Reorganising my brain and body before heading off becomes unavoidable. Damn, I’m so jittery and hyperactive, plus I need to take a leak pretty bad. Truth be told, I’m feeling pretty ordinary.
The shops behind me would provide a bit of cover and welcome shade time. I trudge over and lunge at the door of Hot Stuff Bakery anticipating a swift and sudden entry. The stupidly large hiker’s pack takes the brunt of the hit instead of my shoulder. I rebound, then hit it again with a jarring crash.
Shit, it must be reinforced. I don’t have the energy to continue with a break in. Besides, confined spaces were to be avoided whenever possible. Rule 35...
...I need a few seconds to collect my thoughts. They’ve blown away again. Empty heads get awfully windy. My eyes are skittish. I close them so tight an ache spreads through my sinuses...
...My eyelids fly up again at the speed of light when something rustles in the weeds.
Nothing. A piece of paper blowing in the wind, but I realise I’d almost fallen asleep standing up.
...I stand as still and lonely as a manikin, hot and cold, hot and cold; new to the symptoms of withdrawal and feeling the bite of addictions’ teeth more acutely than a hardened junkie.
Would more drugs give me back my edge? I should keep records of what I’d taken. The transformation of my natural, ahh, discretion, into the fighting, killing machine I’d been for the last thirty minutes would have needed a potent mix.
Generally speaking, my favoured form of attack is to throw stuff behind me as I run away.
I have a moment of awful blankness as to why a depressed, smacked up, paranoid bloke like myself is traipsing around out here, on foot and alone. Shouldn’t I be huddling somewhere safe instead of skulking around an abandoned city whose population consists mainly of the shambling undead?
Better re-run it through the ol’ memory banks.
Let’s see. I’d made myself comfortable in my secret paradise, and blasted my brain to mush with sedatives and painkillers.
Then, several months later, a most terrible occurrence.
The drugs ran out.
I had to have more.
I’d swallowed a cocktail of whatever was left and kitted myself out to raid a pharmacy not far from my safe haven. Not exactly the noblest of missions. The fact that I risked being eaten or assimilated by Parasite-infected hosts shows how firmly those shiny little pills gripped my balls.
This morning’s easy stroll with a bobbling head full of Xanax and friends will require a long diversion and marathon effort to complete. The shortest route home is no longer viable due to the noise and fuss I’d made back that way. All hosts within earshot would be drawn to their dead friends.
They happily fed on their own kind.
In hindsight I SHOULD have curved away from the pharmacy, efficiently approaching home on a tangent and shaking off any hosts who followed. That would have been the actions of the smart, alert individual I USED to be.
When I’d lost my will to live, my logical nature seems to have fluttered away with it.
I try not to hate myself. Myself screws up all the time, but I’d forgive me again once we return safely and reinstate our drug program.
Dealing with the fallout of my actions in the meantime is taking its toll on available brain power.
I suppose I should be thankful my mate Paranoia hadn’t allowed me to sprint home screaming, leading a thousand hosts directly to my door.
Not too thankful though.
Paranoia had let me sprint AWAY from home.
And it hadn’t stopped me screaming.
The sun passes its zenith.
I undo the leather jacket and jerk down the form-fitting body armour beneath it. That feels a lot better...
...it hadn’t been hard to find these clothes. The bike shop I ripped off a while back had everything in my size. Jacket, pants, gloves and boots.
Fat Bastard must be a fairly common build amongst bikers.
The brand new death machines on the showroom floor hadn’t tempted me. I can’t ride for shit.
The leather is restrictive yet lends me confidence and strengthens an otherwise jelly-like backbone. To be honest, I reckon I look like some dude going to an S & M party...
...I scratch my chin thoughtfully through the scraggly beard that hangs untidily under the helmet. The tangled mass of hair down my back drips sweat from the matted ends. I’m an unfashionable statement of neglect...
...the tactical advantage of wearing black, head to toe, struck me as shrewd thinking for performing night time operations. For a Ninja. I certainly wasn't one for sneaking around in the dark though. That’s just asking to bump into Parasite-driven weirdos.
Watching horror movies has not been totally wasted on me.
A vehicle might seem a good starting point to most people. Picking up keys for one of the thousands of vehicles lying around the city is easy enough but I’d found out the hard way how motorised travel attracts every host in earshot.
Many months ago I’d risked driving a medium-sized truck into town to stock up on bulk supplies. I’d become complacent after several successful trips, hardly ever spotting a host on the way to and from town. I’d used main highways and made sure to come back a different way each time.
But I’d learned a valuable lesson in Parasite behaviour the day I got lazy. Back-tracking my route, I saw more of them than I’d ever witnessed before. They’d congregated along the road I’d taken that morning and had been slow to disperse so they were still milling around, waiting for me when I returned that afternoon.
They also weren’t afraid to sacrifice themselves. One after the next they had jumped beneath my wheels, almost stopping the truck by sheer weight of numbers. I’d escaped by a narrow margin and detoured many kilometres through a bunch of outer suburbs before returning home. Host activity increased around my fortress for weeks after that close call before they wandered randomly again.
They aren’t the brain dead animals I’d labelled them. They’d actively searched for me.
I gave up shopping after that. The pantry was full enough for my purposes. I had tonnes of food, pallets of beer and spirits and a fair bit of toilet paper.
What more does a man need?