"Casino Royale"

[The distance from Avalon to Two Harbors is 13.4 miles by boat, 23 miles by road. The Island is 21 miles and encompasses approximately 47,884 acres or approximately 76 square miles. The width is 8 miles at its widest point (Long Point) and 1/2 mile wide at it’s narrowest point at Two Harbors at the Isthmus. The coastal perimeter is 54 miles.]


Gwenn Merryfoot, Animal hunter and trapper hired by the Catalina Island Conservancy


I was coming into town to for breakfast when I first ran into the undead. Naturally, I wasn’t sure what they were at first, but it was clear something wasn’t right when I saw three of them just standing around on Sumner Avenue, about a half block from Crescent Avenue. I was hired by the Catalina Island Conservancy to help take care of an overpopulation of boars, but I didn’t expect to be plugging arrows into the local population instead.

One of them, a thin woman in a nightgown suddenly rushed me. Like some crazy maniac, she came at me as fast as she could, growling like some caged animal. I noticed that she had bloodstains all over her and a large laceration on her left leg. The bone was clearly visible, but the wound din’t seem to bother her—or affected her speed. I didn’t want to use the bow I was using to hunt boars in the island’s interior, but I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice. Before she reached me, I took her down with an arrow through the neck. She dropped fast. What was strange was the lack of “blood” that came out of her wound. Instead, I noticed thick fluid—very dark brown almost black—oozed out of her neck.

Suddenly two more—a young teenage boy in a spring suit and a middle aged man in pajamas—people suddenly came at me, growling like the woman I had just taken down. More arrows took care of them too.

I then heard glass shatter down the street just as another of those crazy things rushed me. My shot barely missed the man wearing a jogging outfit covered in blood. He came at me and tried to claw at me. Fortunately, all my training wrangling animals paid off. I easily avoided his attempt to grab me. I stepped back a few feet and took him down with an arrow-shot to the head. He fell down and never got back up.

As I walked to the corner of Crescent, I spotted a store—Leon’s Pharmacy—with its glass door broken through. I looked around and didn’t see any of those walking crazies (that’s what I called them at first). I then stepped inside the pharmacy.

Inside, I saw a guy about to jump over a counter leading to where the meds where. I asked him who he was—my bow ready just in case he was a burglar. He said his name was David and he was getting insulin to help a friend. And like me, he didn’t know what was happening to the people in Avalon.

After finding what he needed, we made our way to where his friend was waiting. David gave him the insulin kit. The man introduced himself to me.

I asked the old man what he’d seen happen. “Beats the hell out of me,” he said. “I saw people taking other people down just a few blocks up the street. I didn’t know what to make of it but I couldn’t make my way back my house on Beacon Street near Sumner. There were people everywhere up there!”

The man, Louis Jefferson, said he ran into a teenager who said he was going to the Casino where it was safer than being in Avalon. It seemed some people had already made their way there.

The three of us agreed to go to the Casino.

We were lucky the way to the Casino was deserted. When we got there, we banged on the door and tried to get anyone’s attention inside. When the door opened a Hispanic man greeted us holding a huge wrench in his hand. We quickly told him who we were and what we had seen. He told us to get in and to follow him.

I had never been inside the Catalina Casino before. The man leading us, Javier Quintana, said he was a custodian and decided to get some work done very early when people suddenly started banging on the front doors, begging to be let in. He found out what was happening and got everybody together in the Casino’s ballroom upstairs.

Ballroom

Inside the ballroom we met the others survivors: Javier Quintana, maintenance worker; Erica Binn, 23 year-old model who was staying with her girlfriend in Avalon; Manny Bahls, a 19-year old who worked at Anthony’s Pizza; Marlon Smith, an accountant on vacation who was out riding his bike near the Casino with a friend when they were attacked by three crazy people. He saw his friend get eaten; Tim Vargas, an old retired Marine drill instructor with a bad hip; Roxanne Kasey, mother of Mary Kasey (age 11, and asthmatic) whose husband Steve works for the Avalon police department; Rafik Mukhtar, an Indian national and website designer on vacation by himself; and Peter Nollan, a freshman CSULB Art major who was out taking some sunrise photos near the Casino when he saw Marlon Smith and his friend get attacked.

Along with Louis Jefferson, there were now 12 of us “survivors”. We weren’t exactly sure what was happening, but we knew one thing for sure: we needed to stay alive!

Read more in “The Road”


"Casino Royale"

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