If you're reading this, stay inside. Lock your doors. Get a hatchet.
I got up early this morning for tai chi--I had a great workout, except I kept forgetting Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain. The birds got my car yesterday, just coated it--I should have realized the crow crap was a sign. By the second sign--other trash-eating animals--I started to get suspicious. Raccoons usually wander lazily across suburban streets here in Ames. I'm usually your slow-down-and-stop type when I see an animal in distress--but this raccoon was hobbling forward, both forelimbs stretched out, tummy distended, and half its head missing. It climbed out of a Wendy's dumpster and I swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid the little guy. It was in a disturbed state of mind I found myself at Tornado Carwash.
"Man, the birds really got you," the attendant said.
"What?" I was busy looking back at Mr. Raccoon, who was chewing on the head of a road-kill squirrel.
"The birds, ma'am. It's red. And kind of slimy."
"What?" I asked him again. Then I took a minute to examine the red blotches. There were no raspberry seeds. It looked like the crows had eaten jelly. It reminded me of a photo the cops showed during a road safety seminar at my high school--a biker with his head cracked open across the pavement. Gruesome bloody brains.
I paid for the bug-remover pretreat and thought about the crows and the raccoons all the way through the automated brush-cycles. I thought it was my imagination--I mean, I've jogged 80 miles on the Zombies, Run game I discovered it in July--I was probably just grasping at straws. Every time the game says "Zombies Detected" I jump and look behind me, watching for the shambling hoard to come out from between a couple of duplexes. They were never there….until now.
I got home from the carwash and popped inside to check on hubby and roommate. They listened to my crows and raccoon story and shrugged.
"You've been playing too much of that game," my husband said.
"I'm telling you, that raccoon was freakshow."
"Maybe it was rabies," our roommate chimed in. She's moving away--this is her last weekend in our spare room--and we're prepping for a big party for her tomorrow. Chili's in the crock pot and we have the grill on the deck for steaks. The fridge is full of beer and dip.
"I doubt it." The problem nagged the back of my mind, but when hubby suggested sushi, we all piled in the car.
Our favorite sushi place was deserted.
"Where is everyone?" I asked the friendly Malaysian maître-d, Yudah.
"Lunch special is usually very popular. Haven't seen anyone today. Half of my staff hasn't shown up."
"I'm telling you. Zombies."
They laughed at me. After way too much nigiri, we headed for home again.
"Look, there's one of those raccoons!" I slowed way down, and we all hung out of the windows to look at it. It moved stutter-stop toward the car, just like the last one had, arms outstretched, tongue lolling out of its mouth.
"That's…not right." It came right up to the car and started reaching for husband, who rolled up his window.
"It's so cute!" My roommate's adorable--she's always wanted the Disney princess power where you sing and animals just come to you. I rolled up her window for her, just as the thing climbed the side of the car and started prying at her door handle.
That's when I laid on the gas. The thing dropped off after a couple of blocks, but there were more of those raccoons wandering around. I pulled into the drive, and there were loads of crows in the trees lining the drive. Like they knew my car had just been washed.
"Wait," I told my passengers. I honked the horn. They didn't move. Two of them pooped red jelly onto the pavement.
"What's wrong with them?" My husband stared up at their beady eyes. Every one of them, there must have been forty or so, were tracking our movements inside the car.
I gave him a significant look.
"No way. Let's run for it."
"Hold on." I thought for a second. If this really was some kind of zombie virus effecting the garbage and carrion-eating animals, I didn't have enough gas to get out of here. We had to get in the house and lock ourselves in until this was over.
I laid on the horn again, and didn't let up. Our neighbor finally opened his door--the one who's asked us to chop down our trees since the day we moved in. He doesn't like the cottonwood fibers in his immaculate lawn. Every crow switched from us to the swinging of his door.
They launched into the air, one great blood-thirsty shadow.
"Run!" I flung open the door and sprinted up the walk. My roommate had her keys ready and we swung the door shut behind us.
I don't know if my neighbor made it. And I don't know if you, dear reader, are having the same trouble we are here in the Midwest, but don't go outside.