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Rae’s Journal – Entry 5 “End of the ride?”

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End of the ride (OUTBREAK)

Watched the sun set over the dead carnival. Peace for a few minutes. Lost time thinking of it alight, music playing, kids laughing, the smell of fried sweet or salty food, the organized chaos of a crowd. Then one of those things crawled out from under the road barrier. I ran.

Sought sanctuary in the usual place. Different carnival. A house of God. Wasn’t empty either. Flash of anger at these people who had taken to guarding the building, but turned out to be misguided. Folks of the cloth; Father Frank and Sister Theresa. They were standing out front of the church with some little woman with a fish. Turns out the fish was a gift. The woman left. I spoke to Father and Sister. They invited me in. Offered me shelter. To rebuild the church. A purpose. I had no gifts to give. I took off my earrings and gave them. Diamonds. Just little studs, nothing fancy. Useless now but hopefully later they will be worth something. They were a gift to me from the heavy-handed Irish ex. I hope he’s been eaten. Thought almost makes me smile. Almost.

Woke alone. Pain was too much. Made it to the hospital and met a doc and a woman with a weird crowbar thing and a nurse with a severe stutter. The run-in with the guy by the water days before left me with a fractured rib. Hairline fracture? Nothing major but bad enough to hurt, really hurt. Couldn’t breathe properly. Barely lift my arms. Weak and helpless. Spent 2 days in hospital. Stale bread, plastic cheese and water. And drugs. Pain meds. Elixir of the gods. I haven’t slept so much since… can’t remember. Slept soundly. Wish I could have stayed there. Sleeping. Why did I have to wake up?

Hospital surprisingly busy. A young guy was in a bed beside me who was caught off guard by the mud (after the earthquake – “Who would choose to swim in muddy water with corpses in it?”) and a woman who was pregnant. Pregnant in this? How? I know how, but why? My mind blurs at the thought of what that child will be born into. The lack of food, water, humanity. Keep thinking what of those things hear it and track her/them down? Selfish I know. But they seem to follow noise. A baby is nothing but noise. You can’t safeguard against that. It’s insanity bringing a child into this. Yet I almost understand why. We need hope. We need a reason to keep on going. Kids are the future and all that. Were the future. Now the future looks pretty fucking bleak. I can only see one day at a time anyway.

And my babies aren’t here.

The nurse Mary sticks in my mind. Skittish, stuttering, suffering from PTSD. She offered me a job, chance to stay where it was “safe.” I declined. Don’t think anywhere is safe anymore. The way she spoke of a certain doctor Vincent (?) made my skin crawl. I’m not crawling from the frying pan into the fire. When I felt strong enough to carry the pack again I changed and left (gone are the days of debating discharge) back out to look for Bex and Kane. And Jon. No word on any of them. I didn’t even know where to start. I backtracked to the places I had seen them or had last been to. The cave, the Eights, the campsite, the ATC. A soldier guy (Mike?) said he’d never heard of Bex but invited me to stay at the Eights. He’d been to Stormy Valley! I almost cried when he said that. Home. I miss home. Miss it. Miss what was. Old friends; Jay, Doctor Michael, Chief Mark, Caroline, Cindy, Ru… Part of me wanted to think he only told me that to reassure me but I know better. No Bex at the Eights. She’s vanished into thin air. Kane’s nowhere to be seen. No word on Jon. I pray I never see them as one of those things and can only hope they are dead somewhere and resting in peace. Strange when that is the best we can hope for.

Encountered a lot more of those things last few days. I’ve lost count how many. I run. I always run. Thank God they are slow. Ribs haven’t completely healed so I need to be careful. The horror hasn’t worn off though. The smell. The godawful smell seems everywhere now; the air, the food, the water. Can’t breathe without breathing or tasting the stench of death and rotting flesh in. I dread the heat; the stench will be unbearable then. It’s unbearable now. How I wish I could smell roses, flowers, baby powder, a new car, books, anything but this. Will it ever go away?

No luck dumpster diving. No extra supplies. Maybe my luck has run out? Three days and nothing. No water. No food. I stole a few vegetables from gardens as I passed. No one stopped me. Almost daring Karma at this point to finish the job; everything else is gone, what’s left to take from me?

Met a woman whose name I don’t remember on the streets. She wore a hood too. Young voice. Lots of advice. Told me to rest, that instead of looking I should place signs up for Kane and Bex and Jon and stay in one place, increase the odds of them finding me. I haven’t created any signs. But I have in-part taken her advice. I returned to camp today. I’ve been sitting here for hours. Swore I would never come back here, now it’s he only thing that remotely feels familiar. Made a few crosses. Odd company. I hope without hope that I don’t have to add names to them but they are all I have to mark the fact Bex, Kane and Jon were ever here, or may ever return.