[Catalina Island is the only place in California where the number and size of road-going motor vehicles is regulated by law. For residents of the island who want to bring a personal car, this means signing up at the bottom of a 14-year waiting list. Tourists are not permitted to ferry a vehicle from the mainland, even for temporary use. These policies keep the total car count below 1,000. As of June 17, 2002, there were 1,591 people on the waiting list and the person at the top of the list signed up on February 9, 1989. Currently, Avalon residents have a total of 1,285 golf cart permits.]
Ken Roberts, UFC Heavyweight Fighter
(Excerpt from the Global Collective Experience Project)
I always thought “The Octagon” was where my skills were always put to the test. But after waking up in solitary in the sheriff station on Catalina, everything changed. Suddenly the whole world became “The Octagon” for me. It was where I either lived or died…or worse.
I also never knew what it was like to kill someone until that day. But as Gwenn Merryfoot said, it’s not killing but surviving. She said that if we thought of the undead as people, then it was going to make trying to stay alive that much harder.
I guess to survive in this new world, I’d have to give up a part of what I was…a part of my humanity.
I guess I should start from the beginning.
A loud noise woke me up. I jumped out of bed and landed on a hard, stone floor. It was pitch black all around me and my head was still spinning from the night before. I shook my head to clear it and remembered being dragged to jail by a couple of sheriff deputies who had me in handcuffs. I think I was in a fight at a local bar. I vaguely remember punching some fool trying to score off of my score, if you know what I mean. Then next thing I knew, a couple of sheriff deputies were escorting me to their squad car.
I remember one of them saying, “Damn Bill, do you know who this is? He’s Ken Roberts! He’s going to be the next UFC heavyweight champion, man. Santos won’t know what’s coming when this dude gets in the cage with him.”
“Yeah well your buddy here better know what’s coming when he faces the judge,” the other deputy said. “You may want to throw away those posters of him out of your locker. His fighting career may be over.”
“No way, man. This kinda stunt will only help his reputation. You’ll see.”
And the rest, as they say, was history cuz I don’t really remember much more than that. Next thing I knew, I woke up in a dark cell all by myself.
In the dark, I carefully made my way to where the door was. I almost tripped on the edge of the cot and when I reached for the door, I gave it a slight nudge. Surprisingly, it gave! I couldn’t believe that the door was unlocked. I cracked it a bit, only to find that it was just as dark outside the cell. I also heard what I thought was several people moaning or groaning outside. It’s funny, but it brought to mind a wild party I once went to in Beverly Hills after a fight. There was this room in one of those crazy-expensive house. There must have been at least over a dozen guys and girls—I mean “hot” girls—in that room. Anyway, the moans and groans reminded me of that night…for some random crazy reason.
I carefully made my way in the dark, groping at the wall to keep my balance and find a way out. I considered asking out loud who was in the jail with me, but the groans and moans made me wonder if that was a good idea. Later on, I was glad I didn’t make any noise that would draw attention. At one point, I jumped forward in the dark. I slammed hard against a door—I think—and fell hard on the floor. That’s when I heard the others in the dark room start to move towards me, moaning the whole time. I grabbed at the door and pulled hard. A flood of light struck me, almost blinding me in the process. I quickly got up and rushed outside.
I was in a hallway. It was mostly dark to my left. A woman was standing there, aiming a bow at me. I put my arms up. She had a glowstick taped to her bow.
“Who the hell are you?” the woman said. She had dark skin and was kinda good looking, except for the bow and how serious she looked. She wasn’t dressed in uniform so I figured she wasn’t a sheriff deputy.
“I’m Ken Roberts,” I answered somewhat disappointed that she didn’t recognize me. I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t watch UFC fights these days? “And watch where you’re pointing that thing.”
To my right, I saw short steps leading down to a glass door that looked it led out to some kind of driveway or something. At least there was light by the door so I went that way. I checked the doors to find them locked.
Suddenly I saw three people outside. They were walking kinda funny, like they were dragging themselves along. Two were women, a young one and an older one. The third was a teenage boy. All had serious wounds on them—deep cuts that should have kept them from moving at all, if not killed them.
Just then, I heard something behind me. I turned around in time to see a sheriff deputy step out into the hallway. He came out of the area I came from. I was about to put my hands up and surrender, but the way he looked made me stop. The deputy, or what was left of him, was covered all in blood. He had a huge bite mark on his neck. His left arm was all torn up too, like it had been through some kind of meat grinder.
Suddenly, something struck the door right behind the deputy. The Amazon chick was reloading her bow and quickly moving back down the hallway. The deputy followed her. Then, five more people came stumbling out into the hallway. Two were women, and the other three were men who like the women were young and dressed like their were out partying except that it looked like the party turned violent and deadly judging by the way they all looked. I couldn’t be sure, but I think I recognized one of them as the punk I punched in the face.
Luckily, they all followed each other down the hallway away from me. I just crouched there by the exit, not moving and wondering what the hell was going on.
It was a while later when I decided to make my way down the hallway where the Amazonian woman went and those crazy people followed. Along the way, I heard yelling coming from other people, friends of the woman maybe.
By the time I made it to the precinct’s front office, I saw the rest who came with the Amazonian. One guy was dressed in a monkey suit and looked like some broker from Wall Street. Another guy was wearing some wet suit that didn’t look like the kind you buy at a dive shop.
They were all armed by the way.
I introduced myself to them and explained how I ended up in jail. I also told them about the three people I saw outside.
“There’s more than three out there, trust me,” the woman with the bow said with a grin.
It turned out her name was Gwenn Merryfoot, the broker—who turned out to be a reporter—was David Zabloski, and the wetsuit guy was Whittaker Longstreet who spoke with a southern accent that reminded me of those guys on TV who lived in swamps and hunted catfish with their bare hands. They told me there was another with them, a young guy who worked at local pizza place. Apparently, he had turned into some kind of violent lunatic after he was bitten by a female receptionist who they thought was dead. Seems Whittaker shot the pizza boy dead before he could hurt anyone.
Everybody decided to look around the place and check out the bodies for anything useful. Whittaker kept himself busy working on an electronic lock that led to the precinct’s armory. It seemed the power outage fried some wires, although I’m not sure how the doors will open anyway without power to the place.
I kept myself busy by helping search the place too. I opened a door that had a sign on it that read “CUSTODIAN”, when suddenly an arm shot out of the dark and tried to grab me. I easily dodged it. I quickly moved back into the hallway as a man in a janitor’s uniform came at me. His skin was kinda bluish grey in color and the veins were visible just under the skin. It was a little hard to tell, but I think he was Asian when he was…well, alive I guess.
I yelled for the others for help as it kept following me down a hallway.
Within seconds, David got behind the thing and blasted it with his shotgun. Man, was that thing loud! It tore a hole through the custodian’s stomach. His guts went flying all over the hallway, but I couldn’t believe that he didn’t drop. I hadn’t seen anything like that, except on TV—and it’s not the same, trust me.
The custodian suddenly turned around and went for David. I moved up right behind it and punched it in the back of its head. I know this is sick, but my hand almost went through his whole head! I pulled my hand out with pieces of his brain and bits of his skull still stuck to it. My punch was good enough though, ’cuz that janitor plopped down on the ground like the last fool I fought.
I then quickly wiped my hand on my pants.
Making sure there weren’t any more of them coming out of the custodian’s room, we decided to follow Whittaker’s recommendation to hang tight while he finished working on the electronic lock. He said it should take about an hour. He also said getting into the armory would help a lot since the armory would have what we needed to help fight those crazy things: guns!