Friday, November 08, 2013

This Is Why We Apocalypse

Behind every apocalypse there is a sense of loss for the world that has passed. Or should be.

The following is Deacon Isaiah J. Sparks’ tale of survival as recounted in Chapter 16 of Grace Among the Dead, Book Two of The Saga of the Dead Silencerin which we learn the rise of the living, flesh-eating dead is the best thing that ever happened to some people. I’ll say it again: the reason post-apocalypses are popular is because any apocalypse beats the one we’re suffering now.

In other news, Derek Grace is still that same snarking asshole so many readers love to hate. Judge away, my esteemed critics, but he has his reasons....

Sparks smiles tightly, looking straight ahead at the road. “Look, I wonder,” he says. “Have you considered the greatest irony of the recent catastrophe?”

“There are a lot of contenders for that title.”

“Things are actually getting better. Have you considered that?”

“Every now and then. I’m torn on whether this is actually an improvement or another version of the same-old same-old.”

“Are you kidding? The job market was shrunk to half its size, the infrastructure was crumbling, the government hopelessly corrupt. If there’s one thing people throughout the political spectrum agreed upon at the end was that nothing was getting better, ever. Talk about your living death!”

My turn to laugh now. “A strapping young man like you? I can’t imagine it was that bad.”

“Mr. Grace, six weeks ago I was hiding my truck from the repo man. My wife was killing me in the divorce; I was paying her mortgage and her car payment and my rent and my own truck payment. Then my hours got cut because they didn’t want me on the health care plan. 

“The week everyone was dying and freaking out, I’m freaking out because it’s the first week of the month and I’m already overdrawn. Next thing I know it’s a Friday afternoon and there’s a banging on my front door. I peek out the curtain and it’s my neighbor, Lars. His color is all wrong and he’s got this insane look on his face. I knew he was sick, and he sure as hell doesn’t look right here. He’s not going away, either, he’s hammering on my door like he wants to break it. So I run and get my .22. 

“Yeah, I know. The way he’s yelling like something inhuman, pounding his fists bloody on my door, I had a feeling, all right? What’s crazy is I’ve got this feeling—and I’m going for a .22? I throw the door open and three shots to center mass only knock him back a little. Now he’s mad-dog crazy pissed. He’s grabbing me by the arms when my lucky shot through his eye drops him. By the force of his grip, he could have ripped my arms clean off. And would have, if I hadn’t gotten the round off right then.

“My apartment is on the second floor, so I go out on the balcony and see all these people wandering around in the parking lot. Except they’re not wandering now, they’re looking up at me. I knew looking into their faces, the whole wrongness of it all, the way their eyes were dried out and clouded over, I knew I had to get out. As if a gunshot corpse staining the carpet wasn’t enough. No chance of getting the security deposit back on the apartment now. I hated that I had to leave some of my guns behind but I made sure to throw all my ammo into my travel bag.

“Anyway, to make a mighty epic short, I caught up with some buddies from the shooting range and the MMA studio. We pooled our resources, coordinated raids for supplies. At first we figured we’d always be on the move but I said forget that, we’ll just wear ourselves out. There’s got to be some sweet strategically defensible terrain, and the more I thought about it, Black Forest was it. So we drive up, and the first person we come across is Deacon Walsh. 

“He takes us back to meet Isaac Bryce, and Zack talks to us, and don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of love for the man. He’s got a sense of mission you can catch like a cold if you listen to him long enough. Next thing I know I go from being an underemployed stiff on the run to the Deacon of Security.”

What is it the young people say? Cool story, bro. I smile. “It’s a good life if you don’t weaken.”

“Our pastor is a little sensitive to some of the ideas we have, but you know what? It’s all good. Here, let me show you something.”

He takes an abrupt left down a narrow dirt road.

Copyright © 2014, 2017 by Lawrence Roy Aiken. All rights reserved.