Antonio was visibly shaking as he told me all of this. When he was finished, he pulled up his pants leg and showed me the bloody bite marks below his knee. We didn’t really have any definitive proof of the bites being the catalyst for this freakishness but we had a good idea. It seemed that all the walking corpses outside had some kind of major skin wound. Antonio said, in a meek voice, “Am I going to be one of those THINGS out there?”
Now I’m one of those people who will tell you the truth in any given situation, no matter how brutal. I don’t have the capacity to lie through my teeth. I told him yes. I told him that he would definitely be one of those THINGS outside. The good news was that I had no idea how long it took. I hadn’t actually seen anybody turn all freakish. That made this whole mess even scarier, the fact that one night I’m watching the news and just a couple days later there’s walking dead people IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD. I mean, what the fuck man? That shit works fast but I don’t know exactly how fast!
We sat in silence for several minutes, looking away from each other. Finally, he spoke. He asked what was I going to do and if I planned on staying at the apartment. I told him that I didn’t really see any other options for now. The apartment complex seemed safe enough and I didn’t see any reason to mess with a good thing. He nodded his head and said that made sense. He shared my sentiments on the guard, however. He thought that if that guard remembered the combination for the front door, we were fucked.
He stood up and walked to the balcony, while I stayed seated. He looked around, shook his head, and said that he wasn’t sure how long it WOULD be safe though. Seeing a strange look cross his face, I jumped up to see what he had seen. He pointed down at a pair of those things and said that he knew them. Said that they owed him money. I asked if he’s like to go down and collect on his debt as a weak joke but he didn’t laugh. Now that I think about it, I don’t think anybody laughed at my jokes even when things were “normal”. Damn.
We once again sat in silence for what seemed like hours. What’s bad was that I say ‘silence’ even though it was far from silent. The moans from the ground carried up to my floor and even though they had been unnerving at first, they seemed just like ambient noise now. How shitty is it that the moaning of the undead becomes part of your daily routine?
Come to think of it, there isn’t much “routine” about my routine anymore. Before all of this happened, I didn’t sleep much but I tell ya, I REALLY don’t sleep much anymore. I used to have it all together, to be pretty on-the-ball. That’s what the tech industry IS, man. You’ve gotta babysit machines and the most common faults tend to become second nature. Everybody has an emergency that warrants your immediate attention and theirs is ALWAYS more important than everybody else’s. You’ve gotta pull yourself together and focus on the task at hand.
Focus? No more focusing for me, man. I’ve turned into Jack Nicholson’s character from ‘As Good As It Gets’. I check and recheck the deadbolt on my door, I talk to myself, I do all those kooky things he does.
Antonio tells me that he’s going to head back to his apartment and gather up some stuff. He says, and I agree with him on this, that we might as well hang together. He doesn’t have anybody and I know that I damn sure don’t.
He heads for the door, stepping on my one last Oreo cookie. Damn, man. Come on! He steps out the door and I close the deadbolt behind him, snapping it back and forth three times. Why three times? Shit, I don’t know. I guess because if I do it three times it’s like double checking it but one better. Oh fuck it, who am I kidding? I’m crazy as a loon. Sell sunshine somewhere else, sweetheart! We’re all stocked up HERE!
I try to keep myself busy by doing some push ups and situps. I only make it up to about thirty before I realize that I’m really out of shape and even though it’s the end of the world, all I want to do is sit on my ass, play Grand Theft Auto, and drink beer.