They Spoke the Sound of Dead Radio

Knees sunk deep into the dirty, exasperated. I shove the blade into the earth and you can hear it for miles. In the distance, another plane crashes, third of the past day, and the distant pops of ammunition unapologetically, frantically rattle off their numb prayers. We thought this was over. We took off the locks from the cellars. The skies were blue again. We went back to each other. But when the power went out again, I saw Dad’s eyes go black and I knew we were sold back to the devil. To God. The hum in his throat, like a conduit to a different plane, and me alone with him. No way to tell how long it could last. He wasn’t breathing, just a singular note, same as when Eric and Paul went under the last time. “Dad. You should wake up. Please.” It was nothing. No use, no one listening. I went out to the barn and found chain and rope and wound it as tight as I could. I padlocked him into his seat and I stared. It was the closest I came to hugging him since I was really small, probably grade school age. Before mom left, when he was a superhero for us, before the injury, before the drinks and the pills. I didn’t know if this time would be worse or easier or longer or forever. Or the last time for all time. But the dark line in the sky crept in from the direction of the sunset and I wanted to be as far from it as I could be. I walked out the door with Eric’s machete and a bag of water and food that I could find, just like we did last time and before long, saw the first turned man. I heard his humming, like a radio signal picked up in error, his body approaching like a glitch, like his movement was a recently decoded language. I felt it again, the sadness, the lost feeling of what happens when we’re near these people. But this time I really was all alone. So any fight, any existence past this is just casting a wish into a well. It’s just a coin. So I fell to my knees. I pushed the blade into the earth.

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