Chapter 1: The Discovery
I think I got bit the other day.
What time is it, one in the morning? Is it Monday today or Solomon Grundy day? I have no clue. My brain’s been starting to zone out and the last thing I remember was crawling through dirt. The granules grinding against my teeth. I lifted my shirt to check for markings. There’s got to be holes, wounds, or something on me that says who, or what. Yet all I discovered was one of those scars. That little “Y” the morticians do when they sew up their autopsied murder victims.
I tittered deliriously. This must be a joke, right? I dropped my shirt. I put two fingers to my wrist to feel a pulse in vain. Blood needed to be pulsating beneath my fingertips. A thumb to my jugular, circulation was supposed to be there! That hand flew to my heart. A lump of fear crawled into my throat. I couldn’t find a pulse.
“No,” I moaned, voice shook, something kept me alive if that rush of heat to my face in lieu of a panic attack proved any evidence, but there’s supposed to be a heartbeat, “No . . . No . . . NO, NO, *HACK* KOFF-KOFF”
My throat burned. Diaphragm convulsed in spastic bursts. The want to breath was there. It’s an automatic bodily function. A need to keep skin not pasty, and color to the cheeks. The lungs, if I had lungs, or the mortician to strangle, were dead weight. My chest neither rose nor fell.
“Dang, blasted stupid anatomy that doesn’t work,” I cursed and said lots of things my mother would wash my mouth out with soap for writing any of those words. Who knows maybe somebody is reading this on their techno-mom-logy-co-ma-bay-bobber and laughing. Words have been so hard to ugh! It’s like writers block only foggier. I think my brain inhaled a brain fart and died. “Why can’t you work?”
My brain put two and two together but it came out as two plus two equals brain fart. I sniffed an armpit and gagged. Man, I reeked something fierce. First thing to do was go find help or make a camp but my brain picked up on the word shower and the choir sang. Shower sound good. Shower mean no more stink if I go talk to good guys with bad guns.
Dear Diary I am recording this because right now my thoughts are swimming in metaphorical pudding. News stated that a worldwide epidemic swept the nation. A cold corpse went into the ground that morning and here I am but I didn’t feel dead-dead. No wounds were found. Poisons came blank to my memory. Yet why the autopsy? I didn't feel dead, dead.
I felt scared, and a hunch told me I’m alive.
“. . . No, no,” I mumbled curling into a ball. I rocked back and forth, “I’m dead. I’m dead.”
I had no heartbeat. My guts simply stopped working. Medically I’m supposed to be dead.
“I’m dead,” I reminded myself, “I’m dead. I’m dead.”
I died through the end of mankind. I chickened out. My therapist told me indulging in a smidgen of fear does wonders.
“I’m dead,” I stuttered, “I’m dead.”
Indulging in a megaton of fear reminded me of how stupid I looked. Teachers used to cuff me for being a crybaby. I had a foggy memory of being scolded like a child, and reminding myself I’m better, I’m better. What if I got mistaken for a rock?
“Okay I’m moving,” I confided, “I’m moving.”
I took a short walk but moving somehow got my mind in motion. Maybe muscle memory made my brain work. Funny, the one time I should’ve paid attention in science class instead of doodling my teacher’s amazing bald head. I found you, Dear Diary, on the side of the road. You’re blank but the more I put pen to paper the better I felt. My brain cleared enough to put thoughts together. Words flowed in complete sentences and plans formed into complex word clusters. I know I can’t survive out here by myself. I am smart and I can build but the last time I went camping it was in a tent in the back yard just a house away from the nearest microwave. Before I go I need to note down five things I need to do.
I need a shower.
Food comes to mind. Screw my diet, I could go for a cheeseburger.
No need to worry about taking out the trash. The trash truck is on fire.
A spare set of clothes. You can wear lots of stuff for weeks, Dear Diary, but still a change of clothes every so often feels good.
If we have any horses left, that’d save on gas. I could use the company.
. . . Or I could walk.
Finally make some friends. I’ve seen enough dystopic videogames to know Misery loves company. Free friendly fire for all.
. . . That last sentence didn’t come out right. Stupid brain fart.