Librarian’s Note: Gabby Perkins, Vet Tech and Emergency Search and Rescue volunteer –
When I sent out the call for memories and experiences of this new world, I didn’t expect quite the outpouring that I received. Gabby walked into the library shortly after my request and handed me a ragged and tattered sheet of paper. Her hand shook as she looked between me and the paper as if she weren’t quite ready to give it up. I asked her if she was sure. She dropped the sheet onto my desk, swiped away a stray tear and gave me a jerky nod. Then she turned and walked away without looking back.
Stephen and Gabby had dated for nearly two years before the plane crashed outside of Marshall. I imagine that if all of this hadn’t happened, they’d be married by now, and well on the way to starting a family. I bet she imagines that too.
I was doing a sweep of the North end of Spencer’s Mill when I saw him yesterday. He’s still sitting at the bar. The other patrons busted through the glass and swarmed toward the car as I inched by. He didn’t move. He sat stubbornly in that chair waiting for a girl who would never show up.
I’d stood him up, you see. He’s sitting in that chair waiting for me.
The night of the plane crash, the night this all started, all service volunteers were called in for the rescue efforts. We didn’t know that there weren’t any survivors. We had no idea that we’d lose three quarters of our own population in the weeks that followed.
I tried to call him, but with all the cell tower traffic my calls never got through. Then I was just too busy to keep trying. I guess I figured that he’d hear of the crash, would go home, and we’d meet up again the next day. Mary McKinnon told me a week later that he’d gone to Danforth that day to pick up my ring. He was going to propose to me that night. And because I hadn’t gotten through, he’d waited.
I’d like to drink away that heartache, but the last bottle of my favorite vodka is sitting behind the bar where he’s perched. Of all the fucking luck.
I didn’t rev the engine as the zombies mobbed the truck. They were easy enough to mow down, but I didn’t want to attract his attention. I wasn’t ready to kill him yet. He’s been sitting at that bar for so long because I’ve begged, connived and blackmailed everyone I can to leave his culling to me.
It’s been easier to do that lately. I mean, after months of him just sitting there, everyone’s convinced that he’s either nailed to the chair or he just doesn’t have the will to go anywhere.
I am acutely afraid that he’s waiting for me to come for him. Is there rational thought still left in his rotting brain? Will he recognize me? Will I see betrayal in his milky white eyes when I finally cut him down? Or will he forgive me for standing him up and be at peace?
I don’t know. I’m not ready to find out.
Zombies are dumb. They’ll follow you around like you’re some kind of undead Pied Piper as long as you provide the right kind of distraction. I led them away and quickly dispatched the lot with the grill of my truck before turning around and slowly passing by the diner again.
I think I saw him turn his head ever so slightly this time. Could be wishful thinking. Maybe I’m just making shit up; giving him animus that he doesn’t have. I want him to be in there. Not just some hollowed out, murderous shell.
As per usual, it didn’t take long for me to chicken out again and drive away. I keep telling myself that I’ll do it next time. Granted, I’ve been telling myself that every day now for months. Hell, maybe next time I’ll haul my butt into the chair next to him and see if he’s up for some conversation.
Maybe I’ll finally get that date.