[ Say “No!” to Zombies ] Epilogue
What happens when a person with some common sense wakes up to a “zombie apocalypse”? Shit gets done, that’s what.
Spoiler: the dog doesn’t die.
Please note: this work of fiction involves a lot of swear words/cussing and adult themes. Kiddos beware.
I forgot about this thing. I don’t know how, considering I had it with me for three months straight, but I did. I guess, with everything that happened right after we arrived, it just…completely slipped my mind. I only found it today cause I was boxing up my stuff to move into my new place.
There’s a few pages left in here, I figure it’s just enough room to get it up to date, and then pack it away for good. Well, maybe make a couple copies for Abby and the rest, first. They might like that. I’ll ask them tonight.
For now…where to start? It’s been a couple months, a lot has changed. I suppose the biggest thing is that we lost Karla. The day after we got here, actually. That messed us all up. I mean, we all expected to die for the past three months, but we expected to die by troll. Instead, we get all the way here, we’re finally safe and sound, we all go to bed…and one of us never got back up again.
Cpl. Maltin said he thinks it was her heart. She was old, and she had been under so much stress with us constantly being on the move, he was surprised she even made it the whole journey. Mike told him, if he had known Karla, he wouldn’t’ve been so shocked.
We had a small funeral for her and buried her in the new cemetery outside of town. I wanted her buried in the clearing we stopped at the night before we arrived, but Gray said it’s too close to the creeks, and we can’t risk the water supply. They found a clearing up north and we’re using that instead. We made her a tombstone, and put another next to hers for Micah, Gabby and Becca.
I expect Mike to follow her soon. He pretty much aged twenty years that morning. I think the only reason he’s still holding on is cause we need his help too much. He helped design the Karla Bishop Medical Building, and more than half the houses in town. There are now little guard huts all along the wall, a shack near the fields for people to take shelter in, and another barn for the horses and cows we’ve added. (We even have sheep and some goats now.)
The road between Fort Bragg and Hope (dad let mom name the town, so of course she went full on corny) was secured in about a week and a half, and we had our first real shipment the day after. We’ve had so many people flood into the area since then, we just about ran out of room. Mike helped build a longhouse to serve as a place for the temporary workers to live in while they’re here.
The farm is doing great. Still not enough to feed everyone through the winter, but we’re working on fixing that.
The fort has an entire field for nothing but wheat so we can make bread to try and make things at least a little bit easier. Gen. Williams had his people completely ransacked the Walmart in the north side of town, and brought back things like peanut butter and honey, that will help, too. They’re storing all the food that will still be good in the hard months for later. I’m betting by the end of winter, we’re all gonna be sick to death of peanut butter sandwiches, but at least we’ll be alive.
We have a massive greenhouse, thanks to the builders Gray sent. We also have a water wheel and a windmill. They finished those and then started on modifying the buildings we already had to make room for fireplaces. The library has been moved into town. Dad and Mike helped design a barracks for the soldiers to stay in when they’re taking their turn guarding the area. They got that done before the end of August. We had our first Halloween. That was fun. The general insisted on letting the kids go trick or treating, so we loaded all the kids up and took them to the fort. We didn’t have much to work with when it came to costumes, but we did the best we could. I dressed Bridget in grey clothes and carried a slingshot. One lady at the fort asked what the costume was supposed to be. I told her she was a pebble, and the woman gave me a look like “huh?” Scott got a good chuckle out of it.
We’ve started expanding the community. It’s not just farming, ranching, and building anymore. We have a school now. Well, more than one, actually. We have one for the younger kids, one for the older kids, and then we have people who are apprenticing with Roger and Mike. A couple of the doctors from the hospital moved into town, and they’re taking on students, too. Mom and Liza are teaching others how to can food, sew clothes, etc.
We’ve been having a weekly movie night. We tried making popcorn, but it turns out that regular corn doesn’t really pop, so we’ve been making homemade potato chips for the movies instead.
We have a tent we leave set up for when one of the chaplains from the fort comes into town. We don’t really see them much though. The fort has more people that need them than we do. General Williams is supposed to come with whichever one comes next week to oversee a couple weddings.
Dave and Abby are tying the knot. She’s pregnant, but they swear that’s not why they’re getting married. She’s freaking out about the pregnancy. She’s 37, so she’s worried that something will be wrong with the baby. Dr. Yan keeps reassuring her that so far everything is fine, but…moms. Sheesh. Chloe is happy she’s getting a baby brother or sister. Timmy and Jason are okay with the whole idea, too.
I think Josh has a little soldier boyfriend at the fort. I tried asking him a couple times, but he just tells me “don’t ask, don’t tell.” I tried pointing out that that was repealed. He said to tell that to the soldiers. I don’t think he knows how close I am to going over there and doing just that. He deserves to be happy, dammit. I plan on saying something to the general when he gets here. I’ll give him a chance to get his people in line before I go all nuclear on them all.
Anna had her baby about two weeks after we got here. A little boy, Joshua Zachary McElroy. We call him “Junior” though. Too damn many Joshes around here. Bridget is growing so fast. She’s crawling, and starting to try and pull herself up. She’s started talking. She calls mom “mama” (we think it’s supposed to be “mom mom”) and dad “da.” I didn’t want her calling me “mama”…it seemed disrespectful, you know? But I didn’t want to be “Shelly” either, so I went for “auntie”…which, right now, comes out more as “annie”, but I’ll take it. We’ll get there eventually.
Scott and I…we’re not quite a couple, but we’re working on it. We both kinda played around with others since we’ve been here. Dick is….well, heh. Good memories, but not meant to be. Robin wasn’t so bad either. That lasted for about a month. Scott had his fun with a couple people from the fort, but we keep end up coming back together, so we decided to give it a try. That’s why I’m here packing up my stuff. Scott and I are moving to his little…I dunno what to call it. It’s not a hut, but it’s not a big house either. It only has one bedroom right now, but we plan on expanding it so Bridget can have her own room when she’s old enough to need it. We’ve been planning this since right before Halloween, but we had to keep putting it off.
First, there was the Halloween planning, then Thanksgiving was coming up, and the general ordered a turkey hunt. Scott and I went with them on the hunt. We found a couple wild flocks. We killed about ten, and took another ten home with us alive for breeding. These suckers were big and mean, but they’re settling in okay. Meanwhile, the rest of us had a huge Thanksgiving feast yesterday, and the cooks at the fort are making turkey salad out of what was left over. They’re freezing the broth to make into soup during the winter. Something hot and different from pb&j, basically.
The trolls have…changed. Maltin noticed it about a month ago. They’ve stopped charging the wall and Dick said he watched one…watch him eat. He was eating a sandwich, and the troll tilted its head and just….watched. He went back the same spot the next day and it was there again, so he threw it a piece of bread. The troll picked it up, stared at it for a minute, then put it in its mouth, chewed it up…and swallowed it. Since then, each time he goes out to the wall, he’ll take another piece of bread or roasted potato to share.
I went with him once to see it for myself. He tossed the bread to the troll (it’s a youngish man), the troll catches it, sits down and eats it slow. It freaked me the fuck out, I’m not even gonna lie. Dick said he’s been trying to teach it how to talk, and I almost killed him. Right now, them NOT talking is one of the few ways we have of distinguishing them from us. Plus, if they learn to communicate with each other, they’ll be able to start planning shit, and that’s the last thing we need.
I told him he needed to stop or I would tell the general and have him sent back to the fort. I will not have him, or anyone else, jeopardizing the safety of my family. That was part of why we ended things. I couldn’t let that go, and he kept trying to convince me that communication was the key to figuring out what they want from us. Sorry, darling, but when they’re tearing us apart to eat our flesh, I think it’s pretty obvious what they fucking want. So yeah. It was good while it lasted, but he was definitely not for me.
I did get him to explain why he found it so funny when I shortened Robinson down to “Robin”. Apparently his full name is Bruce Wayne Robinson. Back at the fort, they called him Batman. Now they tease him that he got demoted down to Robin.
Mom has kinda adopted Melly and Josh. Keith is finally finding his place among us, it turns out he makes a pretty good doctor. Ben has been spending a lot of time with Gray lately. Not sure if there’s anything there or not, but it’d be cute.
The Goulds are…adapting. Jack spends a lot of time on guard. Liza wants to start a plot for cotton so we can start making fabric and stuff. Aubrey has thrown herself into learning all she can. She spends half the day in the classes with the other kids (there’s only about 15 all together), and the other half going back and forth between spending time with Mike and Roger.
Melly and Abby have appointed themselves as Chiefs of Daycare. While everyone else is working, they’ve been taking care of the littlest kids. Chloe is attending classes with the other kids, so they only have to watch the really little ones like Emma, Bridget and Junior, but they still manage to be a handful. Mostly Emma and Bridget. Junior gets tummy time now, but he doesn’t really get into stuff yet.
Lucky has become the town’s mascot…and I think that covers everything and everyone. A lot has changed, but so much has stayed the same. We still don’t know what caused the outbreak, or if there’s a cure. Far as we can tell, all the major governments are gone. The satellites are still in space, but who knows how much longer that will last. The general has tried contacting bases across the world, and most of them are like this one. They’re walled in and are doing their best to just survive. As far as I know of, there hasn’t been any contact made with NASA, so no idea if Jason was right about the aliens. I asked the general about the CDC, but he just shook his head. So either he didn’t get an answer, or it’s not looking good.
Gray’s team got us a radar thing set up so we have a little bit of warning now before storms hit us, but if a hurricane comes up, we’re in trouble. Most of the houses here have basements, but we don’t have a community shelter yet (the longhouse and barracks don’t really count). Flooding might be a problem eventually, too. We’re having to take it one day at a time. It’s nervewracking, but it’s our life now.
Some of the men from the fort have talked about making another settlement further west, closer to the mountains. They reason that it will be safer, and easier to defend. They’re welcome to go, as far as I’m concerned, but they’re not taking our resources with them. They can deal with the mountain snows, and trying to grow food in the higher elevations. Where we are isn’t perfect, but it’s stable, for the time being, and that is what we need.
I’m running out of room, and Scott is here, wondering what’s taking so long. I guess it’s time to close this book for real.
Goodbye and goodnight.