Friday, October 14, 2005

Ode on a Zombie adventure

Walking a street infested with dummy burglars, statuesque and hands caught in a spotlight of dirt and blood. Organ jewels filched from the grasp of the dead, litter of loot. Marauding dangers in the flesh of walking man, ever hungry for more, more, more. High on swill, drunk on lust, hard on pain. Demented and sick, killing for sport and feed.

I search for you though not encouraged. My veins pulsate with chemical anger. Six hours, I’ve been told. Six lonely hours through seas of madness, unforgiving waste, smog-riddled and poisoned air, every breath a digit in a countdown. Everything minimized, simplified and contained now. A grand reduction to basest element of inhumanity and gain. The only solace is the lack of deceit. The honesty in self-preservation and, of course, my training.

For eighteen years I punished myself, learning to fool my visceral side, concocting a great veneer of spirit, impregnable to stone and stick. Reflexes improve as the muscles begin to fall in line like drilled grunts, and the mind snaps like flint to flame. Holocaustal sequences played out as though prophesied, and few could have been prepared. But I was. And now I seek only one outlet of salvation.

When the disease spread, the talking heads went wild, hyenas in heat. Fire, ice, sulfur, arsenic, ash and decay. Catnip for the radio gods. Sirens replaced wind chimes, howls substituted for voices, the cries of violence echoing into children’s play chambers, sullying idyllic reality into stiletto-sharp night terrors. Losing most of what was left in my waking past, no emotive instinct took over. Only pure, fundamental desire for myself and you. And destruction of those in the way.

I know how to find you. I know where you are. But blundering death walkers intervene. When first I was tested, my quickness was unmatched. Spines shattered beneath my modern mace, wrecking the virus incarnate. Their skin flimsy and flaking, their bones brittle as egg shell, their movements a captain’s nightmare. Through hundreds of carrion obstacles, I march now infected. And now without companion, as the good doctor turned to rot and felt cold steel before blankness. His instructions, however, were simple. The antidote is within my grasp. Enough for two. But only three hundred sixty minutes and more miles between.

Grocery store mayhem, and mucous on brown bags, my supplies still hold, but for what? The sugar rush is irrelevant in lieu of amphetamines, but the bloodborne curse offers no easy transition. I wretch in the pools of man slop, the maggots and roaches and creepers rejoicing behind. Concrete and iron, signage and electricity, a massive joke. My mind fades by the nanosecond, collapsing axon into blurred hellfire. Though taxed, the training will hold, must hold.

Two old women eat one another. Gnashing dentures strewn with dripping steak. A boy carves his hands through concrete caked in red, leaving fingernails and syrup. A police officer clubs a pregnant woman repeatedly, grinning wide in the face of broken skull and brain refuse, his motions a primal memory of standard operating procedure. They begin to understand me, maybe taking me as one of their kind, and the multitudes of insurgent, animated meat are fewer now. Their fate will not be mine.

But the safehouse is far, the lab, a step further. And cars offer no purchase on these burning streets. I must walk. To you, and to our future, which still offers hope. Plans are forged. Operations arranged. Severing ties with family and friends may reward us yet. High-level contacts still function. Communication lines exist. I will continue. I will find you. As long as this case of radiated illness draws breath, as long as this blade shows no blunt, as long as these bullets ignite, I will fight. And we will make it out together. I swear to you, on all that I ever knew, no moving corpse will fuck with that.
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