Okay, folks, thanks for taking this walk on the fictional story side with me today. This was a piece that was written for a collection called Modern Day Parables. By the title you can tell that this story has a deeper message associated with it. I have given you a sample. The other half will come out in a few days. Tell me what you think.
It’s a horrible smell: The aftermath of the living dead. Finn Borland peers out of the dirty window shades and shudders at the scene before him. Life around Finn has changed. Colors are muted, fading into black and white. Distrust and paranoia seal up doors of houses and hearts. How did it come to this? Is the question that is on everyone’s lips.
The truth is the seed for this human carnage has been around for ages. It just took a disaster like this one to scatter the spores. Some say it was lurking in our DNA waiting for an opportunity to pounce. We created our own worst nightmare.
In no time Finn starts to see the effects of the disease. He watches it in the eyes of people on the street as they went about their day. One day Finn had looked into the eyes of innocent children, the next deadness is glazing over them.
Horrible! It’s bad enough to see grown adults succumb to this living death but to see children was a crime that I can’t fully-express. Finn tried to walk past without it affecting him but the horror of it burned down into Finn’s bones.
What was odder than strangers becoming the living dead? It was when it seeps into Finn’s friendships. He sits down to coffee with an acquaintance who, until not to long ago, was a close friend. There are engaging in this very subject when something abruptly changes. His buddy never takes a sip of the latte he orders. It is something in the way he carried himself, a crackling dryness to his words, which signaled things are changing. Needless to say Finn made a fast escape from that sidewalk café.
However, the spear that truly pierces Finn’s heart was during Thanksgiving dinner. The infection isn’t shared through the generous spread but in the laconic attitude of a few close family members. The normal jabbing and ribbing takes a turn that makes Finn’s jaw drop. Words thrown like daggers. If they could consume each other with fire, they would have. No one left with any leftovers from that feast. Finn and his immediate family lost their appetites. They all had horrible memories of that once bountiful celebration. Someone is hungering for things unnatural.
There was never any news broadcast announcing the epidemic. Finn thinks someone would have had enough brains left to cry havoc.
Nope, I guess those of us not infected have to wisen up and decide how we had to handle this catastrophe. It’s funny how the more you see the subtle signs in people, the easier it is to classify them. (Hm, maybe funny isn’t the best choice of words).
Those of who were still somewhat sane took on a defensive posture to the average person. Finn didn’t want to admit it but he had become more isolated and mistrusting. Finn wondered how the average person could sink to levels like these? He thinks about the cold icy finger of fear slowly working its way towards the last piece part of the living: their heart. Finn knew these had become perilous times for all.
The newscaster’s plastic smile doesn’t cover the meaner undertones. The clerk at the store is robotically ringing up Finn’s milk, cereal, and huge purchase of batteries stares a moment too long. He sits on his porch checking his survival gear and observes a sweet-looking granny walking her four yappy snitzerdoodles. Finn held his heart. What he hears coming from those wrinkled lips made him almost evacuate myself like the little doggies did.
That’s when Finn takes his family, leaves everything behind, and takes to the road. The four of them, oh, six including their pets, left in tears. First Finn’s hometown town, then his state shrinks away in the rear view mirror.
What are we doing? I couldn’t tell you exactly. I did know we were afraid of everything. Where are we going? Anywhere but here…or here…or there.
The mindless wanderers pop up in every town Finn stops in then quickly flees out of. They had no rest outside or inside themselves. They find others who still have their wits about them, but they have no clue what they were doing either. Those who had their minds and hearts intact, fear being attacked. Those who have lost their minds wander about trying to satisfy their pointless condition. It has become a cat and mouse game to many.
That’s how Finn and family end up barricaded in this house cut off from everything. They pray for some answer, some direction. It is the most helpless situation they have ever faced.
How are we to survive this? What kind of future would we have if the whole world lived…(ah, I guess live)… as the living dead?
They ate their meals, try to hold each other tight, however always with that nagging apprehension in their midst. One night as they tiny family sits by the glow of a little portable TV set watching on old movie. Finn’s my daughter catches his eye. There is a deep sadness in that pair of greenish eyes that he hadn’t stopped to notice before.
“Honey, what are you thinking about?” She smiles. “You look sad.”
“I am.” Her honesty shook Finn up a little.
“Is it because we are in this situation?” Slowly she shakes her head.
“No, we have food to eat, we have a place to live, and we have each other.”
“I know we have God watching over us too.” Finn wags his head. He has a sneaking suspicion where this is going. His wife and son soon turn their attention towards them.