Thursday, July 24, 2014

Chapter 1

Dear Diary …

OK, completely and totally scratch that.  I might be lonely and bored out of my gourd but I am not going to write “Dear Diary” every time I start a new day in this journal.  It sounds too hokey and like I’m only ten years old or something.  Well I’m not.  I had my birthday in the hospital and I turned seventeen.  Whoa, like I’m old.  Not.  LOL!  I get it … I’m still a kid.  But only kinda sorta.  I’ve grown up a lot over the past year.  At least it feels that way.  Most of the time.  Sort of.  Anyway, I’m going to do this right which will be a nice change.   

First off, introductions.  My name is Azalea Predatorri.  I know.  I think it is ridiculous too but Predatorri is from Dad’s side.  He couldn’t help how the immigration officials at Ellis Island messed up his great something grandfather’s surname.  Azalea … what a load that is.  Mom was set on having a bunch of kids and naming them all flowers and trees and stuff starting with the letter A.  So I got stuck being Azalea.  By the time Shauna came along Dad had pretty much talked Mom out of it otherwise she was going to be called Buttercup … or Borage if she had been a boy.  I mean, can you imagine?!  Azalea Predatorri is bad enough but Buttercup Predatorri?  Now that would have been a serious nightmare. 

They’re all gone.  Not their fault.  And trying to find out who is at fault is mental illness inducing … trust me on that because I gave it a good try with predictable results.  Mom went to the hospital to get her tubes tied when she and Dad suddenly up and decided to change their minds from “a bunch” to “two”.  While she was in the hospital she caught MRSA.  We didn’t know until it was too late; it got out of control before they even thought to check for it.  It was a hard way to go and sent everyone into crazyland.  We were leaving the hospital the last time and Dad really shouldn’t have been driving.  Maybe if he had been more with it his defensive driving would have been better but I don’t blame him or anything like that.  What happened was an old lady had a stroke while she was driving and her car hit another car that hit another car that hit us on the interstate.  Dad and Shauna didn’t survive the night.  Me … barely a scratch because I was on the other side of the car.  Just one more example of the suckage of life.


So I went to live with Aunt Trudy who is my mom’s sister.  She’s actually kinda cool even though she is more of a “paleo hippy” than even my parents were.  But no amount of cool is going to fix what I had wrong with me which was I am a teenager and I was mad at the world … and depressed … and just mentally struggling to deal with everything.  Aunt Trudy did all she could for me but let them stick me on antidepressants and crap like that.  She said I was too young to scramble my developing brain with those kinds of drugs.  She just accepted me for who I was and prayed I would grow out of it.  Well I have – or think I have – but a little late to apologize for being such a butt end all the time. 

You know this digging up the past gets old.  Maybe I’ll feel like explaining more of it later but for now I want to leave the past as far in the past as I can.  Gotta look forward.  Gotta move forward.  Learn from history, not repeat it.  Or some motivational crap like that anyway. 

Easier to explain why I’m sitting here where I am now.  The Plague.  I kinda got swept up into it because I wasn’t thinking.  I got infected, swept into quarantine, busted out of quarantine then thought I’d try my hand at running away again, this time from the people that were locking down the area after trying to grab enough stuff to live on.  My plans were to leave the ‘burbs behind as well but I never made it out.  Even if someone finds the letter I left for Paula and Aunt Trudy and it gets to them about half of what was in there will be completely useless or no longer apply even if by some miracle they are curious to find out what happened to me … they’ll be looking in the wrong direction.  I gave it my best shot to try and get out, sneak out, escape … whatever you want to call what people were trying to do, but the military and National Guard had everything blocked off.  I’d get in a line trying to get out, then my face, name, or prints would show up on someone’s list and they’d send me to another line where the same thing would happen.  No one wants the risk of infection to escape quarantine.  I don’t blame them now that I’ve had a chance to think it over but I was scared then and didn’t know what I was going to do. 

Then to make it worse I got cut off trying to go back home … Aunt Trudy’s house anyway as it hadn’t been home for a long time.  They were trying to enforce the mandatory quarantine and once you were out of an area they did what they had to to keep you from getting back in.  They were arresting some people and I’d just escaped one type of prison and didn’t feel like exchanging it for another one. 

Now here I am.  Suppose it might be better than my original plan anyway.  I mean what the heck do I really know about the mountains?  Just because I lived in their shadows my whole life doesn’t mean I know diddly-squat about surviving in them.  God, once I sat down and really thought about it I realized how lame it was.  Who did I think I was?  Some kind of uber goober girl scout on steroids or something?  Give me a break.  Sure I used to camp with the fam and grow a garden and stuff like that but what we did I wouldn’t exactly call roughing it.  I had it rougher on the street but the concrete jungle is a lot different than a mountain forest.  After exploring my options – not that I had any – I decided to go with what I did know. This place I definitely know.   

After I ran away that first time I figured out pretty quick that I’d never make it on the city streets.  It took me a while to get up the nerve to try and go home and face the music but eventually I did.  I don’t know what I expected but it still hurt.  Everyone was still so mad at me even after months of me being gone.  I couldn’t handle it so didn’t even come out of the hedge to say hi.  They say you never hear anything good about yourself when you eavesdrop.  Gotta believe that for sure after what I heard.  That’s when I hooked up with some kids from the neighborhood that thought I’d had the right idea.  I told them how hard it was but I guess they wanted to try it for themselves … and with a group – what they call a family on the streets – things are supposed to be better.  Yeah right.  I mean they were better for a little bit but in other ways they only got harder. 

When the kids from the neighborhood decided to follow me I at least got them talked out of hitting the streets right way.  I told them they needed to get acclimated to it first so we flopped at the old Loudon House in the Old Town ‘burbs.  That’s where we stayed until someone brought the infection in.  Turns out a couple of my “friends” had gotten hooked on drugs while I was away and that is why they wanted to leave home … they’d gotten tired of their parents being on their cases and interfering in their lives.  Since no one was bit or got into a fight before the first infection I think it was Tommy and his girlfriend sharing needles with the wrong person.  Who knows for sure?  It was just really bad.  I was one of the last to get sick but it didn’t kill me or make me crazy like it does to most people.  Tommy, showing how mean the virus was on its way to making him, told me that it was because I was already crazy and looked half dead.  I tried to laugh it off when he said it.  I’m not laughing now. 

Looks like I’m living here at the Loudon House again only for a better reason.  Dang place is like a flaming castle; looks like one too.  House is over a hundred years old and it’s all brick and stone from back when that kind of building was normal.  It’s like Victorian … owned by some guy that made money through the railroad and then invested in oil and steel during the Industrial Revolution.  According to the flyers and junk that were down in the caretaker’s cottage before I swiped them Loudon was some kind of friend of the original old Rockefeller guy and that guy Carnegie too … or was bought out by them or something.  I’m not absolutely sure not that it makes a difference.  Some of the pages were rat eaten and not the easiest to read.  But when you are bored you’ll resort to almost anything, including reading anything you can get your hands on no matter what it might be.  Better than counting the mice in the walls.

The house was built when the first Mr. Loudon was flush and at the time it was a pretty nifty and important landmark and even appeared in architectural magazines and tourist maps of the area.  These days most people just called it an eyesore before the historical society decided to try and save it … but they still hadn’t been able to change too many minds.  The house sits in the middle of twenty acres of overgrown landscaping – biggest lot on this side of town that isn’t a park – that is surrounded by a tall brick and ironwork fence.  Some of the fence is in bad shape so it was boarded up; but it is done “tastefully” so that the people that own places here in the historic district would stop flipping their switches and saying the place was bringing down property values. 

Doesn’t matter now.  Everyone’s so-called property value is in the tank now and “tasteful” is pretty much gone; the best you can hope for is a good roof and solid doors and locks.  The grass at the Loudon House is taller than I am in places.  The windows are already boarded over thanks to the historical society and city fire codes.  The historical society has also already done a lot of stuff to the old place on the inside but it still looks and feels like a haunted house, especially when it is storming like it is tonight.  

It’s this storm and never ending rain that has me bored out of my skull.  After showering and washing my hair – got the free water so why not and the stripes are finally growing out - I decided to start a diary or whatever … like a journal for posterity and stuff.  Anyway, this is it. 

To get back on track this is what I’ve been doing since I decided this old place would work for what I needed.  It took me a week and I nearly ran out of gas but by going the long way around I was able to bring in all of the stuff that I had been caching since going to Aunt Trudy’s.  Then I finally got the bright idea to brink into the gas tanks behind the county’s vehicle lot and I did even more salvaging, especially after I heard they had enlarged the buffer area around all of the quarantine zones.   

The news people finally admitted that it would be months before anyone was going to be let back in and that they were going to have crews go in and turn off all of the electricity to “encourage” some of the people in the buffer areas to evacuate back across the river.  This side of river is “old” and the other side of the river is “new.”  Old Town doesn’t necessarily mean poor though there is a lot of that too.  In fact there are some pretty rich people that have homes in the Old Town area and the news people make it seem like those people are really throwing hissy’s about their stuff and how the poor folks are going to trash their property.  Got news for them, there’s rich kids that have done it too though there aren’t many of either type left around here these days.  At least that is one less thing for me to worry about.

I haven’t met but a handful of uninfected people and most of them were like me – already bitten so we are not allowed out of the contaminated areas on the off chance we are carriers.  That’s why Mace and Carol weren’t allowed to evac with Aunt Trudy.  Sounds stupid to explain it in my own diary – although this is supposed to be for posterity so I will.  Carol is Aunt Trudy’s step daughter from one of her ex-husbands and Mace is her boyfriend.  Carol is a nurse and got bit by one of the earliest patients in the doctor’s office where she worked.  She got sick but then got well, same as me.  Her boyfriend Mace brought her home from the hospital and said he would quarantine with her.  There was no way he could have gotten infected except by Carol.  Long story short, Carol is a carrier; Mace survived his infection and is immune.  Mace wouldn’t leave Carol even after that so here they are, only I don’t think they are as lovey-dovey as they were in the beginning.  I tried to go by there three times and Carol was practically screaming at Mace each time.  Last time she was throwing things at him.  Totally weird when she used to be such a calm person.


  1. This looks like its going to be a good one!! Wow.. so much new stuff! I was going to bed and thought to check and see if there was anything new, and just wow!! Im going to be up awhile!!!

  2. Another great new one; thank you!