While Doc checks the fallen soldier, I take note of the surrounding area. We are on an old overpass close to the former I-5 interstate. From my place, I can see the remains of the highway. Both sides of the old interstate is choked with abandoned cars facing every which way. The median is lousy with cars too, many of them crumpled together in large mass wreckages.
Abandoned luggage and other personal items are strewn about the two side of the highway. Clothes are strewn about as well, as are several corpses in advance stages of decomp. A couple of mangy dogs wander through the abandoned vehicles disturbing a bunch of noisy black birds.
Quite a few zombies wander among the abandoned vehicles. I am sure that the cars are also loaded with trapped zombies unable to free themselves. I wonder if a hot car kills zombies like pets used to die when left in a car too long. I suppose not, as we have had several zombies survive locked in a car for weeks.
Our laager, despite its rough appearance, provides enough defense that an attacker would lose a significant amount of his force. One of the Scouts near me cradles an ancient, desert tan Feather Industries AT9 carbine with an oil filter suppressor. The thick, red Fram oil filter looks incongruous on the muzzle of the desert tan 9mm Parabellum carbine. I note that the Scout wears an old, OD green SMG harness on which rest five Uzi magazines for the AT9.
If I remember correctly, the old Uzi mags needed a slight modification to work in the old AT9. The old AT9 carbine must be an earlier model, as the newer models accepted Glock magazines. Above the SMG harness, clipped to the Scout’s LBV is the usual convoy grenade load-out. Some large bladed knife hangs from the Scout’s belt in a black Kydex sheath. Beside the big fucking knife is a typical M9 Beretta in an OD green nylon flap holster.
I hear a fervent discussion behind me. While I miss most of what Doc says, I do hear him mention that the fallen soldier has benign positional vertigo. He cannot ride on top of the tank anymore. Sam, with his hands on his hips, grunts and directs another soldier to replace the fallen soldier.
Doc says that benign positional vertigo is not terribly common but can be caused by infection, certain medications, and injury to the head. Looking over Doc’s shoulder, I see him contemplating several clear glass vials. I am able to read a few of the vials as Doc rummages in his black leather bag.
I note vials of Lorcet, Xanax, Soma, and Thorazine. Doc chooses the Thorazine, giving the fallen soldier a few CC with a disposable syringe. After the injection, the soldier’s eyes get that spaced, relaxed look. Doc has a couple of the nearby soldiers carry the fallen soldier into the back of one of the troop carriers. Snapping the used syringe with his fingers, Doc tosses the pieces into the bushes beside the road.
Doc will need to check the kid more when we make camp at Kayak Point, but for now we need to get moving. The Scouts report zombies moving towards our laager, attracted by the noise of the idling engines, and the soldiers talking. Sam orders the laager broken, and we are on the road shortly.
Zombies get close enough to the laager that the snow plow pulps several into bloody, chunky mush in the roadway. Leaving the twitching body parts in the roadway for the crows to pick at, we roll by with the briefest of glances. Seeing the carnage, no matter how many times still makes my stomach heave a little.
I get much queasier as Honey tears opens an Italian powdered cappuccino mix and pours it into another OD green canteen. Trading canteens with LM, she hands him the cappuccino while she takes the empty canteen. Turing around in the seat, Honey opens the beer window (as Shack tells me it is called) grabbing a bottle of water from the pile on top of the tool box in the truck bed.
Slapping the beer window closed Honey twists around and opens the one liter water bottle with her teeth. After filling the orange-smelling canteen with water, she dumps another Italian powdered cappuccino into it. After shaking the canteen, she takes a sip grimacing at what I imagine must be an odd taste of orange bug juice and cappuccino.
Honey pulls several plastic packages of Italian biscotti offering some to Shack and I. I accept as it is the first thing I have eaten this morning. We all tear into the biscotti with relish, the nuts and chocolate a welcome change to the bland food of late. Shack refills my travel mug with more herbal tea.
Sipping hot tea, I drive down the roadway after the colonel’s VW station wagon. We finally receive some heat from the old diesel engine. I crank on the heater attempting to warm my feet, glancing at LM when the blast of warm air hits him.
“He doesn’t mind,” Honey answers my unspoken question, causing me to wonder if maybe she is telepathic.
I suddenly see the colonel’s brake lights flare as Sam slams on the brakes. I see their passenger door fly open. Before Sam has a chance to fully stop the car, like a crazed man, Doc leaps out of the vehicle running into the bushes on the right side of the road. Everyone slams on the brakes as Sam unleashes a torrent of profanity over the radio. Now we are fercockt!
The radio becomes clogged with units asking if we are going to laager, and those that saw Doc leap into the bushes like a tall pale, gray gazelle asking what is happening. Two Scouts, led by Longfeather, try to follow Doc on foot, but they quickly lose sight of him. Continuing leaping through the fucking thick blackberry bushes like a pale-gray gazelle, Doc quickly vanishes. Du farkirtst mir di yorn!
Doc is far too fast. He is able to shove through the damn black berry bushes with little care. While the damage to his uniform might be repaired, Doc heals so fast that the punctures and tears from the thorns heal before he takes more than a few steps.
“What the fuck is he doing?” Shack mutters aloud, voicing I am sure, all of our thoughts.
“Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, the third time – it’s enemy action,” Shack mutters quoting Ian Fleming.
Shack has been on a James Bond spree lately, reading all the old Ian Fleming books which the Scouts found somewhere. Before KCAP, I bet Shack had never as much read a book that he was not required to for school.
I note that Shack has his helmet on “John Wayne style.” Shack continues singing horribly off-key. I never liked Country Western music although Amy was quite fond of it. I always found Country music insipid. I prefer jazz.
Someone even found an old k-pot for Honey. Because of her bald pate, Honey usually wears a bandanna tied around her head. I see the ends of a black and red checkered bandanna sticking out from underneath her helmet. Honey is responsible for the radio while we travel.
LM is gnawing on a chocolate, MRE “John Wayne bar.” Honey sitting cross-legged, is shoveling hot, British MRE fruit and nut muesli into her mouth with a brown, US MRE spoon. Honey’s Franchi SPAS-12 with the stock folded flat against the receiver, is lying on the floor in front of LM, muzzle towards Shack’s legs.
Honey is certainly strong enough, and perhaps resilient enough to recover from the kick-like-an-enraged-mule of the tactical shotgun’s recoil. Due to its complicated manual of arms, picky operating mechanism that dislikes mild shells, most militaries and police passed on the SPAS-12.
A commercial failure, the Franchi SPAS-12 was not that popular other than with those that wanted to be “tacti-cool.” It does look cool, and looks tactical but it is really a piece of crap shotgun. Less than 2,000 were imported to the States. I am not sure where Honey got the old shotgun, but due to its ammo pickiness, I would not carry it.
Fed ammo it likes, the SPAS-12 can shoot fast, and with Honey’s strength and speed, she could probably run the shotgun better than anyone else. Despite its racy looks, and Hollywood fame, the Franchi SPAS-12 is an utter piece of shit, with a difficult manual of arms.
Unaware (I hope, as I have not heard that KCAP infection grants telepathy) of my thoughts, Honey is still busily shoveling chunky fruit and nut muesli into her mouth with relish. The muesli emits the distinct odor of powdered milk, which I utterly despise.
I have never cared for the taste of powdered milk or its gagging after taste. Zombie apocalypse or not, I still cannot gag down powdered milk. Lying in Honey’s lap, a spent US MRE food heater pack gently emits steam rising from the jagged, open top. The poor infected, because of their metabolism nearly continuously eat.
The infected cannot get drunk, and they get cold easily because they have almost no fat on their body. LM finishes his John Wayne bar, grunting at Honey, he holds his hands out to her, black nails towards the floor. Reaching into her LBV, Honey hands LM another chocolate John Wayne bar along with some other, brown plastic wrapped MRE snack.
Pulling an OD green plastic canteen from her web belt, Honey places it between her legs and opens the lid. Using her shiny black teeth, Honey tears open a small, brown plastic baggie; I distinctly smell oranges. Pouring the orange powder into the canteen, Honey screws the lid on tight. After shaking the canteen a few times, Honey hands the canteen to LM sitting on the floor.
Honey, in the two months or so she has been with the convoy, has grown nearly four inches or so. She almost looks me in the eyes now; at the rate she is growing, Honey could easily stand over six feet tall.
There is no heat from the old Dodge diesel engine yet. My feet are freezing; I hope the engine warms up quickly. I wonder how LM will like the heater blowing on him under the dash. I hope that the blankets and towels LM is lying on will be padding enough protecting him from the worst of the road.
Bouncing down the road, Honey finishes her muesli stuffing the empty white plastic package into her field jacket pocket. Honey starts eating a British MRE date and banana fruit bar. Shack opens our old faithful plaid Thermos, and I smell hot tea. From the smell, it must be one of Brenda’s herbal mixtures. At least it is hot, and will help warm my cold body.
Filling one of our odd insulated plastic travel mugs, Shack passes the disreputable-looking cup to Honey who passes it to me. Even snuggled against Honey, I am still cold this early in the morning. The damned sun is not even up yet. Sipping the hot tea, I wish for honey or sugar to sweeten the slightly bitter tea.
Suddenly the convoy behind us slams on the brakes. “Ruth we need to stop,” Honey places her hand on my arm resting on the gear shift. LM looks up from the floor at me as I downshift tapping the brakes. “Wonder what’s going on,” Shack mutters.
I crank the big old truck in a modified three-point turn. Heading back towards the stopped tanker, from Honey’s ear piece I hear the Scouts called in as perimeter guards. We are in a lightly populated suburb of a town called Marysville, but you never know how many survivors, cannibals, or zombies are lurking in the abandoned buildings.
Again from Honey’s ear piece, I hear the reason why we stopped. Goddamn kid manning the machine gun on the tanker fell off the fucking truck. Kid is lucky that the deuce and half behind him was able to swerve and brake without running him over. The rest of the convoy halts.
The convoy forms a somewhat ragged looking laager formation. I hear the colonels screaming that we need to form up quicker if this is an attack.
One of the combat medics from the rear vehicles is with the kid who is lying upon his back in the middle of the roadway. Doc sprints to rear of the VW station wagon. Grabbing his kit Doc looks over the car at the soldier lying in the road. Shack, Honey and I watch opened mouth in shock as Doc flat-footed leaps the length of the VW station wagon. Doc, like a pale-gray preternatural predator with a graceful Rudi jump, leaps over our Dodge truck.
Landing lightly on his feet, Doc does not waste any time, running to the kid with his medic bag.
As per our usual SOP, the convoy is flanked by the Scouts riding various motorcycles, ATVs and UTVs. Some of the Scout’s motorcycles adapted to the lesser-quality fuel than did others. The Scouts riding singularly on the motorcycles usually zip ahead ensuring the route is clear.
The older children assigned to the Scouts riding in the armed and lightly armored ATVs and UTVs all have frequency agile field radios. While the motorcycle Scouts zip to and fro, the ATVs and UTVs stay on our flanks providing additional armed security.
Bill, driving the largest fuel tanker, is in the center of the convoy. Pulled from a wrecked deuce and half, the pintle mounted Ma Deuce ring turret mounted in the roof of the semi looks awkward but functions. Bill’s trailer is protected by a tripod-mounted M60E centered on the fuel tank’s roof with a 360 degree firing ability.
I just hope the kids on the fuel tank’s roof are smart enough not to shoot the back of Bill’s cab. Bill’s single, ginormous tanker truck is protected by his wives in a pair of armed and armored Polaris RZR UTVs, and his older children on various ATVs.
The family’s young children are in the back of the snow plow along with the rest of the convoy’s younger children. The kids will serve as grunt labor on this trip. Removing them from the village also prevents the children from being used as hostages.
Our Scouts report that the route to Kayak Point is mostly clear of dead vehicles, but the snow plow is the vanguard of the convoy so she goes with us. From the way that Sam and Doc are coordinating several return runs to the village I suspect there is some worry of a coup while we are gone.
I realize that we are leaving enough personnel behind with enough weaponry that they should be able to fend off any coup attempt. I also realize that Sam and Doc are realistic enough to pull almost everything out, just in case. So it was no surprise when we loaded all of the critical radio equipment, leaving behind just a few old field radios.
Nguen, Carol and Nikola are in a deuce and half with all the radio gear. Nguen mans the M2 .50 in the roof ring mount turret. On the ass, Junior and the Princess’s daughter man a Mk 19 40mm grenade launcher in the bed, along with a few other assorted weapons.
I also realized that all the personnel coming with us are the majority of who will continue travelling north (at least at this moment – fuck!). We are taking most of the vehicles with us leaving only those that are unable to travel now, such as the mortar Stryker due to mechanical problems.
The smoke belching M35A1 deuce and halfs loaded with coal, food, fresh water, repair parts and weapons are coming along. The ancient fuel flexible deuce and halfs are the real work horse of the convoy. Belching black smoke, their turbos whistling, thank God the deuces are behind Shack and I.
Able to run on the noxious blend of transmission fluid, used motor oil, used cooking oil, and just about any other flammable liquid, the deuces if the break down are going to be impossible to replace. Nothing else is as flexible fuel wise as the old trucks, many of which date to the mid-1950s. Even Sam and Doc’s overloaded dilapidated VW station wagon is coming along. As Shack refers to it, the colonel’s station wagon has also been redneck up-armored just like our old truck.
Some of the lads wanted to go all Mad Max when they were attaching the armor to the civilian vehicles, but the colonels would not have it. The vehicles are heavy enough and look stupid enough without putting spikes, blades, and other stupid shit on them.
Officially, the colonels are calling the Kayak Point movement a test of the vehicles running the witch’s brew of biodiesel, used motor oil, transmission fluid and ethanol plus whatever other flammable liquid that will burn in the old multifuel turbocharged engines. In reality, I believe both groups are growing apart and could use a break from each other.
I was not at all surprised to see Honey sitting on the bench seat between Shack and I. On the transmission hump, LM sits on the floor at her feet. As long as the kid does not bump the stick shift, or get in the way, I do not care.
Honey stuffed some blankets and toys down there for LM to play with while we travel. Thankfully, LM is already potty trained so we are not going to have to worry about diaper changes.
Firing up the old diesel, I jump into the cab of the truck, now more cramped with four people and all of our weapons in it. Shack and some of the mechanical lads rigged an internal roof rack for our long guns. We still carry our pistols, grenades, and machine pistols.
Shack now has an ancient FDE, formerly USMC M32A1 40mm grenade launcher with four speed loaders. In the OD canvas bag at his feet are low and medium velocity rounds. The old US Army HE 40mm grenades have a five yard kill radius.
Lying on the dash against the window between us is an ancient Mossberg 590A with a speed feed stock. The Mossy (as Shack calls it) used to be black, but now is more bare metal and rust. The old shotgun’s barrel has been chopped flush with the trunnion for the magazine tube.
An extended magazine tube sticking out past the end of the barrel allows two more 12 gauge rounds to be loaded in the gun. The magazine tube sticking out past the muzzle does not affect the shot from the old gun. A super full, ported turkey choke sticks out of the muzzle. I notice a bunch of 12 gauge shotgun shells in the cab, jammed in every nook and cranny.
Someone chopped the old Mossberg shotty (another Shack term) correctly and not hacking it off with a saw. Someone took the time to have the shotgun barrel chopped and then threaded to accept standard Mossberg 12 gauge chokes. The extended magazine tube is scorched where the flame from the choke porting has burnt the finish.
Jamming my old Kevlar helmet on my head and buckling the chin strap I grimace at the weight of the old helmet. Grabbing my pony tail, I look at the split ends and sigh. I tuck my pony tail under my field jacket and zip it up to my neck.
“Ruth I will help you wash and braid your hair when we get to Kayak Point tonight,” Honey says. Nodding at Honey, I climb into the idling old Dodge.
Slamming the door shut, we fall in line in the convoy. We are the third vehicle behind the colonel’s VW and the leading snow plow. Carol and Nikola with the radio gear are behind us. The moveable feast is on the road again. I guess there is an old Country and Western song with the words “on the road again” that Shack is trying to sing. God his singing is horrible!
Warming up my old Dodge truck, Shack and I give our vehicle a quick touch up. Tires needed some air, and we had to reinstall the batteries, removed for charging. Damn diesels take two batteries.
Our truck has gained some weight. The lads added metal side skirts protecting the tires. Inside the doors, we stuffed old soft ballistic vests, and welded an ugly as all hell grate and chain protection over the windows.
I am surprised at the amount of weapons, vehicles and personnel we are taking to Kayak Point. I wonder if Sam, Doc and Pastor know something that they have not shared with me. This feeling is not good, as I feel left out of the loop.
Expressing my concern to Sam, he explains that we will be meeting survivors from nearby Whidbey Island at Kayak Point. These survivors live in an old coastal gun installation on the island. They want to trade, as well as gather salt with us.
I am ok with meeting other survivors; I just wished they had told me about it. I also learned that Sam and Doc are as concerned with Pastor’s behavior as I am. There is some discussion about moving up our departure which I am all in agreement with.
Pastor and his lackeys, including Carmine, are ensconced in the main building which depending on who you ask is either the palace or the governor’s bunker. The Adventists, if we can even call them that have started pulling away from the convoy. We are starting to see more divisions between the two groups.
There has been some grumbling about the convoy leaving taking most of the ethanol and weapons, but so far nothing serious or Pastor has kept a lid on the discontent. The change in Pastor, and the general vibe (as Shack calls it) in the village has caused some of the former Adventists to decide to travel north with the convoy rather than stay.
So our two merry groups are in a constant state of flux. I have no idea of who is staying and who is going. Oy, vey ist mir! Just as I think I have a grasp of who is coming or staying, some asshole changes his or her mind.
I avoid the palace as much as possible as I come out of there feeling as if I need a change of clothes and a shower each time. The last time I was there I was positive there was going to be a fight between the few convoy personnel and the former Adventists, whom we have taken to calling villagers as it is more fitting now.
Because of the death of electronics and other powered forms of entertainment, card games and board games have risen again as major forms of entertainment. There is almost always a game of cards taking place in the palace at even given time. As people are want to do, there is some betting going on, most of it good natured.
Currency used for betting is usually cigarettes, ammo, guns and even sexual favors. I was tempted to get into some of the games for the chance to win cigarettes until I realized women in the games were encouraged to bet with their body as collateral. No fucking way, am I that desperate for a cigarette, that I will use my body to purchase them.
What nearly caused the fight in the palace was not the women using their body as currency, that has been going on as long as our species has been around, it was the comments Pastor made about the deck of cards. I admit that despite living here almost 20 years, sometimes American idioms escape me.
I had to ask a few of the older guys what Pastor meant when he said they were playing with a “Rodney King deck of cards.” It was at this point that I realized that other than the few tribal members, the villagers are all white. It was Longfeather who explained the Rodney King reference to me.
Even Iain, many years later had not heard the reference before, but he says there was not a large black populating in the Pacific Northwest even before KCAP wiped out about 95% of the population.
I learned from Longfeather that a Rodney King playing deck is 52 clubs and one spade. I know spade is a derogatory term for a black person. I was surprised to hear Pastor, a former man of the cloth, use such a nasty pejorative. I realize that Pastor said it because of the presence of Doc. The two men have never gotten along, but it seems worse now that Doc is infected.
Since I was not even born yet when the unfortunate Mr. King was beaten, it is not surprising I was not familiar with the term. As Doc is one of only a handful of blacks (although, being of Moroccan Berber decent he tells me that he is not technically black, despite his skin color) among the people within the village.
I know that survival does not favor the PC crowd, and it appears that mostly crude, brutal, bigoted assholes have survived. You would think a damned zombie apocalypse would finally wipe bigotry off the map. Apparently even fucking bigotry is immune even to a zombie apocalypse. Just what we need in camp, a bunch of fucking khnyoks.
Since then, Doc and I have avoided entering the palace. Sam only goes in there when absolutely necessary, preferring to talk to Pastor through courier or radio. Junior will not go into the palace anymore, either. I wonder what happened to put Junior off going into the palace as he is Sam’s primary courier.
Bigotry aside, preparations for the Kayak Point trip continue. The lads from the convoy artillery detachment made a week-long trip to the old naval station in Everett. They did not come back with much, but they did recover an old Mk 38 naval variant of the M242 25mm Bushmaster cannon.
Mounted on a 5-ton flatbed truck with a pair of Honda gas-powered generators, the old manual 25mm cannon will be a formidable addition to our armaments. I am not sure what ammo the lads recovered from the squids, but I hope they got some good stuff other than practice rounds. Even the blue, 25mm practice rounds are a formidable projectile, able to penetrate nearly anything we are likely to encounter.
The MGS Stryker is coming along to Kayak Point while the mortar Stryker will stay in the village due to problems with its transmission. Along with the snow plow, two of the flat-bed HEMTTs come along for hauling salt and coal.
Next week: part 2 of the Kayak Point preps
The last few days have passed in relative peace. What started out as a blended compound has quickly turned into a village. The Fourth of July passed without much fanfare as there is not really a United States to celebrate independence anymore.
Only fools will ignite a bunch of explosives guaranteed to attract too much unwanted attention. Our village, is quickly developing streets and sections. The animal section is on the fringes, where the high fenced and well patrolled fields are kept. Animals are rotated so they do not overgraze, and so their manure spreads without attracting too many bugs.
A small group of Amish and Mennonites joined the village the last of the new permanent residents. Thankfully, with the new arrivals came a decent farrier and blacksmith. The new arrivals also are quite adept at handling horse-drawn plows and in no time had this year’s fields plowed and sowed.
With several horse-drawn wooden wagons now in the village, our much delayed Kayak Point trip is on the books again. While we will be using the trucks for the Kayak Point trip, the wagons are necessary for the village to operate while we are gone for a few days.
Some of the lads found a nearly mile long train not too far from our village. The whole train is filled with nothing but good grade coal. Several burlap sacks of coal are filled and stacked on the trucks to take with us to Kayak Point.
Along with the coal, we are also taking several large cast iron pots for boiling seawater. Once we have evaporated all the water, the salt will be packaged in various containers. We are not sure how many days it will take, but our goal is around 200 pounds of salt. I hope we bring enough coal.
The addition of a large continuous supply of coal has really picked up the methanol production. Several wagons a day bring coal into the village. I worry that the smoke from all of the coal-burning might attract unwanted attention.
While my concerns were noted, the village feels that with the fortified barricade, the strength of arms, and the general lack of people around the area, the risk is worth taking. Still, I watch the great plumes of smoke rise from our village and I worry about the consequences.
Speaking of smoke, the proliferation of black powder weapons continues. One of the lads has a rifle that I was not familiar with. He told me that it is a Chiappa reproduction Spencer rifle. There are very few surviving original Spencer rifles, most converted by the old Sharps Company after the Civil War (thanks Iain for anther unwanted history lesson).
The reproduction Spencer is a center fire rifle, rather than rim fire and chambered in .56-50. The lad tells me that .50 caliber black powder bullets are much easier to source rather than the odd, original .56 caliber.
Odd weapons aside, Doc has done an autopsy on some dead cannibals our Scouts located recently. I will detail some of his findings so that his work is not lost. Doc noted all of the cannibals suffer from osteosclerosis, literally ‘bone hardening,’ which means an elevation in bone density (compactness, hardness, and solidity) through hyper-mineralization.
Doc says that in medicine, osteosclerosis is normally detected with X-rays showing as an area of increased whiteness representing the increased calcium in the bones. The cannibals as we have noted have black bones, finger nails and teeth, representing the high level of iron absorbed into the bones.
The infected’s bones are much thicker and harder than normal, with thick layers of compact, dense, iron rich bone. Doc says the infected also suffer medullary stenosis, which literally means ‘marrow narrowing.’ This means the infected have narrow medullary cavities, especially of the ribs and long limb bones, culminating in bones completely lacking medullas and consisting exclusively of compact bone.
Work within the village is never ending. They had to butcher several pigs recently. So there is a sudden need for a large amount of salt for preserving meat. Pigs were infected with erysipelas and there is not enough penicillin to treat both pigs and people.
Some of the pigs also had diamond skin (rhomboid urticaria) lesions and it was just easier to butcher the pigs, rather than waste what little antibiotics we have. Food is plentiful, but there are plenty of whiners and tattle tales if someone feels you are not pulling your weight.
If you do not work you do not eat. If you control the food you control the people.
I am beginning to like this village less and less. Pastor fancies himself more the mayor rather than a shepherd tending his flock. Pastor has taken to carrying an old Armalite AR-180 and wearing aviator-style sunglasses all the time.
I am getting the feeling that there may be some unrest among the ranks, so the Kayak Point trip will be good to get some people outside of the village and blow off some steam. Honey, LM and Nguen are staying in the village while Shack and I are going on the Kayak Point trip tomorrow.
Our Scouts have determined that contrary to local rumor there is not a lot of drift wood at the old park. Other survivors long ago scrounged all the drift wood. So we had to delay until we gathered enough coal to take with us to use as fuel evaporating the water.
I just wonder if that much smoke on the beach is going to attract unwanted attention. I understand the old park is rather isolated and there are only a few ways off of the park grounds. Doc and I both expressed our concerns to Sam who feels the risk is worth the salt.
Just in case though, we are taking lots of firepower. I will be in command of the Kayak Point trip and I do not want any surprises.
Along with several hand-picked Adventists, our Scouts have scrounged every solar panel they could locate pulling them from on top of houses, off train cars, and even the ones installed by the department of transportation on their signs and billboards. Between the solar panels and several bicycles repurposed with treadmill motors, most of the batteries are kept fully charged enough to run lights and some power tools.
Along with the survivor traffic, we also get sporadic news, some of it of dubious worth. Talking to survivors coming to the Adventist’s compound seeking medical attention, we have learned that the cities are wastelands full of the dead, and the quickly dying.
Huge hordes of infected infest all of the major cities. All city services have broken down. Vermin has broken out in large waves, with rats overrunning the sewers and streets. One piece of good news is that the freezing weather and loss of artificial heat has caused the death of billions of cockroaches that froze to death.
Most of the food in the cities is exhausted, and those survivors that have not already turned cannibal, are either going cannibal or are fleeing the cities. Moving within the city is extremely dangerous. Moving, especially during the day, is only undertaken in the direst of situations.
Many survivors are taking advantage of what is going to be a short summer, traveling north away from the major cities. The convoy is waiting for winter, when most of the rivers and lakes will be frozen, hopefully making travel easier. I am not sure I am going to have the nerve to drive a vehicle weighing nearly three tons on ice.
Despite living in the states for more than 20 years, I have never really gotten used to the damned cold winters. I am a child of the desert, and never did like travelling in snowy weather. Amy, a native of northern Maine and an avid snow bunny, always drove during the winter.
My Lotus was not a practical winter car, and I used to commute by light rail to work anyway. Amy’s old British, gray market imported, left-hand drive, classic Range Rover was much more practical in winter weather. Amy loved that puke green, old boxy British tank. She spent considerable time and money keeping the huge beast maintained.
Leaving the hospital and Doc playing with ants worried about the sugar levels in his urine, I head for the new bunk house. I pause to watch some men unloading what appear to be civil war cannons from a pair of horse-drawn wagons.
While the cussing men unload the unwieldy cannons, some men with some of the older children unharness the pair of four-horse teams. Leading the eight horses away, the grooms take them to be brushed, and then turned loose in the guarded fields.
We still have to have guards watch over all of the livestock, unless some starving soul decides to eat them. We have not had to shoot anyone attempting to kill any of our livestock in a few days. A wet meaty splat followed by copious cussing, draws my attention back to the wagons full of iron cannons.
“Be careful you fucking klutz, these things shatter ya’ know,” someone shouts. Wiping some of the mud off of the fallen cannon barrel, I try to read the letters stamped on the barrel.
I note the presence of cement filling this and several of the other cannon barrels. I wonder just how the men intend to get all the damn cement out of the canon barrels. Curious, I kneel beside one of the larger cannons lying on the muddy ground stacked in a neat pile.
“It’s a Army four-inch, or thirty-pounder Parrott gun, miss,” one of the men standing in the wagon says to me. My blank look must have given him the idea that I wanted to know more, for he continues.
“Parrotts were used in the Civil War by both sides, despite their deserved poor reputation for safety. Although Parrotts were shunned by many artillerists. Good thing for us, is that there are many surviving Parrott gun tubes lying in parks all over the country. Somehow they survived not getting melted down during the scrap drives of the wars. It takes a thirty pound shell or shot charge propelled by about four pounds of black powder.”
I have no idea what a fucking Parrott gun is (thanks to Iain for the proper spelling, and another fucking unwanted history lesson), but I understand that a zombie apocalypse is no time to be weapon picky. I know the lads have been making their own black powder, with various degrees of success.
I am glad that I have an important enough job that I do not tasked to mine latrines, bat caves and other nasty places for nitrates. I do not know where the Adventists acquired the eighteen inch deep and nearly six-foot wide, iron kettle to boil away the water leaving the raw saltpeter. The fuel demand making black powder is huge. I know that they sent some lads north looking for coal.
At least we have a use for all of the damn wood ashes, and charcoal. I bet we have at least a hundred folks dedicated to the production of black powder. I just wonder if the Adventists produce enough black powder to fill all of these cannons.
Leaving the men wrestling the unwieldy cement-filled iron cannons, I resume my trek to the new bunk house. Despite not feeling tired, I decide to crash for the day. Shack, Honey and LM are already snoring by the time I get to bed. Naked, I slide into the bedroll warmed by Shack.
Curling up against Shack’s back, I press my cold tits against him trying to warm myself.
“Jesus! Your nipples feel like a pair of cold erasers shoved into my back,” Shack whispers. His large warm hand slides down my side, and cups my hip. I wonder if Shack wants to christen our new bunk house.
This large cinder block bunk house, one of several built on the property, is similar to other large open, one room dormitories I have been in over the years. The building has one large central room in which all of our cots and bedrolls are laid out. Trying vainly to warm it, a wood burning stove sits at either end of the large room.
Someone has thoughtfully strung old blankets between the bunks offering visual privacy but not audible privacy. I note that several of the other bunks are occupied with Adventists, this bunk house being designated for couples without children.
During the day when we sleep, we will pretty much have the place to ourselves, as we are the only crew that works at night. My thoughts are interrupted by Shack, whom as I had guessed, wanted to make love in the new place.
Walking up the hospital wooden stairs to the second level entrance, I pass the two door guards on duty. The guard rotation changes, and the exact number and location of guards and weapons are known only to four people – Pastor, Sam, Doc and I.
Standing beside a wood burning 55-gallon drum propped on scavenged bricks, the outside hospital door guard is armed with a battered, ancient British Farquhar-Hill .303 rifle. Holding extra rounds for the British rifle, a disreputable-looking brown leather bandolier crosses his chest. From the rifle bandolier hang a pair of olive drab, Russian RGD-5 frag grenades and two US white smoke grenades.
Lying within reach on the stair handrail is a POS Cobray Terminator 12ga shotgun. I know that the near worthless shotgun is loaded with a marine shotgun flare, as that is about its only worth. I do not believe that the guards possess any other shotgun rounds to use in the Terminator.
Even used as a flare gun, the Cobray shotgun is still cumbersome, and unwieldy. The Terminator, a single shot, breech-loading, open bolt firing shotgun was nearly worthless when they were made. Only a zombie apocalypse would give worth to nearly worthless shotgun.
(As an aside – I saw a survivor dressed in an old fishtail parka with an aviator’s fur-lined cap that carried another POS Cobray weapon – a Lady’s Home Companion pistol. Probably the most worthless and poorly conceived pistol ever made, the Lady’s Home Companion chambered in 45/70 is an eight pound beast based on the Street Sweeper chassis. We have seen quite a few survivors pass by heading north, armed with all sorts of different weapons.)
An ancient US Army World War II vintage Motorola SRC-536 radio lies on the stair rail beside the shotgun. I had heard that several ancient radios were recovered from some obscure museum up north called “Spark” or something like that.
Most of the old radios were restored by vintage radio enthusiasts and work perfectly. Nodding at the guard as I pass, I take a moment to look over the camp from my elevated position.
I see that the destructive distillation methanol production has picked up. Once the retorts were built, and the steam system piped, the major concern has been securing enough fuel to heat the feed stock. Somewhere around here is supposed to be a supply of coal.
As I watch some of the men struggle with the large drums of methanol, I wonder how much methanol have stockpiled and is it going to be enough to get us into the Northwest Territories? The interior guard sitting just inside the door on a stool nods at me as I pass.
The large, coal-black guard is dressed in faded solid green US Army fatigues which I have heard referred to as a “pickle suit” by Shack and some of the other soldiers. Scuffed, day-glow green Nike running shoes cover his feet. I have heard that the large man wears size 14 shoes.
A Vietnam-era LBV struggles to wrap around the large black man. Hanging vertically on the left side, handle down, is a very distinct Steel Will Fervor knife with FDE handle scales. The guard is armed with a select fire Iver Johnson Enforcer. The machine gun looks small in his huge hands.
Hanging from an OD green pistol belt, a Canadian-imported Chinese NP-42 9mm pistol rests in a brown leather flap holster. A pair of the limited, Canadian-approved, 10 round magazines hang on the opposite side of the gun from the belt.
Beside the interior guard, leaning against the wall in the corner is a Polish AKML with a NSP-3 scope and bipod with a mounted 75-round drum magazine. Two more AKML drums lay on the floor beside the rifle.
Resting on the floor within easy reach of the large man is another Motorola SRC-536 radio. I do not know this man well, as he is a recent arrival to camp. I have heard that he was once a rather infamous bouncer and knee-breaking collections agent for local loan sharks who was rather infamous in the Seattle night life.
His cauliflower ears, scarred face and hands certainly attest to someone who has had experience with personal violence. The guard smiles at me as I pass, his extremely white teeth contrasting with his bright gold two front teeth, all of which contrasts with his dark skin.
Stepping inside I find Doc playing with ants. “Doc, what is with the ants?” I ask watching Doc drop small ants on a dish with just enough of a bright yellowish liquid to wet the bottom. The small room smells like urine and smoke from the lanterns.
I notice that all the windows are open. The room is freezing, but Doc dressed in BDU pants and a BDU tee-shirt does not seem to mind as he putters with ants in a dish. I zip my coat up fully, shoving my cold hands in my pockets.
“I am testing my urine to see if it still has sugar in it. I studied metabolomics many years ago. I am using ants testing for diabetes, something that the Chinese knew about hundreds of years ago. I have diabetes, and I am running out of insulin pills. I guessed that infecting myself might cure my diabetes. It appears that I may have been wrong.”
Doc falls silent as he and I watch the ants swarm over the urine. “Looks like there is still lot of sugar in my urine as the ants are highly attracted to it. I only have a few days’ worth of insulin left. God my head hurts.” Doc rubs his forehead with his right hand.
We have established trade for medical services. Ammo, TP, and food are the three most common items we accept in trade. I swear to God Almighty, that .22 long rifle ammo; TP and Twinkies are becoming the currency of this new world. Unfortunately insulin is not in ready supply as a trade item.
We have also accepted in trade weapons, survival gear, and various good batteries. Our supply of car batteries is about at maximum, so we have started assisting the Adventists in establishing a bank of batteries tied to several inverters.
Our nightly watch in the radio room is routinely boring. Honey did not join us on the first night, but on the second night she did. With Little Monster in tow (not a better name than Thing 1), Honey is now part of the night radio watch.
I was worried that keeping Little Monster (which we have abbreviated to LM, in the manner of the Americans) occupied during the night would be impossible. LM does not appear to be effected by the change of routine and as long as he is with Honey offers no difficulty.
However, LM is quite fascinated by the radio equipment. I was stunned watching as LM does chin ups on the edge of the table so that he could see the radio gear. Doc says that LM and the other infected quickly lost almost all body fat and that they develop approximately 50% more muscle than normal, non-infected people.
From autopsies done on stage three infected, Doc states that the muscles of the infected are unusually compact, more resilient and have more than twice the connection points to the skeleton. Doc posits that the infected muscles burn more calories, but seem not to produce as much lactic acid.
Whatever their abilities the infected, I have to admit, give me the creeps. Already out of diapers, and using the latrine on his own LM is frightening because of how fast he is developing. His “normal” brother is still in diapers, and has just recently beginning to crawl. LM runs all over the compound, his little pudgy feet hardened so that he does not need shoes.
Honey now with Little Monster, still sleeps in our tent. Doc still tends to the medical needs of the community. Somehow word spread that we have an actual doctor in the compound.
News of our barter system, as well as the fact of our medical abilities has spread to the local area. We were surprised to learn that there are several other small communities around the area. These communities have to be self-sufficient. But even the most self-sufficient community will sometimes need help from the outside.
It is refreshing to learn that there are other survivor communities. We have also received travelling survivors; mostly heading north who brave the zombies and cannibals to reach our doctor, no matter that he is infected. His appearance gives some a startle, but despite his black teeth and nails, he still tends to the sick and hurt.
We have established trade for medical services. Ammo, TP, and food are the three most common items we accept trade. I swear that .22 long rifle ammo; TP and Twinkies are becoming the currency of this new world. We have also accepted weapons, survival gear, and various good batteries.
With the traffic we also get sporadic news. Talking to the survivors that come to our compound seeking medical attention, we have learned that the cities are wastelands full of the dead and dying. Hordes of infected infest the major cities, and all services have broken down.
Some of the sick either passing us heading north, or coming to seek medical care display signs of the horrible disease cancrum oris also known as noma. I have never seen anyone suffering from noma outside of sub-Saharan Africa. Doc explained that noma is an ancient disease known to both Galen and Hippocrates.
As I was suffering from a monologue lecture from Doc, he went on to explain that noma was once common around the world in both Europe and the US. Mostly eradicated in developed nations since the 20th century, noma was mostly an African-only disease.
Jews have an unfortunate history with noma. As a Jew, I am all too familiar with noma. Any Jew knows that during the Holocaust noma was endemic to the Auschwitz and Belsen concentration camps. Josef Mengele ordered Berthold Epstein, a Czech physician and forced-labor prisoner, to study noma and its treatments.
Mengele had Epstein to infect healthy people with noma, mostly Jewish children. Around 3,000 people at Auschwitz, mostly Jews, died because of Mengele’s fascination with noma. Doc speculates that even the healing ability of the KCAP virus is not able to overcome noma.
Some have refused to be seen by Doc because of his condition, but others do not seem to care needing the care of a doctor no matter if he is sick as well. Doc speculates that the infected may become the dominant species on the planet.
While we refer to them as zombies, the infected are not truly dead. Yes, they died as a human, but the virus within that dead corpse colonized the corpse giving it purpose. We are unsure if the infected are self-aware, or is just a large viral colony seeking to spread the virus.
Both Honey and Doc report a near incessant hunger, especially for red meat. Doc believes the virus craves iron as the hardened nails, bones and teeth require large amounts of iron. By hardening and improving the host, the virus ensures that the host survives long enough to spread the virus.
After yoga and Krav Maga practice, I walk Honey and LM to our tent for our last night in a tent. Shack has gone off on some personal errand. Tomorrow, the last tent in the compound, ours, gets broken down, cleaned and stored in my old Dodge truck.
We will move into the new cinderblock bunk house tomorrow. Finding myself alone and not yet ready to sleep, I walk over to the hospital. One of the heaviest reinforced buildings and one that is always guarded, the hospital is an imposing sight. We have taken to calling the hospital building the Alamo, which is a horrible name, because everyone died at that historic battle.
I understand the reference though and why the company feels that way about the hospital. The new cinder block and timber shelter that houses the infirmary and hospital is no beauty of engineering. The recycled windows, and roughhewn lumber may not be pretty but it is very stout and designed to withstand attack.
Surrounded by triple concertina wire barricades, and a well-marked mine field the hospital is a formidable sight. With its firing slits and fire lane cards by the doors, the hospital which protects our precious drug and antibiotic supply is going to be costly for an attacker to take. Several Russian SG-43 Goryunov medium machine guns are stored in the hospital along with other weapons.
While our humble hospital may not be on par with ones prior to the KCAP pandemic, it is better than what we had before. We raided several abandoned FEMA camps nearby so there was plenty of medical gear for stocking both our supplies and the Adventists. Our raids also gave us enough of some medical supplies for barter. Such as that has been.
Sam is on the other end of the radio. “Ruth, cease mortar use immediately. Your mortar rounds are falling among friendly forces!” Sam screams at me.
I yell at Junior to stop using the mortar. I have to scream to be heard over the rhythmic chatter of the machine guns. The damned Russians have brought up a SG-43 Goryunov medium machine gun on my left side to compensate for my exposed flank.
The forest is full of zombies. Our mines are expended, and the explosives are quickly getting used up as well. We start lobbing Willie Pete grenades, followed by frag and then smoke grenades. The forest is far too damp for even the WP grenades to cause a fire, but the smoke helps confuse the zombies.
Our lads open up with 40mm grenade launchers while the Russians use theirs. I worry about the expenditure of irreplaceable ammo, but figure that worrying over ammo is pointless if I am dead. One of the men along my wall is shooting an Intratec TEC-9 pistol with the old 32 round magazines that you can only load 30 rounds.
The old TEC-9 pistol is a piece of shit, but its high-capacity and light weight are appreciated. The TEC-9 was never known as a particularly accurate pistol but at this close range its accuracy is sufficient for killing zombies.
We occasionally hear the heavy mortar and the Styker cannon fire behind us. Just as I begin to call in our ammo status, the zombies disappear from the woods. There are a few straggling zombies but the large force of zombies has petered out. I am not sure if that is because we killed so many, or the zombies have wandered off somewhere else.
We have not seen one single non-infected human attacker all day. Over the radio the other wall sections call in. So far only the Adventists beside me are the only ones wiped out. The few zombies that made it inside the wall are quickly killed.
Junior asks about my peroneal strike that shattered the zombie’s leg. Most modern armies teach the peroneal strike in hand to hand combat so I know Shack is familiar with the technique. It is one of the most painful strikes to the body one can suffer but I am not usually strong enough to shatter someone’s leg.
A few days after the battle, Shack and I sneak down by the water. Lying on our clothes, we quietly make love in the grass. Lying beside Shack staring at the clouds, Shack touches my legs gently running his large calloused hands along my thighs. Heat rises in my body at his touch, making me thankful for having a young lover with the stamina of youth.
I caress Shack in a more intimate manner. “You know you have put on a lot of muscle since I have known you,” Shack remarks. He breaks my concentration by speaking so that I take my mouth off of him.
Holding the wet length of him, I ask “Is that what you want to really talk about now?” I gently suck on him again and hear him sigh. I can feel his pulse throbbing in his member. “Uh, no now that you mention it, but I was thinking what Junior said about your peroneal strike. You have gotten much stronger, perhaps more than you have ever been.”
I do not want to talk right now and occupy Shack with other things. We later walk back to camp holding hands. I have noted that we are not the only couple to sneak out of the compound for romantic trysts.
Clean up takes a few days, but we eventually repair the worst of the damage. Our dead are buried, and it could have been worse. We lost 23 souls, including Honey’s baby. The mercenary force led by Shack’s father, fled to the east leaving behind several dead and wounded.
The wounded were snacked on by the zombies before we could get to them and had to be killed. Cleaning up the mess from the merc’s camp, it appears that they left in worse shape than they arrived. Many vehicles were abandoned in their camp, along with a lot of weapons and supplies.
Shack’s father is not among the dead. We are not sure if he is infected, but Shack is troubled by his father’s disappearance. I found Shack leaning over a small pile of items looking at something in his hand.
Placing my hand on Shack’s shoulder I squeeze silently letting him know I am there. He holds up a token. Badly faded and scuffed, I have a hard time reading the round token. “It’s my dad’s eight years sober coin,” Shack explains. “It used to hang from his dog tag chain.”
We eat shrewbread that evening for breakfast, along with leek, potato, sorrel, and parsley soup – supposed to puree soup, but no power to blend it properly. Shack and I get prepared to resume our radio watch. Honey is joining us later if Doc clears her. Honey is still healing after losing her child and an emergency hysterectomy.
If it were not for the fact that Honey is infected, she probably would have died. Her medical condition causes her to heal much faster, so Doc thinks in a few days Honey will be released from hospital. Honey is going nuts confined to bed.
The human body functions as an antenna of sorts, and if you are aware enough to detect what that antenna is receiving you would be surprised what people can figure out. Despite Honey’s convalescence, she has correctly guessed what is going on in the camp.
One of the interesting things that Honey was able to determine is that Doc infected himself while operating on her. We now have three infected individuals in the camp. Doc, Honey and the little monster can communicate with each other in a way that none of us are aware of.
I have not seen the youngest infected person in the camp and was surprised at how much he has grown. His normal brother is still rolling around and barely crawling, while the infected child is already walking at only five months old.
With Honey confined to hospital, the little monster walked across the camp to Honey’s bed. He crawled into the bed with her, and they have been sleeping in hospital together since.
That night we get notice that our much delayed Kayak Point expedition is back on the schedule. I still wonder if we will ever discern who was sending the coded messages. I also wonder what friendly forces was Junior shelling?
If it were not for the stupid, clanking cowbell hanging around the zombie’s neck, the fucker would have grabbed me before I realized that he was even there. Thankfully, I heard the bell just before its nasty hand grabbed my hair. This zombie lacks a flaming tire.
Spinning quickly, my hair in its customary ponytail caught by the zombie’s left hand pulls out from underneath my field coat. Tethered to the zombie by my hair, with both hands, I swing my Cold Steel Special Forces shovel over my shoulder.
The flat shovel blade strikes the zombie in the face. Its face and jaw broken, dripping broken, loose teeth the zombie snaps at me like a rabid dog. The sounds made by the pieces of cowbell zombie’s broken jaw grinding together are sickening.
Yanking on my hair, cowbell zombie snaps at me again. I spin inside its arms so that I am face to face with the much larger male zombie. A pair of knee strikes to the mid-outer thigh between the leg muscles shatters cowbell zombie’s left femur.
Some of my male Krav Maga instructors describe an outer thigh strike as more painful than a kick to the balls. Lacking balls, I am not able to determine if their opinion was true, but an outer thigh strike which at the minimum, paralyzes the leg, is extremely painful.
Unfortunately, zombies do not feel pain. The zombie drops to its knees, the jagged ends of its shattered femur erupt through its rotting flesh. Cowbell zombie’s left hand is still holding on to my ponytail. I swing my shovel again; the sharpened edge of the spade severs the zombie’s left hand at the wrist.
The twitching severed hand clutching a few wisps of my hair slides down my back falling to the ground. With a sickening crunch, before cowbell zombie’s severed hand hits the ground, I bury the sharpened shovel blade in its forehead. Twisting the shovel’s handle with a spray of black gore, I yank my shovel from the dead zombie’s forehead.
With hands reaching for me, a second zombie staggers out of the underbrush. The zombie’s hands are tipped by bloody and chipped painted and manicured nails. This zombie lacks both a cowbell and a flaming tire.
Dressed in bloody ragged light blue hospital scrubs this female nurse zombie is an older one near full transformation. Nurse zombie still has her white plastic name tag pinned to her blouse; I cannot read it due to the blood covering it. Her feet still wear the incredibly tacky white Crocks.
My knife shreds through the leafy undergrowth burying itself in nurse zombie’s left eye. Disorientated, the zombie nurse staggers on its feet.
I close the distance in four strides slamming the knife deep into the zombie’s brain with a vicious palm strike against my Glock field knife handle. Twisting the knife, I wiggle it side to side ensuring nurse zombie is truly dead.
Beside me one of my men dispatches another zombie by plunging his Wasp knife up through the soft palate into the zombie’s brain. When he depresses the trigger, the zombies head explodes in a disgusting chunky shower of brain, hair and white pieces of bone. Yanking the knife from the corpse, the man removes the spent 800 gram CO2 cartridge.
Dropping the spent gas cartridge on the ground, he installs a fresh cartridge into the knife. Walking beside me, he wipes the Wasp knife off with a rag. I do not know this man’s name, as he is a recent arrival in camp. He wears operator-style black BDUs, with desert tan, US army style boots.
Fashion sense aside, the man appears to be a competent fighter. A battered FDE Steyr AUG hangs over the man’s back. He replaces the Wasp knife on his left hip hanging from his OD green, old-style army pistol belt. Hanging from the belt on his right hip is a pretty, satin nickel CZ 83.32 ACP pistol with a Fitz-style open trigger guard.
Loaded with a menagerie of bullets, the little CZ pistol has a 15 round magazine. I was never fond of the little 32s as I always consider them too underpowered. I certainly would not choose a 32 as my sidearm in a zombie apocalypse. I suppose, though, that one cannot be too picky about finding a weapon in a zombie apocalypse, and a 32 is better than no pistol at all.
As our troops kill the few zombies, that stagger through the forest, we hear the occasional low-frequency thump of a mine detonating. Many more zombies stagger out of the forest, some worse for the wear showing obvious signs of wading through a mine field.
Not sure how many mines we have left, but the zombies are quickly exhausting them. Realizing that our troops are quickly being overran by the zombies, Nikola and I call our men back. Yelling at Junior, I run with my men towards our fortified position.
Hearing the low thump and the whistle as the first mortar rounds sail overhead, I yell for my troops to prepare to kill the zombies behind us. Running towards our lines, one of my men falls underneath several zombies. His screams are short-lived.
Hurdling over the stacked logs, my surviving men take their positions. I yell for the men to prepare to detonate the claymores and other explosives placed in front of our position. At my command, the explosives rip through the trees, killing many of the zombies.
As I yell for the men to commence firing, Shack runs over yelling in my ear. “All the Adventists on our left are dead. Someone slipped over their wall and slit their throats. Not sure how many enemy forces are inside. The colonels are attempting to replace the lost Adventists.”
Nikola’s and my lads open up, decimating the first ranks of the zombies. The grenade launchers obliterate the zombies. The fuel air bombs effects are not as effective outside as they are indoors. FABs kill by over-pressurization, incredible heat and by consuming all available oxygen.
Used indoors, a FAB ruptures lungs as it consumes all the air. The intense pressure wave shatters eardrums, causes blindness, and is a horrible way to die. The thermobaric grenades carried by our troops have a lethality radius of about ten feet.
The zombies in the immediate area of the thermobaric grenade’s blast are deflagrated, disappearing in a fiery cloud of zombie bits. Zombies on the fringes of the thermobaric grenade’s blast are badly burned and injured, some enough so that they die a few seconds after the explosion.
I do not want my men to expend the few thermobaric grenades they carry. At my command, several frag grenades get tossed among the zombies, further reducing their numbers. Unfortunately, the gun fire, explosives and men yelling attract more zombies. I just hope the number of zombies does not exceed the amount of ammo we have.
I hear the squawk of the radio behind me. I hear Junior talking in the radio set, but I cannot make any of the words out as they are drowned out by gunfire. The Princess’s daughter continues to lob HE mortar rounds into the forest.
Junior taps me on the shoulder. Placing his Kevlar helmet against mine, he says “Uh, Ruth, you may want to get this.”
He holds out the handset to me.