A girl and her dog seek refuge in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The ending is meant to ambiguous. I left it open for the reader to decide: was she just mad? Did Lizzie survive? Did help ever arrive?
This is my first attempt at a journal-styled piece. I will be revising it often, I bet, because I loved this idea. I've had it in my head for about a year now, and hated everything I tried to do for it. Until today.
By Jessica Raisor
Oct. 5th- It happened yesterday- all hell broke loose. I was in the kitchen with my dog, Lizzie, when the first wave hit our city. There were no sirens, no warnings, just the sound of the shrieks as they tore through our town like a wall of death. I had heard about the weird testing down in Edmonton, but I had no reason to believe they were true... until now, that is. It wasn't like I expected it to be from the movies at all. There was no sudden pandemic of sickness, no odd reports of death without cause, nothing. One day, we were just swarmed with these horrible rotted husks with hatred in their eyes. I was the first to reach the shelter; my family wasn't home. I don't know if they made it... I'll need to go up for food at some point. I'm afraid.
October 7th- I managed to make it to the surface yesterday... God, I wish I hadn't. Lizzie and I needed to eat, though. I had to walk to the next township- our store was nothing but a blackened husk. Sometime during the night the gas station went up, taking out the shopping center with it. We didn't see anyone during the whole trip. No one fleeing, no one trying to fight us for food or water, nothing; just the emptied shells of cars and discarded clothing, the haunting scene marred by the occasional desiccated corpse lying broken, bloodied, and discarded. I thought I caught a glimpse of Mrs. Thorton next door behind a swaying curtain, but a second glance showed only blackness. We managed to grab a cart-full of meats and water, with plenty of imperishable and a can opener. We'll eat like queens, for a while at least. Lizzie didn't want to leave. She stood stock still at the entrance to the freezer, head tilted to the side as though listening to secret whispers for her ears only. I hated to pull her leash hard enough to shock her out of it, but I had to. We had to get home before dark.
October 8th- It's around two in the morning, according to my watch. I heard a sound from above, feet over the entrance to the bunker. I'm worried. I loaded the only clip I could find into my father's nine millimeter, just in case someone actually finds us. We're taking no chances.
October 8th, part 2- I managed to drift off for a while after the scare, but a few hours later I heard Lizzie growling. It's unlike her... I climbed up the ladder and peaked around, but I didn't see anything out there. Ah well. Today's plan is to go look for some form of entertainment- I was thinking some sort of toy for Liz, and a book for me. I couldn't be lucky enough to find a signal with a radio, I don't think.
SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT SHIT.
While we were gone, our bunker got raided. Everything is gone; our blankets, our food, our gun... I don't know what the hell we're going to do. Lizzie keeps sniffing around, and I think she might be able to track the assholes that did this. I hope she does. I hope we find them gorging themselves. They'll be easier to kill if they're too stuffed to move.
October 9th- We found them holed up inside a pretty secure Casey's General Store over in Camby, eating like kings. I'm honestly surprised that their gas tanks hadn't been ignited like the ones in my part of town, but I should be thankful. Lizzie gave me an idea, and I mean to follow through with it tonight. I got us into a storage garage a block away, and we're going to wait out here until dark. This is going to be good.
We could see the fires for miles. They didn't see that one coming, that's for sure. We won't be able to cook any meat we find until I get a new lighter, though... On the way back to the bunker I'm going to try to find a grocery again. We need to replace what we lost while we have the chance. I know it's only been a few days, and we're in no situation where we'll starve, but I'll feel better if we're prepared. We have no idea how long we'll be trapped, you know? No way to know when people will start coming to help, IF they'll even come to help... I don't know how far this thing has spread. All we can do is hope, and fight.
October 12th- It's been a few days since I've been able to write. Ever since the gas station there's been a horde of the horrible creatures following us. I haven't been able to get a new pen until this morning- they're faster than I expected. Lizzie seems to be able to make them leave, almost as if they're afraid of her. I'm lucky to have such a good friend. I managed to find a can of soft dog food hidden behind a block of the wall, the one thing the raiders didn't take. I think she liked it; her tail wagged almost nonstop after she devoured it.
The town's not doing so well. During my hour excursion I managed to make it to St. Catherine's down the road. It... it was not a good sight. The corpses really began to pile up near Maine Street, and the buildings... Something about the awful creatures seems to speed up the decay. Or maybe I'm not tracking the time correctly... No, no it has to be the first. I've got a calendar on my wa-
My watch is stopped.
I'll give the best estimate I can for our timeline from now on.
The whole reason for this entry is to record how awful the town looks. If it's not blackened it's decaying, with this strange black growth covering most of the buildings. The air reeks of rotted flesh and waste. What is going on?
October 15th- Lizzie went nuts today. She snarled and howled at the entrance to our bunker, alternating between aggression and fear. It hurt me to see her in such a state. I went up to investigate. All I found was a tattered, blood-stained collar. I wonder if she knew the animal it belonged to.
I tried canvassing for food today... No luck. It hasn't even been that long, barely over a week, right? How can there be no food?
October 35th- I feel really weak. I've been scouting every day, but I've had no luck. Lizzie hasn't been coming out with me. It isn't safe. I've had to sink really low... I killed one of the undead nightmares and dragged his corpse back. With the help of some underbrush I managed to get a fire going. We're at least going to eat well tonight, no matter how uncomfortable I am with this. Sometimes, you have to do dark things in the name of survival. If we make it though our impromptu meal, I'll be sure to record it.
Later- It... It tasted... like metal. A weird, electric shock when it touched my tongue. Liz wouldn't eat hers. She just watched me, her eyes dark, as though I had committed some great atrocity.
November? - It's been getting easier to find food now that we know the infected can be eaten. I think Lizzie's getting sick. She won't eat anything. There are no animals to catch, no canned food intact... I don't know what I'm going to do with her. We came across an unopened jug of water inside Mrs. Thorton's humble house, a godsend for my silent canine companion and me. I liberated the crystal drink back to our hiding spot and poured us each a bowl. Lizzie thanked me with a smile, and although it warmed my heart it did little to lessen my growing revelation.
I don't think help is coming.
November 14th- Going outside is taking its toll on me. I cannot breathe the air very well. It burns. When the coughing fits overtake me, Lizzie crawls up to me and lays her head on my chest. I feel better. I think I would have taken my own life long ago if not for her; I need to protect her. Being down here during all of this has made our unbreakable bond even stronger. She is more than a pet- she is my family. My ONLY family. My only friend in the world. I don't care what happens to me, as long as she survives. WE ran out of water today. I have to go back up. I'll tear a piece off my shirt to cover my mouth, maybe it'll make it easier.
No water to be found. Crowd of monsters racing through the streets. Not safe.
November 20th- I'm hurt pretty badly. I left Lizzie down in the shelter while I went out scavenging again. Around 42 I found a house full of survivors. They didn't take too kindly to me snooping around their cellar. I'm still bleeding pretty badly; it's a cut on my scalp, I think I'll be alright though. Lizzie came over and licked some of the blood from my face. I think she enjoyed it. At least if something happens to me she'll be well fed for a while.
I think they broke one of my ribs. I'll go back for them just like I did the raiders. This isn't over yet.
November 21st- I don't know what's happening to me. I just... I tore them apart. I reveled in their blood. Is this- No. Of course not. I'm the same as I've ever been... Right? I saw something in Lizzie's eyes when I tossed the corpses through the hatch. Was it sorrow? Pity? I may have just been imagining it. She ate, at least. That's all that matters. We'll eat fine for a few more days. There's plenty of meat here.
How did I get home?
November 30th- It's getting too cold now. I can feel the chill even through our solid concrete walls. At night Lizzie curls up with me and keeps me warm. I'm so very grateful for her company.
One of the bodies started to move. I'm afraid it's going to come for me. We'll have to eat it next.
December 5th- The first snow. It almost hid the decay of my city... almost. As the white water crystals settled on our ruined town, I had to fight the urge to leave. I wanted to. I wanted to walk and walk, naked through the unforgiving winter winds until I just collapsed and submitted to the creeping hypothermia. There's been a noticed increase in those sort of suicidal thoughts lately.
I've lost a lot of weight.
I was husky before, never losing the weight from my sedentary post-high school years, and even though I've kept my diet steady I can feel every bone in my body.
My hair's been falling out.
Lizzie looks fine.
December 6th- We're out of meat. Those creepy, rotting ground-walkers have been gathering en masse again. I'm not sure what to do about them. They seem to be stronger in the cold months. Lizzie's fur is comforting. I feel that with her by my side, we can overcome any odds. I'll try for more food tomorrow. I can't bring down the damn monsters any more.
December 10th- Lizzie isn't looking so good. I don't think I can handle losing her. I'm going to try and find more survivors; they seemed to balance out her health rather nicely before. I wonder if there even ARE any more survivors. It feels like we're the only two living beings left on the planet. At least I can say I'm not going down without a fight.
Later- I tried every house within two miles. No one, no food, no water. All the pipes are frozen. I'm not sure what we're going to do. Lizzie and I are getting weaker all the time. God, if you're out there, help us, please. We need you now. Don't turn away from us.
[Date Indistinguishable] I can't leave the bunker. I'm not strong enough. My body shakes for hours on end. It is as cold as the grave in here. Lizzie has been lying with me, but not even her coat can protect me. I think something is wrong. When I cough, red chunks are left in my handkerchief. I do not want this. Lizzie was whining earlier today. I could hear footsteps somewhere above us, but I could not tell if they were friend or foe. I shouted with what little power I had left, but no one came. Is that a blessing or a curse?
Lizzie seems weak. After all she's done for me, I want to be able to feed her. I want to give her life. There might be hope for her, but... I think my sickness comes from the flesh I ate. She turned her nose away, and if I had been smart... I just wish there were some gift, something to show how much she means to me... Wait.
Lizzie, I love you. You've been there by my side for thirteen years, and I would die for you.
I will die for you.
If help comes, and someone finds this, know that I love my dog.
I love her enough to give her a better life.
Give 'em hell, girl. I'll open the hatch for you.