Wednesday, June 13, 2007


Everyone should probably first read this.

Man. I am self-absorbed. It is, for all intents and purposes, really the end of civilization going on, and I decide to post on my blog.

People are dying - seriously really freaking dying and god, Las Vegas - hell probably the world, if reports can be believed - has turned into a motherfucking warzone, and I decide to make a new blog entry. Hell, it's doubtful that anyone will survive long enough to read this, and even if they do, it's unclear how much longer the grid will maintain I suppose I should hurry my shouting to the void.

God. I'm shaking. It's been a weird ass day. Oddly, typing the story is calming me down some. Helping me bring some order to the impossibilities of the horrors I witnessed today. So maybe there is a reason for me to blog about this - it will preserve my sanity.

I'll start at the beginning.

Next door to the station is a VA hospital. Lots of elderly veterans are around all the time. Every so often, there's an ambulance that comes in. Or, on very rare occasions, one that leaves. In the 12 years that i've worked at the station, there have been 4 deaths there that I am aware of. Well, before today, anyway.

The day had been normal enough up until lunch time.
Around 12pm, we heard sirens as an ambulance arrived at the VA clinic. Those of us in the lunch room at the time - myself, Claire, Ann, Todd and Regina - looked out the windows to get a better view of what was happening. We could see the employees gathered in a small crowd near a man who was lying on the ground. The man appeared very old, and pretty frail. A walker - his, presumably - was nearby. One of the employees moved it out of the way as the paramedics arrived in the ambulance and readied the stretcher.

We watched with morbid fascination as they picked his body up and put him on the stretcher and began to put him into the back of the vehicle. We wondered aloud whether he was actually dead, or if he had simply collapsed, or what was going on.
As they began to load him into the ambulance, we figured our lunchtime excitement for the day was over, and began to refocus on eating, and talking, and watching the news. Todd made several off-color comments and "jokes" about the guy, and about getting older, and that was when we heard the scream. Apparently, although we didn't see it happen, we all quickly looked at the VA's parking lot, and saw that the elderly guy had attacked one of the paramedics.
"Whoa!" was my initial reaction.
"Guess the guy wasn't dead," said Todd.
"I bet he's on drugs," Regina opined. I found the idea of a senior citizen being on the type of drugs that she was implying rather dubious, but was too immersed in watching the scene to really say anything. And the man's actions sorta lent some credibility to that idea.

The paramedic who had not been bitten was pushing the older man down, attempting to control him, as the man himself railed violently against him. Fortunately for the doc, the man was easy to contain, since he was so frail to begin with. Holding him down with one arm, he used his free hand to radio in the situation. Several of the VA employees aided him in strapping the man to the stretcher, although they had extremely worried looks on their faces. I at first thought it was due to the violent outburst, but they were probably more shocked than we were because they knew the man shouldn't've been moving to begin with.

As for the paramedic who had been bit, his arm was bleeding pretty heavily. The man who had attacked him had taken a good sized chunk of flesh, apparently. He stumbled to the back of the ambulance and began self-administering first aid to his wound.

The lunch room was buzzing at that point:
"Holy crap, look at all that blood."
"Man, is he okay?"
"That's crazy!"
Etc etc etc.

You know, I'm not sure where I fall in the whole ESP debate, but it was at that moment that I had a sinking sensation in my stomach. Perhaps it was a reaction to seeing the blood and the old man - whom I had gotten a good look at, and trust me, wish I hadn't - or the look on the faces of the employees who knew that the man was previously dead or the sounds of the sirens that I heard in the distance indicating trouble elsewhere in the city or maybe it was a kind of precognitive flash that the world had forever changed somehow. Either way, at that moment, I had to sit down.

Channel 3's news was on the tv as usual, and they interrupted the weather ("Hot. Reapeat ad infinitum.") with their "BREAKING NEWS" font and music and the knot in my stomach grew tighter.
Mitch Truswell looked grave (ha ha, gallows humor pun there) when he appeared on the screen. "We have some breaking news to report just now. There are... several reports of mass disturbances..." not having a script to go off, and obviously not wanting to sound ridiculous about what he was reporting was leaving him slightly flustered. He went on, however, "...throughout the valley, police are being inundated with phone calls from all over regarding ...gangs of people commiting random acts of violence. The most reported areas right now are all, ...all appear to be near local hospitals and cem.."
There was a loud crash off camera, and a bunch of shouting of people. Mitch looked up toward the commotion and did the first nonprofessional - and last, for that matter - thing I've ever seen him do. He yelled, "Hey! Get the hell out of here before..."
A lot more crashing and yelling before the director of the news had them switch to the "Techinal Difficulties" slate with accompanying - and eventually annoying - Channel 3 music.

At this point, we had turned our attention back to the television. I mean, how often is there 1) Breaking News 2) a scuffle on-air!!
But when they didn't come back to the news - or take down the Technical Difficulties slate - after about 30 seconds...and then a minute...

I reverted to denial stage. "This has been a weird day," I understated.

More sirens.

We switched the tv over to CNN.
If you're reading this, no doubt you've seen the footage... I can't talk about it right now. It's ...too unreal. But I do remember gagging when I first saw what they were reporting...

Channel 3 is located right across the street from the Woodlawn Cemetery (really! 1500 Foremaster Lane if you want to google it yourself), so it was really just bad luck that they got hit first. As Mitch had started to say, and as we deduced later, hospitals and cemeteries were the first hit. The "hot zones" as they were first referred to, and "dead zones" as the term evolved. There are 3 cemeteries in Las Vegas. I don't know how many hospitals. They're all deserted by this point, no doubt. I mean, there is very little doubt in my mind that all the Las Vegas hospitals are most likely dead zones now. And I certainly don't envy anyone who happens to still be alive and trapped in one. Ugh. What a horrible thought.

So. We stayed watching CNN for a while. The reports were still pretty sketchy at that point, but it was obvious that whatever the hell was going on, it was worldwide. From what they were reporting, people had started randomly attacking others. Hospitals and cemeteries were the 'hot zones', where most of the attacks were beginning, but from there, the violence seemed to be spreading. Police forces were being dispatched to control crowds and martial law had been declared in many US cities. There had been no word yet from Bush.
As a political aside here, while the undead uprising that has happened over the past five hours or so has been really horrible, and I wouldn't wish that fate upon anyone, I sincerely hope that Bush and all politicians do get munched. The last thing we need is someone with 'nuke-you-lar' capabilities to get the brain-dead (heh, more puns) idea that there is only one solution.... Hell, I heard rumors that a (small, obviously) nuke was detonated somewhere in India. Again, God. What a horrible thought.

It was being reported on CNN that staying indoors was the best course of action, and to leave everything to the authorities. [sigh]

I excused myself from the breakroom, saying that I didn't feel well - which was true - but mostly, I didn't want people to hear my phone call to Steph. I called her to make sure that she was okay, and that the girls were as well. She said that they were, but that she wanted me to come home now. I agreed, and told her I would be home as soon as I could. "Be safe, and I love you, Pat. I love you so much."
"I know. I love you too." I was fighting back tears at this point. It felt way too much like this could seriously be the last time we spoke.
"I'll see you in half an hour."

I shut down my computer - I avoided going online and checking the news sites. I knew that would not be productive - and put my phone on do not disturb, then walked out. Heh. Of all the times I've dreamt about walking off the job, I never figured it would take the end of the world before I would have the guts to do it.

I wondered how long everyone else would stay. I mean, when the world is dissolving around you, how long do you attempt to maintain the illusion? Seriously - it could be your last moments on earth, and you're going to spend them trying to make money for a company that doesn't care about you? God, maybe we deserve this fate.

But there are some people at work I geniunely consider friends, so as I was pulling out of the parking lot, I phoned Dean, and said, "Hey, Dean."
"Hey. What's going on, Pat?"
"I'm leaving. And... you probably should too. Or at least ...have you called Darla, yet?"
Dean could tell something was wrong by my tone, but he had obviously not seen any of the news footage yet. (How sad is that? Of course, since we are technically a non-news having station, it's not out of the realm of possibility. Often we are the last to know anything. I mean, what if we hadn't been watching Channel 3 at that time??)
"What's going on, Pat?" Dean repeated.

"" As I was sitting at the exit of the parking lot, waiting to turn onto Jones, I saw that the paramedics from the VA hadn't left yet. In fact, the one who had been bitten seemed to have gone...well, rabid, maybe? And he was attacking - or trying to - attack anyone who had been nearby. He was being given a wide berth, and he was making his way toward the station.
I've seen plenty of zombie movies, of course. So in my mind, it played out that he would make his way to the building, and begin to kill everyone there.
But, in reality, there was no way he would be able to get inside. He wouldn't have a door code, and it was highly unlikely that the receptionist would buzz in someone who was bleeding profusely and... Channel 3 had door codes, too, though.

WHat to do? I realized that Dean was still on the phone. I said quickly, "Dean. There's some bad shit going down outside. Check out CNN. It's serious. And... there's someone outside the station right now, and I'm going home. I'll try to call you later. Good luck."
"What are -" but I hung up before Dean could get any more answers out of me.

I may have condemned everyone working there, but I didn't care. Or don't. I guess. I wasn't thinking. I was scared and wanted to be home.

The traffic cleared up enough for me to pull out of the parking lot. I began the drive home.

God. Right now, one of them is stumbling through our yard. Thank god they aren't bright. They're like freaking automatons, set to "eat". Anything that is living flesh - they go after it. Fortunately, they don't have super strong senses of hearing or smell, so as long as we remain quiet, we should be safe in here. For a while, anyway.

Ugh. It's making me nervous. Go away, abomination. Just go away. I really don't want it to attract other zombies (they do seem to have some sort of way of communicating - with each other at least) or, maybe worse, for it to attract someone wanting to kill it. Like the authorities. Or someone who thinks they're an authority.

There are reports of - and I saw an instance of it on my way home - these ...vigilantes, I guess is the word I'm looking for, but that seems weird since they're not hunting down criminals per se. I mean, unless the undead are guilty of breaking the laws of nature. Which they are. (I'm getting loopy. Apologies.)

Anyway. There are roaming gangs of zombie-killers out there. They seem to be armed, and generally travelling in big trucks and SUVs. Or at least, here that's the flavor they're coming in. No doubt there are similar groups in other places, that have developed their own particular styles. [sigh] Humans.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Back to the narrative.

As I drove down Jones toward Desert Inn, I saw indications of trouble elsewhere throughout the city. Sirens were sounding pretty much nonstop, at differing decibels, depending on how far away they were. There was smoke visible several miles away. Impossible to tell exactly how far from where I was. And I heard the first pop of gunfire. Not the last, sadly. And even sadder - in the past few hours, I've grown used to it and pretty much tuned it out.

But the biggest sign that things were hitting the fan was the radio. Area 108 was playing U2's "One", which I thought might've been a sign of gallows humor, but after listening to it for a while longer, I realized had simply been pre-programmed. Because after the next song, there was a commercial break, and after that, there was nothing on that station.
I scanned the dial a bit more, and found a lot of the stations were off the air, or were pre-programmed, or just playing music like it was business as usual. There was a Spanish station that came in, and had a person talking. I listened for a bit, not knowing what the person was saying, but I certainly heard the word muerta a lot.
106.5 had a CNN feed piped into it, which was more or less the equivalant of the SPanish DJ - fascinating to listen to, but not really relevant. It was there that I heard that the zombie uprising had hit, among other places, Pittsburgh, LA, New Jersey, and even Sweden.
Finally, I found a live person on an AM station. This was much more informational for me. I discovered that the Strip had been shut down - which meant that going home would have been impossible if I had not gone through Desert Inn. Unfortunately, Desert Inn was much more crowded as a result...

The guy on the AM station also informed me about the other tv stations. Channel 3, according to this guy, was, as I had figured, shut down. Nobody was answering the phones there, and they had had their "Technical Difficulties" slate up for going on half an hour at that point.
Channel 13 had switched over to a CNN feed, and Fox 5 was carrying the national Fox News feed. Channel 8 was running the national CBS feed as well. Our stations were running normal programming, so they said, which meant that our master control guys were still there. Huh.
I thought about calling the control room, when I saw a throng of zombies at the intersection of DI and Decatur. They were stumbling in the direction of my car, but I wasn't really worried. There was a lot of room between us, as well as a lot of other cars. And people. There were a bunch of pedestrians who saw the zombies approaching. This, of course, caused them to panic. Which meant that they ran. Into the street, generally.
Which caused vehicles to swerve. Or not. Someone got hit, and went flying. Two of the zombies turned their attention toward the accident victim. The rest of the horde continued to advance.
My light changed, and even though the intersection was blocked by flocks of people and zombies and hit and run victims and vehicles, i somehow managed to get through it all.

As I drove over the freeways, I looked down and saw that 95 Northbound was ...empty. That was unusual. Southbound was jampacked, of course, as people attempted to flee. But why was the other direction shut down? It was then that I saw the military tanks barricading the freeway. They were beginning to lock down the city. Soon they'd shut down the other direction, as well as all the other major arteries into and out of the city. Or at least, they would try.

The rest of the drive home was slow going, as the road became more and more congested. My phone rang three times - each time it was from work - and I ignored it.

Around Eastern & DI was when I saw the vigilantes that I mentioned earlier. A huge white pickup truck packed with men carrying pistols and shotguns was speeding up and down Eastern Avenue, and they were shooting at anyone that was simply walking. (The logic, apparently, being that living humans would duck and cover, or not be on the road to begin with.) I witnessed them take out four different zombies (I hope) in the few minutes that I was within their sight. [I just found myself thankful that they were ignoring people driving. Seemed to be encouraging us to pass through, actually. Honorable hoodlums, I guess.]

Anyway. I got home around 3:45 - even though I had left at 12:30 - which has to be a record for longest commute time ever.

I unlocked the front door and came inside. I exchanged hugs with the family, and we started making plans on where to go from here.

The original plan was to drive up to Utah, and hide out in the spare house up there. But with the freeways shut down, that won't be possible. Instead, I'm going to finsh blogging this, and then we're going to drive down the street to the Wal-Mart. I don't know what we'll do, honestly.

But, hey, at least we have blogs still. So, if anyone out there managed to survive the uprising, and is still reading this, feel free to let me know you're alive and well. Keep fighting, friends. And stay safe.


Angela said...

I missed the little like to the explanation. This is so well written that I was actually tempted to google "Las Vegas zombies".

~Podgy from the WD

Amanda said...

I missed it, too. It took me a while to get it figured out. Great contribution!

I thought of you when I heard about a new movie opening today: Fido.

Amy said...

I'm really glad that wasn't the last time you talked to the Steph. I 'ship you guys.

Don't go to the Walmart, though! You will certainly die!!

Oh wait, is the Zombie Apocalypse over? Man, this was cool. I wish it had gotten more publicity before The Day.

P@ said...

"Fido" looks awesome. It's been added to the Q, for whenever it makes it's way to DVD.

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. Being my own worst critic, I, of course, find a lot of fault with the story as it stands now. If I hadn't run out of time (even though it's time-stamped 5:17, I didn't finish and post until 11:30 at night) there was a lot more detail I wanted to add.
Next year'll be better!