I quickly flick on my Sure Fire flashlight. The brief pulse of red light momentarily illuminates the inside of the krankenwagen’s cab. A zombie, dressed in similar clothes as the corpse hanging out of the windshield batters himself against the seat and safety belt attempting to reach me. Entangled in the passenger seat belt, and pinned underneath the passenger seat against the window, the zombie thrashes around in a frenzy.
His thrashing reminds me of a grand mal seizure. The zombie is definitely male, with a sharp-pointed goatee surrounded by a wispy moustache that he probably at one time thought made him look mature. Until Iain, I was not one for bearded men; usually preferring my men (and women) clean-shaven.
Goatee zombie continues to violently strain against the seat and the seat belt restraining him. We are not sure if zombies can see the red or blue lights used by most of the survivors. I do know the infected can see red and blue light.
Crawling on top of the ambulance’s cab, I verify that goatee zombie is trapped inside the cab. I do not need him suddenly bursting from the vehicle now that he has motive. Stupid bastard does not realize that he can open the seatbelt. As I move around the krankenwagen, goatee zombie’s head follows me.
I change pistol magazines for one full of 147 grain, subsonic hollow points. Screwing the suppressor on my pistol, I contemplate shooting through the heavily cracked windshield. I discard the idea, concerned about a ricochet.
Looking around I verify that there is nothing else more pressing than the damn goatee zombie. The last thing I need is a bunch of zombies or worse cannibals, sneaking up on me while I am distracted with dispatching goatee zombie.
Gently racking the slide open, I catch the 115 grain FMJ bullet that pops out of the chamber. I lock the slide open, releasing it when I slam the magazine full of 147 grain subsonic hollow point bullets home. I watch one of the stubby bullets slide from the magazine into the chamber with a resounding thunk.
I cannot mount my Sure Fire flashlight to my pistol, as my old Hi-Power is not new enough to have any kind of rail. Despite lacking a mounted weapon light, I manage holding my Sure Fire flashlight in my weak hand while aiming with my right. I succeed in leaning over the driver’s corpse taking careful aim down at the still thrashing goatee zombie.
Making sure there are no friendly forces near goatee zombie, I gently press the trigger. The pistol coughs lightly bucking in my hand. A neat hole appears in passenger corpse’s head while the back of his skull vaporizes in a frothy fountain of black blood, bits of bone and chunky bits of gelatinous black brains.
The fountain of gore splashes against the passenger window, pooling below the corpse. With a disgusting finality, goatee zombie settles for the last time against the passenger door. Noting the lack of pink brains, I surmise that goatee zombie had been dead for some time. He might have been an early casualty during the initial outbreak.
First responders and soldiers suffered horrific losses early in the KCAP pandemic. Since I was shooting down towards the ground, I did not have to worry about a pass through striking someone friendly. I drop to my knees; the ground is cold underneath my legs.
Pulling my Cold Steel hatchet, I clear enough of the shattered wind shield so that I can reach the corpse without cutting myself on glass. Replacing my hatchet back on my belt, I slide into the cab just enough to reach the corpse.
Searching the corpse reveals an identical dead Motorola radio, a cheap empty nylon wallet, and a nearly full can of Copenhagen dip. His reflective vest holds another, sealed can of Copenhagen, and a cheap, red plastic disposable lighter.
The smell of Copenhagen makes me gag, but I know some of the lads enjoy it, so I drop the cans of dip into my recovery sack. Shaking the lighter, I see that it is about half full. I pocket the disposable lighter.
Searching passenger zombie’s corpse one more time, I discover an ankle holster on the inside of his left leg. “Umm, naughty naughty, krankenwagen boy – not supposed to carry guns,” I mumble. I separate the Velcro, the nylon stretchy fabric flopping on the bottom of the cab as I pull the ankle holster from the corpse.
Thankfully, the black nylon ankle holster does not land in the puddle of blood. Pulling the little pistol from the ankle holster I am disappointed with my find. I recognize the little pistol immediately. It is a Smith & Wesson Model 61 “Escort” nickel plated with white plastic grips. The S&W Escort pistols were real POS that jammed all the time.
There is only one, five round magazine. A quick search of the corpse fails to deliver another magazine. Ejecting the magazine from the gun, I notice that it contains five rounds of CCI Mini Mag .22 LR ammo. I slip the Escort’s slide back far enough verifying that there is a round in the chamber. I put the shitty little pistol back in the ankle holster dropping it in my recovery bag.
I am uncertain how the rettungsassistent became infected. I see no signs of bites or other injuries that would cause KCAP infection. I do not have access to all of its body. I am certainly not going to pull it out so that I can figure cause of infection. I leave the poor bastard where he lies.
Wiggling and shimmying my way out of the cab someone grabs my ankle. I scream, echoing in the small space. Rolling on to my back and frantically grasping for my pistol, I feel a large, cool calloused hand grip mine. “It’s me sweetheart,” Shack says. I relax.
Now I feel like a complete and utter fool for screaming like a silly woman. I hear thumping and cussing nearby. I finish wiggling out of the cab Shack guiding me so that I do not hit my head. “What is that banging about,” I ask once I am standing upright.
“They’re trying to get all three alternators out of the engine compartment. These damn ambulances usually come with a pair of mighty powerful alternators. This one has three for some damned reason. Chuck says this ambulance has the 94 amp stock alternator plus two heavy-duty 220 amp alternators. That’s a lot of juice for an ambulance,” he says scratching his head. “Sorry for startling you.”
I kiss him lightly on the lips. Realizing that we are alone while the Scouts rip apart the ambulance, I lean in and give him a good, deep snog. “I am jumpy after I shot the ambulance passenger zombie,” I say by way of explanation. Someone whistles at the back of the ambulance. Holding hands, we quickly walk around to the ambulance’s rear.
Three people with the cool look of predators stand at the rear of the ambulance. The leader is a tall, lanky white man with stringy, greasy brown hair falling over a stained red bandanna tied around his forehead. Leaning against the hood of our Hummer, the leader wears dirty tight blue jeans and a stained and ripped denim jacket.
With cool consideration, the leader sneers at us. He has his thumbs hooked into his belt loops. Tucked into Leader’s waistband is an old .45 in condition one, with the hammer locked back.
To Leader’s left, is a white man with a ponderous beer gut jutting from his puffy blue nylon jacket. Dirty, ripped blue jeans strain valiantly to contain Beer Gut’s huge ass. An equally straining black leather belt, its buckle facing the ground holds a leather sheath for a large bladed knife easily the width of my hand.
I notice that the handle of the huge knife is a human femur bone. Beer Gut sneers at me as he watches me realize what the handle of his knife is. Beer Gut cradles a camouflaged duck gun in his arms.
To the right of Leader is a skeleton-slender white man with a spiky Mohawk leading into a greasy pony tail on his shoulders. Covering the shaved sides of Mohawk’s head are the typical blue skin head tattoos often gained in prison.
Tattooed in the center of Mohawk’s forehead is a large, rather artful, black, blue and gold Deutsches Kreuz. His large forehead tattoo runs from the bridge of his nose to his hair-line. Visible wrapped around my AR-15, “Skin Head” is tattooed across Mohawk’s fingers in blue ink.
Leader pulls the toothpick from the corner of his mouth. Motioning at Shack with the sodden sliver of wood, he says “Hey, man we’re gonna borrow yo’ woman fo’ some fun. You can have her back when we’re done. You be cool, we don’t hurt her none.”
Fuck! Shack and I were supposed to be on guard! Beside me, I feel Shack tense.
(Author’s note – Before someone yells at me for Ruth’s spelling of moustache – please remember that Ruth is originally from Israel. She prefers the European spelling vs. the typical American spelling of moustache.)
We have observed several broken, poor imitation, Japanese swords lodged in some pathetic zombie. The poor zombie is often walking around with the broken blade or sometimes even the whole sword or knife stuck in the poor thing.
A few weeks ago we came across a zombie with a poor imitation Japanese wakizashi thrust through him. The handle was on one side of the zombie, while the tip barely protruded from the other side. After killing the zombie and removing the wakizashi we discovered that the blade was badly bent. Attempting to straighten the wakizashi blade resulted in it shattering into three pieces.
The other evening Shack and some of the Scout lads were sitting around a small fire in front of our tent. Shack was using some “survivor-style” knife with a large fixed blade and a hollow handle containing a lot of useless junk. Shack was making fire-starting feather sticks, not a real hard task for a knife.
The POS knife blade broke, snapping off right at the handle. One thing that KCAP has taught us is that good equipment is priceless. Another lesson was that just because something is imported does not mean it is junk. Case in point – my favorite, Cold Steel Vietnam-era, reproduction antipersonnel hatchet.
My Cold Steel hatchet was made in China. After a good sharpening, the hatchet has served me well. Shack likewise carries a Cold Steel Warhawk, also made in China, which required only a good sharpening to become an excellent lethal weapon. Both tomahawks have survived rough use. Good equipment is priceless.
Speaking of priceless, thanks to Doc, Viri is now armed with a FDE, Kel-Tec SUB-2000 9mm folding carbine. The little carbine takes Glock 17 magazines of which Doc made sure that Viri had several of the extra-long magazines holding 30 rounds each. A little Bushnell red dot sight of some kind sits on top of the small carbine.
I was sure that the red dot sight would prevent folding the carbine when Doc showed me how the front handguard twists so that the red dot sight is on the bottom. I am not that familiar with Kel-Tec firearms. Like most academics, Viri had never handled a gun before the zombie apocalypse.
Shack mentioned under his breath that, “during a zombie apocalypse is kinda late to learn how to use firearms.” Doc suggested better to learn late than never to learn. I helped Viri load her magazines with PMC Bronze 9mm 115 grain hollow points from 300 round tan Spam bags also provided by the convoy.
Viri also carries a 4-shot Sauer Bär pistol chambered in .25 ACP tucked into her more than ample cleavage. The little Belgian antique pistol is rather underpowered, and (in my opinion, anyway) woefully inadequate. The .25 ACP cartridge was never a known man-stopper, and even some of the .22 rim fire rounds have greater kinetic energy.
Still any pistol these days is better than no pistol. Because of the prevalence of people with no firearms experience, the convoy personnel have taken to offering firearms training in the evenings. Sam and Longfeather conduct most of the training, with Sutton and Randy teaching those that show promise, some long-range shooting.
The other female infected survivor, Martha “not fucking Stewart!” is a quiet, mousy little woman. I have not had an opportunity to talk to her, but the mousy woman barely talks to anyone other than those that are also infected with KCAP. It was painful watching the fidgety, infected woman learning how to shoot and load the little M6 Scout rifle chambered in .22 Hornet and .410 shotgun — it was obvious that she had never handled a firearm before.
Loaded with some of the newer .410 self-defense rounds, the little .410 shotgun can be an effective personal defense weapon. Most of the self-defense .410 rounds were designed for the Taurus Judge and Smith & Wesson Governor pistols. I wonder what the ballistics are for the self-defense .410 rounds designed for short pistol barrels when fired in a longer shotgun barrel.
We have taken to referring to the small, infected woman as Mouse because the name suits her. Thankfully, someone has not given Mouse a pistol because the way she missed everything with the M6 Scout, flinching and shrieking every time the weapon bucked in her hands, she would never have hit anything with a pistol.
Shack and I, if we are not on guard duty, have taken to spending the evenings with little Stiva on the beach. Carol is afraid that the tyke will roll into a campfire, so they stay well away from any heat or fire. Sometimes we are joined by Doc and Viri, and even Honey and LM occasionally drop in for a while.
Doc and Viri were quite animated last evening, talking about how KCAP possess a microbial efflux pump that is unusually efficient, and stronger than any other microbial efflux pump found in nature. I have taken to taking notes now when the Doc and Viri go into one of their scientific tirades. I think Doc enjoys being able to argue with someone who understands what he is talking about.
Shack and I aside from our usual guard rotations, also partake in pulling security for the Scouts while they acquire supplies. Shack and I got to protect the Scouts when they searched a rolled over ambulance on its side in a deeply forested area. The old krankenwagen flew off of the road and rolled down the side of the bank towards the river.
Trapped between a small river and a thick line of trees, the ambulance lies on its side, all doors closed tightly. The fuel tanks, emptied long ago by other looters, are a disappointment. However, the huge Cummins diesel’s crankcase is filled with several gallons of motor oil. The ambulance’s position provided easy access to the engine.
One of the Scouts stood beside the engine, and using a sharpened punch, pierces the side of the oil pan. As the viscous, black oil glugged into the catch bucket, other Scouts searched around the old krankenwagen, discovering a corpse mostly ejected through the windshield on the driver’s side.
I run over to watch but I quickly get tired of standing around. I decide to search the krankenwagen’s cab. Dressed in a solid blue jump suit, the ambulance driver was badly cut, his face and arms shredded by the windshield. Wild animals had been snacking on the poor dead ambulance driver, so I was not sure how much of the damage to the poor man was from the crash or from nature.
Searching the ambulance driver’s corpse reveals a wallet full of useless credit cards and a crisp five dollar bill, equally as useless as the plastic. I pocket the money, as it may be useful either as rolling paper or as tinder. I do not bother reading the name on the driver’s license.
A quick search of the corpse reveals three-quarters of a pack of Marlboro Red 100s. I rip off the black nylon rigger’s belt from the corpse dropping it in my recovery sack. A nice, frequency agile Motorola radio with a long microphone handset was still attached to the corpse’s belt. The radio is dead, so I pop open the back of the case revealing a nice set of lithium polymer batteries.
I drop the radio in the recovery sack hanging on my waist. I pocket the smokes for later, my mouth already watering at the thought of the sweet smoke entering my starved lungs. I toss the ambulance driver’s wallet back into the ambulance through the shattered windshield. When I tossed the folded wallet into the ambulance’s cab, something moves inside, thumping around heavily.
Pulling my pistol, I lean over the driver’s corpse looking cautiously down into the dark cab. Something moves inside the dark compartment.
My response is an elegant, “Huh?”
“During the siege of the old village, there was a reason that no artillery or other indirect fire weapons were deployed. We tried to catch the attacking gang in a pinch between our two forces. Thanks to you my men were decimated, and nearly overran.”
“I did not know that there were friendly forces outside of our barricade,” I reply.
“Yeah, well Sam and I could not be certain who the traitors are within the village, so that information was kept strictly need to know. I guess they figured you didn’t need to know,” he replies sneering at me.
I walk away from the man before I decide to hurt the asshole. Tempting as it is for me to thrash the odious man; I am more pissed at Sam and Doc for not telling me that there were friendly forces. I also feel somewhat betrayed. I make an effort to avoid the asshole for the next few days as every time I see him my blood pressure rises.
The next few days pass uneventfully. Shack and I get into the guard rotation taking our turns manning the guad-50 on the main gate and the 20mm Oerlikon cannon facing the beach. I prefer standing behind the old 20mm cannon, despite the lack of shelter it offers. I prefer the view of the bay and water over looking at the abandoned highway.
I find myself often fondling the huge; seven-inch long 20mm shells each weighing a solid half of a pound. Today, Sam is tearing around Kayak Point Park in his old Ontos, playing in the sand and rocks on the beach.
Brenda said that before some of the dams on the Snake and other rivers in the area were removed, most of the beaches here were plain rock with no sand or other sediment. All of the dams on the major rivers kept the sediment out of the bay, were it settled along the beaches as sand.
Brenda explains that the lower Snake River dams were the last to go before KCAP hit. She explains that the lower Snake River dams were the largest ever removed in the US. Many groups and several of the local tribes pushed to remove the three major dams on the Columbia River.
Brenda felt removing the three, large Columbia River dams was not something that the government would allow because of how much electrical power the three dams provided. I get to make some small talk with Brenda today at lunch.
I am closest to Brenda and Carol, while the Princess and I strive at least to be civil to each other. The Princess and I do not talk unless necessary, even on woman’s bath day. I suppose she has never forgiven how I treated her in the first few days of my joining the convoy.
I admit that I was not nice to the Princess, but she needed someone to put their foot in her ass, and it was my foot, so she hates me. Today, we are eating Jerusalem artichokes, steamed asparagus, dried banana chips, and a decent celeriac soup with garlic, green beans, leeks, onions, tomatoes, and blanched horse parsley.
Brenda and the cooks are miracle workers coming up with meals for this bunch of people. Our cooks apologize for the bland taste, but when cooking for so large a group, there is not really anything they can do about flavor. The important thing is that there is food, and plenty of it.
I did not know that Shack hates asparagus, so he gave me his portion. I have always loved asparagus, although Amy hated it too. Our cooks have actually started to make decent bread, and the Indian fry bread is common at meals too.
Someone recovered an ancient Corona grain mill which the cooks have put to good use. Along with the Corona grain mill a Little Dutch Maid mixer has also been pressed in to service in the kitchen.
Doc has been hanging out with an infected black woman from the group in the houses to the north of the park. Shack, Longfeather and Doc often get together to eat and talk. Honey, LM and I usually tag along for some of these discussions as sometimes they are really interesting.
On this occasion I got to meet Doc’s new lady friend, a very tall KCAP infected, black woman with bright red, straight hair full of small colorful beads that falls to her ankles. The smaller of the two infected women, the black woman is willow thin and has naturally bright red hair.
I was curious about her retaining her hair for as I understand it, KCAP infected lose all of their body hair. Doc was stumped too because usually anyone infected with KCAP, loses all their body hair. Viridiana is unique as far as we know. For some reason that Doc has not figured out, Viridiana (“Viri” for short) did not lose all of her hair. I was not aware that black people could blush.
Although Doc is not ethnically black, it was fun watching him blush when discussing Viri’s hair after Shack asked if the carpet matched the drapes. Doc thinks Viri’s red hair might have something to do with her keeping her hair after infection. Viri was a geneticist at the College of the Bahamas. Doc and Viri are quite interested in how KCAP works in the body. I have to admit that between the two of them when they go all scientificy on me, I get lost and there is no way I can write everything the two doctors discussed.
Both Doc and Viri agree that KCAP improves its host, bettering the human race by removing all of the infirm and sick. Doc chose infection hoping to cure his diabetes. Viri chose infection because her group on the boat after a harrowing crossing of the Panama Canal suffered Ciguatera poisoning from farm-raised salmon they took from an abandoned fish farm.
The group KCAP infected themselves curing the Ciguatera poisoning. I had never heard of Ciguatera poisoning as it is not common anywhere that I previously lived. Ciguatera poisoning is also not common here in the Pacific Northwest either. Ironically, Ciguatera poisoning is quite common in the Bahamas, so Viri was very familiar with the symptoms of Ciguatera poisoning.
Viri carries a nice Japanese tanto of modern manufacture. Amy was a collector of fine Japanese knives; the tanto was always her favorite Japanese knife. She carried a modern tanto at work in the firehouse. I am not the knife expert that Amy was but I can appreciate a good blade. One of Amy’s favorite Japanese blades in her collection was a “cursed” 16th-century tanto made by famed Japanese smith Muramasa Sengo.
I gave Amy her Muramasa tanto for our fifth anniversary. I was not aware that there were many forged Muramasa blades. Most forgeries of Muramasa blades were particularly made during the Tokugawa Shogunate. I was concerned that perhaps I had bought a forgery.
I was contemplating how much pain I would inflict upon the antiquities dealer once I returned to Haifa. Amy alleviated my fears, silencing my rumblings of bloody revenge by verifying that the tanto was indeed an authentic Muramasa. The mirrored hako-midare hamon was a specialty of Muramasa.
It was not until a few years later that Amy learned that her treasured Muramasa tanto once belonged to General Tojo. The tanto was once part of the former MacArthur Museum, and was listed as stolen. The MacArthur museum identified the tanto as a forgery but Amy was able to verify that it is a true Muramasa tanto.
The infected walk into the chaos like they are above it all, and offer no outward appearance of concern. The small group of infected led by a large older male. They are lightly armed. Of the three men and two women, only the two largest men carry firearms. The smaller male and the two women carry various bladed gardening tools, pressed into service as weapons.
The largest male carries a battered, full fenced receiver, AR-15 rifle with attached carry handle and Vietnam-era skinny handguards. The rifle has the traditional pencil-thin barrel and I would bet that its twist rate is 1-in-12 or 1-in-14. A single gray metal magazine is inserted into his weapon.
The smaller male carries a sawed off, nondescript, imported over-under shotgun which might be a 20 gauge or other smaller gauge of shotgun. No handguns are evident among the infected.
Dressed in casual street clothes, the only similar clothing among them is a cotton hoodie. I swear the damned hoodie is the unofficial uniform of the Seattle area. Randy and Sutton says that it is because of the cooler and damper weather that so many chose to wear a hoodie. A hoodie is also something that is easy to don or remove should the weather change, which it does often in this area.
Things are tense for a moment, until some men and women with tribal, ethnic appearances come over and start passing bowls of steaming food around. It is harder to attack someone when you are holding a turned wooden bowl of steaming food. Food is far too precious now to waste it attacking someone.
The smell of the food in the bowl shoved into my arms makes my mouth water. I inhale deeply smelling the steaming pile of food in my bowl. It smells wonderful. Stirring with my handy, brown plastic MRE spoon, it appears to be a pottage of peas and beans with small chunks of reddish meat. Several small squares of slightly yellow bread lie on the edges of the bowl.
Our hands now full of food, everyone seeks someplace to sit. Shack and I wander over to some of the larger logs on the edge of the asphalt sitting with our backs to the water. The timing of our arrival appears fortuitous as we are in time for the evening meal. Directly behind us is the single pier jutting out into the water.
Shack and I are joined by Brenda and her two husbands. The infected wander off to sit by themselves on the playground equipment in the center of the park area. Behind the infected is a small latrine building emitting an awful smell when the wind shifts. I would not wish to eat so close to such a rank smelling building, but the infected do not seem to mind.
The smell causes Brenda to gag, coughing into her hand. One of Brenda’s husbands pats her back. She looks at me sheepishly. “I may be pregnant,” she says with a weak smile, as if I need an excuse for her to be ill at such a foul smell.
We fall silent concentrating on eating. We notice that Doc, Honey and LM join the infected eating in the playground. Shack raises his eyebrows at this, but there is really nothing we can do so we continue eating. Sam eats while standing talking to a tall man with a long ponytail streaked with silver.
I assumed that the small semi-round pieces of yellowish, puffy bread were tortillas. I am confounded by their taste and study the piece of greasy, puffy bread in my hand. “It’s Indian fry bread,” Brenda explains at my perplexed expression.
“Huh,” is my intelligent reply.
“According to Navajo tradition, fry bread was created when my people were forced to move to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico. The Navajo used supplies given to them by the US government, when the land would not provide traditional Navajo food,” Longfeather explains. I did not see him approach, so engrossed was I in eating.
Nodding at us, Longfeather sits down in front of us, cross-legged his food perched precariously on his legs. “For many Indians, but more so for those who were forced off of their traditional lands, fry bread connects the present to one of the most painful periods of Native American history.”
Falling silent Longfeather digs into his food with relish. Despite being rather bland, the pottage is filling. I find myself emptying my bowl, wiping the dregs out with my last piece of greasy fry bread. The food brings calm to the camp. Looking around I realize that among the separate groups, they have arranged themselves so that their areas are distinct.
In the center of the area, running along the water between the single pier and the asphalt around the playground is a large open area. We are assigned, unfortunately being the last to arrive, the area closest to the foul-smelling latrine buildings. The next few hours are spent setting up our tents, and other gear.
One surprising change is that the radio gear will remain packed. We are not keeping a radio watch while here and will use only the man portable radios and not the base radio sets. Shack and I, along with the rest of the usual radio crew are assigned guard rotation.
Doc, Honey and the infected confer with Sam and the stocky man with dark narrow eyes, a fixed sneer, and jet-black hair worn in a ponytail to his shoulders. After the meeting, the infected return to the houses to the north. I note now that infected are now carrying several firearms given to them by the convoy.
The largest woman now carries a purple nine millimeter Sccy pistol in a black nylon Uncle Mikes holster. The Scouts recovered the unique Sccy pistol from a dead zombie a few months ago. There is only one magazine for the Sccy pistol so I hope that she is careful not to lose it.
The other infected now carry Hi Point pistol caliber carbines and several Hi Point pistols. The Hi Point pistols and carbines are rather common, because they were so cheap. Unfortunately, repair parts and extra magazines for the Hi Points are rather rare.
As I watch the newly armed infected leave, the stocky man with dark narrow eyes, a fixed sneer, and ponytail of silver streaked jet-black hair to his shoulders walks up to me. Facing me with a sneer, he place his hands on his hips.
“So you’re the bitch that was killin’ my men.”
The Mobile Gun Stryker parks at the sharp turn at the top of the hill leading to the beach below. We pass the Stryker as it sets its securing stanchions, its crew running around the outside. Two of the Stryker lads leap into one of the UTVs, tearing down to the beach with a mound of empty sand bag sacks.
The rest of the gun crew prep shells and lay out their defense. I note that they are planning to surround the MGS with a barrier of sand bags. This park at one time had a lot of trees. Most of the trees have been cut down which makes it easier for the MGS to swing her long gun.
The lack of trees also gives the MGS a clear line of sight for the whole bay in front of them. Behind the MGS towards the gate, the gun has a nearly unobstructed line of fire. Several smaller burnt-out buildings, which might be the remains of the park ranger’s offices, are to the left of the MGS’s positon.
Several soldiers from the rearward vehicles lay mines, including claymores and other antipersonnel mines in the bushes and along the roadway. There is only one way in and out of Kayak Point unless we abandon the vehicles. Pinned against the bay, an attacking force could hand us an ignoble defeat similar to the British at Dunkirk.
Walking behind one of her Russian husbands, I see that Rain still caries her old Belgian-made Browning .25 ACP pistol in a cheap black nylon shoulder holster. The Russian husband pushes a wheel barrow loaded with old Soviet antipersonnel mines. Rain drags an old, wooden, two-wheeled cart covered in a woodland camouflaged tarp.
I bet Rain’s cart is also full of old Soviet mines and other nasty weapons. As the Russian turns to say something to Rain, I notice that he carries an old PP-2000 9×19 sub-machine gun. I wonder if the Russian husband worked for the interior before KCAP. I also wonder if that sub-machine gun he carries is full of the unique +P+ armor-piercing version of the 9mm cartridge.
Turning back to the road, I notice that one of the soldiers assigned to the sole remaining Stryker is setting up an ancient Knight’s Armament Company Stoner LMG A1. The old, tan FDE 30-06 machinegun is rather rare – I wonder where he got such a unique weapon.
I also wonder how much 30-06 ammo the soldier has. The old Stoner fires from 20-round box magazines, but was very accurate. With the battered ACOG mounted upon the Stoner LMG the soldier should be able to direct accurate fire.
Shack leans out the door as the overloaded UTV passes us. He yells that the beach is rock, not sand but the soldiers do not hear him over the roar of the UTV’s engine. Shack shrugs and rides in silence as we drive down into the beach area. The smell of smoke and salt hangs over the area.
There are quite a few people in the park. I am surprised to see so many canoes and other water craft beached in the gently rolling surf. I slow the truck unsure if the people standing around the old picnic shelters are friend or foe.
The colonels drive down, park their car and get out. The colonels immediately start shaking hands and greeting the people around the picnic shelters. The group has obviously been camped here for a while, judging by the tents and amount of refuse.
I notice several wooden canoes, which judging by the decoration must be tribal. I had heard that Brenda and most of the former Adventists were members of some of the local Native American tribes. I wonder if these canoes might be from similar or allied tribes.
Standing beside the idling truck I notice that it is not actually one group, but rather several distinct groups camped here together. There appears to be a few different tribes perhaps, and at least one or more distinct groups of survivors. I climb on top of the truck to get a better look. Shack follows me leaving Honey and LM in the cab.
From my vantage point on the cab roof I can see that Kayak Point is in total chaos. I see the colonels are having a heated discussion with a tall, stocky white man dressed in a faded OD green field coat.
The white man arguing with the colonels has dark, narrow eyes, a fixed sneer, and jet-black hair shot with gray worn in a pony tail to the bottom of his shoulder blades. He holds in his arms a weapon, but from this distance I cannot name it.
The small area at the foot of the hill becomes a madhouse as the convoy attempts to reorganize itself in the wake of finding Kayak Point occupied. We did not expect to find Kayak Point occupied.
Brenda and her husbands start unloading equipment. Directing the HEMTT towing the engineering trailer to park near her vehicle, Brenda starts surveying the beach. I know that Brenda wants to be as close as possible to the beach because that is where most of the wood is and where the salt water will come from.
I see quite a bit of drift wood scattered on the beach. Most of the larger material including whole logs are still strewn over the beach. All of the smaller drift wood has already been burnt. We brought bucking saws, as well as splitting equipment. Shack told me that the engineering trailer has a ginormous air-powered chainsaw in it.
I wonder if the diesel cost running the air compressor will be less than the cost of gasoline in a chainsaw. Shack assures me that diesel is easier to make and procure than gasoline, so running the air compressor will be worth it. He tells me that the ginormous air-powered chainsaw has a five foot long blade that will cut the largest logs with ease.
The more wood that we can cut as fast as possible, means the sooner that we can get off of this exposed beach. The less distance that we have to haul water and fuel, the more efficient the process will be. The cooks start assembling the cook tent, while everyone else jockeys for position. With the cooks and Brenda’s crew adding to the chaos the mood turns dark as arguments break out.
To the north, from a group of nice houses that once bordered this park, walks a small group of obviously KCAP-infected people. The group of infected are armed but from this distance I canot see with what. I lean over into the cab, yelling at Honey to hand me the binoculars from the glove compartment.
The sight of the infected causes instant panic – weapons are drawn.
Traveling closer to Kayak Point, we see increased signs of unrest. I am not familiar with this area, but it looks like it was sparsely populated before KCAP hit. The road is very hilly, with dips and swells. I laugh as Shack twists his tongue in knots attempting to pronounce some of the names of the roads we pass. I learn later from Brenda that most of the names are taken from the local Native American tribes.
Honey and LM continue to eat as we drive. With the roadway mostly clear, our convoy actually reaches a whopping 40 miles an hour. I gratefully shift into fourth gear, as Honey cracks open another MRE, this one a rare Estonian.
The only reason I know the nondescript white plastic covered box is an Estonian MRE is because someone thoughtfully labeled it in English. Honey continues eating. I cannot read or speak Estonian, and it appears that Honey does not either.
“Christ kid, how much shit you gonna’ eat,” Shack mutters from his side of the cab.
The Estonian MRE Honey is furiously digging into does not seem as sparse as one would expect. She makes a horrid face after tasting something that smells like garlic-infused pâté. LM chortles as Honey shudders making a horrid face after tasting some of the pale gray, lumpy pâté.
Honey flings the opened container of pâté past Shack’s nose, some of the foul-smelling stuff striking him in the face which amuses LM to no end. Listening to LM near tears laughing on the floor brings a smile to my face. The pâté must be fairly horrid as Shack furiously scrubs at his face with his shemagh trying to get the nasty stuff off.
“Shit! Just hand me the nasty crap and I will toss it outa’ the cab. Don’t fucking do that again!”
Shack is visibly angry. His rare display of temper causes LM to bust out laughing again which considering the situation is pretty funny. Even I start giggling, LM’s laughter is infectious. After a moment even Shack cracks a smile, despite the splatter of nasty pâté on his LBV.
“Doc told me that KCAP does something to the adrenal glands. Because LM and I are still growing, our caloric intake need is very high.” Honey mentions this little tidbit while she cracks opens another mystery can of potted meat from the Estonian MRE.
I distinctly smell fish, as Honey shovels little smoked, oil dripping silver fish into her mouth with a white plastic fork. She eats some of the fish and then hands the rest to LM who digs into it with relish.
“LM and I are always hungry. Doc is hungry a lot more too, but not as often as us because we are still growing. We know, that with KCAP, death is followed by transformation. KCAP improves and hardens the host, improving KCAP’s chances of spreading. I am not sure that LM and I want to find out what happens if we starve to death. The hunger pains are horrible. I get the strongest urges to eat anything. If I got hungry enough, I fear I might attack someone.”
At this proclamation, Shack looks at her wide-eyed. I see his right arm moving, I wonder if he is loosening his Serbu in its holster on his right leg.
Honey takes a deep breath after this spat of information. Sipping from her canteen, she rummages around in the Estonian MRE again. As she digs, Honey continues to talk.
“He can’t talk yet, but I get very strong mental images from LM. Doc did a KCAP blood count on us. LM has three times more KCAP viral bodies than I do. But with him, because he inherited KCAP from his father, he is closer to the other infected than I am. LM is going to have to be very careful, because if he gains more KCAP viral bodies, it may kill him or push him into near madness with hunger.”
Honey falls silent for a minute as Shack and I look down at LM sitting on the floor board, eagerly licking the empty can of smoked fish. Honey triumphantly finds a pair of small clear plastic packages of crackers. Handing one of the packages of crackers to LM, she sighs.
“I suppose the crackers were for eating with the fish.” She burps lightly. “Excuse me.”
Honey rummages in her pockets for a minute. Finding some small packets of US Army MRE jelly in brown plastic squeeze tubes, she bites the corner off a brown tube of jelly. She hands the open tube of jelly to LM along with another plastic sleeve of crackers.
Opening her own tube of jelly she squirts jelly on her crackers. I distinctly smell grape jelly, one of my least favorite flavors of jelly.
We ride in silence for a while, listening to Honey and LM munch. I am still full from lunch, but am thankful for the cool can of Budweiser that Shack hands to me. I feel some guilt drinking alcohol while driving, but it is not like I am getting drunk from one beer.
We stop briefly and I see some activity ahead. Shack takes Honey with him and goes to investigate. A few minutes later they return.
“What was that?” I ask as they climb back in the cab. I put the old Dodge back in gear, noting that the engine is running a bit on the warm side. I turn the heater up removing more heat from the engine.
Shack and I roll our windows all the way down to let the excess heat out of the cab which is stuffy enough with four people in it. Shack opens the beer window letting a cool draft blow through the cab.
“Some asshole up ahead was lying in the center of the road. Stupid fucker must have been desperate for a drink because he drank paint thinner. What was left of him was dragging itself across the road; the empty tin can of paint thinner still clutched in his fist. Paint thinner zombie could hear but not see. Was pretty simple to smack ‘em in the back of the head with an e-tool.”
Shack takes a long swig from his canteen.
“Randy and Sutton followed paint thinner zombie’s trail. They came back with several cans of paint thinner and some other flammable liquid shit, such as acetone. Gonna’ pour it in the HEMTT tanker. Thin out that nasty used motor oil shit we’ve been burning.”
Now that the convoy is moving again, the temperature of the old Dodge diesel stops climbing alarmingly towards the red. The engine temperature returns to normal as we drive easing my concerns. I closely watch the engine temperature from now on.
We have been going downhill for a while now, so I hope we are getting close to Kayak Point. We pass a sign, or rather what is left of it, for the Kayak Point golf course. Remembering our last experiences on a golf course I do not wish to explore this one.
Crucified to the sign with jagged pieces of rusty re-bar, the moaning infected person reinforces my wish to avoid the Kayak Point golf course. Pinned on its back, in an awkward position the hapless infected as we pass it attempts to reach towards us, as if begging for mercy.
The naked, emaciated infected corpse is horribly burnt, its sex unidentifiable. Draped over the low, hip-high, fire-scorched concrete sign the burnt infected shakes its head and snaps its teeth at us. The convoy slows as we pass the unfortunate creature.
A muffled shot cracks from the rear of the convoy. The pinned infected’s head snaps back spraying a fountain of gore. I would later learn that it was one of Rain’s Russian husbands that put the unfortunate infected out of its misery with an ancient Mosin Nagant rifle with a large, black Wix oil filter on the muzzle.
I am not sure about Doc, but Honey and LM do not seem all that disturbed by the death of the infected. Honey smears reconstituted peanut butter on MRE crackers. She follows the smear of PB with a healthy squirt of “honey” from a brown plastic MRE squeeze tube.
Honey gives LM, Shack and even I (despite how much I despise reconst peanut butter) a few of the gooey dripping, smeared crackers. All of us munch the awful crackers covered with gritty, oily peanut butter dripping with fake honey silent with our thoughts.
After a full stop at the end of the road, we cross another highway, turning down a steep grade. Passing a white steel pole gate, where the colonels direct construction of pillboxes and gun emplacements we finally enter Kayak Point.
Behind the colonel’s station wagon I see a sign welcoming us to Kayak Point, a Snohomish County park. The colonels direct everyone, with the exception of the construction crew and the first team manning the gate defenses to drive down towards the beach.
It feels good to enter Kayak Point.
Sharks are my first thought until I remember that this is a freshwater lake. The heads of zombies rise from the water. Some of the lads on the beach immediately begin shooting. One of the lads has one of those odd Kel-Tec 9mm carbines that use Glock magazines.
The old, folding Kel-Tec carbine looks odd with a large red Fram oil filter on the muzzle. Shack and I hurriedly dress in record time with the aid of Honey. As we run from the woods, we are joined by Rain and three of her husbands. Running full tilt, Honey easily passes us; her speed and agility is frightening. We pass Rick and the Princess dressing as fast as they can.
Honey literally runs up the side of a large cedar tree, her speed and agility allowing her to run most of the way up into the tree. Honey does a front flip somersault almost from the crown of the cedar tree. With a casual underhand toss, Honey flings all four of her frag grenades into the water among the rising zombies.
While still airborne, before her grenades splash down, she whips her SPAS-12 off of her back. Cranking the shotgun as only someone with her speed and strength can, she quickly unloads the shotgun. Landing lightly in a front somersault, Honey is shoving fresh 12 gauge shells in the SPAS-12 as she rolls with her momentum.
Rolling to her knees, Honey commences unloading the shotgun in to the crowd of zombies. The first zombie rising from the water is a young, white youth dressed as an unarmed security guard in gray slacks and a black long-sleeve shirt. Lake moss hangs from the silver security badge on his chest. His stomach has been ripped open, his guts trailing between his legs.
A blast of #4 buckshot from Honey’s shotgun hits security guard zombie in the chin, exploding his head like a gray and pink puss-filled sack. As security guard zombie’s headless corpse falls, Honey’s grenades detonate obliterating most of the other zombies. Under covering fire from the lads on the beach, our supplies are loaded, and personnel shoved into their respective vehicles.
As Shack and I run for our truck, we see Rick carrying the heavily pregnant Princess to the snow plow. At our truck, I consider grabbing either my B&T TP9 or my AR-15, but decide to use my pistol. I am a much better pistol shot than I am a rifle shot.
One of the lads has an XProducts AR-15 can cannon launching frag grenades into the lake. The kid has to rack the AR-15 action because the blanks used to launch the grenades will not cycle the action. The round US military and Russian frag grenades fit perfectly into the can launcher.
Rain and three of her five husbands make it to their truck. Rain’s other two husbands and her two co-wives are already loading their truck. Despite the unexpected arrival of the zombies, the beach is orderly evacuated in relays. You would think we have had to practice this a few times. I do not bother screwing on my suppressor for my High Power; with the all the grenades and shotguns there is far too much noise to bother.
I carefully aim and shoot, taking head shots when a zombie’s head clears the water enough. I am using the plentiful PMC 115 grain hollow point 9mm ammo. Shack and I cover Honey as she retreats from the beach; she is one of the last off the beach. I hear the radio on her chest crackle with static. Units are checking in ready as all of their people climb in.
I hear the snow plow start with a shaking rattle and cloud of blue-black smoke. As Honey gets close enough for me to hear over the sound of the grenades exploding and the whump of the can launcher, I hear Sam’s order to move out. Inserting a fresh magazine, I toss the depleted pistol magazine on the dash so that I remember to refill it.
Something cold touches my leg and I scream sure it is a zombie. Pointing my pistol at the floor, I am surprised to see LM calmly sitting in his spot munching on another MRE John Wayne bar. He pats my leg as if to assure me that everything is ok. Taking another bite of the chocolate John Wayne bar, he makes a “vroom, vroom” noise at me mimicking me starting the truck. Holstering my pistol, I climb in the Dodge’s cab.
Yeah, right kid, let us get the fuck out of here. I see more zombies staggering out of the water. Now that all of our personnel are accounted for and not in danger, we do not bother shooting any more of the zombies. Honey slides in the cab, she is not even breathing hard. Shack climbs in just as I start the old Dodge.
Honey drops her smoking shotgun down on the floor in front of LM. Thankfully the truck windows are down otherwise the smokey shotgun would fill the cab. Pulling a pair of OD green plastic US Army canteens out Honey guzzles one while handing the other to LM. Whatever bug juice Honey is drinking, it smells like oranges, so I am betting that it is Tang or some generic clone.
LM’s canteen is filled with something red and fruity smelling, leaving a red stain on his lips that looks far too much like blood for my tastes. As I slam the Dodge into second gear, popping the clutch, I watch more zombies shamble out of the water.
Dripping water and lake moss, the zombies are a sorry-looking lot. I never realized how many people wear hoodies in the Pacific Northwest, until I started paying attention to what everyone wears. The hoodie is so universal here, that it blends into the background.
A child zombie wearing a bright, Twinkie yellow hoodie in the shape of a Despicable Me Minion, complete with single goggled eye ball, staggers towards our truck. The child zombie wears a single green flip-flop and torn lime green yoga pants. The zombie child’s left side is soaked in blood, and her jaw hangs at a weird angle.
A single rifle shot rips through the woods. Zombie child’s head whips back as a spray of gore paints the ground behind her. Before her head whipped back out of my sight, I am sure that I saw a perfectly round hole appear just above her mouth. I am also sure that hole is 7.62 calibre. One of our snipers, probably either Randy or Sutton, put the child out of her misery.
As our convoy tears away from Lake Ki the sun breaks through the clouds for a moment, illuminating the carnage on the small rocky beach. We did not get a chance to gather trash or police our area, so we are leaving clear evidence of our presence.
Falling in line with the convoy, Honey hands me a tepid bottle of water from the floor boards of the truck. Until I grasped the water bottle I did not realize how parched I am. Guzzling the liter bottle of water, I try not to swerve too much until Honey holds the wheel for me.
Soon after leaving Lake Ki, we pass a sign for Kayak Point Golf Course. I understand that the golf course is close to the old Kayak Point Park. We should be there in an hour or so at this rate.
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.