The beach on the shoreline of Lake Superior was magnificent. The waves lazily rolled to the shore, where there were remains of older ships that had grounded themselves on the shoreline. The water was more blue than the sky at times, sometimes with a mix of lustrious green. Walking along the beach, I remember a feeling of serenity filling every sense of my being. I felt at home here, where the troubles of the world would just cease, where I could come without my technology (cell phone, laptop, things of the like) and not worry about who was trying to call, or what I had to do for work that day. It was worth the drive, and it was most definitely worth missing work for. I walked along the beach barefoot, shoes in hand. A smile from Bryan, Fred running along the beach like he was a puppy again. It was the week my mother had taken the children on vacation to Cedar Point. We hiked the whole week, camping in the woods. One night, we camped by one of the beautiful waterfalls. It was one of the best vacations we had ever taken, and I remember I had been sad that we had gone when the kids had been away. On this day in particular, the air was crisp, the colors of the trees starting to turn. It was the beginning of fall. Before everything started, before hiding was a way of life.
Pictured Rocks itself was a 70,000 acre piece of land that spanned over 42 miles of shoreline. It was breathtaking, and under other circumstances, would have brought back that feeling of serenity I had felt so long ago. We had to get to the Au Sable Light Station, and the only way of doing so was to drive deep into the woods. The 12 miles we had to drive to the two track that led to the hiking trail wasn't going to be the hard part, the hard part would be
the trail itself. Because it was normally a hiking trail, it would be tricky to maneuver the truck down that mile and a half, and you bet your ass that I planned on driving it. I also planned to do so without harming the truck or any of us inside the truck, which could prove tricky in the event that the trail was not groomed from such a long period of non-use.
The first 3 miles seemed to take forever. Caden was exceptionally quiet for those long, lonely three miles. On the fourth, he turned in his seat and looked at me. "Thank you for taking me with you." he said. "Survivors need to stick together" I replied, keeping my eyes pointed to the road. Although my eyes were on the road, I could still see him using my peripheral vision. He was nervously fidgeting with a piece of paper in his hands, turning it back and forth. "One day, do you think the world will be normal again?" he asked, letting the paper fall and rest on his lap. I shrugged my shoulders. "I have no idea, but the thought is nice, isn't it?" I said. "Yes, it does sound very nice. Very nice indeed." he said. He handed me the piece of paper he had let fall on his lap. On it, the words "Help us" were scrawled. I knew that it had been part of a letter from his son. The writing was like a child's, small and frail. I must
have had a sad look on my face, for as he took the paper back, he gently squeezed my hand. He said nothing else, just stared the rest of the way to the two track.
We got to the two track, and I pushed the button for the 4 wheel drive. The truck clicked, and 4 wheel drive was engaged. "Well, cross your fingers" I said, and we started to go down the track. It wasn't too bad, aside from the brush scraping the side of the truck. Oh if only Bryan could see this... he would be having a heart attack. This truck had been his baby, his toy. He never ever went two tracking with it, the body was in great shape. Well, had been anyways. Now it was scratched up pretty bad. I kept driving, slowly so as not to puncture the tires with all the downed trees that were making it an obstacle course. Halfway down the track, we hit a problem. There was a tree bigger than what I was willing to drive over. Caden agreed, and we got out to gauge the situation. "I think we can pull it out of the way, but we have to be quick in case there are any of them around." he said, referring to zombies of course. I got at the smaller end of the tree, he at the larger end. Grunting, he lifted the tree end and started walking it his way. I walked the smaller end his way, and we got the tree out of the road. Back into the truck, again trying to get to the station, Caden turned to me once again. "I can see why you are a survivor. I can tell your children mean more to you than your own life. But you need to survive for yourself as well. Where would they be without a mother? I'm sure they couldn't possibly survive by themselves."
It seemed to take forever, but we finally made it to the lighthouse station. From what I could tell, there had been no disturbances there. The way it was set up, there was the lighthouse with the station attached, then another building that had been the living quarters. We were going to have to inspect them and make sure there were no zombies walking around. I let Fred out of the truck. If there were any undead pricks, he would let us know. The kids had awakened on the fantastic two track ride, and were staring wide-eyed at the lighthouse. "We're going to stay in that?!?!" Liam asked, his boyish voice still heavy with sleep. "Yes, if we have to, we will stay there buddy." I answered. I smiled at him weakly. I was starting to lose momentum, starting to exhaust. But I couldn't,
not until we were safe. If anything that Caden had said was true, it was the part about my kids needing me. I would be a fool to exhaust myself and not be able to take care of them. Fred ran around sniffing wildly. The bloodhound in him was running rampant. He was zigzagging all over the place, until he got to the front door of the living quarters. Then the hair on his back stood up. There was something there he recognized - and didn't like.