A few hours after the fighting ceased, once most of the clean-up was completed enough so that some normalcy (if it could ever be called that) returned to camp Sam, held a staff meeting beside the burnt-out remains of the farmhouse.
As the staff sits down to hold a meeting, the cooks handout warm BBQ Spam sandwiches. The cooks have become adept at cooking a kind of flat bread. The bread such as it is might not be the prettiest or the tastiest bread, but it works.
I grimace as I am handed a dripping Spam sandwich. I am not sure what brand of BBQ sauce is dripping over my fingers, but it is somewhat too sweet for my tastes. As I perform a very un-ladylike stunt by licking my fingers, another cook offers a choice of either a can of warm beer or hot tea.
At least the tea quality has improved since the Adventists joined us. I take the warm can of beer placing it my coat pocket. I sip my tea between bites of dripping Spam sandwich.
Sam begins the meeting once everyone is seated and served.
“We got hit hard, but not as hard as we could have had those assholes waited long enough to truly discover our defenses.” Sam takes a bite of his BBQ Spam sandwich pausing to wash the dry bread down with a swig from a warm can of Coors Light.
Talking around a mouthful of Spam, Sam continues. “Fuckers knew exactly what to bait the hook with. Knew that we would take in a group with kids. Well, at least we still have the kids. The loss of adults is going to hurt both groups.”
Turning, Sam looks at Doc. Sam takes another bite of his sandwich looking thoughtful. I nod my thanks as the black cook hands me another warm, dripping BBQ Spam sandwich accompanied by another warm can of Coors. I note that the sandwich bread is missing little divots probably where the cooks cut mold from the bread.
The cook continues to hand sandwiches to the staff as Sam continues. While the cooks hand out sandwiches to any who request another, Carol and Nikola join us.
Nikola carries his swaddled child in his arms. Carol looks tired but ungodly happy. No woman who just gave birth should look that damn happy. She is even crying for Chrissakes!
Nikola pulls down the swaddling revealing a red, freckled cherubic face framed by a mop super fine fiery red hair. The baby possesses a small red button nose over a thin-lipped mouth. I assume that the child’s eyes are blue; I wonder if the eyes will remain blue or change to another color.
Puffing out his chest while walking a little unsteadily, Nikola shows around his baby. I suspect that the new father has already been celebrating the birth of his child.
“Present I, son of mine, Stephen Nikolovich. We call him Stiva.” The proud father hands his sleeping infant son to his mother. Carol sits with her son and promptly puts him to nursing. Well swaddled, and nestled against Carol’s breast, Stiva waves a small chubby hand in the air, visible occasionally through the gap of Carol’s naval peacoat.
Carol refuses a Spam sandwich with a brief shake of her head but takes a can of beer, gulping it down in one shot. Nikola takes two Spam sandwiches placing them in his chair. When Carol finishes, the first can of beer Nikola gives her another. While nursing, Carol sips the second can of beer.
From the immense deep pockets of his huge, fuzzy gray Astrakhan great-coat, Nikola produces a sealed bottle of Starka vodka. Tossing the vodka lid into the small campfire we are sitting around he offers a traditional Russian toast, in the form of a poem, to his son.
“I wish you to be always happy,
I wish you a great mood,
I wish you to never know sadness,
I wish you all the kindness in your life,
I wish you to never be sad,
I wish you to start your days with a smile,
Like on this Birth Day!”
After the poem, Nikola takes a large swig of the vodka. Handing the bottle to Sam, Nikola wobbly sits down in his chair. I think perhaps the new father has started celebrating well before the birth of his son.
Sam mumbles a pleasantry before taking a polite sip of the vodka. The other members also mumble brief pleasantries before taking a sip of the vodka and passing the bottle. I am the last to receive the bottle of vodka, Shack handing it to me while he coughs at the burn of the alcohol.
In keeping with the father’s Russian toast to his son, I repeat an old bawdy Russian toast that I heard many years ago.
“Let me raise a toast for the well-known word that consists of five letters starting with letter “P”.
The word describes what people of all over the world think of. It is written in every possible place in words and pictures. It never kills, but on the contrary increases the population of the globe. It is what every woman thinks about and wants very much for herself, and for her daughters, for her husband and for her sons. It is what every man wants to preserve as long as possible.
Stiva, may you have “Peace” always.”
I take a healthy swig of the Starka vodka enjoying the smooth taste. I offer the bottle to Carol, who gently shakes her head no, so as not to disturb her nursing son. I next offer the bottle to Nikola, who takes it in his left hand. He sits quietly watching his son feed taking an occasional healthy swig of the fiery liquid.
We all watch in silence as the boy lustily feeds, the new parents quietly holding hands. For a few moments, the only sounds we hear is the little boy nursing. Sam turns to look at Doc again, but this time looks at Jeff as well.
“So Doc and Jeff, how bad were we hit?”
I was supposed to post this chapter last night but did not get around to it. Mea Culpa
The past day has been one of chaos and bloodbath. Shack and I after breakfast and quietly making love, were sound asleep when the sound of gunfire woke us. The sound of machineguns causes me to cringe thinking of all the zombies the noise is going to attract to our position.
Diving to the floor from our bedroll in a tangle of arms of legs we wiped the sleep from our eyes attempting to get an idea of the direction of shooting. Shack and I manage to get our pistols in our hands. I sweep the tent with the muzzle of my Browning Hi-Power while Shack yanks his Serbu Super Shorty from its holster.
Carol, panting like a blacksmith’s bellows, bursts into the tent carrying a suppressed, smoking USAS-12 shotgun. The shotgun balances precariously on her prominent stomach. I notice that the drum in the weapon is half empty. She carries an open-topped O.D. green canvas satchel from which the tops of three more USAS-12 drums protrude.
“Get the fuck out there we are under attack!” She turns to leave.
“Where you dozy broad!” I shout at her retreating backside. Despite her advanced pregnancy, she still has a fine ass. Damn hormones! It must be all the regular sex that I am getting. Shack and I have had intercourse for a few days now. The damn boy in incorrigible. I forgot how virile horny 18-year-old boys are. I am a bit sore but not in a bad way.
“Anywhere, we are surrounded,” Carol shouts as we scramble for clothes and weapons. Carol waddles out of the tent, letting the entrance tarp flap behind her.
“God help us! A pregnant woman with a fully automatic 12 gauge shotgun. Shit must be bad,” Shack mutters.
As we finish hurriedly dressing, I kiss him lightly as we grab our rifles and head for the battle. It has been a while since I have been dressed in full battle rattle. I had forgotten how much all of this shit weighs.
We exit our tent into chaos. Soldiers and civilians are running everywhere; the old farmhouse is completely engulfed in flames, and there are zombies everywhere.
Shack and I work our way to the radio tent, to find Nguen and Junior in a pitched battle with invaders. Dressed like motorcycle gangsters from a low-budget horror flick the enemy is at least easy to identify.
Coming from the side, we were able to shoot the motorcycle-gear-wearing attackers. Checking on Nguen and Junior we hear screams from inside the tent. Shack and I leap into the tent discovering that Carol has gone into labor. Nikola, kneeling beside a prostrate Carol, is frantically calling on the radio for either Brenda, Bettina or Doc to come assist him.
Shack explodes out of the radio tent. Following Shack, I turn to look at Nikola and mutter “mazel tov.” Nikola is too busy to respond, so I quickly catch up to Shack. We are standing in the center of the compound backlit by the brightly burning farmhouse, when Rick in the up-armored snow plow careens to a stop beside us.
The Princess opens the passenger door, shouting for Shack and I to climb into the dump bed. The Princess does not even bother to wait and see if we are going to follow her suggestions when she slams the door shut. As Shack and I awkwardly climb into the truck, we join two other soldiers already in the dump bed.
One soldier is dead with a bullet to the face while the other is frantically reloading a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher. Shack assists the Mk-19 loader while I take stock of our situation. Our dead comrade is beyond help, so I drag him to the rear of the dump bed. We have plenty of ammunition, when I see something that perks my interest.
I notice that the middle half of the tailgate has been cut, and a narrow, horizontal door fashioned. Kicking a cloth tarp covered lump near the tailgate in the gloomy and stuffy armored dump bed I swear briefly in Yiddish. Where the fuck are the lights?
Pulling the tarp off reveals a beautiful sight. A pristine desert tan GAU-19/B mounted in a sliding pintle mount gleaming with fresh oil. Sitting on a wooden 5.56 NATO ammo crate behind the minigun, I kick the tailgate door open. Grasping the twin paddles, I notice the little green light for ready.
With the sunlight coming in from the open hatch in the tailgate, I refamiliarize myself with the loading and care of the minigun.
Thank God that the Israeli army used US weapons mostly. Looking at the weapon platform and magazine, by looking at the witness marks, I find that I have a full ready canister containing 7,000 rounds of 12.7×99 (AKA – US 50 BMG). Next to the ready canister is a standby canister filled with a mere 5,000 rounds.
Sliding the triple barrels out of the firing port, I search for a likely target. It does not take me long. Spotting a few motorcycle gangsters taking cover behind one of the wrecked vehicles near the gate I squeeze off a short burst. I walk the gun across the old Pontiac, guided by the fiery track of the tracers.
Satisfied when the men disappear with the vehicle burning merrily I release the trigger. Looking at the rounds in the feed chute, I see that the crafty lads have loaded this weapon with a variety of rounds. I recognize Armor Piercing Incendiary-Tracer (API-T), High-Explosive Armor Piercing Incendiary (HEIAP), incendiary, and ball cartridges.
I realize that this is an old Humvee GAU-19 probably firing about 1,300 rounds per minute. I remember that this weapon takes about a half of a second to reach full firing rate. I note that the bed floor has a hole cut into it so that the spent shells and links fall through the bottom of the bed on to the ground.
As Rick drives the snow plow around for another pass, I see that the battle is over. I occasionally hear the Mk-19 chunk as it tosses a grenade or three. There are some pockets of fighting, but even those are quickly winding down. I see several motorcycle gear wearing men running for the asphalt.
I twist the minigun to cut them down when suddenly I realize why they were running as the MGS Stryker runs them over. I watch as the driver spins the blood-spattered Stryker around, whipping it in a tight turn mowing any survivors over, turning them into a bloody pulp.
I see one of our other Strykers roar by now carrying an FN M3M heavy machine gun in a remote-controlled mount on the roof. As things settle down I note that Shack is operating a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, (SINCGARS) radio set mounted to the passenger side of the dump bed. In the gloomy dump bed, I can barely see him having an animated discussion with someone on the radio.
My ears still ringing he gives me the OK hand sign with a questioning look. I respond to Shack with a thumbs up to let him know that I am OK. Shack talks briefly with the standing soldier manning the Mk-19. I feel the snow plow lurch into motion again as we drive around the compound.
Our gate is smashed, the barricade has some major holes in it, and it looks as if we expended all of our booby-trapped vehicles. From what little that I can see through the narrow minigun port the damage does not look too bad.
In the next few hours I would be proven to have been so horribly wrong.
The two new arrivals did not have anything interesting to say other than that they raided an old military museum which explains the presence of so many oddball weapons. Some of the weapons are not military though. The other adult male from the group, Craig, carries a shaved .455 Webley MK VI revolver that is able to fire .45 ACP rounds mounted in moon clips. Smart choice in weapon as we have a lot of .45 ACP ammo.
Craig also has an unaltered Webley pistol cylinder without moon clips able to shoot original .455 Webley reloaded rounds. The two boys believe that Craig does not have many of the particularly weak .455 Webley rounds. Most of the .455 Webley rounds might have corrosive primers and even perhaps black powder.
In keeping with his British theme, Craig also carries a STEN Mk V L52 along with a tan canvas British Sten bandoleer holding seven magazines. The Sten is an excellent weapon within its limitations. Craig found a friend in Bill and the two of them have been nearly inseparable. Bill said that at least Craig knows which way to turn a wrench.
Craig’s first assignment for us was to recover diesel and motor oil from the nearby hospital generators. Craig has also helped establish a temporary SARBOO (Search And Rescue Base Of Operations) post not far from the compound. The other male Scout leader I have not yet met, but I know that he has been stuck at the SARBOO with a few of the older boys and some of our Scouts.
With only about 20 women in the camp and nearly 100 men, the colonels wanted to reduce the chance of fights and spread the men out. There is some grumbling still about Bill having two wives (both of whom are now confirmed pregnant).
No one grumbles that Brenda took two husbands. At least I do not get propositioned as much as I used to. Looking over at Shack snoozing, I wonder if he is thinking about us and what happened this morning. I want to talk about it, but I am waiting for Shack to bring the matter up.
I hope that I do not have to worry about losing Shack to another woman now. While it is quiet tonight, I work on catching up on my journal. Shack told me the story of his first zombie kill. I will try to narrate it as best I can.
Shack woke up when his father left for morning PT with his former Army company. At this point during the KCAP pandemic it was already too late but no one realized it yet. Every city with a major airport had become a plague vector before the authorities were even aware that something was happening. Shack’s father taught high school on post. They were posted at Ft. Lost in the Woods, MO (AKA – Ft. Leonard Wood), where Shack’s mother, Joyce, was a Major teaching at the USAES (United States Army Engineer School).
Shack’s father was the junior minister at the Protestant chapel on post. Shack has not mentioned if his father held another job other than preacher. The elder Rogers, often jogged in the morning with several of his friends from his Army active duty days. Shack’s mom was a career Army woman, while Shack’s father only served his time to pay off his education debt. Shack was a senior at the post high school.
With mother and father out of the house early for PT, Shack’s girlfriend (who sounds like a real slut to me) snuck over for some early morning fooling around. Shack’s girlfriend would not let him penetrate her, but was game for just about everything else.
Shack noticed a small wound on his girlfriend’s wrist when she came over that morning but distracted by a stiff dick and a willing girl he did not think anything of it at the time. After fooling around with his lady, Shack pulled her into the shower for a good scrub.
While naked in the shower, Shack noticed that the wound on her wrist was now surrounded by black flesh and smelled like rotting meat. Thick black lines ran up her arm, which to Shack looked as if she was suffering blood poisoning. The amount of time was too quick for blood poisoning which usually has a fairly lengthy onset time. Shack mentioned that she should seek medical attention after which she pushed her way out of the shower sitting naked and dripping on the toilet.
Shack figured she was mad and continued luxuriating in the hot water. Shack is not sure how long he was in the shower after she got out, but he realized, after a while that she was no longer in the bathroom with him. Calling her name several times she did not respond. Shack turned back to the shower shutting the water off when suddenly the shower curtain was ripped aside his girlfriend leaping upon him.
Covered in fresh blood, his girlfriend ripped at his face snapping her teeth at him like a rabid dog. He noticed the hot sticky blood covering her naked chest and thighs which in their struggles coated him as well. Fighting off his girlfriend, he tossed her bodily from the shower.
His girlfriend falling from the shower, wrapped in the shower curtain struck her head on the edge of the toilet. Landing in a bloody crumpled pile between the toilet and shower his girlfriend laid still. Shack turned off the water and checking his girlfriend realized that she was dead. A large dent in the side of her head matched the shape of the toilet. Worried that he had just killed someone, and what his parent’s reaction was going to be to a dead, naked girl in his bathroom, (and his likely punishment) he noticed her bloody tracks in the hallway.
Following the bloody footprints, Shack traced his girlfriend’s steps to his little brothers’ room. He would not describe what he found, but he said that his much younger twin brothers were both killed by his girlfriend. Overcome with grief at the loss of his young twin brothers Shack sat in the hallway outside their room crying. He did not hear his father enter the house until the older Rogers was violently shaking him by the shoulders.
Dragging a naked and bloody Shack into the shower, and turning on the cold water, Shack’s father checked him for injuries. Shack’s father was yelling at him, but Shack was too numb to respond until Shack’s father slapped him hard, twice across the face.
Now pissed at his father, everything came out in a rush. The Army post, despite its remoteness was already overrun. Any organization was long gone, with most senior officers either missing or killed. With a large transient population of soldiers, KCAP ravaged the post before anyone even knew what was happening.
Shack told me some more of that hectic time, but I need to leave off on my journal as the survivors living in the old casements of Fort Casey State Park on Whidbey Island have called on the radio again. The next entry I will explain how we met that bunch of survivors, but for now I need to wake Shack and get him to help me answer the radio. I am glad to see they are using the radio gear we gave them.
Damn batteries are nearly dead again. Shack better get cranking.
The last few days have been a flurry of activity. Rick has the snowplow up-armored for the Kayak Point trip. It is amazing what Mal and the other mechanical types were able to cannibalize in parts from several of the abandoned vehicles. It is a good thing that there is no shortage of abandoned vehicles to cannibalize.
The only problem is that as time passes we have cannibalized all the nearby abandoned vehicles. The Scouts and the mechanics must travel farther each time searching for new vehicles which to cannibalize.
With the cannibalized parts, Rick and the others upgraded and enhanced the cooling systems of the snowplow. Covered in steel plating, the cab and now even the tires are protected, but the engine and hydraulics have to work that much harder. Upgrading the cooling systems for both the engine and the hydraulics should help to keep the heat to within tolerable limits.
Small transmission cooling radiators and small electric cooling fans ripped out of a variety of cars were plumbed into the snow plow’s engine oil cooling system and the hydraulic system. With the added capacity and increased cooling ability, Rick hopes the snow plow will survive underneath both the strain of the new armor plating and the abuse it must suffer when we travel.
Rick and a few of the Scouts made a few runs around the surrounding area testing the up-armored and improved snowplow. With the added weight of the armor the snowplow eats more fuel, and Rick says that visibility from the cab is so much worse. We have to trade visibility for armor protection.
Still Rick was able to maneuver the snowplow well enough for a brief raid on a cannibal enclave within in the nearby city of Arlington. Housed in an ancient, former Methodist Episcopalian church originally built-in 1898, the small group of cannibals did not offer too much resistance.
The church occupying cannibals only possessed a couple of guns, and a little ammunition. Unfortunately for them, most of the ammo that they possessed did not chamber in any of their guns. From what I understand from some of the lads who were part of the assault, the cannibals were surprised that ammo was not universal.
The church occupying cannibals must have been firearm ignorant in their former lives. One of the cannibals killed in the church, did much damage to his face when he chambered a modern .380 ACP cartridge into an old British Mk 1 .380/200 revolver. Firing the improperly loaded revolver caused the pistol to shatter, imbedding parts of it in to the shooter’s face.
The blinded, ignorant British pistol shooting cannibal was rolling around on the floor in agony when one of the Russian lads shot him once in the forehead, putting him out of his misery. In a perverse sense of serendipity, the Russian lad used an almost as ancient Russian Nagant revolver wearing an APS 9mm suppressor.
Very little worthwhile loot was recovered from the Methodist church building. A blue looted charity bin surrendered some women’s and children’s clothing. After boiling and a good wash, the clothes were distributed to those who needed them. Most of the recovered clothes were cheap imported wares that will not survive very long.
A very small amount of ammo was recovered, most of it odd calibers such as .32 H&R Magnum, 9mm Largo, and 28 gauge shotgun. A black Piece of Shit (POS) Hi-Point 9mm pistol, a rusty disreputable-looking 16 gauge single shot, break action Sears shotgun and a flaking, nickel-plated Lorcin .25 ACP pistol with cracked white plastic grips were also recovered from the old church.
The Hi-Point pistol is missing its magazine, but at least the Lorcin pistol came with two magazines. From Shack, I understand that some of the older gents have nicknamed the little Lorcin pistol “Bob Marley” because it always be jamming. I thought the joke particularly funny, but Shack did not get it so I had to explain it to him.
I am not even sure if the company possesses weapons to shoot the odd recovered calibers. We are getting quite the collection of odd and unique weapons and ammo. Any ammo is recovered as is any weapon increasing the odds that we will be able to use any ammo or weapon recovered.
The Scouts and soldiers that took part in the raid said that the inside of the old church was so disgusting that it was decided to torch the building. The basement had been turned into a human abattoir, which caused the hardened soldiers to shudder when remembering it. I hated to hear that such an old once beautiful building burnt. Perhaps the flaming building attracted some zombies to their death – I hope so.
As Sam suspected, Honey is able to hear the collective hive minds of the cannibals. Unfortunately, she cannot understand the cannibal hive mind but gets impressions of desires, mostly food and sex from what she says. Honey is also not able to tell how many cannibals are in the hive but can at least offer a guess.
Honey appears to be more attuned to cannibals rather than the zombies as she is able to hear the cannibal’s minds more than the zombies. I wonder if this is because the zombie’s minds are now completely inhuman, while the cannibals still keep a slight amount of their humanity.
Honey and Thing 1, now tottering around on his feet at five months old, are inseparable. Sarah does not appear to mind that her oldest child does not care that he is separated from his mother (or she hides it well). Sarah is having an easier time caring for one child who does not attempt to tear her tit off every time she feeds the little monster.
Thing 2 is still a chubby happy little boy who is not yet even rolling over. Thing 1 is now starting to eat solid food. His first teeth have come in black just like Honey’s. The baby’s teeth are still human in shape despite their disquieting color.
Thing 1 has just started walking. Honey carries him everywhere she goes. Since she has been added to the medical tent personnel, Sarah sees her child every day. It must tear at her heart though, to see her child prefer another woman over his mother. Honey is able to control Thing 1 better than even his own mother.
With a stern look Honey is able to calm or discipline Thing 1. I wonder transpires between them during those looks. What mental struggles and commands do they hear from each other? Honey says that she can sense when Thing 1 is hungry or needs changing but is not able to hear his thoughts exactly.
Honey describes what she feels from Thing 1 as just that – feelings, an image or a projection of what he desires. Honey describes the hive minds of the cannibals as feeling the same way. She gets an impression of what the colony feels and what they desire – such as food mostly, clothing or (blushing) sex.
From the zombie colonies, Honey explains that they feel like the buzzing that used to be heard from the old, high power and high tension power transmission lines. While she cannot hear the thoughts and needs of a zombie colony, Honey can at least serve as a zombie divining rod pointing us in the general direction of a colony.
We have found that smell alone once directed by Honey into a general area is enough to locate a zombie nest. For the most part, zombie nests are left alone, unless they inhabit a place with suitable materials for recovery.
A fully loaded bottled water delivery truck and a snack food deliver panel van were rescued from a nearby zombie nest without too much fuss and more importantly without loss of human life. The bottled water from the truck added to our supplies increases our potable water holdings by a few hundred gallons.
After all the plastic bottles of water were removed from the truck, it was quickly drained of fuel and oil which were added to the company’s stock. Cannibalized for spare parts, the stripped hulk of the water delivery truck was then towed out and added to the barricade surrounding the property.
As vehicles die, and are cannibalized for parts, they are added to a growing barricade around the perimeter of the property. The ugly rusty piles of vehicles and other trash might not stop an invasion by other survivors, but it is enough to slow most of the wandering zombies. As time slips past us, the barricade gets taller and more of the gaps are getting filled in.
Any sort of fencing and nearly anything that can be chained, wired or welded to the barricade is added daily. The surrounding farms all have been stripped of bailing wire, and any other kind of wire that could be located. Wire that is not used in constructing the barricade is used for snares.
Several of the lads have grown quite adept at making snares both for trapping edible critters (Shack’s word – not mine) and for ensnaring zombies. The tangle foot traps and other zombie snares around the perimeter help deter and slow the zombies enough that they can be safely dispatched with a Scorpion, or a long handled spear from a safe distance.
As long as the zombies are wandering in small groups our porous perimeter works well enough. However, if our perimeter should undergo an onslaught of a zombie horde like we saw in the first few days of the KCAP outbreak – none of us believe that the barricade would even slow the zombies down.
The sheer weight of a zombie horde, numbering in the thousands would be enough to tear apart the hastily erected barricade. Our barricade is neither not nearly as resilient nor as sturdy as the Seattle Barricade on Lake City Way we met so many months ago. Our barricade is also much larger encompassing a piece of property covering several acres not one small city block.
It is almost time for Nikola and Carol to relieve us. I will close my journal for now. I see that Shack has dozed off again. I know just how to wake the young man putting a smile on his face. It is also a great way to start the day.
I have been on vacation, this is my first day back to the grind.
As someone who has scribbled in notebooks for years, and possess a growing eclectic collection of filled notebooks, I find other author’s notebooks fascinating.
I don’t think that I would let someone else look into my notebooks (no that’s my idea – no stealing you bitch!) it is fascinating to see the creative process from another author’s point of view.
This was supposed to be my Freakin’ Friday post last week. Work and family have kept me from the keyboard.
Read over this list of eight guns from the experts at G&A. Tell me in the comments what you think should be added or subtracted from the list and why.
No trolls or flaming each other please.
After all, we know that the flamethrower is one of the worst weapons to use in a zombie apocalypse.
Zombies trying to eat you are bad.
Flaming zombies attempting to eat you are so much worse.
Life on a farm with cannibals
There were not very many things of note over the next few weeks, so other than a few jotted notes, my journal remained empty.
I finally dug out my Yoga roll, and started stretching. I was extremely tight for the first few days, but have loosened up enough to meet most of the proper forms. I will never be a true yogi, but at least the stretching helped me to limber up.
I have also started teaching basic military Krav Maga to a few of the soldiers including Shack. Some of the lads have had some basic hand to hand training. But as most of them were rushed through training to fill the rapidly depleting ranks of the army, few have any real skills. Shack has proven to be an apt pupil as has Honey.
How to train a cannibal in Krav Maga …
Honey’s reflexes, strength and speed are startling. She is nearly as strong as I am, and soon will be much quicker. Honey’s nails leave terrible-looking red welts when we spar. I was hesitant at first to teach Honey any Krav Maga. Sam and Doc asked me to teach her since that might strengthen her bond to our company. Honey learns fast. I have to be careful teaching her, less I end up hurt.
When Honey smiles the sight of her black teeth is unsettling to say the least. While Honey’s speed and strength are amazing her control is not so good. When frustrated, or worse, hungry, the beast comes out in her in full force. I remember Cauley describing how hunger made the KCAP virus sing in his head like a coke-fueled monkey. I imagine Honey has a similar problem.
Frustrated Honey, when hungry, is frightening, causing more than one soldier to back away from her while reaching for his side arm. We have made sure that Honey carries snacks with her to stave off her hunger. Even she has mentioned that when hungry, she gets the urge to nosh on someone.
Honey has to fight the urges of the virus when hungry. As she cares for Thing 1 full-time now, I have to wonder if she is getting or giving further infection from Thing 1. Thing 1 is crawling now at barely three months old and will be walking before five months if Doc’s estimates are correct.
Some personnel changes are in effect as well. Our long-suffering engineer Mal will be remaining with the Adventists when the convoy moves north. Also staying behind are Bill, his two wives (both now pregnant) and their younger children. Junior has decided to stay with the company; I suspect because of a certain young lady he is sleeping with.
Parting will be such sweet sorrow, but that is how it is going to have to be. Other personnel changes I am sure are in the works and will show themselves as time passes. Mal and the other engineer types are still struggling to get the methanol production vats in proper order.
Assault pig truck …
Rick tore the front end off of the snow plow and is busily up arming the plow with plate steel. The lads found something nearby called a Maximus/Minimus urban assault pig truck with a ridiculous amount of steel. Busily stripped by Rick and the engineers, the once pig-shaped metal former hot dog truck is being cannibalized for parts.
The pig truck provided not only a wealth of sheet metal but also several useful fittings, appliances and small bits like wires that come in handy. With places like Home Depot and Lowes long stripped of anything useful scavenging and cannibalizing are the only ways that we can find repair parts.
Speaking of cannibalizing, Sam has decided that there will be no more bargains with cannibals. Sam I would not say has the loathing of cannibals that Iain possesses, but has learned that for the most part, they cannot be trusted.
For the next time that a cannibal’s enclave is found, there has been some discussion that a trebuchet might come in handy after all. The Scout lads have found some text books, and some of the younger children are being schooled by their parents or older siblings.
Some of the sharper kids while reading the history books noted that sieges were often shortened by the sieging forces using trebuchets. Large trebuchets hurling rotting and diseased carcasses into the besieged cities were especially effective after the Black Death erupted in Europe. We do not have the plague but we have something that is almost as good if not better.
We would use a similar tactic, but we would be hurling zombies into the cannibal’s enclave. I imagine that dropping zombies in someone’s compound would suck for them on so many levels. Not really a workable attack tactic for a number of logistical problems, but still out of the mouth of babes …
In the present …
I still need to find all of my notes about this month with the convoy. Not only do my notes include some of the convoy member’s first zombie kills but also Shack’s and my first time making love. I hope that I have not lost the notes.
Iain is shouting for me to come grab a horse. Another one of the goddamned beefalos is loose again. Great shaggy, stupid beast. Well at least chasing some stupid, loose one ton beast takes my mind off of poor Shack. God I miss that boy.
Settling into life on the farm with cannibals.
Most of the supplies taken from the cannibal’s Walmart were ones able to survive the fire. We recovered quite a few mechanic’s tools and other tools made entirely of metal. Stripping the dead cannibals is a nasty task, but did provide our group with several pairs of heavy Carhartt work wear.
Brenda’s mushroom lessons are paying off. The lads are mostly gathering the various Boletes species of mushrooms which are some of the safest and easiest mushrooms for the amateur hunter to gather. Brenda has also taught how various mushrooms are used to make vibrant dies for fabric. With the amount of rescued livestock on the farm, there should be plenty of fiber for making clothes eventually.
Our Scouts recently returned with several lamas and a few sheep that somehow survived. One of the hardest things to do is guard the animals who appear as a quick meal to people hungry for anything. Explaining to a starving man that we are not eating the sheep because we will need the wool for warm clothes means nothing to him, he wants to eat now.
We have met few survivors in the last few days. Most see our lads standing by the gate, now reinforced with an earth mound pill-box, machine guns at the ready and silently walk past. Occasionally a few survivors will stop to ask for food or water which our guards politely refuse and encourage the people to keep moving.
Our methanol production is still slow, but since the Adventists surprised us with a complete and functional biodiesel system, methanol is in high demand. Now our Scouts are scouring every fast food joint (Shack’s term – not mine) and restaurant for cooking oil and grease.
Sometimes our Scouts have to clear zombies out of the restaurant but the locations are well scouted in advance, with enough precautions taken to make sure that no one but the zombies die. Another item in dire need is good quality lye, in particular brands such as Red Devil. The Adventists have a methanol recovery system built into the commercial biodiesel processor.
One of the byproducts of the biodiesel process is glycerin which gets used in soap and various lotions. Right now we do not have enough methanol for the biodiesel processor. Our old M35 trucks can run on straight vegetable oil, but it is not good for them. I suppose neither is running the used motor oil good for the old engine, but it is something that at least lets us drive.
Our concern is keeping enough diesel, whether bio or petrol, for the snow plow, HEMTTs and the Strykers. The three vehicles are very picky about the fuel they burn and cannot survive on the shitty fuel blends that we feed the M35s. Some of the lads have taken to riding horses with the Adventists helping.
I have no interest in getting on a horse now. In hindsight as I transcribe my notes in Iain’s bunker, I suppose that I should have taken some lessons in horse riding. As it was, I did not ride a horse until I started living with Iain.
Back to the past.
Since Shack and I are night crew still, the only time that we get to interact with the rest of the company is at the breakfast table. The discussions sitting around the breakfast table were very interesting and enlightening. I started taking notes at these breakfast meetings as you never knew what the discussion topic was going to be.
While no one wanted to discuss the elephant in the room about Scarecrow and his lady, any other topic was latched onto with enthusiasm. The earliest breakfast story telling involved Sam. I am not sure what the exact question was or who asked as Shack and I walked into the middle of the discussion.
Sam looked up, pausing speaking, as Shack and I entered the dining room. Other than the usual suspects including Junior, Jeff, Doc Jamal, Terrance, Shack and I were the only ones that were up early this morning.
“No, I never had any children. I have had three wives, but we never had children. Some of my ex-wives had children from previous relationships, but none was from me. When I came back from ‘Nam, minus an eye, I had a lot of problems.” Sam takes a sip of the soothing tea.
“Not much use for a one-eyed man. I took to drinking and feeling sorry for myself. Although the Army retired me as a full colonel, lacking an eye I found that it was difficult to get work. This was in the early ‘70s, and there was not a lot of jobs to begin with. Less for a man with one eye and no skills outside the Army.”
Sam sighs deeply. “I should have applied myself, gone back to school, but all I did was wallow in self-pity. I took a lot of it out on my first wife who got sick of it and wisely left my drunk ass. I met the second wife drunk off of my ass in a dive bar. We were codependent drunks, and that lasted a while, until she found someone else.”
Sam pauses as the cook’s guard and helper sets a heaping plate of pancakes and scrambled eggs in front of Shack and myself. Shack and I did in while Sam continues after a refill of tea.
“Man I miss coffee. Anyway I moved back to Washington state in the early ‘80s. Got a job with a natural gas pipeline company. Got sober too. Shopping at the Commissary on post one day, I run into Doc. We had lost touch with each other after ‘Nam and I went into my tailspin. We reconnected, and Doc got me into a couple of programs where they were attempting some new technologies that might replace my lost eye.”
While Shack and I shovel pancakes dripping warmed blackstrap molasses and warm scrambled eggs into our mouths, we are intently listening to Sam.
“During one of those VA visits, where I was sitting there with this gaping hole in my head open for everyone to see in walks the most beautiful mature woman I’d ever seen. She was in her early 40s then but could have passed for mid-20s easy. She was a Rubenesque beauty with wavy shoulder-blade length brown hair. Statuesque standing nearly six-foot in bare feet, in her business suit and modest high heels she was easily over six-foot. I was smitten immediately, lost in her hazel eyes.”
He takes a sip of the tea again refilling his cup from the teapot on the table.
“She had lost her husband in ‘Nam and never remarried. Despite my already falling madly in love with her, it took her a while to warm up to me. She had two grown children both in college and had never dated after her husband died. She was one of the HR admins at the Seattle VA and saw lots of wounded soldiers, so my injury did not faze her in the least. After weeks of my begging, she finally consented to having coffee with me in the cantina in the basement of the VA hospital.”
With Shack and I practically falling out of our chairs due to sleep deprivation, Sam looks at the time on his watch and stands.
“The rest of the story how I met my third wife will have to wait for another morning. As for the story of my first zombie kill, well that is a tale for another day as well.”
Who do you think Sam’s first zombie kill will be?
Sam chuckles at Honey’s joke. He looks around the table at the other convoy members. Looking at Jeff sitting in the corner furiously taking notes, he sighs. “Jeff, where are Scarecrow and his lady friend this morning?” he asks.
“They are supposed to be in the south quadrant on guard duty.” Jeff replies after looking at the schedule.
Sam pauses for a moment as if thinking. He looks around the table which has fallen silent. I wonder what exactly is going through Sam’s mind right now. I also wonder if he has any idea that there might traitors within the company. You cannot have such an autocratic chain of command and not expect some malcontents.
“But now we have to decide if we are going to question Scarecrow and his lady friend about their activities. I would like to speak with Nguen as well.” Sam sighs.
When Pastor, Dougie, Rain and Carmine enter the dining room, they are quickly brought up to speed by Sam. While Sam briefs the new arrivals, my attention wanders. Outside the sun has managed to peek through the clouds.
I note that Barbara is out in the yard flirting with some of the QRF lads. Barbara, although not the sharpest tool in the shed and despite her continuous nervous habit of fucking with her hair has proven to be an apt firearms pupil.
Barbara will probably never be an excellent shot, and she has trouble remembering how to load some of the weapons, but at least she has the good sense to ask someone rather than fuck around. I just wish she did not provoke the boys to follow her around the yard with their tongues hanging out.
It is a shame that neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) proved to be such a failure. I wonder if Barbara would respond to NLP or like so many other great ideas in psychology; NLP is pure bullshit. The Mossad just like other intelligence agencies fooled around with NLP back in its heyday, but once NLP proved to be more talk than proof, NLP quickly fell out of favor.
There are many things though that NLP did do well. With all of the mental problems we are likely to see and suffer, I wonder if old theories like NLP might deserve a revisit. As far as I am aware we do not have a psychologist within the camp, which is a shame because we desperately need one.
Having dogs around the camp has seemed to help with a little of the depression and stress. Saving dogs from the pot was one of the hardest tasks for the Adventists. They have been selective towards which dogs they keep from cooking. Dogs that cannot retrieve, hunt, herd or protect are quickly eaten. I have become resigned to the fact that I have dined on dog frequently.
Other than a few purebred Huskies, Labradors, Australian Sheep Dogs, and Malamutes most of the dogs are mongrels. There are a few rogue Maremma, Komondor and Great Pyrenees Sheepdogs, but these dogs are not friendly and are likely to tear your arm off should you approach them.
Brenda occasionally pins one of the huge shaggy sheepdogs in a sheep squeeze chute. With the growling and snapping dog secured, Brenda combs the furry monster, applies flea and tick medicine, and trims the hair around the eyes so the poor thing can see. Caring for the dogs is the main source of the dog hair used in the socks so many of the company are now wearing.
Perhaps because of my musings about the mental state of our group, I missed the end of breakfast. I hope that I did not miss anything important. Shack and I are practically asleep on our feet. The group breaks up as the cooks clear our breakfast dishes. As Shack and I walk to the tent, I reflect on the last few days events.
One good thing of the constant damp and cold is a huge mushroom bloom. The forests and areas near the farm are loaded with a variety of mushrooms. Brenda in one of the transplanted greenhouses wrapped in construction plastic film constructed large mushroom growing beds.
Mushrooms grow in the greenhouse in beds filled with sawdust, manure, and straw. We have plenty of sawdust around the farm but straw is rare. Between the TimberKing© band saw lumber mill and the near constant chain saw usage, there is no shortage of sawdust. Some of the sawdust is dumped into the methanol production vats, while some gets dumped as mulch.
Used in the latrines sawdust helps absorb moisture and odors especially the red cedar sawdust. The smell of cedar helps keep the bugs away, another constant pest well acclimated to the damp and cold. Burning red cedar appears to help keep the bugs at bay, as well. I am not sure if the sawdust in the latrine pits helps with the decomposition, as quick lime would, but at least it is something that appears to help even a little.
Because cheap cotton clothing wears out so quickly, we are replacing our cheap clothes with durable denim, wool and heavy cotton. Despite the gross shivers it gives me thinking about it, we did recover quite a bit of good quality Carhartt work wear from the ruins of the cannibal Walmart.
Once boiled and washed thoroughly, the recovered Carhartt work wear is quickly given out to company members needing clothes. With the cheap clothing, we had once grown accustomed to wearing, falling off of our bodies or ruined in the course of a day, the demand for good quality durable clothes is extreme.
With growing children in the camp, demand for durable children’s clothing is also very high. Junior’s favorite black cotton tee-shirt with the gutter Latin phrase Nullum Gratuitum Prandium (there is no free lunch, thank you, Oscar Wild) emblazoned across the chest in silvery letters is falling off of his body.
Because of the flames from the incendiary rounds and thermite, a lot of what the cannibal’s stockpile burnt. It took a few days of the lads sifting through the wreckage, but it did provide some needed supplies.