Back before the reclamation, the recovery, they called them Walkers. The undead that spanned the land after an unknown event crashed civilization, leaving handfuls of us alive. Small pockets of humanity that soon reverted to the primitive roots of survival: kill or be killed.
On the run, we fought back; always seeking someplace safe. Somewhere to make a stand and to begin the climb back toward the rudiment of lives and lifestyle we once took for granted. Finally, after bitter years, we did. Humanity — we — re-established our world. Maybe not entirely as it once was but close. Perhaps an even better one for what we learned about ourselves during the dark days. But there were dangers in this new world. Still, things to be wary of for their intrusion into your life and aggravation brought to your doorstep.
We’d had close calls before, but one day we weren’t so lucky.
It was that last leg of daylight when the sun has gone from yellow-orange on the horizon to bands of striated orange then orange-red, to a scarlet orb eye-level low and dipping lower that turns the sky and clouds around it shades of crimson. There was a sound at the front door, the scuff of feet on the stone pavers, then a ring and a knock. Finishing up my writing for the day, I heard and caught out of the corner of my eye, my wife pass my study door to see who it was.
“We don’t mean to bother you, but we’re in your neighborhood to share some information.”
My wife is polite, and I knew she paused. That hesitation was their opening.
“Have you heard the word of…”
My wife should have lashed out — perhaps her battle-earned reflexes had been lost — to stab them through the head and end the situation. But she had reverted to the polite, civilized lady of before. I looked out my study window and saw a cluster of them move closer, massing at our door. Scenting the kill.
I spun and grabbed my old friend that had never let me down. A six-foot oak staff with the serrated blade embedded and secured as stoutly as a man-hating 50-year-old virgin’s loins.
I came out of my office, moving like back in days long past. I felt that athletic grace flow through me, my body automatically responding. The muscle-memory of survival. In the foyer, I placed one foot and my 212 pounds behind the door so it would not easily open further, and with my free hand swept my wife behind me, waving her further back. I needed room to work.
A quick glimpse through the doorway. I saw Sunday-Go-To-Meeting clothing: women with purses on crossed arms, hands with bundles of leaflets; men with the same tracts but sometimes holding a black or brown leather (or faux-leather) bound book with a purple ribbon placeholder peeking out that gave a small rise and settle as an eddy of wind swirled.
Perhaps they were good men and women all. But through perverse hunger to spread their creed, they could suck the time out of your life as you tried to be courteous and hear them out. Trying to be civil though you weren’t remotely interested in what they espoused.
In that situation, I’m no longer polite. No, not at all.
I swung the door wide and took the first one right through the throat — yanked out and jabbed again, this time in the head. It fell back but remained standing. I took the next right through the forehead. It should have dropped but merely stepped back pulling itself off my blade. Nothing worked… they kept coming… kept trying to hand me tracts and information on their belief… kept interrupting our day with their unsolicited tag-team approach. The only recourse, epic rudeness.
With a harsh sound that my daughter’s call the MAD DAD voice, I thundered, “NOT INTERESTED, DON’T COME BACK!” They retreated, and I slammed the door. My back to it, I saw my wife’s look… full of reproach. Thirty-five years and it still has a measure of impact. But not this time.
“You don’t have to be so…”
“Yes… Yes, I do.”
I knew chances were in a month or two… I would have to be again. Because it seems, the Knockers always come back.
They don’t want your brain or other body parts… they want your soul. And maybe some money or donations.
And there’s The Irony…