Driving into Chicago reminds me of my brother. He always complained
about there being too many tollbooths. I've only been to Chicago
once & that was to make a plane connection. The city smells.
It smells like dead bodies. I know every place smells like that a
little, but here it seems worse. I guess because of the size of the
city there are probably at least a few million bodies that were never buried,
but I haven't seen any walking around on the interstate so far. I
take the exit for Congress Parkway & the streets are hard to get through
as soon as I pull off the exit. There are a lot of wrecked &
flipped over & burned out cars & some pieces of the street are
missing; it looks like a scene from some eighties post-apocalyptic movie
like Threads or Miracle Mile. Erika's
keeping an eye out for the post office or courthouse & I keep looking
between the seats to make sure the shotgun’s handy & already pumped.
Erika asks, "So have you ever been to Chicago before?"
"No, but my brother used to come here a couple of time a year."
"I don't know, some kind of rock & roll shows."
She's giving me a confused look when I glance over at her & I say, "He was a musician. Before all this he was a musician who loaded airplanes & I was husband & dad who painted cars. It didn't used to just be about trying to stay alive." I smell smoke & I stop the car while saying to Erika, "Do you have your gun?"
"Good, let's go." I grab the shotgun & lock the doors. It's hard to tell where the smoke is coming from. With the tall buildings I can't see it anywhere & I'm trying to tell which way the wind is blowing when I hear an explosion. A lot of dust kicks up & I see one of the shorter buildings sinking down. So I guess this means somebody must still be alive in this town.
The dust is still thick when we get to the collapsed building, enough that it's a little hard to see. I’m holding Erika's hand & then she's pulled out of my grasp & I hear her muffled scream. I'm swinging my shotgun as a bat just over the height of Erika's head & running in the direction she was pulled. The fifth swing makes a connect so solid that my whole right forearm hurts, but I can feel whatever I hit falling to the ground. I bend down & it's a man & he's still alive, but unconscious. Erika's not with him.
I grab the man's hands & drag him into a building with me. I take his belt off & use it to tie his hands & feet together behind him while he’s laying on his side. I take his revolver out of his pocket & it takes two minutes of me sitting & staring with his gun pointed at him before he wakes up. When he wakes up he tries to kick his legs & it pulls at his shoulders & he looks at me & sighs the word, "Fuck."
"Where's the girl?"
"What are you talking about?" He sounds more scared than confused. I stand up & am trying to decide where to kick him when he says, "Wait! Look, I don't know who you're looking for, but I'll help you find her."
I sit back down with the gun lowered, but still in my hand.
"Did you just lose her in the explosion? Do you know that she made it out?" A little blood drools out the side of his mouth onto the floor when he's talking.
"We weren't in the building."
"Well, I don't know where she went, man. That was the only militia house we knew about."
I lift the gun & shoot his left leg.
"Fuck!" His body spasms & it pulls his right shoulder out of joint & spins his body around so I need to get up & walk a few steps for him to be facing me. "What the hell's the matter with you!"
"You're the kind of guy that killed my brother." I shoot him in the head & go back to the car. I grab my rifle & a handgun & fill a book bag with shells. I move everything else in the car into the trunk to keep it from being visible. I disconnect the battery & leave the car figuring I'm an easier target in it. I write down the name of the intersection, Dearborn & Monroe, & put it in my bag. I go back to where the explosion was & there are a few dead bodies trying to get out of the rubble, but no one alive seems to be around. How the hell am I supposed to find her in a city this size?
to Zombie Kisses main page