I had a lot of dreams about zombies while binge watching The Walking Dead. Here's one of my favorites!
The girls are sort of milling about outside the hut, waiting for something to happen, when Jane spots a zombie.
She turns to look at the other women, but they haven't seen it. As a result, she isn't sure if she's seeing what she thinks she's seeing. She looks back. She sees what looks very much like a zombie climbing out of a window.
It is about six foot six, male, with broad shoulders. It's wearing a plaid shirt that is ripped and wet. It's face is ... it's face is sort of the wrong shape, more like Darth Siddius than a person, though she doesn't know that because she's never seen Star Wars. And she never will.
The zombie spots her, but it doesn't hesitate the way that she does. Instead, it strides towards her, grabs her by the shoulders, and proceeds to attempt to bite off the top of her head.
She still doesn't scream.
People are still busy, preparing for a zombie invasion that they don't really believe will come.
Her brain finally kicks in, the brain that the zombie is trying to eat. Her brain tells her that this is a definitely, really a zombie, but she still doesn't scream, because to sceam would make it real. If she screams, she thinks, she's dead.
Fortunately, somebody sees the struggle and soon there are four people, armed, pulling the zombie from her and hitting it and stabbing it.
"Why didn't you call for help?" Lisa says, her face wet with sweat.
Jane is in shock.
Lisa shakes her head.
"You finally got one," Vinnie the leader says, looking from the corpse to Lisa. "We could do with more women like you," Vinnie says.
"There are no women in the zombie patrols," Lisa says.
"So start your own," says Vinnie.
"Where would I patrol?" asks Lisa.
"You can have the whole of Scotland," Vinnie says. "I've got to move out."
He means him and the majority of his troops.
He probably has orders from London, Lisa thinks.
"Get to it," he says with a smile before walking away. It's not an order. It's the only thing he's ever said to her as an equal, as a friend.
It's funny in this new world. People look at you in the eye and they see you, they listen to what you have to say, because they know that you're probably going to be dead in the next 120 hours. Every exchange might be your last or theirs. And yet people still end conversations with things like: "Go to work" and "Get to it." Nobody says "I love you" anymore. That's the kind of thing you say as you're bleeding out.
Vinnie walks away in his big military jacket and boots, carrying more dust in their creases than is left on the road.
Lisa stands there in her red, cotton, sleeveless blouse and jeans; bare arms, bare hands, holding a bloody rake.
She looks at the dead zombie. She looks at the other women: strong, together, afraid.
In that moment, it becomes real: this is the first all-woman zombie patrol.
It will be the first of many such units throughout the country, but she doesn't know that yet. She won't be dead in the next 120 hours, and she doesn't know that either. Even Jane, who almost had a zombie bite into her skull because she couldn't scream, even Jane survives a few more weeks.
"What now?" asks Sandy.
Lisa creates two teams to check the house, while a third team checks the perimeter. The others should either be doing a stock check of weapons, including potential weapons — see rake — or attending to Jane's mental state. The orders spill out of her mouth, as if by reflex.
The women get to it.
Every night, the kid remembers to check the window. Every night, it’s unlocked.
He is about to attach the lock, which is a flimsy chain - a hoop at one end that slips over a nail - when he wonders whether this nightly fear is based on anything real.
He opens the window and leans out.
There’s a guy down there in a cream suit. He looks like he’s been wearing it all day, in the office and in the pub. He’s looking up, as if searching for the best way to climb up the wall. Like he doesn’t do it several times a week.
“Hey,” the kid yells down. “How’s it going, dickhead?”
The guy just keeps looking up, planning his climb to the window.
Unnerved, the kid hurls down the first thing that comes to hand: a kitchen knife.
The guy steps aside and the knife hits the floor. He is now glaring up at the kid, who pulls the window closed and fumbles with the lock.
It’s at this point that he remembers that there is a back way in. He dashes to the back and checks the fence.
The fence is there, but it doesn’t go all the way across. So begins 20 minutes of adjustment and readjustment, trying to get a 20-foot section of fence to fit in a 26-foot gap. All the while, he looks beyond the fence at the place where the man will appear sooner or later: a black field that disappears into shadows and then trees.
Not long later, someone is walking out of the darkness.
The kid freezes and abandons his ministrations with the fence, ready to face this guy, whoever he is … whatever he is.
He is relieved to discover that it’s not the guy in the suit but a neighbour.
“Hi,” says the kid, trying to sound natural. “I’m trying to make the fence fit.”
The neighbour puts her shopping bags away and then returns to help.
More neighbours arrive from the forest. They’ve had a day at work or studying. A few help with the fence while the rest gather, smoking and drinking beer and white wine. There is a pleasant hum of people chatting about everything and nothing.
Soon, the fence stretches all the way across, at which point the kid starts thinking about barbed wire. Broken glass. Electricity. Another six feet of height.
“What’s going on?” someone asks him.
“I was fixing the fence,” the kid says, “and everyone started hanging out. There must be four hundred people here! It’s a fence party!”
The moment he says the words ‘Fence Party’, everybody leaves.
Now it’s just him, and the fence, and the waiting.
Dean's Dream Journal
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