Iain took me trout fishing this morning in the Powder River. I had never been fishing before. While I would not call my fishing a rousing success, we did manage a nice fried trout lunch beside the river. I lost more trout than I caught, which seemed to amuse Iain to no end.
The old highway is crumbling and falling apart. Trees now grow through cracks in the asphalt. Grass covers quite a bit of the roadway. We spooked a few mule deer munching on the grass in the center of the highway. In a few years, you will not be able to tell even there was a roadway there.
I fell on my ass in the river that also amused Iain much to my frustration. Now soaked and cold, I was not interested in fishing anymore. Iain decided to risk a fire, both as a way to dry my clothes, and to cook lunch. We have not seen anyone else in years, but we cannot be too careful.
We had to be careful with our fire. With the old highway 84 immediately above our heads, Iain was conscious of his choice of fire location. Using a shovel Iain dug a small depression in the bank, placing the fire in the hole limiting its light exposure.
I asked Iain once why he did not use one of the small ultralight twig and pinecone burning camp stoves once popular with backpackers and preppers. He shrugged and said that it was just something else to fool with which took up too much space in his bags. He would rather carry more ammo than some fancy hippie wood stove.
When starting the fire Iain’s choice to use charcoal brought from the bunker rather than found wood, of which there was plenty, limited the amount of smoke produced. Because of my wet clothes, we did use some of the wood lying about as we quickly exhausted the charcoal supply.
Iain always chose the driest wood possible breaking it into small pieces. He was careful not to dump too much wood on the fire at once limiting the amount of smoke produced. While we have not seen anyone in years, we are always careful. Iain worried that even the little amount of smoke from our tiny fire and even the smell of our cooking lunch might draw unwanted attention.
After lunch, we laid in the sand against the bank near the fire. Iain banked the coals, so we had a nice warm spot. Iain had wanted to use hardwood that produces better coals, but there is very little hardwood beside the river.
Snuggled up against Iain, wrapped in an old plaid wool blanket, lying on a few other old wool blankets I was suddenly aware that I was nude from the waist down. Iain, of course, did not miss this fact, his large hand slid over my ass cupping it in a way that was all too familiar.
Making love is a great way to warm up. By the time, we finished my clothes were mostly dry if a little smoky smelling. While I dressed, Iain the crazy idiot waded into the river for a quick scrub. Man is a fool to wade naked into that frigid water.
He seemed to enjoy his frigid plunge, the steam pouring off of him when came out. Iain is the warmest man that I have ever been with. I do not mean his personality either. His body seems to radiate heat like no other man I have ever known.
Iain is also the largest man I have ever been with in all respects. At seven-foot five inches tall and about 355 pounds, he is a massive specimen of a man. I am only five foot two, so he towers over me. His waist is flat with thickly sculpted muscles. He might not have a six-pack, but there is very little fat on him. His arms and legs are thickly corded with muscles as is his shoulders.
His muscles are not the bulky kind that gym rats used to pride themselves with, but rather the smooth muscles acquired naturally. With his great shaggy beard and thick body hair, as he emerged from the river he looked like some nude prehistoric Neanderthal.
Iain asked if I wanted to take a quick dip in the river. No thank you I will wait until I can heat some water back at the bunker. I have already taken a dip in that river and did not wish another. I just got warm.
After dressing and repacking the hobbled horses who were contentedly munching on the tender grass on the river banks we rode out of the river ravine. We spent the late afternoon selecting a useless (his words) neutered male goat for butchering.
Back in the bunker later that evening after a meal of spicy goat stew with fresh soda bread, I sat at my desk with a hot cup of tea. I started looking over my notes of my early days with Shack and the convoy. It is hard to believe how many years have passed since those days.
I am no longer a young woman as I was when the KCAP pandemic broke. The small crow’s feet around my eyes and the gray in my hair, still worn long to my waist, attest the fact of the passing years. Iain looks much the same as always.
Looking up from my notes, I open the computer document where I have compiled my journals. I see a note written in the side margin on the first page that the German state health department at Düsseldorf tried to keep the infected people out of hospitals to restrict the spread of KCAP.
A note under the one about the Germans reminds me that the WHO also recommended keeping the infected at home. I remember the early days of the KCAP outbreak when as much as a third of the population tried to flee.
The Boston-Washington Corridor was once the most heavily urbanized region of the US with approximately 75 million people living in the northern suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts, to the southern suburbs of Washington, D.C. in northern Virginia. The eastern seaboard of the US alone had 165 million people living along the coast.
The US quickly found itself overran with infected. Programs designed for epidemics or pandemics never started because most of the personnel either were killed, infected or unable to reach their destinations.
The FBI’s multi-billion dollar SIOC (strategic information operations center) was never used properly because only a few of the critical personnel actually made it to the center, which by then it was already too late. Placing the SIOC in the center of D.C., meant the critical agents had to brave traffic in order to reach it.
The few agents that did man the SIOC lacked the expertise needed to respond to such a catastrophe. The FBI lost most of its expertise in biology in 1969 when the US terminated all biological weapons programs.
Finding themselves dealing with a hungry tsunami of infected the agents at the SIOC could do little but watch the wave subdue everything in its path. Thinking of waves of infected, I am suddenly transported back to the early days of the convoy just after the last attack on the farm.
Doc and Jeff glance momentarily at each other as if to decide who speaks first. Doc speaks first.
“We’ve got 12 KIA, mostly perimeter guards and Scouts at the SARBOO. There are 16 wounded, of those four are not likely. We’re going to have to close the SARBOO. We’ve just lost too damn many people to man both it and our perimeters. As for the Adventists, they’ve lost only a few personnel, mostly incidental losses in the line of fire. Most of their KIA were wrong place at the wrong time. But losing Phyllis is going to be a real blow to the Adventists.”
Sam takes a bite of his (by now) cold, dripping BBQ Spam sandwich grimacing as some of the sauce drips on his BDU blouse.
Jeff sets his half-eaten, cold Spam sandwich down in his lap. He consults his notes on his ever-present clipboard. Looking up from his clipboard around at the assembled staff, he pushes the thick Army-issue black framed glasses up his nose. Those damn glasses are so thick and heavy they are always sliding down Jeff’s nose. Jeff speaks in a low voice.
“Material loses are fairly minimal. Losing the farmhouse hurt. With it, we lost most of our paper maps and a few personal effects, but nothing that we cannot replace, well – other than the personal effects anyway. We’ve lost some livestock but not as many as originally feared. Cooks tell me we will be eating mutton for a few days.”
Jeff takes a small sip of his beer grimacing at the taste. Looking briefly at his notes, and replacing his glasses again, he continues.
“Thankfully, unlike pork or beef, there is no religious prohibition eating sheep. Looking at my notes, we’re going to be eating quite a bit of mutton. Good thing the smokehouse escaped damage. But the delayed Kayak Point trip to acquire salt is now even more critical.”
Jeff pauses again, sipping from his beer and grimacing at the taste. I do not believe that Jeff likes the taste of beer. Jeff continues after swallowing noisily.
“With the new kids added to our personnel, we’ve gained several more mouths to feed with little or no helpful skills. It could be argued that the gain of the girls offsets any strain on the resources, but that is arguable. Ammo expenditure was minimal, but the loss of several motorcycles damaged in the fighting cannot be replaced. Our Scout loses essentially offsets the loss of motorcycles as we now possess enough motorcycles to outfit each remaining Scout.”
Sam interrupts Jeff. “We will need to train more Scouts before we head north. Add that to the list of other important shit we need to do.”
Jeff uses Sam’s opportune interruption by drinking a large swallow of his beer making a strange face again at the taste. Jeff shoves his eyeglasses back in place.
“We did not lose any of the fuel tankers thank God, which apparently, was one of the goals of the attackers. We are back to tent city though. The farmhouse was our last wooden structure. We must concentrate on the essentials – shelter, sanitation and food.”
While Jeff talked, Carmine and Pastor silently joined our meeting. Both men appear rough, but not nearly as haggard as the women. Shack and I noted that the men slim down and get a hard-lived look to them, that is not necessarily unpleasant or at least to my jaded eyes.
However, the stress of this post-apocalyptic life takes a toll on the women. The women look much worse than the men. Perhaps I rely on too much on personal criticism and self-criticism; required practices in every socialist social unit. In my adolescence, I learned how to criticize not only myself but also my peers as well.
Shack and I discussed at some length the many reasons why mostly men have survived the KCAP pandemic. The main difference between the sexes, at least that we have concluded, is the presence of children. Many women had children to care for, making them more at risk. A lot of the men only had themselves to worry about, so more males survived than females.
Carmine and Pastor have little to add to the meeting that ends shortly after their arrival. I note that Pastor and Carmine each appropriated one of the Obrez pistols taken from the attackers. During my IDF service Obrez pistols of varied craftsmanship turned up from time to time usually in the arms of insurgents.
Carmine carries an Obrez pistol made from a beautiful Japanese Type 38 Arisaka rifle with the Imperial Chrysanthemum intact. I wonder just how many of the Japanese cartridges Carmine possess. Carmine’s Arisaka pistol is very well done with beautifully carved wood.
I notice that Carmine now also carries a Japanese Type 30 bayonet. With no bayonet socket on his Obrez pistol, I suppose that Carmine will use the Japanese bayonet with its 15” blade as a sword. Carmine with his Escrima skills will be very deadly with the long Japanese blade in addition to his Filipino sundáng.
By comparison, Pastor’s Obrez made from a battered, disreputable-looking Mosin Nagant rifle is one ugly piece of work. Whoever carved the Mosin rifle stock into a pistol grip had little or no woodworking skills.
Pastor now wears a brown leather Mosin rifle bandolier around his hips. He still wears his shotgun bandolier. Pastor’s battered shotgun, now hanging from an OD green woven paracord sling hangs over his right shoulder.
At least we have lots of the ammo for the Mosin rifles even if most of it is old corrosive crap. The zombies do not seem to care if we shoot them with corrosive ammo or not.
The subject of the new kids in the camp is going to something that is going to be settled later. Perhaps some of the older kids might want to travel north with us while some might prefer to remain here with the Adventists.
In our bedroll Shack and I gently make love. Afterwards, we get a few hours of sleep before taking over the night watch in the radio tent. Since the morning that I awoke to Shack buried to the hilt inside me, taking the path to pleasure that only men may take, we have been making love fairly regularly.
Despite my fear of pregnancy, we have not used any contraceptives. Shack sweetheart that he is, during the first time even asked if I wanted him to pull out before he orgasmed. I merely locked my heels behind his ass encouraging him to thrust faster and harder.
Unlike most of the women in the camp, my periods have stopped completely. At first I feared that I might be pregnant. A few of those home pregnancy kits confirmed that I was not to be a mother – yet.
Doc tells me that women who are under a great amount of physical stress can have their monthly periods stop. Stopped cycles were a common problem among professional women athletes who had to reduce their physical exercise in order to conceive. A famous woman Ironman Triathlon athlete, used to running 15 miles a day, had to reduce her daily runs to a mere two miles so that she could conceive her first child.
Rain, still the holdout among the women, has yet to choose a single lover. Despite her promiscuity or it is because of it, no serious fights have broken out. Many of the men still court Rain hoping to be the lucky final one she chooses. I do not see Rain often, but I do occasionally bump into her in the women’s shower.
I started practicing yoga again. The stretching and peace of mind imparted by yoga has greatly helped my state of both mind and body. Frequently I am joined by the Princess and Honey now both sporting visible baby bumps.
I was not aware that the Princess practiced Bikram yoga until she mentioned it after a morning yoga session. I imagined the Princess, dressed in the chicest and most expensive yoga attire, attending some yuppie Mercer Island yoga place. From the description of the Princess’s yoga before KCAP, I might not have been too far off the mark.
We cannot heat any space sufficiently for her preferred style of yoga, but the Princess does not seem to mind. Vinyasa and Ashtanga are my two preferred styles of yoga. I may never be as advanced a yogi as Amy was, but at least I never embarrassed myself.
I find the coordination and stretching of yoga complements Krav Maga quite well. I have tried to convince Shack to join me in yoga every time, so far with little success. Shack will occasionally join me for a little while, but the boy is incredibly stiff, and many of the forms are hard for him to attain. If Shack keeps stretching, he may become limber enough to attain the proper forms.
I have told Shack that he needs to stretch more and the forms with practice get easier. Shack seems more interested in perving on my ass as I stretch, rather than stretching himself. Damn skin tight yoga pants. I have learned that some men have an inordinate puerile desire to stare at a woman’s ass while she stretches.
At least Shack is allowing me to teach him Krav Maga in which I have found him to be an apt if a little too stiff pupil. Surprisingly one of my best students has been Honey, despite her pregnancy. Honey is incredibly limber; her strength and speed is frightening. Honey also possesses and excellent memory able to remember the basic forms and techniques.
Honey usually puts Thing 1 in a play pen while we practice Yoga, or I teach Krav Maga. At least he quit screaming after a few times in the play pen. Thing 1 is already walking while his baby brother is only crawling. That little monster gives me the creeps; the way he follows Honey everywhere is unsettling.
A few hours after the fighting ceased, once most of the clean-up was completed enough so that some normalcy (if it could ever be called that) returned to camp Sam, held a staff meeting beside the burnt-out remains of the farmhouse.
As the staff sits down to hold a meeting, the cooks handout warm BBQ Spam sandwiches. The cooks have become adept at cooking a kind of flat bread. The bread such as it is might not be the prettiest or the tastiest bread, but it works.
I grimace as I am handed a dripping Spam sandwich. I am not sure what brand of BBQ sauce is dripping over my fingers, but it is somewhat too sweet for my tastes. As I perform a very un-ladylike stunt by licking my fingers, another cook offers a choice of either a can of warm beer or hot tea.
At least the tea quality has improved since the Adventists joined us. I take the warm can of beer placing it my coat pocket. I sip my tea between bites of dripping Spam sandwich.
Sam begins the meeting once everyone is seated and served.
“We got hit hard, but not as hard as we could have had those assholes waited long enough to truly discover our defenses.” Sam takes a bite of his BBQ Spam sandwich pausing to wash the dry bread down with a swig from a warm can of Coors Light.
Talking around a mouthful of Spam, Sam continues. “Fuckers knew exactly what to bait the hook with. Knew that we would take in a group with kids. Well, at least we still have the kids. The loss of adults is going to hurt both groups.”
Turning, Sam looks at Doc. Sam takes another bite of his sandwich looking thoughtful. I nod my thanks as the black cook hands me another warm, dripping BBQ Spam sandwich accompanied by another warm can of Coors. I note that the sandwich bread is missing little divots probably where the cooks cut mold from the bread.
The cook continues to hand sandwiches to the staff as Sam continues. While the cooks hand out sandwiches to any who request another, Carol and Nikola join us.
Nikola carries his swaddled child in his arms. Carol looks tired but ungodly happy. No woman who just gave birth should look that damn happy. She is even crying for Chrissakes!
Nikola pulls down the swaddling revealing a red, freckled cherubic face framed by a mop super fine fiery red hair. The baby possesses a small red button nose over a thin-lipped mouth. I assume that the child’s eyes are blue; I wonder if the eyes will remain blue or change to another color.
Puffing out his chest while walking a little unsteadily, Nikola shows around his baby. I suspect that the new father has already been celebrating the birth of his child.
“Present I, son of mine, Stephen Nikolovich. We call him Stiva.” The proud father hands his sleeping infant son to his mother. Carol sits with her son and promptly puts him to nursing. Well swaddled, and nestled against Carol’s breast, Stiva waves a small chubby hand in the air, visible occasionally through the gap of Carol’s naval peacoat.
Carol refuses a Spam sandwich with a brief shake of her head but takes a can of beer, gulping it down in one shot. Nikola takes two Spam sandwiches placing them in his chair. When Carol finishes, the first can of beer Nikola gives her another. While nursing, Carol sips the second can of beer.
From the immense deep pockets of his huge, fuzzy gray Astrakhan great-coat, Nikola produces a sealed bottle of Starka vodka. Tossing the vodka lid into the small campfire we are sitting around he offers a traditional Russian toast, in the form of a poem, to his son.
“I wish you to be always happy,
I wish you a great mood,
I wish you to never know sadness,
I wish you all the kindness in your life,
I wish you to never be sad,
I wish you to start your days with a smile,
Like on this Birth Day!”
After the poem, Nikola takes a large swig of the vodka. Handing the bottle to Sam, Nikola wobbly sits down in his chair. I think perhaps the new father has started celebrating well before the birth of his son.
Sam mumbles a pleasantry before taking a polite sip of the vodka. The other members also mumble brief pleasantries before taking a sip of the vodka and passing the bottle. I am the last to receive the bottle of vodka, Shack handing it to me while he coughs at the burn of the alcohol.
In keeping with the father’s Russian toast to his son, I repeat an old bawdy Russian toast that I heard many years ago.
“Let me raise a toast for the well-known word that consists of five letters starting with letter “P”.
The word describes what people of all over the world think of. It is written in every possible place in words and pictures. It never kills, but on the contrary increases the population of the globe. It is what every woman thinks about and wants very much for herself, and for her daughters, for her husband and for her sons. It is what every man wants to preserve as long as possible.
Stiva, may you have “Peace” always.”
I take a healthy swig of the Starka vodka enjoying the smooth taste. I offer the bottle to Carol, who gently shakes her head no, so as not to disturb her nursing son. I next offer the bottle to Nikola, who takes it in his left hand. He sits quietly watching his son feed taking an occasional healthy swig of the fiery liquid.
We all watch in silence as the boy lustily feeds, the new parents quietly holding hands. For a few moments, the only sounds we hear is the little boy nursing. Sam turns to look at Doc again, but this time looks at Jeff as well.
“So Doc and Jeff, how bad were we hit?”
I was supposed to post this chapter last night but did not get around to it. Mea Culpa
The past day has been one of chaos and bloodbath. Shack and I after breakfast and quietly making love, were sound asleep when the sound of gunfire woke us. The sound of machineguns causes me to cringe thinking of all the zombies the noise is going to attract to our position.
Diving to the floor from our bedroll in a tangle of arms of legs we wiped the sleep from our eyes attempting to get an idea of the direction of shooting. Shack and I manage to get our pistols in our hands. I sweep the tent with the muzzle of my Browning Hi-Power while Shack yanks his Serbu Super Shorty from its holster.
Carol, panting like a blacksmith’s bellows, bursts into the tent carrying a suppressed, smoking USAS-12 shotgun. The shotgun balances precariously on her prominent stomach. I notice that the drum in the weapon is half empty. She carries an open-topped O.D. green canvas satchel from which the tops of three more USAS-12 drums protrude.
“Get the fuck out there we are under attack!” She turns to leave.
“Where you dozy broad!” I shout at her retreating backside. Despite her advanced pregnancy, she still has a fine ass. Damn hormones! It must be all the regular sex that I am getting. Shack and I have had intercourse for a few days now. The damn boy in incorrigible. I forgot how virile horny 18-year-old boys are. I am a bit sore but not in a bad way.
“Anywhere, we are surrounded,” Carol shouts as we scramble for clothes and weapons. Carol waddles out of the tent, letting the entrance tarp flap behind her.
“God help us! A pregnant woman with a fully automatic 12 gauge shotgun. Shit must be bad,” Shack mutters.
As we finish hurriedly dressing, I kiss him lightly as we grab our rifles and head for the battle. It has been a while since I have been dressed in full battle rattle. I had forgotten how much all of this shit weighs.
We exit our tent into chaos. Soldiers and civilians are running everywhere; the old farmhouse is completely engulfed in flames, and there are zombies everywhere.
Shack and I work our way to the radio tent, to find Nguen and Junior in a pitched battle with invaders. Dressed like motorcycle gangsters from a low-budget horror flick the enemy is at least easy to identify.
Coming from the side, we were able to shoot the motorcycle-gear-wearing attackers. Checking on Nguen and Junior we hear screams from inside the tent. Shack and I leap into the tent discovering that Carol has gone into labor. Nikola, kneeling beside a prostrate Carol, is frantically calling on the radio for either Brenda, Bettina or Doc to come assist him.
Shack explodes out of the radio tent. Following Shack, I turn to look at Nikola and mutter “mazel tov.” Nikola is too busy to respond, so I quickly catch up to Shack. We are standing in the center of the compound backlit by the brightly burning farmhouse, when Rick in the up-armored snow plow careens to a stop beside us.
The Princess opens the passenger door, shouting for Shack and I to climb into the dump bed. The Princess does not even bother to wait and see if we are going to follow her suggestions when she slams the door shut. As Shack and I awkwardly climb into the truck, we join two other soldiers already in the dump bed.
One soldier is dead with a bullet to the face while the other is frantically reloading a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher. Shack assists the Mk-19 loader while I take stock of our situation. Our dead comrade is beyond help, so I drag him to the rear of the dump bed. We have plenty of ammunition, when I see something that perks my interest.
I notice that the middle half of the tailgate has been cut, and a narrow, horizontal door fashioned. Kicking a cloth tarp covered lump near the tailgate in the gloomy and stuffy armored dump bed I swear briefly in Yiddish. Where the fuck are the lights?
Pulling the tarp off reveals a beautiful sight. A pristine desert tan GAU-19/B mounted in a sliding pintle mount gleaming with fresh oil. Sitting on a wooden 5.56 NATO ammo crate behind the minigun, I kick the tailgate door open. Grasping the twin paddles, I notice the little green light for ready.
With the sunlight coming in from the open hatch in the tailgate, I refamiliarize myself with the loading and care of the minigun.
Thank God that the Israeli army used US weapons mostly. Looking at the weapon platform and magazine, by looking at the witness marks, I find that I have a full ready canister containing 7,000 rounds of 12.7×99 (AKA – US 50 BMG). Next to the ready canister is a standby canister filled with a mere 5,000 rounds.
Sliding the triple barrels out of the firing port, I search for a likely target. It does not take me long. Spotting a few motorcycle gangsters taking cover behind one of the wrecked vehicles near the gate I squeeze off a short burst. I walk the gun across the old Pontiac, guided by the fiery track of the tracers.
Satisfied when the men disappear with the vehicle burning merrily I release the trigger. Looking at the rounds in the feed chute, I see that the crafty lads have loaded this weapon with a variety of rounds. I recognize Armor Piercing Incendiary-Tracer (API-T), High-Explosive Armor Piercing Incendiary (HEIAP), incendiary, and ball cartridges.
I realize that this is an old Humvee GAU-19 probably firing about 1,300 rounds per minute. I remember that this weapon takes about a half of a second to reach full firing rate. I note that the bed floor has a hole cut into it so that the spent shells and links fall through the bottom of the bed on to the ground.
As Rick drives the snow plow around for another pass, I see that the battle is over. I occasionally hear the Mk-19 chunk as it tosses a grenade or three. There are some pockets of fighting, but even those are quickly winding down. I see several motorcycle gear wearing men running for the asphalt.
I twist the minigun to cut them down when suddenly I realize why they were running as the MGS Stryker runs them over. I watch as the driver spins the blood-spattered Stryker around, whipping it in a tight turn mowing any survivors over, turning them into a bloody pulp.
I see one of our other Strykers roar by now carrying an FN M3M heavy machine gun in a remote-controlled mount on the roof. As things settle down I note that Shack is operating a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, (SINCGARS) radio set mounted to the passenger side of the dump bed. In the gloomy dump bed, I can barely see him having an animated discussion with someone on the radio.
My ears still ringing he gives me the OK hand sign with a questioning look. I respond to Shack with a thumbs up to let him know that I am OK. Shack talks briefly with the standing soldier manning the Mk-19. I feel the snow plow lurch into motion again as we drive around the compound.
Our gate is smashed, the barricade has some major holes in it, and it looks as if we expended all of our booby-trapped vehicles. From what little that I can see through the narrow minigun port the damage does not look too bad.
In the next few hours I would be proven to have been so horribly wrong.
The two new arrivals did not have anything interesting to say other than that they raided an old military museum which explains the presence of so many oddball weapons. Some of the weapons are not military though. The other adult male from the group, Craig, carries a shaved .455 Webley MK VI revolver that is able to fire .45 ACP rounds mounted in moon clips. Smart choice in weapon as we have a lot of .45 ACP ammo.
Craig also has an unaltered Webley pistol cylinder without moon clips able to shoot original .455 Webley reloaded rounds. The two boys believe that Craig does not have many of the particularly weak .455 Webley rounds. Most of the .455 Webley rounds might have corrosive primers and even perhaps black powder.
In keeping with his British theme, Craig also carries a STEN Mk V L52 along with a tan canvas British Sten bandoleer holding seven magazines. The Sten is an excellent weapon within its limitations. Craig found a friend in Bill and the two of them have been nearly inseparable. Bill said that at least Craig knows which way to turn a wrench.
Craig’s first assignment for us was to recover diesel and motor oil from the nearby hospital generators. Craig has also helped establish a temporary SARBOO (Search And Rescue Base Of Operations) post not far from the compound. The other male Scout leader I have not yet met, but I know that he has been stuck at the SARBOO with a few of the older boys and some of our Scouts.
With only about 20 women in the camp and nearly 100 men, the colonels wanted to reduce the chance of fights and spread the men out. There is some grumbling still about Bill having two wives (both of whom are now confirmed pregnant).
No one grumbles that Brenda took two husbands. At least I do not get propositioned as much as I used to. Looking over at Shack snoozing, I wonder if he is thinking about us and what happened this morning. I want to talk about it, but I am waiting for Shack to bring the matter up.
I hope that I do not have to worry about losing Shack to another woman now. While it is quiet tonight, I work on catching up on my journal. Shack told me the story of his first zombie kill. I will try to narrate it as best I can.
Shack woke up when his father left for morning PT with his former Army company. At this point during the KCAP pandemic it was already too late but no one realized it yet. Every city with a major airport had become a plague vector before the authorities were even aware that something was happening. Shack’s father taught high school on post. They were posted at Ft. Lost in the Woods, MO (AKA – Ft. Leonard Wood), where Shack’s mother, Joyce, was a Major teaching at the USAES (United States Army Engineer School).
Shack’s father was the junior minister at the Protestant chapel on post. Shack has not mentioned if his father held another job other than preacher. The elder Rogers, often jogged in the morning with several of his friends from his Army active duty days. Shack’s mom was a career Army woman, while Shack’s father only served his time to pay off his education debt. Shack was a senior at the post high school.
With mother and father out of the house early for PT, Shack’s girlfriend (who sounds like a real slut to me) snuck over for some early morning fooling around. Shack’s girlfriend would not let him penetrate her, but was game for just about everything else.
Shack noticed a small wound on his girlfriend’s wrist when she came over that morning but distracted by a stiff dick and a willing girl he did not think anything of it at the time. After fooling around with his lady, Shack pulled her into the shower for a good scrub.
While naked in the shower, Shack noticed that the wound on her wrist was now surrounded by black flesh and smelled like rotting meat. Thick black lines ran up her arm, which to Shack looked as if she was suffering blood poisoning. The amount of time was too quick for blood poisoning which usually has a fairly lengthy onset time. Shack mentioned that she should seek medical attention after which she pushed her way out of the shower sitting naked and dripping on the toilet.
Shack figured she was mad and continued luxuriating in the hot water. Shack is not sure how long he was in the shower after she got out, but he realized, after a while that she was no longer in the bathroom with him. Calling her name several times she did not respond. Shack turned back to the shower shutting the water off when suddenly the shower curtain was ripped aside his girlfriend leaping upon him.
Covered in fresh blood, his girlfriend ripped at his face snapping her teeth at him like a rabid dog. He noticed the hot sticky blood covering her naked chest and thighs which in their struggles coated him as well. Fighting off his girlfriend, he tossed her bodily from the shower.
His girlfriend falling from the shower, wrapped in the shower curtain struck her head on the edge of the toilet. Landing in a bloody crumpled pile between the toilet and shower his girlfriend laid still. Shack turned off the water and checking his girlfriend realized that she was dead. A large dent in the side of her head matched the shape of the toilet. Worried that he had just killed someone, and what his parent’s reaction was going to be to a dead, naked girl in his bathroom, (and his likely punishment) he noticed her bloody tracks in the hallway.
Following the bloody footprints, Shack traced his girlfriend’s steps to his little brothers’ room. He would not describe what he found, but he said that his much younger twin brothers were both killed by his girlfriend. Overcome with grief at the loss of his young twin brothers Shack sat in the hallway outside their room crying. He did not hear his father enter the house until the older Rogers was violently shaking him by the shoulders.
Dragging a naked and bloody Shack into the shower, and turning on the cold water, Shack’s father checked him for injuries. Shack’s father was yelling at him, but Shack was too numb to respond until Shack’s father slapped him hard, twice across the face.
Now pissed at his father, everything came out in a rush. The Army post, despite its remoteness was already overrun. Any organization was long gone, with most senior officers either missing or killed. With a large transient population of soldiers, KCAP ravaged the post before anyone even knew what was happening.
Shack told me some more of that hectic time, but I need to leave off on my journal as the survivors living in the old casements of Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island have called on the radio again. The next entry I will explain how we met that bunch of survivors, but for now I need to wake Shack and get him to help me answer the radio. I am glad to see they are using the radio gear we gave them.
Damn batteries are nearly dead again. Shack better get cranking.
The last few days have been a flurry of activity. Rick has the snowplow up-armored for the Kayak Point trip. It is amazing what Mal and the other mechanical types were able to cannibalize in parts from several of the abandoned vehicles. It is a good thing that there is no shortage of abandoned vehicles to cannibalize.
The only problem is that as time passes we have cannibalized all the nearby abandoned vehicles. The Scouts and the mechanics must travel farther each time searching for new vehicles which to cannibalize.
With the cannibalized parts, Rick and the others upgraded and enhanced the cooling systems of the snowplow. Covered in steel plating, the cab and now even the tires are protected, but the engine and hydraulics have to work that much harder. Upgrading the cooling systems for both the engine and the hydraulics should help to keep the heat to within tolerable limits.
Small transmission cooling radiators and small electric cooling fans ripped out of a variety of cars were plumbed into the snow plow’s engine oil cooling system and the hydraulic system. With the added capacity and increased cooling ability, Rick hopes the snow plow will survive underneath both the strain of the new armor plating and the abuse it must suffer when we travel.
Rick and a few of the Scouts made a few runs around the surrounding area testing the up-armored and improved snowplow. With the added weight of the armor the snowplow eats more fuel, and Rick says that visibility from the cab is so much worse. We have to trade visibility for armor protection.
Still Rick was able to maneuver the snowplow well enough for a brief raid on a cannibal enclave within in the nearby city of Arlington. Housed in an ancient, former Methodist Episcopalian church originally built-in 1898, the small group of cannibals did not offer too much resistance.
The church occupying cannibals only possessed a couple of guns, and a little ammunition. Unfortunately for them, most of the ammo that they possessed did not chamber in any of their guns. From what I understand from some of the lads who were part of the assault, the cannibals were surprised that ammo was not universal.
The church occupying cannibals must have been firearm ignorant in their former lives. One of the cannibals killed in the church, did much damage to his face when he chambered a modern .380 ACP cartridge into an old British Mk 1 .380/200 revolver. Firing the improperly loaded revolver caused the pistol to shatter, imbedding parts of it in to the shooter’s face.
The blinded, ignorant British pistol shooting cannibal was rolling around on the floor in agony when one of the Russian lads shot him once in the forehead, putting him out of his misery. In a perverse sense of serendipity, the Russian lad used an almost as ancient Russian Nagant revolver wearing an APS 9mm suppressor.
Very little worthwhile loot was recovered from the Methodist church building. A blue looted charity bin surrendered some women’s and children’s clothing. After boiling and a good wash, the clothes were distributed to those who needed them. Most of the recovered clothes were cheap imported wares that will not survive very long.
A very small amount of ammo was recovered, most of it odd calibers such as .32 H&R Magnum, 9mm Largo, and 28 gauge shotgun. A black Piece of Shit (POS) Hi-Point 9mm pistol, a rusty disreputable-looking 16 gauge single shot, break action Sears shotgun and a flaking, nickel-plated Lorcin .25 ACP pistol with cracked white plastic grips were also recovered from the old church.
The Hi-Point pistol is missing its magazine, but at least the Lorcin pistol came with two magazines. From Shack, I understand that some of the older gents have nicknamed the little Lorcin pistol “Bob Marley” because it always be jamming. I thought the joke particularly funny, but Shack did not get it so I had to explain it to him.
I am not even sure if the company possesses weapons to shoot the odd recovered calibers. We are getting quite the collection of odd and unique weapons and ammo. Any ammo is recovered as is any weapon increasing the odds that we will be able to use any ammo or weapon recovered.
The Scouts and soldiers that took part in the raid said that the inside of the old church was so disgusting that it was decided to torch the building. The basement had been turned into a human abattoir, which caused the hardened soldiers to shudder when remembering it. I hated to hear that such an old once beautiful building burnt. Perhaps the flaming building attracted some zombies to their death – I hope so.
As Sam suspected, Honey is able to hear the collective hive minds of the cannibals. Unfortunately, she cannot understand the cannibal hive mind but gets impressions of desires, mostly food and sex from what she says. Honey is also not able to tell how many cannibals are in the hive but can at least offer a guess.
Honey appears to be more attuned to cannibals rather than the zombies as she is able to hear the cannibal’s minds more than the zombies. I wonder if this is because the zombie’s minds are now completely inhuman, while the cannibals still keep a slight amount of their humanity.
Honey and Thing 1, now tottering around on his feet at five months old, are inseparable. Sarah does not appear to mind that her oldest child does not care that he is separated from his mother (or she hides it well). Sarah is having an easier time caring for one child who does not attempt to tear her tit off every time she feeds the little monster.
Thing 2 is still a chubby happy little boy who is not yet even rolling over. Thing 1 is now starting to eat solid food. His first teeth have come in black just like Honey’s. The baby’s teeth are still human in shape despite their disquieting color.
Thing 1 has just started walking. Honey carries him everywhere she goes. Since she has been added to the medical tent personnel, Sarah sees her child every day. It must tear at her heart though, to see her child prefer another woman over his mother. Honey is able to control Thing 1 better than even his own mother.
With a stern look Honey is able to calm or discipline Thing 1. I wonder transpires between them during those looks. What mental struggles and commands do they hear from each other? Honey says that she can sense when Thing 1 is hungry or needs changing but is not able to hear his thoughts exactly.
Honey describes what she feels from Thing 1 as just that – feelings, an image or a projection of what he desires. Honey describes the hive minds of the cannibals as feeling the same way. She gets an impression of what the colony feels and what they desire – such as food mostly, clothing or (blushing) sex.
From the zombie colonies, Honey explains that they feel like the buzzing that used to be heard from the old, high power and high tension power transmission lines. While she cannot hear the thoughts and needs of a zombie colony, Honey can at least serve as a zombie divining rod pointing us in the general direction of a colony.
We have found that smell alone once directed by Honey into a general area is enough to locate a zombie nest. For the most part, zombie nests are left alone, unless they inhabit a place with suitable materials for recovery.
A fully loaded bottled water delivery truck and a snack food deliver panel van were rescued from a nearby zombie nest without too much fuss and more importantly without loss of human life. The bottled water from the truck added to our supplies increases our potable water holdings by a few hundred gallons.
After all the plastic bottles of water were removed from the truck, it was quickly drained of fuel and oil which were added to the company’s stock. Cannibalized for spare parts, the stripped hulk of the water delivery truck was then towed out and added to the barricade surrounding the property.
As vehicles die, and are cannibalized for parts, they are added to a growing barricade around the perimeter of the property. The ugly rusty piles of vehicles and other trash might not stop an invasion by other survivors, but it is enough to slow most of the wandering zombies. As time slips past us, the barricade gets taller and more of the gaps are getting filled in.
Any sort of fencing and nearly anything that can be chained, wired or welded to the barricade is added daily. The surrounding farms all have been stripped of bailing wire, and any other kind of wire that could be located. Wire that is not used in constructing the barricade is used for snares.
Several of the lads have grown quite adept at making snares both for trapping edible critters (Shack’s word – not mine) and for ensnaring zombies. The tangle foot traps and other zombie snares around the perimeter help deter and slow the zombies enough that they can be safely dispatched with a Scorpion, or a long handled spear from a safe distance.
As long as the zombies are wandering in small groups our porous perimeter works well enough. However, if our perimeter should undergo an onslaught of a zombie horde like we saw in the first few days of the KCAP outbreak – none of us believe that the barricade would even slow the zombies down.
The sheer weight of a zombie horde, numbering in the thousands would be enough to tear apart the hastily erected barricade. Our barricade is neither not nearly as resilient nor as sturdy as the Seattle Barricade on Lake City Way we met so many months ago. Our barricade is also much larger encompassing a piece of property covering several acres not one small city block.
It is almost time for Nikola and Carol to relieve us. I will close my journal for now. I see that Shack has dozed off again. I know just how to wake the young man putting a smile on his face. It is also a great way to start the day.
I have been on vacation, this is my first day back to the grind.
As someone who has scribbled in notebooks for years, and possess a growing eclectic collection of filled notebooks, I find other author’s notebooks fascinating.
I don’t think that I would let someone else look into my notebooks (no that’s my idea – no stealing you bitch!) it is fascinating to see the creative process from another author’s point of view.
This was supposed to be my Freakin’ Friday post last week. Work and family have kept me from the keyboard.
Read over this list of eight guns from the experts at G&A. Tell me in the comments what you think should be added or subtracted from the list and why.
No trolls or flaming each other please.
After all, we know that the flamethrower is one of the worst weapons to use in a zombie apocalypse.
Zombies trying to eat you are bad.
Flaming zombies attempting to eat you are so much worse.
Life on a farm with cannibals
There were not very many things of note over the next few weeks, so other than a few jotted notes, my journal remained empty.
I finally dug out my Yoga roll, and started stretching. I was extremely tight for the first few days, but have loosened up enough to meet most of the proper forms. I will never be a true yogi, but at least the stretching helped me to limber up.
I have also started teaching basic military Krav Maga to a few of the soldiers including Shack. Some of the lads have had some basic hand to hand training. But as most of them were rushed through training to fill the rapidly depleting ranks of the army, few have any real skills. Shack has proven to be an apt pupil as has Honey.
How to train a cannibal in Krav Maga …
Honey’s reflexes, strength and speed are startling. She is nearly as strong as I am, and soon will be much quicker. Honey’s nails leave terrible-looking red welts when we spar. I was hesitant at first to teach Honey any Krav Maga. Sam and Doc asked me to teach her since that might strengthen her bond to our company. Honey learns fast. I have to be careful teaching her, less I end up hurt.
When Honey smiles the sight of her black teeth is unsettling to say the least. While Honey’s speed and strength are amazing her control is not so good. When frustrated, or worse, hungry, the beast comes out in her in full force. I remember Cauley describing how hunger made the KCAP virus sing in his head like a coke-fueled monkey. I imagine Honey has a similar problem.
Frustrated Honey, when hungry, is frightening, causing more than one soldier to back away from her while reaching for his side arm. We have made sure that Honey carries snacks with her to stave off her hunger. Even she has mentioned that when hungry, she gets the urge to nosh on someone.
Honey has to fight the urges of the virus when hungry. As she cares for Thing 1 full-time now, I have to wonder if she is getting or giving further infection from Thing 1. Thing 1 is crawling now at barely three months old and will be walking before five months if Doc’s estimates are correct.
Some personnel changes are in effect as well. Our long-suffering engineer Mal will be remaining with the Adventists when the convoy moves north. Also staying behind are Bill, his two wives (both now pregnant) and their younger children. Junior has decided to stay with the company; I suspect because of a certain young lady he is sleeping with.
Parting will be such sweet sorrow, but that is how it is going to have to be. Other personnel changes I am sure are in the works and will show themselves as time passes. Mal and the other engineer types are still struggling to get the methanol production vats in proper order.
Assault pig truck …
Rick tore the front end off of the snow plow and is busily up arming the plow with plate steel. The lads found something nearby called a Maximus/Minimus urban assault pig truck with a ridiculous amount of steel. Busily stripped by Rick and the engineers, the once pig-shaped metal former hot dog truck is being cannibalized for parts.
The pig truck provided not only a wealth of sheet metal but also several useful fittings, appliances and small bits like wires that come in handy. With places like Home Depot and Lowes long stripped of anything useful scavenging and cannibalizing are the only ways that we can find repair parts.
Speaking of cannibalizing, Sam has decided that there will be no more bargains with cannibals. Sam I would not say has the loathing of cannibals that Iain possesses, but has learned that for the most part, they cannot be trusted.
For the next time that a cannibal’s enclave is found, there has been some discussion that a trebuchet might come in handy after all. The Scout lads have found some text books, and some of the younger children are being schooled by their parents or older siblings.
Some of the sharper kids while reading the history books noted that sieges were often shortened by the sieging forces using trebuchets. Large trebuchets hurling rotting and diseased carcasses into the besieged cities were especially effective after the Black Death erupted in Europe. We do not have the plague but we have something that is almost as good if not better.
We would use a similar tactic, but we would be hurling zombies into the cannibal’s enclave. I imagine that dropping zombies in someone’s compound would suck for them on so many levels. Not really a workable attack tactic for a number of logistical problems, but still out of the mouth of babes …
In the present …
I still need to find all of my notes about this month with the convoy. Not only do my notes include some of the convoy member’s first zombie kills but also Shack’s and my first time making love. I hope that I have not lost the notes.
Iain is shouting for me to come grab a horse. Another one of the goddamned beefalos is loose again. Great shaggy, stupid beast. Well at least chasing some stupid, loose one ton beast takes my mind off of poor Shack. God I miss that boy.