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Zombies North of Normal (01)

Chapter One: Outbreak in Aurora

She had been staying at the shelter just a little more than a week when the outbreak took over the city. It was utter chaos. Murder in the streets – if you could call slaughter of the dead “murder.”

Screenshot 2018-07-09 at 10.38.49 PM

Jackie had been preparing for the end of the world since she saw her first zombie film “Day of the Dead” with the man who would be her first husband and the love of her life. They were college sweethearts and for him, it was love at first sight.

He spotted her backstage at rehearsal. She was sitting on a folding chair with her long elegant legs draped in black satin-sheened trousers. Her legs were crossed lady-like at the ankle. She was a lady by any definition of the word – the kind of woman Tom Jones would sing about. She’s the kind you like to flaunt and take to dinner.

So he asked her to dinner one cold night in January while walking her back to the women’s dormitory. He never thought she’d say yes, but she did. Then she slipped on the ice and fell on her perfect little bottom. After helping her to her feet and sharing laugh, he held her in his arms and looked into her beautiful blue eyes.

He said, “I can save you from a lot of things, darling. But I cannot save you from yourself.”

It became a bit for them in their relationship over the years whenever she would make a blunder professional, personal, or otherwise. And she swooned everytime he called her “darling.” He kept it up even after the divorce when they’d talk on the phone once or twice a week. And now with him three years gone, the memory of his voice forming that solitary word still haunted her.

“I can save you from a lot of things, darling. But I cannot save you from yourself.”

A part of her was angry with him for dying and she didn’t feel one bit guilty about that. After everything they had been through, he had left her. Granted it wasn’t by his choice, but he left her just the same and she felt the pain of his absence in ways he never could have anticipated.

For example, at this very moment standing on the roof of the Women’s Shelter looking down on the pandemonium below. The street just to the west had been a busy thoroughfare. But now, with all the locals thinking they were taking an alternate route out of town, it was backed up as far as she could see for miles in both directions. The dead swarmed the cars with living occupants still inside. She couldn’t hear their muffled screens through the shatter-proof glass in their cars, but she knew they were screaming just the same.

In this tumultuous moment, she thought only of him and how he would have loved to live this day with her. He was the one who was into zombie films, novels, short stories, theories – anything zombie related, he was into it. All kinds of zombies; generic zombies, walkers, runners, Romero, and ghouls. He could have written a book on the subject himself and she encouraged him to, but he was insistent on finishing his vampire novel first.

He was a man of many talents and a voracious reader as well, which made his writing all the better. He taught her how to fish and how to build a fire. He showed her things about the world she had never noticed before – like the detail professional chefs put into the presentation of their meals or the slight flavor differentiations in various wines. He was a man of fine taste on a pauper’s budget. Still, they managed to afford the finer things when they could.

As she looked to the west, she referenced an entirely different skill he had passed on to her. Holding her hand at arms-length, she positioned her pinky finger to align with the horizon. Determining she had about forty minutes before the sun set, she decided not to make another supply run tonight. She would stay in and sort through what she had already collected that day.

Stowing away the rope ladder she had made under some rocks on the roof, she was careful to do so silently not wanting to attract attention of the living or the dead. Cautiously, she lifted the window to her room and ducked inside closing – and locking – it firmly behind her. Then she closed the blinds, draped a heavy blanket over the window for insulation, and placed the plywood board she had acquired the day before against the window and secured it with the bungee cord and hooks she had brought with her into the homeless women’s shelter.

With the precautions she had taken in securing her now seemingly permanent home, she could hear nothing of the outside world. The screams, the moaning, the gnashing were all audible on the other side of the glass she took great pains to shield herself from as dusk settled over the city.

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4 Comments

  1. Douglas feigert

     /  July 10, 2018

    I hope you add more of her past through out the story but not so much that it gets boring and takes away from her struggles of the here and now but with that said it is captivating and I left wanting more. Very well done so far.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your feedback Douglas – I always appreciate hearing from readers and will certainly take your input into consideration as the story progresses!

      Reply
  2. Reblogged this on Just One Take and commented:

    In case you missed it, here is chapter one of my novel “Zombies North of Normal.”

    Reply
  1. Trust Levels in the Real World | Just One Take

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