I’m in what I believe is my Uncle Jack’s house. Although it’s not like my real Uncle Jack’s house at all except for the white clapboard typical of older New England homes. It’s night. I’m in the house with several people, one of them is a woman with whom I work in real life. We’re looking out the large windows and we understand that what we’re seeing is zombies off in the distance. We hurry to close the blinds and douse the lights so as not to attract notice. Suddenly, a zombie who was once…and very recently…an older teenage boy stumbles into the house. I go running to find a baseball bat. Thankfully, this zombie is not of the “28 Days Later” sprinting type of zombie and it’s bitten no one by the time I lay my hands on a wooden bat and return to swing at it’s head. I miss with the first shot. I connect, solidly, with the next and the shock of the blow jolts up my arms. It takes two hits to make it fall down and I have to repeatedly bludgeon it with all my might to crack it’s skull and deactivate it’s brain. This, I think, is where “The Walking Dead” gets it wrong. Clearly it’s not so easy to bash in a freshly undead brain pan.
We see a window open and assume that’s how it got in. We rush to lock all the windows and gather to talk about what to do next. We decide going to a sparsely populated place like the southeast or far northwest U.S. is a good idea. The woman with whom I work has her car parked in the house and it’s refrigerated. We talk about loading it with the perishable food we have and then scavenging other homes in the area. We watch as zombies lurch past the house.
And the scene changes. I’m with my stepsister, Jane, and several children in the house. We’re going to run through the neighborhood to a house that we think has supplies we can use. Before we go, a little girl runs into the back yard where we’re standing and I get ready to bash her head. My stepsister says NO! She’s alive! before I get a good grip on the baseball bat. We know the little girl lives across the field from our house. Her house is bigger and we think it’s a good idea to bring all the children to her house. I pick up the phone to call her mother and get a weird tone from the handset. I dial and I can hear the line is connected but no one says hello. I tell the phone that we want to bring all the children over but I don’t tell her who I am or that I’m at Jack’s house just in case there’s a zombie on the other end of the phone and can understand what I’m saying.
Jane and I go running down the street and the neighborhood is deserted. Empty streets but I’m on edge waiting for the next zombie to stagger out at us. We get to the house we want to plunder and discover antibiotics and pain meds in the bathroom cabinet. We head back to not-Jack’s house and there’s a train parked on some tracks at the rear of the house. Jane gets it moving but before I can tell her DON’T! she’s got so much momentum that the train just glides silently down the tracks, beneath the sodium vapor streetlights, leaving the back yard vulnerable. As I tell her why we needed it she grimaces and says Oh, I see, we needed it to screen the back yard from view.
And the scene changes. I’m with two other survivors and we each hold a stake resembling a wooden driveway stake along with a short piece of same. We’re going to the symphony. A special symphony for survivors and surviving dignitaries of some sort. And we’re the muscle, apparently known for our ability to hold off our undead adversaries. We get to the symphony and there’s a large cake decorated in silver and pink fondant. People standing around the table are putting their handprints into the fondant at the base of the cake. I’m thinking that’s really unsanitary as I go to take a seat. The symphony begins to play but the audience keeps talking so the head dignitary walks over to the table and upends the cake into the trash.
And the scene changes. I’m running to catch up to the other woman in our trio of muscle as she runs to catch up with the sole man in our group. I’m far behind and I slow to a stop and say what I’m thinking out loud: I don’t think I want to see what happens when she catches up to him, actually. The head dignitary is standing to my right and says, Then don’t. Stay here with me. I look into his dark brown eyes and think, Why not? He leans toward me and I feel the sleeve of his navy blue jacket as he reaches for my left elbow. We kiss. There’s shouting, calls for help and we run toward what we expect will be more zombies.
And I wake to the clock showing 1:23AM. The alarm is set for 1:30AM. I want to fade away for seven more minutes but I don’t want to fall back into that dream. I sit up, greeted by the cooing purr of the cat stretched out along my inseam, and the thump of my sled dog’s tail. Time to greet the day.