The Rider – Part 4

Hitchhiker1My brother and I both knew what the Vietnam War had done to people, courtesy of the research papers we had completed earlier in the school year. My brother sympathized with the young men who had served; he could see how the things they’d seen and done would ruin their innocence and leave them broken. Me, I saw a set of young men different from the altruistic, self-sacrificing idealistics my brother saw. I saw the bloodlust and the joy they seemed to take in the carnage. We had engaged in countless discussions on the subject, and still weren’t ready to accept the fact that neither of us would budge an iota on our opinions. Regardless of how we felt about the other’s opinion, we had always ended with a few laughs and an “agree-to-disagree” mentality.
Continue reading The Rider – Part 4

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Exercise in Creativity #2

thinkingRemember a month ago or so I had stumbled across a writer’s blog where they had proposed a challenge? The challenge was, in 350 words or less, to write a story using a sentence they provided. Take a look at my first attempt here. Well, I’m trying it again as an attempt to jumpstart some creativity. I’ve got two pretty major stories sitting here on the WordPress servers in “draft” status, awaiting some more inspiration. The itch to write has been bugging me, however, and I had to get something down. With no further ado, here’s my short 348 word story. The sentence provided by the initial blog post happens to be the very first sentence below.
Continue reading Exercise in Creativity #2

What’s Your Muse?

If you have written anything, even a book report in high school, you have to have dealt with a lack of creativity or what everyone calls “writer’s block”. My question today, after all my usual rambling on, is what sort of environment helps YOU to write? I’m always interested in hearing what other people use as their muse and what exactly helps them get to writing.
Continue reading What’s Your Muse?

The IT Guy – Chapter 13

As the dumpster picks up speed, I raise my head up and look at my surroundings. I’m amazed that I’m still moving in a straight line, honestly. I didn’t think I could possibly make it this far, but I’m pleasantly surprised. I cringe as a straggler wanders out in front of my speeding metal box and brace myself for impact.

The dumpster hits him with so much force that his decomposed arm flies through the air and lands next to my foot. I reach for it and attempt to toss it back out of the dumpster. As I’m trying to throw it out, this arm keeps wiggling around and refuses to let go. I peel off each individual finger and then quickly relocate my grip to right at the point of where it was separated and throw it as hard and as far as I can.

I’m not quite sure exactly how fast I’m traveling, but the hill has definitely done what I was hoping for. I’m going fast enough that none of those bastards even know what’s going on. I can see all of them turning slowly as I approach them, and then moaning in what sounds like frustration, arms outstretched, as I fly by.

It hits me that I’m not exactly sure how far I hope to travel in this rolling dumpster. At the time, it was a great idea in getting away quickly but now I’m at the whim of the rusted wheels of a large metal object that smells of diapers and spoiled food, and is rushing down a hilly street. Aw shit, maybe I should’ve come up with a better idea? How the hell can I stop this thing? I hate to say it, but I think this road trip is going to end badly. I may end up colliding with something that will completely alter my course, or stop me dead in my tracks.

I feel a twinge of guilt for not helping Steve out but then realize that if I would have stayed and tried to help, I would just be another walking corpse. I can’t think about what has happened to Steve and the kids, I just can’t. I really appreciate what Steve tried to do for me, but it was his good heart that ended up becoming his downfall. I hate to be a cynical prick, but with all that’s happened, I can’t think that any good will come from ANY of this. I mean, seriously, this is it. If this isn’t the end of the world, then I’d hate to see what comes next. The shit I’m seeing, these people who are supposed to be dead, can’t truly be happening. But it is. It IS happening and there’s nobody able to stop it at this point. How many of us are left? How many people are still alive? I mean REALLY alive, not that debauchery of life that’s out there now. I’ve gotta quit thinking of this kind of shit man. I’m going to go apeshit crazy if I keep it up.

I stare down the street and see that I’m about to reach that abrupt halt I feared. Directly in my path is an SUV sitting, door ajar, in the middle of the road. Should I jump? Fuck no, I can’t jump out now. This thing is moving WAY too fast for that. I start rocking back and forth, trying to deter this path I’m on. No luck though; this dumpster is too big to be swayed by my less than two hundred pound frame.

I brace myself for impact, and then I collide with the SUV. Sparks fly both in front of me, and in my head. Then it all goes dark.

The IT Guy – Chapter 12

I race towards the door, hoping desperately that it hadn’t latched but to my dismay it HAS latched shut and has locked itself. I bang on the door and holler but I don’t think anybody can hear me

I only have about a minute to figure out what I’m going to do because the first few of those bastards have already come around the corner. The first two appear to have some injuries to the extremities, so they’re not exactly moving too quickly but that doesn’t buy me too much time. I stare at them in horror for just a second and then quickly survey where I am at. It really pisses me off to think that Steve and I were just out here awhile ago and here I am again, stuck outside the safest place we’ve found so far. That poor kid probably doesn’t even realize that he’s fucked me by bumping that rock out of the doorway. I guess I can’t be that mad at him, but I sure as hell hope that somebody realizes what he’s done and I hope they realize it REAL FUCKING SOON before I become a buffet meal for those stinky fuckers.

The building next to the bank is a jewelry shop, according to the placard on the rear entry door. It says “Smith’s Fine Jewelry” in fine calligraphy. I try the door but it is locked. I pound on the door with all my might but, as I figured, there’s no answer and it’s not budging. This is the only other door in this back alley. Shit, what else is there back here. Nothing. Nothing other than the dumpster at the end of the alley, and to get to that I’ll have to make it past half a dozen of them. Shit, shit, shit. Think, motherfucker, THINK. You’ve made it this far, you can make it even further. It’s all a matter of avoiding them. If I can be a weasely enough bastard, then I’ll be fine. Just have to make it PAST them, this is not the time to make a stand. Not by myself, not with my single rifle with only a couple dozen bullets. Not yet.

I see that the alley leads to the street and the street appears to be a bit hilly. I’d never noticed this before, although it makes perfect sense. The run over to the bank here was pretty rough, now it makes perfect sense. Steve and I were running UP A DAMN HILL. I’m trying to think of if it would be possible to get that dumpster moving fast enough to go down the hill because it appears that the people I’ve joined up with aren’t going to discover what’s happened in time. I’ve gotta take matters into my own hands now.

No more time to formulate a plot. I race forward, towards the dumpster. I dodge two of them, but then come face-to-face with a teenager, or what used to be a teenage girl. She’s in a cheerleading outfit and there’s dried blood all over it. I can’t even make out what the school name is on the suit, due to all the blood. She actually was bitten on the arm so her face is intact. She looks like she might have been a cute girl but not anymore. The way her face sags on the bones makes it obvious that she’s a long way from the cute cheerleader. She grabs my shoulder with more force than I would have expected and I bring the rifle butt up quickly in an uppercut motion. She drops on the ground and writhes around for a split second before she’s back on her feet but I don’t care. I’m running like a fool, eyes on the dumpster straight ahead of me. My peripheral vision catches quick blurs of people standing to my sides but I pay no attention.

I make it to the dumpster, and luckily enough, it appears that pickup day was recent. There is hardly any trash in this dumpster. I push with all my might and the dumpster begins to move. I run next to it, grab ahold and vault my ass into it. Slowly the dumpster begins to move and then I hear my name being called.

ERRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIICCCCCCCC!!!!! I turn my head just long enough to see Steve, with the door open. He shoots two of the zombies, in the head like we discovered, and then turns to face another one. I can see that he’s got his hands full and during the scuffle, the cheerleader has come around the side, out of his field of vision. I yell to warn him of the cheerleader but it’s too late. She grabs hold of his leg and bites hard. I see the look on his face as he yells in pain. I try to jump from the moving dumpster but it’s now moving too fast down the hill. The last thing I see is the door swinging back and forth, as the crowd makes its way into that stairwell.

The IT Guy – Chapter 11

I stand here and watch this young boy running and am curious as to how HIS nightmare began today. Who was the first to get it in his household? Parents? Siblings? A waylaid neighbor? How did HE first discover that people were dying and then getting back up and killing other people? The more I think about it, the sadder it makes me. Yeah, I’m a pretty cynical prick. As a general rule, I hate people. I am not a people person in the least. This shit though? This shit is crazy and if we hope to survive it, we’ve gotta work together somehow. I’ve gotta become SOME sort of “people-person”. I stare at this boy and continue to drift into my own thoughts.

The CRACK of the rifle draws me out of my lethargy. I see one of the seething crowd drop to the ground, only to be trampled by those immediately following. The girls are screaming and shrieking, while Steve stands with Roger next to me, watching in morbid curiosity as this child keeps running as hard as he can. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that he’s created a decent gap between the advancing crowd, but he still has about a hundred feet until he gets to the bank doors.

No one says a word, other than the girls screeching at the top of their lungs. Finally, one of the girls gathers her wits enough to yell at the boy to head to the back entrance. I volunteer to meet him down there, grab a rifle, and race down the stairs.

The closer I get to the bottom of the stairwell, the stronger the moaning gets. I’m nervous now. The sounds have grown so loud that I’m not sure what is going to be facing me when that door opens. I grip the rifle tighter, and pat the bullets in my pocket.

Reassured by the metal clinking in my pocket, I reach the end of the stairwell. I can hear the moans and the sounds just make me cringe.

With no communication between the kids on the roof and I, I’ve gotta open the door and see how big of a problem this little operation is going to be. I open the door and am happy to see that the several shitheads that were back here have left this back area and are headed around front. I step out the back door, prop it open with a rock sitting on the ground, and take a few steps forward. Before I have a chance to react, the boy races past me and thru the open door.

I turn to follow him in but he’s bumped the rock I had used to prop open the door. Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit. It slams shut and I’m left in this back alley with a crowd that just realized our little sham.

The IT Guy – Chapter 10

As we sat there and listened to these narratives, Steve and I both found it difficult to relax. I mean, obviously the stories were enough to rattle us, but all the sounds below us really were taking their toll. I don’t know about Steve, but I was at the point of exhaustion. After all I’d seen and done, I just wanted to lie down on the ground, curl up in a ball, and fall asleep as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, I knew that the nights of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep were no more. I would never again sleep safe and sound.

The walls of the bank didn’t do much to shield the constant moaning outside. I noticed that a couple of the girls were in the corner of the room talking and the remaining girl, Barbara, was in the opposite corner humming aloud. As annoying as I’d always found humming to be, I really didn’t mind listening to Barbara’s hums. It allowed me to almost ignore the moaning outside.

I could tell that Steve was uncomfortable and I was too, so I leaned over to Peter and asked what the next course of action was for all of them. Peter shrugged his shoulders and said that they were going to hold out as long as possible in the bank here. Steve burst into the conversation with a loud cough and proceeded to berate Peter on subjects such as food, hygiene, and the possibility of a breach in the banks entryways.

Peter seemed a little hurt by Steve’s anger and he admitted that things were far from perfect, but they’d lasted this long and they would welcome any advice from us on any viable ideas.

Steve said that if a small group like ours was still alive, then there HAD to be other survivors out there. Trying to contact them and meet up would be difficult, to say the least, but was necessary for long-term plans. I agreed with him and said that the time we spent sitting here should be spent solely on formulating an exit strategy.

Steve nursed his arm, throbbing even after the girls had helped him wrap it up with some gauze. Sarah, on her way out of the school had the foresight to grab one of the first-aid kits along the wall. It was the only thing she’d had the chance to grab and although the gauze was minimal, it was enough to help Steve out.

Sarah hadn’t really said much to us when we got there. Bandaging up Steve’s arm was a big help, but it was obvious that she was not one for small talk, big talk, any kind of talk for that matter. Peter told us that she had been adamant about finding her family in the beginning of the whole ordeal and was reluctantly drug along to the bank with Steven,  Roger, and Helen. Once they’d established their relative safety, Sarah had the opportunity to see outside and observe the things outside. Unfortunately for her, she saw her father stumble past the building. She began to cry out but had been stifled quickly and, since then, hadn’t said much of anything to the rest of the group. Peter said that he thought it was shock but had no idea how to help. Well, seeing as I was (perhaps again someday) an IT Guy and Steve was a gunshop owner, we’re definitely not ones to be doling out advice on the human psyche. We just shrugged and mumbled ‘I dunno’.

I felt the need to get up and walk around a bit so I headed down the hall and came upon Roger keeping an eye on the video monitors. Roger, as it turned out, was one of the biggest Audio/Video geeks in his class. I guess that definitely paid off in this round. There was a grand total of two dozen cameras, and they all seemed to be in good working order. As I sat down again (so much for WALKING around), I couldn’t bring my eyes to leave the monitors pointing at the front door. The crowd was gathering outside, but it didn’t look like they were aware of our presence. That was definitely a good thing, I muttered to Roger. He said that he’d been watching for quite some time now and he was fascinated by their ability to just wander around, no rhyme or reason to their meanderings. All of a sudden, as we watched the front door monitor, their heads all jerked to the left and they began to move with purpose. What the hell was going
on? I told Roger to stay and keep watching. I check the clip once again (I’ve always been a paranoid bastard, and it’s definitely NOT gotten any better with this dead-corpses-walking-around bullshit) and make sure I’m ready to go, then I head back to the room that all the kids are in. They look at me, I look at them, and then we all look out the window to see a young boy racing down the street. He’s running towards the bank, full tilt, and has QUITE the crowd coming after him. Combined with the already-gathered crowd in front of the bank, I’d say he’s pretty much screwed.