Journal Entry #7

March 25, 2011

A casual fantasy may enter ones mind from time to time. It may be obtaining some vast wealth, or surviving some incomprehensible danger. One always finds themselves, through some previously unknown and generally over exaggerated skill or luck, to prevail. I too was not unaffected by these transitory musings. But in the caverns of the human psyche, what are idle day-dreams for some are cold, unrelenting realities for other, unhinged minds.

What we saw a day ago has not left me. I have done well so far in forcing it from my most immediate attentions. I will never forget it, of that I have no doubts, but it will do me no good to continually replay it. Conversely, your mother and Grandmother have been unable to. I would love nothing more than the ability to dry their tears, and calm their shaking hands and tell them that such a fate will never befall them, or such a heinous and violent act will be never be witnessed again. Sadly, that to is a fantasy that for now cannot be realized.

The danger did not stop when we left that check point. An errant, or perhaps deliberate, shot struck the rear of the Jeep, lodging itself into a row of cans in the back. We lost four, all told; some soup and corn. Multitudes had taken to their feet, abandoning their idled cars in the streets. I kept my .45 tucked into my seat belt to restrain it for easy access should I need it.

We broke free from much of the clutter in the streets, taking side roads. Some of the cars that had broken free of the check point continued to follow us. Perhaps some habitual impulse to “pack” together or some anxious desire for leadership. I didn’t like it, but there wasn’t much I could do about it.

Turning the corner onto the road that would take us into our community, I was forced to stop. Those that fled the check point and surrounding area on foot had caught up to us. They swarmed around the car, oblivious, at first, to our presence. Ahead I saw a man ambling along in the crowd. He didn’t seem to be in a panic like the rest of them were. He stumbled along, slowly, but deliberately towards us. I wrapped my fingers around the handle of my gun and brought it out of its confinement. I kept it low, as to avoid announcing its presence.

The crowd had begun to grow in density by then. It was a struggle to see far and impossible to move. I rode the brake hard, forcing our way inch by inch towards the last turn a half mile ahead of us, which would take us into our gated neighborhood and home.

My attention was pulled away to your mother, who had retreated into the center of the car, pressing hard against me, her face pale and frightened. The carbine she had held firmly before was bouncing in her hands. Out through the window we saw a woman on the side of the road tearing her bare hands into the chest and stomach of a helpless man. The others ran past him, ignorant of his cries for help.

I was having no more of it. I pressed my foot into the pedal and forced our way through the crowd. The man (can I even call him a man now?) I had seen earlier lumbering along through the crowd was just off the front bumper by then. There was hollowness in his eyes. Not emptiness, but a lucent void that stretched back into some distant shadow. His tattered cloths were stained and crusted; the victim of some earlier brawl or ill-fated assault. I laid on my horn and yelled as loud and firm as my voice would bear: “Move.” I yelled again, “Move!” and again, to no gain.

He rolled off the bumper as I moved the car forward, bringing him closer to my door. I told your mother to look away, but she was unable to avoid seeing the severed limb the animal held in his hand. It appeared as if it had been gnawed upon after being forcibly removed from its previous owner. With no desire to meet a similar fate, I silently wished the best for the people in front of us and forced the gas pedal down as hard as I could.

When we reached our turn, the mob had begun to disappear from sight to the south of us.

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