Days Gone By

by Max Bowen

Soldiers clearing out zombies from the city of Oxford found what appears to be the journal of Peter Scolari, a survivor of the plague of the undead who became trapped in a supermarket. He was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This is an account of his time there.

Day 1

Oh dear God, oh dear sweet Jesus. I can't believe this is happening. I never thought it would get this bad, I swear to the Holy Mother I never did. If I had any inkling of how bad it would get, I would have put my family on the first plane to Iceland. I swear to you, Rebecca, Cindy, Jennifer, Sam, I never knew this would happen.

It's a few hours later. I'm in the manager's office of the Oxford Stop & Shop. It was the closest thing after I crashed and it looks pretty secure. At least there's food. I've managed to calm down a little. At least I've stopped soiling myself. I'm going to keep a journal of what happens, just in case I don't make it. My name is Peter Scolari. I live in the town of Oxford with my wife, Rebecca, and our children, 15-year-old Cindy, 10-year-old Jennifer, and Sam, who's eight going on forty. I swear that kid's ready to run his own business.

We knew about what was happening in Boston, but we never knew it would get this bad. I thought it was just gangs or the homeless, and even if that nonsense (that's what I thought it was at the time) about zombies was true, the police and the National Guard could handle it. I mean, that's what they're trained to do, right? Well, maybe not kill zombies, but you know what I mean.

I was coming home from work at the Oxford Town Hall. I'm a tax collector, one of the most boring jobs on the planet, but it's what I'm good at and the money is decent. Rebecca runs a small jewelry business out of her home. When the kids were born, we decided someone should be around for them. No way were we going to stick them in a day care center. Becky was always good at making things. Paintings, sculptures, you name it. She started the business when Cindy was just one, and by the time she was going to preschool, she had over 200 customers across New England. She almost made as much as I did, but that kind of thing never bothered me. I'm all about equal treatment.

Anyway, I was on my way home when I saw this accident at the intersection of Prichard and Bolyston. It looked like a Buick had been T-boned by an SUV, and another six cars had collided. Never seen something so horrible in my entire life. I got out to see if I could help, but it looked like everybody was dead. I called 911, but for some reason, all the circuits were busy. I looked through the wrecks again, and suddenly this woman lunged at me, like one of those zombies from Dawn of the Dead. I remember how I had to lie to Becky when I went to see that movie. She never would have approved. Bad example for the kids and all that.

I looked around, and those things were all around me. I saw Mrs. Dunowoy running for her life, but she tripped and those things, oh God, it makes me sick to remember. They started eating her. I could hear her screaming the whole time. Then they saw me, and started walking over to me. Real slow, shambling-type walking, just like Dawn of the Dead. Well, the first one. I never liked the fact they could run in the remake. Just didn't seem fair. I got back into my car and drove to the house, but it was too late. I ran in to see my son Sam, eight-year-old Sam who wanted to run his own magazine some day, eating my wife's face. I went on automatic after that. Cindy and Jennifer were hiding in the bathroom. I had to kick the door in just to get them out, and we got in the car and left. I didn't know what I was doing, I just knew we had to be gone. I guess Fate had something else in store, because we didn't get far.

On Route 44, we got hit by a truck. I think the driver was attacked by those things, or maybe he just lost control. All I know is one minute I'm flipping through the radio stations, looking for something besides the news reporting these attacks, and the next I'm pulling a shard of glass out of my shoulder. Cindy and Jennifer were already dead, and as I got out, I could see my eldest daughter come back as one of those things. She reached towards me, snarling. Luckily the seat belt was still fastened. I wonder if there's anything left of my family to bury.

I looked around, and those things were everywhere. I just ran, and maybe it was instinct or just blind panic, but I ran right to the Stop & Shop nearby. I ran straight in and went to the manager's office. It's on the second floor, and you have to go through a set of doors, so it's pretty secure. How I knew to go there will forever confound me. But here I am.

I've been calling the police every five minutes, but I keep getting a recorded message telling me to lock my doors and windows and wait for help. I just hope someone picks up the damn phone. But all things considered, I think I'm in good shape. I found a gun in the manager's desk, and I locked the doors I came through to get to the office, so I should be safe for now. There's a bathroom nearby too, so I got all the amenities of home. I just have to hold out until help arrives. It shouldn't be too much longer. A few hours, tops.

Day 2

I just did a quick run-though of the store, and it looks like the place is locked up tight. I had a few close calls. When I was checking out the exit in the back, one of those things attacked me from behind a stack of hamburgers. Man those would be good right now. I gotta see if there's a grill here somewhere. Anyway, I managed to put a meat cleavers through its head. I heard that's the best way to kill them.

I threw up for an hour after that, until I was just dry heaving. I've never killed anyone, even one of those things. Heck, I've never even thrown a punch.

But it looks like the place is locked up solid. There are a few of those things in here with me, but they're just milling about. I don't think they know I'm here. I found a gun in the manager's office, but I'm afraid to use too many bullets. There are six of those things there and only ten rounds in the gun. I'd be in real trouble if I used that many shots and had to leave the building.

Power's still on, which is a help, especially at night. I can't sleep without the lights on. I know those things don't disappear when it's light out, but I feel safer all the same.

I called a few friends I know in town, but all I get is the answering machine. It's kind of macabre, getting all those messages where people apologize for not being home and promising to return my call and telling me to have a nice day. It just seems so quaint and charming. In my spare time I've been calling every number in the phone book to see who's got the best message. So far it's a tie between the Swanson's daughter Nicole telling my to have a "bright, sun-shiny day" and the Karrs, who ask me to forgive them for not being home. Man, now I wish I spent more time on our greeting. It sounds lame.

Day 5

All right. I got a few banners up on the roof for any helicopters or planes. Found some paint in another office and I've written "Help" or "Alive" on some posterboard I grabbed in the school supply department. I don't know if anyone's seen it, but it's the best I can do so far. I've got a good stockpile of food up here, so I should be okay for a little while. I've been calling the police every day since I got here. I want to call the National Guard, but I forgot their number and 411 isn't working. I hope someone comes soon.

It's really spooky here. I'm pretty sure one of the zombies in here is the kid who bags my groceries. Now I feel kind of bad for not giving him a tip at Christmas.

Day 11

I think those things know I'm here. I went to the roof to check my signs, and there are dozens of them in the parking lot. They're at all the doors, banging on them to get in. They look like they're holding though.

I thought they were just trying to get the food in the store, but when I went to the edge, one of them saw me, and the rest went wild, reaching for me and moaning. It's terrifying, like they're all starving to death and I'm the only food left.

Just got back from another food run. Thank God there are so few of these things in the store, I'd never be able to get as much as I do. I've finally got a pretty good system in place, and a good route to go by. Lucky for me, these things are so slow. If they could run, I'd be a goner for sure. That's why I think the Dawn of the Dead remake was unfair. I mean, don't the undead have enough advantages? They had to throw in being able to run like a track star?

I stopped getting the recorded message at the police station, and now I just get voicemail. I've been leaving messages every three hours. I don't know if they're still there. I sure hope they are.

I haven't bathed in a while and I'm starting to get pretty ripe. Heh. Thank God they still have deodorant here. Pretty soon I'll start smelling as bad as those things out there.

I spent the rest of the day checking my messages at work. There actually were a few, Mr. Patkins asking about his excise tax and Mrs. Dunowoy telling me her tax bills had to be inaccurate, because how could they have gone up so much in just one year? Oh wait, didn't I see her get eaten when all this began? Yeah, I think I did.

I listen to those messages again and again. Sometimes I think it's the only thing keeping me from breaking down into hysterics. I think I may be the only person left alive in the city, but as long as those recorded voices are there, I can trick myself into thinking I'm not.

Day 19

I heard the news. The zombies, I can't believe I'm calling them that, have overtaken the Army blockade in New York City. I never thought New York would fall. I mean, this is the city that survived 9/11 and they can't handle a few walking corpses? I can't really blame them though. They tried their best. I still feel pretty mad about it. And why has no one come to rescue me? They must have gotten my messages. How come no one's come here? Am I not worth it? I guess they're trying to avoid contamination, but I told them I haven't been bitten.

I lost power an hour ago. It's not that bad, but I got so used to leaving the lights on at night, it's getting hard to just go to sleep like I used to. Jeez, it's like my kids and their night light. As if these things are scared of the light. At least the water's still running, and the phones still work.

I spent the night with a small fire I got going in the office, going through the manager's paperwork. Man was this guy disorganized. If this town ever gets back on it's feet, I might see if I can have his job. I'd have this place running like a Swiss watch in no time. I'm getting pretty sick of my job anyway. It's just not as much fun as it used to be.

Day 25

I spent most of the day going through the pictures in my wallet. I took a few frames with pictures of the manger's family and put mine in. The manager, Frank Sparta, he seems like a nice guy, even if he is a slob. I think I'll look him up when this is all over. I think we could be good friends.

I saw a chopper fly over the store a few minutes ago. I think they saw my message, but I've got no way of knowing. Just have to hope for the best. Food's becoming a problem. Most of the fruits and vegetables are spoiled, and with the power out, the meat's gone pretty bad. I can't be eating junk food though. Being able to run is the best advantage I have over these things, and I can't lose it.

It's about midnight, and I can't sleep a wink. Not because of the zombies. I think I'm finally getting used to them. It's something else. For the first time since I got here, I'm really starting to doubt I'll ever get out. I know it's just depression from being here too long, but I can't shake it. I was looking at the gun for an hour and before I knew it the barrel was in my mouth. I took it out and stared at it, not really comprehending what I almost did. All this time, I didn't think I had the courage.

Day 33

Oh God. It's getting bad down there. I accidently left the door open the last time I ran outside and those things got in. They're everywhere. I can get some food, but it's not much. I've been living of candy bars I grab from the registers for the last couple of weeks. They're the closest things to me. Oh God, I feel sick. Hang on, I gotta hurl.

Sleep's become a tough thing. I used to be able to sleep for six or eight hours, but I'm so jumpy and paranoid I only get an hour or two at the most. I haven't seen one of those rescue choppers in awhile. It musta been, wait, what date is it? Ah, a few weeks I think, maybe more. The last time I got anything on the radio or the TV, those things had begun to spread west. I think they got as far as Tennessee the last I heard.

I locked the gun in the desk. I just won't take the chance I might shoot myself. Becky, the kids, they're all in Heaven, waiting for me. I shoot myself, I'll never get the chance to see them again. I'm not gonna blow that, not after all this.

Day 47

Oh dear God, oh dear sweet Jesus. I can't do it. I can't go back out there, those things are everywhere. Everywhere. I've only got a few bullets left. I can't do it. I haven't eaten in days, but I can't go back out there. I thought I could get used to this. I mean, that's what happens in all the zombie movies. Right? The people get used to it and they stop being scared. But that isn't happening here. I'm still scared, more scared than ever. Every sound sends me jumping. I never sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. No one's coming to get me. The last time I saw a cop or a soldier that wasn't trying to eat me was over a month ago. I haven't seen a plane go by in days. I just can't do this. Rebecca, Cindy, Jennifer, Sam, I'm sorry. I hope I get the chance to see you again. I'm sinning big time, but I figure God's gotta let me in. I've earned that much, haven't I?