Do me a favor. Spit on your hand, wet your lips, and use that hand to cover your mouth. Now scream into your palm. You hear that? That sound. That’s the last thing that I heard from her. My wife’s agonizing scream caught in the mouth of a zombie as it bit into her lips. Her high pitched scream turned gargle, bubbling it’s way out of the exposed sides of the Z’s mangled cheek.
I did this to her. I did this to all of them. I saw this railroad tunnel tucked into the side of the mountain, thought about how the trains had stopped running, and decided that we all would be safe here. Safe. “Safe” is the lie that you tell struggling survivors via shortwave radio when they ask how their family members are doing. We will never be safe again. If the Z’s can take over the military bases, prisons, and even this place there really is no hope for us out there.
That tunnel was our fortress. For some reason, I guess some deep and dormant sense of mortality, the zombies avoided the railroads. So, that’s where we traveled. At first it was difficult, darting out of the way of the passing trains that would almost never stop and offer assistance. The more that we traveled, and the more that we encountered the trains, the more we were able to feel and identify the vibration as it approached. The more that we were able to identify an oncoming train, sometimes as far as a couple of miles away. There’s only one thing that feels the same; a Z stampede.
We all felt that ground shake. Assuming that it was just another annoying train, we set up our signs far enough out that the train could see and read them, slow to a stop, and hopefully/ prayerfully pick us up. As the trembling got closer, and we realized that it was not slowing down, we grabbed our gear, and took position against the walls. Then, as if we had all imagined it, there was nothing. No movement. Like the train came to an halt in the matter of a millisecond.
My wife, being the investigator that she is, inched her way to the edge of the tunnel. She was the first one that I saw go.
The Z’s poured in from every direction, some seeming to rain down into our cave as they crashed down on us. I’ve seen death before. I know that someday, somehow, I’ll be able to get that image out of my head. But that sound… That sound will never leave me.