LISBON, PORTUGAL, MAY 13TH
This will be the first of my postings regarding this awful day. A lot has happened since daybreak, and a lot is going to happen, I'm sure, before this day is done. It's getting harder to get into the internet or make phone calls. Communications are breaking up all the time. I just wanted to assure everybody that knows me that I'm ok, so far. I'm home, they haven't got into my neighborhood yet. New developments have been reveled, most of them very surprising.
I admit that at first I didn't link the growing noise of honking and shouting with any bizarre incident, even though it is a city holiday and the streets were supposedly quiet this early in the morning. I didn't want anything to disturb our breakfast with the nice but distant German representatives, not only for my sake but largely because our continuing dead-end attempts on getting the business out of the ground was starting to affect my business associate very noticeably. I admit I was ready to go back to the employment websites and look for something else, but he won't accept failure and that's why he was behaving like a drowning man in high seas. He even held the senior German's arm when the man tried to get up and find out why everybody in the bar had moved to the windows and were gazing in disbelief. I told my friend to take it easy, but he just stood up and went to the waiter to get another espresso. I realized then that the noise hadn't subsided, in fact it was increasing. And everybody was making comments in several languages that expressed chock and surprise. I managed to get into a spot besides my clients-to-be.
The panoramic bar at the top of the Sheraton Hotel provides a wonderful view of Lisbon. From this high place one can see the hill of Amoreiras, the central Park, the street towards Rato, the beginning of the Avenue of Liberdade, the Marquês roundabout, and a whole sea of rooftops and structures, as far as the eye can see. The high buildings hide most of the streets at ground level, which in another day wouldn't matter, because the eye is supposed to gaze into the horizon. I don't know if the place is still open or what its new function will be, since it's now at the heart of the occupied zone, it now belongs to them. It has always been for me a place to relax, seduce, do business, and in the end, a symbol of the passing from the old to the new world. Because that's where I saw them for the first time.
I thought they were protesters. Or some publicity stunt. Or some event on occasion of the City Festival. Or supporters of some politician for the upcoming elections. Or soccer fans. Or all of those things happening at once on account of some unique coincidence of schedules. But it was stranger than that. They were coming down the Park and the streets at a slow and unsteady pacing, as if they had trouble walking straight. Heads were tilted to the side, the arms and legs moved in jolts. But they were so many that they seemed to flow like a river. They marched into the roads without stopping, forcing the traffic to halt and cars sometimes to crash into another. I saw some of them being hit by a blue Mercedes. I saw the driver step out of the car and bend over the victims. I saw him become surrounded by others, all of a sudden, who dropped him into the ground and were upon him mercilessly. I saw his arms go up asking for help. I saw most people frozen in place, watching them, screaming with all their might, silent because of the distance. I saw some of this bystanders get attacked as well. I saw a couple of young men run with sticks or poles in their hands and try to help the fallen man. I saw how easily they also fell under the growing attack. Even though they walked slowly, those things moved quite fast when preying. They did that to a group that hadn't run, to a girl at the roundabout, to the newspaper street vendors.
There so many of those things attacking each person that I couldn't understand what was happening, even if I knew it wasn't a good thing. But the sheer horror made me keep looking, as if not knowing the outcome made it worse. Finally a group broke apart, the assaulters taking things in their arms and by their mouths that I simply couldn't, wanted not, name.
Somebody else at the bar said it for all of us: They ate him!
And the room was dead silent. Is this for fucking real?
, asked the younger German. My partner, taking the cue, started to explain that it was probably some movie shooting sequence, or some street performance, and that we had go get back to the negotiations. But the lift beeped, then, and a British lady came forth, waving her hands in the air and running towards a man in the other side of the bar, possibly her husband. She was shrieking and shaking like nobody I had ever seen outside of theater. It was awful, James. It was so awful! They were coming after me! They killed a child! I ran here but they're coming, they're coming!
That did it, of course. Everybody was moving towards the door a second later, or trying to get down the stairs. The staff tried to calm them down, but even they were shit-scared and were not going to be able to convince anybody otherwise. My friend was of course only troubled by the prospect of another contract down the drain. He didn't run to the exit. The last I saw him (before he called me an hour ago) he was pouring a glass of whiskey for himself in the empty bar stool.
I was going down the stairs in a hurried but careful pace (it's over 30 floors to get to the ground) when my cell rang.
It was Mariana. She seemed anguished. My heart stopped. Are you ok, darling? Are you ok? Are you ok?
, I could say nothing else. Have you heard the news? Do you know what's happening?
I figured then that no, I had no idea what was really happening. Are we at war?,
I chanced. Are we being invaded? Luís, they're saying in the tv that it's the dead.
Which dead? When?
The dead people. All the dead people. I don't know anything else. But they're coming back to life. Baby, we are being attacked by zombies. And it's happening all over the world!
Someone's knocking at my door now. It must be my business associate, he said he wanted to see me. He had some good news about this. I hope so. We have to fight back. I have to go now but I'll be back with more info. I've tried to look up other bloggers in Portugal but there are no others, so far. Read this
, and this
, stories of survival. They might help you.