"It should be kept in mind that not every apocalypse begins with a bang. According to the survivors of 2011, the apocalypse began with a whimper. Therefore, all men must remain vigilant lest the next round of sorrow commence with no sound at all."
History of the World, revised edition 2013. Page 46, Secretary of Defence.
Life, I was told, is a funny thing. I always took this to mean that events have an unexpected way of unfolding throughout the experience of an individual's lifetime.
Now, had I parents and a proper circle of friends, I would not be so guarded in my speech and most certainly not in my habits. Or, as the guidance counselor was overly fond of remarking - 'Lisa, you are not an ordinary girl'.
From this I presumed ordinary meant my spare time would revolve around boys, and clothes, and boys, makeup and giggling like a jackal, and, of course, boys. Ordinary did not include gravestone etchings or the poetry of Mr. Poe.
But life is a funny thing - as we have already seen fit to establish.
Death, however, has nothing humorous to recommend it. Death unfolds with uncanny precision. In fact, I would go so far to say that Death - with a capitol D - is quite the ordinary thing and comes to all in good time.
Death is sane, predictable and, unfortunately, boring as well.
In all the months I spent pursuing my *non-ordinary* habit of etchings gathered from cemetery markers around the countryside, I can firmly state that not once was there an ounce of anything supernatural to sully my endeavors.
No spectres or spooks, no chills traced along a bare arm, or hair suddenly on end. My ear received no whispers of misdeeds committed long ago. No warnings were given either - and for that I am somewhat mildly miffed.
For if there were any dead lingering about the placid countryside or meandering through the lonely fields of grain, they remained aloof and rather callous regarding the terror that was days from engulfing an entire planet.
Then again, maybe the dead know less than we the living, and therefore have nothing to say.
In conclusion: death is silent.
Dying, on the other hand, is a sly cacophony of sounds ... first there are the moans, and the slow shuffle of footsteps. Then comes the noise of shoes pounding on pavement, or bodies crashing through the fields and trampling of stalks. There are shrieks and cries, ... for some reason, though it does no good at all, the word 'no' is uttered over and over. As if a simple denial would suffice.
Sometimes there is pleading in the Name of God.
When they pulled him off the tractor, my stepfather denied them in God's name, and he an atheist until the last. God must have seen fit to turn a deaf ear, and I can't say I rightly blame Him, for what worth does hypocrisy hold?
I haven't much to say right now. I know Gunnar reads my notebook, he's practically admitted it. He called me 'Etcher' when he ordered me to wash his shirts. But that's better than getting hit, or pawed by one of the older punks in the group.
Tonight after lights out, I'll hide this under a rug or floorboard where Gunnar's too lazy to search. Then I will sneak away to wash my filthy hair. I don't want any of those boys looking at my body, so I only bathe when privacy is assured.
None of them are comfortable with going outside anymore.
But that's silly, the way they think they have everything figured out. It's just as safe inside as outside - which isn't at all.
The Dead have excellent hearing.
End of part 1