Diary of Descent - March


March 1
Good a time as any to update, I guess. Holed up in a strip mall across from the county hospital. I tried to keep an eye out for James and Val, but if all the attention I got from the uglies out there is any indication, they probably heard me coming a mile away and hid. Still, based on the crude maps I found there, the hospital was a point of interest for them. Hopefully they come by soon.

I wish I could get some practice in with these guns. I've never really had one before, and I don't want every time I use them to be as up-close-and-personal as they have been so far. Some target practice would go a long way, but I'm worried the noise might scare off James and attract more of those goons my way.

March 1
Lights on in the hospital. Looks to be the fifth floor. Probably on its own generator or something. Definitely didn't notice those before tonight. Stupid to think they wouldn't sneak around me; it's too big a building for one person to cover.

Now I'm debating whether I should go in there or wait until morning.

Forget it. This area is not exactly friendly with all the runners and crawlers I've seen roaming around. I'm gonna sit tight and see if I can figure out who's there.

March 2
Lights never went out last night. I'm taking the handgun and the machete. Stashing most of my gear and food in the ceiling tiles.

Hopefully I make it back to update this.

March 8
I can't believe I made it out alive.

When I finally worked up the guts to go to the hospital the sun was starting to pour in over the trees. It was the first warm day I can remember since…honestly I don't remember the last time I felt that warm. The air still had a definite chill, but I worked up a sweat walking up the stairs. Getting kind of weak from malnourishment, I think. I have to watch that. 

The hospital was the worst thing I've seen in my life, even after all this insanity started. 

The smell was what I imagine hell to be. Rot and filth and shit and piss and I swear I could smell the stench of fear and panic just hanging in the air. The place was in worse shape than any of the houses or stores I've been in these last few months: papers everywhere, supply cabinets emptied onto the floor, and blood everywhere. On the walls, black and thick and crusting on the white tile floor, even on the ceiling in spots. Mangled and mutilated bodies were scattered everywhere.

I made my way through the emergency room as quietly as I could, but I retched at the smell of so much death and I slipped and nearly fell in a huge smear of some poor bastard's innards. The sound lured a receptionist, or what was left of one, up from the floor. His throat was torn out, but his clumsy banging around was making too much noise so I had to put him down with the machete.

I started down the hallway hoping to find a stairwell to get up to the fifth floor when the noise started. I was sloppy and forgot to check the rooms I was passing by; one of them had three "guests," and after spotting me through the plexiglass they were hammering on the door and groaning. They were the slow kind, luckily, and didn't seem to be able to figure out how to open the door.

I was counting my blessings that it was only some un-dead freaks and not James with a gun pointed at my head when a figure came around a corner at the opposite end of the hallway. It was a woman, filthy and ragged. She was holding her arm close to her body, like it might be broken. She didn't move with the slow, halting gait like those monsters. She was focused on her arm, but heading slowly in my direction. I opened my mouth to call out to her before I startled her and wound up getting shot.

As my lips parted her head snapped up and we locked eyes. Blood had long ago poured from her eye sockets and mouth and ran down her face in thick, black streaks like horrible theater makeup. I froze, my hand locked in a vice grip around the handle of the machete. My eyes tracked her movements and as I scanned her I saw she wasn't holding her arm close to her; she was holding an infant. I could see it squirming in her arms; it appeared to be fighting to get away. I had to wipe away the tears welling up in my eyes and fight down the bile rising in my throat.

It was then that she screamed.

The sound was unholy, a piercing but guttural shriek from the bottom of her guts. She hurled herself at me and began sprinting down the hallway towards me. I turned around and started running, but she was way too fast to get away. I sprinted back to the ER reception area, and we both slid in the thick black offal on the floor. I fell hard, cracking my head on the tile. Stars swam in front of my eyes and my vision went to pinpricks of light. I fought to stay awake as a wave of fatigue and nausea swept over me and I threw up on myself. My hands couldn't really work and I had to stumble and skitter and clamor my way along the floor to keep moving. 

Luckily, my pursuer took an even nastier spill and wound up tangled in waiting room chairs and furniture. She made a horrific racket as she rose to her feet and fell again and again, too focused on me to try and untangle herself. It was like some horrible machine made of folding chairs and old files and office plants was pursuing me

I turned only once to see her wrapped up and made my way to the left exit of the lobby, unsure where I was going but sure it couldn't be worse than where I'd came from. I made my way through a set of double doors and immediately saw an elevator. I reached up and slapped my hand on the call button, leaving a black and red smear across the wall. No power. But I knew if there was an elevator here there had to be stairs nearby. I scanned the darkened hallway and saw a sign marked STAIRS. I made my way on my hands and knees, my strength ever-so-slowly starting to pulse back into my arms and legs.

I shut the door to the stairwell behind me just in time to hear my attacker smash through the double doors. I braced myself against the door, waiting for her to start hammering on it, but the blows never came. She couldn't find where I'd gone. I could hear her outside, growling and gurgling to herself while she paced the hallway. I slumped quietly down, my back to the door to use my body weight as a doorstop if need be, and tried to stop my head from spinning.

It was then that I became aware of the noise. What I thought was a rush of panic and fear in my hearing, I realized, was actually the cacophony of hundreds of these monsters howling and beating on the walls and doors of the hospital. I reached for my machete and realized I'd dropped it in the struggle.

For a split second my heart stopped and my brain locked as I thought I had just sealed myself in a tomb with no way out. My friend in the hallway didn't know where I was, but she wasn't going to leave any time soon. And from the sound of things, nowhere else in the building was going to be much safer. I'm not gonna lie: in that instant, the fear overwhelmed me and I thought about just ending it all. It's the first time I think I've seriously considered it. Ironically, that's what saved my life: my first thought to off myself was with the pistol I was carrying. 

Suddenly remembering I had a gun improved my situation greatly. I knew using it would draw everything within a mile or so down on me, but if I could hit the woman with one shot and hustle straight out the doors, I might be able to make it to the dirt bike. I weighed my plan of attack in my head when the shriek of metal scraping across metal jolted me back to reality. The roar of those things suddenly amplified: they were in the stairwell, forcing open a door that must've been blocked with a filing cabinet or some piece of equipment. I could hear their footsteps on the stairs, like the thundering of a herd. I stood up, feeling my knees wobble underneath me a bit, turned and opened the door. My pursuer instantly turned to face me and roared with bloodlust. I brought the pistol up and fired.


She charged, and I fired again, backing away slowly. Another miss. My hands were shaking from the pressure and my vision was still blurry from the spill on the tile. She was so close I could feel the heat of her breath on my face. I fired and tagged her dead center in the chest. She collapsed in a heap, wailing and screaming. Maybe it was agony, maybe it was rage, maybe it was some combination. I took the opportunity to turn and jog (I was too afraid to sprint and risk falling again) out the door, checking behind me periodically.

Outside I could hear their howling from all around me. I panicked and took off at a dead sprint, breathless and sobbing, back to my hideout across the street. As I ran I saw the enormity of them, like a tide sweeping in, as they burst from doors and windows and cars and out from the tree line bellowing and dragging their mangled bodies towards me.

I bee-lined for the dirt bike but stopped when I remembered the bag I'd stashed in the ceiling. I didn't have time to debate if I had time; I knew I needed the supplies (especially the shotgun) so I booked it into the strip mall. I was standing on a desk to reach my stuff when I heard the first of them come through the windows of the office space I was hiding in. Without thinking, I heaved myself up into the false ceiling and replaced the tile.

Now I'm in the ceiling, and all I can hear are hundreds of those monsters below me. Hunting me.

March 14
I've been terrified to make a sound, but if I don't do something I'm going to lose it. Still in the ceiling. Still can hear them below. My muscles are on fire, like pins and needles times a million, all the time. Can't move and risk making too much noise. I've pissed myself more times than I can count. Going to have to figure out how to take a shit up here in silence.

I don't know how I'm going to get out of this.

March 17
Noises outsi

March 18
Hiding in a fire truck that looks like it crashed into a Kinko's when the shit hit the fan. I was in the ceiling when I heard people screaming outside: at least two male voices and a woman. My first thought was James and Val. They seemed to stumble into the nest of Hell that was surrounding me. I could hear them shooting and screaming outside while all the monsters underneath me roared in response.

I shifted my position to try and figure out where they were based on the sound, but I fell through the ceiling tiles. Luckily every freakshow in the building was focused on getting out and tearing apart whoever was outside. I had to kick off a crawler before I could throw my supply bag out a broken window and cram myself through it. Took a nasty gash on my arm, but I made it through. Hid in the first spot I could find to take the time to bandage up my arm.

The last I saw those poor bastards were headed into the hospital, trailing a sea of monsters. Haven't heard any shots or screams in a few hours.

My head is fucking killing me.

March 19
The crowd around the area is thinning out. I think most of them are still filing into the hospital. They seem to sort of follow each other, given no other stimulus. I've seen groups of them mill around in groups for hours, pretty much going round in circles.

I've got to get the hell away from this hospital. Not sure if I have a more specific plan beyond that yet.

March 20
I saw them.

I was moving out from the fire truck, trying to keep close to cars and buildings to avoid being seen, when I heard her yell. It was Val; I'd recognize her voice anywhere. The howls from all the ghouls walking around drowned her out, but I could see them on the roof of the hospital. Six of them. How they made it up there, I have no idea, but I'm betting they're stuck now. They were all making the international sign for "help me," waving both arms over their heads, while they yelled. Unfortunately they started to draw more attention from the freaks in the street and I had to get out of there. 

So now they've packed a six story building full of monsters between me and them and they need help. No idea how to solve this.

Right now I'm holed up in a diner. Not ideal, given all the windows, but I'm lying low in the kitchen and I've barricaded the doors with barstools. Most of the food is long ago rotten; even the frozen stuff is way past expiration now. Luckily I've got a pack full of jerky and Clif bars. I did find bleach I can use to sterilize some drinking water. Tastes like shit but it's better than catching some kind of bug and puking my guts up with the world gone to shit around me.

March 20
Been working over this all day and still can't come up with a way to get those guys out of there. Wish I hadn't mashed my melon on the floor of that lobby; I really feel like it's making it hard to plan anything more complicated than "rush in." Still have terrible headaches and dizzy spells a couple times a day.

But at least I'm not stuck on the roof of a hospital. I have to get to Val. Time to take stock of what I've got.

March 20


March 21
So far the only thing I can come up with is strapping these propane tanks to the dirt bike and send it into the center of the mob. This is a terrible plan for a lot of reasons, not least of which is the fact that I would be riding the bike to keep it upright. Not sure if the explosion would take a lot of them out, but it would definitely distract them.

Of course it would probably kill me too, but I've got to do something. Those guys don't seem to have any supplies up there.

March 21
Change of plans. Those guys are firing guns, which means those things have broken through. Plan is to drop the propane under the fire truck, get back to a safe distance, and shoot 'em with the rifle. Hopefully the whole thing goes up and incinerates most of the freaks outside and draws the rest from the hospital.

Not the best plan but we're out of time.


Flickr photo Borderline Biennale 2011 - Japan Apocalypse, Johanna Constantine acting performance IMGP3680 by Abode of Chaos used under a Creative Commons License.


Anonymous said...

We're still here - keep it up.


Randall Cleveland said...

Thanks for the support!

Dark Taco said...


Mark Scott said...


You are the best. Another great installment, albeit disappointing it ended on the 21st... There's still 10 days in the month!! I must know what happens!

Can't wait for April.

James Hauth said...

Any chance you can post the installments you did at Woot? It would be nice to refresh with the whole story.

This is fantastic, and I no longer have a reason to visit woot now that you don't write for them.

James Hauth said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Randall Cleveland said...

Hey James! Thanks so much for the kind words, I really appreciate it. I don't want to tangle up the relationship any more than it already is, so I won't be lifting anything from Woot to post here. However, you can see the whole archive on Woot at this link (start at the bottom): http://www.woot.com/blog/tagged/apocalypse

Anonymous said...