After all, nearly everything around me was destroyed already. And, I thought, what if that was an aftershock? Like I had thought the first quake was the real one and then the one the next day was so much stronger. It made me realize how stupid I was to still be in that house. And, I thought, no wonder no one is answering when I yell. They were all smart enough to get away from the buildings. Leave. And if I left also, I reasoned, I’d most likely catch up to them, whoever they were, wherever they had gone. That was when I had glanced at my watch and noticed that it had stopped working.
I had been in the habit of looking at my watch all day. Just nervous, I guess. I was positive that I had just looked at it and it had been working. But, when had that been? What time had it been? And when had it been that I had looked at it? How long ago? All I could remember for sure was that the last aftershock that had started me wondering had been at 2:57 P.M. I wasn’t sure of anything after that. Even when I thought back on it later, wondering what day it was, I wondered why I had never thought to push the little date button to see what the date had been. Or had I? Had I and then forgotten that I had? Had I only remembered subconsciously that it was the fourth? Anyway, the watch was dead. And what time was it? And where should I go? And how soon would it be dark? After wasting time wondering about things like that, things that were absolute bullshit in light of everything else, I just jumped down into the snow and headed off towards downtown.
There were a few buildings standing in that direction. It was still snowing pretty hard, but I could see the outlines of the buildings through the snow.
There were planes overhead in the night. I know that sounds crazy, but I awoke to hearing them. There was a strange smell in the air, and I was thinking, in my dream? Maybe in my dream or maybe awake. Anyway, I was thinking crop dusters. Like they were crop-dusting. Spraying something. It was weird. Now I could see traces of blue… powder? Something on the snow, and it made me remember the dream. But I pushed it away and walked. Too much to see and comprehend as it was without worrying over bad dreams.
Normally it’s no more than a fifteen minute walk to the Square. Watertown has an old New England style Public Square that is the center of downtown. I figured that if anyone was still alive, that was where they would be.
In fact, I told myself, they probably would have some buildings open for shelter. Fire Department passing out blankets, bottled water, hot soup. I could see it so clearly in my head. I was wrong, of course, but that’s a story for tomorrow. My fingers are shot. Hey it would be easy to write this on my computer keyboard, but computers are a thing of the past now.
I’m warm. I’m dry. I’m pretty much okay. I survived the day the world ended, but my fingers are sore and I’m tired, so I’ll pick this up tomorrow.
Candace ~ March 8th
Fresh snow today. The whole world is covered in clean, white snow. It makes it look like nothing ever happened here.
I’m with a man named Tom. He’s crazy about me. I just can’t feel the same. I could fake it, but I told myself I’m not going to do that. But I can’t keep on this way either. It is too hard on him, too hard on me.
Bob and Jan Dove are also with us. I don’t know what I would do without Jan. She is level headed where I am impulsive, a thinker where I tend to just act. A good balance. Bob has an idea of rebuilding his peoples’ lands. He’s Native American, and so is Jan. It sounded crazy when he first said it, but after I thought about it, it began to make sense to me.
Lydia is the other member of our party. She hates me. That’s because Tom wants me, and she wants Tom. Maybe that will fix itself before I have to fix it by leaving and going on my own.
Today we decided to see if the city was any better on the other side of the river. It isn’t. We crossed the river, the Black river, on a railroad trestle. There is a traffic bridge, and it looks passable, but it’s clogged with cars and some of those cars look purposely placed to block it off. That creeped me out.
We walked across the trestle, carefully, and went up State street. There’s a store there, a supermarket, and we found tracks in the snow. One person. A man I would guess from the boot tread.
I can not tell you what that was like. Seeing a footprint left by someone else. Someone else alive in this whole mess. I felt connected to him. I can’t say it or explain it any better than that. Like a connection existed forever and I only had to find it. I tried to explain it to Lydia but she just shrugged. We have this thing with Tom between us though. She wants him; he wants me. I don’t want him. It could be so Goddamn simple, but it isn’t.
Except the footprints. Maybe the footprints are the answer. I think they are. I believe they are. We just need to find the person, the man, that goes with those footprints and… And I don’t know. I really don’t. But I think he’ll know.
The only bad thing today, we came across a dead man laying crumpled by the side of the road. I could have sworn he moved, so I hurried to him. But as I got closer, I could see that he was dead. Long dead. We stood for a moment and then walked on. Later when we came back he was gone, and I thought, was he dead? Was he? But I know that he was. I suppose that wild dogs or something got him. We didn’t talk about it, but it bothered all of us.
Mike ~ March 9th
Maybe it’s March ninth. I guess I really don’t know. But that’s what I think it is, so that’s what I’m going with.
It’s late. I spent today getting food, canned stuff mostly. It was rough. Almost everything is flattened, and what isn’t flattened is badly damaged. I spent about five hours a few days ago digging my way into a supermarket on State Street. The roof was down but held up by the tops of the aisle stacks, so I was able to make my way through. I just had to be really careful of broken glass. That was where I went back to today.
I had no flashlight at first, but I managed to get a small flashlight and batteries. I had to take so much stuff out of the front area of the store, that all the impulse stuff they sell was right there, candy, little radios, and of course flashlights and batteries. I tried a small portable radio. Nothing but static on the A.M. and F.M. bands both. I brought it back with me along with some extra batteries. I listened to it a short while ago; still nothing. Maybe tomorrow.
I spent the day at the supermarket digging out canned goods and bringing them back here.
Here is a cave. The cave is down in back of the square, downtown as it’s called. I knew about it from growing up here. It used to be bricked up. The quake took care of that though. I was worried about the cave itself collapsing, but it seems to be fine.
It’s only about a mile and a half from here to the supermarket, but with no vehicle it’s slow going. I’ve been piling stuff up on a large sled and making trips back and forth.
I found several cars and trucks, snowmobiles, but none of them will run. Most of them have no juice, but even the ones that do just turn over but won’t fire up. Maybe if I was a mechanic I could do something, but I’m not. So, it’s the sled and a lot of muscle work.
I did notice today, after not going there for two days, that no one else had been there either. No tracks in the fresh snow. It’s depressing. No way can I be the only freaking guy here, right? And that made me wonder, what the hell am I writing this for? I mean, if there’s no one left, who will read it? I guess those are questions for another day. Another day because, truly, I don’t want to deal with them today.
So I spent my day getting food. There are maybe two dozen buildings still standing downtown. But that’s where I was when I left off writing yesterday, heading for downtown, so I’ll pick it up from there.
When I got downtown there was no one there, only the handful of buildings standing as I mentioned, and two of those went down a short time later from an aftershock. The Police department… Gone. The Fire department out Washington Street… Gone. I know I walked out there. Ditto the high school. All the old houses, the newspaper, the museum. Really, it’s all gone.
There were some tracks, but how old were they? I couldn’t tell. And I couldn’t tell where they were headed either. I got pretty down about it and ended up walking back down to the square and then down towards the river in back of the square. There was a porn shop, still there. It seemed like the dirtiest place I’d ever seen. I mean, why would a place like that still be there, still be standing when almost nothing else was?
Is that a statement or what? Hey, maybe it is. But since I was down that far, I thought I’d take a look at the river, and that made me think about the cave.
This whole area is limestone, caves everywhere. This one just happened to be a big one.
It wasn’t hard to find it. It’s on an old abandoned road below the level of the square, but a good hundred feet or so above the level of the river. All the brick work that had once closed it off had fallen. The cave itself seemed okay. Some rock had come down, but not much. Most of the rock lying around looked pretty old, like it had been there for some time. Given the buildings, which were still falling, or the cave, I chose the cave. It just seemed to make more sense.
It’s quite deep. I have no idea how deep it goes and no inclination to follow it and see. The front area is huge, and dry, more room than I could ever use, so there’s no need for me to go into that darkness and find out how deep it goes. And that’s funny, isn’t it? What is it that I’ll need? Might need? Could need? I don’t know. I do know I won’t be spending the rest of my life living in a cave, that’s for sure. But it’s winter. I have to stay somewhere for the next few months. Then maybe I’ll head south if no one shows up to rescue me. I guess it would be me, there’s no one else here. It shouldn’t be that way though. There has to be more than me.
I spent the rest of the day looking around. I walked all the way out to Arsenal Street as well as Washington Street. The mall, or most of it, has collapsed. But I should be able to get some stuff out of it. The interstate is car wrecks and bodies everywhere. I could see it from the overpass. I didn’t feel a need to go down there to see it in person. I didn’t want to.
I hadn’t really seen many bodies. Some at the mall, some at the supermarket, a few others here and there, but there is so much ground, houses, things missing, that I think the other people just got swallowed up by the quake. There is a lot of raw earth. Most of the streets are messed up. The interstate is like that in places, what I can see any way, but close to Arsenal Street, it’s all wrecks and bodies, wrecked and burned vehicles; and it smells horrible. I could smell it long before I came up on the overpass. I’ve decided it will take a lot to get me to go back out Arsenal Street again.
The supermarket has that smell also, and I found two people up by the checkouts when I first dug it out, but none since then as I’ve dug out other parts of the store. Maybe it’s the meat department at the back of the store that smells like that.
I spent most of the next day wandering around, trying to start cars and trucks, calling out to the people I had hoped were there. Nothing. I heard something that sounded like an engine running, but it came and went on the wind and I couldn’t tell where it had come from. But I took that as a good sign. It has to be someone, right?
I can’t imagine being alone.
I tried to start new cars, old cars, new trucks, you name it. None of them do anything except turn over. But at least their batteries are working.
That was the day I realized that the daylight seemed to last way too long. My watch wasn’t working, so I can’t say for sure, but the sun just seemed to hang in the sky all day, then it seemed to sink in the wrong direction once it did set. And I was sick all day. My stomach. And I was light headed.
The night lasted a long time, and the sun came back up in the wrong place, unless my sense of direction is off. Maybe it is. In any case, I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was the earthquakes? I don’t know. It could’ve been, but it doesn’t seem possible.
The end of the world books were saying the Earth would stop and then run backwards. Maybe it did, but I didn’t feel weightlessness if it did, or at least I don’t think so. But I thought about the vehicles, magnetic poles. Maybe because everything is electronic now they can’t work? I don’t know. It’s just an idea, but I’m thinking I’ll look for an older vehicle to try out my theory on. Like I said, I wish I were a mechanic, and then I’d know.
I spent a lot of time clearing out the rock and broken bricks in this cave, bringing food in and even some chairs, blankets, things like that. I’ve collected a lot of firewood and every butane lighter I could find. Paper plates, plastic forks and spoons. And, man oh man, coffee. I found a small metal coffee pot in an aisle with camping gear. It works pretty damn well. I got some heavy duty pots and pans there too.
All of that over the last few days, but still no other people. It makes me wonder about the tracks that went past my house. Where did they go? Where is there to go? I turn the radio on every once in a while, but nothing. Even so, I’m keeping my attitude upbeat. Positive. There has to be other people. Doesn’t that just make sense? Winter can’t last much past May, and then it will be time to get out of here… hopefully with other people.
Candace ~ March 9th
I saw him! I know there is this other person just across the river. It was while we were on the way back, and I happened to look back across the river from the rail trestle, and there he was by the river bank. Climbing it? I think so, but why? And how can I say it was the same man that belonged to the footprints? I can’t. I feel it though. I believe it was him. Who else could it have been?
I wanted to go back right then. Tom refused. There was no reason for him to refuse, but he did. We argued about it. I mean really argued. I hadn’t realized or really even thought about what it is about Tom that I don’t like. Maybe a better way to say that is, what keeps me away from him. Why didn’t I, in all this destruction, hopelessness, just fall into his arms, or love, or whatever would pass for love in this world? Isn’t that logical? Shouldn’t I have? But I didn’t, and the reason is that he’s got this attitude about what place a woman has in his world. It came out today when we argued. I think I picked it up subconsciously before that though, and it kept me away from him.
Anyway I’m not going to go there. I’m leaving in the morning to go over there and find the man that I saw. I know that sounds crazy. I know it does, but I’m going. I’m getting up at sunrise, and I’m going. Jan and Bob said they would go with me. If Tom doesn’t want to go, he doesn’t have to. We’re not speaking at all. Lydia seems upset by that. She wants him, but not at my expense. I guess that makes me like her a little more than I did.
I was outside until way after dark looking for firelight on the other side of the river. I didn’t see any at all. I don’t know that area though. Maybe I wouldn’t see a fire over there. Maybe he is being careful. I want to know so much. When will I know it?
Mike ~ March 10th ? (probably)
Another long day. More trips back and forth to the supermarket. The days are definitely longer, but so are the nights. I don’t see how that can be, but it is. I have no real way to judge it; it’s just a gut feeling. I found several watches by the checkouts. None of them work either. But, I know its true. I feel the longer days. I feel the longer nights. That’s all I can say.
A few days back I became sure that the days were even longer, and that’s changed. They’re not as long as that, but still longer than they used to be.
I was thinking, who are you? I know that’s kind of dumb, but you are somebody, right? And you’re reading this, right? And, how far away is it in time? Place? Do you know who I am, or did you just find this and begin reading it? Have you been through this too? Is it over and explained? For all I know, no one is here to read this. I can’t really believe that though. Man, I really can’t… won’t. It’s the only reason I’m writing this. So that someone, you, will know who I am and that I made it, at least so far. And as I go along, I hope to get some answers. There must be some somewhere. Maybe you have them. Maybe.
So my name is Mike, Michael Collins. I’m a website designer… Was, I guess. I guess there’s no more internet, right? Hopefully it’ll be back though. I’m twenty-three years old and I live here in Watertown, have all of my life. I’m single, and it looks like I might remain single for a while. That’s not funny really. Hopefully I’ll find other people soon. I can’t be the only one left. But if I do, or if I don’t, I’ll have this written record.
I dragged about fifty sled loads of stuff down here today. The inside of the market is really beginning to smell bad. No, really bad. And, I found more bodies also, two today. I’ve been concentrating on canned stuff, trying to make sure I don’t get sick. There is a lot of it, and I have a lot of it here now.
I heard dogs today and not far away either. And, there were paw prints in the supermarket. And something had been at the bodies. The dogs, I suppose. I was kind of leery of going in, but they weren’t there. And had they been, they probably would’ve been as afraid of me as I was of them. But I was also wondering, were they dogs? Wolves? I mean, don’t they sound the same? Leave the same sort of tracks? Maybe not to someone who knows what to look for in the tracks, but to me they look like dog tracks. And the bodies I had found had been partially eaten. Something was eating them. Dogs? Wolves? I didn’t know, but I knew I had to be careful.
That got me thinking about the zoo. What happened to all the animals there? So I walked out State Street, but I couldn’t get all the way up to the park entrance. The road’s gone. The whole park area seems to be gone. No trees, just raw earth. So, I turned back around and came back. I don’t think anything could’ve lived through that. But lions, wolves, bears? There are a few new things to worry about, right? Can a lion survive in the winter? I don’t know. But I walked back from my trip to the park a lot faster than I walked up there.
But I heard dogs… or wolves. I heard them, and if they lived,
other people had to live, right? And a few times now I’ve felt that I was being watched. You know that feeling you get? Well I’ve gotten it a few times in the last few days. I still haven’t seen anyone though. I’ve called out a few times; no one has answered.
I haven’t seen other footprints, but it’s been a little warmer, and the snow has melted. Not all of it, but a lot of it. And they could also walk where I’ve been walking, in which case I wouldn’t see their tracks. But they should have no trouble finding me. I’m not trying to hide or be careful about the tracks I leave. I don’t know if that’s good or not. I’ve been thinking about that as well.
I’m not much for guns. I’ve never shot a pistol or a rifle or gone hunting. But I’m thinking of walking back out Arsenal Street. There were a few sporting goods stores out there. I even took a few things from one of them the other day, but I didn’t think about guns at the time. Maybe I’ll go tomorrow.
A weird thing did happen today. I was being careful, making sure there were no dogs or wolves, or whatever in the store. Looking around. I was up at the front where the payphones are, there was a time when people used things like payphones. These were still here from that time, and one of them rang. As soon as it did, the other two there rang as well. Only a little jangle. It didn’t last more than a second, but it scared the crap out of me. I thought I was dead right there. For some reason, I thought the wolves had sneaked up on me, come up behind me and were about to get me. Don’t ask me how I got wolves from a ringing phone, but I did.
I calmed down after a few minutes, and so I walked over and picked up the nearest receiver. Static. Scratchy static. Then it cleared for a second and, it was probably just my nerves, but I could swear I heard someone there. Maybe not heard, I don’t know if I heard anything at all. It was more like I knew someone was there: You know what I mean? Like when you get a crank call and the person doesn’t speak, but you know that they are there anyway? Like that. Exactly like that. But, then it went right back to scratchy static, and I felt stupid for even thinking it at all. Who could’ve been there? Who would know I was there? It was just nerves. I know it was.
After I got everything back to this cave, I organized it. I’ve brought back a lot of stuff. Meat, vegetables, bottled water. I have to work my way over to some other aisles. I need rice, pasta, maybe some instant potatoes. I started on that today. I got part way through the end cap, but the whole roof seems to be resting on that part of the aisle stands, and it’s the same way on the other end. That’s when I found the bodies. It was so bad I couldn’t tell what they had been.
I thought it might be better to go through the aisle dividers. They are solid steel though, and I can’t see any way through them, short of a set of torches. Maybe I could find a set, but it seems as though it would be easier to start from the checkouts and work my way through the piles of stuff until I hit another aisle. I have no idea what each aisle is though.
Yeah, I’ve been there about a thousand times, and I can tell you where the beer and chips would be, paper plates, disposable forks and spoons, but that’s about it. I’d hate to spend five hours or more of digging just to reach the toilet paper and sanitary napkins in aisle four. That would be my luck. But there’s nothing to do for it except to do it. Or go find a set of torches.
I know I need carbs. Canned meat and vegetables are good, but very low carbs. It’s funny, but I need fat, things I’m burning heavy and need to replace. I have nearly constant exercise. My pants are hanging off me. Who knew it could be this easy to lose weight?
I’d also like to find supplements, a good selection of first aid stuff, vitamins, band aids, disinfectant, things like that. I guess that’s my next bit of time mapped out for me.
Other things I’m looking for: A wind up watch (Should work right?).
An old car or truck without an electronic brain (My hope is that if it’s just a simple distributor/spark arrangement with a carburetor, I should be able to get it to work). I think electronics are shot. They don’t work, that’s for sure. But I could be wrong. Maybe they will in time.
A battery powered T.V. ; maybe there will be a station on. I know it’s a long shot. Everything is digital. Do they even make battery powered digital televisions?
A C.B. or Ham radio. That would let me listen to the state, maybe the world. I should be able to reach someone.
And last, I’m going to check every phone I come across… just in case.
It’s early, but I’m tired. I wish I weren’t alone.
Candace ~ March 10th
It’s late at night. What a difference a day makes. Mike is his name.
We went back today to see if he had been back to the store. I went there first. I hoped to catch him there early, but he wasn’t there. Tom dragged his feet. Like he didn’t want to go at all. He didn’t say that but, it seemed that way to me. Maybe things were just getting to me. Tom’s been putting more and more pressure on me to be with him. Lydia’s turning up the I hate you attitude. Maybe it’s just me, or just was me. Either way, by the time we did get there this morning, the snow was melting, and there was no real way to tell if he had been there at all. I thought about what I had decided yesterday, just going without Tom, but I waited.
We went back to the river and began looking along the banks on that side. I couldn’t figure where he had gone.
I backtracked to the store, thinking I must have missed him, missed something anyway. On the way back, I saw him crossing the end of Public Square. I practically screamed out loud, but he didn’t hear me. By the time we got there, he was gone.
The day just started to slide away. I began to think I wouldn’t find him at all. It depressed me. It was Bob who smelled smoke. All we had to do was follow the smoke, and we found him. Bob found him. How do you follow smoke? Have you ever tried? I mean, if I could see it in the air, sure. But I couldn’t. Bob knew how to follow it anyway.
I guess there’s a lot more that I could say about today but I’m not going to say it now. I’ll say this though, I want him. I want him, and Tom knows it. It’s like Tom knew it would turn out this way. Jan knew how I felt, knew how it would be. She told me that today. She said she could see it in me last night. Like this is the way it’s supposed to be.
Lydia knows as well. She’s happy about it. I saw her face when she figured it out. She looked from me to Mike and back. Then she did it again, this puzzled look on her face, and then she smiled, looked at me and nodded. I think she’s just biding her time now. I guess I am too.
Michael Collins. Mike. I think I already wrote his name. I don’t know what happens next. How to make it happen. I’m no good at that sort of thing. I’ve never done it. And my little notebook here, my only friend through all of this, along with Jan, can’t help me with that. I can write it here, look at it, but that doesn’t realize it.
I still have my father’s gun. That has also been my friend the last few days. But it can’t help me either, unless I shoot Tom. I guess that’s not funny. Tom never liked my gun. It bothered him. Not ladylike? Something like that I think. Mike wasn’t shocked at all except to say he should have already gotten one and didn’t. It didn’t intimidate him in other words.
Tomorrow is March eleventh. I would have started a new life tomorrow. Maybe one I wasn’t meant to start. I feel like… I don’t know. To be honest, I feel like I’m just a dumb girl pretending to be a woman, a grown up. Does nineteen know everything? No. I don’t want to pretend at this. I want to get things right. I don’t know what’s next. But, does anybody?
Mike ~ March 12th
Things have been really crazy the last few days. I’m not alone anymore. It’s funny because that’s the last thing I wrote, and two days later it’s like an answer to prayer. It happened later on the evening of the tenth. Oh, and it was the tenth. Tom has an old fashioned wind up watch. So does Candace. And, they’ve both kept track. Kept them wound up too. But, in another way it isn’t the twelfth today at all because the days and nights, or the rotation of the Earth that makes the days and nights, isn’t the same at all. It’s much slower. It’s taking about twenty-eight hours to cycle through. But last week, it was up to almost thirty six hours. And none of us knows why, except it slowed up and it’s now starting to get back to a normal length of time to cycle through a night and day. So, it’s not really the twelfth, and they’ve just been keeping track of the days as they pass, same as I’ve been; except for the day I thought I’d lost.
Anyway, as usual, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the start; I was organizing stuff. There is a warehouse down closer to the river full of wooden pallets. I went down there a few days ago, box upon box. I have no idea what’s in them. I figured sometime I’d just open a few up and see. Maybe it would be something useful, maybe not. What’s useful now is radically different from what used to be useful.
Anyway I noticed all the pallets. Pallets everywhere. Some full, some piled high with stuff, but a lot of empty ones; so I went back down with the sled and made a few trips back and forth to the cave so I could stack the canned stuff on them, so they’re not sitting on the floor. I was putting them in the back of the cave. I was so wrapped up in stacking the canned goods that I never even heard them until Candace cleared her throat, I guess to get my attention.
It scared me bad. I thought about the gun I had never bothered to go and get, and a lot of other bad stuff. It went through my mind so fast. The first thing in my head was, the wolves got me! They sneaked up on me! Stupid, I know. I knew it was a person, but my head still insisted wolf. It didn’t last though, and my reaction scared them too. Lydia said I had a can of peas in my hand, and she was sure I was going to bean Candace in the head with them. For some reason she found it funny that I would bean someone in the head with a can of peas, and she giggled. I just felt embarrassed, and glad I didn’t throw the can. I set it down on the stack and took a few deep breaths instead. We all ended up laughing our asses off. Nervous energy. Release, I guess, or something like that. And then, we all began to talk at once.
They had known about me for two days. They had seen that someone was going in and out of the supermarket. They were going out to one on the north side, the other side of the river from where I was. For some reason I hadn’t thought to cross the river. They had already been on the other side to begin with, and even though the main bridges seemed too damaged to be trusted, the railroad trestle seemed solid and unharmed to them, so they crossed over on that to get to my side. I was impressed; that is an open trestle, a long way down to the water.
Because the snow on the asphalt was melting, they couldn’t figure out where I was going when I left the market. They were actually going back across the river when Candace happened to look over her shoulder toward the opposite bank and happened to catch me going into the cave. She had thought to yell, but over the sound of the rapids, she couldn’t get anyone around her to hear her, let alone me.
Once they were across, she talked to Tom; Tom pretty much was their leader (I don’t know if I like that. Do we need leaders?), and they decided to come back the next day, which was two days ago, and see if they could find me. They didn’t know about the cave. Candace had thought I was just climbing the rock above the river. They searched along the back of the Public Square, or what’s left of it, and down towards Coffeen Street. If they had come back down one more road towards the river, they would’ve found the cave then. Maybe they hadn’t realized there was a road there at all; so they just followed the path of the river, thinking I was living in one of the fallen down buildings along the banks.
They had seen me from quite a way off, crossing the square as they were heading back. It looked to them like I was heading for the north side, maybe crossing one of the bridges, but by the time they got there, I was gone. They even began to wonder if I had seen them and hidden on purpose, maybe out of fear. They had searched for a while and then, just when they had been about to quit for the day, Bob realized that he could smell smoke. As soon as he said it, everyone else realized they had smelled it all along as well. After that, it didn’t take long to find the cave. They just followed the smell of smoke down to the lower road and found the cave.
So that was that, and now we are six. Tom, Thomas Evans, he was their leader as I said. He’s an older guy, in his late thirties. Used to be a truck driver.
Candace Loi (Don’t call her Candy. I don’t know why.). She’s nineteen and was visiting her grandparents. She was from Syracuse. I thought she was with Tom. I think Tom thought so as well.
Bob and Jan Dove. Bob is a little older than Jan, in his fifties, and he said he is a mechanic. Jan does, did, data processing.
And Lydia. Her real name is Marcia George. Lydia is her middle name. She said she always liked Lydia better. She was still in school, local college. I guess she’s the same age as Candace, nineteen.
And last but not least, me.
We spent all of yesterday getting their stuff from across the river and bringing it over to the cave. I thought that was weird. Why go get stuff anyway? You can have anything you want. It’s all free. But in another way I guess I understand. We’ve lost everything. We want to hang on to what little we still do have. We’re all going to stay here. And we talked about what’s next, and what we know about what happened.
I said I had been kind of planning to leave once spring came. Head south or west, somewhere where I wouldn’t have to worry about winter. Tom said it may be that, where it would normally have been warmer, it won’t be anymore. He said it depends on what happened. None of us really know. He thinks it might be smarter to stay here. We could stock up this cave. We could even hunt. He said he’s sure there are deer around. Bob agreed with him, at least on there being deer around.
I told them about the footprints by my house. They said they had seen footprints as well. They had gone out Coffeen Street and seen the tracks of three or four people going in and out of a small store there. They had called out, but no one had answered. They had had second thoughts about calling out too. They weren’t armed. What if someone shot at them?
That brought my original thoughts to mind about a weapon. I mentioned the sporting goods store, and we all agreed to make a trip out there soon.
We talked about cars and trucks and agreed it would be good to get an SUV or truck of some kind if we could find one that will run, as they might be the only vehicles that could drive around as bad as things are torn up. They have also tried starting a few vehicles with no success. I mentioned my electronic brain idea, and Tom said he had thought of the same thing. Turns out he’s also a mechanic. I guess I can see why they chose him to lead. I feel kind of useless around the guy though. We agreed to try finding an older vehicle. Tom thinks our chances of getting one running are good. We’ll see what we can find.
The first night together was good. The best I’ve slept since this thing started. Just not being alone, you know?
I guess I’ll end on that note…
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