Survivors of the Z’s- Graham Jackson, Billington, North of England
The road was dark
Slowly getting lighter
But not enough
Was just real fucking life at the moment. Shitting ourselves from the horror.
The what we wanted to be fantasy was extremely real. Still coping with the fact that my daughter’s husband.
The father to her kids
Had died right in front of me and outside the door she hid behind. I repeatedly apologised and she repeatedly asked me not to. Both repeatedly shedding tears.
I tried to stay strong
But it was just too much. To witness what we had witnessed.
What we had felt
How can you not shed a tear and crumble under the emotional pressure?
“It’s just wrong,” she said, “everythings just wrong”
“I know angel, we will come back from this, what we saw back there,” I shook my head and blinked, eyes now dry, the river had calmed for now, “What you saw, nobody should go through that”
“Why him? Why us?”
“He was a good man Evelyn, that wasn’t him back there, that was a monster”
The times we had spoken that night. A multitude of shots were fired of rage, sadness and guilt.
I couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening. I was her dad.
And I couldn’t stop it from happening. I knew we lived in different cities. I knew we lived miles apart.
It never stopped the guilt from travelling to my heart from my mind.
The anger I felt. The anger toward the monsters that had possessed the souls we loved. They blew fire their way
Burning them in violence.
I was fucking lost
My head buried in the winter. Even though it was late summer.
I turned the radio on. She was asleep so I made as little noise as possible. She needed her sleep with what she had been through. Music played. Music for the deep minds that felt at a lost like I was.
“Fucked up world,” I whispered to myself, “nothing is making sense”
The music. No news. Just music soothing my messed up mind. A mind that was digging for answers. It’s workers on overtime thinking of a solution.
Nobody knew what was happening. Just a virus that had swept across many parts of the world and destroyed many families. That was it and that’s what it would continue to be.
I sang the words to the quiet sound.
Focused hard on the lyrics.
“Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?”
Freddie Mercury’s near to silent voice
That summed it all up for me. My head suddenly took a turn for the worst. A painful headache split my head in half.
I heard screams
But not human screams
The screams of pain from inside. We were on the motorway.
Should I stop?
The pain was excruciating. I looked my angels way and thought about waking her up so she could drive.
With all the convincing
Telling her I was ok
Telling her I was fine to drive
She finally let me and now I was regretting it. I couldn’t cope anymore, I started to get bad images in my head of me crashing. I nudged her shoulder. My face cringed in pain.
So much of it
Too much to handle
Too much to deal with
I nudged her again. She moved slightly and slowly opened her eyes.
“Honey,” I said, “you need to drive”
“Ok dad,” she said
No cars around so I quickly pulled over and we swapped. The dogs wondered what was going off for a second. Bruno tried to get out whilst the others barked. They calmed down when I got back into the car.
In the passenger seat and we set off again toward David’s mum’s. Still along way to go.
“I shouldn’t have let you drive”
“It’s just come on, I’ll be ok, I just need to get some shut eye”
“They look worried”
Bruno, always the emotional one, licked my ear and barked. I stroked him to let him know I was ok.
“I’m fine you big softy”
I looked at the other two who just stared, laying down. They showed they cared their own way.
“I’m fine guys, thanks for asking”
With Everything that was going on. The sound of the car. The speed we were going at. My angel shedding tears all of a sudden right in front of me.
It set me off
But I held it together and turned it back off. A tear escaped and I swiped it away.
“You can cry dad,” she said
“No,” I said, “I have to be your rock, not your sand”
She put her hand on my leg.
Filled me with delight.
“Just get some sleep, you need your rest, I’ll wake you when we’re there”
I dreamt about old times that I wanted to be new. Like an old dusty memoir being republished.
The dust suddenly gone
Life brought back
The dream was about watching my angel run around the play ground. I had never seen this playground before
Never visited it
But it was beautiful. The trees, the greenery and flower gardens were all settled in the distance. It was a picturesque sight.
A happy photo
Shouting daddy daddy come and play.. I chased her and caught her. Picked her up and span her around.
The more I spun her. The land behind us tended to change. Darkness was closing in.
Wete replaced by darkness and suddenly my angel was taken from me in a blink
“Dad!” I heard
“Dad!” I heard it again
I woke up and Evelyn. With a panicked face. Shaking my body vigorously. I looked with blurred vision. When it came into focus I realised something. A burning building in the background and standing in front of the window was a young man holding a gun.