Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

April 8th

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Normally, if I can even use that word without some perverse irony popping through, I would have spent my Saturday lounging about my house after taking my morning run. I believe I ran on this Saturday, but it was definitely not for recreation.

I hadn’t seen a live person since I left town, and that day was not going to be an exception. If I did come into contact with anything on two legs, it was always a zombie, and I always outran it. I guess my hobby from the New Year came in handy, after all. It also helps that zombies don’t seem to be able to travel very quickly, as though they are actually drugged and trying to fight off the effects. Wouldn’t to be completely ridiculous if this whole thing started because people were testing a new sleeping aid that turned them into the undead?

I wish I knew more about why they exist. We were never taught in school, Mother would never answer my questions, and no one really liked to use the “z” word. It was always “the threat” or something equally off-putting, like this is all some stupid game. If it is a game, I want out. Sometimes it feels like I am winning, just because I am still in the game, but others I feel like I am losing because no matter how fast I run or how many zombies I manage to destroy, it never seems like I’ve done enough.

In any case, my memories of the time between leaving town and getting to my current location are blurry, as though they just mixed all together in a horrible massage/rinse/repeat cycle, but this might have been the first night it rained, and the first night that I thought I was going to die – not from being caught by my cannibalistic courters, but rather from exposure. I didn’t have much shelter in the trees, and was soaking wet by the time I secured my place of the evening. I tried to dry myself as best I could, and wrap my sleeping bag around myself to keep in as much heat as possible, but I barely slept. There was a tipping point where exhaustion beat out the immense chill in which I was enveloped, and I snoozed until the rain stopped, the sun came up and I could almost describe myself as dry when I woke up. Almost – I was dry to the touch, but the chill hadn’t left my bones.

I walked that day, mostly to get my blood flowing again, and spent far too much time hoping that I wasn’t going to get sick. Thankfully, I don’t think I encountered anything I need to run from that day, or if I did, it was just out of range to hear me sneaking through the woods. I still had no idea where I was going. I hoped I wasn’t going in a circle. There wasn’t exactly a path to follow with a sign post declaring: “This Way To Safety”.

I think it was utter helplessness that made me leave my town. There was nothing left for me there: no job, no family, likely no friends – just a house that had too many blood stains on its floors, intermingled with shame, guilt and hopelessness. Leaving was the best thing I could have done in that situation, but it didn’t mean that I knew what I was doing, where I was going or if I even had a plan. I still had lots of food, since I barely at, despite full knowledge that I needed the sustenance to keep myself going. I could barely stomach food when I did pause to eat, and I would force myself to eat as much as I could without throwing it all back up. There’s no point in wasting food that way.

Always,
-Miriam

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April 7th

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

I guess my wish to travel was finally granted when I left my town and just started walking. I didn’t have any idea of where I was going. I spent that first night outside of the town half sleeping and half feeling like I was going to fall any minute suspended from several branches of a tree. I figured that I had never heard of a zombie climbing a tree, so being up high was a safe bet. It would have been more comfortable if I could have found something with a wider branch to put all my weight on, instead of strapping myself over two and praying that neither decided to break. That would have been a complete nightmare – tied to one branch still attached to a tree while dangling with the weight over another that had decided to leave the safety of the trunk.

Although I broke “camp” as soon as it even looked like it might get light out, I guess I was lucky that I wasn’t dead. If my luck where horrible, I’m sure fate would have figured out a good way to get rid of me that night. But I lived, and I am still here to write about it, even though solidifying the memory with pen and paper did not even cross my mind. I don’t think I thought about this journal at all for the first couple of weeks, and a guilt and shame washed over me when I remembered it. I honestly had forgotten if I had even packed it, and it was a strange moment of joy when I found it the bottom of my backpack. It was like finding an ally when I hadn’t seen a soul I cared to know in what felt like a lifetime.

I felt guilt about abandoning my promise. I know that is stupid – I clearly had more pressing matters. I think it was more about the shame I felt of more people dying in my house. I brought that people into my house to make them safe, and even though they survived a massive breach in their home town, they all died under my roof. I didn’t want to write it down. Somehow it felt like I would be killing them all over again. I know I didn’t rip the flesh from their bones myself, and I know I took all the precautions I could possibly think of to keep that house like a fortress, but I will always hate that they came to my house for protection, but ended up dying there instead. It has taken a lot of thinking over the last few days for me to come to the conclusion that I need to write things down. Ellen, Penelope and Mandy need to be remembered, but I need to get them out of my head and onto these pages. I honestly hope that if Nick lived, he didn’t have to see Ellen that way. If I had been thinking at the time, I would have covered their bodies with something. It wouldn’t have made them any less dead, but it would have sheltered him from seeing pieces of the love of his life when he first walked in the door. I could have left a note, too, but what could I possibly say to him? “She’s gone” doesn’t quite seem to do the trick. I don’t know if my shaking hands could have formed that many letters, anyway.

I’ve become a bit more successful at sleeping in trees since that first night. Every night, it has been a new location. I was smart of ration my food supply harshly, even though I was completely starving after that first day’s walk into the unknown and uncharted world of No Mans Land.

I don’t always sleep in trees, and some nights I felt like I must have been sleeping with one eye open, but I’m glad I’ve found a place a little bit more permanent and comfortable, at least for the time being. I think I really needed this time to let my everlasting adrenaline take a break and actually sleep deeply. I figured I might get nightmares, but I slept like the dead for nearly 18 hours before waking, only to feast before going right back to sleep for another 12 hours.

Always,
-Miriam

April 6th

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

This was the day that I was able to sneak through the streets back to my own house, only to find that the zombies had finally breached it, which hadn’t happened since they murdered my Mother. What I found broke my heart. I couldn’t be completely, one hundred percent sure, but I think that Ellen, Penelope and Mandy all met their end in the living room. It was hard to tell, because no one was exactly whole, and I didn’t have faces to go by, but through my tearing eyes and the wave of vomit that added to the gore of my living room floor, I was able to recognize enough clothing for three women.

I didn’t know how to cope. I know that I was strong when my Mother died, but back then I had help. Now, literally everyone I lived with was either missing or pieces of corpses on my living room floor. I didn’t think I would ever see someone I cared about dead on another floor in my house again, and to have absolutely all the other girls ripped apart and smeared into my carpet was too much for me to handle. I tore through the house, checking around corners for flesh-eaters that would like to end my life as well, and grabbed my large backpack from my room. I tossed a few changes of clothing into it, and this diary somehow made its way to the bottom of the pack over time, since I was not using it. I raided what I could from the kitchen, loaded up on water, and got the hell out. For once in my entire life, I didn’t lock the front door.

I had managed to sleep the previous night in a house that had already been abandoned, after killing the one straggling zombie that followed me there. There were tons just coming around the corner when I plunged a stick of metal into its head and barred the door of the foreign household. Fortunately, the masses pressed past that neighbourhood by the morning, and I was able to escape and carefully pick my way back to my own house, a few blocks over. I saw no sign of Nick. I didn’t see anyone I recognized, although I did step over quite a few pieces of presumably different people. If it was one person, they were spread over three blocks, and I haven’t known zombies to waste flesh in a way that reminds me of an even more morbid Hansel and Gretel.

I remember thinking to myself that maybe The Council had found an effective way to herd the zombies and get them out of town before destroying them, which would be better than having to kill them then do a check of each of the corpses in the streets. For all I know, they did just that. All I really know is I made it to the place I used to call home, found the rest of my roommates in various stages of decay, packed my bag and left. I located one of what I assume were several open parts of the town barricade, walked out and only looked back once, to make sure I wasn’t being followed. I remember letting my bag carelessly drop to my feet as I looked at my town. That was the farthest I had ever been from town limits in my life to that point. I could see parts of the town were on fire. I could hear people screaming. I could smell the stench of death. I remember crouching down, pulling the strap that keeps my sleeping bag in place a little tighter, swinging the bag back on my shoulder, and uttering “Goodbye,” as I turned on my heal and walked away. I don’t know if that piece of the world has gotten back on its collective feet. I have no way of knowing that unless I turned around and went back, but I decided in that moment that there was nothing left for me there anymore.

Always,
-Miriam

April 5th

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Although Nick is in decent shape from lifting heavy building supplies, that is not the same thing as being fit enough to run around the field without gasping for air. I felt a little sorry for him, because I could tell he was trying really hard to show me up, but I literally ran circles around him. I guess I proved that my hobby does have a use – embarrassing guys who think they are more fit than me. I mean, he can lift more than I can, and I told him as much, but I think his pride was already wounded.

The truth is, I wrote that last paragraph nearly a month ago. It is now April 30th, and I haven’t written a word in all this time because I wasn’t able to. I didn’t just stop because life got busy or my hobbies got in the way. I stopped because while we were walking back to the house after our running session, we encountered a breach of the barricade that makes the last one look like a few zombies just happened to wander into our town. We didn’t even make it home. Truth be told, the last time I saw Nick, he was running inches from the bloody fingernails of a couple of zombies. I don’t know if he made it. All I really know for sure at the point is that I am still alive.

I made a commitment to write a page each day in this diary for a year, as a tribute to Rich. I want to keep writing that page a day, but obviously I have some catching up to do before I get back to being current. I feel like I need to do this, not just for the memory of one person who ended up meaning a lot to me, but every person I know who has died at the hands of the undead. Writing in this diary helps me remember that I am still alive. It is hard to think about what has brought me to this exact moment in life, but I know that I have to keep going, and to keep myself going, I need to cling to this one extremely human act of writing things down. Who knows – if I am killed, maybe my words will help future generations understand what the hell is happening in my screwed up timeframe. Either that, or my words will be drowned in a puddle of mud, blood and sorrow.

Right now, I have to believe that my journal and I will make it through this whole ordeal. I have to believe that some day will come where I stop having to run for my life, and can maybe entertain the thought of running for fun again. I haven’t been in quite the state of mind to time myself lately, but I think I’ve gotten faster over the last month or so. If any of the Running Club members are alive, and I see them ever again, I’ll bring it up as a conversation starter.

Fuck, I don’t know if what I am writing is intended to be humour to cheer myself or if I am actually pining for a time where I will see people I know and be able to hold a quasi-normal conversation. I hate that my current normal is death, decay and fleeing from both of these things – spending my day running as far away from everything I have ever known to try to escape the certain probability of my untimely demise.

It is good to be able to put words down again. I haven’t felt the urge, will or want to do so until now. I think that is because I am relatively safe here, and want to rediscover what it feels like to stop being so scared and alone. I haven’t had need for words in a very long time – it feels like longer than it has been since the breach that ripped my town completely apart – but I crave them endlessly in this moment. For all I know, I will be caught up on all the entries I missed before the sun comes back up.

Always,
-Miriam

April 4th

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Mandy wasn’t kidding when she was talking about how completely adorable those kittens are. There are six in the litter, and every single one has huge eyes that make me want to take each of them home with me. We saw them when I walked with the girls on their way to school, since I was headed in that direction any way to visit The Centre. The owner seems really nice, but his family already has several cats that they have taken in, and they cannot afford another six mouths to feed, even if they are tiny, adorable and ridiculously fluffy.

As we left the kittens, each of the meowing after us, to get the girls to school on time, Mandy asked how I would feel about her adopting one or two of them. I told her that she would have to responsible for them for the rest of their lives – much like being a parent – and that I felt that if she were to adopt, she should adopt two of them, since it is not really fair to split them all up individually, but I don’t think we have the space for six cats. I also told her that she has to seriously consider everything to do with this commitment – feeding, watering, training, medical care and poop duty, as well as affection and making sure they never feel neglected. I told her to think about it and we would talk about it again after school.

At The Centre, I did a quick warm up, lifted some free weights and made sure to stretch as many muscles as I worked before leaving. The weather is getting better as spring progresses, and I took a walk around the neighbourhood – purposefully taking random corners instead of the easier route home – just to enjoy the sunshine. Before I knew it, I had to stop and ask directions back to the main drag, because I had let my mind wander and had no idea where I was. After quite a few blocks in one direction, I realized I’ve overshot my street by a really long distance, and what would have been a 15 minute walk turned into more than a 90 minute walk.

In any case, it just made lunch taste even better, and I basked in the sunshine from the porch while scarfing it down and enjoying how things are going. I never would have guessed when I started writing this journal that three months later I would be working for myself, volunteering, living with a house full of people and instructing a different group of people on how to run to improve their health. Somehow that seems very different from a girl who worked in a smoothie shop, lived alone in her dead Mother’s house and had never kissed a boy. I’m guessing that 2023 is going to be one of my best years, and I’m excited to see what else happens – assuming that there is more of the good stuff instead of constant breaches, more zombies breaking into my house and boys who confuse the hell out of me and then disappear without a trace.

I hope Andrew is okay, where ever he is, and that he finds something to make him happy. I think he found a little of that in our town, but maybe he always felt something was off or missing, and that’s why he is trying something new. I know the guy can take care of himself, but my well-wishing doesn’t take anything away from his independence. I just wish he would have said goodbye, instead of leaving abruptly and causing so many people to worry about whatever happened to him. He’ll figure things out eventually, but if he is out in No Mans Land, between towns, and dies, I just hope it is a clean kill and he doesn’t come back with a hankering for human flesh.

Always,
-Miriam

April 3rd

Posted: April 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Although a few names from the list of people who attended the first week weren’t able to be checked off when I took attendance, there were some new faces at the Running Club meeting that more than filled those vacancies. A few more people who use the gym at The Centre saw the posters over the past week, and a few more students decided to join their friends to see what all the fuss is about. All in all, I think the meeting was really successful – almost everyone was able to get out and run on their own at least once since the last meeting, and the newcomers seemed enthusiastic.

I realized during the meeting that accountability might also play a part in keeping people coming back to the club; not everyone joined for the health factors, but I hope everyone stays when they realize how much running can improve their quality of life. I decided that everyone, by next week, should choose a partner from the group, and if at all possible, try to do their out-of-club-meeting running with that person. I’ve also decided that I can use these teams to form groups and do challenges that keep people motivated and interested. Sure, it’ll take some organizing, and I’ll have to be sure not to put all of the fastest runners in one group (which is why I’ll be recording run times in the coming weeks). I figure faster runners will be able to encourage the slower runners on their teams.

So, obviously, I’m enjoying this new club, and I’m kind of getting a kick out of having so many people look to me for instruction. I made sure to take everyone through a good stretch after we all ran, and explained that warming and up stretching are two completely different things – which even some of the gym members didn’t realize. I want to keep injuries to a minimum, because they aren’t any fun and I don’t want anyone to complain that my club is hurting people.

Penelope couldn’t stop talking about Running Club and its members over dinner, to the point where Nick asked if I was drugging people somehow to get them excited about what appears, from the outside, to be a really boring task. I explained that it is more than just running in circles – it is social, it is health competition, and it often results in what Mother’s magazines call a “runners’ high” – so I guess he was sort of correct, even though I’m not spiking any water bottles. He was still a little skeptical, so I invited him to join us next week, if he wasn’t working, or suggested that he could come along on one of my personal runs if he was up to the challenge. I should have known that would be the way to hook him in – give him a challenge, and he has to prove that he can do anything a tiny girl like myself can do. I think the poor guy is going to be seriously out of breath when he follows me around the field on Wednesday.

I gracefully allowed Mandy to change the subject once I realized that she was not only looking bored with the conversation, but a little hostile – which I attribute to the jealousy of Penelope and Justin being in the Running Club together, and having their own “special” thing that they do together. Mandy wanted to talk about the litter of kittens she saw on her way home from school, and if I’m not careful, I might be getting some furry tenants in the near future. Obviously, I don’t object to cats – I was thinking about getting some myself – but I would just want to make sure that Mandy was serious about her pet ownership before committing to adopting a kitten, because they do require feeding, medical attention and poop-scooping duties, unless she trains the cat to go outside.

Always,
-Miriam

April 2nd

Posted: April 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

Dear journal,

Half the club showed up at the gym today, which means my volunteer shift was much busier this week than my first week. I spend a lot of time explaining different machines and giving tips on proper lifting positions/form, but it was really good to see so many people are still excited about getting fit. I think that over time we will really start to get to know each other, and that gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling (even if I had a mostly sweaty feeling while in the gym with everyone). Even Penelope came with me, although she obviously didn’t stay for the whole shift. She put in a really great effort, though, as did everyone else I saw there, so I am really pleased with how things are progressing.

Many people thanked me for the programs I passed on to them via Penelope or through the board at The Centre, and I answered a few questions and clarified a few things for people regarding their plans. The biggest thing I stressed was that people have to actually get out there and go running. It almost doesn’t matter how fast people run at the beginning, as long as they make the habit of actually going for a run and make that into something they do automatically. Then, as long as people apply themselves, they will always get faster, stronger and better. This is true of pretty much any new hobby, and it amazes me how much people get caught up in details. They want to know exactly what to do, to the point where they spend all their time researching and thinking about how to do it instead of just getting out there and doing it.

Ellen had another day off today and surprised me by making dinner for everyone, which was really delicious. I also left The Centre a little later than I anticipated, so I was extremely grateful that she wanted to help out. She said that she doesn’t have the urge to cook very often, but after spending so much time helping people rebuilt their lives, she couldn’t sit still in the empty house all day and wanted to do something to help our own house. I sure didn’t complain, and since she’s a pretty decent cook, no one else did either. Nick even refused to let me do the dishes, so he took care of all of that.

It is really awesome that we are all getting along so well. If we weren’t, no one would ever feel the want to help out and would be insulted at the thought of doing something that I indicated was part of the rental fee, so I think I made the best possible choice when it came to my tenants. Even though Mandy and Penelope had a little bit of a fight a while ago, they were still able to make up, which isn’t always the case when a boy comes between teenage girls. I remember there was a whole saga of fighting between previous best friends when I was in high school. I tried not to pay any attention to it, because I found it petty and it had nothing to do with me, but even as a social outcast, I couldn’t help overhearing the gossip and tales of back stabbing. In the end, I think the boy broke up with the one girl in favour of someone who wasn’t even in the love triangle, and the other girl was bitter for a while but eventually they made up – and started fighting again as soon as the other girl got her own boyfriend. Honestly, I don’t know how people can live their lives with so much hatred and jealousy instead of just being happy for each other.

Tomorrow’s Running Club meeting should be interesting – I’ll get to see how many people are still serious about it and who has been getting out on their own time to get their runs in.

Always,
-Miriam