The other day I decided to transfer all the posts from my other site, Life Motherhood and The Pursuit of Happiness, to this blog in order to keep all my work safe as I prepare to shut it down. After saving them all as drafts and doing some annoying cleanup work, I began sorting through them to see if any of those old posts would be a good fit for this site.
I smiled when I ran across a post from two years ago. Interestingly, as I read it I was once again taking steroids, this time for an inflammation in my chest wall. It’s funny how every fall I seem to need them for something!
I loved this post so much I decided to reprint it here, exactly as it appeared when it first ran. I hope you laugh as much as I did!
Steroids and Strollers: The Night My Family Was Attacked By Zombies, Mutants, and A Living Statue
The day was nearly done. A sense of accomplishment had settled over me as I sat back in my chair and glanced at the desk in front of me. Almost-Husband had kept the girl occupied most of the day and I’d made a major dent in my to-do list. Now, it was time to do something as a family.
I pushed away from the desk and strode into the living room. Sitting in front of the TV was not an option right now. I needed to keep moving.
“How about a family walk?” I suggested.
Almost-Husband looked at me quizzically. “Really?”
A small laugh escaped my lips, as he was right to be surprised. I’m not generally the type of person to “do” things, especially if they require effort. However, I had been recently put on steroids to reduce inflammation in my knee, and they kind of make me feel like this:
So! Much! Energy!
The Princess was already on board with this. “Outside?” She asked, bringing me her tiny pink sneakers.
“Yep, outside,” I confirmed.
We got around quickly and loaded the girl into her stroller.Darkness had already settled over the sleepy little town we call home. The night air was still and a light fog hung in the air. Perfect walking weather.
We set off in the opposite direction of our normal route, exploring parts of the town we’d never seen. “Want to walk through the graveyard?” Almost-Husband asked.
I laughed. “Not that I’m against graveyard walks, but no.”
“Why not?” The man questioned, a hint of laughter in his voice.
“Because we have an unbaptized baby,” I replied, the darkness concealing my smirk.
He chuckled and we carried on. Eventually we came upon a gravel road. Following Almost-Husband’s lead, we set down its path.
Glancing over my shoulder, I caught the outline of a man as he disappeared into the wooded area off the side of the road. “I don’t know about this,” I worried aloud.
Almost-Husband laughed. “It’s fine.”
I looked into the stroller. The Princess was looking around, seeming quite content. “You know, this is how all those 50’s b-movie horror flicks start,” I noted, unable to keep the laughter out of my voice.
As we continued down the rock-strewn path, we came to the realization that the road ran behind the graveyard. To our right, a sea of headstones took up the view. “See, it was calling to us,” Almost-Husband observed.
“You’re really not helping,” I sighed.
He laughed and we pressed on.
What I saw next, stopped me in my tracks. A hand had popped out of a grave near the road. In a matter of seconds, the entire population of the burial grounds had crawled out of their graves and were chasing us down the road. The Princess laughed with glee as the wind whipped in her face, and I feared she would be the end of us.
That fear was confirmed when the front wheel of the stroller struck a particularly large chunk of gravel and tipped over ahead of us. As I tried in vain to untangle my daughter from the wreckage, the swarm of zombies descended upon us. Almost-Husband put up a good fight, but there’s only so much one man can do against thousands of the undead. We’re still zombies to this day.
Okay, well, that’s how it went down in my mind, anyway. As I expressed such thoughts, Almost-Husband and I shared a laugh. The Princess was still looking around in awe.
The path grew dark and I pulled out my cell phone to light the way.
“Put that away, you don’t want whatever is out there to see you first,” Almost-Husband admonished.
Playing into our newly created story, I put the phone back in my pocket.
The gravel road soon ended and we found ourselves once again entering a residential area. A dog barked from the safety of the shadows as we passed the first house on the block. “See, that dog’s going crazy because he can see all the ghosts that are following us,” I said, feigning annoyance.
This particular block was very clean, with houses that looked as though they belonged in the 50’s. Something about the neighborhood struck me as a little Stepford-y, and my imagination whirred to life again.
“All these houses are full of mutants,” I said confidently. “All of them. Badly deformed survivors of some sort of apocalypse. It’s been that way so long that when someone finally sees us, they’ll think we’re the mutants and they’ll chase us with pitchforks and stuff.”
Almost-Husband laughed, although I’m fairly certain he was beginning to worry about my mental state. As we continued our walk we ventured down a street lined with old-timey street lamps that reminded me of a Stephen King story I’d once read, which contained a foreboding old house with ridiculously overgrown trees and bushes obscuring most of its face. We dubbed this the murder house.
A few blocks later we passed a house with a white picket fence. All the windows were dark and the entire property appeared weathered. I imagined that a man lived there. He was alone, save for the skeletons of his deceased parents and younger sister. They’d all died when he was a child in the 50s and he kept up the inside of the house to be exactly as it was before the accident. The family’s television set had been modified and old shows from his youth played on a constant loop.
I laughed at the thought. “Is it wrong that I can’t pass any of these houses without thinking of horrible things?”
Almost-Husband shrugged. “Nah.”
Content, I reached forward and tousled my daughter’s hair. “Mommy’s a nutcase,” I laughed.
A very large house came into view on our left. The yard was impressively manicured. A statue of a fireman holding an ax stood apart from the rest of the landscape. “I think he’s watching us,” I whispered.
“Is it just me or did his head turn?” Almost-Husband asked.
“It did…he’s watching us. Hurry up before he comes at us with that ax.”
We didn’t make it. Living statues are fast creatures, faster than one may suspect. He caught up to us a few feet from our house. With an impossibly silent leap, he sank his ax into the back of Almost-Husband’s head, knocking him forward onto the ground. I stood transfixed, mouth frozen in a silent scream.
The figure turned his head to me, his stone face twisting into a morbid grin. With a swift yank of the handle, he freed the weapon from my partner’s skull. He swung at my leg, failing to connect as I jumped in front of the stroller. I quickly snatched up my baby and held her tight. I took off on a dead run in the direction of my house.
The statue gained on me and with a mighty slice, severed my right hand. A car passed just then, the light of its headlights turning my assailant back to stone, buying me enough time to get to the safety of my home.
Or, maybe we just walked the rest of the way home, laughing at the goofy stories we were coming up with. That’s probably it.
Or maybe we live here now.
At any rate, if there’s a point to this story, it’s that I finally have my imagination back and that is super cool. It was always how I tried to deal with my anxiety when I was younger. Something would make me uneasy and I’d find a way to make it funny, even if it was by taking something scary and blowing it up to the point of absurdity. Somewhere along the line, my mind started taking my imagination and turning it on me, causing me to worry all the time about everything with much more realistic scenarios. That was not a fun place to be.
However, I can now say with pride that I’m beginning to get a handle on that once more, and who knows? Maybe I’ll finally write some amazing works of fiction (or, more accurately, finish all the piles of half-written stories that are cluttering up my desk).
At any rate, I feel more like myself again, and just in time for my favorite time of year. Speaking of which, can Halloween hurry up and get here already? As you can see, I’m more than ready!