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That was odd...

I was an Innocent Bystander (Chapter 3: That was odd...)

I was an Innocent Bystander (Chapter 3: That was odd...)

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NaNoWriMo

Park benches are not the most comfortable beds in the world, but at least they're better than nothing. Not that I got much sleep last night, anyway. I gotta tell you, some bizarre stuff happened in the middle of the night. In fact, I would have to say that it was even stranger than the past two days, combined. And that's saying something.

I left the library last night, to search for a good bench to settle down upon. Luckily, the evening was rather unseasonable, and it was not colder than about twenty-eight degrees. Celsius, I mean. Good FSM, that would be freezing as Fahrenheit. Literally. Man, I'm cold just thinking about it. Anyway, it was nice and warm, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. The stars were shining, and the Full Moon hung amongst the heavens, looking for all the world like a gigantic pearl. I strolled for a few blocks, to find myself at the entrance to a park that I had not known existed. Standing at the entranceway, I glanced inside. There was a brick pathway leading inwards, at the end of which stood a large obelisk. The moonlight cast an eerie glow upon the side facing me, and I noticed strange markings covering the statue. I could not quite make out what the symbols meant from where I was standing, so I walked in to investigate.

As I approached the sculpture, I could comprehend more readily the carved facet, and what the symbols actually were. Stopping mere feet from it, I could now read what had been chiseled deep into the face of the giant pillar. The silvery light of the moon bathed the surface with a milky luminescence, casting the letters carved so carefully into stark, black contrast.

"Christian Zoll Memorial Park"

To say that I was disappointed does not quite convey the depth of my feelings. In fact, there is not a word in the library's copy of the dictionary (the really big one, with like, fifty bazillion entries) to describe the outrage, the feeling of something left unfinished, the sheer unfairness that such an anti-climactic thing should exist. I checked. Well, actually, I didn't. Going through that thing would take far too much time away from my precious, precious writing time. So, I'm just assuming that there is no word in the English Language for what I felt after I finished reading those twenty-five letters. I doubt the word exists in ANY language, for that matter.

Thouroghly disheartened, I began searching my surroundings for a suitable bench to rest on for the night. After a little while, I found one that had been carved out of a log, so I dossed out in that. An interminable amount of time later, I was awoken by an odd shuffling noise, seemingly omnipresent in the park. Being the nervous young man I am (and rightfully so; I had, after all, had an unusual week so far), I decided that it might be best to get out of the park before I found out something I did not want to know. Like what the shuffling noise was. Or why I could hear low moans coming from every direction. Or what the godawful stench was.

Rounding the final corner in the path to get out of the park, I saw something that made my heart sink straight to the ground. The gates to the park were not only closed, but chained and padlocked shut. I was stuck in the park for the night, and there was nothing I could do about it. Dejected, I turned around, intending to head back to my loggy resting place to hope that nothing bad would happen to me. As I neared the turnoff in the path that led to my bench, I noticed the stench had become noticeably stronger. Not only that, but the moans had become less of an indistinct blending of throats, and more of a single, clear word:

TRRAAAAAAAAIINS

I froze. Doubt crept into my mind, and I began to question my senses. Surely, all the evidence pointed to one, undeniable conclusion: Zombies. But, there was one single item that made this theory impossible to accept: the UnDead do not have a craving for large mechanical wonders that helped build the Midwest; Zombies want my delicious, delicious grey matter. Maybe I misheard? My questioning thoughts were shoved to the side an instant later, when I noticed movement out of the corner of my unpatched eye. I turned my head slowly, bringing whatever produced the unexpected motion to the center of my limited field of view. Standing off to the side of the main path, a person in military garb was shuffling towards me, inch by corpse-footed inch.

I opened my mouth to scream, but my larynx was paralysed in terror. The zombie's dead, soulless eyes seemed to focus upon my face, and it raised a shriveled, bony arm to point at me with a skinless finger. It took another step, causing a small piece of rotted flesh to dislodge itself from the outstretched arm and fall to the ground with a sickening *squelch* noise. Another step, and ancient dog-tags rattled against the ancient uniform the Zombie was wearing. Another step, and the Zombie suddenly stopped shuffling. It stared at me, arm outstretched, for what seemed like an eternity. I used this brief interlude to take a good look at the Zombie.

Swaying slightly in the pleasant, if a tad odiferous, breeze, the Zombie was roughly 170 centimeters tall, wearing a tattered military uniform. Three chevrons had been crudely stitched onto the right shoulder; the needle was still attached, dangling from a loose thread. I wish I could tell you more, but as soon as my eye caught the glint of moonlight on the needle, something lunged out of the bushes and began to tear the zombie to pieces. There was a ferocios snarling noise as the arms and legs of the defenseless zombie were ripped from the body, and a panicked moan escaped its lips. I never thought I could feel pity for a zombie, but I found out last night just how easy it is to do so. Hearing the plaintive moaning, watching as the last of its limbs were torn off, I could feel a great sorrow. I even began to cry, as the great furry beast lifted the limbless zombie into the air, to swing it to the ground with a mighty THWACK, crushing the skull of the hapless zombie.

The huge creature continued to obliterate the bits of zombie that had been tossed aside during the main attack, only noticing me when I cleared my throat. Admittedly, it was not the smartest idea, to call attention to oneself in the presence of an amazingly superior being intent on destruction, but I could not just stand still while the animal was there, and I was too polite to actually, you know, interrupt. I'm fairly certain that Lady Luck was on my side though, because rather than pounce upon me and rend my abdomen with its unusually large claws, it simply turned and asked, "How may I help you?"

I woke up in a small room, barely large enough for the cot I was resting upon. I am getting sick and tired of passing out when things that don't fit into my preconcieved worldview are brought to my attention. It's incredibly annoying. Not to mention how much it plays hell with my timesense. Anyway, rather than finding myself bound with rope, or with mysterious letters attached to my body, I was completely unhindered in movement. So, I tested that mobility by walking out the door. Or, trying to, at least. It was locked. As I reluctantly plopped back onto the cot, however, the doorknob turned, and the door was opened.

I was greeted by something incredibly unexpected: A young man, clean-shaven, wearing conservative clothing. He inquired as to how I was feeling, and I assured him that I was quite alright, just a tad bit confused and worried about my sanity. I tried to ask where I was, but he just shook his head gently, and with a slight smile, he told me that I was in 'a safe place' that would be my new home. I started to protest, but then a thought struck me, and I asked if there was internet access. He assured me there was, and furthermore, that I was welcome to use it whenever the fancy to surf for a little while struck. I was told that the room I was currently in was simply a holding cell, and that I would be assigned a proper bedroom as soon as my paperwork was processed and I was in the system.

Now, I'm not the kind of person who would look a gift horse in the mouth, but something about this whole setup just didn't settle well. I asked the pleasant young man what the catch was, and, as I expected, he tried to tell me that there was no catch at all, and if I didn't believe him about the internet thing, I should go to the computer room and see for myself. I reasoned that if the last few days were any indicator, then it would probably be an incredibly bad idea to leave my bed to find out the truth about something. So, I declined the dapper young gentleman's offer, and told him that I really needed to get some rest. So, he closed the door, and left. Seeing as how I really was tired, I decided to take a nap.

I woke up on an operating table. At least, I think I did. It may have been a dream, though. In fact, I distinctly remember one of the doctors telling me that it was all a dream, and that I should forget all about any of this happening. Enh, whatever. I woke up, for real this time, in my little room, and tested the doorknob. Unlocked. I gently opened the door, and slipped into the corridor. Flourescent lighting was recessed into the ceiling, and there were doors all up and down the hallway, with neatly stencilled identification codes overtop each one. I checked my code, in order to find the room again should I get lost, and memorised it: N2 J2 E3.

Directly opposite my room was a small wooden plaque, upon which some writing and arrows had been drawn. Pointing to the left was an arrow, labelled "Infirmary", with the universal symbol for a hospital emblazoned underneath. Pointing to the right was the arrow labelled "Free Internet Access" with a smiley face drawn beneath it. So, rather than go to the infirmary to get fresh bandages, and maybe a prescription for whatever the hell has been wrong with me, I came to the computer lab to work on my novel. Unfortunately, I have writer's block right now, so I'm just updating all of you as to where I've been.
  • It seems a tragedy that Word only counts TRRAAAAAAAAIINS as one word.
  • =D Free internet! Woot! I'd say something smart, but there's nothing there. Good one, Ed! Keep it up blah blah meowmix inc.

    -@lli
  • What a wonderful way to start the day. I'll be wondering all day about the hairy, Zombie ripping, yet very polite beast. I can't wait for the next installment.
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