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    WARNING: Stories on this site may contain mature language and situations, and may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18.

    WESTIN by Tom Hamilton
    April 1, 2008  Longer stories   Tags:   

    1.

    Once I had the dough kneaded out into a circle, Isaac strolled over and draped a cheese stick onto the bottom half. This created a mouth for our head. There I promptly applied two pepperonis for the eyes and even gave it some brows by carefully placing two banana peppers over those slices. We looked at our Frankenstein and then at each other before bursting out laughing. Big Barry came back from the register. For the last several minutes he’d been kissing the ass of some old woman who had complained about something alien to fine food being embedded in her ham and cheese. He had had to cough up a refund and, if this didn’t put him in a sour enough mood as it were, now he heard us snickering.

    “Knock it off assholes!” He growled through his grimace. “It’s almost time for the buffet crowd.” Isaac turned back towards the ovens and, when he was sure that they shielded him from Big Barry, gave the fat man a mock drill sergeant’s salute. I disassembled the face and quickly went about the business of properly placing the raw ingredients, which we were going to meld into a sausage pizza, onto the cool dough. Isaac went back to prepping the ovens. What else could we do? The fat prick was still our boss and I needed the money for university – unless I wanted to languish in the kitchens of Pizza Gut for the rest of my career, that is.

    With us checked back into line Big Barry hurried out towards the register, his corpulent belly hidden underneath a black apron. Isaac made his hands into a cross bar and, using my index finger, I kicked a field goal with the last round sausage left on the chopping board. With the back of his throat, Isaac breathed out the roar of an imaginary crowd.

    After that however, we knocked off most of the bullshit and prepared to shuffle out the pies for the lunch crowd. Yet, surprisingly few customers rotated through those usually hectic doors. Plus, all the drivers had went out but none seemed to be coming came back in. After a couple of hours of this Big Barry came back to the back and said, “Where and the hell have all these slackers drove off to?”

    2.

    I guess that I’ve always been in love with Theresa. Hell, every boy at our school was enchanted with her. You’d have to be a faggot not to be. I even knew a couple of girls who thought that they were in love with her and they weren’t even lesbians. She caught me looking at her while she was taking some simpleton’s order, the slashed splashes of her blonde hair framing her docile Cancun blue eyes. But she only smiled innocently; a carefree smile full of idealistic teenaged happiness and hope. My heart tilted like the old, sometimes broken, pinball machine that sat half lit in one cluttered corner of the restaurant.

    But I knew that there was a lot of competition in those 12th grade hallways and that most of these predators were only sniffing around for the keys to Theresa’s chastity belt: meat-headed ivory-smiled jocks or droop-jeaned wigger rappers all spitting their repulsive, street lingo-filled spiels at her. And the prettiest ones always seemed to believe them. I’d known a few womanizers in my day and I had always been struck by their sheer heartlessness: at the quickness with which they’d disposed of their conquests. Like a two of clubs being placed onto the discard pile or a sudsy prophylactic wrapped in Cottonelle being socked into a trash pail.

    I didn’t want to see this happen to Theresa, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it. I didn’t have any claim to her and some of these pricks looked like movie stars for God’s sakes. Sure she knew that I was alive. She also knew that the night crawlers at the bait shop across the street were alive, but that didn’t mean that she was going to french kiss one.

    3.

    So most of the time Isaac and I just goofed off by the big black ovens. At least as much as Big Barry would allow us to. During lax moments I would try and spy Theresa refilling customer’s drinks or setting out the silverware. But the dining room was dark and we were not yet a smoke free establishment. So trying to catch a glimpse of her was like searching for a bright star through early morning fog or passing clouds.

    Isaac was from Westin, which was the proverbial and literal other side of the tracks. All I’d ever heard about the black kids from over there was how much that they hated us lily-white preppies that were being primed for university. But Isaac wasn’t about anything like that.

    He was a tall, muscular kid with a face that still had not lost its baby fat somehow. A very soft face. One day I told him that he looked like ‘Fat Albert’ and it was no joke, there was a fierce likeness. But he only laughed and barked, “Hey, Hey, Hey!” with a perfect ‘Cosby’ growl. Evidently, he’d heard that comparison a hundred times.

    Joking around with Isaac made the monotonous work day pass by a lot faster and, looking back on the whole thing now, I’d have to say that I loved Isaac too. Not like no faggots or nothing, but like one friend loves another. It’s just like John Cougar Mellencamp lamented from the tabletop jukeboxes which still worked in most of the booths: “Can’t tell your best buddy that you love him.”

    4.

    Sure it was pretty fuckin’ slow, but it was Monday. Yet when no one, and I mean no one, showed up for the six p.m. supper rush, it became obvious that something was amiss. Finally at 7:15, Isaac said, “I don’t believe it, here comes a live one.” As in all the Pizza Guts in our area- a sort of thin red contact paper had been baked onto all of the entrance doors. So all we could see was the outline of a stumbling form approach the threshold. The form bounced off of the door and then staggered over to the first window. We didn’t really get a clear look at its face, it just looked like someone with a five gallon bucket of red paint poured over their head. But when the arm came up and, with a motion like a windshield wiper, started smearing blood all over the tinted glass, Theresa screamed and staggered backwards. Whoever or whatever it was then wondered away.

    Big Barry had seen enough. He hastily spun the bolt lock and said, “Call 9-1-1.” I obliged, but some strange message played back out the receiver: something about all emergency frequencies currently being disabled or some such bullshit. I repeated the recording to my portly boss but he still seemed hopeful. “No,” He said. “When you dial 9-1-1 they… the cops they have to call you back.” He paused, one grimy paw wiping white powder onto his apron, his eyes darting.

    I had my doubts but I only shrugged. I didn’t feel like arguing with him, besides, I didn’t want to alarm Theresa any further. She was already sitting ghost eyed in one of the booths, her blank order pad resting on her delicate, blue jean covered knees.

    Voices of violence rose from the incoming night outside. Hearing those gruesome calls prompted us to turn off the lights, save for the store room bulb back behind the ovens. We drew all the curtains closed as Isaac took the long pilot lighter and went around to each table firing up those trademark ‘Pizza Gut’ candles so we wouldn’t be in total darkness; you know those ones which look like the bottom of a pirate’s wine bottle covered in maroon fishnet. We tried the phone lines incessantly but were rebuffed by the same monotone, taped recital. We heard a boom that sounded like a car backfiring somewhere out on the road. And then later some scuffling noises, maybe the stampede of running feet. We were afraid to put our faces in the windows to find out, but it seemed as if some sort of war was going on outside.

    We had no access to any media outlets. We weren’t allowed to have a radio on the job. Big Barry had made sure of that; he said the music took our minds off of the work at hand and also that it discouraged the customers from plugging quarters into the juke boxes. The television had been broken ever since I had started working there; it sat high in one shrouded corner like a detached retina.

    Of course we continued to try and call the police until I thought that the rotary was going to break off of the phone. After this proved futile we all took turns trying to call home: Isaac buzzed his mom but received no reply. Theresa was extremely worried about her little sister and she listened, her picturesque face fraught with worry, as it rang incessantly. Big Barry called God knows who in vain and I may as well have been dialing the number of an old phone booth outside an abandoned, desert gas station.

    We sat for several hours in the cozy glow of the candles, all of us speculating in our minds about what in the Hell could be going on outside, but no one voiced his or her opinion. I chivalrously offered to give Theresa a ride home, but she only shook her head no with a near catatonic stare and despite my bravado I was silently relieved.

    “I don’t care about my mom,” She said out of nowhere. “but my little sister’s out there.”

    “You shouldn’t say that.” I said, not really knowing why I was daring to correct her. “I’m sure your mom is not that bad, and that her and your little sister are both going to be o.k.”

    “Hmm, she doesn’t even keep food in the house.” She countered.

    At our regular closing time things seemed to have quieted down a bit outside and Big Barry announced that he was going to try and make it home. I thought this was a bad idea but I did not convey my concern: if the overbearing fat bastard wanted to get himself killed that was his business. He told us that we could have the rest of the night off, (Which was damn sporting of him, since it was already past time to clock out and there was some sort of apocalypse going on outside.) and that he was sure that the authorities would have order restored soon, certainly by tomorrow. Henceforth we would all be expected to be there at 9 a.m. the next morning as usual. Hiding my disdain I told him that I would be. Theresa said nothing. Isaac wisecracked that he’d probably still be here if and when Big Barry returned for the regularly scheduled opening. The fat man uncharacteristically ignored the clever comment, for he was not his usual rude self. He looked shaken and disheveled.

    “9 O clock… sharp.” He repeated before exiting through the rear kitchen door. Which was not far from where he always parked his 1979, designer Lincoln Continental; it was the Bill Blass. He looked both ways fearfully before he went, like a man about to cross a busy intersection, and I almost felt sorry for him. I swiveled the bolt locked behind him before dropping the long wooden reinforcement bar into the steel support arms. We never saw him again.

    5.

    At 5 a.m. the streets were empty. After Big Barry had departed the pace of the melee outside quickened. Shambling subjects skulked across the parking lot as Isaac and I peeked out the tinted windows sideways. After a large chunk of something hit the side of the building with a loud bang, Isaac was startled into action. He almost tripped over one of the tables.

    “Help me with this mother fucker man.” He barked out in frustration. I quickly got to my feet and we reinforced the entrances by turning the tables over and covering the doors. Miraculously, Isaac found a nail gun in the store room and we shot them into place with those long bolts. After we were satisfied with our wares we plopped down in one of the remaining booths, panting like street dogs in the summer.

    Outside the carnage continued. A huge scrum of individuals, all their arms and legs entangled within, danced across the asphalt in a flailing circle, feral dogs snapping at their calves and unwanted cats digging angry claws into the backs of their tattered clothes. The mad people punched and kicked into their own moving pile senselessly until they were out of view. We had jumped up to peek around the edges of the curtains to watch them. Now we simultaneously sat back down. “What the Hell man?” Isaac said.

    6.

    As the days passed by, I felt smelly and the air inside the restaurant seemed to grow stale from the inactivity. We sure as hell didn’t have to worry about food: we had enough pizza ingredients to feed a battalion. Plus salads, sandwiches, lasagna and so forth. Though I must admit that my appetite was lacking. There were no showers of course, but the restrooms were sufficient for cat baths. A lack of deodorant, toothpaste and a laundered change of clothes however, prevented us from ever feeling really clean.

    We were worried that perhaps some flipped out shadow would kill the electricity, but the lights just continued to glow. What few bulbs, that is, we allowed ourselves to switch on. During the day we made a conscience effort not to use any lights at all, save for perhaps the store room bulb which, we were confident, could not be seen from the outside. At night we’d just light the candles and sat them on the floor or underneath the booths. We wanted to give off the appearance, to anyone or anything who may be searching from the street, that the restaurant was closed or ideally that the franchise was even bankrupt, with all employees let go and the equipment long removed.

    We didn’t really feel all that secure of course, but the number one criteria which we had to bank on, our one baseless hope, was that no phantom, fiend nor freak had attempted to breach or break in to the establishment.

    Being in this close a proximity to Theresa for that prolonged of a period, you would have thought that some of her luster would have worn off by now or at least that she would have been relegated to the status of a mere human being. But the opposite happened: I was helplessly smitten and overwhelmingly star struck by her, and, even though she ate little, slept less and wept almost every waking moment, her electrifying beauty had not lost any of the sharpness off its pristine edge.

    Watching her walk by was like a thrilling punch to the chest. Even the mere twist of her artful feminine body inside of her modest clothes gave off the effect of a shot of adrenaline to the onlooker. That attire never seemed to wrinkle or stain even after being worn for days. One night she washed her feet, lavender nail polish still glowing on her alluring toenails, in a lasagna pan. I had to pour a pitcher of ice water over my balls in the black-rimmed sink, then hated myself for lusting after her in such a callous and impure fashion. Suddenly I felt no better than the womanizers, except that they could get girls like Theresa and I couldn’t.

    Still I vigilantly tried to keep her calm, often standing guard over the makeshift bed which I had made for her underneath the center booth at the front of the restaurant. When I encouraged her to eat she asked, “Why are you being so nice to me?” (Aren’t all the boys nice to you?) But no, I bit that one back. “We’re co-workers.” I said instead.

    “Well thank you.” She frowned kindly.

    “You’re welcome.” I said, smiling and lifting my eyebrows, like me falling all over her wasn’t any big deal.

    A little while later I came back with my special: an Alfredo and Mostaccoli mix. It was great but it wasn’t like I had cooked it from scratch. I mean the Pizza Gut dog food is fantastic anyway. Even though I had no choice but to scarf it down hour after hour, I still hadn’t gotten sick of it.

    “This is my special recipe,” I quipped. “all the way from the boot of Italy.” This made me wonder what in the world a real Italian chef would say in the wake of this processed, tomato sauce-laced pulp.

    She smiled a little, but it was a pain wracked grin and she could only nibble a couple of bites down.

    “Do you think Barry made it?” She asked naively.

    (Christ I sure as fuckin’ well hope not! anyway, no fuckin’ way.) “Yeah.” Was what I really said, “I’m sure he told the cops that we’re in here. They’re probably pretty busy with what’s goin’ on and all. But I’m sure they’ll get to us pretty soon.” This false view would have to be classified as optimistic in the extreme.

    “What do you think’s going on out there?” She asked, her bright face tight with worry.

    “I don’t know,” I shook my head. “But you know with the army and everything, they’ll get to us.”

    She looked at the floor and seemed to grow sad. “You know,” She began, “what I said about my mother the other day, I didn’t mean it… I mean… I hope she’s okay.”

    I shrugged. “We’re all very tired.” I said simply.

    Suddenly she seemed to crumple up, like a flower in a fast-forwarded video frame curdling in the cold. She wept into my chest. And although her closeness felt exciting to me, I could feel her sadness soaking into me as the tears saturated my clothes. The cadence of her heartbeat throbbed like my will to live. And it suddenly occurred to me that this disaster, or whatever it was, was almost like a lucky break for me. All my competition was now dead or at the very least running for their lives. I would have stayed in that lifeless restaurant with her forever. It’s like I had always known: if only she would get to know me I could make her fall in love with me, and, as it turned out, that’s exactly what happened.

    7.

    After that, the whole romance just sort of came off like a miracle. Everything that I said somehow came out just right. Or at least that’s the way it seemed to strike her. My tongue, which had always been thick and clumsy in the presence of the worldwide sorority of the softer sex, had suddenly turned as silver as a rare nickel. I was as competent and astute as the womanizers, only the words which came from me were genuine, while their false phrases were practiced and counterfeit. I felt like she knew this and was refreshed by it even. Perhaps I hadn’t given here enough credit when it came to protecting herself from such monsters.

    I realized, of course that she had no choice but to talk to me, but I could see something different in her gaze: a recognition of a goodness within me that she would never have known about otherwise: a longing glare usually reserved for the most popular and athletic heartthrobs at our school. Sure, a trillion fuckers had always hit on her but she had no official boyfriend. So, in lieu of the absence of our classmates, I confidently stepped into those comfortable shoes. We were thrown together in a haphazard yet somehow spectacular fashion. Like two Indians in an arranged arrowhead marriage or two Celtic gypsies jumping over a matrimonial broom.

    I admit, in the normal nuances of our high school homerooms this might have felt strained or strange. But here, in the greenhouse atmosphere of our incarceration, our love grew like some bizarre and brilliant new species of flower. And then, as a speeding August rain slammed against the red roof of the restaurant, her irises shifting down, cascading within their own pools, smitten with permission, we kissed serenely, the struggling dance of the candles painting their pale beige ballet underneath our chins. And a joy poured out of us as honest as a shooting star: a comet that we were too afraid to search the night sky for.

    8.

    “What’s that?” Isaac said, and I saw that he was straining to look a great distance out beyond the parking lot. I followed that gaze past the bait shop and several scarred foundries, over into the bleak prairies beyond the edge of town. We shaded our eyes from the rippling effects of the sun.

    Of course we didn’t have any binoculars or anything like that, we had gotten lucky with the nail gun, but you could forget about any firearms or anything else that might be of some practical use – unless of course you wanted to consider a butter knife or a pizza cutter a deadly weapon.

    “What?” I asked, “Where?”

    “There!” He exclaimed, and pointed between two deceased factories to a far off field. On the very last rim of the horizon, right before the land disappeared on the cusp of the firmament, I could barely see what looked like an endless herd of cattle or buffalo. A great mass on the tip of the plains. I shook my head.

    “I don’t know.” I pulled my ‘Pizza Gut’ cap down tight over my eyes and refocused. No, these forms were taller than cattle, like bears in a mosh pit, but that just couldn’t be, you’d need two hundred thousand creatures to create a mass that large. It was like the awesome rows of an endless army and yet… some smaller dots moved above the crowd, like animalistic bodies being passed or giant wolverines walking on each other’s shoulders. Nah – it just couldn’t be, and it was still more than five football fields away. Making it impossible to tell what we may be looking at from this distance. Then I thought I heard a scream and it was like a thousand arms had come from the crowd and reached for the sun – like eighty thousand Muslims rising from their rugs in a prayer. I stole a sideways glance at Isaac, and ascertained that he too had heard the scream. “I don’t know?” I said again.

    9.

    I had gotten into the habit of waking up about 5 a.m. Although I hadn’t really been sleeping in any kind of traditional sense; it was more like a fear-fueled, nightmare-riddled trance. Full of colorless, steeped towers which were only trumped by the bleak reality of the actual situation whenever I moaned awake.

    Wiping the blackness off of my face, I stumbled towards the restroom. One of the fishnet candles sat on the sink and it had died down to a barely visible waver. I knew where the urinal was however and I’d long been broke of the ritual of snapping on the light. As the piss hit the depreciating mint, my thoughts traveled back to the mass on the horizon that Isaac had noticed earlier that day. After the sun had dipped, we were no longer able to follow its progress, if indeed it had made any progression or regression at all, and we had gotten nowhere as far as trying to figure out what it might be.

    I zipped up and sleepily scratched the back of my head. That’s when I realized that I had gone to sleep with my cap still on. The sun would be up in forty-five minutes or so and at that point I would be able to see if the mass was still there. I kneed my way into the booth and pulled back the curtain.

    I thought that I had known moments of fear before in my life: when my Indian motorcycle went airborn and I knew that I was going to come down hard: when I had shared my mother’s darkened house with a burglar, my sweaty palm clutching a pocket knife as I knelt in a clothes packed closet: when three gang bangers surrounded me and threatened to beat out the brains that I needed for university. But the sight I beheld now gave me a far more morbid start: There was a white face washed with streaks of gray not five centimeters from the glass. The eyes glowing dirtily like two grimy pennies recovered from a mud puddle. They did not appear to focus on me, but rather they were muddled, like the stare of a sleepwalker spying a dread tainted dream instead of what was actually in front of him. As if this looker had seen something so scarring that he could never use those seared irises ever again. As if his vision just couldn’t reconnect to the hard surfaces of the real world. And this reaper, this phantom was not alone: for there were thousands, maybe even millions, of his kind right behind him. They were packed shoulder to shoulder throughout the parking lot and beyond- as far as my yellowed eyes could see. As tight as cattle in a stockade or those poor people the nazis had shuffled into those boxcars. They did not attempt to break in. For they really didn’t appear to be conscious at all as they swayed softly back and forth in the early morning drizzle like worshippers of some pseudo-Kentucky hillbilly, snake religion, the slime from their grimy bodies and the acid rain mingled to drip off of their brindled chins.

    I retreated in a stumble back from the window. I thought that my chest would cave in or that my chin would crack right off from the terror, as it ripped through my arms and legs with the force and effect of a heart attack. I heard a sound like a cannonball as I defecated into my drawers and fell into a heap with my back to the iron colored salad bar. Then, another thought ravaged my brain and I scurried to the opposite side of the restaurant, almost stumbling over Isaac’s sleeping form. I slid into a new booth and slowly reached for the curtain. As if I could change what was behind it depending on which angle I approached it from.

    I saw the back of a woman or maybe a girl’s head, her black mane smashed against the window like a squashed spider’s web. I couldn’t really see behind her, but I could just sense from her body’s odd angle that there was a thousand of her kind pressing against her, and now I could see them, all tangled in each other’s limbs like some septic vision of the pits of Hades. Satisfied that there was no chance of escape, I was just about to drop the curtain, when the girl’s head whirled around suddenly, like a sleeper coming up from a nightmare. She bared her brittle, orange teeth and barked at me as wild as a wolf. I stumbled backwards as the curtain fell across her ghastly face and rode one of the tables to the floor. I bit back a scream like someone trying to hold in a wave of vomit. But the noise from my tumble woke Isaac anyway. He danced around throwing punches at his own imaginary enemies like Mohammed Ali.

    “What… what the hell is it man?” He stammered still half asleep.

    “Nothin’,” I explained. “I just had a nightmare man, everything’s fine. Go on back to sleep.”

    “Shit man,” He ran his fingers through his short hair. “You really had me scared. I thought that somethin’ was goin’ on out in the street.” He made a move towards the window.

    “NO NO.” I implored while making my palm into a stop sign. “I just looked out man, everything’s cool, it’s alright. I got this. I got it.”

    Even though I surmised that none of us would last the forty-five minutes until dawn, I was still desperate to save my friend and my beautiful sweetheart from the misery of knowing what was in store for them behind the red curtains until the absolute last instant. Why inject any more trepidation into their lungs than they’d already been living with? Why cause them to suffer as I was suffering?

    “I got it man, I’m on guard duty. Go on back to bed.” Like there was anything the ‘guard’ could have done about it when three hundred thousand walking ghouls tried to gain access to the restaurant.

    “Alright man.” Isaac said. “That’s cool. I’ll relieve you in a couple of hours.” With that he pulled a table cloth over himself and laid his head on some piled up ‘Pizza Guts pizza to go’ T-shirts.

    “Fair enough,” I said as he quickly retreated into a world of dreams; a world we were all far better off visiting nowadays. I dumped myself down by the salad bar, a shiver overtaking my entire skeleton as if I were sitting outside, naked, in subzero temperatures.

    Thank God the hubbub had not awoken Theresa: she lay as peaceful as a princess in a fairy tale, her closed eyelids flushed with purple, even though her make-up had long faded. Some girls needed cosmetics, even the very pretty ones. It was as if their striped down faces were deflated somehow, discolored or shrunken without this protection. But Theresa did not fall into that category: even here, in the vicious raw of a savage morning, perhaps our last ever, she glowed like a pageant queen.

    I was afraid to look out the window anymore. So I just sat there with my back to the salad bar, shaking and looking around the restaurant. Expecting to hear glass break at any second. I thought about the panels which made up the pizza joint. They would fold back like cardboard when a mob that size pressed their weight against it. Especially since they were probably not worried about the ones in front getting trampled and so forth.

    So this was it: the end of my life. Jesus, I hadn’t even gotten to have sex with Theresa. There was so much that I wanted to do: I had been looking so forward to university. I wanted to learn, but I also wanted to party in the frat-houses: I wanted to get hammered at the football games: I wanted to pinch the cheerleader’s asses. This was the United States for Christ’s sake. I had dreams; I wanted to write the great American novel.

    Sometime after six, the climbing sunlight began to slant through the curtains. I could hear nothing outside and the only noise in the dining room was Isaac’s heaving and Theresa’s delicate breath. When nothing else happened for another twenty minutes I dragged myself towards the curtain. After another five minutes of cowering in the booth I somehow mustered the courage to brave a peek. What I saw next was a miracle in its own right: there was no one outside: only an empty parking lot with stained papers and crap colored wrappers flushing through an emptier wind. The streets and thoroughfares adjacent to the restaurant were also deserted. Not one Godless form in sight.

    Had it all been some horrid, twisted nightmare, No. I’d had some bad dreams before but…

    10.

    After that we wad some sort of peace for awhile. I kept expecting the ghastly figures to reposition themselves outside. I must have looked out the window every forty five seconds, but they didn’t return, at least not so far.

    Theresa talked about her little sister a lot and about what we would do once we got out. She said that she had seen a TV special about the country of Iceland. According to that program it wasn’t cold there at all. Turns out the first Viking explorers had only christened it Iceland to discourage various other squatters from coming ashore. Imploring other plunderers to bypass it for neighboring Greenland; which actually was as frigid as hell.

    She thought that maybe we could rescue her little sister and then head there. I agreed with this wholeheartedly, even though I knew that it wasn’t in the least bit feasible. We’d be lucky to get outside and get a car started, let alone drive halfway across the country to a dock. And once there how would we get a boat or a plane? How would we know how to drive either one? How did we know that Iceland wasn’t affected by the crises? I didn’t even know where Iceland was on the globe for Christ’s sakes. But I let her have her dream, why spoil it? If she wanted to go to Iceland, Iceland it was.

    Isaac meanwhile was boxing his own demons. As Theresa and I slow danced to the scratchy ballads on the old jukes, ( After not seeing a soul out the window for a couple of weeks, we’d gotten confident enough to let the slower songs play on a very low volume ) Isaac glanced up from his mop. He was still performing his daily tasks, either out of unbreakable force of habit or a desperate attempt at normalcy. His face looked troubled and drawn which, given this instance, was not really a revelation, and yet, I sensed that something else was bothering him. When Theresa went to do her girly thing in the restroom I walked across the freshly mopped tiles.

    “What’s wrong man?” I asked him.

    “Oh,” He smiled weakly. “I’m fine, I’m real glad for you and Theresa, I know that’s what you wanted.”

    I nodded and grabbed a couple of tinted red plastic glasses from the drink bar. I shot us a couple of Pepsi’s and said. “C’mon, let’s take a break bro’.”

    He nodded and we slid into a booth.

    “Talk to me man.” I implored.

    He slunk out from what had been a dumpy posture and sat up straight. “Did I ever tell you I have a girlfriend man? Or maybe I should say… had.” I was shocked. “No.” I answered, taken aback.

    He nodded. “Yeah, she pretty cool.” He reached for his wallet and took out a tattered photograph; a likeness of a light skinned black girl who was standing with some children and a rotund clown.

    “Jesus,” I said staring into her coffee colored irises. She’s a fuckin’… She’s beautiful man.”

    “Yeah…” He nodded, looking sadder yet. “She pregnant man.” I took a deep breath, tried to put on a fake brave face, decided I couldn’t, and whistled a sigh.

    “Jesus.” I said.

    “Yeah.” He countered.

    “When’s she due?” I inquired, trying to find a silver lining. If she were do at a later date, maybe I could make him feel better by convincing him that we would all be free by then. Free of the Pizza Gut.

    “Today.” He looked as if he might cry when he said it.

    “Oh,” I handed him back the puppy-eared picture. I was out of answers. Not that I’d had very many in the first place.

    “You know I never even knew my old man.” He said. I nodded my head yes. That much I had known.

    “Well…” I tried again. “I mean this circumstance… it sure as Hell isn’t your fault.

    “Shut up man!” He snapped suddenly, the fear, depression and repression had drove him to a breaking point. “What do you know about it man? You ever been poor man? I bet you never even been to Westin? Shit… assholes like you be walkin’ around in a polo shirt out to the university.”

    “Isaac,” I said calmly, for I realized that it was his hopeless plight that was fueling his angry words. “there is no more university.”

    He seemed to slump, as if defeated by the slow and constant pressure we were all under. “I’m sorry bro,” He said teary eyed. “You know I ain’t bout nothin’ like that.”

    “I know that bro,” I said earnestly. “Don’t worry bout it.” Then after a few seconds I added. “Look, maybe it’s time we tried to get the hell out of here?”

    He nodded in concurrence, still looking dejected and ill. Theresa returned from her winky-tinky and searched our faces.

    “What are you guys talking about?” She asked.

    “Iceland.” I answered.

    11.

    And we actually thought that we were, going to get out of there that is. The next morning we even began mapping out routes in our minds. What might be the fastest way to pick up Theresa’s little sister? Then the shortest shortcut over to Isaac’s girlfriend’s apartment, (What none of us mentioned of course, was that there was little incentive to believe that any of these people were alive.) all the way up to the time that we crossed the city limits. We even took one of the tablecloths and spread it out on the hard carpet near the register and began throwing supplies on there. Theresa dug out her backpack which she sometimes took to school and then to work. Isaac seemed to cheer up, there was some extra pep in his step. We were all very encouraged at the prospect of escape. And then we heard the most startling noise: louder than lightening striking a tin roof: like the sound of a hammer pounding on a ringside bell. We all jumped and followed the noise to its source; looking in the direction of the ringing telephone.

    12.

    We had forgotten that it was even there; conceded that it was as dead as the rest of the city. It rang three times, as clumsy as a clunking engine before any of us even moved. Finally, Theresa said,

    “Maybe it’s the police? 9-1-1 always calls back right? Just like Barry said.”

    But her eyes were wide with doubt. And she was shuffling her feet like someone trying to keep warm in a bitterly cold wind. I nodded, although I knew that her theory was bogus. Isaac’s eyes darted, like someone looking at a crime being committed, yet helpless to stop it. The phone continued to ring like a jackhammer down a morning street. I walked over and picked it up.

    “Hello?” I asked tentatively,

    “Hello yourself.” A smarmy voice returned my greeting.

    “Who’s this?”

    “Look,” The voice said, “I’m not going to waste your time answering questions which will ultimately be rendered meaningless. I’m simply going to say that I need for you to send the girl out.”

    “What girl?” The moment I asked this I regretted using the word girl. For a new fear filled Theresa’s eyes and they got even wider, which I had not thought possible.

    “Why Theresa, of course.”

    I paused perplexed. Then I said,

    “I can’t do that.”

    But the voice didn’t grow angry or flustered, it only continued in a tone so cold that it was almost bureaucratic.

    “Have you been paying attention to what’s going on outside?”

    “Some of it.” I said, trying to hide the horror in my voice.

    “Well, I am in control of that rabble. And I will unleash that fury upon you if you make me. But it would be easier on all parties involved, if you’d just send the girl out.”

    Now it was time for me to shuffle my feet. “Look,” I said through a frown. “I don’t know who you think you are. But you couldn’t possibly control them.”

    “Control who man?” Isaac broke in suddenly. “Who the hell is it?” I put up my hand, indicating that I could not talk.

    “Oh, you don’t think so?” The voice spoke over Isaac.

    “If you had that kind of power, why would you ask me? Why wouldn’t you just have them level this whole building?”

    “Isaac held up his hands and asked no one, “Who’s them?” I covered the speaker and said, “PLEASE MAN!” I didn’t mean to snap at him but it was far too important that I hear the speaker.

    “Given the power of my position,” The executive voice began, “That would be grandstanding. Besides, I don’t care about you or the southern Baptist. But the girl’s been selected – she has to come out. Or else I will impose a will which is not mine but yours, since you have the power of choice.”

    As helpless as I was, I resented the insinuation that I had a choice about anything. “I don’t believe you.” I snapped.

    “All right,” The voice said. “If you wouldn’t mind going to the front of the restaurant: the north side, I shall provide for you an example.”

    I thought this over for a second. “Alright.” I said, “I’m going to put the phone down for a second.”

    “By all means.”

    I put the receiver down and zigzagged through the remaining tables towards the front window.

    “What is man?… Where ya goin’?” Isaac pleaded, but I waved him off again. I pulled back a tiny fraction of the curtain, half expecting to see the army of menacing white faces once again. But the front parking lot was abandoned and there wasn’t a car on the road. For a second, I really wanted to believe that the voice was bluffing, or better yet, the cruelest of crank callers. But that’s when I noticed a large shadow, like a passing cloud only… utterly still, its huge body of shade holding in place on the ground.

    This prompted me to look to the sky. And when I did I saw the most amazing and terrifying sight perhaps ever beheld by a human’s being’s retinas:

    At first I thought that I was looking at a bird, albeit a much larger avian anomaly than was native to the modern skies. Then I thought that it was a cross, although the design itself was not as consequential as the sum of its parts; for up there in that magnesium hued sky, some two hundred and fifty feet or eight three yards from where I stared dumbfounded was those people, those dead people. Their bodies: scaly broken arms and decaying crooked legs all locked together in a solid yet writing mass. The limbs wrapped tight around each other like acrobats on a trapeze, only with no visible means to support their weight. Defying the laws of gravity and flight they were making the form of the cross; taking on the shape of the thunderbird. They even cooperated to work the mammoth wings. Yet as they exerted themselves to perform this, each member of the macabre team seemed to be looking directly into my eyes. Their eyes like the gaze inside a bull’s head as its neck is locked in the stocks of the abattoir stall.

    I slowly backed away from the window, stifling a scream for the benefit of the others, though they would have had to see me blanch down to the color of the raw dough in the freezer.

    “What is it?!” Isaac said with a fear so sharp that it was filled with pain. Theresa ran up to me and searched my eyes. She felt my brow like one does a child for fever. “It’s O.K.” I managed, nearly stumbling. Isaac clambered into the booth, but the monster must have been gone by now ( Or maybe I was the only one who could see it ) because he said,

    “I don’t see anything?”

    “It’s O.K.” I repeated, putting my hand over Theresa’s, before suddenly releasing it and walking back to the phone.

    “Do you see?” The voice said. As if it knew I’d be convinced.

    “Yes.” I said, but I didn’t know where I was. Like a revived boxer discovering that he’s just been knocked out.

    “Then I expect you’ll be sending the girl out?” The voice tested its most confident tone yet; almost presidential.

    From somewhere deep inside me, the last sliver of my courage rose up. “Never.” I whispered.

    “I’m very sorry to hear that. Is that your final position?” The voice asked.

    “I’m afraid so.” I answered. Not wanting to anger the voice, yet realizing that anything short of the answer it desired would anger it.

    “Don’t be a fool man.” The voice’s composure seemed to crack for the first time. “Send the twat out and you and the nigger can eat pizza until you burst.”

    I hung up.

    “Who was that?” My fellow prisoners asked in unison.

    But I could only shake my head no.

    13.

    We went through an odd three-day stretch where the sun did not rise, never mind blaze, but by now we were beyond being surprised by anything. This made me remember a prophecy that my grandmother had laid on me years before. She said that when God is finally disenchanted with his earth: with its breakdowns of the family unit: immorality, adultery, perversion of youth, faggots, lesbos, sodomites, transsexuals, blow job queens and kings, racy fashions, lack of charity, heartlessness, indifference, contentions, godlessness, lawlessness, pride in human knowledge, that he would exact a final judgment against his fools.

    At this point a cross shall appear in the sky ( And I was pretty sure that I’d already seen the cross.) as a warning to all to repent. Then demons and evil spirits would be released from their bondage in Hades and permitted to roam the earth to do as they wish. Gruesome apparitions will dance across the sky. People will fold up and wither from sheer fright. Meteors will rain down onto the fields; cities will be swallowed up and digested by the center of the planet. Poisonous gasses will take the place of oxygen. And the shrieked lamentations of the sinners will be heard before their bodies burn out in the open like withered grass. And of course, the corpses would be ejected from their cracked and mud-caked caskets, to visit each door like some lethal census bureau.

    There were several precautions one could take against this retribution of course: I think that they involved not looking or going outside: lighting blessed candles: sprinkling holy water around the windows and entrances; not answering to any visitors no matter how dear they were to your heart, etc, etc.

    Of course we had no holy water, though I doubt that I would have had the initiative left to douse it around the thresholds in any case. We had all the candles that we needed. Though I doubt that they were blessed, however, by any authority higher than the Pizza Gut corporate office. We had looked out the windows until I thought that our eyes would pop out and had yet to be reduced to cinders by the light of God. Though at times, that ending would have probably sounded alright to us. As to not receiving any visitors we soon got a chance to test this axiom, the results so fearful that they made my gut burn cold.

    Isaac was the first one to hear it. So distant and imperceptible at first, that it was scarcely noticeable.

    “Is that a knock?” He asked, as he lifted his chin off of the palm of his hand. Now I could hear it too; it sounded like it was coming from the entrance door. I quickly peeked out the window, but could see nothing. Around this time Theresa jumped up and went into near hysterics.

    “It’s Kelly!” She babbled, “It’s Kelly!” She ran over to the door and tried to pry at the long bolts with her bare and precious fingers with predictable non-results.

    “Wait,” I tried to tell her, “Wait Theresa.” I looked out again and now I could see the scant figure of a little girl. She was wearing a hooded coat. And looked to me exactly like, I swear to God, little red riding hood. The string on the parka was drawn tight and her face could not be seen. Theresa continued to work at the bolts but made no progress.

    “It’s Kelly,” She said thrilled. “let her in. Isaac help me.” Isaac got up but I motioned for him to sat back down.

    “Theresa,” I said. “We can’t let anyone in here.”

    She looked at me shocked. “What do you mean,” she said. “Of course we can, that’s Kelly.”

    “No.” I said firmly, “We can’t.” She went kind of crazy then and began struggling against me. I grabbed her wrists as she tried to claw my face, quiet, tears of frustration sizzling down her smooth cheeks.

    “Look Theresa,” I said. “Look.” I dragged her to the booth and made her look out the window.

    It’s hard to describe what we saw next. The figure of the little girl just sort of folded up; or down into kind of an arachnid stance. An impossible angle for a human body to posture. As we watched frozen, the little girl walked up the side of the restaurant wall, like an insect does or a sticky legged lizard. Then she was mercifully out of sight. Theresa’s mouth gaped into a capitol O, I fidgeted her into a calming hug.

    “Kelly?” She whispered in a weeping squelch. “Kelly,” Then she passed out.

    “ssssshhhh…” I whispered in a low calming voice.

    Isaac threw his hands up confused, “Who Kelly?” He asked. I looked around back past her stiff hair-do and told him.

    “Her little sister.”

    14.

    I was so tired that my eyes burned. You wouldn’t think that someone could ever sleep again after seeing what I saw; knowing what I now knew. But exhaustion takes its toll and even the fear itself turns to some type of sleeping tonic. But your nerves are so on edge it’s like trying to snooze on the top of a telephone pole.

    And that’s how it got: I didn’t know when I was asleep or when I was awake. I would be outside the restaurant; even though that was the one place where I was the most terrified to venture. I was being passed above the mob, silver hands, yellow nails. Then I was below the streets, in the ankle deep bile, the run off of the sewers. Where sketchy creatures, part human, part vermin, part death rubbed against me with sharp, bristly hairs before scuttling off with a splash through the stinking waters. Then I was in an abandoned lot. For some reason, I turned over an old piece of siding that was lying on the ground; where the balding grass had bleached down yellow from lack of sun, snakes with the faces of people slithered out. They screamed like startled women and side-winded off through the orange grass. Then I was inside a burned out building. There was a body lying on the ruined rug that had been cooked until it no longer had any relation to humanity. Yet somehow it was still writhing among the charcoaled sticks and stalks of the collapsed furniture. Its black hand reaching for my ankle, driven by a perverse and mysterious notion to get me. Then I was climbing the highest tree in the forest, I could almost feel the wetness of the moist leaves, hear the moans of the crowd on the ground, after me like a trapped raccoon. Then I was up again, back inside the restaurant. Theresa asking me when we were leaving, gesturing to the trivial objects we had placed on the tablecloth to take with us. But when I opened my mouth to answer, tears came out instead of words. And I cried like a child in front of my true love. And then she cried, slapping me in the face, over and over, seeing my true helplessness; seeing my weakness. Then my head hurt, like I had smashed it against concrete, and I was in the air, I was part of the bird. My face hot and tortured held to the sun. My mind kidnapped by the totalitarianism: inside the pacing packs of the animated grave dwellers. And I answered to the angel; his face sharp and beautiful. And he told me the world was evil and that it was ending. And that only a few hundred thousand had been selected. And I thanked him for saving me. But he only shook his head no. And his voice was so cold, like a bill collector on the telephone and he said, “No my son, you do not understand, YOU… HAVE… NOT… BEEN… SELECTED…”

    And now I really was awake. Isaac was crying roughly like a man does when he can’t hold back the tears. “Fuck, Fuck, Fuck,” He kept saying over and over. Theresa was surprisingly calm. She sat in the last table standing and mouthed silent prayers while keeping time on a purple, little girl’s rosary.

    Before I even pulled the curtain back I knew what it was going to look like outside. An orgy of writing bodies, squirming like worms in a carton of dirt. Just as I looked out, they all stopped gyrating and got up off of the ground. Now they stood silently, looking at my position with eyes as bright as marbles. Some of them were nude, others were literally decomposing, naked of flesh. There was no mistaking what this grim army’s mission was to be.

    A ways behind this throng, there was a boom truck: you know one of those trucks with the bucket like for working on power lines. There was a man standing inside the basket. He had no shirt on, revealing a marvelous physique. His hair was blonde and his face was exceedingly handsome. He also seemed to be looking right at me. From somewhere, he produced a cell phone. Just then he pointed at me, our phone began its horrific, jangling at once. No one even thought about moving to answer it. I felt my face shrivel up from the terror. Like a Coke can in a campfire. There was something on the man’s back; something crawling above his shoulders like a little white animal. But no… it was not separate from his being and now I realized that it was furry wings rising above his head; huge wings, though I could not judge the scale or the span since they were still partially folded. And I began to laugh. Isaac and Theresa could not even hear me from their own terror trances. But still I laughed. “Jesus Christ.” I spat out loud. “An angel with a fuckin’ cell phone?!”

    Epilogue

    The ham and cheese tasted pretty good. I really like to dip mine into ranch; chase it all with a taste of Pepsi. There was still some pop left in the machine believe it or not; Barry, that fat fuck, must have filled the whole God damned thing up right before he left. There was plenty of pizza left too for that matter. But Isaac had always been the main pizza chef around here, so with him gone, I really didn’t feel like putting in the effort. Besides, I couldn’t eat a whole pizza by myself and it just seemed like such a waste. Hell, nowadays I couldn’t even eat half a sandwich by myself.

    Isaac had assisted me in what had to be done. After that he said that he just couldn’t stay around here and that we should never talk about it again. He also said that, “Since it had all gone down so bad.” he now needed to see his girlfriend and her assumed new baby all the more. I didn’t say very much back. I mumbled something about not blaming him and all that. He did not ask me to come along, but even before then I knew that there was now a permanent rift between us: he resented my cowardice and, what was even worse, he resented the cowardice that he had shown to a lesser degree in going along with me.

    Anyway, we wrapped him up some food inside Theresa’s backpack. I knew that he was not going to find what he was looking for; that in all likelihood his girlfriend and her offspring were as dead as vampires, that is: dead but still trucking around. I didn’t bother to say this however. It wouldn’t exactly be like wishing someone good luck to tell them something like that. So we just shook hands at the door, even though we both knew that our friendship was destroyed forever. And he strode without turning back across the abandoned parking lot, heading in the general direction of Westin.

    When I was alone there were no reasons left to hold back the tears; and they came like rain from a green cloud too dark to do anything else except release the storm. I didn’t think or say to myself, “What have I done?” or anything that dramatic. I had known what had to be done and, left with no choice, I had done it.

    Oh sure I could still see Theresa’s face. Who could ever forget a face that beautiful: big and innocent like a baby fawn in a cartoon. She looked so happy when I kissed her awake. And peaceful, for the first time in I don’t know how long.

    “Are we getting out of here?” She said, smile beaming through her fading sleepiness.

    “Sort of?” I said with a sick grin pasted onto my red faced exhaustion.

    “What do you mean?” She asked, her face as trusting as an infant’s.

    “Well,” I answered. “You are.” She almost bit the duct tape as I lifted it up to her mouth. As if I had playfully offered her a snack. She must not have realized what was truly going down until the adhesive sealed her lips shut. And Isaac simultaneously roped her feet together with some box cord we had found in the store room. Once he tied her hands behind her back I think that the reality of what was happening to her finally started to sink in. Although I’m not sure that she ever understood the reasoning behind it. I’m not sure I do.

    She began to buck and kick as we lifted her up and her eyes filled with a purple panic and the wetness of sadness. We carried her to the door where we had removed the long bolts and sat aside the table.

    “It’s all right Theresa,” I pleaded. “The angel, he gave me his word, you’ve been selected.” This didn’t seem to calm her. I don’t think it would have been much consolation to me either, had I been in her situation. As we got her through the door, where the crowd of cadavers had dispersed after my second and final phone conversation with the angel, we saw that the parking lot was clear once again. We sat her next to a pot hole which a gypsy had repaired for Big Barry the previous spring. But whatever the gypsy had repaired it with was long gone and the hole gaped once again. After we sat her down we quickly retreated towards the door. She tried to roll towards us and black soot from the pavement stained her jeans and purple shirt, a closed mouth scream rose as loud as her vocal chords could pitch it from behind the duct tape. I closed the door and twisted the bolt. Isaac punched the pinball machine and it made its digital/free game sound and almost toppled before banging back down into its worn spot. “This is bad man,” He lamented. “This is so fuckin’ bad.” I had to concur.

    “I KNOW MAN!” I shouted loudly before plopping down in the booth and rubbing the stubble on my face. My explosion seemed to satisfy Isaac into a temporary silence.

    I tried to rationalize our actions in my butchered thoughts: if we hadn’t given up Theresa we all would have died or became part of the heinous catholic prophecy which we were being forced to act out. At least now, the memory of our love would live on in my surviving mind. Otherwise it would have just floated off into the sky like a lost balloon. I hated myself of course, but even the hate itself was still something: you had to be alive in order to hate. And let’s be honest, I wanted to live. I was only eighteen years old and Isaac, despite all his dirty looks and tearful posturing, wanted to live too. Otherwise he would have never played his callous role in the tragedy. And tragedy is what it was. We didn’t invent this Armageddon, we only had to live by its rules. We were innocent bystanders forced to react to each instance or die. Or worse yet: perish only to perform again as possessed puppets strutting across the spare stage of the empty streets in the hot beige dawn.

    After a few hours Isaac self-righteously came up to me and put his palms flat on the table, his back arched like a cat on a thin branch.

    “She’s still out there man!” He said through clenched teeth. But I refused to look; even when the rain pounded the roof as it had at our happiest moment: when we had first kissed, as softly as a red rose touching a bed of grass, I refused to look.

    Because she was gone now. Vanished, like the comfortable benefits of our society. Vanished like my bravery and pride.

    You may think me spineless or yellow. And I might even agree with that assessment. But I will say that I know of no one, no one who would not have been worn down by the passing weeks of relentless horror and constant worry: no one who could have honestly checked themselves in the wash room ( Though it was now hard to wash, since the hand soap had ran out. ) mirror and say, in all certainly, without one cold beer ( For we did not serve beer at this location. ) coursing through their brain, that they could have done any better, or even any different than I: no one who would have had the mental fortitude to follow the right path. A path which led to an unimaginable horror which it was not necessary to have to imagine.

    Epilogue 2

    And after I nodded off, my eyelids as heavy as my guilt, still sitting up with my chin on my chest, they were all inside the restaurant. They weren’t shoulder to shoulder as they’d been on the asphalt. And they no longer seemed mindless or in some fog. They were simply sitting at the tables like ordinary patrons or partygoers; garrulously chatting. Their faces as white as the blasted rocks inside the salt shakers. I was as helpless as a paraplegic, anyone of them could have taken me out at any time. Then the door opened for the final time and the angel walked in. His wings were as big as the trunk of a car before he neatly folded them onto his back. He wore a smart grey suit with a white tie and his face was even more beautiful than Theresa’s. Theresa, ( OH, OOOHHHH ) He spied me sitting in the corner booth and coldly nodded. It was like seeing a hated acquaintance on the street, yet, you nod anyway. That was how he seemed to me: like his hands were full of packages preventing him from waving. Only the angel didn’t have any parcels.

    I was part of an evil culture: that’s what he had told me on the phone, and therefore unsalvageable. But looking at him now, I did not sense a great deal of goodness within him, or certainly not the divine elegance mandatory to cast a stone. And I knew right then that it had all been for nothing: that they had simply killed, raped or eaton Theresa: that only Jesus himself was qualified to judge and this fraud before me, this charlatan, was as evil as he claimed I was, and I was damned.

    He zigzagged through the milling dead and sat down across from me. The wings folding in neatly behind him. They were as much a part of his body as his arms and legs. Now that I could see his evil exposed, some of his beauty had spoiled and his cheeks looked sunken, his eyes even more sullen. I was not sad or afraid and I realized at that instant that I felt good for no reason at all, like someone invigorated somehow even though they hadn’t slept in fifty-four hours.

    He took a sheet of paper out of his breast pocket and placed it on the table. It wasn’t really a contract in the Beelzebub tradition: it was more like a waiver, as if he couldn’t be responsible for what the dead were about to do to me. He offered me a very nice pen, like it came from the desk of a corporate office somewhere. He made a little wiggly motion with his wrist, indicating that he expected me to sign. Once again, I felt that I was left with no choice: I snapped the pen in half and offered him a cheese stick.

    END.

    7 Comments

    1. Brilliantly written, shame how the girl always dies in zombie stories….

      Comment by Flytch on April 7, 2008 @ 9:45 am

    2. Loved it. A great take on the traditional story. I was impressed with some of your descriptions, they sat well with the pace.
      My only thought was that a nice ‘Red Shirt’ death could have been used to explain why they had sat in the restaurant for so many weeks, and I would change it into chapters to have a single epilogue. Keep the story the same just rename the chapters as it were. Thats Just my opinion tho.

      Comment by Pete Bevan on May 6, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    3. Wow. Nicely done sir. Parts of it (the phone call in particular) reminded me of Phantoms (great book), minus the Affleck. Way to add a ghostly touch to the zombie hordes.

      Comment by Clitoris Rex on May 13, 2008 @ 10:56 am

    4. Wow. Best story I’ve read on this site. I like to think that I would be strong enough to refuse the angel, but after weeks of weak I cannot say for certain. This is what I like best about zombie apocalypse stories, I think. The human interaction and the difficult choices that characters must make in their horrific circumstances.

      Comment by Nate on September 25, 2008 @ 3:49 am

    5. After having loved and lost the one, only and single woman I ever felt I could be happy with, I would like to think that I wold have told that evil, pretty, lying son-of-a-bitch to shove his wings up his ass but then maybe not. In the end, the girl would belong to him as if he had refused they would have torn the place apart so it ends the same. If he had given in and signed he would have belonged to the damned. He doesn’t give in, he’s dead, just a little faster.

      Truly well written though not for someone that is in the throws of a depression. You have incredible talent. Get published!

      Comment by Andre on December 29, 2008 @ 11:52 pm

    6. Very captivating. I love the religious/Armageddon spin on it. I do agree with the aspect of having to make hard choices and not knowing just how long personal convictions will hold out against a tired mind trying to justify a given situation. We’d all like to think we could hold out but truth be told we’ll never know until we’re put into such circumstances.

      Comment by Terry Schultz on August 31, 2009 @ 10:09 pm

    7. This story was almost the best I’ve read on this site. I loved your descriptions and I loved the 3 main characters, right up until dude looked out the window, saw the zombies, shitted in his pants, but decided not to tell the others. What kind of shit is that? At least give the others time to pray if you feel you’ll all be annihilated. Also, I hated the fact that he and his friend tied up the girl that he loved and pined for all this time and sold her out to the Devil. He should have known it was the Devil! They should have prayed or whatever they had to do, not sold their friend out! Anyway, your descriptions were vivid and wonderful and it was a great ride, I was just hoping it was going in another direction. Your work was great. I just despise tragic endings.

      Comment by Living Dead Girl on November 28, 2009 @ 8:36 pm

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