Sunday: November 17th, 2009
The quarantine around California had been broken. The bordering states have been affected, and reports have been made that the infection has spread as far as Western Canada and Northwestern Mexico. There hasn't been any more Presidential addresses on the TV, but then again there hasn't been any programming since Halloween. The town's population has been gathering at the church every day for that past few just to ease the tension and put their minds off the terror happening just outside of their New Mexico state.
Juan woke up in the backseat of his truck, brought to consciousness by the flickering of the lampost just outside the door to Marty's tavern. He rubbed his eyelids with both hands and a drew a breath which transformed into an emphasized yawn. He squirmed around in the back bench seat, readjusting the crotch of his jeans as he sat up. He hadn't noticed that the sun had not come up fully over the mountainous horizon quite yet. He peered down at the scratched-up, old Timex strapped to his left wrist. 7:26 AM.
He heard a car coming down the road. By the sound of it, it was going abnormally fast. He looked over his left shoulder and saw pastor Dave's Corolla gunning it down the main street headed towards the church. Juan blinked as he followed Dave's face which was wretched with fear. Juan never saw Dave like that before. The Corolla sped by, and Juan opened up the back passenger door, shut it, and walked around to the front driver's side, opened the door and hopped up onto the seat. He looked forward at Dave's car, the brake lights ignited and he veered off onto the church's lot. Juan put the keys in the old ignition and fired up the engine and slowly accelerated towards the church.
Juan left his truck door open as he stepped out and jogged towards the old oaken church doors. He could hear Dave yelling and screaming before he could even manage to pull the right hand door open.
"NO, NO, NO, NOOOO!", Dave was kicking one of the pews while he shouted, tears in his eyes. Juan tiptoed up the aisle slowly towards the irate pastor.
"Dave...", he whispered. The pastor stopped his flailing fist mid-swing and turned his head down over towards the doors where Juan had just entered.
"Oh no...oh no," he repeated, scared. "They're dead, Juan."
"Who's dead? What happened here?"
Dave motioned for Juan to come closer. He kept a slow pace towards the pastor, looking down at the floor. As he crept closer, he noticed the empty bottles under the front pews. Wine and SleepAid. He looked up and away towards the stained glass when he finally caught sight of the four bodies, lying peacefully in the two front row pews.
"I should have listened," Dave uttered with a pathetic tone in his voice. "I could have stopped this." He looked over at Juan, who raised an eyebrow.
"What are you talking about, Dave?"
"They called me last night. They were upset. Said that if God wasn't comin' to them... they're goin' to God."
Juan lightly smacked his forehead. "Sunofab*tch."
"I told them not to! That we have to keep the hope in this town!"
Juan slid his hand down along his face, scratching his chin before hiding his hand away in his jacket pocket. He shook his head.
"It's Sunday, you know."
The pastor's eyes widened as his mouth slowly fell open. "We have to hide the bodies. They can't know this happened!"
"No sh*t," Juan replied, with an awkward seriousness in his tone. He walked closer up to Dave, put his hand on his shoulder and looked down at Miss Hedgins, the Sunday school teacher. "Let's get the heavy lifting over with."
Dave wiped the sweat from his saddened brow as he stared at Juan covering the rest of the church staff with a blanket in the damp basement. They ran up the stairs and locked the door behind them. A few people had shown up already and were seated in the left mid-section. Juan froze. The bottles were still lying under the front row. He elbowed Dave, who caught sight of the bottles shortly after. Dave acknowedgled Juan's concern and walked over to the early company, trying to maintain a happy expression. Juan jogged over to the front row and quickly pocketed the empty pill bottles. He leaned over and under the pew to reach the last wine bottle. He sighed with relief as he sat down on the bench, arms full of empty wine bottles; but slipped out of the over-varnished pew, releasing all of the bottles from his tight grip. His face tensed up as he saw the bottles falling in what seemed like slow motion towards the wooden floor.
Juan started a hesitant laugh as the bottles rolled around, still unbroken. He looked back at the pastor and churchfolk, who were directing back a scowled look.
"Heh, I'ma gonna go now. Thanks fer the wine, Dave."
Dave shook his head at Juan as he walked by with the empty bottles again in his arms. A few more families came in through the church entrance and Juan slipped outside as the door slowly fell to a close.
Juan walked around to the bed of his old truck and slid out a burlap sack from the bedbox. He dropped the empty wine bottles in one by one before securing the sack back in the bedbox. He jogged back around to the driver's side, jumped in and puttered down the street back to Marty's for a well deserved day of beer drinking.
He pulled open the glass door to Marty's, the little bell going off bringing a smile to Juan's face. The smile quickly dissipated as he saw Marty's back, head looking up at the TV with another Presidential address airing. Juan didn't blink as the door softly closed behind him, ringing the little bell a second time.
The President nodded and walked off screen. The TV went back to fuzz. Juan sprinted up to Marty, grabbed him by his huge shoulders and spun him around in his barstool.
"What happened? What the hell did he say?!"
Marty blinked, expressionless. "...rescue."