Thursday, July 30, 2009

#0043 | 07/30 | 10:34 PM

There's something wandering around outside.

That, in itself isn't too unusual, Freaks tend to wander the school grounds after sun-set. Pawing across the buildings, scratching and pushing against the tentative barriers we've set up, although never truly aggressively. Never with a purpose in mind.

But tonight is different.

First of all, although I can't see out into the night, I'm sure there are more than one. Judging by the sounds - they're all over the place. Wandering the grounds, the open fields, and the other buildings. Far too many of them, regular Freaks can't coexist like this without coming into conflict.

Which leads me into my suspicion. I believe I know exactly what the things out there are. The faint, hoarse growling sort of gives it away anyway.

It's a pack. A pack of dog-Freaks.

And they're on the hunt.


#0042 | 07/30 | 08:12 PM

Shit's been... hectic (is that the right word?) since yesterday.

And I can't really say that things have... calmed down either. If anything, the situation is rather tentative. Danger abode. Tensions are rising. Yet everything is calm...

Ugh, shit. How fucking cliche. But fine, I'll say it:

It feels like the calm before a storm.

A dog-Freak managed to get inside the security measure's we'd enacted yesterday. Following its death, we gathered those we could find. Hector was up by then of course, he was there when I managed to take down the doggy. Henry was up, but hiding out inside his room. Anna being downstairs with Monica.

And Colin, no where to be found.

We couldn't take any chances. A Freak had gotten inside, there had to be an entrance we hadn't accounted for somewhere, so we retreated into the infirmary for the rest of the night. We couldn't even risk the trip to gather more weapons at the armory.

We holed up in the infirmary together for the rest of the night with the weapons we had then. Four assault rifles. And we waited for the dawn to come.

The only real problem came shortly after we entered the infirmary.

Hector still didn't know about Sean's death. He had assumed Sean was down in the infirmary with Anna. But when we entered and he didn't see him, he asked me. And I couldn't look him in the eye.

He asked again and when I didn't answer, he grabbed me by my front and, more violently than I ever remember him, shook me and demanded I tell him where Sean was.

I looked at him then, I wanted to be honest, to tell him frankly that Sean was dead. Had died alone, because of his idiocy. But I saw the torn emotions building within his eyes; the stormy fear and knowledge already there crashing together into tears.

I told him Sean was dead.

Took me roughly three sentences to spit it out. And another to make it comprehensible.

He pushed me away and tried for the door. He had a gun. He was dangerous. It was a miracle none of the others got shot restraining him. Holding him back.

And he spent the night crying bitterly as me and Henry tried to keep him down.

Morning came and with it, the opportunity to go out. But of course, first we had to run a precursory search of the building. Make sure we didn't stumble upon any sleeping Freaks during the day. And when that didn't turn up anything except the dead dog and Sean's body, we moved toward looking for the means that the Freak used to get inside.

And we started looking for Colin's corpse.

That was the assumption of course. Colin must be dead. He must of been out in the hallways when the Freak-dog got inside and was taken out easily. The dog probably devoured him whole. Or left the remains somewhere obscure. We we're sure we'd find his body eventually.

Probably up a tree.

We found a passage that opened into the roof was pried open. It's a small thing, tucked into the second floor's east corner, behind an alcove. Not something we had to secure, the door itself is pretty solid. But in the morning we found it slightly ajar. A small shoe prying it open slightly.

A shoe the size that would fit a small boy.

Colin (or what remained) wasn't on the roof either.

So we buried Sean that afternoon. I wouldn't have taken the time to do it (and I think Henry didn't want to either) but Hector demanded that he receive a proper burial. And to my surprise, Anna supported the idea.

So we buried him, next to the tree in the northern yard that Anna used to meditate under. Hector dug the hole himself. He claimed Sean would have appreciated the gesture "six feet under". And we had a small service for him there, under the sky.

On a side-note, although no one's brought it up, it seems the gun-ban is over. Somewhere in the darkest of the night, the trust of the others in me and Anna was restored, if not slightly.

And after the service for Sean, I found a small piece of paper folded and tucked into my pocket. A single word scribbled upon it: USEless.

I've received this kind of message before, although I still don't know who exactly delivers it. But it disturbs me nonetheless.

Monica's still asleep. Nothing's changed there. But upon awaking, her whole world's going to change.

And our dwindling supplies still haven't been replenished. Not that we're in need... we still technically have weeks left of supplies (a few months even if we start severely stretching our meals), but the medicine Henry gives Monica for the pain is almost gone (he's started popping those pills dammit, or at least I suspect) and more of the school's pipes have started chugging out muddy water.

And almost as if in cruel jest, I picked up a word in the radio today, among the static. I thought I'd imagined it at first, but the moment caught me, and now I'm ready to swear I heard what I heard. Swear to whom? No one in particular.

The word I heard: "Still-".


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#0041 | 07/29 | 10:30 AM

Worst fucking case scenario last night. A Freak - a dog - somehow got inside the central building in the middle of the night.

We lost someone - Sean - and it was all because me and Anna weren't fucking armed.

We only found out it was inside around three, but of course, it could have been wandering around much earlier than that. God only knows what might have actually gone down if an entire pack of the fucking things had gotten inside. We we were lucky only one got in.

Lucky and incredibly fucked.

It was a call from Anna that awoke me.

She told me to call the others and warn them to stay inside their rooms. A dog-Freak had gotten inside and was wandering around the first floor corridors.

When I asked her where she was, she told me she was in the infirmary - with Monica. I asked her what the hell she was doing there, and she told me she had to come down and help protect Monica - she was effectively defenseless after all.

When I asked where Colin was (he slept with Monica in the infirmary these days, and it seemed strange that he wasn't... well, killing Anna to be honest) and she told me he wasn't downstairs.


Had she tried his cell? No, she responded. That would be senseless as his cell phone was lying on a table downstairs, in the infirmary. Discarded.

First, I called Sean. It was the obvious choice. He was certain to be downstairs, playing commando near the armory, the ultimate target. Shit. The bastard hadn't slept in days. His paranoia has been running his ass ragged.


If he happened to fall asleep down there. Sitting on the stairs in front of the armory...

And a big, bad old dog happened to trot along...


Shit, shit, shit!

The phone rang silently five times on the other side before going to a nameless voice-mail. I called again, twice. We kept the phones on vibrate as a rule these days. Seemed smarter. At night, the last thing we wanted was to attract undue attention because of the sound of a stupid ringer.

But Sean didn't answer and that could mean two things. Maybe he'd fallen asleep, as was likely, and the vibration simply wasn't waking him through the cloth. Or maybe a certain doggy had come along and ripped out his neck.

There wasn't any time to waste, the situation was already dangerously fucked. I couldn't even bother to try Henry and Hector, I'd have to hope Anna would dial a warning in their direction after me.

I stepped out into the upstairs corridor. The door clunked uneasily, and I cursed at the noise that emitted. But that couldn't be helped. I had to move.

The darkness was too thick for my eyes. I couldn't see anything at either end of the hall, only the darkness that permeated everything. But if I stood still for a bit, my eyes adjusted slightly. No colors - but forms emerged quietly from the void.

Enough for me to assume I was alone. I was counting on my ears to cover what I couldn't see. And since I didn't hear the raspy panting and growling I associated with the dog-Freaks (and wasn't having my throat torn out), I assumed I was alone.

Anna said the beast was downstairs, and I believed her. The only problem was where downstairs. Could be anywhere from the central building first floor to the administration building...

And I was, of course, unarmed.

I walked down the corridor, toward the west, toward the staircase above the armory. Hoping to find Sean. But thinking that a loaded assault weapon would be ever better.

The place is littered by the way. Over turned chairs, tables, not to mention all the trash... books, notebooks, binders, crumpled paper... all too easy to step on something in the dark.

Make a sudden noise. A click. Maybe a tack. Or a thunk. Then I would stand there in the darkness, defenseless, my breath hitching up as I waited. Waited for the hot taste of foul breath lapping at the back of my neck.

I stopped at the top of the staircase. Waiting. Straining to hear. To sense life sprawled somewhere. A big lean lump sleeping unknowingly at the foot of the stairs. Sean.

And then and there, I really did hope he was alive.

All the shit he'd done to me and Anna recently put aside, I found myself yearning quite plainly to not have to see his grizzly remains decorating the stairs. Because he was a comrade. And I'd seen too much death as of late. I hoped...


I blinked, uncomfortably, and stepped forward. Looking down, toward the floor a story below. Above, a large window provided a pale glow of light via the moon, and illuminated Sean, lying on the stairs, completely out. Snoring plainly yet silently. He rifle held loosely in his hands.

Alright. Alright.

I stepped down the stairs, carefully, stumbled on the last step and almost fell, but caught myself on the railing and managed to proceed. My left ankle a little worse for wear.

I stood above Sean and considered kicking his awake, but thought against it and leaned down over him. Nudging him carefully but forcefully, I repeated his name a few times before his eyes fluttered open uneasily, and he awoke.

And boy, was I not the one he wanted to greet him a good morning.

He pushed me away and swung the rifle in my direction, stepping away, toward the first floor corridor. He told me to stay back, and asked me what the hell I thought I was doing here.

I tried to explain about the dog-Freak (acutely aware of how loud he sounded in the night), but before I got the whole thing out, he told me to shut up and put my hands in the air. Then, he proceeded to make more absurd assumption. Immediately saying that I had been attempting to murder him while he slept and was trying to liberate some arms to do away with the others.


I tried again, to reason with him, and actually got the entire situation out while he eyed me nervously, but he laughed.

No he didn't.



Sean's eyes popped into wide O's as he turned around, to face the source of the seedy little laughter we heard, that had clearly not come from Sean at all.

But he was too slow.

In a split second, a large pointed jaw appeared from behind, from the corridor, and wrapped itself on Sean's now exposed neck.

Flick. Twist. Break. And he was no more. Poor bastard.

I didn't wait, I jumped over the railing, skipping the steps entirely and landing on the floor. I reached for the small handle that opened into the make-shift armory and threw the narrow door open.

Reaching inside, I groped for the visible bundle of metal bodies lying piled on each other and brought out the first automatic weapon I touched.

Twisting out, back toward the beast, I raised the weapon toward the Freak (it was standing over Sean's corpse, feeding gruesomely on his spine) and clicked on the trigger.

My body had readied itself for the significant recoil I expected. I couldn't hear anything through the adrenaline (god my ears felt searing hot) so I didn't know it at first, but the lack of recoil tipped me off. There was no recoil. There was no recoil!

There was no magazine tucked into the slot!

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

Sean, I knew then, had been careful to unload all the weapons. Aww, fuck him. (At least the door hadn't been padlocked).

Had the dog been gunning for me, it would have had me there. There simply wasn't enough time to cover turning around, looking for a proper magazine, clipping it, turning back, and firing.

But it wasn't, so there was.

And I unloaded on that fucker with a rain of flying metal.

It took the burst with a piercing wail, and flew upwards, toward the stairs, toward the second floor.

I say "flew", but I know it was just a jump. A powerful jump albeit, but a jump nonetheless. Still, with the amount of air that thing achieved within a small amount of time, it was too easy to believe the thing could fly.

The heavy sounds of body hitting grounding and I knew the thing was wounded. But alive. And trying to get away.

Fuck that.

I chased it up the stairs, the fast fuck, and saw it sprinting out into the second floor corridor. I followed as fast as I could with my hurting ankle, and entered the corridor in time to see Hector, standing outside his door, flashlight clutched in hand. The dog-Freak rounding down the dim hall in his direction.

I raised my weapon and I fired a burst.

Knowing full well that I was probably going to hit Hector with a slug too. He was directly behind the dog. Directly in the line of fire.

The dog slammed into him, and then my rounds slammed into the dog, and it collapsed. A giant form lying in the hallway floor.

I waited a few seconds, afraid that the thing had managed to kill another comrade before it was felled, but I moved eventually.

"Get this fat bitch off of me, shit."


I went to his aide and helped heave the extraordinarily large corpse off of him.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

#0040 | 07/28 | 08:03 AM ~ Childlike

We went scavenging yesterday for foodstuffs, which are quickly disappearing.

Me, Colin, Hector, and Henry took off for a supermarket which lies around six blocks to the east of the school, following a main street.

And of course, because of recent concerns the others have had, I was the only one un-armed.

And I suspect the reason Sean didn't participate with us was so that he could keep an eye on our armory, which he now seems obsessed with meticulously inventorying, lest even a single magazine or slug goes unaccounted for. And Henry didn't seem that keen pushing Anna and Colin together so he asked her to stay behind. Which was alright with Sean. But since he couldn't watch both her, the unconscious Monica, and the armory at once, he asked Anna to step into the infirmary with him and kindly, await our return.

Paranoid son of a bitch.

Which doesn't really make sense because I'm going and I was the one that shot at the little bugger. But what the hell ever.

All during the expedition, Colin put on the sweetest, most despicable "oh, I just want everyone to get along! Pweez?" front. The way he treated me in front of the others probably only further cemented the notion and me and Anna are somehow the bad guys in all this.

Worse yet, even I almost fell for it. Until we were alone and his mask fell away.

The market had been picked clean, probably should have expected that, but we'd found a little place next to the market that had been filled with water containers. Containers we could use to increase our supply of the precious substance. It was under lock and key, but Hector said he thought he saw a ring of keys back inside the market, near the security office. Henry, although obviously not wanting to leave Colin alone with me (the gun Colin held and I didn't probably helped absolve this), went with him; to use the bathroom.

We stood there for a few minutes, silence between us. I was getting ready to try and lighten the mood, say something to bridge a friendship between us, something I hadn't really felt since the morning after I got his mom the supplies she needed. But he spoke up first, and what he said sent a chill up my spine:

"I'm going to get that bitch."


"No one hurts my mom. That bitch is dead. And if you get in the way, so are you."

I said it once, and I'll say it again: that kid is cuckoo for coco pops. Damn. Ice cold and calm too, didn't even break a sweat telling me he was still planning to pop Anna off.

I tried to explain he was wrong, about me and Anna. That Anna hadn't tried to kill his mom. That he had seen it wrong. Shit went in one ear and out the other. He just stood there, calmly, with that childish glow he had warmed the others with, seemingly ignoring my explanations, which I kept sputtering right up until Henry and Hector returned with the keys.

And I could see that words were useless with him.

We found no food that trip but plenty of water containers which we loaded into shopping carts and made the arduous trip back to the school. Which took hours, the way we had to travel around the barricades.

When we got back, Sean and Anna were where we had left them. Just sitting in the infirmary, against the wall, against each other. Anna sitting there calmly, her eyes closed. Sean sitting there eying her aggressively, his rifle cocked unassumingly to the spot of wall directly between Anna and Monica.

I took Anna out to the tree she had been under when Colin tried to kill her and explained that Colin was still gunning for her. That he had a gun stashed around the school somewhere. And worse yet, he was under no restrictions from using arms like we were, so he might even be able to get more.

She listened to this, this entire fucking mess calmly, before speaking, and then asked me, totally from left field, if the despair had vanished.

At first I didn't know what she meant exactly, it took a few more words of explanation for me to realize she was referring to the despair we had all felt a few days ago, since the tentative reality of the situation sunk in around our faintest pleas of hope.

And, to my surprise, my answer was yes. I hadn't even noticed, but the despair, the numb scatter brain we had all been victim to had simply vanished.

It's because of the danger, Anna explained then. For me and Anna, the despair slipped away when the threat Colin poses to Anna became apparent. It sharpened us, the fear of losing something close, and pushed our attention away from reality, back toward survival.

For Henry, Hector, and Sean, it's similar but not quite. Instead of the danger Colin poses, what awoke them from the numb dread was the danger they imagine me and Anna pose to Colin and Monica. In attempting to protect a kid and his mother, they too were freed from the hopelessness.

And Colin, well since he seems to sincerely believe Anna tried to kill Monica, that was what snapped him up and awake.

The rest of the day passed peaceably enough and so did the night.

But I have to wonder how many more days can pass like this before more familiar blood has to be shed.

Monday, July 27, 2009

#0039 | 07/27 | 07:30 AM

They found Colin at dawn, hiding out in the southern building.

Henry found him in the first floor's girl's bathroom. The rifle I claimed he had was no where to be found. Again, discrediting my side of the story and apparently giving the others all the proof they needed to assume I was lying about his part of what happened yesterday.

Worse yet, because of the crappy inventory job we've been doing recently, it's impossible to know if a rifle is really missing from armory. Actually, if we go strictly by inventory, it looks like three are missing.

But that doesn't change the fact of what's happened. The rest of the guys are positive me and Anna can't be trusted. They've worked out locks and such for the armory, are keeping it under watch, and Henry is working the security cameras to attempt to keep us under permanent supervision.

Apparently, the motherfucker worked out how to get them to work some time in the last few days.

I've tried to talk sense to Hector and Henry, who I really do think are just under a misconception about my intentions, but they wont listen. And Sean has become openly hostile.

I really don't think he'd hesitate to shoot if I caught him off-guard.

The entire situation is fucked up, and worse, the one who really needs to be watched, Colin, is moving around freely.

And he's got a goddamned gun stashed somewhere around the school. He's a danger to Anna, I can see it whenever he sees her. He's determined to take her out. And the others wont do anything to protect her.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

#0038 | 07/26 | 04:20 PM

They've banned my usage of fire-arms. Anna too, I think, but they didn't exactly say it. But Sean pointing the rifle at her face and threatening to fire sort of implied it.

Hard to believe, just a few days ago, I thought things were going to be alright. Oh, sure. Things were shit and getting shittier by the minute, but at least comparatively, things had evened out fairly. We were surrounded by death. But we'd found a home. No hope in sight. But friendship in each other. Our continued survival threatened around every corner. Yet the means to protect ourselves within our grasp. Those were the promises that seemed largely certain in the horizon.

Around midday, Colin got away from Henry and Hector's supervision. Out from the infirmary which he had refused to leave since the disputed incident with his mother and Anna.

He should have been watched more carefully. And I should have realized the kid was more fucked up than a whore. But shit, seems obvious in retrospect. That kid's entire family was probably butchered. Some by each other maybe. And maybe in front of his eyes.

That can't be healthy to a little boy. But I'm not exactly one to judge...

Seeing that, and only having his mom left with him, it's bound to cause an unhealthy obsession with protecting her. So when he saw what he imagines he saw conspire between Anna and Monica, he snapped harder than I thought he did.

He got away from supervised eyes and he picked up a rifle. We keep them (our entire stock of guns and ammo) under the central buildings inner stairwell, in an out of the way janitor's closet that we originally found stacked with soggy, old, worn textbooks. Unfortunately, unlocked. But Sean promised that's about to change.

And then he took the rifle (that's nearly half his size for Christ's sakes), walked up to the second floor of the central building, walked along the outside path, crouched, and pointed the weapon at Anna, over the railing, who was sitting out on the small grassy part of the yard, under a large tree.

She's told me she likes to go there, at least once a day, surrounded by the small amount of greenery available to her and release her pint up worries and secrets into the wind. The same things she likes to share with me.

When I asked her why she would bother to do such a thing - tell both me and nature her worries and fears, she smiled and said she likes having her secrets in two places. Places equally unreachable. One in the world and one in the heart.

And she would have died. Right there, while she was doing something like that. Something so incredibly innocent and free. She would have been murdered in cold blood by that crazy son of a bitch. But I walked out from the northern building then, saw the kid on the second floor, then panned and saw what he was gunning for.

And thank god he hesitated. The little monster wasn't too far gone for that. He hesitated. And thank god for that.

In the small time that he took to reconsider his actions (but never lift his finger from the trigger) I swung my rifle from my shoulder, lifted the barrel, aimed with more intensity than I can ever recall aiming, and squeezed a quick round at the brat.

Two rounds of the burst hit the wall behind him. I saw the wall cake and crumble as they hit. Another two, amazingly, hit the railings underneath him, and somehow rebounded. Must be some damn hard metal that made that railing. And one slug hit the rifle the brat was aiming. It would have missed but the first rounds surprised him from his intent concentration and caused him to perk up and swing his weapon straight into the last shot's path.

He almost dropped it. The rifle that is, although I suspect his bladder as well. But it looked like he grappled it at the last moment before fleeing.

Anna looked up then, saw Colin ducking behind the railings, and then saw me, rifle cocked up at the little fucker.

I screamed at her to get out of sight. That Colin was armed. And he was going for her.

She looked in my direction for less than a second before ducking behind the large tree, effectively hiding her from Colin.

Then, I raised my weapon, and followed Colin's little form as he skittered down the passage, trying to get out of sight. I had him then, a sheer second away from clipping down his small frame
and ending it there, when my name was called out from below, from the central building.

It was Hector, with his weapon cocked in my direction. He told me to put the weapon down. When I refused, he promised he would shoot my sorry ass if I didn't.

I hesitated. Anna was still out there behind that tree. Colin had gone west, toward the west-end of the central building. And he still had the rifle he'd taken. He was still capable of stopping and taking out Anna if he tried. I couldn't let that happen. I didn't drop my weapon.

Hector fired.

The rounds hit the floor next to me. Then he promised that if I didn't drop the fucking gun, he'd take me out. He said it twice, and I I took one look in his eyes, and I saw that he wasn't kidding. So I complied.

Minutes later we were gathered in the office for a little communal meetings. Me and Anna were seated on the reception side of the room with Henry sitting across the counter, Sean and Hector behind him, pointing rifles at our faces. The noticeably missing participant, Colin, no where to be found.

I explained the situation calmly to the others. Explained how I'd stumbled upon Colin about to coldly murder, the once-again-the-victim, Anna. Explained that the kid was cracked. And that worse yet, he was armed. That we needed to find him and apprehend him before he hurt anyone with the damn rifle he still had.

And then Sean told me to shut the fuck up.

Flatly, they informed me that they didn't believe Colin had a weapon. That they believed I had attempted to murder Colin, on Anna's behalf.

When Colin had left the infirmary, he had departed with the cryptic message: "Alex is calling me."

They told me and Anna to go up, to our rooms. I was warned to not even think about getting a gun, that the small armory would now be under lock and key. Protected by an armed Sean.

Henry and Hector planned to go out searching for Colin, who they actually seem to think is the victim in all this.

#0037 | 07/26 | 07:48 AM

The rest of the guys are out of line. Completely.

They actually seem to think that Colin's version of events is plausible. Worse yet, they're going out of their way to validate the little idiot's imagination and day dreams.

I just about socked Henry when he told me it would probably be best if Anna didn't feed Monica anymore. Sean and Hector suggested that perhaps Anna should just stay away from the infirmary completely for a while.

Colin is still downstairs, still in the infirmary, with his mother. He's a little on edge right now, has been since yesterday, and wont leave her side.

But, shit, that doesn't excuse what's going on. The others are making way too many assumptions, and jumping to way too many conclusions.

Henry says that when he first examined Monica yesterday, after her spasms, he noted that her neck had been slightly bruised and chaffed. These are signs, he claims, that lend direct proportional evidence to Colin's claims of Anna's actions yesterday.

What the fuck ever.

I tried to reason with him. The bitch started to spasm. Anna was surprised. She tried to hang on to Monica's body. To restrain her movements. That explains any such signs that Henry might have seen.

Might have, being correct here. Since yesterday, the marks have disappeared. And I'm left wondering if they were ever even there. Or if they we're just Henry's wishful thinking.

And then Sean and Hector have the fucking nerve to try and tell me I'm the one who ain't thinking straight. That I need to calm the fuck down. What the fuck?

Oh, and then Sean pulled this baby on me:

"Hey. We know you two have been... doing that at night. Fucking like horny squirrels. You're not thinking rationally, kid. you're biased towards her. She's in your head, you idiot."

Hector nodded plainly at that, and Henry's eyes sort of bunch together. He asked if that's true. But he doesn't ask me or Anna who are right in front of him, he asked Sean, to his fucking right.

And poor Anna. She's just sitting there, on a desk, with her head in her arms. Having to hear her name be dragged through the mud by these fucking sick bastards. Shit, I applaud her willingness to leave and let be, but I had to clear the air.

I explained, with less than charming words, that they were way off base. That me and Anna had not even once engaged in anything remotely sexual. That our relationship wasn't what they believed at all.

I explained that we were only friends. Close friends, albeit, but just that. We talked after night and together, we released some of the stress and frustration that built up inside of us. Emotions and feeling that could drive one insane if not released carefully. But never sexually. Only through words.

Sean and Hector didn't seem to buy it. It was written all over their stupid faces. Freaking perverts. I guess they must have caught sight of Anna entering my room one night a few days ago. Something she hasn't even done the last few. Shit, well not quite. She came last night, but only because of what happened yesterday. We talked about it. And she's really shaken.

Even Henry didn't seem to believe the nature of our relationship was so clandestine. But he didn't push it. He just set the limits on Anna around Monica and ended it there. Shit. Didn't even ask Anna one thing during her trial of character. Old motherfucker.

All the while Anna just took it, the victim. She's with me now. In my room, smiling behind me. I've told her my feelings, but she just smiled. And told me to let it go.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

#0036 | 07/25 | 03:11 PM

Anna tried to kill Monica an hour ago.

Or, at least, that's what Colin keeps screaming. He was the only other person there, when Anna was feeding Monica lunch.

Their stories don't match up at all, and Colin is downstairs with Henry, Hector, and Sean, in the infirmary. I don't know what to make of it. And the rest of us are unsure as to what exactly went the fuck down.

Henry and Hector are trying to calm Colin down. Sean is doing the holding back. Colin's in tears, a struggling mess. He wont leave his mother's side, he's an emotional wreck right now. But he's demanding that Anna be killed. He keeps screaming that:

"Kill that psycho! She's crazy! Fucking bitch!"

Colin claims Anna was feeding his mother, as usual (liquefied food stuffs; banana, milk, eggs, protein), when she froze up, titled the cup back, and chugged the entire contents of the cup down Monica's throat, all the while throttling her with her hands, choking her furiously.

Or at least, that's the best of his explanation we could make out in between his wails and obscene screams.

I was down there with the others, trying my best to calm Colin down, when he kicked me in my balls.

"Fuck you! Fuck that bitch! Fuck that crazy son of a bitch!"

So now I'm upstairs in my room. Colin's strange aggression toward me forcing me to stay away. Along with Anna. And of course, her explanation is completely different. And much more rational.

Anna claims she was feeding Monica, with Colin present as always, tilting the frothy liquefied drink down her throat when Monica started to seize and shake.

Anna, being caught by surprise, clung on to Monica's epileptic state and, unintentionally, ended up pushing the rest of the cup's contents down Monica's throat.

And here's where things get sketchy. Sean and Henry were the first ones on the scene. They were alerted by Colin's screams. Henry, still working on the cameras was but a room nearby. Sean happened to be in the auditorium organizing water containers.

They arrived in time to witness Monica, seizing on the bed, with a great excess of liquid frothing from her mouth and running down her front. The cup shattered at the floor. Colin was on top of Anna on the floor, beating her face with his fists, tears streaming down his closed eyes. Coarse words spitting out in incoherent spittle.

By the time Hector arrived, Sean was holding Colin back and Henry was trying to tend to Monica.

And I arrived twenty minutes later, having been alerted by Henry's call. I had been further away. Back at the old house. Though that isn't important.

We talked to Anna, in turns (one had to help contain Colin; he's out of his mind) and got what we could out of Colin.

Monica will survive. I'm not a doctor, so I'll let Henry fill me in on the details later, but I'm sure the seizure she suffered can be attributed the gun shot wounds. We don't have a freaking hospital here. Henry treated her with what we could. But her system's taken quite a shock. I'm sure it'll be a bumpy road for her to recover.

We haven't had time to talk (Henry, Hector, Sean, and me) but I've heard both sides of the story and, to be quite honest, Anna's side makes sense.

But I've seen Colin, and he really believes the shit he's spouting. It's impossible to fake that kind of state of mind, especially for a kid. But it's understandable. He's just a kid. He thought he saw something, but he's wrong.

Anna had to struggle to hold Monica while her body shook. The cup got spilled by accident. Colin's emotionally fragile. He's been through a lot. Again, understandable. He misinterpreted what he saw.

I'm sure Henry, Hector, and Sean will agree when we've had the chance to discuss it.

Anna's shaken by this of course. Her face is bruised where Colin got her (small but furious; shit) and I had to hold her for awhile to help her calm down.

But she doesn't blame Colin. She understand that the kid's just that. A kid. He isn't mature, in body or mind. And he made a mistake.


#0035 | 07/25 | 08:27 AM

Sometime during the dead of night, around two or three, an explosion sounded somewhere to the south-east.

I wasn't awake for it, but Anna told me later that the ground shook lightly. And a few seconds later (minus a boom) the ground shook again, even lighter, signaling another blast.

We don't know the cause or reason, but we found plenty to fret over.

We're right in the middle of fire season. The sweltering days have peaked, and with the dry bush and ungodly temperatures blowing cruel winds among us, it's not hard to imagine a small fire quickly blazing out of control. And engulfing us.

Especially without a fire department to control a blaze.

In fact, I'd have to say we've been incredibly lucky, on that front so far.

It's not like there hasn't been any fires, there have, but the ones that blazed were either started when the government still had presence before the End (i.e., they were extinguished) or was brought under control by survivors pooling together for a cause.

Some parts of the city burned, but what did was mostly confined to neighborhoods and buildings, and thankfully, most of the city still stands.

It's unfortunate, but if a large scale fire did erupt from a tanker explosion or pyromaniac idiots, we simply wouldn't have the resources or, indeed, man-power to suppress it. We'd be forced to flee.

Flee from the minimal security we'd found for ourselves into uncertainty. And most probably, death.

And so, upon the explosion that sounded in the midst of night, we found plenty to worry ourselves over.

But it seems we needn't. Morning came and smoke was not gushing into the blue sky. Fire was not dancing our way, encroaching our home. Luck had seemingly smiled upon us another day.

Friday, July 24, 2009

#0034 | 07/24 | 01:14 PM

We're in a drudge.

After this morning, everyone just seems sluggish. Slow. The day seems to be pushing on at an amazingly slow rate. And everyone's trying to avoid everyone else.

Me and Sean are supposed to be doing inventory on our diminishing supplies today.

Supposed to being the key word here. Instead, we're sitting around, writing down figures, staring into space for a bit, then snapping out of it at the sound of a creak or step, looking down, and realizing our calculations are wrong. Or we've been writing down the weirdest nonsensical shit for awhile.

We haven't replenished anything, so it's obvious that the day when we'll run out of edible foodstuffs or heck, bullets, will come. We've been conserving, cutting our meals to the bare minimum and it's not like we've had reason to fire our limited ammunition since the day we took in Monica and Colin, but still. We agreed it would soon be time to go out and scavenge the remains of the city for the necessities.

Henry was, as always it seemed, working on his little project involving the school's security cameras. Which was still majorly inoperable. A few hours ago, he perked up when one of the cameras, one situated outside the northern building, flickered to life, but his single success had since gone out and he was left stumped on what had gone wrong.


Colin and Anna are attending to Monica, who doesn't really need attending owing to the fact she's asleep all the time, and when she does need anything medical, Henry's the only one who can handle it.

But Anna helps feed her when the time comes and Colin seems anxious to leave her side for too long a time.

And we're all in a daze. We're all doing something, the exact worth of each of our responsibilities debatable, but we're trudging along the path. A path now paved on despair.

And that's whats wrong. Exactly what's wrong. Despair.

Fuck, it is good to take the time to organize your thoughts like this. Shit.

We've all given up. It seems, we all had the idea, buried or stowed away but had all the same, that life would eventually return the normalcy we expect of it. That this wasn't how the rest of our lives was going to go, survivors in the ruins of the world. That we would get out of the knee-deep shit somehow.

But the sight of those two glorious helicopters skimming the early morning air, relics of a world gone by, punched the button we didn't even know we had.

They saw us. Oh yes they fucking did.

They we're flying low enough, and we were jumping and hollering from the roof of the central building. The highest point around for blocks. They'd be blind not to see us.

So they saw us.

And they didn't stop.

And that, that knowledge is what's dazed us. It's forced a nasty reality on the little box in the back of our heads that carried our hope. When we saw those choppers, that silent little box just about burst with relief and delight. And when they went by, that little box couldn't be closed.

And now we're mucked in despair.

And that's extremely bad for our survival, I see now. Teamwork, cooperation, work - these things require a certain degree of faith. Of synchronization. And as we are now, we're like a bunch of retarded ducks on a minefield.

And we're right in there too, right inside a city that's basically a war zone for 12 hours a day, and a sweltering trial the other 12. And unless we wake the fuck up, when the time comes to put our selves to work really defending ourselves (be it from Freak or gun-toting fucktard), we'll be fucked. 'Cause there ain't a fight we'll be able to put up when we're like this.

Like lost sheep on fire.

#0033 | 07/24 | 06:32 AM ~ Hopeless

Ten minutes ago, everyone rushed outside.

Hector was the one who woke us up first, but I think I already knew in my sleep. Sort of. I think I can remember the thumping.

Two gray, sleek military helicopters, zoomed into sight from the south, heading south-east.

We ran as fast as we could to the roof, and screamed to try and jar their attention. To make ourselves noticeable.

I think Colin was throwing cans.

But they didn't stop. Or make any sign that they recognized us. The choppers continued their direction and eventually, I couldn't make out the rhythmic thud of the propellers. And then I couldn't make them out at all.

And we stood there on the central building's roof top. Heaving and hoarse. Sean turned and went back downstairs; silent and brooding. Colin looked like he might cry. Henry and Hector seemed speechless. Anna just kept staring in the direction the choppers had gone.

And in the cold morning glare, I have to wonder if we hadn't dreamed the whole thing.

We don't know whether to hope or not. The helicopters could be anything. Maybe the real remains of the government, attempting to re-establish order; control. Maybe just some wack-job survivor's who stumbled upon something cool. Maybe even spies from another country that wasn't completely wiped out, surveying the damage that Freaky unleashed.

And he we are, the survivors. The ones who dare not even fucking hope.

I'm going back to sleep.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

#0032 | 07/23 | 12:09 PM

I've come back, to the old house, again today.

Monica, the mother, woke up for the first time since she was shot, earlier today. The kid, Colin, was ecstatic. She wasn't completely there, the doc (Henry) is keeping her doped up on something to ease the pain (and there should be pain, she's got three holes in her cause' of me), but just knowing that she's getting better pushed the active kid in hyper drive.

I couldn't take it.

Which isn't like me. Not at all.

I heard the pitter patter of his footsteps down the hall, racing back from whatever the hell Henry has him doing, and I wanted to strangle him.

I yanked the earphones from my ears and stormed out.

And I don't know why.

My neighbor was a super religious neo-Nazi gun nut. Before he was shot that is. One of the earlier deaths in the city actually. About a month before the End, before the widespread looting and such, he was organizing a block defense task force or some shit like that.

Anyway, he went and popped off verbally on the wrong guy and the guy went and popped him. Literally. With a revolver. One that my neighbor had given to the dude in the first place.

Sucks to be him.

I think the dude had a wife, though I'm not sure. I never saw her much. Just once or twice in five years actually. So she could have been a visiting relative actually; they resembled each other.

But she was bruised. Taking out the trash, I bumped into a little timid lady who had a black bruise along the right side of her face. She just about yelped when she saw me, and hurried back to the house.

Little glassy beady eyes.

Then two years later, I saw her again. This time in the dude's car pulling away into the night. No visible bruises, but the way she was huddled in the seat made me think she must be bruised somewhere out of sight.

And then the morbid thoughts kicked in.

I imagined that he must have been abusing her for years, that perhaps she wasn't even his wife, just a victim. Someone he kept chained in the basement to do his housework and throw a good screw once in a while. In fact, I imagined, that if I went now to their house and opened the basement doors, I'd find her, chained to a bed.

At first, I imagined her emasculated, starving form chained to the bedposts, a single pathetic word escaping her leathery lips: "Heeelp...".

But then my mind suddenly tossed that image away, and instead, I saw her carcass, bone remains, chained to the bedposts. And an infestation of Freak Rats crawling amidst the remains. Crawling and scavenging, even though the bones would be picked clean by then, they would continue to search.

Much like last Tuesday when I wad been urged to go and see if my neighbor across the door was dead. I was filled with the sudden need to go and see. To prove my suspicion right or wrong. And in fact, my legs moved, I reached the end of my front lawn, when I stopped.

Uncertainty was boiling in my head. I glanced down and found a little red garden gnome grinning up at me, his head held in his hands, a little tongue stuck out permanently in a raspberry.

I kicked it. Shattering it across the grass.

And then I turned around and exited the gate, but passed my neighbor's house. Back to the road. Back to the school.

#0031 | 07/23 | 03:07 AM

Henry didn't seem too bothered when I told him about the Freak-dogs that had taken down the human-Freak last night.

He was still tinkering with his surveillance system and just sorta said: "Ayuh."

When I questioned him about it further, he merely pointed out that we didn't really know a whole lot about Freaky or the Freaks for that matter. Animal Freaks were something else, that although we didn't have much experience with, were probably bound to come across eventually.

The Freak-Rat Jerry back at the house came to mind.

Things with Sean and Hector haven't settled like I hoped they would. Something about the tensed situation where we all had guns pointed at another might have changed the way they look at me, I dunno. They acknowledge that I didn't do it to be a bastard, and it was thanks to that the mother is alive and kicking on a bed in the infirmary, but something in their eyes is just different.

The kid was a lot more active today. His name is Colin, and he seemed eager enough to do the small menial tasks Hector set for him. The kid and his mom (Monica) will be staying with us for awhile. At least until Monica is fully healed and awake and able to decide if they'll stay or leave. Which is fine, I guess.

I went back for the rifle I'd dropped the night before. Found it beside the car I hid behind. The carcass of the human-Freak the dogs had taken down nowhere in sight. Not even the bones.

The gun itself was ruined. Ripped in half. The barrel bent. The stock a few yards away. At least I was able to recover the full magazine. It's not much of a loss. We have a good supply of various arms back at the school courtesy of our thoughtful friends, the Bandits.

Anna explained to me earlier a little more about that night. She said, she had called with the right positions, but right before entering the office, the head Bandit forced the woman into the door first. Probably out of suspicion, things had been strange. No one had greeted his crew and the door to the office was just open.

Things we, of course, hadn't calculated that day. Unfortunately.

And of course, Anna's not here with me today. Which is weird. But not really. It's not like I'd come to become accustomed to her nightly visits, not enough time had passed for that. But still.

Perhaps she too has come to see me differently.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

#0030 | 07/22 | 06:51 AM

I didn't sleep.

I got up earlier than Anna (usually she sneaks back to her room before the dawn hours) and went downstairs and checked the infirmary.

I don't know. Maybe I expected a bloody scene, Henry standing over a bloody rag doll marionette figure. That kid - still didn't know his name - crying silently in a corner, rocking back and forth, whispering the word mommy over and over. And Henry himself, in a crimson streaked apron, standing over the room like a daunting figure, the butchering instruments clutched in his grasp.

But it wasn't the case at all.

There was no excessive blood on the floor, or stained on Henry. The only hints of the red liquid were marks that ran along the mattress that the woman lay on, eyes closed, breathing calmly in the early morning glow.

Henry was sitting on a chair leaned against the eastern wall. He was snoozing, his head leaned back lazily, an uneven snoring emanating from his flaring nostrils.

The kid had been sitting next to his mom, propped up on a chair next to her bed. At first I thought he was asleep too, but at the sound of my approach, his small form shook to attention and he turned to face me.

I still remembered the way he looked at me yesterday, the burning anger and loathing I'd seen in his dull, shocked eyes. He knew I had been the one who had shot his mother. And he despised me, as he rightfully should.

So I didn't exactly know how to react to him now.

A brittle moment passed between us, during which his eyes narrowed speculatively and my eyes (well I don't really know what my eyes communicated) stared back before he visibly relaxed and turned around in his seat.

"Thank you."

I blinked then. Or some other stupid shit. I was lost. Was he thanking me for shooting his mother?

"If you hadn't gone to get the doctor's stuff, my mom would..."

No, I disagreed. I reminded him that I was the idiot who had placed his mother in danger in the first place, it was only right that I right my wrong.

He didn't say anything in response to that. I walked forward to stand beside him, to survey his mother. She was pale, but she didn't look as drawn and tired as she had yesterday. She would recover in time.

The doctor, the kid said, promised that she would recover with due time and care. She had been lucky, as none of the three bullets had clipped any essential internal organs. Had they, it was doubtful he could have done anything to save her life.

And we waited there for a few minutes, just watching her breathe, when he said:

"But thanks anyways."

I wanted to argue, but I didn't. I just sighed. Whatever.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

#0029 | 07/21 | 11:36 PM

I didn't know the danger going out there. I thought I did, but I was wrong. Completely and utterly off on the dangers that exist out there at night.

But I can see it now. Night no longer belongs to us, and it hasn't for awhile now.

Night is for the Freaks.

I got there a few minutes after nightfall. The Freaks would, I knew, at this time be rustling and awakening from their sleep. They would be hunting soon.

And time wasn't my friend. I had to find the shit in Henry's house and get back in time to save the mother's life, and at the same time, avoid being eaten by something unpleasant in the dark.

I found the basic medial supplies in the living room as Henry had promised, but I had to stop to scoop up the contents into a bag. They had been lying, scattered and catching dust on the floor, spilled, much like everything else, in what appeared to be a hurried search of the home. By the Bandits, if Henry's earlier account of being captured is true.

I ran out through backyard then, to get to the garage. But it was locked, and at the risk of attracting unwanted attention from anything that might be nearby, I wanted to avoid having to break a window so I called Henry.

He seemed stressed, but listened and told me there was a key under the garage door mat.

Ugh. Doh.

I entered the garage and found a well-organized room. Tidy to an extreme degree, except for a small layer of dust that had accumulated since the owner's final cleaning pass.

Boxes with various marker scribbled reference were piled in a corner, besides a shiny blue Cadillac.

I went through them and opened the tagged Medical / Miscellaneous only to find a small collection of animal pornography.


I flipped through a few of the magazines, which were pretty ragged.

The rest of the boxes weren't filled with such shit, but not being able to go by what they were titled made the process much slower. Eventually, I came upon a smaller box marked Gardening / Yard Plots which was filled with shoe boxes of bagged pills, syringes, and medial equipment such as scalpels and tweezers.

I placed the basic medial supplies in this box, checked the rest of the boxes to make sure I missed nothing important, and took off.

I had to perform a careful juggling routine between the rifle and the box, always attempting to keep the rifle in usable grasp, but keeping the box held firmly on my shoulder. My saving grace here was probably that the box wasn't so heavy.

About one block down, I heard something approaching. Panicked and dangerously aware of the bad situation I was in, I placed the box on the floor of the pavement, and scurried behind a car that was parked horizontally on the lawn of a house.

My heart was beating pure hot blood into my brain, my eyes glazed over, but my arms felt unnaturally cool and cold. I steadied the rifle and waited, the barrel pointed down the street.

And the from the opposite direction, a piercing scream sounded and I realized i had mistaken the direction. I turned around and nearly dropped the gun in my now clammy hands.

A human male Freak appeared, running on all fours down the street, with a strangely limping gait. Its bare body was expressed roughly in the raw night, all its muscles tenuous and strained as it ran.

But fuck it was fast. One second it was jumping on a car that barricaded one part of the street, and two seconds later, it was already 30 feet further down the road, a laughing bark emanating from its large, broadly open jaw.

And when it neared enough that I could see the ragged gash running down its leg to its belly, and saw the exposed muscle and flesh, I realized that this thing wasn't hunting tonight.

It was being hunted.

And then they appeared. A pack of the largest, most ferocious dogs I ever hope to witness in my life. Hairless, the lot of them, but all the size of Great Danes, and each with the inflamed muscles and body mass of a bear. Their heads were incredibly pointed, and their jaws we're as large as the human freak, but these dogs had speed on their side, and an acute team work I couldn't believe possible.

They closed the gap between them and the human Freak in an instant. One came in close from the left and struck out to take a bite, to which the human Freak responded with a fierce forearm slash.

But it had been a diversion and as it focused on the one dog, two others jumped from the opposite direction and bit at its neck, sending it in spasms toward the ground. Blood pouring from beneath the dog's teeth, clamped tightly and showing no signs of release in sight.

Then the other dogs leapt in and started tearing at the human's arms and legs, breaking apart its belly, and apparently finishing what they had earlier started.

When the human Freak finally showed no signs of response to being torn apart, two of the great dogs leaned back and howled. Three more of the beasts appeared from the direction the Freak had been heading, apparently awaiting for an ambush.

One of the dogs, at seeing a dog howl (by stupid instinct it seemed) jumped and tried to snap the great dog's exposed neck. But instantly, two others were on it, ripping at its pelt and sending it flinging outward from the group, as if in discipline. It lugged away and sat down, a great chunk of its ear missing.

Good god, I nearly passed out there. It was obvious I had to get away before they noticed me and tore me apart for being a witnesses to their horrific actions.

But my legs weren't responding and I wasn't even sure if I was breathing.

To be fair, this was the first time I was seeing this. other animals, other Freaks, that could be more dangerous than the usual human Freak I'd come to fear. it opened another world. So many questions. What the fuck is out there?

But of course, they were bound to notice me eventually. And they did. The great dog that had been disciplined had come closer to me in its docile state and suddenly its ears (what was left of them) perked up and a vehement growl issued forth. The other dogs paid it little heed until it barked a raspy and ferocious thing. Whatever this communicated, the other dogs instantly received and they all rose and turned to me in my hiding position. Unified, each with the same identical barred fangs expression and threatening growl flowing, they barked.

And god, then and there, I thought that was it. I'm fucked. Its over. I couldn't even deliver the god damned medicine before I died. Jesus fucking Christ.

And then I moved. I dropped my weapon on the grass and walked out into the view of the Freak Dogs, went around the car, closer to the street (their growls increased noticeably with each step, their eyes focused perfectly in synchronization), picked up the box of medicine and walked away, slowly, down the block.

For the most piss-drenching seconds of my life, I heard heavy paw on pavement as a dog followed forth to issue the killing blow. Hell, at least they'd find my remains near the medicine and know I tried.

But I wasn't trying. Hell, I hadn't even opened fire yet. Once again, I was talking the cowardly way out. I was simply walking away from the problem.

And then the pitter patter of paw was deadly close, and I swore I could feel hot breath full of death behind my neck.

And then there was a brisk and single bark and the pitter patter ceased. And I kept walking, not turning back, walking into the darkness with death itself behind me. Just kept walking.

And then I arrived at the school. I got to the office and the door was opened slowly at my knock and Sean and Hector seemed shocked as all fuck to see me. But even more shocked to see the box in my hands.

I delivered it to Henry, who refused to make eye contact with me (the mother was still alive. Great. Just fucking great) and I retired to the night, not speaking a further word to anyone there.

And here I am in my room crying like a baby. Anna's here with me again, but this time she's holding me. I've told her what happened. My thoughts. My experiences. Everything from the Bandits to the dogs. And she's listened silently into the night. Thank god for that. I don't want feedback now. Not yet.

I just need release.

#0028 | 07/21 | 09:16 PM

They arrived shortly before sundown. Around 7:45.

We were in position by then. Me behind the open main office door, an assault rifle barrel aimed with distinct unease at the threshold. Anna hiding in the same bushes next to the southern building I'd hid in four days ago when I was stalking the Bandits, a crappy pair of binoculars in hand and an assault weapon I was seriously hoping she wouldn't have to use stashed beside her. Hector was behind the counter ahead of me. I couldn't see him but I could hear him; his breathing was strangely audible in the afternoon quiet. And Sean, who was outside on the office roof, prepared to take out any stragglers.

I was beginning to think - no more like hope - that they wouldn't show. And then my phone rumbled numbly somewhere besides me and it was Anna. And they were here.

She told me there were five, three Bandits and two hostages. Briskly, she told me one Bandit was leading the procession, while two stood the farthest back, leading the captives at gunpoint. The worst situation, for us inside anyways.

Behind the counter, Hector mumbled something. Sean was already on the line with him, telling him the same things Anna was telling me.

We'd figured this would be the manner in which they would be distributed, but we'd hoped not. With only one Bandit leading, me and Hector (and probably only me if they came in a straight line) would only be able to dispatch one Bandit at most before we revealed our presence and endangered the captives. This would turn out to rely heavily on Sean and Anna for the remaining two kills.

I thought then that Sean could probably do it, but I wasn't sure about Henry or Anna.

Anna would like to think she would most certainly like to kill any Bandit who was in with the ones that had cruelly violated her. And she probably would. But I had the nastiest suspicion that when it time to pull the trigger, she would hesitate. Not out of fear or pity or even forgiveness. Nothing that stupid. She would falter out of fear.

We all could, to be honest. But I think she's the one who has the largest scar in her heart. A heart that's too easy to pierce at the moment.

And Henry, well fuck, Henry isn't really participating. He refused to stop working on his security cameras and we couldn't get him out of the small security room adjacent to the office. When I tried to talk to him, he turned around and from the expression on his face, I thought he was breaking. But his voice was calm, and his eyes assured me otherwise.

And I remember his words clearly too: "Please. I'm not ready, son. I can't enter that world yet. I can't hold a gun. I just can't. Not yet. I'm too young still."

I sort of understood what he meant. Sort of.

But I also think he needs to man the fuck up. This isn't about entering the fucked reality we exist in, it's about living it. There's no off and on switch, Henry needs to realize that and fast.

But whatever. Today at least, I gave him the reprieve, and left him in his little room, to fiddle with his cameras. In his state, he would only be a hindrance anyways.

A couple of minutes went by and I steadied the gun near the point where I thought the first fellows chest might appear, and as soon as saw movement, I counted a flickering mental one Mississippi, and fired a burst.

And I caught a middle aged woman in the chest.

Outside, a scream sounded in that inarticulate moment of confusion and time stood still.

The woman dropped to her knees, a hand rising to her bullet riddled wounds, and she collapsed. Within moments, a small body dropped on her. A young boy wrapped his arms around her, screaming the one word I heard throughout this short lived nightmare:

"Mommy! Mommy!"

Jesus fucking Christ.

And then time returned full motion and Hector was springing out from behind the counter. Outside, a gun fight was making its rounds in thick thundering booms and bangs.

Goddamn. And just like that, the fear I had so egotistically been attaching to others gripped me. And for the rest of the fight, I was useless.

Thank god it went half as well as it did, considering what could have gone down.

Anna took out two of the Bandits from her hidden position. The darkness of the encroaching night and her low vantage point her ally. The last bandit had taken off at the realization that he was alone, and he was almost out of the school - would have escaped -when Hector took him out from behind. He'd been out of Sean and Anna's line of sight then, and it was a spectacular kill attributed to the fact that Hector had chosen to fight, and had actually gone out there.

Unlike me.


God fucking damn.

And within minutes the fight was over. And what remained was a dying woman I'd shot. Dying with her crying son weeping over her fading remains.

Henry was out of his small room by then, and even he became useful then. He's a doctor - or was - and immediately started giving directions and instructions to help the dying woman. They took her to the infirmary, they gave her what little help they could there, but Henry lamented, without any real medical equipment or drugs, he couldn't ease the pain much or remove the three bullets lodged in her. Only slow the hemorrhaging.

And there was I. The frozen bastard. The only real killer among us today.

I went to Henry then, and asked where I could find the needed instruments to have him save the woman. Henry could see where this was going. Heck, we all could. Sean and Hector exchanged uneasy glances and Anna (who was standing in a corner, away from the beds looking at the floor; she still hated being in the infirmary) shot a desperate glance up, frantic glowing in her eyes.

Total darkness was almost upon us, the Freaks would soon be out to play.

"Alex, please, don't do any-"


"Alex, listen to me. There isn't anything to be gained from-"

"Where dammit?"

"Alex, st-"

"Just tell me where, you bastard!"

And I lifted the rifle then, and pointed the barrel at his face.

Stunned silence pounded the room then. An unforeseeable pressure that blasted the room into disbelief. And fury. And hundreds of other emotions that transcended thought then and there.

The young boy, looked up at me then, and I saw hatred and repulsion etched into his pupils.

Sean, Hector, and Anna raised their weapons then. Sean and Hector aimed then rigidly at me, Sean covering my head and Hector covering my body. Anna, grimly, pointed her weapon at Henry.

"Alex! Don't be stupid. How will killing the good doctor help the woman?"

"Don't do something you'll regret, kid."

And even Anna, who would already kill for me, I realized then, was against what was happening.

"This is stupid, Alex. Don't do this. Don't go."

I asked Henry again were I could go to find the needed items, and he sighed; exasperated. He told me he had lived roughly three blocks away, heading south down the street in front of the school. Turn right on Pronalia street, it would be the second house.

In the house, he told me, probably the living room, I should find a bag with some of the items he required, but I'd probably need to check the garage for heavier drugs and surgical equipment.

I lowered my gun then, but Sean, Hector, and Anna didn't.

"It's almost night, Alex. You'll never make it. Don't throw your life away."

But I did.

I turned and ran hurriedly out of the room, out of the school, into the young night.

#0027 | 07/21 | 01:34 PM

I got an unexpected call this morning.

We've been using the Bandit's cell phones to communicate amongst ourselves recently (god forbid when our bars go dead) to great success.

I was walking back from my old house (I went for my fucking iPod and laptop, I can't believe I'd forgotten it all this time) and it rang. That's normal enough, it could be Henry or Hector checking in on us (Anna was with me today), you know, making sure we hadn't been shot by a crazed survivor or eaten by something unpleasant.

But the voice that had answered hadn't been familiar. It had been gruff, and unpleasant. Slick. Something vocally sleazy.

I checked the number and it was unfamiliar. But the words cleared up any confusion: "Boss. Boss. It's me, Larry. We've got two more of 'em. A broad and a brat! Boss... Boss? Ya' there, boss?"

This had been a fear since the first day. The Bandits had been using the auditorium as a communal bedroom of sorts, and we'd found mattresses spread around the room. There were 21 Bandits that died in all. But we'd found 23 mattresses in the auditorium. The boss of the Bandits, the sole female, had seemed to have a private room set up in a backstage set-up room, but that still left roughly three Bandits missing.

And I found them.

"Boss? Boss!"

I spoke a word then. Nothing too understandable, I was in slight shock then, but whatever I said, the Bandit might have mistaken it as some greeting. But it was obvious I wasn't the boss from my voice. He mistook me for someone called Evans, and demanded I give the damn phone to the Boss.

I gave the phone to Anna, and covering the mouthpiece, told her to act like the Bandit Bitch (how she referred to the Boss).

I was afraid this might be too much for her. She's started to open up little by little in the few days since her traumatic experiences, but I feared putting her smack back into the midst of Bandits might crack her a bit.

But she didn't. With remarkable quick wit, she caught on to situation fast with my stuttered and hurried words of explanation. We had an advantage. And we needed to push our advantage while we had it.

"Yeah. I'm here, stupid. What's up?"

Anna alone had been in close contact with the Bandit's Boss, she had explained to me last night. She talked a lot last night actually. In between tears and words, I learned more about her. And her ordeal.

And I talked a bit about my family. And what I'd been through.

The Bandit Bitch (she refused to call her anything else) had relished with audible happiness upon the sight of Anna. She slapped her silly as she lay tied on a clinic bed, and spit on her. Mocked her as the first climbed on her and robbed her of her grace.

The Bandit on the line talked a bit and hung up. Anna gave me the phone (she was shaking, shaking bad) and explained, calmly, from what she understood, a few Bandits (probably three) had been out on a "scouting, salvage, and capture mission" per say (their words, not mine). They were returning to the school today, and they had two hostages. A woman and a boy.

We rushed to the school.

And now we're waiting. Back like that first night that we we're all together. Back in the main office. Except Anna's with us in the room this time. And it's day. She's listening to my iPod Shuffle (Standing in the Rain by Forty Deuce judjing by the sound of my loud ass ear-phones).

We all had differing opinions on how to handle the situation but we all agreed that the Bandits needed to die. Immediately. Before they realized their comrades were dead.

Me and Sean wanted to station people on the roofs of the houses opposite the school's front entrance. When the Bandits showed, we could bowl them over with rapid fire before they realized what was what.

But Henry and Anna were against that. Henry argued that such rash actions could cause the innocent deaths of the two hostages. Anna pointed out that none of us were trained in any sort of arm. No matter how well that one particular night had gone in my favor, I wasn't trained, and I didn't have experience. Assault rifle fire was unsteady as far as precision was concerned, and thinking we might be able to snipe off the Bandits from a street away and have the Hostages come out unscathed was just foolish.

Hector was pushing a more subtle death trap. He wanted to station a person on the southern building (Anna, I think) with a cell and have her call up with the position of the Bandits and hostages. With that, we'd leave the main office door open and have one inside, with rifle pointed at the door, and another from behind, hidden among the bushes, to pick off any surviving Bandit from the first burst.

We'd probably end up going with that. And we need to prepare soon. They didn't give Anna any specifics, but they suggested they'd be here before nightfall. We needed to prepare our arrangement as soon as possible, as well a means to contend with any unexpected problems. Such as the Bandits getting wise before reaching the office.

Henry was still talking about the security cameras. Sure, they'd be a help, but he still hasn't worked out the system, and he wont be able to get it set up soon enough.

We're all just sitting around. We all have something we should be doing, but we all

#0026 | 07/21 | 02:25 AM

Today was busy, but fairly uneventful.

We've officially decided to take the school as our "home" per say, and Henry thought that it might be a good idea to see if it's possible to get the school security camera's functioning again. God knows that, in theory, such means might be very useful in terms of dealing with potential danger, but cameras need electricity to operate.

The school, and the city, as far as I can tell still has flowing water and electricity, but I get the feeling that's only good luck which is primed to go bad.

The water fountain in the southern yard started churning out muddy water today.

I guess a similar fate awaits every other water emitting contraption eventually. Until the water just stops flowing. It's only the one fountain for now, we tested the school's other founts and such, but the water they give is still clean, but it's only a matter of time. Henry was right to recommend we start hoarding water. We should stock much more, in truth.

Hector spent the day doing that, with Anna. We've cleaned out the auditorium and we're using it to store all the water containers we've amassed.

Meanwhile, me and Sean went about securing the southern and northern buildings with arm in hand. Expectantly, we found no Freaks dwelling among the classrooms or darkness, and each building is in fairly good condition. If the times comes when we need room or new living arrangements, the buildings can be easily fortified.

About midday, I took off for a bit. I returned to my old home, the old house, alone.

It was a much easier and quicker trip, not being lagged by others or shopping carts. Hector found some school keys in the janitor's office, and we opened up the back gate for a bit. I traveled by the main road.

I wasn't entirely sure why I returned, there were no supplies here, and definitely no memories I wanted to resurface.

I stood in the front yard, on the lawn (it'll be yellow soon...) for awhile. A cement brick wall runs along the perimeter of the house - had - but a car had crashed into the corner of the wall, and lays there now. The wall now cracked and destroyed, a memory of itself.

There's a small house to the south. Roughly three weeks ago, a skinny, little man had barricaded himself inside. Nailed the doors closed and shoved who knows what on the other side. That was when people were worried, but not yet panicking. Flickering, but not yet ablaze.

Those locked doors haven't opened since then. The dude's probably dead.

I felt a tiny urge to go and check then. Spend the rest of the day smashing a window open, or smashing through that door. Morbid curiosity suddenly almost compelled me to do just that. To confirm that his carcass was rotting on the other side. Perhaps with a hand tightly clutching a gun, pulled up to his splattered temple. Or perhaps hanging off a ceiling rafter, a belt or such around his neck.

I even took a few misguided steps.

But then I turned back. Went back to the school. Back home. I felt incredibly retarded.

And then there's Anna. She turned up in my room about an hour ago. I'm honestly confused about her, but there's one thing that's obvious. She's fucked up, and I don't know what we can do to make her better.

It's not hard to imagine what I thought was about to go down when she opened the door. I'd been listening to the noises outside. Freaks. Screaming and laughing. Running their land.

And then she opened the door.

She's got red hair, and her bruises have solidified in color, but she's not ugly. No way.

She was crying.

I held her for an hour, and I'm holding her now. At every scream that comes from outside, her body shivers uncontrollably. And she keeps whispering the name of her fiancee.

"Billy. Billy. Please..."

There's nothing remotely sexual in this, god knows I wish there was. But there isn't. There's only fear.

And I don't know why I'm filled with such a numb dread at every one of her words.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

#0025 | 07/19 | 11:05 PM

We had a little warming-up session today at dinner. A little dialogue so that we could get to know each other just a bit better.

Henry opened up first, he's the one who seems the most stuck on stuff like this. Getting to know each other, he says, is paramount to our survival. What the fuck ever. I really doubt we'll be alive much longer anyways...

He says his name is Henry Kiper Lucas II, of English decent. A retired and widowed doctor, he was living alone when the End happened. Later on, the Bandits captured him in his home near the school. Apparently they were looting homes and found him by chance.

Next came Hector and Sean. They introduced themselves as Hector and Sean Oliverra. Although, Hector explained, they weren't legally married but - "What the hell? We can be whatever we want now. And I say we're married!"

Sean seemed to agree with a curt nod.

They explained they were photographers by trade, and that they'd met at some convention or another.

The Bandits had apprehended them randomly, as they ventured together across the city, perhaps near the school, perhaps not. They had, at their discretion, hidden the exact nature of their relationship away from the barbaric and cruel Bandits, whom they didn't think would be the most understanding and compassionate of folks.


And, Hector added, not to mind Sean's attitude - if we would. With a hearty wink, he promised that Sean really had a heart of gold. Sean didn't say anything at this.

And then it was my turn and I didn't really have much to say. I introduced myself as Alex, and added that it wasn't my real name. When they raised their eyebrows, I explained that my past didn't matter. Alex was my identity now. In August, I was supposed to attend my first year high school. Supposed to being the imperative word.

Then everything got quiet around the table as we munched on our cans of cool beans. Then Anna spoke up.

She introduced herself as Anna, but didn't reveal her last name. Like me, she said that her past was history now. However, she did say that she would have been starting her freshman year of college this fall. She smiled at that and turned to me :"Both freshmen, you and I."

I was mildly disturbed by that.

She also added that she would have been aiming for a nursing program eventually. Henry nodded appreciatively at that.

And that was it. It didn't feel like we knew each other any better. Just knew more. More questions. Many going answerless. And the few that weren't would only lead to more.

I put down my can and retreated to my room for the night.

#0024 | 07/19 | 04:28 PM

Hector and Sean returned with a good many water containers from the market east of the school a few hours ago.

What's more interesting is the fact that they apparently met a traveling group of survivors on the way back. The travelers had been heading south but heard there was a dangerous Bandit group nearby, so they moved to avoid the area.

They seemed thankful to know any existing danger had since ceased to exist.

They also warned that to the north, the downtown area a few miles away, an unusually large Freak pack had formed. They were very territorial so should we have any business up there, we should go about it fast. And not stay in the area past nightfall. Not even hidden.

Then they moved on.

Since there were a few children among the group, Hector thought the group was formed of two families that had banded together. Sean seemed mildly disinterested. But he's always that way so it didn't bother me.

I guess it's good to know there are more people out there's who haven't resorted to being a freaking Bandit to get along.

#0023 | 07/19 | 11:15 AM ~ Home

Well yesterday was another whole friggin' bag of laughs and tickles.

The survivors (elder dude; Henry, bald dude; Hector, goth dude; Sean, girl; Anna) didn't want to let me go off alone. What the fuck. Seriously. What the hell.

I separated our supplies into pieces for a reason. What did they think I was doing, planning a picnic? Fuck groups, and fuck them, I just want to get back home. They can stick together if they want. We're all gonna die eventually anyways. And if it isn't the Freaks that tear us apart at night, it'll be another group of Bandits or a bastard gone trigger-happy (Sean's expression when I handed him his weapon filled care-package yesterday comes to mind...).

But fuck if they'll listen. They promised they'd follow me anyways. And then there's Anna.

Now... I'm not going to bash her. She's been through a lot. Shit I can probably only imagine. She's messed up, and I know, she needs help. But she's trying to get it in all the wrong places. Namely me.

I guess she heard the arguing going on in the man office (she's in the principal's office) and comes out after almost a whole day in hiding. I thought her eyes would be teary. Her face all sorts of blushy and fuzzy. But she looked alright. Not someone who just went through hell and a half. Not someone who might now have several phobias and a few emotional disorders. Just alright.

Now... alright is a hell of a delicate term, for, although she looked well at that point in time, that doesn't necessarily mean she is fine and dandy. The exchange that followed cemented that to me.

I turned around; agitated. The conversation hadn't been going how I wanted it to go. We'd been arguing for close to an hour then in the damp, heated office, and the rest of the survivors refused to see reason. They seemed pretty determined to see the day off as my companions. Shit.

Behind me Henry and Hector greeted the girl warmly and gently, almost patronizingly. She practically ignores them and instead asks me, what was going on.

I, of course, being turned around can't know shes addressing me. I stand there for a couple of moments until the silence starts getting awkward and then I turn around. Anna's looking at me expectantly. Henry and Hector are looking at her sadly, and Sean looks like he really doesn't really give a shit.

Yup. Girl's fucked in the head.

Henry tries to explain what we're arguing about, and she goes on ignoring his every word until he hits the part were I'm trying to not go with the group. To leave alone. And she get's a panic attack.

Her legs get wobbly, her breath starts streaming in short bursts, and we have to get her a chair fast. The whole arguing thing goes to shit.

Henry, Hector, and Sean, they want to group up because they figure we'll have a better chance at survival as a group. Henry believes this solidly, he reasons that it's our only chance for survival. He doesn't want to let a teenager go out on his own out there. Never mind that I was the reason we're all alive here today. Hector's the same. Sean doesn't exactly follow that thought path, he'd rather go on his own with Hector. But since Hector advocates the group idea, so does he. They're partners... y'know... life partners.

Anna's another can of beans entirely. We don't know exactly what's wrong with her, Henry assumes she's in shock and has post traumatic stress disorder (he's a doctor and an armchair psychiatrist; yay), but you might as well attach that kind of diagnosis to any of us. We're all fucked up in one way or another.

When I found her yesterday in the infirmary, she was tied up to one of the infirmary's beds. Black-eye, swollen arms and legs, and 100% naked. But it wasn't a pretty sight. Her body was swollen and bruised all over. She heard the door open and she sort of tightened up. Her eyes shut defensively and her breathing sky-rocketed.

I untied her and explained that the Bandits were dead, that it was safe, that no one would hurt her anymore. And then I spent the rest of the night holding her as she cried.

Before dawn, I scrounged out clothes for her from the school's lost and found.

Henry pulled me aside and explained that although her reaction was out of the norm, reactions to traumatic events were varied. This was hers. It appears she'd become attached to me.

I think earlier I'd mocked the stereotypical guy-meets-foxy-chick-in-the-apocalypse-and-they-go-forth-and-frolic cliche, but shit. Reality wont let me get away from the cliche.

And things sorta settled from there. Group wouldn't leave me, girl wouldn't leave me, ergo, I couldn't leave the group. Shit. Whatever. And then another argument arose, whether to stay or leave.

Henry, Hector, and Sean all wanted to stay. They thought the school was a perfectly good place to ride out the apocalypse. not only was it fortified, but they had plenty of supplies to last for awhile here. Not to mention working water while we could get it.

Anna wanted to leave, but she wouldn't say it in so many words. But it was obvious she wanted to get away from the school. And I, of course, still had my burning (okay, out and cold) obligation to help good old Ruth back home.

Good times.

So we agreed to move out (after I promised the guys there would be working water). The walk back wasn't a problem, we had shopping carts to situate our plentiful harvest and loot, and the walk took only two hours to navigate across the blocked streets and blocks.

And then we got home. And the horror started up all over again. Home is where the heart is? Well the heart certainly ain't here.

I went in first (I'm doing a lot of firsts these days) and told the others to wait outside a bit, in the safety of the light (Anna would only wait if I held her by the shoulders and promised I'd be back).

I entered through the back door, which leads into a small hallway that connects to the kitchen and the guestroom (above the basement) where Randy was so nobly in distress. Well the bitch ain't in distress no more. And he never got a chance to be a Freak after all.

His body's cold. Stone cold. His head's been crushed in. And by the looks of it, by the same dented metal bat I used to bust into the basement from my room. It was lying near the bed, bloody near the hand grips. But... since the last time I saw that bat was in my room... then the bitch Ruth must have sought shelter in there... oh joy...

I was going to directly check my room but another thought struck me first. There was still the problem of the two Freaks who'd been nesting in my parents room as of yet. Before I fired any heavy arm, it might be better to...

And I was right. They were there, curled up against each other as they had been that first day. My parents bed was moist and yellow from their urine. But it turned out to be a good thing that they're bodies were so entwined. I stepped into the room, held the rifle against their heads, and fired off half my rounds.

Freaks have thick skin, as bullet resistant as skin can get I think. But by the end, their heads resembled so much dead mush.

And then there was a crash and a series of protests, all followed by a scream and footsteps. I walked into the living room to find Anna, panic stricken, standing in the kitchen, a rifle held steadily in her arms as she walked forward.

It seems at the sound of the gunfire, the fellows outside (including Anna) had thought me a goner. But Anna assured me, that she was the only one brave enough to grab a firearm and head in. I wondered then if I should praise her loyalty, but I didn't. That would feel too much like praising a damn dog...

I told her I'd killed two Freaks who'd been nesting and still had to check one last room. I told her to head back outside to the others and explain I wasn't dead yet. And she did (but not before making me promise I wouldn't die).

I waited a few minutes while she walked out before opening my bedroom door.

Ruth was lying on my bed. But she was dead.

She was lying on her back, in a horrid imitation of a delivering position. Her legs were pulled back and everything below the waist was blood and guts. It literally looked as if she'd delivered a bomb to term, a bomb that had exploded its way out of her.

My bed was ruined, even with sheets changed, no way in hell I'm sleeping there ever again.

And of course, another standard horror land cliche, the horrible trail of blood, leading away from her horrible delivery scene, around the room a bit, back to the bed, under the bed, and finally and undoubtedly, into the hole I'd carved under the bed. Into the basement. Whatever had busted out of her wasn't exactly making my day here...

I didn't want to get too close, so I ducked on my knees and scanned under the bed. Nothing there. Okay.

I moved the bed toward the southern wall. Back against its usual position, revealing the hole. Then there was the problem of getting the newly born whatever it was out.

I waited a few minutes hoping it would appear on its own but when it didn't, I got against the hole and banged against it with the barrel of the rifle. A few moments of this and an audible gasp and gurgle sounded into the quiet room.

I banged against the revealed wooden flooring one last time before almost jumping back and breaking my neck. A small white hand floated up from the darkness and grabbed silently at nothing in particular.

The skin on the hand was translucent, I could see each and every vein that ran underneath that horrid mess of muscle and membrane. And each finger was accompanied by a small jagged yellow nail.

Eventually a small, bald, uneven head rose to accompany that hand, and then a whole body rose into view from the unknowable darkness. The fetus Freak, as I coined it, had no legs to speak off, just a gelatinous end. In its other hand, it held the remains of a Freak rat held tightly in its grip.

I unloaded on that thing like no other. I didn't even give it a chance to place me mentally as food. Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze.

And then I walked outside. The others asked me what had happened, I responded that it didn't matter. The structure was insecure. Too many open places for Freaks to get in come night time, too much Freaky infected blood to clean up, and not nearly enough time. I agreed then, that it would be more prudent to head back to the school. For which Hector playfully jabbed me.

And so we did.

And the rest is history. Nothing much happened the rest of that day. It took a little longer for our group to get to the school than it had been to arrive. We had a bit of a dilly deciding on which building to settle into later, what with Anna wanting to stay away from the infirmary, but we settled into the central building.

The Bandits had gone to the trouble of fortifying it, why not put it to good use. The classrooms (minus one certain classroom the Bandits had been using as a body-dump) allowed each of us to have our own improvised room per say.

I got 212. It's on the second floor, and going by the decorations that surround the backboard (and the tickets taped carefully around the computer that sits in the teacher's desk) the former occupant was one hell of a Laker's fan. I'm not.

The rest of the day went without much ado, and the night passed by too.

This morning I found a piece of paper tucked into my pocket. I unfolded it and found a strange message written upon it: USEless.

Today's gonna be a whole lot of nothing. We're going to work and barricade a few things which seem weak. And Henry is insisting we begin saving up gallons of water for when the water finally stops flowing. Which will probably be soon. He has a point.

So we've pulled out some barrels from the cafeteria kitchen and he's getting to that. Though obviously it's smarter to save more so later Hector and Sean are going out to look for more containers.

We're pretty well stocked as far as food and weapons are concerned, but we'll need more eventually. I just worry tha