I don’t think I’ve ever seen the roadways in Chicago quite so quiet. There are cars stopped everywhere along the road, but not a single horn can be heard.
If I had to guess, I’d say the Armageddon started just around rush hour. That means all these folks were stuck moving at a snail’s pace down the good ol’ Kennedy Expressway just as the horde came swooping in. They probably thought it was an all you can eat buffet as they nibbled on every idiot stupid enough to honk their horns at a zombie. Which, let’s be serious for a second here. This is Chicago. Everyone honks their horns at everything here.
I guess it’s a good thing for me that I got sent back to my hotel early. Can’t imagine I’d be in much better shape if they had kept me at the airport all night.
The drive’s pretty nice, even with all that’s going on. There are almost no cars parked on the shoulder, meaning I’ve got clear sailing along most of the highway. And the northbound expressway is open, which means I don’t even have to deal with trying to squeeze through those pesky toll booths. Apparently the best way to fix the traffic issues of Chicago boils down to one word, which starts with the letter Z.
I’m low on gas, just under a quarter of a tank. Since I haven’t seen anyone else on the roads, it’s probably safe to assume there’s still plenty of gas available. However, if the movies I’ve seen are anywhere near accurate, gas stations are the one place to stay away from when the dead rise. It doesn’t help I’ve always been somewhat uncomfortable with the stations in northern Chicago. Especially at night.
Of course, I can’t think of too many places I’d actually like to be during the night right now. All the same, I’d feel a lot more comfortable if I could get closer to Gurnee before having to pull off. I guess I’ll just have to pray this van doesn’t do too much in the way of guzzling gas.
I take a look at the clock in the van. 02:46 AM. I hadn’t even realized how early it was. Heck, I was only asleep for probably 5 hours or so. Did this all really happen while I was sleeping? Could the world have really gone so crazy in just a matter of hours?
Even more important is whether or not the rest of the world went crazy. Maybe this is all just something here in Chicago. Maybe the dead haven’t spread. Just because the movies make it happen everywhere all at once doesn’t mean that’s how it really goes, right?
I pull my phone out of my coat pocket and press the button on the side. Still no service. I’d feel a helluva lot better about this whole thing if I had any idea of whether Zelda’s okay or not.
Thinking like that’s not going to help anything right now. All that’s going to help is to get home and see for myself. The Jones’ are certainly keeping my little girl safe. And the likelihood that this invasion of the rotten has actually made it to our little hometown seems minimal.
These thoughts, unfortunately, do very little toward actually reassuring me.
Overhead I see an unlit green sign and by turning on the brights am able to read that it marks the upcoming split between I90 and I94. I94 it is. The off-ramp has a soft curve to the right, but it’s still easy enough to just drive by on the shoulder.
I have to say it again. This is most definitely the best trip I’ve taken through this city to date. May have to come back down here after I find Zelda; could be easier to show her all the sights this way.
Go to Chapter Six