Okay, yes, maybe I overreacted. But wouldn't you be scared too?
Deep breath, Delilah, I think you made it. This time.
I hit the top of the hill, and down below is a gorgeous little farm. There’s a white two-story house with green trim and a front porch, a brown building that appears to be a detached garage, another white building about the size of the garage, a swing set and a small garden near the main house. Past the white building, to the far right is a field of corn grown tall, with some of the stalks already browning. I don’t know at this point if we’re still in Texas, or if we’ve ventured into a part of Oklahoma or Colorado yet, but I’m betting that they gave up their regular crop this year to start growing corn for ethanol.
Cassie is, of course, already down the hill, but I’m surprised to see that instead of running for the house that she’s headed for the swing set instead. As I watch she launches herself onto one of the seats and is happily swinging back and forth as I head down.
I drop my bike at the base of the hill and toss my backpack down after it. It’s nice and cool down here. There are large trees all over that basically create a wonderful shaded area near the house and also create an illusion of a normal lawn. I slip off my shoes and my socks and stand on the wonderful, soft, cool grass. I close my eyes and take a deep breath, and I smell this “green” smell, of grass and trees, and nature, and I just listen to the crickets chirp for a few minutes. There’s a mild breeze as well, as soft against my skin as an expelled breath.
I’m a city girl at heart, but this is nice. Peaceful.
I open my eyes and wander around the property. I skirt quickly past the peeling paint of the house, past the garden, and past Cassie on the swings. I walk to the edge of lawn and stand at the edge of the corn. There’s an irrigation ditch full of water, and then past that is about a foot of dirt, and then the corn starts. It looks peaceful too, but anything could be back in that green maze. I wonder if the corn is ready yet, or if it’s overripe. If I took some off the stalks and brought it with me, could I eventually cook it and eat it, or could it go bad on the way? I don’t know.
I turn away from the crops and my gaze falls on the white building. Maybe it’s a storage area? I cross the ten feet or so and find a wood door, also painted white, and turn the knob and open it. It takes a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, and I stop a foot inside, noting that the floor is just dirt. There’s a silence, a stillness, but it still feels like there’s something wrong. Then I hear a low moan that kick starts my heart, and I hear the soft sounds of shuffling in the dirt. I whirl, getting outside in a second and slamming the door shut.
I lean against the door and I can still hear them moving inside. One of them walks into the door and I scream without meaning to, covering my mouth quickly with my hand to keep from screaming some more. I hear their excited moans coming through the door.
I grab a stick and I’m jamming the door closed just as Cassie speeds around the corner.
“It’s okay,” I hold my hands up and gesture behind me – “just don’t go in there. Packed full of zombies.”
“Yeah, just shaken.”
She grins and takes off, back to being a kid. Slowly I sink to the ground, turning to watch the door. The grass is soft and cool beneath me, and a gentle breeze blows my hair, bringing with it that scent that I can’t place – the one that just smells green to me. If I didn’t know what was behind that door, this would be a truly peaceful place.
Then I notice the bloody hand print on the side of the building near the door and everything snaps into place. The little boy with the red mouth must have somehow wandered into the zombie room and been attacked, and his mother, after finding this out, had let him make her a zombie.
I can imagine her holding him to her throat with tears streaming down her face because her little boy was gone.
And I understand that loves makes us do these things, but to actually do it...
My Mom died for me without any hesitation. I mean no hesitation at all. That took guts. And where on earth was her common sense, her sense of survival?
I mean, I know, parents are supposed to protect you. But I think I would have hesitated. And I did. It was my mistake, and I just stopped frozen, and my Mom stepped in and saved me. It was my mistake for God’s sake!
And she just did it.
What does it take to be like that? What strength of character means that you don’t even slow down on the way to your death?
Is that what it means to be somebody?