Rain and blood pooled together at his feet as Ray reminisced over his evening with the beautiful girl and her innocent eyes. He had found her almost by accident as she traveled through the restaurant parking lot asking for a ride. She had a scared look in her eyes as she approached him, a look that begged a white knight to come and save her from whatever she was trying to escape. Ray was perfectly happy to play that white knight. At least for as long as it would take. She meekly asked him if he could let her tag along to wherever he was going, her face arched down barely making any eye contact. He slowly reached out his hand and offered it to her as he agreed to take her away from there. Tears built up in the corners of her eyes as he motioned to his black Chevrolet Blazer. As they both entered the vehicle Ray glanced over at the young woman in time to see her eyes shift, from a worried sorrowful look to bright and hope filled. As he started the vehicle, the girl slid comfortably into her seat.
“What’s your name sweetheart?” Ray asked the girl as the Blazer pulled out onto the highway.
“Annie.” The girl replied as she stared out the window at the dark and vacant highway. Ray hoped to entice Annie into some form of conversation in an attempt to keep her calm and comfortable.
“What about family? You got any?” He asked, and all she said in return was “Assholes. All of them.”
Ray figured that Annie was a runaway, probably sixteen or so. Ray moved on to a new subject. “Well then, how about school Annie? You go to one?”
Annie perked up a bit “Yeah. I want to be a nurse so I have to go to school.”
“A nurse huh?” he asked. “Yeah I want to help sick people, but who wants to go to school for like ten years to be a doctor? I can be a nurse with just a few years of college.” Annie says as she stares blankly out of the passenger side window.
“I can’t argue with that except to point out the larger paycheck a doc gets.” Ray said as he reached into the vehicles center console fishing for a pack of cigarettes.
“That’s after years of paying off massive amounts of student loan money though. Not for me.” The girl said.
“Right.” He agreed as he lit a cigarette. “You smoke?” he asked her. “Only sometimes.” She said as she motioned him to pass the cigarette.
A half hour into the trip Ray began daydreaming about his plans for Annie. He was so excited about it that he had to resist the urge to tell her. He wanted to share his happiness with Annie, to see if she would agree. However, he knew instinctively that she would not so he sat there with fantasies filling his mind. A few minutes later, he noticed that Annie was talking but Ray was so wrapped up in his own little world, his dream that he had actually drowned her out with his own thoughts. Snapping back to the real world just in time to realize she was still rambling about being a nurse Ray chose to ignore her further. It would not be too much longer before Ray’s dreams would all come true.
Ray’s family owned a mill that sat roughly thirty miles from the diner where he had picked Annie up. The mill had been in Ray’s family for close to a hundred years and had employed many of the local families. That was until Ray’s dad decided to close it down in the mid-seventies. The place was still owned by Ray but the building itself was rotted from decades of abuse from the elements and absolutely no maintenance. This allowed Ray to use the place for his nocturnal activities. A large decomposing building that has been completely abandoned except for the occasional woodland creature or flock of birds taking up residence.
As he slowed down to find the gravel road leading to the rusted gate surrounding the mill property ray asked, “You mind if we stop here? I own this place down the way and there was supposed to be some work done there today but this is the first time I’ve been able to check it out.” Annie moved uncomfortably in her seat then replied “sure. I don’t mind.” The plan was going to work; Ray was going to have this girl. A slight bulge began to stick out of his jeans. The blazer pulled onto the road the crunching sound of tires on gravel filled the vehicle. Ray began smiling a wide Cheshire smile that Annie noticed immediately, causing her to hug the passenger door a little. Ray noticed this and pushed the gas pedal a bit harder, eager to get started.
The blazer pulled up to the rusted gate. Annie could see parts of the building from here and it became clear very quickly that nobody was doing any work here, other than maybe tearing the decrepit old thing down. It immediately struck Annie that she had gotten herself caught up in a cliché old horror movie set up, a young girl alone with a creepy guy in the middle of nowhere. Less than an hour ago, Annie was so full of hope but now she was full of panic and terror.
Ray turned off the vehicle and pocketed the keys. He tried to reassure the terrified girl that everything would be okay and everything was fine but the look in her eyes told him all he needed to know. The girl did not believe him and planned to run. This presented a problem because Ray had to exit the vehicle to unlatch the gate and he knew for sure that Annie would try to run away as soon as he did. The choice before Ray was the gate or the girl, so he tried once more to calm her down. As ray attempted to reassure the girl, lightning streaked across the black sky, followed by a massive thunderclap. That is when Annie made her move, quickly exiting the blazer running in the opposite direction from the gate. Ray debated just running the girl over and finding a new friend but decided to deal with Annie. As Ray jumped out of the Blazer to run after the girl the rain began coming down, hard and fast.
Annie ran down the dark gravel road slipping and sliding in the mud, fighting not to fall down. Ray was less than eight yards behind her thankful that he had worn his boots tonight. “Why run Annie? I swear I have no intentions of hurting you.” He called out, trying one last time to get her to reason with him. “Fuck you creeper!” She yelled and continued running. Less than four feet behind her Ray pushed himself a little harder in an attempt to close the gap. His knees ached from the effort, but he managed to keep going until his fingers were less from her hair. He jumped with his step and grabbed a handful of it. The shock of him reaching her caused the girl to stumble for the briefest of moments. This was all Ray needed. He yanked back on her hair with his right hand while grabbing the collar of her blouse with his left before using a foot to forcefully push on Annie’s ankle. She slipped in the mud and began to descend, Ray stopping her before she dragged him down too. He then dragged her back in the direction of the gate. “Stupid bitch. It didn’t have to be this way.” His voice filled with frustration.
When they reached the gate, he stopped and looked at the girl. She was weeping and mumbling, hardly coherent. Ray shoved down into the mud with as much force as he had and promptly sat down on her chest. “It really didn’t have to go this way. I had such hopes for us, the fun we should have had. I only wanted to let you feel my love.” He ranted as he placed his hands around her throat. The man squeezed just enough to cut off her airflow without crushing her windpipe. He wanted her unconscious. He knew the rest would come later.
Ray unlocked the gate when he finished with Annie then threw the unconscious girl into the back of his SUV and drove onto the vacant property. He pulled down the gravel road a half-mile until he reached a clearing surrounded by trees on three opposing sides. He threw the vehicle into park and promptly jumped out, light headed from the exhilaration of what he planned to do. Ray opened the rear hatch, yanked Annie out brutally and dumped her into the mud. He retrieved a small red metal toolbox from a compartment under the interior paneling. He grabbed her arm and dragged her into the clearing. Annie began coming to while she was dragged. It took her a few seconds to remember her ordeal then she let out a blood-curdling scream. Ray dropped her on the spot, kicked her in the face and then set the toolbox on the ground next to them. “Gonna love this part baby. I guarantee it.” He kicked her one more time, in the side of head this time. She was sobbing uncontrollably as he reached into the toolbox and pulled out two items, a ball peen hammer and a hunting knife. The previous hour replayed in Annie’s mind as she cursed herself for being here with him. Ray stopped and stared at Annie for a moment, transfixed by those same eyes that had caught his attention in the first place. They still shone through with innocence, with just the right mix of terror.
“Such a waste. Oh well, at least I’ll keep the eyes.” He sighed as he walked towards her, the hammer raised up in the air. “Please no.” was all Annie said as her world went black.
So I was lying in bed last night and for some reason I started thinking about dying. Not offing myself or anything like that but the truth that I am going to die someday, and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Yeah I can try to prolong it by quitting my filthy habits, being more active, and eating better. OK that's fine however the truth remains that at some point none of that will matter. Tim Jordan will cease to exist. I would like to say I've lived a life so rich in love, happiness and wealth that I could die happy and content. Why lie like that though? About the only thing I've accomplished in my life are Kyndall and Connor. I love my kids and I think they'll go on to great things. So I'm definitely putting them firmly in the "accomplishment" column. But for myself personally, I've never been published. I've never had the opportunity to see the entire country which is something I've wanted to do since I was seven. I've never danced the goddamn night away on the streets of Paris. Or any of the other cool shit I could have done. So what does one who wants to die content when it's time do with the rest of their life?
The planks on the porch squeak every time they shift their weight. Combined with the constant moans it’s enough to drive a man insane. In addition, the stink, the stink is horrible. Anyone still alive who ever took the time to wonder how bad two-week-old corpses stink definitely needs to come down here and smell the yard. There’s about ten of those things sitting outside waiting for something to eat to come walking out of this place. Unfortunately for them that’s just not going to happen. There is roughly a two-month’ supply of food for one person here along with enough water for three months. Realistically there is no reason to leave. Let them all rot while waiting for something that’s never coming. It’s a shame that the family couldn’t come, but with them all being gobbled up it’s understandable.
Time appears to move slower when by yourself. It moves so slowly in fact that it becomes almost tangible. That’s the cruel reality of time, when you need more it just whips right by you but when you have an overabundance of it well it just stops for a moment and laughs at you. The creaks from the porch are becoming less frequent. They have gone from twenty a second to roughly ten. The moaning hasn’t disappeared. If there was a gun handy, that could be taken care of. The noise would probably call more of them though. There was an emergency broadcast on the short wave radio last night. The military has been decimated by the infected, just as local police were two and a half weeks ago. Welcome to the end of the world.
It’s hard not to miss her touch. When lying awake at night listening to the moaning and creaking it’s reassuring to imagine her here, to feel her, to smell her. The sun came out for a while today. It was a beautiful sight after a week of rain. Too bad it was only visible as it peeked in through the wooden planks on the windows. It would feel good to stand in the sun again.
The temperature in Ohio drops too early. Last night the temperature dropped to fifteen degrees Fahrenheit inside the house. It’s sometime in the middle of October. The creaks have decreased even more. The moans still have not stopped. It has been two weeks since the military pulled out of the major cities. The numbers outside along the tree line have begun to swell. Soon enough they will find the porch, and add their noises to the symphony outside. The supply of food and water is maintaining at a better than expected rate. Being alone can be stressful but at least it allows for conservation. Thinking about what the world will be like when these things rot away, although there’s no guarantee that anyone else is left.
The moans have overtaken the creaking planks. They have the house surrounded now. All they do is stand there moaning, not one has attempted to come inside. Found an axe in the basement this morning. It is reassuring to have protection at last. The barricades should hold if they attack the house but it never hurts to be overly prepared. The yard is fuller than it was a few days ago. These things appear to migrate to potential food and then wait for it. Before the world ended, hopefully a scientist examined that. It’s damn odd.
Being alone for a month and a half only works if there’s no ever increasing moaning. They never stop only increase in number. The conversations in the mirror have been utterly enlightening. He talked about her and her horrible fate. The word coward was said many times.
There was some nasty business with a piece of broken glass and the mirror man this morning but everything is cleaned up now. In a just world, she and the others would have been able to come and everyone would be safe. However, this has been proven a wicked and unjust world. The axe sits by the back door waiting for one of them to make a move, to try anything, but that never happens. The wind appears to be carrying moans from other places. The moans have replaced all human sounds. There has been no traffic in weeks, not one single car. The internet has been gone for what feel s like forever. There hasn’t been any message over the short wave. It appears that the world belongs to them.
There was a gunshot in the distance last night. A number of them have moved off into the forest in search of the noise. The moans have not decreased however. The creaking porch has gotten louder but there are still no signs of attempted forced entry. The water is beginning to run low but the food supply is maintaining. The task of collecting rainwater should be easy. There was a virus shortly before the world fell to pieces. Those who were truly lucky died of the disease. Those who were cursed died of the disease then came back. The damned did not contract or die of the disease. No, these pathetic people were instead subjected to the horrors of being eaten by friends, family and all manner of acquaintances. Those that haven’t been eaten yet are merely stalling. What they need that time for though, well that’s anyone’s guess. It was said that the world was a lonely place before it was eaten. If only those who created such a simple outlook could see the world now.
There were human voices outside last night. They were debating on how best to disarm the defenses of the house to squat here. This will not be allowed or encouraged. Thankfully, they did destroy the things on the porch. There is no creaking today. The moaning has lessened too. If the humans stay outside for another day, it should take care of the thing problem. If the humans try to gain entry though, the axe by the door will be used.
They broke through a window barricade on the second floor. They were especially loud coming in. It was nothing to sneak up the stairs with the axe. The rest of the endeavor made too much noise. One of the men is dead and the other is being detained in the basement. There appears to be a small rat infestation down there. The things outside might know the rats are down there. The rational thought is to let the rats eat the guy then eat the rats. Those men didn’t have to try to gain entry, they could have just moved along and gotten eaten by those things. The rats at least can serve a purpose. Surviving is the only thing to be concerned with in this new world.
The porch is beginning to strain under the weight of so many of them. The creaking sound has become one with the moaning. The man in the cellar died from malnourishment this morning. The rats wasted no time before beginning to eat. The food stocks are running low. There should be about a week before the rats will be a concern. The open window on the second floor has proven to be useful in attaining rainwater. The mirror has stopped responding. The image inside just stares now, silent as the dead. Well as silent as the dead used to be. The tree line around the house is swarming with them. The porch will probably give way tomorrow.
The porch collapsed around what was probably noon. There’s about twenty of them lying in a pile of snapped two by fours and concrete. They haven’t moved but they maintain that maddening moan. The rats in the basement are getting fat. The food is still running dangerously low. The water supply should refill after tonight’s rain. The mirror was taken down. If the man refuses to converse then what use is he? No use at all. The other man’s body is still in the attic and it’s beginning to stink. Something will need to be done about that.
There are also rats in the attic. The other man is far more ate up than his counterpart in the basement. The rats up there are also far larger. The hunt should be satisfying, something to focus on in those long hours upon hours of being alone. The family would have loved it here; she would have loved it here, regardless of what the mirror man said.
The rats in the attic are crafty survivalists. After hours hunting them there is nothing to show for it. The attic looks like a warzone now. In addition, there were personal injuries. At least it provided a diversion from the moaning. The prayers to God for a gun go unanswered yet again. It’s probably a symptom of insanity to pray to a deity that was proven to probably not exist about three months ago. The act itself was reassuring at the time. The food supply is almost gone. The water supply has been adequately refilled. Those rats will die tomorrow.
Memory is a tricky thing. For instance, there is a memory that once the world was sane and they didn’t exist. However, to be honest that world seems like a fantasy, a dream. There’s always some sensation missing from the recollection of that world, sometimes it is lacking taste, color, and sound. The disturbing part is the inability to remember what’s missing even though there’s a clear memory of something supposed to be there. Except for the memories of her, they always come perfectly clear. If the family was here they could help, they could fill in the blanks. However, the family isn’t here. Well they might be, in the belly of a few of the new neighbors. One can never tell.
Five rats died for the greater good today. Two died for food and the other three died because they got in the way. Murder, even of small creatures, is surreally liberating. Taking their little necks in your hand and twisting. It’s so easy to do. Too bad it’s not so easy to do to them. The moans have increased even more. There is nowhere to go in the house to block them out now. They are all still just standing out there, even the pile in the porch heap hasn’t moved. The air has gotten colder; the rains are going to stop soon. There will be snow.
For some reason more of them are appearing in the yard now. There has been no activity that would draw them to this place. It would be good to know how they detect food. It would be good to know many things. It would also be good to have a gun. There were flurries in the sky today.
The temperature dropped at least three degrees afterwards. The house is hooked to the city natural gas utility, which means no heat. The pipes have been empty for months so there will be no need to worry about them freezing. Going to eat the second rat tonight. The first one tasted better with salt.
Even though the sun and the moon continue with their cruel charade it is clear that time has stopped. The seconds, minutes and hours of a day have become utterly pointless. The food is gone and only the rats remain.
Today a car pulled up. The driver of the vehicle spotted the open window with the bowls for rainwater collection. He decided to attempt to run to and up the side of the house. The poor fool made it only a few feet before they attacked. It has been a long time since there’s been an opportunity to see it. It’s amazing how synchronized they are when it comes to eating. The rest of the time, they just stand there and moan. As the last several months have proven. However, once there’s a food source standing there they pounce as one. It’s magnificent in a grotesque way.
A blizzard is raging outside. The house has no ambient heat available. In Akron, snow usually means that it is December. Apparently, there is still some minor use for time. The man in the mirror smiled today. It was not a good smile.
The house is trapped under piles of freezing snow. They can be heard crunching around and moaning outside. It was reported at one point that they would conceivably freeze in the winter. Either it hasn’t gotten cold enough outside yet or the man who said that was just an idiot. A gun would still be a useful accessory. The axe sits by the door waiting for the horde that will never come.
The man with the car had a gun. They swarmed him before he could remove it from its holster. It is visible from the window but there appears to be no way to obtain it without going outside. The snow is also beginning to freeze. A direct run and grab is out of the question because of the noise. There might be a way to get the gun without dying.
A rat was brave enough to venture upstairs in search of food today. He was a tasty critter. The predicament with the gun has presented no options outside of a suicide run. It’s beginning to seem like a good idea. It might be feasible to climb down from the open window and then retrieve the gun. Supplies will be needed.
There was rope in the basement. The rats down there have become especially fat, since they ate the man down to the skeleton. The thought of one of those plump buggers all grilled up, yum! The plan is to go sometime tonight out the window and down to the ground. From there totally depends on how they react, hopefully it shouldn’t be too hard to retrieve the gun.
That was insane. After scaling the side of the house and landing on the ground a small group of them decided to investigate. Luckily, there was enough foresight to bring the axe. The trip back up the wall was harder than it should have been. Exercise is sorely needed. There is now a loaded glock 9mm in the house. It feels good having it here.
The man in the mirror spoke today. This is good since it cuts on the loneliness. What he had to say however was horrible. The glock was brought into play, and he promptly backed down. He hasn’t smiled since the last time either.
The man in the mirror spoke again today. That was the last time he ever will. Shards of glass sit outside the open window on top of piles of fresh snow. One of them has been staring at his reflection for hours now. Resisting the urge to use the gun and thin out the herd.
The moans. Why do they moan all the time, nonstop? Can anyone who may be left in the world answer that question? It’s enough to drive a rational man insane. Of course, not all men were rational to begin with. Caught two more rats last night. Ate one, storing the other one for later.
Thoughts of the family have been frequent lately. It helps to block out the constant moans. It has been snowing for two days straight. It’s so cold in here that all the water has frozen. So thirsty.
The reality of freezing to death or simply dying of dehydration has become clear. With no alternative options short of indoor fires and drinking rat blood or urine there seems to be no sanitary and safe way to exist in this house. When time stops and laughs at you it's never the right time.
The moans have increased. It appears that they know food is inside. They seem to be moving around more now. The ones in the caved in porch have begun standing back up. There are enough outside now that running away is no longer an option. There is no chance of making it to the car. The house is cold. Burned some stuff last night, small fires should be safe enough.
She came in a dream. She said to stop trying to survive. She said the end was near and this would all be over soon. Living without her is worse than death. They appear to be moving closer to the house. The gun has nine bullets and there’s the axe. If they attack the house, it is not going to end well.
They just stand there encircling the house moaning. It appears to be January. Happy New Year, however late that may be. There is nothing small left to build a fire with, going to have to begin breaking apart furniture. Hunted rats last night, caught six, have them lying against a window to freeze them. Homemade refrigeration. Dreaming of her every night now. She talks constantly about ending it and joining the family. It’s damn hard not to agree with her.
Would eating a bullet be so bad? It’s hard not to imagine that the rule about offing yourself and going to hell has been suspended in light of recent events. So if that is true, why not do it? Probably millions already did it. Join the cool kids. They’re all doing it.
She begged for the end last night. The moans interrupted her. They have gotten loud enough to pierce dreams. Is surviving worth this torture? Broke apart the children’s beds yesterday. There should be ample firewood now.
There was a snowstorm last night. The wind blew so hard that several planks came off the windows. This allowed even more moans to penetrate the house. It was hard to resist the urge to use the 9mm.
There’s movement outside and lots of it. They are moving around more, tightening the circle around the house. More join them every day. There is a very real chance that something horrible is about to happen, in the next couple of days.
The banging began before the sun was out. Bangs and moans now fill the house like the sound of children laughing and playing once did. It is probably a wise choice to abandon the downstairs completely and live entirely on the second floor. The loss of the basement rats will hurt the food supply but the attic rats should compensate at least until spring finally arrives. The staircase will have to be destroyed.
The front door caved in following the burning of the staircase. The smell of the burning wood must have excited them somehow. They have infested the entire bottom floor. The moans are everywhere. The gun looks beautiful in its simplicity as a means of escape. The urge to use the gun is getting harder to resist with each day. If there had been a way to save the family things would be better.
It’s hard. It’s very hard not to put the gun to an eye or in the mouth and pull the trigger. It’s also hard not to stand at the top of the staircase and shoot a few of these things before I join the family. She has been in every dream for the last week, constantly begging and pleading. There’s only a handful of rats left in the attic, apparently they sense what’s in the house and are leaving. The temperature is lower than the limited amount of heat available can counter. It hasn’t rained in over a month and the ice is taking too long to melt. The room at the end of the hall that’s been a latrine is overflowing with waste. The smell almost overtakes the smell of the dead downstairs.
The sun hasn’t come out in weeks. The sky has been a constant grey. It only makes things worse. It’s always easier to cope with a horrible situation on a sunny day. The mirror in the girl’s room reveals an image of a bearded white skeleton with greying brown hair. The only way this can end is with a sacrifice. Whether that’s the things downstairs or the man in the mirror is up to fate but someone has to die in the end.
The rats have run away. The threat of starvation is present more than ever. Severing a leg should provide meat for a few days but it’s probably prudent to wait as long as possible before resorting to that. The things downstairs keep moving around and moaning. If there were ever need for an explosive right now would be it. The boy would have loved that. He appeared with her last night by the way. It was not a happy reunion. He knows where the blame for their deaths truly rests.
A fire spread out last night during a dream. It was taken care of easily, it will be important to be more careful in the future.
The things downstairs are crowded together at the bottom of the stairs. They want what’s up here. If they got it, would it really be a fate worse than death?
The plan is to stand at the top of the stairs and shoot some of them. Before the world ended, they were advising people to shoot these things in the head on the nightly news. There were even advisories on how to dispose of their corpses properly. The knowledge should prove useful in this current endeavor. The moaning, the smell, the hunger and the constant dreams of her are taking their toll. This has to end soon.
A headshot is harder to make with a handgun than one would think. Nine bullets were in the gun, now there’s three and one of them dead. They are all at the bottom of the stairs now. The sounds of this mornings failed skeet shoot drew them all there. The moans are frenzied now. They’re all reaching out. Their ability to climb should be amusing to see.
Sitting here thinking about death. Not the undead mockery in the kitchen but the real thing. If heaven and hell were or are indeed real what’s their take on all of this and why allow it to happen.
Today will be the day. If one jumps into a pit of them does that still count as suicide? It will be nice to see her and the kids again if not.