Howard Journal 8

It was only after it was all over that I had a chance to think about what had just happened. A true battle never came to me in my 20 years of being in the Navy. It came to me in the engine room of a Disney cruise liner at the age of 62.

Big Carl summoned those zombies. Can zombies do that? Well they must be able to because we could hear them shuffling towards us, their moans echoing in the engine room and through the open doors. Grim was shouting at us to fall back and guard the door. The next 10 minutes seemed to last for hours. Zombies clawing their way through the fire door that Kevin Cole had thankfully partially wedged shut with some shims under the jam. Those 10 minutes was filled with horrific moans, hands and teeth try their best to grab, rend and bite and just a mass of bodies that were pushing us back with their sheer weight and determination to get at us. I could hear the hinges of the fire door creaking as the mass pushed and shoved to get at us. It was only after that I was able to think about how strong those doors are, designed to contain engine malfunctions and possible water breaches,and knowing how much these creatures were causing those doors to flex…

When it was all over we were covered in gore and the door was blocked with a pile of bodies.

We caught our bearings and found that miraculously nobody had been hurt. Grim’s leadership and positioning of us created a very defensible position. A miracle. We noticed that Troy, the 3rd engineering person we rescued from the engine compartment was bound to a table with electrical wire. Rivet had determined that he was infected earlier but Troy seemed to fall sick faster than normal. He was not doing well at all. It really disturbed me to see him like that, his head lolling to the side, drooling a bit and obviously burning up with fever. Is there no chance that someone can recover from this? Is this poor guy doomed to just burn up, fall unconscious and then eventually rise back up and try and eat people. Would it be kinder to do as Grim was suggesting and just kill them all as soon as you know? I don’t know if I can do that. As if my dark thoughts summoned it, all the emergency lights went off pitching us into darkness until we turned on our flashlights.

Then strange beeps started filling the room. It took me a moment to figure out that Grim and Tabitha had received a flood of messages on their phones. I must be tired. Grim’s messages from his daughter were primarily about 4 government agents who have apparently freed Cooper and taken over the theater. Eric and possibly Howard and all the sick people have been shot. I don’t know who else may have been shot or wounded. Apparently the government agents want Tabitha for some reason.
Tabitha’s messages were split into two. One group of teens went up to the free her friend Patricia, and the other group escaped and made it to the bridge to find nobody alive except for a small boy. Grim wanted to go to the bridge to get his son. Tabitha wanted to turn herself in to the government agents to see if they would stop hurting people and I wanted to get the power back on. After talking, arguing really, we decided to go to the bridge get everyone there and then come back here to regroup and rest before dealing with the agents in the theater. Tabitha was pretty much shot down by Grim stating she was a stupid kid. Hank and…the other guy…would stay back here and keep working on getting the power back on.

We climbed the stairs without any resistance and were able to get to the bridge but the door was blocked with stuff. The kids inside answered and eventually let us in. Inside…well it was horrible. One kid was injured and the rest were kind of wild. Rivet determined the young lady had a bad cut, but not bitten thank goodness. Grim and one of the kids were kind of arguing and talking about what happened. The kid was kind of crazed but who isn’t right now. Grim seems to be letting his military side come out a little excessively, maybe its a survival technique so he doesn’t have to think about his wife being dead and his kids in trouble. While they were talking I looked out and saw one of the life boats had been partially lowered and there was gore and what looked like body parts strewn about. It was kind of near the Buena Vista….did that group there try and break out and try to escape. I don’t know, but I hope some of them made it. Many didn’t. We gathered up what we could and got back down to the engine room. I took the Captain’s keycard. He wont need it any more.

We moved to one of the side rooms and set up a few people to watch and the rest of the group caught some shuteye. I kept going out to check on Troy and I couldn’t help thinking about Candy and the other people on the boat, some alive, some dead and some…those things. Are we all doomed to die and come back? Each time I went out into the fab room I expected Troy to be dead but he was still there, silent and burning up. Was he struggling to win, was his body trying to fight off the infection or just giving up and shutting down. Should I just end his suffering now before he turned into one of those things and he was put down anyway. I was running my hands up and down the haft of the axe…

My thoughts were interrupted by a banging at the stairwell door in the fab room. I quickly got the few people standing watch and approached the door. The person on the other side called out that their name was Cameron and I quickly opened the door. This young man fell out, barely able to stand and quite obviously badly beaten. He levered himself up and handed me a walkie talkie. Apparently some more of the kids had escaped the theater after the agents took over and tried to get down here to find “that old guy that seemed to be in charge”, I’m guessing that’s me. The agents caught them and beat them up. One of hte agents gave Cameron this walkie talkie and told him to go down and give it to whoever was in charge down there.

I sent Tabitha away to take Cameron to the room and then check on Troy and turned on the radio. The agent on the other end immediately responded and bluntly asked who I was and where “the girl” was. I asked who he was talking about and he said “Tabitha Ross” He was not happy with me at all, and frankly I wasn’t too happy with him either. I told him that she was dead and signed off. Should I wake someone up…my mind is starting to get foggy from lack of sleep. Why do they want her? Who is she? What is happening here? I want this to all be a nightmare and I wake up but I fear that is not the case and its only going to get worse…

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Howard Journal 8

Rise of the Dead kettle Irky