Social Director of the Afterlife: Chapter 2

walking-dead-vatos-zombie5/23/49

Dear Diary,

Today is one of those days where I woke up and thought that everything was back to normal, before the infection. I opened my eyes and thought I’d make a big omelet for me and Princeton and then take the dogs out for a walk this afternoon. Then my eyes focused and I found myself staring at the ceiling of a hospital in my tiny room, with boards and rails over the windows to keep the zombies out.

I started crying after I realized that. I managed to hold myself together and get to breakfast, but my composure didn’t last long. David was hung over and bitter. He told everyone that I was useless and I should pull my own weight around the group.

Megan and Rosanna leapt to my defense. I told them not to worry about David, but then he said they should just feed me to the zombies so I stop taking up so much food. I made it looked like I stormed out of the room, but I left in tears.

I know I shouldn’t take it personally. Mainly because it’s David and he’s just an asshole, but sometimes I feel useless. Everyone else has a special talent or ability and what do I do? I’m not a great shot, I’m incredibly skittish, I have no survival skills besides what I learned after the world went to shit.

If anyone was predicted to survive in a post-apocalyptic world, it probably wouldn’t have been me. Princeton was even better disposed to this type of living than I was. At least he could camp. I couldn’t start a fire if my life depended on it. My survival tactics out there compose of running and hiding.

Sometimes I don’t think I deserve to be alive. Princeton died and he was so much more adept at surviving. Why did he die while I’m still here, organizing craft shows?

I try to tell myself that what I do matters. I mean, I take care of the morale for the group. That’s important, right? Wouldn’t everyone be depressed and unhappy without me?

Who the fuck am I kidding? Everyone is depressed and unhappy WITH me doing what I do. I might be able to take the edge off, but it’s hard to concentrate on Megan’s guitar playing on talent show night when you can hear zombie growls from one that got caught on the fence.

Stay positive. Stay positive. Stay positive.

This complaining isn’t helping. I have to keep my chin up and do what I do for the good of the group. I can’t contribute in a big way, clearly. But I can do little things for people and help keep others sane.

I’ve never been one to need validation, but I feel like I’m not really accomplishing anything right now. I don’t want to ask for feedback though. I’m supposed to be a beacon of hope for these people and if I let someone know that I feel insecure, how is that going to make them feel?

5/24/49

Dear Diary,

David’s dead.

I wish I was sadder about it. But I’m not. He got drunk again last night and was walking around outside of the fences, screaming at the undead. He kept telling them that he wanted to die and they would be doing him a favor.

Paulson woke me up as I was on the other side of the building from where he was screaming. We got out there just in time to see a zombie coming straight at him, just shambling towards him. I fired my gun, but I clipped its ear. We yelled at him to get back behind the fences and stop fucking around.

But he just held his arms out, completely defenseless and walked towards the corpse. Paulson was trying to get the gate open to go grab him, but he didn’t even get the first lock off before the zombie bit David. As soon as we heard him scream, we just stopped. There was no point.

A bite, even a nip, is fatal. Paulson looked at me and I looked back at him. Then we just watched the zombie tear through David’s neck. He fell to the ground screaming until the beast bit through his vocal chords. Then he just gurgled, helplessly.

By this time some of the others had woke up. I told Kesia to keep everyone back, but they were all on alert. Felton was freaking out about one of the fences being breeched. I took everyone inside while Paulson and Tommy finished unlocking the gates.

I saw him stab the zombie in the head with his hunting knife. I didn’t see it, but I know he did the same to David to keep him from coming back. I tried to calm everyone down and tell them that we would explain to them what happened later.

Megan was in tears when Paulson came back in. He was covered in blood and zombie juice. He told the group that David had committed suicide. Trev just smirked, like this was a joke. The counsel immediately went to David’s old room and started to go through it.

It’s weird that we started this ritual. He’s body isn’t even cold and we’re taking all of his things. But in the zombie apocalypse, there’s no time for niceties or mourning. We soon discovered that Trev hadn’t been rooming with him at all. He had put on some kind of charade for us, then doing his own thing. Only his perfectly rolled sleeping bag and a clean shirt were in David’s room.

Caressa uncovered his stash. David had squirreled away a massive amount of mouth wash. That’s what he must have been getting drunk off of. When I thought about it, no one would really think anything was amiss if they saw a man pick up a bottle of Listerine from a grocery store run. He must have been stocking up for quite a while. No wonder his breath was always so fresh.

We also found some writing. He had been marking the walls by the floor with symbols and words. He wrote that nothing was safe and we were all dead men. Some of the writing didn’t even make sense.

Paulson took some of his clothes, since he was about the same size as David. He was going through a backpack when he found a list. It was entitled “Hit List” and my name was at the top. Paulson tried to hide it from me, but I saw it.

I don’t even know how I feel about that. I know David didn’t like me for whatever reason. I know this world makes you do crazy shit. But to put my name on a hit list? Caressa said that it might be a joke. It wasn’t funny.

Tonight is karaoke night. We’re trying to keep the mood light. After everyone goes to bed tonight, Tommy, Eric, Paulson, and I are going to go out and get David’s body and burn it. We would bury him, but with the infection, burning is best.

I think I’ll sing some show tunes tonight.

5/25/49

Dear Diary,

We decided to do a run tomorrow. We’re low on a lot of things and Bailey said that there was a small corner store that was almost untouched a few miles from here. We decided that Eric, Bailey and Rosanna will go.

I kept looking at the group over dinner, thinking that this will be the last time I ever see them. I couldn’t shake the thought. Our group is so small. We once had a party of seven disappear while on a run.

We “found” them a few months later. They had all turned. We don’t know what happened to them. Then we started doing smaller runs. We couldn’t afford to lose that many people at one time.

I’m still trying to put a smile on and act like everything’s just fine. We did some gardening today. Laurel is doing really well and so is Megan. Even Tommy helped out and seemed to have a good time.

Tonight is our Apples to Apples game that Darius got us. It’s Jenna’s favorite from before the outbreak. I just hope it lightens the mood a little. If anything happens to the group tomorrow, it’s going to take a lot more than card games to help everyone out of their depression.

5/30/49

Dear Diary,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. The most amazing thing happened on the run. The group ran into another group of survivors. Their names are Jackson, Ben, Kira and Katie. Kira is a doctor! A real, live emergency room doctor!

The group said that they were fighting off a pack of the undead when they arrived at a crossroad. They helped fight the zombies off and when they were finished, the groups were suspicious of each other, but the new peoples’ desperation won out. They asked to join us and said that they would do anything to stay.

When Eric found out that Kira was a doctor, he had to stop his jaw from dropping. Rosanna said that she played it cool and said that they had to finish a run, then they could come back with us. They got to know each other super fast.

Ben and Kira are married. Katie and Jackson are brother and sister, apparently. The group had come all the way from Florida. They had been walking for months, trying to find shelter. They had another couple with them, but they didn’t make it.

When the group got back, we thought that the new people had taken our group hostage, so we all got out our guns and we were ready to spray them down with bullets, but Eric told us about Kira and that everything was fine.

Good thing, too. We have so few bullets we wouldn’t have had enough to defend the hospital. We welcomed the group in and I announced that we would have a party in their honor. I had been saving some soda for a while and this was the perfect time to break it out.

We talked with everyone that night and we all got to know each other. This is such great news. Everyone felt so much safer now that we have a doctor with us. Also, Ben was a firefighter. Jackson was a hunter and owns a bow. He says that he knows how to track and score game.

I’m almost in tears as I write this. I’m so glad that we finally had something good happen to us. It’s such a relief to know that there are some positive days among so many bad ones. I just hope that these people are everything that we think they are.

6/2/49

Dear Diary,

I’m nervous for tonight. Darius asked me to set up a dance and I set it for tonight. I thought it would be a great way to have some fun and relax for a while. Then Jackson asked me to the dance!

I said yes. Of course. That was my immediate reaction. But after I thought about it, I realized how anxious I was. I’ve only known him a few days and I haven’t dated since Princeton died. So that’s… a really long time.

I keep telling myself that it’s just a dance and I’ve been to dances with other guys before. But this isn’t just a dance tonight. Jackson has been spending a lot of time with me.

He hasn’t done anything overt, but the way he looks at me sometimes and the way he smiles. I can kind of see that he likes me. We’re definitely not going to this dance together as friends.

Stay positive. Stay positive. Stay positive.

6/3/49

Dear Diary,

It’s amazing how things can go from awesome to shitty really quickly. I used to think this was true before the infection. Now I have entirely new standards to judge by.

Last night we had our dance in the cafeteria. It went really well. Jackson and I danced together and we had a great time. Everyone was having a great time, in fact. It was one of our better dances. Laurel played her guitar beautifully. Megan sang some of her favorite boy band songs too.

After the dance was over, Jackson and I were still both wide awake in excitement. We went walking around the grounds to do a fence check. True to form, there were a few zombies stuck in the fence. We dispatched them and kept walking and talking like we were old friends.

We spent ages out there together. Finally, we went back to the garden and looked around. Jackson said that he doesn’t know anything about gardens, so I was trying to show him where we grow everything.

Just then, something whizzed past my head. I immediately got out my gun, that only had two bullets in it, and looked around. We heard someone shouting from the woods that we should read the note.

Jackson immediately helped me to get to cover. We saw an arrow with a note attached, sticking out one of the wood fence posts around the cabbage. He grabbed it and we went inside. My heart was racing. I put my gun away and just stood in the hallway, shaking, while Jackson read the note.

It was from the warehouse bandits. No surprise there. It said that we had poached a deer on their land and they demanded repayment or they would burn the hospital to the ground. Jackson furrowed his brow.

I had to explain to him that there are no “lands”. The bandits are just trying to extort us for whatever they can. They make up rules all the time then try to punish us for not following them. As if it makes any sense.

The note said that they wanted fresh eggs and canned goods. We don’t have any fresh eggs and it’s not as if we can spare canned foods with four new people in our group. I told him that we’d have to talk to the counsel in the morning.

Talk about a buzz kill. For a second, I was thinking about what I would do if Jackson would kiss me goodnight. Now I was thinking about how I would have to fight to defend our home from those fucking bandits. I’m done for tonight. I can’t write anymore.

6/5/49

Meeting with the counsel didn’t go well. It ended with everyone screaming at each other. We got another note from the bandits yesterday. They demanded all of our food or they were going to attack the hospital and murder all of us. They’ve picked off enough of our numbers in the past. We know they’re not bluffing.

Trev wants to fight. All of us. Including Megan, Laurel and Darius, who are both teenagers. Paulson wants to send someone to try to reason with the bandits and we all agreed that that was a ridiculous, fucking idea. Jackson and Kira came to sit in on the meeting and they didn’t seem to like how things went.

We didn’t reach a consensus on anything. But based on past behavior, the bandits aren’t going to wait for us to make a move anyway. They’ll attack first and ask questions later. I’m sure they are only giving us a chance to run because they’re hoping that we’ll abandon the hospital and leave it in pristine condition for them to take over it.

Rosanna said some things that make sense. As much as we don’t want to be violent, these people are putting us in danger and they’re not going to stop. We need to take them out.

If you would have told me as a teenager that I would one day be contemplating going to war and murdering my fellow human beings, I would have laughed in your face. I couldn’t stand to crush spiders. I always made Princeton retrieve them and take them outside. Now I’m thinking about homicide.

After the meeting ended (because everyone was hoarse), we went back to the group. Felten decided to pop up and inform us that everyone wanted to know what happened in the meeting. I told them that we couldn’t reach an agreement. Megan got really upset and started crying and pleading with us do something to make the bandits go away.

She’s just a kid. How is it fair that she’s in this situation? How is there any cosmic justice or any kind of higher power when this world has been taken over by monsters? How can there be any kind of god when we’re becoming monsters ourselves just to survive in this world?

Dinner was quiet. But what did anyone expect. We were supposed to have a board game night that evening, but I called it off. I wanted to, but 1. It seemed futile with everyone’s moods being what they were and 2. I had a splitting headache from all of the yelling.

I went back to my room and read a new book that the team had picked up during the run. It was about a farm girl that lost her father and had to go live with her dashing neighbor who was a widower and had abs you could grate cheese on. Normally I would had gladly read it and gotten lost in this world of fiction. But today it just pissed me off. I finished reading it though. It’s not like I had something better to do with my time.

To read more in this series, click here.