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27 days: After the war

October 4, 2008

[Sgt. Joseph J. Madjeski is a hero of the war. He led numerous successful campaigns, clearing the East Coast of the infected. He earned a score of medals, all uncollected, and disappeared after the war was over. Until he contacted me to tell his story.]

I had always told Meg that I was goin’ to work out, get in shape, y’know? When it came down to it, I guess I liked my video games and horror movies too much to spare the time. For more than I decade, I’ve dwelt on the what ifs. What if I had been in better shape? What if I had been able to fight? What if I had been able to save them, right?

We had read the rumors of the African Rabies outbreak. We watched the news, and even went to get the Phalanx. Before the Great Panic, I used to write. Did you know that before you came? Politics, science, religion, atheism; whatever struck my fancy at any given moment. I remember doing a big Halloween Extravaganza before everything went to shit. Movie and game reviews, local shops and attractions. I had even been on this new internet radio broadcast.  I had never had it better, and I thought about that several times, every fucking day.

[long pause]

In the end, it was the fucking mailman. The mailman, if you can believe it. I had planned on getting his name and leaving a little Christmas gift for him that year. Instead, he was the one who brought my life to an end.

To an end?

Yes. To an end. I guess it wasn’t really his fault. Shit, he was dead already before he crashed through the window, right? I guess I wound up cracking my head on the table, and… as everything was going grey… I heard the footsteps coming down the stairs, the voices shouting, “Daddy?” and “Joe, are you alright? Joe??” I wanted to warn them. I wanted to yell…

Instead, I blacked out. I’ve cursed my weakness every day since.

[At this point, he gets up, collecting another bottle of whiskey from the counter]

Oh, you don’t approve? Well, it you don’t like it, you can just fuck off.  However, if you want to hear my story, suppress your disdain for a bit and keep recording.

I woke up in a personnel carrier, screaming and crying, asking for my family. I knew what had happened, because I felt, keenly, that my life was over. I couldn’t process it. Even though I was… covered in their blood, I still called for them…

After that,  didn’t want anything anymore, except to destroy them. Zombies, right? Who could have fucking believed it?

The next decade is a fucking blur. I got in shape and became a soldier. I had nothing, I wanted nothing, and I was used to bring down as many as I could. I was no better or worse than anyone else, and hundreds, if not thousands fell to my gun. I killed strangers, I killed “friends”. Guns, grenades, landmines, that was my life. Pull the trigger and live, right? Make it count for them.

Right.

[Another long pause]

Do you ever think of rebuilding? Remarrying?

Ha! I’m 44 years old. That time has been and gone, my friend. No… No, there is no recovery for me, no Renaissance. I had my good life, and it’s a decade gone. All I have now is to wait to die.

NOTE: This post is inspired by the book, World War Z, by Max Brooks. It is a work about a fictional outbreak of zombie activity hat throws the world into chaos for over a decade, told by those who experienced it. I recommend this book highly!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Meggie permalink
    October 4, 2008 5:46 pm

    Damn zombies……took away the family, but hey! At least the house ended up being paid off ;0)

  2. October 6, 2008 11:14 am

    Yeah, that would be a concern when legions of the undead are swarming the globe.

    Good thinking, hon! 😉

  3. Ed T. permalink
    October 7, 2008 2:03 pm

    Meh

  4. October 7, 2008 2:05 pm

    Meh to the post?

  5. Ed T. permalink
    October 7, 2008 5:44 pm

    No, Meh to the comment about the swarming the globe. I’ve been ready for years, which means I will die first…

  6. October 7, 2008 6:00 pm

    Nah, you won’t die first because you won’t be the one to open the canister, make fun of a zombie, or withold resources from fellow survivors.

    You’ll die in the third quarter when, against a veritable wall of zombies, you with your bevy of armaments will cockily start yelling at the horde to bring it on, not noticing the single dragger sneaking up behind you.

  7. Ed T. permalink
    October 7, 2008 7:24 pm

    Yeah, sounds about right.

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