Homecamp, Day 865
Zombie got through the wall yesterday. He must’ve been the last one on the planet. Nobody sits watch anymore, so he wandered in without a problem. He tried gnawing on a few people, but all his teeth were gone. And most of us have the gene, anyway. He barely had enough muscle to stay on his feet. Tristan finally came up and broke his legs with a shovel. He flopped around on the ground while the rest of us gathered. Some of the younger kids had never seen an eater before, so it was hard to keep them away. Asia suggested we put him in a glass box, start a museum. I think she was only half joking.
He was still wearing jeans. They were torn, worn out, but still good. The menders ripped them from his body as soon as the poor thing went down. It didn’t take them long to figure out how to make some more. Now everyone’s wearing denim. Feels like the 80s all over again.
The 80s. Jesus.
It’s been a while since I’ve thought about the past. Like remembering a dream I once had.
They found a locket in one of his pockets. There might’ve been a photo inside, but its long gone now. The thing was made of platinum. That’ll go a long way with our generators. Leather wallet in his back pocket with a bunch of plastic cards still tucked in the insert. I’d forgotten. Made me want to run them through. See what kind of debts the guy had before the world came falling down around our ears. Whatever they were, he’s paid them all up now.
While I watched him rolling around in the dirt, I noticed something. My old anger is gone. Strangest thing. I mean, they killed everyone. I had a family, kids, nice home, good job, and they tore through it all, easy as teeth through skin. It’s amazing when you think about it, how paper thin that world was. How quickly it fell apart.
The thing is, and I know I’m not the only one thinks this way, I don’t miss it. We’ve got a good thing going right now. A little short on food, but that just means we don’t take anything for granted. And thank god for Jess and his crew. They’ve already got the first sprouts going on a new crop outside the wall. They’re like sorcerer’s in that basement of his, turning mud into life. But it’s not just them. Everyone is inventing. Hell, I just figured out how to get hot water in the showers last week and we spent the rest of the night celebrating. Every day a new invention, every night a celebration.
We decided against the museum idea. Tristan used his shovel to break open his brain pan. It was mostly dust in there. We took him out to the graveyard and gave him a proper burial. I did find one good picture in his wallet. Shot of some guy leaning on a car. Nice looking car. Nice looking guy. Don’t know if it was him. He’s on a busy street somewhere. Shops in the background. People walking by. I feel sorry for the guy, whoever he is. Seems like one of those lonely types you’d find on the path when everyone else was running in packs. You knew he wouldn’t last long.
It didn’t feel right leaving the picture with the body, so I kept it. I lost all my pictures with everything else. This one will be my reminder. That the world I remember from before wasn’t all just a dream. That I lived there once, as much as I live here now.
(N.B. The featured image is from the Made by Joel website – madebyjoel.com)
Sean Callaghan completed his doctoral degree in Japanese literature at the University of Toronto in 2012. He currently is working on several short and long pieces of fiction. He lives in Vancouver with his wife, daughter, and guinea pig.