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Peggy Staver: October 2020 Barefoot Writing Challenge Winner

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Congratulations to Peggy Staver for Winning the October 2020 Barefoot Writing Challenge! (Your $100 prize is on its way!)

The challenge was to write an essay that answered this prompt:

The zombie apocalypse is coming. Who are three people you want on your team?

Peggy wrote an entertaining take on how she would handle the apocalypse. Enjoy her winning submission:


10 a.m., Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021

So much has happened since my last journal entry. My hands are shaking as I write, but I must get this out in case I don’t make it.

The virus that dominated 2020 mutated in early December. At least that’s what they said on the news. No one really knows for sure.

A man in his 30s became infected with what the doctors said was a different strain. Then this mutated, or new, virus became dominant. Those affected with this virus became sick, but they didn’t die.

They became zombies!

I am writing while sitting on a repurposed car backseat in an underground bunker — one of the old missile silos in the Midwest.

When the city got too dangerous, the family piled into the Suburban and headed south, toward the Ozarks. We were stopped at a gas station when a guy ran toward us, yelling, “They’re coming! Go, go, go!” He grabbed the door handle and squeezed into the backseat.

“Drive,” he yelled. “Turn left; I’ll direct you.”

That was when we saw the zombies coming across the highway toward us. Andy stepped on the gas pedal, and we sped down the road in the opposite direction.

That was almost two months ago. Tyler (the guy who jumped into our car) had been working in the silo, converting it into his home. He was out walking when the zombies surprised him. He has told us repeatedly that we saved his life.

I say he saved ours.

Our son recognized him when he was showing us around his underground home. “Tyler Grey! You’re Tyler Grey from SEAL Team.”

Tyler had laughed. “I played a Navy SEAL on TV. I was in the Special Forces, and I was a sniper in the Army Rangers. If we work together, we can survive this.”

I feel safe knowing that Tyler and his arsenal of weapons are in this silo with us.

I am so grateful for Andy. He has these MacGyver-like skills and has always fixed things for us, friends, and family.

He has worked with Tyler to fortify our bunker and has built furniture for us from items found on missions outside. Like this backseat sofa.

Andy is also a calming force. Sure, he’s scared, just like we are, but he manages to keep us — especially the kids — from freaking out.

Which brings me to another special person who I am so grateful is here: our youngest grandchild, Justin.

Five-year-old Justin has a special power. He knows when the zombies are near.

He doesn’t hear or smell them. He senses them up to two miles away. “I feel them,” he says. “I just feel them around.”

He took to Tyler immediately, and they’ve really bonded. Which is good, because Justin has occasionally gone out with the guys. They need his power to warn them in time to get back underground.

That’s it for this entry. Time to figure out what to fix this crew for lunch.

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