R.I.P. VAN WINKLE
AN UNDEAD JOURNEY THROUGH WASHINGTON IRVING’S CLASSIC
BY JOSEPH A. COLEY
© 2013 JOSEPH A. COLEY
OTHER WORKS BY JOSEPH A. COLEY
SIX FEET FROM HELL: RESPONSE
SIX FEET FROM HELL: ESCAPE
SIX FEET FROM HELL: SALVATION
SIX FEET FROM HELL: CRISIS
THE END OF DAYS…AGAIN
A NIGHT ON HOLCOMB ROAD
R.I.P. VAN WINKLE PART I
Rip ate like, well, like he hadn’t had a bite to eat in ten years. He shoved spoonfuls of potatoes and venison in nearly as fast as he could, and his stomach grumbled in approval. He couldn’t believe his appetite, but then again, he hadn’t eaten since leaving Fort Drum on that fateful FTX that evidently happened over a decade ago. He paused long enough to grab a glassful of water and chugged it down, then resumed his gluttony. After finishing the bowl of stew, he put down the spoon and tried to regain some of his senses. A little food did wonders for his demeanor. He felt a little more normal, although the term “normal” had undergone changes in the past few hours. He felt like he was dreaming, still not quite able to comprehend what was happening. Compartmentalization would be his friend for a little while; just try to understand one thing at a time.
After leaving the scene of his recent reawakening, Jake had been kind enough to take him back to the small cabin in the woods that he shared with the others. The others that occupied the small, primitive quarters were Jake’s family. Tina, Jake’s wife, and Casey, his daughter, made up the residents of the household. It wasn’t much, just a hunting cabin that Jake had used in the time before “The Rise.” Jake had taken his family to the cabin after everything had totally gone to shit. He tried to stay in his original home, and managed to do so even after the power had gone out. Jake wasn’t a prepper, just a man with the foresight to get a generator to handle the piss-poor conditions of an upstate New York winter. It was by no means lush, but it was home for them.
It was a true log cabin; Jake built it by hand two years before The Rise. The front of the cabin sported two windows, both of which were boarded up, leaving only a small slit to see through. A small covered porch that once had been an open area was also boarded up, leaving only small areas to see through. It was by no means bulletproof, but it kept the undead from getting in. Inside, the cabin consisted of one main bedroom and a loft that served as another. It was complemented with a kitchen, but no indoor bathroom. A few dozen yards away from the cabin was a wellspring and an outhouse. The time-honored tradition of women going to the bathroom together was alive and well, as Jake wouldn’t let any one person go the outhouse alone. They always stuck with the buddy system.
Rip sat back in his chair, momentarily satisfied. He rested his hands on his sated stomach and attempted to relax. Tina stood at the sink, while Jake took up a seat across the table, also handmade, from Rip. He hadn’t spoken to the couple since leaving the spot where he awoke, afraid of what he might find out. There were few things that he wanted right now, and information was one of them.
“Better?” Jake said, breaking the awkward silence.
Rip sat forward slowly. “Yeah, thank you. I suppose I’ll be heading off soon, but thank you for your hospitality.”